Love Live! Sunshine!! is already attracting attention, thanks to the simultaneous world launch of the anime series in July. That excitement grew even hotter at Anime Expo 2016 in Los Angeles, the largest anime event in North America with 260,000 attendees, when school idol group Aqours went up on stage at the expo’s Anisong World Matsuri event on July 2 to talk about the anime and what they’ve been up to so far.
The stage show, titled “Love Live! Sunshine!! Special Event: Nice to Meet You, We Are Aqours!!”, featured six members out of nine: Anju Inami (as Chika Takami), Rikako Aida (as Riko Sakurauchi), Nanaka Suwa (as Kanan Matsuura), Arisa Komiya (as Dia Kurosawa), Kanako Takatsuki (as Hanamaru Kunikida), and Ai Furihata (as Ruby Kurosawa).
After everyone gave their own introductions in English, they moved on to provide some lines from each of the group members they portray. Taking a fond look back, the team recalled their memories of life in Aqours so far, from the CD releases to the promotional anime videos—even showing some of the videos with footage of them dancing in previous events. Suwa, in particular, was really happy when she heard that Aqours tracks had been added to the Love Live! School Idol Festival smartphone app, popular both in Japan and overseas. “Are you all playing SIF?” she asked the audience, only to be greeted with wild cheering in response.
The event continued with the first North American screening of Episode 1 from the TV anime series. Cheers erupted whenever a new member appeared on screen, and the audience laughed and applauded during the entire show. Once it was over, the cast came back on stage and discussed their takeaways from that episode, as well as scenes that left a particular impression on them. For Inami, that was the scene near the end, when Chika and Riko first met. “I like how their exchange helped encourage Riko,” she said. “Chika has deep feelings about school idols and wants to make Riko feel better, and I think both of those drives unconsciously came across.”
The group then replied to some questions that fans sent to the event’s website beforehand. Here’s the Q&A from the event:
For Ai Furihata (Ruby Kurosawa)
Does it feel like you and Arisha have developed a sister-like relationship, since Ruby and Dia are sisters?
“Arisa and I definitely have a sister-like relationship, just like the Kurosawa sisters. However, there are definitely times when I’m the one playing the big-sister role in real life!”
For Arisa Komiya (Dia Kurosawa)
I heard that you like ice cream. What’s your favorite flavor?
“I know Dia would select green tea, but I like strawberry!”
For Kanako Takatsuki (Hanamaru Kunikida)
Konban SUNSHINE! Ever since the beginning of the project, Hanamaru has been my favorite member of the group. For me personally, it’s her personality of always being there to support Ruby-chan and the rest of the group, and of course the nice voice that you give her too! What is your favorite part about Maru-chan?
“Konban SUNSHINE! Thank you very much. With Hanamaru, I like how she’s very gentle and reserved in her personality. The ‘zura’ she adds to the ends of her sentences as an accent is really cute, too!”
For Nanaka Suwa (Kanan Matsuura)
Have you ever tried deep sea diving before, like Kanan? Or would you like to try?
“I did get to experience it as a child. I’d like to try it again sometime!”
For Rikako Aida (Riko Sakurauchi)
You lived in LA for 3 years. What’s your favorite part of the city?
“There are a lot of famous places around LA you can visit, but I personally lived in Pasadena, and I like it there the best because I have so many memories from that city.”
For Anju Inami (Chika Takami)
Which Aqours song so far left a huge impression on you?
“That would be ‘Kimino Kokorowa Kagayaiteru Kai?’. It was the first song I sang as Chika Takami, so that made me pretty excited and nervous—I have a lot of memories associated with it, so it left the biggest impression on me in that way!”
After a giveaway that let the audience score some cast-autographed goods, each member of the group gave their impressions of the day and a message to fans, bringing an end to the two-hour event. The animated series has only just begun— join in on the Aqours’ “story to make dreams come true”!
Now that you know a little more about the cast of Love Live! Sunshine!!, start watching it on FunimationNow on Saturdays at 10:00 am ET / 9:00 am CT! Catch up on the first 3 episodes here.