Hello and welcome to the first review of this season’s sole male idol anime- IDOLiSH7! It is a double review for the first and second episodes that aired as one 45-minute special. For an introduction to the series, I recommend you take a look at this article below!
Now, I want to make it clear here that as a player of the game, I do already know what will happen in the story, but I am excited to see how anime production studio TROYCA will be adapting it into anime! Let’s go!
Japanese title: shaking your heart / 始まりのステージ
The Seven Samurai are cooler than The Three Little Pigs
Tsumugi Takanashi enters her father’s idol production company Takanashi Productions as a hopeful manager. Fellow employee Banri Ogami takes her to meet 7 hopeful idols as they are playing basketball. This is actually exactly the same introduction as in the game, and it was great to see such an iconic scene actually animated rather than having to use the on-screen text to imagine the basketball game. I remember enjoying each character being introduced as they are playing, and with the animation, it is even easier to get an idea of each of the character’s personalities in just a few seconds. Tsumugi is asked right away by her father to hold auditions in order to cut down the number to 3. Of course, Tsumugi cannot split up a group who go together so well (despite their fights) and keeps them together. Unsurprisingly, it was the president’s plan all along! And so, IDOLiSH7 is formed! Although it was a little cliché, Tsumugi’s confidence as she explains her reasoning for choosing each of them was very convincing.
After the formation of the group, Tsumugi and the boys get ready right away for their first live performance. The scene where Tsumugi was taking pictures of the boys for the website was a delight to watch. This episode also showed her optimism, yet served as an important lesson to the young manager. Although the ending was quite heartwarming, I do wonder how on earth Takanashi Production can cover the cost of renting the arena and equipment….
All in all, in this episode we got to learn a lot about the personalities of each of the characters and there was plenty of foreshadowing regarding each of their backgrounds, which will be revealed in later episodes.
The animation of the show is very bright and smooth. Of course, there are parts that are not perfect, but it’s been pretty nice so far. The character designs for the anime differ ever so slightly to the game in order to make the animation smooth. This mostly consists of changing facial proportions ever so slightly, but I don’t think there are any problems here. The original character designs for IDOLiSH7 were done by popular shojo manga artist Arina Tanemura (known for Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne and Full Moon wo Sagashite) and were then adapted for the game. The character designs for the anime were done by animator Kazumi Fukugawa, who has also been illustrating for the game and has designed most of the CD jackets. I feel that it’s quite special that Fukagawa herself has done the designs for the anime.
IDOLiSH7 does use CG for the live sequences, which seems to be the general deal for idol anime these days. I personally have nothing against CG scenes as it’s surely difficult to animate by hand so many sequences. However, every season the CG sequences in this kind of shows get less and less awkward, and the CG for the song Monster Generation performed at the end of the episode was really well executed. The production company has obviously taken a lot of care to make the models resemble the 2D figures as much as possible, and you can also see each individual character’s personality shine through. Although I don’t think CG should entirely take over hand-drawn (the hand-drawn dance sequences in Idolmaster SideM last season were great), I think we are getting to the point now that we can start to accept it.
The background music for the anime has been pretty cool so far. As well as some very modern poppy background music, there are also remixes of the music from the games. It’s all very bright and poppy, but I’m looking forward to hearing what kind of BGM will be used in the more serious scenes.
Yay! Here is where I can breathe the biggest sigh of relief. Often in works based on games, the main female lead is quite plain. Now, this is not in and of itself a terrible thing, as the main character is supposed to be a blank slate for the player to project themselves onto. The main female lead is often just something for the boys to react to, and this unfortunately does not translate well into anime. However, IDOLiSH7 is not a romance game, and the personalities of the boys are easily expressed via their interactions with each other. In fact, there are plenty of scenes (most of them, actually), where Tsumugi does not appear at all. This means that she can have a well-developed personality. I already liked her in the game, but she is even more well-grounded in the anime version in my humble opinion. She is sweet, kind and gentle and overflowing with optimism. However, she is mature, hardworking, and determined. For example, she was obviously disappointed with the turnout at the first concert, but she swallowed back her tears and took responsibility. She quietly reflected on what had happened. Although each of the boys are very protective of Tsumugi and there is a certain, *ahem*, noodle-loving idol that falls head over heels for her, she is not here simply to be an object of affection for the male characters.
Satomi Sato is also doing a great job playing Tsumugi, and her ‘sdfjasbdfb’ when Nagi kisses her hand was a moment of perfection.
Okay, that’s enough of my public love confession. Watch out G***, Tsumugi is mine!
- The fact that Nagi’s first line is a gentle ‘yas’ as he passes the basketball had me in tears.
- Tsumugi in a suit! <3
- Tsumugi’s reaction when Nagi kissed her hand is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. I watched it about 5 times.
- Riku’s angry face is the least threatening thing I’ve ever seen.
- Tamaki wanted to name the group after himself.
- When Ryu is about to take off his clothes on the music programme, good lord!!
- Mitsuki’s impression of his younger brother was absolutely on point.
- Banri didn’t break his promise to wave glow sticks for 10!
- The way we got a basic idea of each member of TRIGGER’s personalities in just a few seconds in the car ride was pretty clever.
- When Sogo and Yamato go out to buy drinks, both the vending machine, drinks, and even the car park they were standing next to, looked almost exactly like the real ones here in Japan. It helps to reinforce the fact that IDOLiSH7 are right here with us and helps us build a connection to them.
- In the first episode, Tsumugi is looking at the CVs of each of the members. What stuck out for me is Mitsuki’s (which has probably been written in permanent marker) which says in HUGE letters how he wants to become an idol like the legendary Zero.
- Also on the CVs, you can see that Tamaki has written that he wants to be on TV. This will play an important part later in the story. For his appeal point it seems he wrote ‘King Pudding’, though.
- On Sogo’s CV, he has left the appeal point box blank, representing how he still doesn’t quite know who he is and what his goals are.
- You may have noticed that Riku’s Monster Generation outfit is quite…revealing…to say the least. Let’s just say that they raised the waist of his trousers quite a bit for the anime version…
- There is a clear shot of Sogo’s behind during the Monster Generation dance sequence. This may or may not be a reference to the Restart Pointer music video. The clear shot of said behind 1:38 seconds in is quite infamous amongst fans. Check it out in the video below. By the way, the opening sequence for the anime, ‘Wish Voyage’, has been animated by Kamikaze Douga, who also animated the Restart Pointer music video!
Until Our Next Concert
I am living for this anime right now. I guess I have my rose-tinted glasses on as I am coming from the fandom and already have a lot of love for the story and characters. The voice acting (actually getting to hear the characters talk in a natural pace rather than the line-by-line I’m used to from the game) is spot-on, the animation is not bad, and the music is surprisingly cool. I guess from now on I will mostly be looking out for the justice the anime can serve to the story, and most importantly for me, the series composition! It seems we will be having 17 episodes, which I think is just about enough if we are going right to the end of Part 1 of the story.
Next episode: Each person’s feelings (それぞれの気持ち)
Winter 2018 | Anime Info