Ria is an avid anime and sci-fi fan who loves gushing about her latest favorite shows.
With the Love Live! Sunshine!! movie premiering in Japan in January 2019, fans of the idol franchise still have new material to look forward to. However, it'll probably be a while before the movie's official English-language release. It also doesn't help that the Love Live! Perfect Dream Project spin-off doesn't have an anime confirmed, and that the All Stars mobile game has been delayed, with a 2019 release date to be determined.
Luckily, Love Live fans have others series to watch in the meantime. Check out these idol series and cute slice-of-life anime with similar characters and themes.
BanG Dream! is another idol franchise by Bushiroad that incorporates both a rhythm game and an anime. Instead of just singing, though, the characters also play various instruments and have a more rock-sounding style. The series focuses on five different bands and their efforts to work together. Since there are so many characters, it can be a little hard keeping track of various developments, but it's still enjoyable.
Season two of the anime just started airing in Japan, and a third season will also air in 2019. Hopefully there will be enough spin-offs to give each character enough development and screentime. The mobile game also offers additional stories, and allows the player to perform covers of various anime theme songs.
The Idolmaster anime series can sometimes be unwieldy with its massive cast of characters, and the drama and tension never gets as deep as Love Live's finest moments. It also misses out on the high school life dynamic, as Idolmaster's characters vary in age.
However, both the original Idolmaster and the Cinderella Girls spin-off are an enjoyable watch for idol fans. (Idolmaster: Xenoglossia is a mecha series that only features the characters from the original franchise.) The SideM spin-off series features male idols, if you want a version with cute boys.
There are also several cell phone games that expand on the various characters' stories, as well as the original Idolmaster platform and arcade game. As one of the oldest idol franchises in Japan, fans have a lot of media to choose from, so dive in!
Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight
If you want your singing schoolgirls with a side of sword battles, Revue Starlight will be right up your alley. This 2017 anime has drawn comparisons to the classic magical girl anime Revolutionary Girl Utena, and like Utena, it has a decent amount of weird metaphors and angst packed into its 12-episode run. Still, it's never too dark - it's the perfect balance of cheerful and emotional.
Bonus: Revue Starlight was co-created by Bushiroad and now has a mobile game out in Japan, just like Love Live. Hopefully we get a lot more out of this franchise in years to come.
This is an excellent choice for older Love Live fans who are also a fan of romance and drama. NANA focuses far less on the idol aspect of the series, and its main characters are two young adults instead of a band of high school girls. However, the underlying themes of pursuing stardom and achieving one's dreams are front and center, though laced with more mature elements.
Though the friendship between the two main characters is still central to the series, the romance sometimes overshadows their dynamic. Luckily, the male main characters are likable and don't fall into annoying archetypes that would detract from the show's appeal.
YuruYuri doesn't have music or idols, but if you liked Love Live's comedy, then you'll find this slice-of-life high school series to be a joy. Like with Love Live, a good portion of the series' entertainment value comes from its characters interactions with each other. The running jokes are cleverly written in and never feel forced.
That said, there's no overarching story like with Love Live - it's just girls being cute and funny, with some yuri romantic subplots thrown in. Still, it's a joy to watch if you like comedy laced with cuteness. There are three 12-episode seasons and a handful of OVA episodes to watch, so it'll keep you entertained for a while.
Similarly to YuruYuri, Yuru Camp doesn't have the same main plot elements as Love Live, but it's relaxing and has adorable characters. The first episode opens with two characters meeting by chance and bonding over their shared hobby - in this case, camping. The group of friends grows, and soon they're doing their favorite things together. It's a wholesome dynamic that leads to excellent comedy and feel-good moments.
Currently the show only has 12 episodes, but a second season and a movie were announced in October 2018.
K-On! has two seasons and a movie that focus closely on one high school band, giving its characters plenty of development and comedic hijinks. The music is also excellent, and the heartfelt moments of the show give it plenty of rewatch value. It's a true example of a music anime done right, and not just as a cash cow to sell records.
Unfortunately, there's not nearly as much spin-off media to consume. Kyoto Animation released a similarly good show called Hibike! Euphonium, but it doesn't have the same idol/band dynamic.