Bakumatsu Rock

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

What. The. Heck. Is. This. Thing.

Okay, let’s start with facts. This adapts a PSP rhythm game. It’s nominally set in the Bakumatsu era (mid-19th century, at the transition between Edo & Meiji), but in practice it’s a gleeful anachronism stew. The plot involves the EVIL government enforcing a monopoly on music (only a few selected musicians/idols can play, and only the totally insipid J-Pop-ish “Heaven’s Song” repertoire), and a ragtag bunch of handsome rebels fighting back with the power of ROCK (also insipid J-Pop).

Characters

Ryouma is our red-headed, pointy-haired protagonist. He’s a moron who can barely scrape a living thanks to the generousity of a couple of friends (who do have proper jobs). Nobody cares about his “music”. He somehow was gifted a guitar by a mysterious “master”, and raising enough fuss in his inept attempts at gathering an audience that the authorities are starting to take notice. And because he’s the hero, his music gives him glamour superpowers at the end of the episodes, just in time for the insert song.

“Cindy” (who resents the girly nickname) and “Doc” (who can build stuff like samurai-detectors) are two disciples of the same mysterious master who are investigating the bozo wandering around cluelessly with their master’s guitar. Cue the usual misunderstandings, until Ryouma’s “charm” eventually wins them over.

The authorities are also handsome dudes, because of course they are. While the top echelons are obviously EVIL, several of the rank and file look well on their way to changing sides – they certainly seem to like this new ROCK thing.

There are some female characters around. Aside from that one friendly restaurant owner (who’s voiced by a guy), they’re all idiots, easily fooled by the government’s scheme.

Production Values

Together with Free!, this makes Wednesdays “fanservice for women” day, because there are sure a lot of handsome dudes on display here. And despite having way less excuses for taking their shirts off all the time, they do show off their abs a lot.

This is a shiny and day-glo production, because of course idols. I’m a bit wary about the CG animation for the song numbers ; not because it looks bad, but because the director is resorting to many editing tricks to use as little of it as possible, often using static shots instead. Are we already having budget problems ?

Overall Impression

Well, this is certainly a thing. It’s obviously a joke, and to its credit it commits all the way to it. The problem is that it’s more baffling than actually funny. It certainly isn’t helped by charisma-depleted main characters, and music that’s just bland J-Pop. And I’m certainly not part of the core audience.

As a rhythm game, I can see this being quite fun. As a full-blown anime series, it’s just a bit tedious. One episode was way enough for me.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Summer 2014.

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Jhiday

I've been kinda blogging about anime for years... but mostly on forums (such as RPG.net's Tangency) and other sites. This site is an archive for all that stuff, just in case.

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