They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Aldnoah.Zero 2nd Season, Aldnoah.Zero, Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru, and more!
8: Aldnoah.Zero 2nd Season
Japanese: アルドノア ゼロ2ndシーズン
MAL Score: 6.94
The war between the Terrans and the Vers Empire of Mars has ended, allowing humanity to blissfully enjoy their lives in a time of peace. Nineteen months later, however, the Vers princess makes a shocking public declaration: “the Terrans are a foolish race that covets resources, destroys nature, and are devoted to the pursuit of pleasure.” And so, to protect their precious Earth, she calls upon her knights to take up arms, and the raging battle between the two civilizations reignites.
Slaine Troyard has found a place among the Martians, giving Earth a short respite from the war against the Vers Empire. However, a peaceful resolution seems inconceivable. The various people who fought desperately for survival in the past now find themselves in the midst of yet another bloody and chaotic conflict, one that will forever alter the fate of humankind.
The ending of season 1 was quite unexpected. It was a great cliffhanger that made everyone speculate how the story would continue after 4 of the most pivotal characters of the show seemingly get killed. Disappointingly, nothing happens. None of them died. Welcome to my review of AldNoOne Dies Season 2. Did I mention that none of the main characters die? Season 1 ends on an unexpected and ominous note, only for none of them die. Seriously. The only thing that dies is the plot, and this review will be my morbid attempt at describing the dead carcass that is “the plot” as I poke it with a stick.
Basically, season 2 starts off with the princess stuck in a comatose state for a long period of time after Slaine forces Count Sassy-bum to keep her alive. Slaine becomes an angsty asshole and obtains a position of power within the Vers empire after murdering Count Sauce-bomb by 360 no-scoping him with timey wimey powers and succeeding him as count. Then he has where-the-fuck-did-she-come-from Princess Asseylum v2.0 marry him into royalty so he can unify the Vers empire and start a full scale war against earth for no clearly understandable or reasonable goal. From what I understand he does it to “protect the princess”. Which makes absolutely no fucking sense because now that he is the fucking king of the fucking Vers Empire he already fucking has the needed political fucking power and support to fucking stop anyone else from fucking stealing his fucking girl. The fucking princess is already fucking fine, not to fucking mention everyone doesn’t even fucking know that the fucking princess is actually in a fucking coma and that she is being fucking impersonated by her fucking sister. Meaning that any attempted assassination wouldn’t fucking work because they would be fucking killing the fucking body double. YOU KNOW, LIKE IN THE VERY FIRST EPISODE OF THE FUCKING SHOW ALL THE FUCKING WAY BACK IN SEASON FUCKING ONE, FOR EXAMPLE. JESUS TAP DANCING CHRIST. Not to mention war goes against EVERYTHING THE PRINCESS STANDS FOR. WHAT THE FUCK SLAINE, THIS IS NOT HOW YOU GET A GIRL TO LIKE YOU. YOU ABSOLUTE RETARD.
I guess his actions can be rationalized a bit from the perspective of Slaine as the king of the Vers Empire, and not from the perspective of Slaine as the desperate, sex-starved virgin he is, since what he is doing could be seen as a political ploy to obtain more support amongst the other orbital knights and other members of nobility, who are unanimously pro-war. (Which he doesn’t need.) And on top of that it will cause the Vers empire to become a better place free from an oppressive class system and widespread poverty among the working class that is caused by a lack of natural resources. (Which could be solved diplomatically through trading.) (Or stealing it without the genocide.) (Which would make him unanimously supported by the working class even if some of the nobles still don’t like him, lessening the threat of their influence and cementing his legitimacy as king.) (Which again, doesn’t matter because he already has all the political support he needs.) But really now… He doesn’t care too much about any of that. He just in this for the PU$$Y. (SPOILER: HE DOESN’T GET ANY)
The real princess eventually wakes up, then plot hole after plot hole she finds out what Slaine is doing and manages to escape with Inaho’s help. Princess Ass-pump marries some random dude named Count Cocaine and takes over rule of the Empire. Then Slaine gets wrecked. They use him as a scapegoat to blame the entire war on. The entirety of earth apparently completely forgives Princess Ass-plumber after her impostor shit talks everyone and their mother with obscene levels of hate and Aryan supremacy. Apparently decades of indoctrination, hatred, prejudice, racism, poverty, systematic classism, and human greed disappeared just like that. The war ends. Earth and Mars hold hands and circle jerk over each other in a new golden age of peace and prosperity. Happy happy fine and dandy. Wouldn’t it be nice if actual conflicts in the real world could be solved so easily? Just blame every little problem on one person. Then kill him. Poof. Problems solved just like that. (Does this remind you of a certain other mecha anime? *cough cough*)
“Let justice be done, though the heavens fall.” The motto of the show clearly represents Princess Asseylum’s goal of peace no matter the cost. It really shows just how spoiled and unrealistic her standards are. Princess Ass-plum seriously used her love of birds as a valid reason to possibly jeopardize the long term unity and betterment of her entire empire. Don’t get me wrong, war is bad. But a leader should realize when war is the best and most realistic option for her people. Good thing the shit writing this show has kicks in and everything somehow turns out alright anyways, no one suffers from the consequences of their actions except for Slaine.
If you really simplify it. The entire plot of season 2 is basically a war caused by a mans quest to seduce a woman through the romantic gift of genocide; and predictably, hilariously, painfully, and stupidly enough- it completely backfires. He gets friend zoned and gets sent to prison for the rest of his life. She’d rather enter an arranged marriage with a man she has never met before than be with you. How does that feel, you fucking cuck? Holy shit, someone give this a man a medal for the worst rejection in history.
Seriously that’s the entire plot. Yup. The end. Aren’t you fucking glad you watched this show?
The general art style is pretty good, and the characters are drawn very well with a distinctive style. One of the strongest points of this show is aesthetic originality, even though sometimes “originality” becomes synonymous with “bad writing”, as in, it’s original how bad the writing is. Martian kataphrakts are pretty cool looking, despite just how bad the CGI in this show is. Their designs are strange, exotic, and unique, but at the same time completely absurd. For some reason the orbital knights care more about making flashy and cool kataphrakts over actually effective weapons. You would think that a robot with access to seemingly unlimited energy would make use of all of the ridiculously overpowered technology they have, but every single kataphrakt has some gigantic weakness that is so obviously intentionally added. For some reason, a robot that has in indestructible force field has no weapons on it besides some over-sized fists, and despite the fact that it has an indestructible force field, it is covered in thick plates of armor that makes the thing look like the girl from Willy Wonka that turns into a giant blueberry. For some reason, a mech attacks by shooting hilariously ineffective, re-attachable, remote controlled ROCKET ARMS at the enemy when a while ago they showed this dude shooting rapid fire mega death lasers everywhere. It just simply makes no sense.
That’s how it works kids. If you aren’t good enough at writing to make a character look brilliantly smart, just make all the bad guys so incompetently stupid the hero look better in contrast.
The music was composed by none other than Hiroyuki Sawano, so as expected, it is quite good. Too bad they keep on replaying the same fucking song over and over again for every single god damn fight scene that you begin to hate the song. Good music is important, but making sure the music is used in a timely and appropriate manner is also important. This show succeeds in the former part, but fails in the latter.
Here comes the juicy part. CHARACTER.
2/10 Inaho: Absolutely no character development. Though it wouldn’t be fair to expect character development from him. Inaho is literally God. Perfection personified into a Japanese school boy. He cannot further develop because he is already perfect. Getting shot in the head doesn’t change that. He is still perfect. He is still an emotionless machine. The fact that he is now partially a cyborg doesn’t help with that analogy either. He saves the day every single god damn time like he always does except now he does literally everything to the point where basically 60% of the entire show just focuses on circlejerking over how awesome he is. The writers made this man an autistic savant because they simply aren’t smart enough to write an intelligent character well, and clearly even with that the job was still difficult for them. Because in season 2 they had to up the ante and make him even more overpowered than he already was so they can shoehorn more shitty excuses as to how he completely defeats the Vers Empire yet again by blessing him with some unreasonably overpowered god eye that can see everything. That dumb little eye can do literally anything. Like check out Inko’s BMI for example. Inaho uses his eye to calculate Inko’s weight so he can make fun of her. What the fuck dude? Asshole. And he knows he can get away with it since Inko wants his D for some reason. Why ya got to play a girl like that man? And to top it all off, the writers also gave him Aldnoah powers all willy-nilly to act as a convenient plot device to reactivate the Deucalion. How? Through oral transfer of royal blood and saliva. HAHA WHAT THE FUCK. In other words. This all powerful source of unlimited energy is pretty much some alien STD Ass-plump gave to Inaho.
9/10 Inaho’s robot eye: A new character. Yes. The eye has its own character. Yes. THE EYE GETS MORE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT THAN INAHO HIMSELF. At first the eye is nothing but a tool, but then it starts taking over parts of Inaho’s brain and becomes its own thinking entity. It even starts chatting up the princess while Inaho was unconscious. Look at that development. Oh yea. Such character. Inaho’s eye x Asseylum is my OTP.
1/10 Slaine: Is basically the only character that gets any “development”, which means jack shit because he just continually makes the most retarded nonsensical decisions a sane individual wouldn’t ever consider. Honestly, calling it “character development” is a little too generous in the first place since his character is completely off the charts inconsistent. He doesn’t really do anything that can be considered normal human responses. His level of intelligence and decision making is all over the place. His goals incomprehensible, and the reason behind this is because the writers just continuously use him as a cheap plot device to add drama and conflict to the story instead of treating him like how a reasonable or sane human being would act. Inaho and Slaine are both foils to each other in this regard. Slaine advances the story by adding unnecessary conflict to it through irrational decision making. And Inaho advances the story by solving the stupid problems Slaine causes with his own stupidly written god-like abilities. In the end, Slaine fails horribly due to his ridiculous levels of incompetency. Then the writers pretentiously rip off Monster by making Slaine pull off some bullshit Johan Liebert crap.
1/10 Princess Ass-lump: She doesn’t change character either. Still this overly happy and naive dumb bimbo that can barely act like a responsible leader. She forces her childish idealistic views on everyone regardless of the effect it might have on her people. She tried to man up once and points a gun at Slaine and threatens him. Then he casually walks over and just takes the gun. AHAHA. Seriously. She is so worthless. Did I mention she likes birds? She likes birds. Apparently more than the possible long term prosperity of not only her Empire, but the entirety of humanity as well. Amazing judgment of importance there.
4/10 Princess Ass-lump v2.0: Yea the second princess with the weird hair. I forgot her name. Where the fuck did she even come from? She just appears suddenly as a new character. Basically she pretends to be Asseylum and slanders earth with her space Nazi propaganda. She does it because she has some extremely creepy as fuck obsession with Slaine. She is just weird.
10/10 Count Crouton or something. IDK it’s hard to spell. Best character in the entire show. Absolute chad. Some new guy that shows up for like 10 minutes of screen time. Manages to NTR the princess away from Inaho and Slaine like immediately. What a badass.
5/10 Harklight. Gets seduced by Slaine’s bishounen powers. I forgot whether or not he dies trying to get senpai to notice him. I don’t really care.
5/10 Inko. Arguably the most likable girl in the show. Acts all cutesy and compassionate with Inaho and worries about him. Daww so cute amirite? Kind of I guess… Gets pushed away and assigned as Inaho’s side bitch. She gets shot at 10 more times than any of the other characters but she always survives. Absolutely bullshit levels of plot armor. For some reason, every single kataphrakt instantly explodes into a million pieces of shitty pixelated CGI the moment it gets touched but nothing like that ever happens with Inko. But I guess they have to keep her alive as a romantic interest for Inaho, because it’s not a true mech anime without poorly integrated love triangles am I right?
4/10 Female Inaho. Yuki Kaizuka, the bastard love child prototype that made way for the masterpiece of perfection that is her brother Inaho Kaizuka. Knowing just how hopelessly inferior she is to her perfect brother she tries to mimic her brothers robot like persona by getting a robotic arm to assist her broken one. But fails miserably at acting utterly emotionless like her brother does. As well as being perfect in every way possible like him. Seriously Yuki its not that hard to be a completely flawless human being. Way to break character, you fucking poser. She acts all lovey dovey over Inaho but comes off a bit more bitchy and possessive than Inko does when she tries to stop him from saving the damn world out of fear for his safety. At least wanting your brother to live is a slightly better excuse than liking birds.
All of the other characters basically get sidelined and don’t do anything or have anything worthwhile to say about them. 0/10.
The action was enjoyable enough. The only saving grace was the okay action. (And seeing Slaine’s beautiful face marred with his salty tears at the end.) It follows a pretty cookie cutter formula of: Scary new Martian bad guy with fancy unique kataphrakt appears. It rains pain down, destroying a bunch of faceless Terran mooks, as well as miraculously damaging but never killing any of the minor characters that happen to be fighting. Then Inaho comes and saves the day with his tactical and scientific brilliance as his signature battle theme plays for the umpteenth time. Rinse and repeat. Some of the battles have some interesting strategies and events, but it’s all methodically predictable. So if for some reason you are reading this review without even starting the show I wouldn’t recommend this if you aren’t a huge fan of action and mech anime.
If you have already watched season 1, I wouldn’t really recommend you to either continue or discontinue the show, that’s up to whether or not you are one of those masochists that don’t drop any shows they started.
Well that concludes my review. Now if you excuse me I’m going to see what kind of horrific yaoi fanfiction fujoshis are making between Inaho and Slaine.
Like the first season, the sequel begins directly from where the season 1’s events left off except with a time skip. Characters still look the same but some things have changed. Included with these include the absence of Asseylum on Earth. Then, there’s also Slaine who has now devoted himself entirely to the Martians. And in a state of war, Aldnoah Zero Season 2 seems to continuously shove down the audience’s throats of the personal struggles of certain characters. Don’t get me wrong though. I like how the show expresses its interest to show how our main characters’ lives are going in season 2. The problem I find is how it constantly recycles the same ideas over and over again. In general, it fails to ensnare a viewer’s interest with the frequent ideology clashes. Less emphasis is put on the development of our characters but instead showing them their roles with a lot of badly stitched tropes. Furthermore, season 2 seems to highlight on even more problems with plot holes and writing for certain supporting characters. Logic itself also makes the audience question sometimes if the show knows what it’s doing.
For our main characters, most of them play their roles in the war. Although many characters has certain objectives, it’s clear that the show has a weakness with its character development. Only on occasions do certain side characters shine in this second season. This is because the sequel seems to emphasize on building up the story with various interconnected events. However, the grim reality is that it’s predictable down to the earth and nothing really stands out besides our main characters. Season 2 also seems to have forgotten some of the major supporting characters on their development. (Rayet anyone? Calm?) In short, it’s neglecting their chance to shine and seems to constantly try to shove down the main characters down our throats. New character such as Harklight and Lemrina doesn’t gain any strong characterization at all. For instance, Harklight seems to play the sort of devoted servant for his “master”, Slaine. On the other hand, Lemrina is has a borderline obsession with him. It’s kind odd really. The sequel almost seems to devote its entirety on Slaine’s ambitions and ultimatum. Some of the diverting romance sub-plot is hardly anything interesting with the lack of interest between Slaine and certain characters. In general, it’s messy with its characters.
However, I do have to give credit to certain characters that makes their name more known compared to the previous season. One such name is Mazuurek that viewers may have forgotten about. His role in this season is expanded and in fact, even interesting to see considering where his loyalty lies. This seems to be a sharp contrast with other Martians who holds their close minds about pursuing peace. Instead of conquest, Mazuurek is devoted to Asseylum and believes her to be alive. So what does the man do? Take the risk and find her. Unlike the rest of the Martians who are too busy trying to stack up body counts or flexing their mecha biceps, the show offers a more thrilling insight on his mission. Unfortunately, this is still mostly overshadowed by our main character/antagonist Slaine. Season 2 really tries to show what he is capable of and his ambitions but it’s not working. His emotions gets the better of him and even some of the people that trusts him deeply now have turned against him. It’s hard to feel sorry for him because his own actions previously caused these consequences. And not to mention, his rivalry with a certain guy he dubbed ‘Orange’ isn’t going to forgive him.
Although not overbearing, some good portions of the show concentrates on action. However, it still remains the style it portrays with its gimmicky fighting. In particular, certain mecha now has ability to clone themselves, use piercing threads to slice and dice, or even make frost out of their enemies. Technology seems to have unlimited boundaries in the series as we even see the conscious of an electronic eye take hold of a person’s mentality. As fascinating as this all sounds, there’s really not much to get hold with these creative ideas. No matter how outrageous some of these ideas gets, the end result is almost always the same. The familiar strategies used through teamwork or taking a chance by calculations. Season 1 did that and the sequel doesn’t really express itself any differently. The modus operandi seems to be that wherever battles happen, the result is almost predictable. Certain build ups and death flags are also become more like false advertisements as well. Talk about disappointment.
On the more technical side, I do give praise to some of the artistic direction the sequel handles itself. Action is fluid and the coordination is attractive. Even some of the new style of the music can be appealing when combined with the intense elements of sci-fi warfare. The OP and ED songs also holds some degree of symbolism along with a few recapping of the first season. Character voice mannerism on most parts remains solid and character expressions show credibility with the events of the sequel. However, it can be cringe worthy to hear some of the stereotypical emotional scenarios because honestly, it’s all over the place.
In retrospect, Aldnoah Zero Season 2 is a slick and empty hollow shell of its prequel. Many events are predictable with a lesser degree on character building but more so on their grand roles. And to be honest, it’s annoying to see the same repetitive angles used over and over. At times, it even looks fake with a wrestling-like drama with faces and heels. It’s not only that but the story itself also introduced certain characters out of nowhere. While certain characters do get more emphasis compared to the first season, some of the previously established characters seems to lack focus on-screen. Instead, we are constantly being fed by Slaine and his preposterous ambitions that can be ridiculous dull. I can’t say for a fact that the sequel is complete utter trash though as it is mildly interesting to watch the development of the Vers/Earths War. It’s somewhat thrilling to see which side will win in the end and whether or not certain characters will meet their endgame goals. But for now, season 2 doesn’t get any better. Not by a damn long shot.
There’s something extraordinary about trainwreck titles. Its ability to draw in viewers like moths to a flame, watching as the work fold in on itself, seemingly out of breath from the layers of its incompetence. The likes of which forming something like a toxic gas that stifles every bit of its production. Good ideas immediately dying off from screenplay pesticide, hovering over everything like a merchant of death and decay. You see, there’s a kind of beauty to it all. The way everything topples over like a game of Jenga, with each piece representing a bad aspect of the overall project. The act of “being bad” in itself isn’t due to a lack of inherently good attributes, but the fact that what little good is there can’t survive because the ground it’s growing out of is a complete landfill. When your base foundation is toxic, the only thing left to do is watch creativity wither and die, as it foolishly tries to eke out a meager existence in a place not meant for its type of inhabitants.
A bad show making a bad continuation is one thing, but seeing an average one that maintained a steady course of passable grade content, effectively take a kamikaze nosedive into an endless sea of stupor—now that’s when things really get interesting. Vanilla content turned into a chocolate turd with sprinkles. Aldnoah.Zero 2nd Season is a serving of just that. A vaudevillian display of secreted nonsense, all standing out for the wrong reasons.
So where do we start with this one? It seems like a reach out in any direction to describe what went wrong would seemingly send you spiraling down a bottomless pit. Proceeding with caution isn’t much of an option when this follow-up has the logistical density of walking on eggshells. I guess we could start by addressing the “story and characters,” or whatever chicken scratch this anime is attempting to pass off as such. And since I seem to be running with the poultry metaphors, we’ll touch bases with our egg connoisseur and master tactician first, Inaho. This season sees our Gary Stu coming out of his shell, abandoning his brick wall personality to emote occasionally, almost like he’s a “character” or something… well, almost. Where he served as a bodysuit for the audiences to roam about the world before, now he’s effectively turned the autopilot off and began doing things for himself. More specifically, he’s given an end goal to motivate his actions. Where the problem in this season lies is in what he’s given to obtain this end goal, as the screenplay bends over backward to hand him any and all tools necessary to succeed.
Where the first season was grafting its existence onto the template of Gundam as its skeleton, this season travels off the beaten path to problematic results. The ability of “Aldnoah” is no longer treated as a guarded inheritance by selected users, as now its power can be gained through a trading system. This system in question was possibly the worst written transferring mechanic to debut in 2015—that being a kiss. No, that wasn’t a joke, the second season of A.Z quite literally made Inaho an Aldnoah user byways of a fucking kiss. This is something other stories would use as a form of a joke, as is the case with High School DxD’s “Boosted Gear,” which is powered by boners, being done as a sexual innuendo to parody shounen content. But that’s a comedy, A.Z isn’t. And so this season can be seen as a joke of itself without an inkling of self-acknowledgment of that fact.
But it doesn’t stop there, as egghead Inaho is also granted another major advantage. This time diving more into the realm of 80s cinema cheese.
If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you’ve already watched season one, and if not, I will have to address the events of the finale to help explain the origin of Inaho’s next hackneyed powerup. Season one’s finale was concluded by a big shootout involving all of our key players up to that point. A shootout that saw Saazbaum and Asseylum gunned down by Slaine. This included Inaho, who received a gunshot wound to the head. Which, by the way, is a wound with a 5% survival rate, not even accounting for the smaller 3% chance of maintaining a good quality of life after recovery. Being the Gary Stu that he is, Inaho pulls through, seemingly getting rewarded a cybernetic eye for his troubles, which grants him an even greater tactical advantage. Now he can integrate his knowledge base with access to an infinite pool of information via the internet from his eye implant. He becomes part Terminator, part egg lover, and 100% HAX; why do these circumstances make him act more human as a result is beyond my comprehension (and the scriptwriters, for that matter). I guess it took getting shot in the head and being part cyborg before Inaho could act less robotic; on a meta-level, there’s a bit of irony in there worth exploring, but I’ll leave you to indulge in that on your own time. For now, we have more nonsense to explore.
For one, The yin to Inaho’s yang, Slaine, has finally gone “full retard,” and as the wise words of Kirk Lazarus from Tropic Thunder once said: “Everybody knows you never go full retard.” After his failure to kill the men that have been the ire of his existence—despite putting a hole through the skull of one and firing off a dozen shots into the body of the other—Slaine decides to help out Saazbaum “cuz reasons.” Entrusting his life in his hands, Slaine vows to serve under Saazbaum ranks for the final battle to come. You know, the “normal” thing to do after you empty a clip into someone with murderous rage. At this point, to say Slaine is a poorly-written character would be a gross understatement. His personality from scene to scene is a complete coin toss. From pragmatic at one moment to pure lunacy by the next, there’s really no predicting what the screenplay has in store for him. The only guarantee given is consistent inconsistency; the ultimate oxymoron made into human form.
Bringing these two sides of the autistic-character spectrum together is the ongoing war that reaches its final chapter. One that takes towards the heavens, as the earthlings and people of Vers turn the leftover remnants of the Moon into their Battle of Gettysburg. This was brought to life in shitty fashion, as it seemed that the people responsible for the post-production coverup magic in season one has finally succumbed to the same level of complacency plaguing the rest of the staffing. Likely due to the new battle locations not allowing for the use of inclement weather and structural landmarks to hide the issues, the mech suits are now left naked in the vacuum of space. Their gross textures, impersonal designs, and robust movement placed one center-stage, as they’re sent jettisoning awkwardly across the sky. It’s a real visual eyesore, made even worse with the stark backdrop hanging in the background of a majority of the shots. Clunky pieces of CGI just bumping ugly in the open emptiness of space that surrounds it.
This wouldn’t be so bothersome had everything else been done to a bare minimum, but surprisingly enough, the character models and sparsely used landmarks were done with a semblance of quality control behind it. By contrast, the mechs just stick out even further. It’s a distracting mix of artificiality and decent content. Of course, Hiroyuki Sawano does what Hiroyuki Sawano does best, making the soundtrack the real star attraction amidst all the mismanaged production issues. Other than that, this 2nd season leaves very little to be desired, serving better as a drinking game for every time the show shelled out a new asspull than it does a “decent” continuation.
Even if the first season was a ripoff, it was, at the very least, a ripoff of something good. Season two isn’t that. There’s nothing to sugar coat here; this was a complete disaster. Very few shows have failed to the degree in which this one does. It’s almost impressive just how little they manage to get right. But perhaps the greatest irony is that this season failed not because it was an off-brand like its first season but because it actually tried to do something different for once. It took a leap of faith only to be greeted by the ground below, and while that would be funny in most scenarios, here, it’s nothing short of embarrassing.
Japanese: アルドノア ゼロ
MAL Score: 7.42
The discovery of a hypergate on the Moon once allowed the human race to teleport to Mars. Those who chose to settle there unearthed a technology far more advanced than that of their home planet, which they named “Aldnoah.” This discovery led to the founding of the Vers Empire of Mars and a declaration of war against the “Terrans,” those who stayed behind on Earth. However, a battle on the moon—later called “Heaven’s Fall”—caused the hypergate to explode, destroying the moon and leading the two planets to establish an uneasy ceasefire.
Their peace was a fragile one, however. Fifteen years later, high school student Inaho Kaizuka witnesses the plotted assassination of the Vers Empire’s Princess Asseylum Vers Allusia, who had come to Earth in hopes of repairing the relationship between the empire and its homeland. The ceasefire is shattered, and the Martians declare war on the Terrans once again. In the face of this insurmountable enemy, Inaho and his friends must now fight against the Vers Empire to settle the war once and for all.
The overall art design is beautiful, very atmospheric. The only „criticism” this show usually gets is the use of CGI, but after re-watching those scenes Ill call it good. Apart from a few scenes where the Terran mechs looked really clunky most of the time they were using various tricks to make the robots blend into the background which included the clever use of camera angles, lighting, colors, smoke, snow etc… The show is easy to follow and visually appealing.
As many have stated already – it’s great. Hiroyuki Sawano showed us again what a talented composer he is. But since this is a review about the anime and not the OST I want to talk about how they USED the music in the anime.
Usually the music’s role in a movie or a TV show is to enhance the experience during certain scenes. Problem is when you overuse it you will achieve the exact opposite and take away from the intensity of the scenes. Instead of letting your audiences make the interpretations for themselves about how they should feel (based on the visuals and the sounds) you force feed them with the information by using music.
The only time when the director showed real restraints were the final scenes in episode 12. This added more depth and emotion to the final showdown which is admirable. Wish the rest of the directing was on par with that (in terms of using the music I mean).
This is probably the worst part of Aldnoah Zero. Since the anime is focusing on both sides I was hoping for a show where at least the basics (history, motivations) are done right, but nope. It’s pretty obvious that they wanted to tell us a „cool” invasion story, but put minimal effort into the worldbuilding. I would say if your knowledge about history, politics, economy, social behavior (etc…) is limited to Hollywood movies you can come up with a BS like that, but what we see on screen is disappointing at best (or causes brain aneurysm at worst).
After the first two episodes it’s quickly established that the Martians are „super-duper” powerful and the Terran military is pretty much helpless against them on a worldwide scale. This could have been a nice approach if the show was about the desperate fight for survival of the Terrans, but since it’s about them kicking some Martian assess you know that won’t be the case. This time we get a Japanese high school student called Inaho, a genius, who singlehandedly comes up with amazing battle plans to defeat the invaders.
I have to admit it that compared to the „the-main-character-gets-an-overpowered-robot-for-no-reason-and-beats-everyone” cliché this is sort of refreshing, but gets boring really fast. Especially because the more you think about it the more you realize that while his plans look good on paper, based on his observations he could have came up with different conclusions/interpretations. Meaning he is making somewhat logical wild guesses and he turns out to be right every single time.
And naturally he is also able to flawlessly execute these plans, because he is an ace pilot who mastered the art of sidestepping instead of standing still and waiting for the fatal blow while screaming like an idiot.
Overall bland and boring. Only four of them are worth mentioning.
Inaho (protagonist) – The new “industry standard” empty shell with some desirable traits (genius, chick magnet etc…) so the average viewer can project his own personality at him and say “oh hey look he is just your everyday normal person. Just like ME”.
Slaine (protagonist) – The best written character in the show (most likely unintentionally). Led by hormones and emotions, tossed left and right, naive and easily manipulated. Exactly how most teenagers would react in his situation.
Saazbaum (antagonist) – The only bad guy in the show who has a reasonable motivation which puts him way above the rest of the cartoony villains. Sadly his reasoning and actions often contradict each other, but considering the overall bad writing he gets a pass.
Marito – The alcoholic, traumatized war veteran. Since Inaho solves everything his potential gets wasted and remains at the sideline.
Aldnoah zero is basically the anime version of a Hollywood action movie. Just like the majority of the overhyped stuff this one also fits the “the-more-you-think-about-it-the-more-you-hate-it” category.
It has a really catchy premise, some nice action scenes, but on the other hand its full of plot holes, one dimensional characters, plot conveniences, clichés, etc..
Overall it’s a very “effective” anime that knows its targeted audience, but won’t be remembered 10 years from now.
At times, the changes made were so minuscule that the only thing done was name substitution. The circumstantial evidence of which was so apparent, that by merely reciting the setup of its premise, the tumor-like symbiosis that it shares with the patriarch it draws blood from could still be seen desperately clinging to the surface; bite marks still fresh from where the ideas were directly leeched off from, stopping just short of wholesaling arcs and iconography in its entirety.
Mankind is broken into two separate governing factions, with the ones residing in space, the Vers Empire of Mars, treating the inhabitants of earth as inferior relics of their past. With bad blood still looming over both nations, the people of the Vers Empire finally declares war on their former “Terren” brethren once again, after the temporary truce of a fifteen-year period of civil unrest was finally brought to an end. With these two nations plunged back into battle, a ragged-tagged group of teens and public servants find themselves swallowed up in the chaos, leading to their boarding of a military vessel, as they pilot mechs and fend off the endless wave of enemy invaders. Poorly trained and doing everything in their power to survive, the only hope left for this motley crew is to seek out the assistance of the Earth’s united front, as the fight for dominion over the planet marches forward.
The idea of “paying homage” quickly topples like a house of cards when the piracy on display is this blatant.
The fresh coat of “Vers Empire of Mars” paint still wet, as it barely covers up the stolen “Principality of Zeon” ornament positioned underneath. But try not to wince too much, you need to save your composure for the rebranding of “newtypes” as “Aldnoah users” and all the subsequent “borrowing” yet to come, as the story drags itself down an inevitable path. The impression of reverse engineering can’t be ignored, with plot points charted out from lifted passages of other works, the bold outlines of which already taking shape before the actual arc does due to little to no effort placed towards diversifying the formula.
And if that wasn’t apparent enough, this is a show that deploys shock value moments and plot twists, but the obviousness of it being there all long prevents any of it from truly being “shocking” in any sense of the word. Like whenever you watch a horror movie and everything cuts to silence while the character’s hands grip the side of the bathroom sink, the medicine cabinet left ajar, and—you guessed it—a jumpscare occurring right after they close it and the mirror reveals something standing behind them; an act that’s usually highlighted by a loud audible stinger. You may have involuntarily been spooked at those scenes in movies before, but at no point were you surprised by the placement of the jumpscare itself. That’s the feeling that Aldnoah has with its content. When you do nothing but take ideas from other works, it’s hard not to see things coming from a mile away. It could still keep your interest because of it, but any sense of validity it may have been desperately holding onto can only be taken seriously from those still new to the experience or less-demanding of their consumer goods.
This is also true for the main character, Inaho, a default bodysuit made with the sole purpose of giving the viewer a shell to occupy as they walk around the scenery. His expression marked off with a thousand-yard-stare, with an interest in eggs being the only discernable desire shown (no, I’m not even joking). The thin veneer of a “personality” is barely there. I’ve seen dozens of self-insert male protagonists in my lifetime, and yet even I am taken aback by the sheer lack of effort on display here. Being emptied of any personality also seems to be the secret ingredient to becoming a genius tactician as well, as Inaho defeats numerous military personnel using what little school-combat training he acquired before the war broke out.
But Inaho, lover of eggs and master of combat, isn’t alone. Joining him on the main lead podium is his antithesis, Slaine, a person with perhaps too much emotion to spare. Fighting for the Empire of Vers, Slaine is our proxy to see things from the other side. Although, it’s more of a surprise that anyone would even grant him a chance to fight any battle instead of placing him in a mental asylum. For every instance of Inaho acting like the human embodiment of a brick wall, Slaine is channeling his inner Saturday morning cartoon villain. It’s honestly pretty entertaining, if only for all the wrong reasons. Like if all the implied subtextual autism of the newtype breed in Gundam was balled into a singular entity then condensed into a neutron star. That “star” being this highly volatile character, ready to “go off” at a moment’s notice—and boy, does he ever “go off.”
As if making meta-commentary about the show being a bootleg version of the Gundam franchise, the mecha suits themselves are these jagged clumps of computer-generated apathy. Horrendously processed things that act as constant reminders that you’re watching an anime and not truly experiencing it. Thankfully, some of the people staffed with bringing this anime to life seemed to have cared about the finished product, as the post-production work helped aided in masking the issue as much as possible. Fights would often take place at dusk or dawn, with dust and debris kicked up to camouflage the inherent ugliness of the suits in motion. Pilots divebombing as they’re surrounded by snow, the cast shadow of a winter storm draped behind them. Busy locations with buildings and landmarks to keep from fixating too much on the CGI combatants. It was all very commendable. Didn’t stop the rest of the staff from not giving a fuck, but hey, at least someone tried. Also, Yuki Kajiura did Yuki Kajiura, so there’s that.
When watching Aldnoah.Zero, it’s hard to get upset at it. Sure, you could raise your pitchforks high for what’s a blatant ripoff, but really, who cares? It’s not going to stop Gundam from existing. There’s a 65-foot replica of a Mobile Suit overlooking Tokyo bay after all, while the most adoration Aldnoah is getting is a few action figure purchases off of Amazon’s website.
With lots of violence, cartoonish villainy, and silly narrative twists to go around, Aldnoah.Zero was an entertaining off-brand. The kind of thing you pop in for cheap thrills and occasional blips of entertainment, only to forget it 15 minutes later when you do decide to watch an actual show instead. With all things considered, Aldnoah just ended up demonstrating just how much of a seminal piece of work its parental inspiration is, and if only for that bit of indirect self-reinforcement, I accept this dimestore bootleg into the fold.
“Fiat justitia ruat caelum” is a Latin phrase that means justice must be achieved no matter the consequences. Its usage varies depending on who uses the phrase, especially those among writers in any media, but it has significant value in history prevalent in important court cases where a judge reflects on the duty of the Court. Why do I bring this quote up? This is Aldnoah.Zero tagline that is shown alongside the anime logo in the opening animation. Except it’s translated to “Let justice be done, though the heavens fall” in English. Not only is it a misuse of the quote because of A.) Politics don’t exist in Aldnoah.Zero, B.) Heroes aren’t in any danger because of it’s lead character, C.) villains don’t face the consequences despite going against direct orders from their superiors, and finally it’s a one sided conflict that’s black and white with no significant meaning tied to it. Aldnaoh.Zero is a plain and simple a mecha anime about good versus evil. Yet even with that much simplicity no amount of eye candy is able to disguise the poor writing of the anime.
Unredeemable: Nonsensical Story
Aldnoah.Zero takes place in the futuristic year of 2014. Basically last year at the time of posting this review. I double checked around the internet and some local newspapers just to make sure this anime wasn’t based around any true events. If they were based on true events than this anime would have played out differently with some level of logic. The anime follows main character Inaho who is thrust into a world of conflict when a peace mission goes disastrously wrong. Everything about it first episode is a mess in writing. It’s bad in establishing the setting, introducing characters, and creating a central conflict that have a sense of weight to it. What exactly it was trying to achieve in its first episode is unfathomable.
Within this first episode characters provide a quick summarization of a war that occurred in the past in some unnatural exposition. Apparently Vers and Terrans aren’t really all that different since both race when boil down are basically humans. It is also explained that Princess Asseylum is attempting to ease the tension between Vers and the Terrans who I’ll refer to as Earthicans. As soon as something bad happened to Princess Asseylum the Vers Empire immediately launches a military invasion on Earth. A race of species that is more technologically advance than Earthicans apparently doesn’t know how politics function. This one moment becomes further questionable when shown a sick emperor in bed and told he has authority over the Orbital Knights (basically Vers military). The Vers Emperor didn’t issue an attack on Earth to start a war, yet he does nothing to punish those who killed possibly millions. He even goes as far as calling a ceasefire with Earthicans to negotiate peace which goes nowhere near a brain cell in the story. Orbital Knights can do whatever they want without repercussions. In episode 8, Saazbaum, a high ranking Orbital Knight kills another high ranking Orbital Knight and this is never brought up again, nor is the fact he kidnapped a prisoner who was being tortured for information mentioned to him.
For the central characters, they are never in any danger because of leading character Inaho is the solution for any battle. The other characters don’t get the opportunity to contribute in a battle lessening the group dynamic and eliminating the purpose of teamwork. Inaho plans always work out due to luck or plot conveniences. Usually his plans have smart setup to them. Like in episode 3, Inaho uses a toy plane in order to determine what kind of camera a specific Vers mech is using and how it functions in recording its surrounding. Then the actual plan itself throws away logic in order to write a scenario that best suited to make an action scene around. Opting for escapism over intensity which fails due to how it was set up only to be ruined by good luck in execution.
Still on episode 3, it’s established that a mech uses drones in order for its pilot to see the area around him. In a later episode it shows the Vers empire have developed some sort of teleportation device for communication. So by this anime logic; something difficult like teleportation is achievable for this race, but apparently not allowing it’s own pilot to control its own camera drones from within their own robot is not. No matter how often the anime claims the Vers Empire has the superior technology oversights like these show up regularly which can’t be forgiven. Escapism itself is broken when down the line another plot point will either break that immersion by what it reveals or create more nonsense. The thought of how these Martians who have superior technology, yet act so stupid never leaves the mind.
One major problem as a whole in the anime is the lack of weight that comes from a worldwide invasion. It never gets across that this war between the Earthicans and Vers Empire is a global issue. Only focusing on a single group never bringing up how other parts of the world are holding up. With a self-contained mindset this central conflict feels less like a major catastrophe by the way it chose to depict it. A small scale approached backfires when the central characters are static when introduced all the way to the end. Supporting characters do change somewhat, but they aren’t the focus feeling free to just leave their storylines dangling in the finale.
Episode 1 shows a Vers mech using lasers, but other robots Inaho and his group fights against use practical weapon like swords or projectile arms. Despite in several battles Inaho proves with limited training he’s able to overcome any opponent that uses a practical weapons. Vers never change up their tactics, even when it has a success rate of zero percent. Vers strategy comes down to only sending down a single one of their mech pilot to fight against large numbers of Earthicans mech pilots. Not once in this season do the Vers Orbital Knights ever mention perhaps sending two experienced pilots to fight against Inaho since he poses a major obstacle for them. Another issue regarding the weaponry are the soldiers of Vers do have guns, but for unexplained reasons gun type weapons aren’t made for their mechs and if they are not implemented in battles.
The anime also explains what kind of power source the Vers Empire uses for their technology. Once this plot point gets explained it further questions the villain’s motive. Basically, if the only two people who are able to provide power die Vers is as good as dead. Now from the villain’s perspective it makes no sense to eliminate the only source of power for your own species. The villain claims he wants to help the masses, but still goes with his plan to kill the royal family, even though they are the key to supplying their planet with energy.
The final episode of Aldnoah.Zero first season is awful and unfulfilling in every sense. At this point, none of the central cast are developed to care about and the one supporting character who has potential is pushed to the sideline in the finale. Like in previous episodes, there is no sense of suspense on the character’s livelihood as they already have victory in their hands by plot convenience and enemy pilot stupidity. Inaho doesn’t struggle much to fight against a pilot whose mech is a combination of mechs that he already fought. With that alone, it guarantees his victory because at this point it proves Vers aren’t intelligent despite the writing claims that they are. How it ends is weak and purely for shock value. Narratively it’s a horrible ending because it forgets to inform the viewer status of Earth, which is at war with Vers. Only offering a narration of what happened to the characters it focused on. Leaving the fate of its central characters ambiguous isn’t bad, but in this case when the characters are one dimensional who really cares what happens to them.
Unredeemable: Shallow, inconsistent characters, and miss opportunities
Inaho Kaizuka is a young teenager of average height, short tousled black hair, and our lead character. He’s stoic and despite what his sister claims about him being human in episode 10, Inaho never actually shows human emotion. When he does show emotion it’s out of character; in episode 1 Inaho expresses his interest in buying eggs that are on sale. Within the same episode, a couple minutes later Inaho sees Princess Asseylum of Mars killed in front him, remaining stoic at the sight of it. Showing no concern despite the clear consequences of the assassination he has just witnessed. Later on in the series the anime attempts to ship Inaho with Princess Asseylum which simply does not work because of this one moment. So any affection Inaho shows to his “love interest” is as artificial as the robot he uses. Expecting you to believe he developed emotion for his “love interest” when he showed no reaction when he saw her presumably die in the first episode.
As a leading character events magically have a way working out for Inaho even though it’s establish in episode one he’s a trainee of the military. Somehow, with minimal training, he surpasses Martian pilots who have had more experience under their belt in actual combat. It’s not because he smart that he wins. It’s either due to plot convenience, his enemy being stupid, or a mixture of both. Another skill Inaho has over his far more experience comrades is the ability to move out of the way of attacks. This godly power can’t be obtain by the other pilots. All of which are usually standing around in front of an enemy attack until they get killed. Granted evasion should be obligatory in basic combat training, but if allowed so Inaho wouldn’t be the overpowered self insert lead that he is.
In episode ten, Inaho claims that anyone that fights against the same enemy on his side he considers an ally. A statement that is completely proven false in episode seven when he shoots the plane of a Vers pilot that helped him fight for an entire episode. These inconsistencies further weaken the anime when Inaho has no consistent traits let alone a consistent philosophy to believe in. Inaho becomes as much of a plot device as everyone else he interacts with. Finally, Inaho is the character that delivers a speech about how war is used to gain something and ends until the objective is met or the cost outweighs the gain. Not a bad position to take when voicing your thoughts on war, except this character has never shown sympathy when killing his enemy nor ever mentally coped with taking someone’s life. He says within the same speech here cares for no such emotion to gain anything in war. So this whole war speech in the final episodes coming from a lead who said he himself “I care for no emotions” is forced to sound deep and makes Inaho full of himself.
Another major character is Princess Asseylum (who I refer to as Princess Ass since she doesn’t give a shit) is the embodiment of Aldnoah.Zero problems. Easy on the eyes and pleasing, but shallow with no identity of her own. The anime only gives her positive traits like acting like a child when she’s learning about Earth with Inaho and desiring doing the right thing. She looks nice on the surface, but that’s all. In actuality she’s a terrible character. Asseylum has been friends with another major character, Slaine Troyard, for five years showing no concern for him throughout her near death experiences. When reversed, Inaho proved in about a week’s time showing no emotion he’s able to capture Princess Asseylum’s heart. In context, the anime wanting to ship Inaho and Asseylum makes no sense given how little time they’ve known each other. It’s also brought up in a episode she knew someone was trying to kill her, and doesn’t bother to take extra security just to be cautious in case anything happens. Then again, the Earthicans don’t bother giving her protection when they attempt to keep her safe so I shouldn’t be surprised.
Slaine Troyard (not the only pointless reference to Greek mythology) is another poorly written character. His conflict of wanting to be accepted by the Vers Empire is worth investing on paper. Having to overcome the racist mindset of his superior officers and being treated like scum. In execution it’s the opposite, creating scenarios forced to make the viewer care for him. There’s an entire episode dedicated to Slaine being tortured, which doesn’t since in the same episode, it shows Princess Asseylum without care enjoying the day. This episode’s impact is lessened when the entire Vers race is one dimensional and not given any redeeming values to perceive them as actual people.
Supporting characters, just like the main three, that receive tons of screen time are merely plot devices. There was potential with the character Marito to create a satisfying subplot. His back story is compelling, has likable traits by being himself, and has a strong personal turmoil that he can’t immediately overcome. Seeing Marito struggle and trying his best to improve himself provides the best moments in the anime. Unfortunately, by the finale his subplot is left unresolved.
Another wasted opportunity is with character Yuki Kaizuka (Inaho’s sister). Like Marito, Yuki carries a permanent scar from war with her. Unlike Marito conflict, Yuki war scar is resolved quickly and has no important use afterwards. The thought of her brother being an expressionless killing machine never bothers her either. When one of Inaho friends asks Yuki why Inaho is expressionless. She answers by saying yes, he does. A wasted opportunity to develop Inaho beyond a stoic lead, and a miss opportunity to explore what kind of life, Yuki had with Inaho since the status of their parents’ livelihood is never brought up. Other minor supporting characters serve a single purpose. There’s one created to simply die, there’s one that created to be simply racist against Earthicans, there’s one simply created to be sick so the Vers can have power, and so on.
Rayet Areash the worst of the supporting cast being given a position in the anime similar to that of Gavrilo Princip. The anime attempts to paint her in a sympathetic light, except for the fact that it was her fault as well that millions of people got killed. Forgetting this fact, it dedicates an entire scene in episode 10 where she blames Princess Asseylum for something out of her control. Somehow she’s able to make Princess Asseylum feel guilty. This is the equivalent of making Archduke Franz Ferdinand the villain and making him apologize for being assassinated. It doesn’t work that way, even in fictional context when the entire starting point for the story’s existence is because she helped in the assassination. For unexplained reasons, she’s also allowed to do whatever she wants on a military base.
Then there’s the villain Saazbaum who is about as well thought out as the writing in the anime. This character personifies how nonsensical the writing is in physical form. For starter, his motive contradicts his goal. He hates the royal family for manipulating the masses, but the first episode the emperor sends his daughter to Earth for a peace mission. He also initiates an attack on Earth without consulting the emperor. Despite his intentions to help the masses, he fully should grasp the consequences of his own action by attempting to eliminate the only source of power for the Vers Empire. These two points don’t add up; just like the Vers technology and their actual intelligence. The writing never treats the characters it creates as actual characters. They’re a means as story devices and nothing more.
Good: Production side of the anime is generally good
The animation is a joint effort between A-1 Pictures and Troyca. Together they create an anime that all around looks great. It clearly has a high budget incorporating both 2D animation with nice looking 3D robot models that aren’t distracting. Environments in general tend to come across as being large and empty. Since our heroes are on the move battles, mostly take place in environments where nothing much is happening in the background. In some cases, it is put into good use to keep an action scene moving in an large environment as well as showing some environmental destruction. In one action scene, the size of an environment is use to its advantage when Inaho has to stop an attack from a Vers mech on an ship he’s on.
However, the biggest drawback is there’s no visual scale growth in the battles. One of the few memorable scenes in Aldnoah.Zero is in the first episode where an explosion has a similar impact to that of an atomic bomb hitting Earth. Buildings crumbles, cars are blown away by a gust of wind, onlooker to the site are in shock, and it’s large scale destruction implants what a serious threat the Vers Empire is. Everything else, past this moment feels smaller in comparison. There isn’t another scene that visually comes close to matching the mass destruction in episode one. All the characters have appealing looking design no matter the situation. Especially Slaine, who even when being tortured looks good! Particle effects are in no short supply to adding more visual flair to the battles.
One questionable decision in the animation would be the mechs even when stationary are still in 3D. It makes sense in a action scene to use 3D since the thirdimension offer more maneuverability than a 2D plane, but it comes across lazy when mechs are stationed and simply there to show off its high budget. The downside to the animation is the awful staging of the action scenes. Going more for visuals splendor than actual staging. So in most battles there will be multiple mech stationed in one position accepting their death or shooting to hold off an enemy attack. Without a single creative battle that avoid doing these things action scenes are a one time deal for entertainment.
Voice acting is serviceable. The writing didn’t offer much in anything so the voice cast are stuck with what they are given. Natsuki Hanae plays protagonist Inaho and he’s stoic throughout the series. His vocals, mostly stay in emotionless delivery range sounding uninterested in anything. It’s not a compelling performance because there’s no range, but he does portray how the character was written properly. Then there’s Kensho Ono, who plays Slaine, who has a slightly more open role. He gets to scream in pain when his character is tortured, sound serious, concerned, and in the finale near hysterical when he goes insane. Ono role is similar to Hanae where in both performance they have to repeat themselves. Sora Amamiya plays princess Asseylum. It’s passable in general. When Amamiya portrays the more innocent and childlike side of Asseylum she’s convincing as Asseylum, but when in a dramatically heavy scene she falls short. She’s sounds like she’s on autopilot delivering most of her dramatic material with little variation no matter the context of a scene.
The supporting cast in general suffer from the same handicap that Natsuki Hanae is given in which they mostly portrayed a single character trait. This is especially true for voice actors that get casted as Vers Martians. Show Hayami who plays Cruhte only yells for his time on screen. Only having one tone voice in the series. Inori Minase plays Edderlrittuo and sounds like a little girl. It’s an appropriate performance getting across Eddelrittuo sisterly love towards Princess Asseylum.
Tooru Ookawa plays Saazbaum and unlike Hayami who’s allowed a single scene to change up his act Ookawa isn’t as fortunate. His performance isn’t bad, but it’s a single note role where one line delivery is no different from line another delivery. Takahiro Sakurai plays Trillram and thanks to his more expressive character taking delight in killing people. He’s the most enjoyable screen presence out of all the pilots that Inaho fight against. Yuki Kaida plays Femieanne, Hiroki Yasumoto plays Vlad, and Mamiko Noto, who plays Orlane aren’t as lucky in playing interesting villains. They lack the proper screen time to make something out of their role being forgettable once off screen. Sachika Misawa plays Rayet Areash. While the character is full of herself Misawa performance is fine since she does her best to make her character sympathetic despite what she did. There is a scene in episode 10 where she’s allowed to express her dislike for the Vers empire and it’s a highlight for her performance.
Any Japanese voice actor playing an Earthican gets sideline eventually into the background. Unlike the voice actors that play a Vers. Earthicans voice actors don’t have a single episode where they’re given a highlight moment to show off their acting chops. They get stuck in a single note sometime delivering the same lines of dialogue word for word in different episodes. Ai Kayano who plays Darzana Magbaredge and Yuu Shimamura who plays Kaoru Mizusaki have this problem. Whenever they share a scene together, it plays out the same getting repetitive over time.
The best voice actor in the cast regardless of what race he portrays is Kazuya Nakai and that’s because he plays Kouichirou Marito. His character suffers mental turmoil while on the outside, he shows a free caring personality. Nakai is allowed the freedom to vocalize different sides of a single character more so than anyone in the cast. When he mentally breaks down it’s believable through his delivery. His performance is the most interesting because he’s funny, likable, and a compelling actor in the role. It’s a shame that his character isn’t fully use to his full potential in order to create a good character.
The soundtrack is composed by Hiroyuki Sawano mixing ambient and techno music with aggressive synthesizers, beats, even some 8-bit and a few thunderous orchestral compositions thrown in with Japanese singers singing German lyrics. The music is all around a great fit for the anime and when used correctly in its placement creates some stellar scenes. In episode 1, the musical piece “aLIEz” sung by mizuki is played during a scene of mass destruction is instantly memorable. It’s not as demoralizing seeing an atomic bomb like explosion at the sight of a more technically advance race, wiping out humans with ease, but it’s a cool scene none the less. As great as the music might be there tracks that get reused frequently. In particular the track “BRE@THLESS” sung by mizuki is used in a number of action scenes. Preferably when there’s a chase scene this track will likely play. Losing what made them exciting musical pieces in the first place.
The anime has a single theme song that’s also used as the ending theme in episode 1 is titled “Heavenly Blue” by Kalafina. Despite the less than stellar opening animation “Heavenly Blue” manages to create a strong atmosphere with orchestral composition along with a catchy chorus. It does feel slightly phoned in since there’s not an extra push or power to the track that really demands your attention. The following tracks are sung by mizuki are “aLIEz” used as an ending theme in episode 4, 7-8, 10-11 and “A/Z” in 2-3, 5-6, 9. “aLIEz” loses some of its impact since it’s used frequently in the series failing to rekindle the same feeling when hearing it for the first time. While the usage in the anime distracts from its impact over time the track is a great listen. “A/Z” is more of a techno side with 8-bit beats that’s more optimistic in general. In both tracks mizuki vocals add to the songs; in “aLIEz” her vocals are on a level of opera singing those high notes beautifully sounding as epic as the interustmentals. In “A/Z” she sounds almost robotic like which is fitting for the track. Sawano score is fantastic, but how it’s used in the anime tends to undermine it.
Personal Enjoyment: It killed some brain cells
Usually the first time I ever see an anime I don’t go in them with a critical mindset. Although, fleshed out characters and a story that have working elements is part of the requirement for an anime to be enjoyable for me. However, the first episode did so many things poorly that I couldn’t simply see it without critical thinking. What flipped the switch in my brain was the scene where Inaho showed more emotion for a sale for eggs more so than he does the princess of another planet trying to bring peace to both race when killed in front of him. From then on it’s been nothing, but an infuriating experience how little of the anime was fully thought out. I was so infuriated by Aldnoah.Zero I didn’t bother waiting for any news regarding an English dub. I went into writing out a review for it. Not even the action scenes for as pretty as they look were awfully staged and required very little to no strategy on the characters part. Aside from hearing Hiroyuki Sawano score there wasn’t any other good reason the anime provided to keep me watching. If it ain’t evident with a review consisting of over 4000 words that I think very poorly of Aldnoah.Zero first season I don’t know what will convince you.
Personal Enjoyment: 0/1
Aldnoah.Zero is nothing more than eye candy and takes pride in that. It’ll excuse logic and good characters if it means it’ll get to show off nice looking action scenes. Understanding what type audience, it wants to appeal to, but mere action spectacles aren’t enough to make an anime worth viewing. It takes itself too seriously unable to be dumb fun, it’s too idiotic to touch on the topic of war maturely, and paints each side in black and white dumbing down the premise to be approachable sacrificing depths along with it. Its central lead wins through a series of plot convenience and luck that remove the suspense of battles. It’s all aesthetics and without substance, it guarantee its own expiration date in a short amount of time. Once you’ve seen the explosions and action there’s nothing left to Aldnoah.Zero.
6: Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru
English: Beautiful Bones -Sakurako’s Investigation-
MAL Score: 7.43
When Shoutarou Tatewaki first meets Sakurako Kujou, he knows his life will never be the same. Initially believing her to be responsible for a disappearance in the neighborhood, he later learns of her true talent: analyzing bone specimens. Sakurako has quite the collection of reconstructed animal bones, but she wishes she had more of the human variety, much to the chagrin of those around her.
Soon, Shoutarou begins accompanying the eccentric osteologist on the many different unsolved cases she comes across—usually in the form of decomposing bodies. But with so many incidents happening around them, could there be a larger mystery at work in their lives?
Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru is a story of two unlikely partners, each showing in their own way that bones can tell how one died, but only people can tell how they lived.
The story follows a normal high school boy named Shoutarou who has a not-so-normal friend called Sakurako. She has an unhealthy addiction to bones of all things, and finds it fascinating to study their history. By some strange coincidence, whenever the two of them are together they just so happen to get themselves accidentally involved in numerous bizarre cases, usually where a corpse or a skeleton is found and they have to figure out its story. So it’s a mystery anime, which is definitely something I appreciate since we don’t get to see too many of them nowadays, and it’s also one of the more interesting genres in fiction in my opinion.
Unfortunately however, Sakurako-san is not what I would call a “satisfying” mystery anime. The reasons being a) it’s episodic, and b) it’s rushed. All of the cases in this anime are resolved in either 1 or 2 episodes, resulting in a myriad of short stories instead of a longer ongoing problem. And quite frankly this is a very bad thing for a series of this genre. Think about it; a complete mystery story needs:
1. A foundation to establish the setting of the case
2. A problem to be solved needs to pop up (like a murder for example)
3. The detective must look around for clues
4. After all the clues have been gathered, the detective must be given time to think about them and try to put the puzzle together (which of course lets the viewers do so as well at the same time)
5. The case must now be solved, the truth brought to light and, if possible, the culprit arrested
6. Finally everything must be wrapped up and the aftermath of the entire incident presented
So all-in-all, that’s quite a lot of ground to cover. In fact, that’s way too much ground to cover in just 1-2 anime episodes. There’s simply not enough time to go through all the steps properly without either rushing it completely or making the mystery so simplistic that it’s not even interesting to begin with. And this is the main problem with Sakurako-san as an anime, namely that it time and time again tries to do too much in too little time.
Instead it almost feels like the anime is trying to cheat the system by skipping a step or two. The whole investigation and pondering phases are almost cut off completely. How? Well simply by making Sakurako be absurdly overpowered as a detective. By that I mean to say that it doesn’t matter whether the case in question ends up revolving around human biology, psychology, chemistry or 19th century painting techniques; no matter what it is, Sakurako knows everything. She can figure out any mystery within minutes with almost no clues to work with. In other words:
a) Every case ends up feeling very unimportant due to how quickly and easily they are solved
b) It gives the viewer almost no time to think for themselves (which is without a doubt the #1 most important thing in a detective story so this is a huge problem)
c) There is very little semblance of tension since you always know that Sakurako is going to save the day within the next minute no matter what
d) It significantly lowers the story’s sense of realism as it doesn’t really feel believable a lot of the time
e) As soon as a mystery is resolved, we’re back to the status quo again. In other words it kind of feels like the story doesn’t even matter in the long run. Although there are brief tie-ins to previous story arcs on rare occasions, it’s not anything particularly noteworthy
So I’ve talked a lot about Sakurako, but what about Shoutarou, our supposed protagonist? Well… there really isn’t a whole lot to say about him. He’s just “there” as a sidekick, and Sakurako is the one always dragging him along and calling the shots. It’s almost like his sole purpose in the show is to be someone for Sakurako to show off to. There are also a bunch of other characters in the show, but they’re about as forgettable as it gets. Really the entire anime revolves around Sakurako herself and no one else, which would be common for a detective series, but given that she’s hardly what I’d call a well-written detective for a mystery story I still can’t consider it a good thing.
In the end though, despite the fact that there are tons of issues with Sakurako-san as an anime, they all stem from the exact same source. The heart of the problem is quite simply that the total episode count is *way* too small. They should have taken the same amount of content and adapted it in maybe 24 episodes instead of compressing it into merely 12. Everything comes down to that. The rushed pacing means that every mystery story gets way too little exposition and instead they have to fill the holes by using Sakurako as a cheat code, enabling them to skip out on half the steps in every arc. That’s like a band aid measure, it doesn’t actually resolve the problem itself whatsoever. What makes the mystery genre so fascinating is the process of solving the matter at hand; you investigate for clues, try your best to put them together, and then finally present the solution. Sakurako-san however basically skips out on all that and just blatantly gives you the answer right away. Talk about taking just about all the fun out of it.
With all that being said, Sakurako-san is still a decent anime which might be worth checking out. It just annoys me because I sincerely believe that it could have been really damn good had it just been paced better (or not been episodic to begin with), but instead we’re left with an incredibly flawed final product. Good mystery anime are quite rare to come by, so it saddens me when a series like this pops up with all the potential in the world, only to fall flat for a quite needless reason.
In essence, the series is a mystery adventure. Almost every episode opens up to a story and reads like a book where we get the introduction of a case, the problem, clues, and resolution. Key players in each mystery case has some direct or indirect connection to the series’ themes. Throughout the show, family has been a key element as we often see how cases relate to deceased relatives and their effects on loved ones. Sakurako often finds herself involved in mystery cases because of a young boy named Shoutarou. Their relationship is rather strange as well as Sakurako refers Shoutarou often as “boy” rather by his given name. There’s also cryptic flashbacks about Sakurako that suggests she has suffered a tragedy that involved the death of a loved one, perhaps bearing resemblance to Shoutarou. But for the majority of the run, the show runs on the structure of an episodic style where mystery sometimes doesn’t see just eye to eye.
With the amount of mystery, it’s hard to deny that there’s some pacing issues. The first episode only sets up the general concept of the series while the majority of the remaining ones mostly adapts a non-linear story. However, it still offers enough thoughtful mystery-thriller to hook the audience. This is because every mystery involves bones and as each bone is different, there’s a diverse range of ways the series takes interest about itself. Sakurako’s interest about bones is also highlighted easily with her fascination. She’s the type of woman with a level headed coolness and possesses an intimidating intellect. On the other hand, Shoutarou is more of the typical schoolboy who tries to make a difference. The two are hardly alike but does manage their time together to solve cases. Other prominent characters includes Yuriko, a girl who attends the same school as Shoutarou and sometimes also gets involved with mystery cases. Most of the other characters that we see in the show plays a supporting role that includes a teacher, police officer, or even a family dog. A few of them also gets some characterization but mostly related to the cases. Because the show isn’t really all about the ‘who’ but rather than the ‘why’, the characterization of the series is generally dense.
Mystery shows like this is also crafted by its thrilling atmosphere. There are some episodes that are prime examples of this such as the case of “The Cursed Man”. Then, there are some rather sincere cases about family like the one about Yuriko’s grandmother. This can be a hit or a miss and sometimes can feel distracting. As I’ve mentioned before, pacing of the show is really a nag. At times, it offers a twisty, stylistic mystery with promise while other times leaves disappointment in the eyes of a boring resolution. It still relies on some old school mystery formula and recycled ideas that isn’t so thrilling. This doesn’t help by Shoutarou’s personality as he is a guy with little characterization but plays as more of a supporting player at each case. Sakurako is also a character that is quite mysterious from the very start. Throughout some episodes, she sometimes gets moments that triggers her past memories. As the show progresses, I think it’s safe to say that sometimes, it’s more about coping with death rather than mysteries themselves. It offers a more realistic side for this show as well as an emotional one based on character stories. It can even feel like the time when you find an old picture album in the attic and appeal with a sense of nostalgia. At other times, the show retorts to its comedic side with some humorous scenarios and dialogues. By general means, the comedy feels pretty natural through conversations. And finally, don’t expect much romance. While the promotional poster seems to look like a teaser, there really isn’t love story angle.
Produced by Troyca, this is their first independent project. Previously, they’ve worked on Aldnoah Zero so do expect some character designs to look familiar such as the case of Shoutaro. But on a visual front, the series is pretty well crafted. Sakurako’s character design is made to look her like a beauty with a haughty personality to reflect her calm nature. The setting also has a serene-like feeling to it with modern decorations and a few noticeable scenes are colored like an art. Prime examples of this includes Sakurao’s declaration when she decides to solve a case. Facial tones are generally standard that expresses their personalities. And finally, we got the bones. While I’m not an expertise at examining bone specimen, I think it’s easy to tell that the show makes them look credible with their structure.
While the soundtrack isn’t anything special, it does carry a quiet atmosphere throughout the show. The series may be a mystery but most of the time retains a style that fits with its lighthearted OST. The OP and ED theme songs also gives away some symbolism with hints about Sakurako. I would say that perhaps Sakurako’s voice is the most distinctive in the show. She displays a sharp tongue with an intimidating voice when involved with cases or bones. When she’s not involved, there’s mostly an indifference about her voice tone. Shizuka Ito translates her character well into the show by bringing the personality of a detective to life.
It’s not a spellbound mystery or literature crafted from Sherlock Holmes’ detective stories. This series stands out more as a mystery that deals with the coping of lost life. Bones is the reminiscence deceased, a physical aspect that serves proof of their existence. And when someone discovers that, it can feel a bit nerve wrecking. What this show does makes it look less malevolent but rather thrilling as each bone has a story behind it. Whether you take that mystery as a successful way of storytelling may be a bit of hit or miss. In retrospect though, this show rides on its premise well with a mixed bag for presentation.
Japanese: Re:CREATORS 〈レクリエイターズ〉
MAL Score: 7.56
Humans have designed countless worlds—each one born from the unique imagination of its creator. Souta Mizushino is a high school student who aspires to be such a creator by writing and illustrating his own light novel. One day, while watching anime for inspiration, he is briefly transported into a fierce fight scene. When he returns to the real world, he realizes something is amiss: the anime’s headstrong heroine, Selesia Yupitilia, has somehow returned with him.
Before long, other fictional characters appear in the world, carrying the hopes and scars of their home. A princely knight, a magical girl, a ruthless brawler, and many others now crowd the streets of Japan. However, the most mysterious one is a woman in full military regalia, dubbed “Gunpuku no Himegimi,” who knows far more than she should about the creators’ world. Despite this, no one knows her true name or the world she is from.
Meanwhile, Souta and Selesia work together with Meteora ?sterreich, a calm and composed librarian NPC, to uncover the meaning behind these unnatural events. With powerful forces at play, the once clear line between reality and imagination continues to blur, leading to a fateful meeting between creators and those they created.
PLEASE DO NOT SKIP THE RECAP EPISODE!
Just when “Isekai” trend is everywhere, this anime use the concept of reverse Isekai where the character from the fantasy world coming out to join the real world instead of the protagonist blend into some parallel world.
The animation is not the best but is good enough in the year of 2017. Nothing outstanding but you will realize that the working team is giving out their all into the art after you watched the recap episode.
Sound: 10/10 – STRONGLY RECOMMEND!!!
One word – Epic! Both opening theme song are awesome but the first one is better. Moreover, several soundtrack could just simply become one of the best OST in 2017 like AL:Lu, brave the oceans, layers, here i am and god of ink. Hiroyuki Sawano, you are a legend!
Character: 10/10 – AWESOME!!!
This anime got every types of character and its actually insane! What is your favorite type of anime? Mecha like Gundam? Female knight like Saber in fate series? Magic girl like Madoka Magica? RomCom like Toradora? or even wizard, princess, yakuza, gunner, delinquent, psychotic murderer, military, tragedy. Yes, you read it right. Every single one of it will be appearing inside this anime.
Me? Of course, I am extremely enjoying this series. In my personal opinion, this is the best anime that I had ever watched. Outstanding in the music and the idea of fitting every single possible types of character into one anime. The ending is kind of like a little bit unexpected but it also stick with the anime’s concept which is being unique and special.
They do not copy. They are not lazy. The soundtrack is awesome. The character design is marvelous. The story is special. This anime is really unique. For example, the way they had done their recap episode is not like the other anime where the working team just cut and edit the past scene. Re:Creators’s recap episode is one of the protagonist recap the past scene for us with the mixture of the protagonist’s point of view and the working team took the opportunity to criticize the negative opinion toward the current anime industry in Japan and complaining their current workload to the studio. In my opinion, I think I just witness the birth of the most OP character ever, ALTAIR!
Doubt my review? Why not give the first episode a try?
* Sorry for my poor grammar, do drop me a message if you found any grammar mistake that I had made.
At first glance, this series sounds really interesting. As an original anime, the creators seems to have decided to take a risk and mix many genres together. Fantasy, sci-fi, magic, isekai, and even mecha are just a few among these. However, what really caught my attention for this series is the fictional worlds and their characters. Every world has its own unique story as well. Not to mention, these stories has its creators and the characters they created. While all this really sets up the show as a mesmerizing story, I can’t help but find this series to be a flop in the most disappointing ways possible.
The first few episodes of the show wastes little time to introduce the main characters. That’s good news since the cast seems to feature a unique set with characters of all different types. Magical girl, mecha pilot, princely knight, supernatural NPCs, anti-heroes, you name it. The most normal character among them is a young man named Souta Mizushino. He is inspired to become a light novel author but somehow manages to get caught into fierce fight one day. Souta gets involved in the conflict with the clash of fictional worlds, creators, and the characters. From the start, I can honestly say that the show actually has a mystique that kept me interested. Many questions pop up and it makes me wonder how this anime plans to resolve them. The characters also brings the attention of their purpose and why they are there in the first place.
Unfortunately, I can’t really say these characters are creatively presented. For instance, there’s Selestia Upitiria, the main protagonist of ‘Elemental Symphony of Vogelchevalier’ (light novel adaptation of the same name). She stands out more as generic sword fighter with skills to operate a mecha. We don’t find out much about her until later in the show but from the surface, she’s saturated with generic characteristics. Then, there’s Meteora, an intelligent NPC with a dry sense of humor. I honestly can’t remember the last time I ever laughed at her character just because of how diehard this show attempts to make her entertaining. On the other hand, the show has other characters such as anti-hero Yuuya, the noble knight Alicetaria, mecha pilot Rui Kanoya, magical girl Mamika, and former bounty hunter Blitz Talker. These characters all have their own stories although among them, Blitz is probably the only one that I found truly interesting. That’s because the motives of these characters really feel flat and uninspiring. I mean, a noble knight trying to get revenge for a fallen friend. I’m sure you’ve heard that somewhere before. Still, there are two characters that kept me interested throughout the show. Those are Magane Chikujouin and the Military Uniform Princess. Why do these two intrigues me the most? It’s because both of them make their own luck and destiny. Magane is a highly unpredictable character with a devious personality. She is very sarcastic with a dangerous ability. What sets her apart is that she is on her own side throughout the show and seems to play along the story like a game. Meanwhile, the Military Uniform Princess is by no shadow of a doubt the most mysterious character in the show. Her motives from the start is very unclear and most of her dialogues spoken in this show seems to have some sort of hidden message. She also seems to have some sort of connection with Souta but that remains a mystery throughout a decent amount of this show. So perhaps in many ways, these two characters create spectacles as viewers try to anticipate their role from the story.
At its core, the creators and created play the main role although I can’t really say that I’m impressed by the character relationships. They just seem all over the place and almost none of them really feel special. The show attempts to make us feel something for the characters whether it’s their personalities or motives. Yet as I watched more and more of this show, I can’t really say that any of them are particularly memorable. At times, I thought this show was trying to make us sympathize with the characters. However, I really felt nothing for the characters. Even Selestia, one of the main female protagonists didn’t stand out as the show didn’t develop her enough as a character. She just seems to be there to play her role as a female fighter. The main male protagonist, Souta is far from interesting from any angle. The only time he ever drew my attention was during his interactions with Magane and it’s when she’s the one doing the talking.
On the other hand, the story shows some promise as it ties together the characters and their roles. The background story of Souta is perhaps one of the more interesting and also most important part of this series. As a very talky show with heavy exposition, each episode does build more and more of the story together to avoid loose ends. When you mix so many genres together all at the same time, it can be quite difficult to tie everything together. Yet, somehow this show does manage to achieve such a feat when its storytelling manages to be convincing despite being predictable. That’s of course speaking from the first half of the show. From the latter half, I can’t really say the story is impressive. It bobbles down to exploring events from previous relationships and how that influences character motivations in the present. Certain new characters introduced in the latter half really feel out of place like as if they are just there to make the story flow more. However, it really felt unnecessary and just make the series longer than it should’ve been.
You’re probably thinking: “Oh but you can enjoy this show if you don’t take everything so seriously and accept the story more openly!” That would be the case if the comedy of the show didn’t come out as so dry. The jokes in this show often feel forced and mixed with a dry sense of humor. Meteora is probably the guiltiest of this as her character personality demonstrates this throughout the show. There are also occasional adult humor-like jokes thrown in at random and otaku references that just comes out as flat. On the other hand, the action and choreography is well made. When making original anime, Troyca seems to pour a decent amount of effort to make their work look like an action flick.
Well, I guess I’ll admit it. Re:Creators’ animation quality as a whole looks solid on multiple fronts. From the battle choreography to character designs, everything seems to fall in place in order. The characters from the fictional worlds look creatively unique that suits with their role. Even the mecha designs has its dynamic features that avoids CGI pitfalls. The most innovative design that had my eyes glued to the screen is no doubt the Military Uniform Princess. I’ve rarely seen a character with such a look and that really took my attention. Unfortunately, the other fictional worlds didn’t get too much spotlight as we only see glimpse of them. The majority of the show takes place on Earth and we all know how dull that is. Nonetheless, Re:Creators succeeds at crafting its visual elements through its character designs, action sequences, and world fiction.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock in recent years, then it’s obvious that the soundtrack of the show is created by the modern talent of Sawano Hiroyuki. The OST is stellar with its dramatic choreography and precisely timed. The OP & ED theme songs are very catchy with hidden messages. Character voice mannerisms are also memorable in particular with Military Uniform Princess, Magane, and Meteora.
In the end, Re:Creators is a mediocre a show that tried far too hard to make itself look cool. By mixing a variety of genres, I expected a show to capitalize on them. Instead, what I got is a show that relied far too much on its characters to do the storytelling. And that ended up being a risk taken with little reward. In many ways, this show can be recommendable to people if you’re looking for some fun action and typical fictional story. Just be aware that it’s also very talky with exposition. The comedy is very mixed depending on perspective. For me, Re:Creators wore itself out almost like a meme.
Story and Characters
To begin to understand why the show works so well, the first good hint would be the original writer, Rei Hiroe, who wrote the story that led to the anime. For those unfortunate enough to not know who Hiroe is, he’s the author of the Black Lagoon manga and the responsible for the dynamic between Rock and Revy, two of the finest characters crafted in the media. In Black Lagoon, he demonstrated his strength at crafting witty and meaningful character studies, while in Re:C he displays, with some aid from Ei Aoki (director of Fate/Zero), his efficiency at developing cohesive, effective and strong plot.
Some comparisons I’ve seen be made about the nature of Re:C in regards to other anime vary from a knock-off of Fate/Zero’s concept, for those who see the combination of colorful fighters of multiple origins as somehow related to F/Z and nothing else, to a shallow piece of propaganda fellating the Japanese government and military, in the same fashion as GATE, for people who are too obtuse to notice the obvious differences and like to make asinine comparisons (you know who you are!). The closest I’ve seen to actually hit the mark was to Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, since both works are commentaries on the media they’re a part of. This comparison doesn’t adequately prepare you to get into Re:C, but it is a better assessment of the nature of the show. While Haruhi is purely a dissection (or you might even say a “deconstruction”, if you can believe it) of the tropes that are to this day prevalent in anime, that made itself brilliant by twisting the role of the protagonist and titular character, along with the ones that personify those tropes, Re:C is a commentary on our relationship with fiction, both from the perspective of the creators as well as the audience, and it makes itself brilliant by making what would be natural parts of that relation into integral, tangible elements of the plot. I’ll discuss the perspective a bit more when we get to the characters, but for now let’s talk about the strength of the narrative
Besides characters, which I consider to be the most important thing in a story, something I also find of great importance when analyzing is how well structured is the narrative. That takes into consideration things like pacing, as in the rate in which the story progresses or new information is introduced, the role different characters play and how meaningful they are on that role and, specially, when things happen for a reason. Re:Creators shines in that regard, among other reasons, because it wastes almost no time. Every episode in this show is there for a reason (yes, even the hot-spring episode) and nearly EVERY scene has something to help bring out new information, develop the numerous figures of the cast or reinforce what is already known, character and narrative-wise, through a new method or situation. Want an example? The events of episodes 9 and 10, for once, might seem to have no effect in the rest of the plot, at first glance, but looking closely you might notice that they made for the perfect set-up for the main characters to confirm a plot point that would prove itself vital for their future plans, as well as kick into motion Aliceteria’s character-arc. Take this episode out of the equation and you’ll have that plan turn into a complete ass-pull and have Aliceteria’s change of heart be completely unwarranted.
If you are reading this review, I’d assume you already know the premise of Re:C, so I’ll not waste much time explaining it. So, a feeble mind would predict the main villains of a story with such premise to be those who were already villains in their original stories, but this is one of the instances where this anime subverts expectations in the best way: the real villain of the story is a character that originally had no purpose, while the one who was originally a villain turns into a wild card. The series tackles motivations and work ethics of the different artists, ranging from those who do that simply to make a living to those who see on the act of crafting a story as their way of expressing themselves in the way that is the most fulfilling. That said, let’s talk about the characters, starting with the main antagonist
Altair, or the Princess in Military Uniform, was an original character, created based on one of a preexisting fictional game called Eternal Wars Megalosphere and is noted from the beginning to be connected to Souta, one of the main characters, and Setsuna, a former friend of Souta who, and I don’t think I’m spoiling much about the first minute of the show, committed suicide a few months earlier. Do you want another example of how finelly crafted is the structure in this anime? Since not much is shown from Setsuna’s perspective prior to her suicide, some viewers might get frustrated at first, feeling that they missed on something important, but that turns out to be a necessary decision, given what we see from her on episode 21, in which her avatar plays a decisive role in the conclusion. This decision is a great factor into making the experience of this episode as meaningful and effective as it is, besides the excellent writing, of course. Altair was a character created without a set purpose, carrying only the emotions of her creator, to whom she feels a strong connection with. Therefore, she takes upon herself the task of avenging her creator, who she feels was wronged by the world. That lack of a reason to exist, coupled with the angst carried by the one she held the dearest led her to see the real world as a cruel story, and what better way to enact her revenge than by causing the world to implode on itself?
Mizushino Souta, a highschool-age student, is part of the main cast, but regards himself and is treated by the narrative more as a narrator-type figure. He’s an aspiring illustrator who’s a bit shy about his art and holds a guilt complex in regards to Setsuna’s death, who he believes to have betrayed. He considers himself partially culpable for her suicide, for not coming to her aid when it was needed, and that feeling of guilt is what motivates him to take action during the second half of the story. The conclusion to his is arc is not one of overcoming the guilt, but of learning to shoulder the pain of his mistake and making something positive out of it, through his creations. Episode 21 (seriously, folks, it’s a very important episode) is where that is displayed at full force and he ultimately comes to peace with Setsuna. Souta also provides insight about the perspective of people who enjoy and avidly consume fiction, like on his argument with Aliceteria, where he tells her how characters like her are loved because they motivate people with an ideal, a model of how to act, to be honest and never let themselves be brought down by hardship. He also comments later how the passion for anime, manga and other media gives the viewer the opportunity to see the world through someone else’s perspective
Starting the hoster of creations with the heroes, we have Selesia, a character from the light novel and anime series Elemental Symphony of Vogelchevalier, an Escaflowne looking, magitech inspired Mecha that I like imagining to be set in phantasy 1920s. In her world, she was the partner of the main male lead, Charon, fighting against the forces of the Avalon Brigade, which gave her a resolute, quick to action personality, but still calm when among friends. In an interaction with Souta, she advises him to take his time and not try to rush his artistic development, because that way he would be able to grow appropriately along with his work. That interaction reflects the experience she had fighting in her universe, experience that also makes for amusing banter between her and her creator, Takashi Matsubara. Initially, she complains to him about why he didn’t make her stronger, not understanding his perspective as the writer. Their relation eventually becomes mildly like father and daughter, and Matsubara comes to be protective of her, cherishing her as his creation. He comments, during a conversation, how writing is his way of telling the world that he has been there, of leaving a mark on other people. He comes off as an experienced writer, who understands what he can and cannot do in order to keep the audience invested on his work.
Next in the roster is Meteora, also known as Best Girl, originally a NPC from the RPG game AVALKEN of Reminisce, where she takes the role of a powerful mage and the responsible for the library at the End of the World, right before the final boss. This is a very important detail about her, because it influences the way Meteora relates to the real world and other creations, as well as fiction. She states early on that her world is deeply detailed and fleshed out, having even fiction of its own, therefore she has better appreciation and understanding than other creations have about art, its mechanics and the influence it has over people. Interestingly, in one of the early episodes, she and Selesia contemplate a graffiti, and while Selesia has an amazed look on her face, Meteora displays a colder, more analytical expression, denoting the difference in impact for both of them. Lacking social interaction but being remarkably intelligent, she doesn’t have an easy time expressing her emotions properly, which she tries to mitigate by pulling off horrible puns. We see more of that restrained playful soul in episode 13, the greatest recap episode in the history of anime. A nice, detail about her character is how initially her speech is notoriously long-winded, but over time it’s possible to notice it becoming less prolix and more personable. Her knowledge of fiction allows her to read effectively into other characters and she quickly learns to understand what goes through the heart and mind of people from the real world, making her the one to give Souta the emotional support he needs to come clean about his mistakes and deal with the guilt that torments him. She is definitely the one the boy feels the most confortable to talk to, and their friendly chemistry persists throughout the series.
Hell, I ship them!
Since she becomes the brain of the group, fact amusingly displayed when nobody knows what to do and quickly turn to look at her, Meteora also develops a professional friendship with Kikuchihara, the government official responsible for dealing with the situation of the fictional characters. Both recognize and grow to respect each other as the one from both groups who knows best how to deal with the situation
Mirokuji Yuuya is every anti-hero/rival voiced by Nobuhiko Okamoto: impetuous, self-reliant, prideful, hedonistic and occasionally clever. Funny enough, his rival from his original story, Sho, is himself voiced by Okamoto, which might be the most amazingly subtle reference ever. Both come from Yatoji Ryou’s manga Lockout Ward Underground: Dark Night, with Yuuya being laid-back and uninterested in doing what others tell him, hanging out with the heroes simply for the fun of fighting the villains, while Sho is obsessed with killing Yuuya, whom he believes to be his sister and best friend’s killer. Perhaps mirroring Yuuya’s personality, Yatoji is arrogant and a bit difficult to deal with, but softens up fast due to their dire situation. He and Matsubara worked together in the past and don’t go very well with each other, but it’s hinted that Matsubara appreciates Yatoji’s work and still worries about him being able to continue, as shown when Yuuya decides to beat up his own creator.
By now we had the light novel female warrior lead, the RPG kuudere, the adolescent power phantasy and fujoshi bait, it’s time for our Gundam boy. Yes, Kanoya is the “Gundam” representative; he went looking for some young poon-tang on his first week in the real world, so he cannot possibly be the Shinji look-alike. His author, Nakanogane-san, wrote him to be someone who gets easily defensive, but also quite heated-up in battle, but as soon as he comes to the real world, the kid decides he doesn’t want to fight anymore. What? Did you expect the Gundam kid to not have his “get in the robot” moment? Silly you!
Kanoya’s small but charming character arc involves him realizing that the obligations he shoulders in his original world are not arbitrary, but something that only he as the protagonist can fulfill, which gives the kid newfound sense of responsibility. His conversation with Souta in episode 11, while superficially seeming like just a fine motivational moment, also highlights an important part of creating effective stories: that characters need to have a purpose to guide their development and actions, creating a sound narrative. Nakanogane-san doesn’t have trouble finding his place, though. The creators here don’t just sit around while their characters fight to save the world: they take initiative on putting together the pieces of Altair’s past and goals to find the best course of action.
Lastly, there’s Hikayu, the visual novel heroin created by Nishio Ohnishi (har har!), who’s a pervert. A good-hearted one, don’t be too harsh on the guy, he means well. Since her game of origin was primarily an eroge, Hykayu is disheartened to learn how exposed she’s to the world, which makes for some of the best comedic moments on the show, like when she does her badass entry during the heat of the combat, shouts her passionate entry lines, while feverishly blushing in shame of her outfit. Surprisingly, or maybe not, her game is not exclusively made of fap material and contains emotional moments that she carries over to her experience in the real world. Could this be a tangential commentary about the tastes of the stereotypically perverted otaku, who can accept a story having blatant smut as well as heartstring-pulling narrative? Perhaps a jab at how we feel the need to justify liking questionable material with the argument that it has a serious and emotionally gripping story? Who knows, but it does add more substance and weight to the notion that the writers and staff do know the ins, outs and running trends of the media they are representing in the anime, instead of simply crafting half-assed references.
Chikujouin Magane (creator not important) is the one creation to have been a villain in her story, but like Yuuya, prefers to act by herself and have fun with people’s suffering. She takes quite the liking or the real world and for Souta’s emotional struggle, taking him and the creations as her main source of enjoyment for the first half of the show. She doesn’t seem to like Meteora very much, though, since the girl doesn’t fall easily for Magane’s mind tricks.
On Altair’s side, the first ones to appear are Aliceteria, the idealistic knight, and Mamika, the unlucky Magical Girl.
Mamika comes from a show for kids, where the morality is black & white, villains are recognizable at first glance, good people who don’t immediately side with the heroin just need to be beaten into agreement and violence is bloodless, so for her it’s a shock to learn that in this new reality her powers might inflict serious harm on people. Kind-hearted and naïve, she doesn’t so much change her nature as the series goes on, but instead learns about the complexities of the new world and takes different methods to bring end to conflict. Aliceteria, in the other hand, comes from an equally black & white reality, but one severely more violent, bloody and harsh than that of Mamika. Aliceteria is stubbornly idealistic, to a point where the anime makes it clear she fooled herself into believing the real world is really a home of sadistic, cynical gods, who created her reality just to amuse themselves with the suffering of the people in it, so it’s her duty to force her god, Takarada-san, to fix her world and free it from evil. Takarada himself looks like a young, emergent author who still hasn’t mastered the creation of layered and complex characters, relying on the archetypical noble hero to focus his work on. It’s partially through Souta’s intervention and passionate speech about why figures like Aliceteria are beloved on his world that she begins to realize how disconnected she is from the true motivations of her fans.
Mamika and Aliceteria form a strong bond in their short time together, despite the difference in mentality. For once, when going to recruit a new creation, Mamika hopes it’s a good person, while Alice hopes it’s someone trustworthy and strong (to their dismay it’s neither), and it’s the similarity in values, despite the difference in priority, coupled with the courage and backbone that warms the knight to the young magical girl.
These two characters, among others, help put into perspective one of the brilliant ideas applied on Re:Creators: the anime purposefully built one-dimensional characters into the narrative because in context they come from stories that aren’t as well fleshed out or detailed. Selesia and Meteora, were created by authors who intricately crafted their personalities, worldviews or universe, so when they come to the real world they act more human, but also can better understand the morality of their creators, while Mamika and Alice were shallow characters, created to be good and righteous, but lacking understanding of complex notions of right and wrong, so they become easy prey for a villain who can spout ideas that sound good and presents easy solutions to their problem. That shallowness is not the final state for them either, but a jumping point from where they develop into layered and intelligent individuals capable of understanding the new reality and taking the best decisions based on their own morals.
Lastly, because going further would be spoiler, there’s Blitz Talker, the hard-boiled supporting character from the manga Code-Babylon, written and drawn by Suruga Shunma. Blitz clearly knows of Altair’s true intentions from the beginning, but stays with her because of his desire to protect her, whom he sees as weaker than she lets transpire. Suruga is an intriguing character because she keeps a low profile most of the time, not showing much of her personality and mindset. Most of the time she comes off as an aloof workaholic, constantly drawing, barely taking her eyes off the paper, only to look woefully uninterested when she did, but in her confrontation with her Blitz, she delivers plenty of substance. She makes for a great parallel to Setsuna. The girl had a sudden boost in notoriety, but didn’t have the time to grow up and learn to deal with the hate that comes with the spotlight and that negativity was too much for her young mind to deal with. Suruga, on the other hand, had to struggle with competition and criticism, suffered with the negativity, finally reaching enough success to be able to sustain herself with her art. Many viewers might think her outlook on fiction or her creative process is cynical, but it’s better to describe it as pragmatic and she shows to genuinely love and take pride on her work.
On episode 03 the anime introduces the concept around which the entire plot revolves: audience acceptance. They first note that the characters to appear in the real world tend to be those who had the largest impact among the public, so after Matsubara fails to alter the description of Selesia, it becomes obvious that the creators can’t simply change their characters as they go along. They soon began to theorize that what can really affect their status is if they manage to get enough of the general public to empathize with the changes made to them, idea that is solidly proven in the events of episode 10. It’s based on that concept that the heroes elaborate their plan to defeat Altair, by crafting a story that would be able to gather acceptance from the public to the point where they are able to bait and trap Altair on the Bird Cage, a scenario located within the real and fictional words, where they’d be able to defeat her for good, with the approval of the public. Fun fact: Bird Cage is a reference to Altair’s name coming from the Arab word for bird.
Looking at the contextual level it’s not hard to see that the idea of acceptance is a method of commenting on the common fictional elements that have the most success with the public on our own universe, as well as the difficulties faced by writers of popular works, who need to keep constantly in mind what the audience wants from them. Fiction is manipulation by nature, it’s designed to engage the audience in an illusion where the artist pulls the necessary strings to make us feel or think a certain way in relation to what happens to the characters. Bad fiction happens when the illusion is not convincing enough or when the trick is so poorly conveyed that we can see the strings in the background, and no character in Re:C exposes that better than Altair herself in the last few episodes. Not only are her powers the ability to manipulate the fabric of fiction (reason why she can’t simply nuke the world into oblivion), but her speech is constantly centered on the idea of what exactly pleases the audience and gets their acceptance. Her originally neutral condition also contributes to that concept: Altair is a character without cannon beyond the original powers given to her by her creator, so there’s little restraint for other artists to invent new abilities for her, as those new powers can just as easily get approval from the wider audience, contributing to her continuous growth in power and number of tricks up her sleeve. Part of me wonders if this is not a paradoxical trick the writer crafts with the audience. As the viewer, we are conditioned to expect the main villain to not go down until the very last moment, and only against a worthy hero that can pull off the strongest emotional reaction from the audience, therefore, the writers are fooling us into expecting Altair to pull off something new to aid her in battle, knowing that the nature of her powers allows for that.
Across the multitude of designs presented the anime displays excellence in keeping verisimilitude and coherence. In fact, that might be the most valuable quality of the work’s presentation, beyond the technical aspects, which are not shabby by any means: the directing is excellent, packed with clever transitions and enthralling shot composition (special shout out to that one camera movement in episode 06 that tells us with no effort that Magane just gets it).
Every element of character design was conceived in a way that the experienced anime fan could safely note what they make reference to: Selesia and Charon dress in the angular and colorful style that has become a trend among light novel characters, clearly made to please cosplayers instead of having practical combat utility; Meteora sports the distinguishable attire of an RPG mage from works like the Tales franchise, cuz the design is clearly too confortable to be Final Fantasy; Kanoya uses the slick, futuristic uniform of robot pilots across the Mecha genre. All of this is important because it says something about the characters, not only from what kind of story they come from, but also their personalities. Even when in civilian outfits, the choice of clothing tells something about them: Meteora dresses with cute and childlike attire, because she’s a petit woman and is tired of constantly using a thick uniform, while Selesia’s adorably modest choices help flesh out her personality as reserved, possibly chaste.
The same care extends to all the fictional websites, products that appear on the show as well as the different magic symbols used by the characters. The designers commented in interviews how there was an entire creative process behind the elaboration of the multiple logos, focused on creating an internally consistent scenario. There’s no “Gaagle” search engine or “PZP” console in this story, all the fictional products, social medias or websites presented here were designed to look and sound believable to the extent that one could easily think that Mauchly, Piclive or Songbird are a real thing, or that SONY might actually create a console called Play Portal, which I imagine would be a portable with meager first and third-party support.
The sound department continues the effort in verisimilitude by featuring performances consistent with the universe and genre each character comes from. I’ve already mentioned Nobuhiko Okamoto previously, brilliantly cast as Sho, not just because of the irony but also because he’s can skillfully express Sho’s devoted and naïve mannerisms. Other clever choices are Suzumura Kenichi as Yuuya, fitting since this voice actor has experience with characters who speak in mischievous tone, and Minase Inoue, as Meteora, who previously worked as Rem in Re:Zero and is capable of pulling off a character who speaks stoically without falling into blandness. Now, voice actors are a fun subject and all, but that’s not even the most exciting aspect of how Re:Creators sounds. That would be Sawano Hiroyuki’s amazing soundtrack, tailor made for this anime. Permeated with intense electronic beat and bombastic energy, these songs are never misplaced; the same track can mark the intensity of action sequences but also play to great effect in comedic beats, adding more points to the directorial work. Just look at Selesia trying her new power or Hikayu doing her badass entry and you’ll know what I mean. The lyrics, off course, in songs like Here I Am (Mamika’s theme), God of ink, Layers, Brave the Ocean and World Etude are perfect mirrors for the characters inner thoughts and their goals.
I first thought about talking about this in the story breakdown, but I decided to leave it for this section, as it is the main reason Meteora became my favorite character in the show and why I began to see this anime with higher appreciation. In episode 04, after learning about the passing of her creator, Meteora decides to play her game on its entirety. Later, she confesses her main grievance from when she came to the real world and talked about her experience with her own game: it was fun, and that’s all that matters, because all she needed was to known if her creator loved her world the same way she did. This moment was particularly relatable to me because it reminds me of a book I’ve read long ago, The Hour of the Star, where the narrator talks about the protagonist of his story, and about how he loved her. Later is that I came to realize that such love was not a traditional sentiment, but the love of the artist for his creation. Meteora’s confession displays the inverse route, from creation to the artist, but to me it emulates the sentiment of the audience, the feeling of experiencing a work that had love put into it, where the people involved were truly invested in created something that would resonate with the player, the reader or the viewer.
Re:Creators is an anime I never knew I wanted, but now that I have it I wonder if there’ll ever be something else like it. The way multiple aspects of artistic creation are talked about and analyzed, the portrayal of the audience and Souta’s mindset as a passionate consumer were all relatable and the show frequently would surprise me by doing something I already expected, but in a way that I did not imagine. Rei Hiroe’s writing tends to do that.
I sure hope there’s more originated from it, off course. The many works mentioned in the story might as well spawn new franchises in the future, now that they had the perfect introduction. I sure would love to see what they could make out of Elemental Symphony of Vogelchevalier, since those who saw Re:C already know of some spoilers for it, or how they could conceive Mamika’s anime; perhaps as something initially childish-looking that progressively gets more serious and multifaceted. I know Mecha is in life-support nowadays, but it would be nice to see Infinite Divine Machine Mono Magia get its own anime too. The possibilities are not endless, but they sure are plentiful and can be fruitful as long as those works continue to have comparable quality of writing, directing and care put into them as much as it was put in Re:Creators.
MAL Score: 7.73
On her first day of work at her father’s small production agency, Tsumugi Takanashi was not expecting to be made the manager of the agency’s new male idol group. Though shocked that her father is trusting her with such a major project so soon, Tsumugi vows to do everything she can to support the seven young boys. After seeing how well the boys work as a team, Tsumugi meets with her father and learns that her first job as manager will be to cut four boys from the group. This is because her father believes seven idols are too much to manage, and the current top group, TRIGGER, only has three members.
After holding an impromptu audition, Tsumugi returns to her father and boldly declares that she refuses to cut anyone from the group, as each member has a unique allure which collectively enhances the group’s appeal. She returns to the boys and they are thrilled that none of them will get to miss out on their dreams. Together they become IDOLiSH7, and prepare to take on the fiercely competitive world of idols.
It’s not the usual “I have talent, I’m going to be an idol” plotline. Rather, nothing actually goes smoothly for these precious boys. The story likes to throw a lot of stuff at you and then only solve a few of the questions you have. It’s kind of frustrating since there are plot lines that you would like to see discovered but are never explored (until later in the game). But most of the anime is dedicated to the struggles of the group as a whole and builds up harmony and relationships. It’s pretty down to earth for an idol anime and although there are cliches, they build off the cliches instead of leaving it unaddressed.
What more can I say? They all look SUPER pretty. It’s an idol anime afterall, can’t have idols without prettiness. It’s not perfect since it’s got some spotty CG in there, but most of it’s pretty well done. It was just a bit jarring with the switch between animation and CG.
Great soundtrack. If you don’t find yourself humming along to the songs, it’ll usually end up stuck in your head later. They originally had some great songs, but then added in more anime original songs to keep even the fans of the game happy. The voice acting is also superb. Each voice actor does an amazing job at making the characters sound natural and like their own selves. They really seem alive rather than a character in a show.
There is no way you will not love every single one of these characters. Sure, you’ll have favorites, but even characters you start off disliking will worm their way into your heart. Each character is surprisingly profound and is developed throughout the show. Heck, even the manager is given character development. Sure, some more then others (there are a lot of characters. They can’t fit it all) but each has their own charms. Each person has their own set of struggles, but watching them influence each other and themselves gives you a strange sense of hope. THEY’RE ALL PURE I TELL YOU. PURE TO THE SOUL.
Each episode seems pretty short even though they’re the same length as usual. They like to end each episode with cliffhangers, which sucks, but it’ll have you on the edge of your seat at all times. Some of the events are predictable, but each reaction from the cast will have you laughing one moment, crying the next, and some moments of outrage because WHY DO THEY NEED TO GO THROUGH THIS?
I’ve loved IDOLiSH7 since the game released two years ago. I’m so happy to see it’s getting so much love and support. Color me biased, but this franchise has a lot going for it. And it’s not just because they’re pretty to look at. The amount of love the creators also put into the series is conveyed easily to the amount of character building and world building that is evident in the series. Not the usual reverse harem, but bros and girls alike should be able to find something they enjoy about this series.
The characters indeed have personalities beyond just being a pretty face, so right from the start there’s one of the biggest flaws of bishounen-focused anime gone. Considering that even I who’s not even close to the target audience enjoyed this series to an extent, I’d say it did a pretty good job within its genre.
The animation isn’t exactly unique and it’s visually the weakest work by TROYCA so far. That said it’s still an okay animation without any jarring defects or mistakes.
I can’t say much about the music – if I heard only the sound, I wouldn’t be able to distinguish it from other jpop boy bands. It didn’t make me cringe so that’s good enough for me as it’s not my preferred genre. Fans of boybands will most likely enjoy the songs.
Overall, if you like male idols, there is a high chance you will like this anime. If you don’t, you might give this a try anyway, keeping at least with the three episodes rule. While you might not love it, it might still turn out to be not so bad.
I’m going to start off by saying I am absolutely not this show’s intended audience. Not only am I a guy, but I have never watched an idol anime. I do realize the good-looking anime boys are at least the initial draw for a lot of its fans, but I wanted to try to answer the question: is it worth watching even if you have no such interest in the show’s eye candy? The short answer? Yes. The long answer? Well, I’ll get to it.
The premise is relatively straight-forward. You have 7, for the most part, strangers thrown together to create the next big boy band, IDOLiSH7. If you think that sounds generic, you wouldn’t be totally wrong, but the beauty is in the details. The band’s attempt at glory is not a story of instant-success by any means. At one point they literally perform in front of a crowd of single digits. You can feel their struggle as they reach for their collective goal. And as they do start to gain some bit of traction, you can see their fanbase slowly growing and taking this ride with them. Throughout the show, a young fan is shown watching them on TV every chance she gets. She tries to explain the appeal to her family and is clearly emotionally invested in the success of the group. It’s these little things that make the journey a little more special. It’s not just about them, but their fans as well.
Now moving on to the art. It’s a very colorful show, that for the most part I found aesthetically pleasing. And I’m not the person to ask, but I think female fans will be satisfied with guys in the show. Obviously being idols, they’re all easy on the eyes. There is a fair amount of CGI scenes, which are rarely great, and while it wasn’t bad by CGI-standards, the character movements never look as natural.
The sound was really outstanding. The voice acting was quite good, both in the comedic and more serious scenes. And obviously, with it being an idol show, the music is very catchy and will probably get stuck in your head at some point.
Not only do all 7 have their own unique personalities, but each has their own specific reason for wanting to become an idol. For the most part, their reasons are fairly compelling, and certainly not as shallow as “I want money and fame”. The show does a good job at setting the stakes for each individual, making it much easier to root for them.
It also helps they are a likable, and often colorful, bunch. Personally, my favorite was Nagi Rokuya. He was consistently entertaining. (Shocking, I like the giant anime nerd right?) The main female character, their manager Tsumugi Takanashi, I thought was a decent character, even if she rarely stole the scenes she appeared in. She’s clearly a newbie that was still trying to prove herself, but she also provided a positive presence to the show and you really felt like she cared about the band members as people.
And of course along the way, you have the “rival” band. In this case it is Trigger, the trio that has already made it big so to speak. What strikes me is when they’re first introduced, I was pretty sure I was supposed to dislike them, but as the show progressed, we got to see more of them and realized they weren’t really the villains of the story. They were just human beings that happened to be where IDOLiSH7 wants to be someday. The head of their talent agency is another story. This show has a lot of likable characters, but he was not one of them. He plays a bigger role in the season’s latter stages. I don’t want to spoil anything, but he was a history with the head of IDOLiSH7’s talent agency.
My only small complaint might be regarding the characters is there was a little too many for my taste. It’s just a personal preference, really. I’d rather have a smaller cast that I get to know really well over the course of the show. And one minor observation regarding the cast; it was pretty obvious the male characters were made to appeal to female fans, but I don’t think their characters were as one-dimensional as you see when it is reversed, like in a lot of these harem and/or “waifu-bait” shows directed at guys. The IDOLiSH7 boys were treated as actual human beings, not simply eye candy meant to sell merchandise.
I did enjoy the show. Maybe I didn’t get emotionally attached to any one character, but it was a fun bunch. The music was good, and the story was simple but effective. I do think you’ll probably enjoy it more if you’re crushing on the male characters, but it’s certainly a good enough show to enjoy if that’s not the case.
IDOLish7 was a pleasant surprise. I have very few bad things to say about it. Like I said, I know I’m not the target audience, but I wanted to provide another perspective and share my thoughts and feelings with you guys. Thanks for reading.
3: Yagate Kimi ni Naru
English: Bloom Into You
MAL Score: 7.91
Yuu Koito has always been entranced with romantic shoujo manga and the lyrics of love songs. She patiently waits for the wings of love to sprout and send her heart aflutter on the day that she finally receives a confession. Yet, when her classmate from junior high declares his love for her during their graduation, she feels unexpectedly hollow. The realization hits her: she understands romance as a concept, but she is incapable of experiencing the feeling first-hand.
Now, having enrolled in high school, Yuu, disconcerted and dispirited, is still ruminating over how to respond to her suitor. There, she happens upon the seemingly flawless student council president, Touko Nanami, maturely rejecting a confession of her own. Stirred by Touko’s elegant manner, Yuu approaches her for advice, only to be bewildered when the president confesses to her! Yuu quickly finds herself in the palm of Touko’s hand, and unknowingly sets herself on a path to find the emotion which has long eluded her.
The series follows the titular late bloomer, Yuu Koito, a girl who has never felt love before. Since she was young she has dreamed of falling in love, romanticizing the day when it would happen. Expecting to be swept off her feet, eventually. But that day has never come, even when someone confesses to her she feels nothing. This has kept her from fully connecting to her friends and peers, they are far more understanding of what they want romantically. She was alone until she met Tokou Nanami. A girl who has also never experienced love, until she met Yuu.
To Yuu’s surprise, Touko suddenly confesses to her, and while she does not reciprocate due to her inability to love, she allows Touko to be in love with her. The one condition Touko sets for Yuu is to never love her back. From here on, the tale of self-discovery begins, as each character learns from the other about who they are. At the start of the show Yuu seems like your typical blank slate protagonist devoid of the ability to love, but look further and you’ll see her personality is surprisingly realistic. Yuu is the type of person who cares for others deeply but masks it beneath a veneer of logic and normalcy. She possesses many of the telltale signs of sexual repression, her loneliness and lack of romantic feelings are just a few examples. Throughout the show, we see her pushing through boundaries she would have previously avoided, gaining more control of her life, she reflects on who she is and gains a better understanding of her own identity. This is why labeling Bloom Into You as a romance would be only half true; while it features people in love, it is more complicated than that. Before Yuu can love she has to face the realization what she wants, who she is.
Without a doubt, Bloom Into You depicts homosexual youth more realistically than I have seen in any anime before. Highlighting even the most minuscule of details that only someone who has experienced firsthand can convey believably. For example, in the first episode, Yuu’s father lets slide a casually homophobic comment about worrying that she isn’t in a relationship with someone of the same sex. After this line comes, the director smash cuts to Yuu in dismay at what he said. The tone sharply changes from moment to moment like this on many occasions to great success because of the subtly to which it is executed.
In comparison to Yuu, Touko is rather different in that she knows exactly what she wants and would die before she relinquished her purpose. Touko wants to love Yuu because she can be vulnerable with her, she wants desperately for Yuu to always be there to comfort her. However, she can’t stand the thought of being loved in return by Yuu because of her own insecurities. Throughout the series we see her personality pulled apart and analyzed thoroughly, she is rather basic upon first impression, but look further and there is far more to her than meets the eye. If Yuu were to love her, she would be conflicted, because in her mind she can’t possibly be loved. It’s an upsetting conflict that she endures, but incredibly effective in engaging anyone who has experienced similar insecurities.
Overall, these story beats are delivered with an impressive amount of grace and panache. The dialogue feels very natural, Yuu’s interactions with her friends are realistic and believable. Most of all, the supporting characters are consistent. They don’t have random lapses in their personalities, and if anything changes there’s an explanation for it in their lives. For example, if a character is acting awkward towards the suggestion of seeing a romance movie, it’s because they had their heart broken recently and needed a push to mention it to their friends. There’s a layer of depth to everyone that is far greater than what is expected of not only yuri, but anime in general.
This is also the rare explicitly lesbian show that does not fetishize its characters at all. Touko is very clear about her romantic and physical attraction to Yuu; likewise, Yuu is very clear about her lack of ability to love. Both are treated like fully realized people instead of objects. In figuring out themselves and what they mean to eachother, they do run into a few issues. Nevertheless their relationship is still built on communication, consent, and respecting boundaries. They’re a likable duo and it’s easy to get invested in their development. When the first kiss happens non-consensually, it is apologized for immediately, then it never occurs again. The author very deftly avoids, as well as subverts, the Class-S tropes negatively associated with the yuri genre.
Class-S usually refers to yuri that do not allow their characters to get into serious relationships, they are in high school and have time to play around before they get married to men when they graduate. The author of Bloom Into You has said on a few occasions that this is not a yuri, rather it is a story about girls and love. Understandably she wants to distance her story from negative connotations associated with the genre. Notably, this anime features a healthy adult lesbian relationship, showcasing that there is more to being homosexual and female outside of the scandalous high school melodrama. We also see a supporting character who faced the issue of her lesbian relationship being nullified under the pretense that ‘it’s just a phase’, and from this, she develops into a wonderfully nuanced character.
On the production side, Bloom Into You is magnificent. Beautiful visual storytelling, the storyboards convey characters inner emotions in engaging ways, it is very visually interesting. There are occasional breathtaking moments of sakuga, but what impresses more is the director’s keen eye for editing to clue us in onto how a character is feeling at any given moment. If emotions are obscured it is deliberately so, if they are shown then you have to take into account every little detail given to the audience. One of the best moments of visual storytelling in the first episode is when a rush of water divides Yuu from her friends; this shot perfectly conveys how her lack of understanding of herself divides her from the average teenager. Aside from just visual metaphors, how the story plays out is representative of the internal struggles Yuu and Touko face. The play that Touko desperately wants to enact is a tale of a woman without memories who needs to pick a desirable personality for herself, reflecting her insecurity and desire to better herself.
Punctuating each emotional beat are melancholic piano keys loudly implying the turmoils each character is enduring, and each of them is developed consistently enough for the musical accompaniment to feel very deserved. This is contrasted with melodic orchestral pieces to match the upbeat tone of scenes when characters come together and express heartwarming joy. With a talented and experienced composer like Michiru Oshima producing the soundtrack, the show’s audiovisual splendor blends together with its script wonderfully.
To say that Bloom Into You took me by surprise would be an understatement. At first, its unusually realistic characters blindsided me; Yuu and Touko are superbly nuanced people. They’re lost in the dark trying to find their way through a first relationship just as real people in their situation would. The many relevant themes this series tackles are what give the cast such believability and relatability unlike any other anime in this genre; self-loathing, societal expectations, homophobia, and sexual repression to name a few. Each theme is delivered respectfully and with subtlety. In the first few episodes, the pacing is quite slow, but always purposefully so, and once it gains speed it becomes enrapturing.
Without a doubt, Bloom Into You is the best anime I watched from this season, perhaps even the year. It is a masterfully crafted, unforgettable experience that will leave an impact on me for years to come.
The art of anime adaptations is a fascinating subject that takes many forms. I’m very open minded with just about any genre although when it comes to yuri and shoujo-ai, I’m rather indifferent about it. Recent adaptations of the shoujo-ai genre hardly made an impression on me such as Citrus or Netsuzou Trap. Both of those shows let me down big time with their aggressive stance on relationships. I wanted to see a softer side of the shoujo-ai genre without subscribing to sexual same gender relationships that relies on shock service. Thankfully, Yagate Kimi no Naru is the answer.
I’m not too familiar with the community related to shoujo-ai works but it’s clear that the manga has popularity. The series was launched in April 2015 from the Monthly Comic Dengeki Daioh and in the present, it has over 500k printing copies and ongoing. However, I was also curious about the anime adaptation after seeing the staff involved. Director Makoto Katou made a rather interesting impression back in 2015 when they directed a mystery light novel adaptation called “Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation”. While this series doesn’t contain much mystery, it definitely made me wonder if it has a similar mystique. Indeed, watching Yagate Kimi ni Naru (Bloom Into You) finally gave me a shoujo-ai that I desired.
Right off the bat, we meet Yuu Koito, a first-year high school student who has a love for shoujo manga. From her perspective, it’s easy to see what love is on a fictional level. It isn’t until a second-year student named Touko Nanami comes into her life that she really begin to experience what life and love is. Similar to Yuu, Touko also has trouble experiencing love although it’s clear that her mind is set to understand it. As a student, she is very admirable for her dependable personality and someone the freshmen look up to. However, all this seems to be masking her insecurity. The truth is, Touko has many weaknesses underneath her cool persona. It’s shown throughout the series that she feels loneliness due to her past and Yuu becomes the only person that she trusts in. On the other hand, Yuu seems to be more wary about love and wants to experience it. However, her view towards love is not as dedicated as Touko. She wants to experience love but often denies feelings of it. Yuu’s personality is more the opposite of Touko’s as she is indecisive at times, including her own future. So to say the least, how can these two develop a genuine relationship?
Honestly, I think the main draw of the show isn’t to see if the main characters can get together as a couple. Rather, it’s about how characters experience love and what love really means to them. Realistically, both characters views love in different ways although it’s clear that they lack experience in it. Touko is the more obvious with her insecure personality where she often isn’t sure what to do to make happy moments with Yuu. On the other hand, Yuu often believes what she experiences to be more of a fantasy than actual love. I guess part of that comes from reading all those shoujo manga although as the series progresses, she begins to grow out of her shell. The storytelling continues to test the two’s relationship on many levels. It’s a show that capitalizes on bringing in drama and thankfully, I can say that it accomplishes that very well. The drama sells with the character personalities, behaviors, dialogues, and realistic feelings. I’m also more pleased to say that everything in the show felt very real. Characters behave like humans do especially for high school students of their age. It’s a time period when young people want to get the best out of their lives and love is often a prominent part of growing up. To me, this show manages to capture the essence of character growing up while discovering what love is about.
While Yuu and Touko are the most prominent characters, it’s hard to take eyes off of some of the others. Sayaka Saeki is a good example as someone who used to attend an all-girls school and became a close friend with Touko. The two work together as part of the student council but it’s very clear that Sayaka sees her more than a friend. Love is the easiest way to describe it. It’s also easy to see why she falls for her too considering their similar personalities. Both Sayaka and Touko are hardworking individuals who are willing to help others. However, Sayaka is perhaps less outgoing compared to Touko and thus, not as easily as approachable. The series doesn’t dedicate to their relationship but it’s interesting to see Sayaka’s vision of love. In essence, she hides her feelings and is not someone that’s easy to read on the surface. This is a contrast to both Yuu and Touko as those two tends to say what’s on their mind. On a lesser extent, we also get to see the relationship between Miyako and Riko which is shown to be very healthy in nature. Their relationship is relaxing and almost like a contrast to the drama that we see so often in the story.
As for the shoujo-ai genre, I think it’s pretty easy to recognize that pretty much all the main characters are lesbians in one way or another. Some are to a lesser but it’s pretty clear from the start. What were you expecting though? The anime advertised itself as such with the same gender relationships so be prepared to subscribe to that from start to finish. But as a show with a lot of drama, I should say to watch this with a careful focus on the characters. Watch for what they say, how they behave, and their intentions. For me, I find the most complex character to be Yuu since her personality is often sarcastic and believes too much into fictional love. This is true especially in the beginning where it became hard to know what she really wants. The more I watched though, the more I came to accept Yuu for who she is and her quest to discover love. And that’s what I find so entrancing about this show.
In perhaps a coincidental timeline, we also get Troyca as the studio. It’s the same one that worked on Sakurako’s Investigation with the exact same director. As my first impression, this anime managed look colorful and vibrant with its character designs. There’s a feminine charm for the majority of the cast that really brings the elegance out of the characters. The emotional context are captured with the vivid details of body language and human expressions. The background visual quality is also stellar with a certain degree feeling of photorealism. Some of the scenes during the mid-season episodes like the ones with the bridge stands out the most. Last but not least, I would like to mention that character voice mannerism for the main cast is portrayed with supreme talent. Not only did I feel attached to their personalities, these characters also sounded like they belong in this anime from the beginning.
Ah, it’s about damn time. I’ve been indifferent about shoujo-ai shows for a good while but after seeing Yagate Kimi ni Naru, I may change my mind. This show managed to capture the expression of love in ways that exceed my expectations. It seized opportunities to recreate a sensational drama without stepping over the line. Keep your pants on because you’re not going to get sexual shock content all over your face. What you get is a drama done right in the most entrancing way possible. It’s almost perfect.
The show is very clearly, a romance genre. The key to any good romance media is the relationship: nothing else matters that much. My problem with the show is that it doesn’t try to make the relationships between our main characters all that interesting. An issue with many yuri or yaoi animes are that they use the idea that they are in a gay relationship to hide the fact that there is no real substance or development; they are too lazy to create anything interesting about the relationship besides the fact that they’re lesbians. The setting isn’t the issue either as there are a ton of romance anime that do well in mundane settings (and even if a romance media is set in a more unconventional and/or radical setting- the relationships itself isn’t taken over by the setting) because romance genres aren’t really supposed to be about exterior factors that govern the story’s universe per say, rather a device to tell a love story. My point being, the environment or exterior factors shouldn’t be the most important part overshadowing the characters, but should be used as an effective agent in portraying a relationship. However, Bloom Into You makes this mistake repeatedly throughout its course as boring subplots distract us from the main focus of the anime, the relationship.
So why was the relationship so uninteresting? Or, at least why did I subjectively find it bland? Well, it has to do with the romance development/buildup and characterization. A great romance anime that does this very well is Kimi Ni Todoke. There are certainly a lot of cute romance scenes in Bloom Into You, but it isn’t memorable or as effective as they could be. This is because there is no real buildup to the romance scenes or context, (for God’s sake one of the main characters doesn’t even reciprocate the same feelings) which makes the scenes unsatisfying and coming out of nowhere. There is no longing, no real angst that make the romance scenes worth while in this anime. Kimi Ni Todoke, my aforementioned example, takes the time to show longing, reciprocation of feelings as well as showing who each of the characters are: this is what makes trivial scenes of even the characters smiling at each other enjoyable and satisfying- overall making it an effective romance medium. Bloom Into You doesn’t do this very well either. Even in supposed-to-be emotional scenes, I fail to sympathize with any of the characters, and I’m a really emotional person, so it says a lot! There is no real character in dialogue, visuals or voice acting. It feels completely bland and lifeless, a very frustrating issue because the anime is centered around our characters and their relationship with each-other. There is just genuinely no substance in dialogue either which makes it very hard to emotionally relate with the last-minute backstory. Just overall making the characters less likable and therefore the romance/ their relationships less interesting and engaging.
A very important note I’d like to mention is the trend in a lot of animes that I’d like to call The Aesthetic Effect. The Aesthetic Effect is used in animes with “pretty” visuals, stories, music and concepts to be used as a facade to it’s mediocre nature. How vague the show is and the inoffensive factors of this anime make it desirable and appealing to a lot of the general audience. I think not only is this anime extremely bland, but also quite offensive at times by using lesbians as a token to justify dislikable behaviour to say the least of the main character Nanami forcefully putting herself upon the clearly uninterested Yuu. Not to be THAT person, but if a male character did things Nanami did to Yuu, it would be seen as extremely creepy. I found these scenes very unsightly and uncomfortable, which is the least thing you want for a romantic scene in a cute anime. To wrap things up, it is very clear this anime was made by people who see lesbians as an easy token key to attract audiences without adding real substance. Bloom Into You is just vague, pretty, attractive concepts jumbled into an unprofessional mess with the name of aesthetically pleasing romance. I will never understand why this anime is so overrated and put on a pedestal for being some sort of groundbreaking anime as it is just plain out boring with not really anything new to offer. Do yourself a favor and don’t watch this anime, it’s just a waste of time and it will leave you with nothing.
TL;DR – boring and mediocre, uses gay tokenism to hide behind it’s flaws.
2: IDOLiSH7: Second Beat!
English: IDOLiSH7 Second BEAT!
Japanese: アイドリッシュセブン Second BEAT!
MAL Score: 8.15
Following their performance at the Black or White event, the idol group IDOLiSH7 is at the height of its popularity, with offers for various concerts and work coming in every day, much to the joy of the seven boys and their manager. However, as their fame continues to rise, Riku Nanase’s health begins worsening due to the heavy workload.
With the gigantic idol duo Re:vale showing interest in the group and the reopening event of the Zero Arena coming up, IDOLiSH7: Second Beat follows IDOLiSH7 as they not only struggle to adapt to the challenges of the idol life but also to face their personal troubles, all while continuously meeting the expectations of their treasured fans.
I’ll keep it a buck on the sound and art: I love both now, but I didn’t always. I will say I saw a lot more to love this season as far as the art style was concerned, but I came to love it initially since it wasn’t entirely eye-catching. The sound–talking about the OSTs here rather than the idol groups’ music–has its moments, but for the most part, it’s pretty average.
This anime still deserves a ten, though, because it baffles me how well IDOLISH7 can tell a story. Even though this anime is the best in the genre, it *is* still an idol anime, and yet the story feels as high stakes as a Shounen. That’s insane, to me. The story in this season was really damn good, and that’s because it took the parameters of an idol anime and did the absolute most with them.
Not to mention the character work, holy hell. This anime can get *dark,* y’all. I mean this honestly: I’ve seen anime with cult followings do character development worse than this anime, and especially this season in particular (FMAB, I’m lookin’ at you). It isn’t like every character has a storyline that’s deep and meaningful this season, but there were key characters that were focused on that allowed every character to develop in some way through the struggles the focal characters were going through. And when I say this anime can get dark, I mean that it’s not afraid to go to the dark corners of these characters’ minds to retrieve a realistic representation of what they’re feeling in the context of the story. I mean, the touchy-feely moments/speeches were usually cringy with a few exceptions, but everything else was done so well. I felt so connected to these characters the entire time.
More people need to watch this anime because, for real, it’s something special. I don’t feel that way about a lot of things, but IDOLISH7 has convinced me. I’m pumped for the next stage.
I am not joking when I say this is one of the best, if not, THE BEST idol anime I have ever watched (specifically male idol anime).
I am so confused as to why not a lot of people are watching this. Is it because it’s a male idol anime and most of the characters are boys? Is it because it’s from a game? Is it because it looks like fujobait? Is it because it’s probably a boring reverse harem with a boring MC? (it’s not).
People are sleeping VERY hard on this show.
Okay, to be honest, the story isn’t too amazing but it’s better than most idol anime out there. It sometimes gets a bit too cliche at times but if you can turn a blind eye to that, it’s a pretty solid show. Each character gets their own arc (a lot of them are pretty damn deep) and I like that a lot.
Art is very cute, all the characters are drawn very well and the animation is pretty solid. I personally still can’t bare the 3DCG during the performances because it always looks so stiff and out of place, but it’s only during most of the performances so it’s fine really.
Honestly… it’s just generic idol music. There really isn’t that much of a difference from other idol anime… a lot of the songs are quite catchy (Natsu Shiyouze is stuck in my head), but the more you listen to it the more you realize it’s just… well… idol music. I like them because I’m a huge seiyuu-ota and I love my seiyuus.
In my honest, true to god opinion, this is the best part of the show. All the characters are well written, they all have a valid reason as to why they want to become an idol. It’s not your typical “it’s always been my dream to be an idol” or “i want to be like this person i admire/idolize” kind of reason. They all have actually interesting reasons why.
The characters aren’t perfect ikemen/bishounen pretty boys either, they all each have their individual flaws, and the problems they deal with actually make a ton of sense and are all very interesting.
Their manager, isn’t a generic whiny girl either. She actually wants the best for the boys and is always trying her best. I really like the fact that she treats the boys as if they’re her children and I like that she has no romantic feelings towards anyone at all and knows her role as a manager.
I enjoyed this show a lot. It made me cry, made me wheeze of laughter and it sometimes made me cringe too. I looked forward to every episode, every week and I never get tired of it no matter how many times I watch it. It’s super fun and entertaining and the chemistry between all the characters is very fun to watch.
I gave this show a 10/10, because in general, I like to watch a lot of male idol anime, and a lot of them are guilty pleasures to me because I’m aware most of them aren’t even good. So when I found an actually good male idol anime, I was amazed. I fell in love. When getting into IDOLiSH7, I wasn’t expecting to find a gem at all, but I did. It’s one of the few idol anime that is actually good and has a decent story with good and non-generic characters. I liked Second Beat! a tad bit more than the first season, because we got to see the darker side of things and we got more information on the antagonist(?) of the story (not really sure if he’s considered as an antagonist, but he currently seems like he is), and also I got to see something about my favorite character (which is Tamaki), I won’t say any more info on that because it’s spoilers.
We also got to see more on another idol unit, RE:VALE, and the problems they’re dealing with too.
I look forward to the 3rd Season a lot, I have high expectations and I hope it stays as a good gem.
I want more people to watch this too because I personally think this brilliant show needs all the attention and notoriety it can get.
Warning! Spoiler alert!
Second Beat continues the story of the first season, as IDOLiSH7 continues the navigate the treacherous and tricky world of the music industry. The next stepping stone in their journey is a joint concert alongside TRIGGER and a veteran idol duo called Re:vale. Much like the show’s first season, Second Beat isn’t afraid to dig deep into the complications and intricacies of an idol’s job, such as internal struggles, health problems and the struggle to maintain one’s relevancy and popularity in a world of increasingly divided opinions.
Once again, IDOLiSH7 demonstrates its ability to deliver a good balance between comedy and drama. Seriously, this show can have you shed tears one moment and make you laugh the next, and it all makes perfect sense within the narrative. While the struggle to succeed isn’t easy, the results are extremely rewarding and IDOLiSH7 succeeds in reconstructing everything we love about the musical genre. (8/10)
The beating heart of IDOLiSH7 is and has always been the characters. An episode doesn’t go by that doesn’t make you care about the characters and the struggles they endure. Aside from the returning cast, we also see new characters, such as the Re:vale duo, who faces their own drama throughout the story. Every character faces a conflict of some sort, but the show presents that conflict in a natural and organic manner, instead of indulging in melodrama. (8/10)
This is one of the prettiest shows I’ve ever watched. The character designs are attractive, the lighting and the backgrounds are beautifully drawn and detailed and the CGI sequences are properly choreographed and don’t take you away from the story. From its technical merits alone, IDOLiSH7 is already a masterpiece (9/10)
Do we really need to talk about the excellence of this show’s musical department? Joining IDOLiSH7 and TRIGGER is Re:vale, with their beautiful voices and incredible dancing. Even when the characters aren’t performing music, the vocal performances are outstanding. Souma Saito is one of my favorite voice actors in the business and he has great chemistry with his co-stars (especially with Kensho Ono), and I enjoyed the vocal performances of Atsushi Abe, KENN and Shinnosuke Tachibana. (9/10)
Second Beat continues the greatness of IDOLiSH7 franchise by delivering a good anime with an interesting story and likeable characters. I’m really glad a third season was confirmed because there’s still so much story left to tell with these characters and so much potential to explore. This is a great anime and I highly recommend it. (8/10)
1: IDOLiSH7: Third Beat!
English: IDOLISH7 Third BEAT!
Japanese: アイドリッシュセブン Third BEAT!
MAL Score: 8.27
Nearing their first debut anniversary and with their popularity still on the rise, IDOLiSH7 set a date for a live tour to express their gratitude toward their fans. Meanwhile, the Black or White event draws closer—and as the previous year’s winners—the group must prepare to take on the challengers. Looking to solidify their reputation in the world of idols, IDOLiSH7 are determined to come out victorious and settle the score once and for all with their rival, TRIGGER.
While working around their packed schedules, IDOLiSH7, TRIGGER, and Re:vale meet powerful figures in the entertainment industry. In the midst of the hectic period, some members catch wind of a scandalous rumor regarding IDOLiSH7. As the members of IDOLiSH7 begin to worry about their image, their bonds are put to the test, all while a spiteful figure begins to carry out a certain plan behind the scenes.
Let me tell you something: there are entire, hundreds of episodes long shounens that can’t do suspense and tension like IDOLISH7 can. There were way more instances this season than there should have reasonably been for an idol anime where I was absolutely astounded at the intensity and dark themes that bled all over the place. Admittedly, the last third of this season wasn’t quite up to the standards I expect from IDOLISH7 at this stage, which is why I’ve not given it a 10, but the majority of this season was more heat than anything I’ve seen from this show so far. Which is my favorite part of the whole experience. Who doesn’t want to walk away from every episode feeling hype?
In more concrete terms, this season took a departure from the personal dramas the characters were experiencing that were beginning to feel underwhelming and used the season to widen the scale of the series from being about seven guys and their friends to being about the entire industry. With that came new character developments that felt fresh and positively contributed to the new tone being built this season. But the thing that I found the most impressive is that this half of season three was meant to set up for the second half, and yet, this half didn’t feel like it was only doing what it had to do. It had so much color within it that it felt like the point of the whole series, despite the fact that it was only an introduction to everything else.
Back into the small issue I had with this season, I’ll mention that the way certain stories were revealed this season, as well as a few events that happened, felt disconnected from the rest of the story. They even felt like a drop in quality from the rest of the season. It’s not that insane things have to happen every episode, but the navigation between lightheartedness and the darker, soap opera-esque content wasn’t great this season.
Continuing with the good stuff, we had some super interesting characters make their debuts this season. One of them in particular is one of the most intriguing characters I’ve seen in recent anime for a long, long time. I thought the character relationships that got introduced and developed this season were much preferable to the ones we’ve gotten before now. It’s not that those relationships were forgotten, but the plot did acknowledge that they needed to be shelved for the time being to introduce fresh concepts.
I guess the main point I have with this review is that IDOLISH7 took a step outside of its box and managed to make a really fascinating season full of drama and suspense and darkness that was extremely enticing to come back to week after week. I think the direction it’s going in has the potential to be really flat if it doesn’t bring back some of the heavier themes that were within this season, but if those themes continue, IDOLISH7 will only get better. I’m more excited about this anime than I have been about an anime in a long time, so I’ll be in this for the long haul.
|Little spoilers on songs appear in this seasons|
* English is not my first language so there will be grammar mistake. Hopefully you guys can understand.
This season, IDOLiSH7 will dig deep into that dark side of the entertainment industry, it fills with lies, drama and the powerful one having complete influences and control. As the appearance of new antagonist group, new problems approaching IDOLiSH7 TRIGGER and Re:vale.
The content will be pretty heavy in this season but there still be some quirky, funny scene in the middle to balance your mood ( but better not loosen up cause it can turned back to high intense right away ).
What I love more about i7 story is it surrounding idols and entertainment world but hidden with many beautiful stories about different relationships in life: between the entertainers and the fans, friendships and partnerships that could make you cry and especially family relationships ( If you take a quick review on the main characters, they all have some kind of struggle with their family ).
Even when I already read the story through game before, watching it got animated still surprise me so much.
– Stages Performance
TROYCA studio never disappointed me, this season art is pretty well polished. However the transition between 2D art and CGI still felt quite stiff and unnatural. This should be 8 but the Sakura Message was SOOO BEAUTIFUL so I’ll put 9.
One more thing is I love how they recreate the actual performance of the VAs in real life concerts ( back in 2018 and 2019 ) in the anime. It definitely erase that line between anime and reality, makes IDOLiSH7 become an ‘actual’ thing.
All the supported characters that don’t have faces in the game got animated or they deliver some small new scenes – which not included in the game is really interesting. I can felt like the anime is good on its own ( despite the fact it’s an ‘adaption’ )
– Small details
There were also many easter eggs ( numbers and symbolism is really important in IDOLiSH7’s world ) especially those scenes included clock in Re:member arc shows how the animation producers pay attention to every little details.
– Characters facial expression
It’s not pretty/cute/shining handsome idols all the time. This already shown in the first two season but I’m enjoyed this 3rd ss characters facial expression the most. Idols is human after all, they can also have all of that anger, pain and tears, and I love how TROYCA portray their face emotions, it not too exaggerated but very captivating ( and humorous too ).
Because it is an idol anime so music must be good… And it is !
I always enjoy songs coming from this franchise, they really catchy ( this season got all of my favorite songs ! )
∙OP THE POLiCY – it’s not my most favorite op out of three ss, it still gives you the cheerful idol’ish’ vibes of IDOLiSH7 but WiSH VOYAGE from ss1 really stonk in my mind
(WV is one of the winners in 2018 Newtype Anime Award in Best theme songs category)
but it’s just my own opinion cause TP still has rly high rank in jp.
∙ED PLACES – the exact opposite from that happy and colorful opening, ‘PLACES’ by TRIGGER appeared in a monochrome theme and that last scene when three members hands reach to each other just impressed me ( there’re also meaning behind their hands position ! ). The song lyrics basically tell you the story of TRG in this 3rd ss and I would say this is the best ending of this year summer anime.
∙Special ED Mikansei na bokura and Dis One: Just show how amazing i7’s VAs singing skills are, Mikansei na bokura touched my heart and I cried like crazy.
– Background music/ Sound Effects
∙Scenes with Tsukumo with the crazy background efx raised the tension up high + Hiroki Takahashi incredible dubbing skills really gave me chills. I cannot breathe when Tsukumo Ryo pops up, it scared me.
∙They didn’t use any bgm in ep8 ( Re:vale past ) just pure sound effects which is a whole different and refresh experience. I was at home watching the anime but it seemed like sitting in a cinema. The feeling was so realistic as if you was actually inside the anime ( especially Banri and Yuki scene in front of the railway ). This new kind of approach mesmerize me, you can’t even blink with this ep.
∙Shirai Yusuke (Yamato) and Hiroki Takahashi (Ryo) are real stars in this season. Some others outstanding I need to mention Tachibana Shinnosuke (Yuki), Saito Soma (Tenn – for him singing Dis One) and Wataru Hatano (Gaku). The voice acting somehow grow with their characters development and it is really GOOD.
– Btw I think IDOLiSH7 is the only anime on earth didn’t let viewers see their opening till the fourth episode 🙂 ( correct me if im wrong ). They just like to surprise you all the time – I remembered the hashtag #OPなし (there’s no op) on jp twitter top trending back in the first 3 weeks airing this anime 🙂 It just so fun.
And the ED just pop out of nowhere, just watched for about 12 minutes and you see the credits already… that’s how i7’s anime is… expect for the unexpected.
– Overall I think they improved the sound quality a lot this season so they deserve a praise.
– What makes me admired IDOLiSH7 is how well they develop the characters, not just the idols, but the supporting ones like the managers or the fans. The viewers can actually feel related to those support char reaction.
– In this first cour, some problems about the past finally brought to light and many new challenges stepped in so you can see different development in the characters mind (Iori thoughts about Riku and i7’s future, further insight between Re:vale members TRG, and new characters approaching the entertainment world). Literally EVERY SINGLE characters got developed.
for ex: Mitsuki scared of getting bashed and hated in ss2 but he stay strong and changed so much ( pay attention to his lines )
*My only problem with this anime
– Well because it is an adaption ( and IDOLiSH7 did justice with the anime stay faithful to the in-game main story ) and anime has time restriction. I feel rushed sometime watching the anime, at some particular point, the mood changed so quick so my feeling kinda hung up.
– I’m a fan of this franchise for all most a year, so of course I am ! I’m just really happy that i7 has come this far, even the creators back then didn’t expect to make the 2nd season so to see anime quality just keep getting better and better through each seasons it’s amazing. Well it just the first cour and everything has just begun 🙂 fasten your seat belt 🙂 I’m really excited for what’s coming up next, can they impressed me even more ? And hopefully a 4th season in the future !
– IDOLiSH7 is not the best anime ever but I believe the most beloved work by the fans, the staffs and the casts so I have really high hopes for this series and it would be nice if this anime could reach to more audiences – IDOLiSH7 is not just an idol anime ( more like ‘mental training’ anime as what the fandom and the casts called i7 ). It will not giving much of fanservice ( even when their main target is female audience but i7 story interested a big amount of male fans ! )
This might really changed your mind about idols genre in general so please give it a try !
One of the things I’ve always admired about IDOLiSH7 is that it digs deep into the complications and intricacies of the idol business and this season ramps things up to 11 by introducing a genuinely antagonistic group in the form of ZOOL, which threatens to rip our favorite idol groups apart by using underhanded tactics like spreading lies, rumors and misinformation, which, as some people deeply involved in the entertainment industry will tell you, happens very often in real life.
Off-stage politics play a huge part in this season’s intrigue, as I7, TRIGGER and Re:Vale struggle to maintain their sincerity and genuine hard work against a group that freely admits to have been manufactured. Once again, IDOLiSH7 depicts the dark side of the entertainment industry. Some people don’t care about art or entertainment, they just care about making money and will do whatever it takes to get it, even if that means disrespecting others and tarnishing their reputations.
Without giving away too much, this season ends in something of a cliffhanger that leaves you both worried about our protagonists and excited about what will happen next. (7/10)
Of course, IDOLiSH7 wouldn’t be the roaring success it is today without characters to push the narrative forward. Characters are the life-blood of the story and I7 is primarily a character-driven story. After 2 seasons of playing coy about his past, Yamato is finally forced to confront the demons of his past, a past he hoped against hope itself would stay buried and I feel this was the turning point of the entire season. No matter how hard you try to bury it, your past will catch up to you. It’s how you deal with those demons what defines you as a person.
The antagonists are a bit of a mixed bag for me. On one hand, they’re interesting because they provide the greatest challenge I7 has faced so far. On the other hand, they feel bland and generic. The antagonists are an evil corporate executive and his group of manufacted idols. That’s it. That’s a concept that has been used countless times in multiple media, and this season doesn’t put an interesting spin on it.
Despite this, I7 succeeds in what matters most: making me care about the characters and their struggles. (8/10)
At this point, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I7 features some of the most stunning visuals in anime history. Everything from the character designs and movements to the brightness and backgrounds looks clean and refined. If this was a rushed job, it is significantly better than a rushed job has any right to be. (8/10).
As expected of an idol anime, I7 does not disappoint with its music; but what really sticks with me is the voice work. I think the best scene in the whole season was the scene where Yamato bares his soul to his friends about his past and his relationship with his father. Not only does it provide good character development for Yamato, it gives Yuusuke Shirai a chance to display his talents as a VA. (8/10)
In closing here, season 3 of IDOLiSH7 is a good continuation to the story of our favorite idols. Like I said before, if this was a rushed job, it is better than a rushed job has any right to be. Right from the beginning, we were told that this was merely setup to a story that will be continued in a later season, so I can only hope that new season reaches sooner rather than later; but for now, we have 3 seasons to enjoy. (8/10)
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. IDOLiSH7: Third Beat!
2. IDOLiSH7: Second Beat!
3. Yagate Kimi ni Naru
6. Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru
8. Aldnoah.Zero 2nd Season