What µ's Means to Me

The first time I met µ's, I still remember it like it was yesterday. It was a cold January morning and the first time I had ever visited Japan. My friends and I decided to pay a visit to the Shounen Jump Shop seeing as to how it wasn't too far from our hotel. While my friends were still browsing, I decided to hop out for a while to see what there was around. Nearby the Jump Shop, was a theme park and next to it an arcade. As I approached closer, something caught my eye and I needed to take a closer look.

What it was, was a huge tapestry of Rin and Sonic placed outside the arcade. Clearly I knew who Sonic was but, I had no clue who the orange haired girl holding him up was. An image character perhaps?

Using what rudimentary Japanese I had learned prior, I was able to make out the words "Rabu Raibu" to which I summed up to be Love Live. Back then, I had never heard of Love Live before much less know what it was about. At that moment, I thought it was cool but, didn't pay it too much heed.

Following that morning, we went on to check out more shops and arcades, this time in Akiba. There, for the first time, I met all 9 members of µ's, each one with their individual poster hung up by the staircase in an arcade. For a moment, I was star struck and immediately recognized Rin and Honoka (for some reason or another). That very same poster had them dressed in their outfits for the song "Sore wa Bokutachi no Kiseki" which, evidently, I only found out about much later. 

After Honoka and Rin, the one which caught my eye was Nozomi with her somewhat silly yet cute pose. I couldn't quite put my finger on it but, from that day forth, Nozomi was my favorite member of µ's. That's right, I decided that back when I knew absolutely zilch about the series. Still, today she remains my absolute favorite! So much so that I even have a key-chain charm of Nozomi on my car keys as a good luck charm of sorts. It's a little worn out know but, that's okay because I already have another Nozomi one to replace it with. Silly isn't it?

If you're doing some backwards calculation now, you might have figured out this was not too long back. January 2015 to give the exact date and after 8 short days, I was back in my home country. Like everything Japanese that I love be it say, the Nissan GT-R or a Grand Seiko, there's a certain mysterious allure and magical quality to them that I've never been able to quantify nor explain to others. It just works for me and I frankly don't care if others don't share the same opinion as I do. 

Love Live was just that and, till today, I am extremely grateful that I was able to partake in its fandom regardless of how short it was. Because, prior to that, I was going through an extremely difficult time in my life after living what turned out to be an entire year of lies. Frankly, at that moment, I was broken. Pilling on one lie after the other just to mask that fact. Even going as far as to lie to myself, telling myself it's going be alright. Truth of the matter is, it wasn't. I needed help but, wouldn't admit it.

I would have eventually dug myself deeper and deeper into a hole if it wasn't, in part, to Love Live. Upon returning, I picked up the anime first starting with the 1st Season. Initially, I didn't find it too interesting but, as the series picked up especially pass the halfway point, things got really exciting. By the end of it, I was hooked and wanted more!

Season 2 was next and I cherished every episode of it even watching it multiple times. Still I wanted more so, came the music. From the group singles to the sub-groups and solos, I listened to them all. Not satisfied, I wanted more! By then, I was in full blown fandom mode, with Love Live being one of my priority feeds on Pixiv.

Then, came the mobile game, School Idol Festival (SIF). Full disclosure, prior to SIF, I hated rhythm games because I thought I could never get it right. But, what do you know? As it turns out, I was actually fairly proficient at it and really enjoyed myself too! As an added bonus, SIF also disciplined me to have regular and shorter sleep-wake cycles in order to optimize my LP expenditure.

I still remember having to simultaneously sit for my final exams and tier for the Nozomi event. It was one of the most stressful moment of my life but, I came out fine on both ends. Perhaps Nozomi was watching over me and blessing me with her spiritual power?

Next came to voices behind our beloved characters and the wonderful job that they do to make Love Live a reality. I started reading up more about each voice actress, watching the lives as well the side programs. Till today, Kussun, Rippi and Shikaco remain my favorites.

Now, you might be wondering where does the part where µ's comes in and changes my life? Well, they already had and I hadn't even realized it not until one faithful morning in Fuji. There I was sitting in front of the television when suddenly the advertisement for the Final Live appeared. I didn't believe it at first and remained there until the ad was replayed again during a commercial break. Then, I knew my eyes weren't fooling me at all. This is it, µ's is graduating.

µ's were graduating and I felt an extreme pain within me. Why? I only liked the series for the music and camaraderie right? Sooner or later, I knew it was going to come to and end right? It was then when it hit me, while they were great, it was never about the music, costumes, anime or the game.

By then, µ's had become a symbol to me, a symbol that hope and dreams don't just matter but, they also can come true. Dream big and earnestly. Work hard. Stay true to yourself. Cherish your loved ones. And most importantly, believe. Because one day, your hard work and determination will pay off. Your dreams will come to fruition. Many might dismiss that as merely a work of fiction but, just how far the 9 seiyuus of µ's have come together is proof enough to the contrary. 

Subconsciously, µ's had always been the one giving me that extra drive and push that I needed. Whenever I had a bad day, their songs never failed to lift me up. Whenever I stopped believing, their words imbue me with courage to keep believing.

It's just too sad it took me so long to realize it. The fact of the matter is, I might never get the chance to watch them perform live much less meet them in person. But, that's alright. Because, they've already done more that I could every ask for, for an entire lifetime.

We cried with them, we laugh with them and we smiled with them. Together, we wish them all the best and thank them for all they've done for us. Together, we chase our dreams wherever it might take us.

Oh, and that very arcade I mentioned earlier? It was located on the grounds of the Tokyo Dome (the very location of the Final Live). Fate has a funny way of doing things wouldn't you say?

µ's Thank You


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