Why you should appreciate Nico Yazawa as a character
Nico is my favorite character in Love Live, but she’s hated a lot for misunderstandings. In the anime Nico’s introduced as a third year who is sending Honoka and her friends hate and telling them to give up. I think this is where most people start to write her off as being mean or even just a joke character, which only progresses more when the girls finally do interact with her. She does the “Nico Nico Nii” thing, wants to become the leader of the group and says she’s better than everyone else. This is where a lot of people think she’s annoying, and this is usually the only parts of her personality they point out even though there’s SO MUCH more to her.
We get some backstory later. She had always dreamed of being an idol, however her group failed and the people who joined quit on her. Going back to how she was introduced to us as being mean to the μ’s girls, it’s obvious Nico sees herself in Honoka. Blindly optimistic and hoping for the best, and thinking that she really can become an idol, and Nico thinks that this isn’t possible. Nico failed once before, she doesn’t wanna see it happen again, and being unable to confront her feelings she tells them to give up. She wants to keep Honoka safe and doesn’t want Honoka to lose friends while chasing a hopeless dream. Nico is really shown in this moment to be a truly insecure character who hides behind an over confident attitude because she’s unable to express how she truly feels towards the μ’s girls, and accept them as friends and not just something temporary. You may say, “Well that’s not true! She told her family μ’s were the backup dancers, that proves she’s self centered!” Consider this: in her first year, Nico started an idol group and was hopeful for a positive outcome, so of course she told her family. She would have told them she was an idol, and her siblings would be proud and impressed by her, how could she tell them she failed? So Nico doesn’t, she continues the lie because she has no other choice, she even looks after her siblings on her own most nights. She was afraid of letting them down and not being the impressive older sister they saw her as, so she said μ’s were her backup dancers. At the end of the episode, however, she tells her siblings she’s retiring and joining μ’s. In that moment, Nico accepts them as her friends, her true friends, who won’t abandon her like how she’s been abandoned before.
Now maybe you’re still not convinced Nico is insecure, which is fine, but let’s go back to the more comedic parts of this episode. The parts where Nico is running from the girls and avoiding having them see what she’s doing, she’s trying to hide where and how she lives. Nico’s family is poor, and Nico acts like she’s the best even though she doesn’t come from the best, and her friends might judge her as well. This is a very obvious sign of insecurity, she wants the girls to think she’s rich and all, which is not the case. In one of her school idol diaries, she talks about how she wishes she could invite her friends over but doesn’t want them to judge her (Nico was abandoned by her friends when she initially started an idol group, which is why she’s so emotionally guarded). She takes care of her siblings most nights on her own, because her mom is working. She is caring and tries so hard for her family.
It took her a while to accept that the μ’s girls were her dear friends who wouldn’t leave her side, and it’s important to note Nico has dealt with more than just the loss of her friends. It said in Nico’s school idol diary that her father passed away when she was young. It also says in the school idol diary that her father made the “Nico Nico Nii” thing and never wanted her to stop smiling. She wanted to be an idol so her smile can reach her late father.
Nico is afraid of losing people dear to her, she puts on a smile and confident attitude even if it’s not always true. Nico cares for every girl in μ’s, she even wanted them to continue chasing their dreams after the third years graduate because she wanted the best for them, and wanted them to continue to grow and be happy even if it was without her, even if she wasn’t apart of it. Yet, she’s considered selfish, when Nico has lost so much and puts in so much effort into being an idol, and into her friends happiness.
Nico works hard, and always has. She deserves to be appreciated and loved, she wants the best for everyone no matter what.
TLDR (even though you should), Nico is insecure and hides it behind her idol persona, strives for the best no matter what, and is selfless and caring. I’m proud to call Nico my best girl, I’m proud of her and how far she’s come to achieve her dreams, with her friends by her side. Thank you Nico.