Super Sonico The Animation

(12ish episodes ?)

What’s it about ?

A whole anime series about Nitroplus’s mascot virtual character, because YOU demanded it !

(I certainly didn’t.)


Super Sonico is our focus character, so this is all about her. Sonico being late in the morning ! Sonico being nice to kids ! Sonico at college, where she’s brilliant but as terrible attendance ! Sonico at her job as a gravure idol, where pervert clients try to take advantage of her ! Sonico helping out at her Grandma’s restaurant ! Sonico with her underground band !

It’s hard for any side characters to make an impression when the camera remains laser-targeted at the main character, so the one who does steal the show is her manager at the idol company, mostly because he wears a scary mask for no fathomable reason.

Production Values

You might expect this to feature the 3DCG animation that’s all the rage these days (and was a feature of past Super Sonico clips), but only the ED sequence is like that ; the rest of the series is traditional animation. With quite a bit of fanservice, obviously.

Overall Impression

This is the epitome of vacuity. There’s no escaping it : Super Sonico is a very boring character who leads a very boring life. She’s generically cute, and that’s it. A full episode was already tedious ; I just can’t fathom how anyone could withstand a full series of it.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2014 – Page 3.

Love Live! School Idol Project

(13 episodes)

What’s it about ?

This girls’ high school is about to be closed down, as it’s boring and unable to attract any new students. Clearly the solution is to set up an Idol Club that’ll bring in the new recruits in mass !


Honoka, our protagonist. She alternates between (short) bouts of depression at the idea of her school closing down, and fits of hyperness as she jumps into her new project. Amazingly, the idol thing isn’t entirely her idea : she copied it on the super-hi-tech fancy new school just next door. (Also, it seems a lot of other schools in the country are doing it too.)

Umi & Kotori, her two best friends, who seem much more well-off and having much better grades than her (one’s in the archery club ; the other’s the daughter of the school board chairwoman). Anyway, one’s sceptical, the other more easy-going, and by the end of the episode they’re both on board.

Because of the current crisis, even the student council seems to only have two members. They’re sorry to say they can’t approve of such a stupid idea (they don’t even have the minimum 5 members !). Beyond the façade, they’re really sorry : they too are fishing for any idea to save the school. Yeah, I give them two episodes before they join in too.

In the music room there’s a girl who randomly goes into elaborate idol-like numbers on the piano. She’s so drafted.

I think there’s a character with an Y chromosome that shows up in the background for two seconds.

Production Values

Bright and shiny, as you’d expect. The idol segments (including the OP/ED) are a mixture of traditional animation (for closer shots) and the now mandatory elaborate CG dancing segments, which looks slightly more natural than the all-CG trend that’s been all the rage lately.

The musical number themselves are perfectly fine, and the remainder of the soundtrack goes out of its way to be as melodramatic and over-the-top as possible.

Overall Impression

There’s no getting around it : this is a very stupid premise indeed. The good news is that the creative team have committed to it with gusto, making it as fun and hyper as it could be. Yes, it’s silly, but it’s got so much energy and enthusiasm that you can’t help rooting for our heroines.

Special mention to the ending of the episode : after a setback, our three leads start making gestures and proclamations that get more and more dramatic (almost operatic), until they smoothly launch into the ED’s musical number. It’s a transition that has to be seen to be believed, and it works perfectly.

This isn’t high art, but the execution is so impressive that I’m sold on it. This is going to be this season’s hilariously fun show.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2013 – Page 5.

Aikatsu (“Idol Activities”)

What’s it about ?

Young hopefuls attending an academy for idols.


Ichigo, our protagonist. She has never really cared about idols until now, which is a convenient excuse for tons of exposition about it from her younger brother and her best friend, who are totally into it.

Aoi, said best friend, who applies to the idol academy. And since the entrance exams are apparently similar to normal ones, so can Ichigo ! Sure, why not ?

Mitsuki, the current top idol and public face of the academy. Not much personality yet behind the smiling façade.

The OP & ED prominently feature a third major character, who for the moment seems to be content to look snidely are our naive heroes from the shadows. The rival, then.

Production Values

Bright and colourful. The choregraphy sequences follow the current trend of being entirely CG, which produces impeccable but slighltly soulless animation.

There must be some sort of card-game tie-in, as such cards are prominently featured as the way to become a good idol.

What did I think of it ?

This is a perfectly decent package ; the toyetic tie-ins are obvious but not too obnoxious, the characters are generic but functional enough, it moves along at a brisk pace, and it certainly looks good.

The problem is, that, well, it’s quite bland, and I just have no wish to watch such a show without a spark making it special. I’m just not the in target market, and so it falls flat for me.

via [In which I review] New anime, Fall 2012 – Page 10.


What’s it about ?

In the future, entertainment has been banned. An underground concert by guerilla idol group (sic) AKB0048 encourages a group of kids to apply to become new members.

This is, of course, a glorified advertisement for real-life idol group AKB48.


Nagisa, head of the kids’ group. She’s a big fan of AKB0048, but Daddy has recently been promoted in the Anti-Entertainment Agency and doesn’t want his daughter anywhere near this, for fear of scandal.

Yuuko, the bratty one, has a boyfriend. Who doesn’t approve either.

Orine is an orphan who works at the generic factory instead of going to school.

There’s a 4th girl shown in the beginning who seems to have completely disappeared in the “4 years later” segment. Presumably there’s a story there.

AKB0048 themselves are “the 5th generation”, “in homage to the originals”, and don’t a single personality to share between the 10 or so of them.

Production Values

Pretty good. There’s a lot of CG elements, especially in the choreography sequences (Precure-ED style), and it doesn’t look half bad.

Obviously, the whole soundtrack comes from AKB48. It’s not very good, generic J-pop.

Overall Impression

At face value, this is reasonably competent. The plot is ludicrous, but this is decently-written enough for the stakes to be clear and the main characters to be somewhat fleshed out. And that “guerilla idol group” sequence at the beginning is quite fun to watch.

On the other hand… this unashamedly promotes generic soulless mass-produced entertainment, with a degree of white-washing that I’m really not comfortable with (three seconds of research into AKB48 made the “boyfriend” issue even less tasteful). This requires completely buying into the idol marketing machine to be any fun to watch… and sorry, no dice.

And really, it’s not like the plot is likely to go anywhere interesting, or the characters to develop a personality beyond their archetypes. I’ll pass.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2012 – Page 17.


What’s it about ?

Twelve young idol wannabes learning the job at their production company. (It’s an adaptation of a series of simulation games where you’re the producer and have to build them into proper stars.)


I’m not going to go into much detail about each idol : there’s the girl-next-door, the super-timid one, the annoying twins, the hick who loves animals, the trust-fund-kid who’s in it to get adored, the troll, the serious one who just wants to sing, the sleepy one…

We also see a bit of the production staff… and of course one of them’s an ex-idol.

In this episode, a new producer is put in charge of grooming them up to stardom… but he spends most of the episode pretending to be a cameraman filming a documentary on them (he’s actually trying to get to know them better, without them sucking up to him too much).

Production Values

Very average. Most of the episode uses the framing device of being some sort of documentary/realTV show… with a lot of “candid” moments that actually feel horribly manufactured, like all realTV to me. Also, for some bizarre reason the “cameraman” ‘s questions are shown only in subtitles (as if this were a game)… despite producer guy getting proper dialogue at the end. It’s quite baffling.

Overall Impression

Wow, this is terrible. The approach of developing all the characters at once is very unwieldy and the realTV framing device feels horribly artificial. None of the girls rise above their archetypes, and all told it’s a very boring watch.

If anything, this has made me slightly interested in the actual games (I like simulation games, and this sounds as good a concept as any other). But watching a full TV series of this, without any player interaction ? Get out !

via [In which I review] New anime, Summer 2011 – Page 6.

Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji Love 1000%

What’s it about ?

Male harem romance in an academy grooming pop idols and composers.


Haruka, our generic female lead. The kind that arrives late because she was busy helping a random little girl. She joined the Academy because she dreams of composing music for her favourite idol. Voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro, whom I didn’t know could sound so boring and unsexy.

As per the rules of the genre, there are half a dozen prettyboy stereotypes just tripping over Haruka. There’s the boy-next-door, the rich-but-charismatic guy, the brooding dark dude, the childish one… and the mysterious guy who’s a dead ringer for Haruka’s favourite idol, but displays a completely different personality (angry loner instead of clown).

Rounding up the cast are Tomo, Haruka’s roommate (the female equivalent of the “perverted best friend who handily provides exposition about everyone” cliché), their homeroom teacher (an androgynous senior idol voiced by Yuuichi Nakamura)… and the FABULOUS principal, a retired idol who funded the creation of the academy with his royalties, and voiced gleefully by Norio Wakamoto – his entrance ceremony speech just has to be seen to be believed.

Production Values

This looks pretty good, if you don’t mind technicolor day-glo. The character designs for the dudes look beyond generic, though, and Haruka’s dead eyes are just plain creepy.

I quite like the opening sequence with all the guys doing a boys’ band routine : sure, it looks stupid and awkward, but there’s a certain charm to it, and the tune is annoyingly catchy (“Let’s song !”).

Overall Impression

Well, that’s certainly better than I anticipated. Not that it’s actually any good, mind you ; the harem romance is as cliché as possible, and neither the female lead nor any of the dudes look like they’ve got any potential to rise above their genericness. But there’s some decent entertainment to be had out of the setting, as both the homeroom teacher and the principal are FABULOUSLY camp and nearly make the episode worth watching from their few minutes of screentime alone.

I expect myself to get bored of it very quickly (especially if the harem plot gets too much screentime), but I’m surprising myself by giving it a tentative second episode.

via [In which I review] New anime, Summer 2011 – Page 4.

Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream

What’s it about ?

Young girls starting a career at the Prism Show, an ice-skating/dance spectacle that’s all the rage these days.


Aira, our clumsy protagonist, who had barely heard of the Prism Show before and can barely make three steps without falling over herself, but still somehow gets scouted in the street and set to perform in front of an audience of thousands the same day. She plays along mostly because the dancers get to wear cool clothes.

Rhythm (no, really, that’s her name), Aira’s self-proclaimed rival, who gets scouted at the same time when Aira trips over her. At least she’s got decent ice-skating skills, although not enough to execute the super-dupper dance move the audience is expecting. (But Aira can, of course…)

Mion, the idol who was supposed to perform her debut at the Prism Show but has suddenly gone missing, triggering the random scouting of replacement dancers. Actually, she doesn’t even show in person during this first episode.

Of the Prism Show we also see the two main producers (one’s a shrewd pragmatist, the other’s an eccentric with a eye for hidden talent – well-hidden in the case of Aira) and the three male dancers for the B-act (probably future love interests for the three girls).

We also get a long opening skit with Aira’s family, who skirt very near the line of being quite annoying (although the scene’s saved with the punchline to Dad & Mom’s double act).

Production Values

Pretty good for a (girls’) kids’ show. I particularly like the 3D rendering for the ice-skating sequences, which barely enter the Uncanny Valley at all.

Someone thought it’d be a good idea for the ED to depict the voice-actresses in live-action… It just looks ridiculous. Especially since they’re not even wearing the same costumes as their roles, for some reason (maybe it’s the school uniform ? We haven’t seen it yet…).

Overall Impression

Yet another kids’ show which could not proclaim “NOT FOR ME !” any louder. I’m not a fashion-obsessed teenager, I don’t care about X-Treme ice-skating, and the plot contrivances to get Aira on stage annoy rather than amuse me. There are some okay jokes, but not enough to overcome the huge prejudice I have against this kind of series.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2011 – Page 14.

Chance! Pop Session

(13 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Three girls going separately to a concert of a famous pop-star and stumbling upon a pamphlet for a music school. Presumably they’re going to apply, but this is a very slow first episode.


Reika, the pop-star. There’s the very beginning of a subplot with her stern coach (an ex-popstar herself), but it doesn’t go anywhere yet.

Nozomi, the very rich and sheltered girl who can afford a first-row ticket and has a watchdog butler following her everywhere.

Akari, the country girl who’s an absolute Reika fan. Attends church, has a hopelessly dull sweetheart, the works.

Yuki, the city girl who struggles to make ends meet. She works backstage on the lights. Of the three, she seems to be the one most intent on breaking into stardom. Frankly, she’s the only vaguely interesting character here.

Production Values

Very cheap-looking, with limited animation everywhere it can. The songs aren’t very good either, which puts quite a cramp on the whole thing.

Overall Impression

I don’t want to unfairly knock down a show from a genre I have very little interest in… but this is quite dire. Besides the overall cheapness, this is a very slow start, with barely any plot to speak of. Normally this would be an occasion to develop the characters, but apart from Yuki nobody grows beyond a single dimension.

It’s a 13-episode show that barely has any substance in its first episode. Pass.

No backstage pass ? The Kung-Fu Butler (tm) is a more than adequate substitute.
No backstage pass ? The Kung-Fu Butler ™ is a more than adequate substitute.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2001 – Page 8.