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In Love Live, a character named Nico Yazawa constantly says her catchphrase:

Nico nico nii!

It seems like if her catchphrase is derived from her own name, at the first glance. Sometimes, it is extended to a longer line, as she would say, for example:

Nico-nico-nii~ Anata-no haato-ni Nico-nico-nii~ Egao todokeru Yazawa Nico-nico~ Nico-nii te-oboete, Love - Nico ♡

What does "nico nico nii" mean, exactly?

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This is a pun using her name (Nico) and the onomatopoeia for "smiling" or ニコニコ(niko niko) This is why part of the longer line you have included has Egao todokeru/"delivering a smile".

Edit: After contemplating a bit longer about this, it dawned upon me that another aspect that ties into the smile part of the phrase is the nii ending. In English when taking a picture, photographers usually use a phrase like "Say cheese!", or in my native tongue, "Say whiskey!". They emphasize the ii sound of ee and y to shape the mouth into a smile.

In Japanese, はい、チーズ(Hai, cheese) is standard as well, but to a lesser extent 1+1は? is also used, the answer being 2, or に(Ni). So the nii part also evokes a smile when saying it out loud.

  • Time Traveller also says: ""Nico-nico-nii", "Yazawa Nico-nico~ Nico-nii" and "Nico ♡" all just refer to her cute and charming persona (herself). This is pretty common in all idol anime. A catchphrase is meant to be catchy, it doesn't have to mean something particularly meaningful." (Why not you also add this to your answer?) – Maika Sakuranomiya Dec 24 '19 at 13:18
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    @Maika_Sakuran0miya Your question asked for the meaning of the phrase; my answer is about the linguistic aspect of it. That part of Time Traveller's answer is counterintuitive to what I'm trying to answer. The phrase is a deliberate use of a pun to transmit something meaningful: that she wants her idol persona to bring smiles to her fans. While their answer applies to some other idol anime, I don't agree with it being the whole picture of this case. If you were asking about this though, feel free to modify or make a new question. – Eriol Dec 27 '19 at 14:17
  • I just suggested an edit - please approve it. – Maika Sakuranomiya Jan 17 at 8:47
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    @MaikaSakuranomiya the suggested edit is clearly conflicting with the OP's intent. No need to include other's answers on someone's answer. – Aki Tanaka Jan 17 at 9:38
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It seems like if her catchphrase is derived from her own name, at the first glance.

This is exactly what it is. It's part of her persona, something meant to charm the audience, her fans, and followers.

Nico-nico-nii~ Anata-no haato-ni Nico-nico-nii~ Egao todokeru Yazawa Nico-nico~ Nico-nii te-oboete, Love - Nico ♡

"Nico-nico-nii", "Yazawa Nico-nico~ Nico-nii" and "Nico ♡" all just refer to her cute and charming persona (herself). This is pretty common in all idol anime. A catchphrase is meant to be catchy, it doesn't have to mean something particularly meaningful.

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