Not so long ago, being a Japanese idol singer was purely a domestic gig, with even the biggest stars of the genre remaining more or less unknown outside their home country. But thanks to the spread of Japanese pop culture around the world over the last decade and a half, that’s not really the case anymore. These days, it’s not uncommon for J-pop idols, especially those with an anime connection to boost their foreign exposure, to make appearances overseas.
Now, in a case of animated art imitating life, the high school idols of "Love Love!," Japan’s biggest current idol anime hit, will be heading abroad as the upcoming "Love Live!" theatrical feature has been announced for international release.
It’s been almost a year since "Love Live!" wrapped up its second 13-episode TV season. The franchise hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, though, as fans still continue to buy merchandise and turn out in droves for related events, including this month’s "Love Live!"-endorsed Kanda Matsuri festival.
Still, it’s been a long time since fans have had any new anime to watch in the saga of the animated would-be teen idols. Their patience is about to be rewarded on June 13 with the opening of the franchise’s first theatrical feature, "Love Live! The School Idol Movie," across Japan.
When licensed for overseas release, many anime movies go straight to Blu-ray or DVD, and even when a theatrical run is in the cards, it often comes far after the one in Japan. For example, Studio Ghibli’s latest film, "When Marnie Was There," came out in Japan last summer but is only now arriving at theaters in the U.S.
So the international community of Love Livers, as "Love Live!" fans have taken to calling themselves, will be happy to know that their wait will be far shorter, as "Love Live! The School Idol Movie" website has been updated with release dates for 13 territories outside Japan starting as early as August.
Currently, the official list of overseas locations and release dates is:
Australia (September) Brunei (Early October) Hong Kong (August 6) Indonesia (October 21) Korea (early August) Malaysia (October 1) New Zealand (September) Philippines (October 1) Singapore (October 8) Taiwan (early August) Thailand (late August) U.S.A. (September 12) Vietnam (Early October)
To celebrate, Emi Nitta, voice actress of "Love Live!" character Honoka Kosaka, recorded this special message for foreign fans.
According to the website, Australian screenings are currently planned for Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney, and venues in Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand. The U.S. release will be handled NIS America, which previously licensed the "Love Live!" TV series, with showings expected in Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. And while American Love Livers are no doubt disappointed that they’ll have to wait a few weeks more than their counterparts in Asia to see the movie, you have to admit that it’s appropriate timing to premiere "Love Live! The School Idol Movie" just about the time summer vacation ends.
Sources: Inside Games via Jin, Love Live! official website
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