Love Live! Sunshine!! voice actress gives her school idol character an old-school makeover.

The Love Live! franchise is a very modern anime success story. Hard-core fans who treat the fictional teen songstresses like real-life aspiring idols? Check. A relentless flow of merchandise and fan events keeping the franchise relevant even no new anime content is being produced? Check. Weirdly insistent punctuation as part of the official title? The spin-off series is called Love Live! Sunshine!!, for crying out loud.

But what if instead of first airing in 2013, Love Live! had gotten its start in the late 1980s? Anime aesthetics change just as quickly as the “it” look for pop stars, and so odds are the Love Live! girls, like Ruby Kurosawa, pictured below, would have looked very different.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they’d have looked bad at all. As proof, Ruby’s voice actress, Ai Furihata, (@furihata_ai on Twitter) took part in the recent online celebration of her character’s official birthday, September 21, by tweeting some Ruby fan art she’d created. But rather than sticking to Love Live! Sunshine!! character designer Yuhei Murota’s vision of Ruby, Furihata put her on spin on things, a spin that takes Ruby back a generation in anime trends.

Even without the ‘80s pop graphics floating around her, Furihata’s version of Ruby would have been right at home in anime series that are candidates for 30th-something anniversary box sets right now, thanks to her fuller cheeks, windblown hair, and less vivid but more reflective irises set in broader, more blocked-off eyes.

Furihata’s fan art was a hit with online commenters, some of whom were reminded of designs from some of the most memorable series of the 1980s, including Inu Yasha creator Rumiko Takahashi’s Maison Ikkoku, as well as Kimagure Orange Road, which featured the work of accomplished character designer Akemi Takada.

It’s particularly impressive that Furihata was able to nail the retro look so well given that the voice actress herself wasn’t born until 1994, so by the time she was old enough to start watching anime these kinds of designs had pretty much disappeared from new anime franchises. But with Japan currently going through a bit of an ‘80s revival in fashion and makeup trends, maybe there’d be a market for a new Love Live! arc set in the J-pop idol boom of the Bubble Economy era.

Source: Twitter/@furihata_ai via Otakomu
Featured image: Twitter/@furihata_ai
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he can’t remember where he put his Akemi Takada art books.