If you’ve been in the fandom of cartoon idols long enough, then chances are you’ve seen people fighting over Love Live! and IDOLM@STER. The rivalry of these two fandom is well known among otaku in Indonesia; it’s almost everywhere on social media, especially when it comes to “debates” regarding which one is better. On one side, there are people who claim that IDOLM@STER is better because they have been in the business longer than Love Live!. While on the other side, there are also people who claim that Love Live! is better because they have a bigger fanbase and received more media coverage in general.
Yet, while everyone is free to choose their own liking, it’s worth noting that this “rivalry” between the fans is not something that should be taken too seriously to the point of actual hostility and bitter feud. Because as it will be further explained below, the two idol properties are not really played as “rival” to each other to begin with.
First, let’s take a look at Love Live!. This idol franchise is produced by Sunrise, which is an animation company owned by Bandai Namco Holdings Inc. Lantis, the record label company holding most of Love Live! songs is also under Bandai Namco. On the other hand, the entire IDOLM@STER IP, from video games to anime/manga adaptations, are al owned by Bandai Namco. Lantis also holds IDOLM@STER songs as well. In the light of this fact, some people has begun to think that playing out a “war” between LL vs IM@S is “pointless.” There’s no point in attacking someone else’s preference between the two idol properties when at the end of the day, all the fans’ consumption of and participation with either Love Live! or IDOLM@STER contents both work in favour of Bandai Namco’s business.
And there’s more to the connection between Love Live! and IDOLM@STER beyond both being the properties of Bandai Namco. As it turns out, part of the business also involves collaborative activities.
First, there are two web radio channels featuring both Love Live! and IDOLM@STER voice actresses: Koncheki and Kussun and Yuiton. Koncheki airs every Tuesday from 19:30-20:00 (West Indonesian Time), featuring Aina Kusuda (Love Live!‘s Nozomi Toujou) and Rikako Yamaguchi (IDOLM@STER Million Live!‘s Rio Momose). While Kussun and Yuiton airs every Wednesday from 20:00-20:30 (West Indonesian Time), featuring Aina Kusuda (Love Live!‘s Nozomi Toujou) and Yui Watanabe (IDOLM@STER Million Live!‘s Nao Yokoyama). Thus, it’s fair to say that the voice actresses of the two idol properties are in good terms with each other.
Second, in last year’s annual anisong concert, Animelo Summer Live (sometimes abbreviated as Anisama), something previously “unthinkable” by fans happened: IDOLM@STER‘s 765 Production and Love Live‘s µ’s performing together on one stage. Both groups performed during the 1st day of the three-day concert. They performed 6 songs in total: READY!! (OP 1 The IDOLM@STER) and Bokura wa Ima no Naka de (OP 1 Love Live! School Idol Project S1) as the opening act, continued with a medley of 4 songs: Wonderful Rush (Love Live!)–Kiramekirari (The IDOLM@STER)–No Brand Girls (Love Live!)–GO MY WAY!! (The IDOLM@STER).
At the end of the day, with idols purported to represent hopes and dreams through their performances to the fans, it comes to no surprise that they can garner such a pasionate following from the fans. There’s nothing wrong with being a passionate fan of either one of the groups, but if that “passion” leads to dislike, or even hatred for the other, then it indicates a flawed understanding of the enterprise. Spread the love, rather than hatred as our idols do. If our idols can get together nicely, why couldn’t we?
The Indonesian Anime Times | by Videtra Reynaldi