The official website for the Love Live! idol franchise revealed the cast members for the four new characters for “Liella!,” the main idol group of the Love Live! Superstar!! part of the franchise, on Thursday. The cast members include:
Nozomi Suzuhara as Kinako Sakurakōji, a girl from Hokkaido who enrolled in Yuigaoka after seeing Liella! perform, even though she thinks of herself as completely average and unable to live up to the school idol ideal. She has a special affinity for animals.
Akane Yabushima as Mei Yoneme, a girl who is self-conscious about how her expression can be perceived as constantly hostile, and still thinks it makes her unsuited to being a school idol.
Wakana Ōkuma as Shiki Wakana, a curt, scientifically-minded girl who is also a member of the science club. She lists insects and Mei as her likes, and is not much for crowds, but likes singing with the others on stage.
Aya Emori as Natsumi Onitsuka, a popular “L-Tuber” who decided to give being a school idol a try. She likes drinking smoothies while thinking up the next plan to make Liella! more popular, and asks fans to like and subscribe to her channel.
The franchise‘s Twitter account also revealed a new visual featuring the four characters, as well as photos of the four new cast members alone, and together with the five other members of Liella!
From left to right in image above: Wakana Ōkuma (Shiki Wakana), Nozomi Suzuhara (Kinako Sakurakōji), Akane Yabushima (Mei Yoneme), Ayana Emori (Natsumo Onitsuka).
The first season of the Love Live! Superstar!! television anime premiered on NHK Educational in July 2021 and aired for 12 episodes. Funimation streamed the series as it aired. The anime will have a second season that will premiere later this year in July.
“Liella!,” the idol group that stars in the anime, debuted their first single “Hajimari wa Kimi no Sora” (The Start Is Your Sky) for a limited time digitally on February 28, 2021. The song debuted in a 2D version in the Love Live! School Idol Festival ALL STARS game on April 7, 2021, and the single with an anime music video also went on sale on April 7. The group held their debut release event for their single in May 2021.
The members of Liella! include:
- Sayuri Date as Kanon Shibuya
- Liyuu as Tang Keke
- Nako Misaki as Chisato Arashi
- Naomi Payton as Sumire Heanna
- Nagisa Aoyama as Ren Hazuki
Crunchyroll streamed the first season in the U.K. and Ireland, and it describes the story:
The first students have arrived at Yuigaoka Girls’ High School, a new academy built on the crossroads of Omotesando, Harajuku, and Aoyama. With no history, no upperclassmen to rely on, and no name to speak of, this school’s totally starting from scratch!
In the midst of this, a team of five girls led by Kanon Shibuya discover “school idols.”
—I love singing! I really do! And I want to accomplish something with it!
So the hopes of these stars, still small in stature, begin to accumulate…and so begins the “School Idol Project” of five girls with a blank slate and infinite potential.
Hajime Yatate, the collective pseudonym for the staff of Sunrise, was credited again for original work. Sakurako Kimino was also credited again for original concept, as in previous Love Live! anime. Takahiko Kyōgoku, the director of the original Love Live! School idol project and subsequent film, returned as director alongside Love Live! School idol project and Love Live! Sunshine!! writer Jukki Hanada. Atsushi Saitō (Black Fox) adapted franchise character designer Yūhei Murota‘s original character designs. Yoshiaki Fujisawa also returned from the first Love Live! series as composer for the music.
The anime project features the tagline, “Watashi o Kanaeru Monogatari — Hello!!! Love Live!” (The story of my dreams coming true. Hello!!! Love Live!“). This is a reference to the franchise‘s previous tagline of “Minna de Kanaeru Monogatari,” which refers to the fact that the school idol group’s names, center performers, song lyrics, and other aspects are decided by fan vote.