Almost one year ago Love Live fans, or Love Livers, finally got to see a release of Love Live! School Idol Project season one. Only it didn’t include an English audio track nor was a Blu-ray version available. It did, however, come as a Collector’s Edition with an attractive rigid box and art book but it’s hardly a definitive edition without a dub and, more importantly for most, not available on Blu-ray. Fast forward about nine months and we finally have a release of Love Live S1 complete with English dub and a Blu-ray version.
You can read our review of the Japanese dub and DVD-only release of Love Live! School Idol Project Season 1 Collection here.
It’s a shame we weren’t able to review the Blu-ray version of this new release as I’m sure it would have looked fantastic but alas we are again reviewing a DVD version. It’s not all doom and gloom though as the series still shines through despite the standard definition quality of the visuals. I was a little concerned before viewing that with the addition of an English audio track and the release still being on two discs that the visual quality would drop a lot. Thankfully though this was not the case but we’d still highly recommend the Blu-ray version for the best experience.
This new release is all about the English audio track and while I’m not a huge fan of English dubs I really enjoyed my time with this one. I felt that each of the voice actresses really suited their characters, even Nico Yazawa which I was most worried about. Not that I thought Erica Mendez wouldn’t do a good job but Niko has such a presence with her “Nico Nico Nii!” catchphrase etc. that it’s hard to imagine anyone but Sora Tokui as Nico.
It’s mostly common knowledge already but the English dub still features the songs in Japanese, with the Japanese voice actresses. This most likely will please existing fans and while it might appear odd at first to newcomers we feel this is the best route for the dub to take. With such a large Love Live fan base who are already so invested and familiar with the Japanese songs it just wouldn’t make sense to have them sung in English. Plus it’s a huge ask for the English voice actresses to pull it off.
Overall the English audio track does a really good job of faithfully presenting you the characters; you’ve most likely already grown to love, without taking the original songs. A good choice that makes the whole experience a lot more enjoyable so if you’re curious about the dub definitely give it a go.
Extras include the same textless opening and closing animations, original TV spots and original trailers that appeared on the Collector’s Edition. The big question mark, however, is on the Blu-ray version as it’s listed on MVM’s store as a Collector’s Edition while amazon and other retailers have it down as it states on the cover a Limited Edition. Until we get hold of a finished copy we won’t know but we assume it’ll just be a standard release.