The sun has been out and bright in Paris, and MyAnimeList has been down. Therefore, with the exception of seasonals, I haven’t been keeping up with anime as much as I normally do.
That being said, after my friend asked me for weeks (and weeks…and weeks) to watch a show she recommended, I finally got around to it in my downtime. Whilst I’ve seen and enjoyed shows like Love Live!, and play the Ensemble Stars gacha game semi religiously, I’m not usually a big fan of idol centred shows. With my expectations low…I’m happy to say that iDOLISH7 exceeded all my expectations and was actually a really great show.
“Working at an agency owned by your father, seven new idols await. They are all part of an idol unit IDOLiSH7, and each of them have unique personalities. It is your task to manage them. In order to achieve the same goals, as manager and idols together, you gather the seven ununified hearts and aim for the top.” (From MyAnimeList)
The synopsis really leaves a lot to be desired, and as someone who has never played the iDOLiSH7 game, I essentially went in blind. From a game adaptation (and I’ve seen plenty), I was expecting to be hit with…well, just a lazy way to maybe convince me to play the game, but mostly get existing fans to buy merchandise. And I mean… I wasn’t wrong. They certainly convinced me to play the game, but half-ass the adaptation they did not.
So, before I get into why I think iDOLiSH7 deserves a mention amongst the endless idol anime we get every season, let’s talk about it as just an idol anime. The most important factors to get right are the characters, and most definitely the music.
In regards to music, iDOLiSH7 is easily one of the best that I’ve heard. The songs are exactly what you’d expect from a newly debuted boyband: cheesy, poppy and catchy as hell. They stray away from the mistake I’ve found in a lot of idol games/media (I love you, Enstars but come on) which is focusing on visuals to carry them through pretty mediocre music, or concentrating so much on the music that they believe that awful CGI/weird power-point slide show animation will cut it.
The CGI looked great (in my opinion), and flowed really well with the 2D animation. The songs are great, and do a great job of displaying each of the boys individual personalities. This detail was also extended to the rivals in iDOLiSH7’s show, who honestly deserve a series of their own, if not just because they proved themselves to be a) killer idols and b) way less 2Dimensional than a 2D idol show would have you initially think.
Going on from this, the characters in iDOLiSH7 were wonderful. A lot of people often write male idol shows off as ‘fujoshi bait’, which at the shallowest level, could be correct. However, the idols are much more than their looks (which, by the way, we should try and apply to real life too, eh?), and show a great deal of depth to their characters besides just ‘I want to be a great idol!!’. My personal favourite storylines were the resident tsundere, Tamaki coming from a pretty tragic family background, with a sister that had been AWOL for the past few years; and the comic-relief (best) boy, Nagi, talking about his struggles to be accepted for who he is due to his background as a foreigner, amongst other things.
No one said that an anime about 7 pretty guys had to be deep, but a little bit of character development never hurt anyone, and the anime pulled it off wonderfully.
Now, my main issue a lot of the time with idol/otome game based anime, is that they focus a lot on the viewer both having a lot of prior knowledge about the source material, and some laziness, since the entire point of the anime is often to sell more merchandise. Not that i7 is any different, I’m sure they wanted to sell a lot of merchandise, too. But they strayed from the lazy route, as well as the prior knowledge route. The show does a great job of introducing you to everyone – even side characters that don’t appear all that much in the main storyline, and explaining the story from scratch without any rush. If iDOLiSH7 had been an original idea, I really wouldn’t have known any differently from the way it was handled. It’s not often we get a highly rated idol show, but standing at a rating of 8.05, iDOLiSH7 has even managed to dethrone music behemoth such as Love Live! School Idol Project, speaking for its quality.
My rating: 8/10
If you like my work and wish to see more, please consider buying me a Ko-Fi!
What do you guys think of game-anime adaptations? What are the good, the bad and the ugly? Are you a fan of idols? When will we get a heavy metal band anime?
Until next time! I will probably try to start posting weekly rather than every day (which fails, every time and results in these long breaks!).