Posted by psgels on 23 May 2012 with categories: AKB0048, Aquarion Evol

AKB0048… I…. give up…

I want to hate this show. I want to rant about what an incredibly stupid and pandering premise they settled with. But I can’t. I have no clue why, but this show has this amazing energy and charm. The idol shows did it again, even though I hate idols and J-pop. This is the umpth show that went “So you hate idols? Well, here is a really good anime about them, so there!” Some other examples of this are the current Natsuiro Kiseki and its use of idols to bind the cast together, but the past also was full of them: White Album? Unique romance with balls. Fancy Lala? Incredibly genuine character-study with an amazing ending. Full Moon wo Sagashite? It had heart-wrenching second half. And then there was Skip Beat which was hilarious, Key the Metal Idol was really well made, Symphony in August was really well done for one of the few non-fiction anime out there and Perfect Blue was just the perfect gritty look at the business. Sure there have been plenty of duds, but I’m still amazed at how much good and daring stuff the genre brought forth.

The only problem: how on earth am I going to blog this in this already incredibly busy season? the only thing I can come up with is blog it together with Aquarion Evol, since they have so much staff in common, being both helmed by two of the big trolls of anime out there: Shoji Kawamori and Mari Okada. The thing is: in these first four episodes went along as well as Aquarion Evol, if not better, and Aquarion did develop a few issues along the way which I don’t see coming as easily with AKB0048. It’s just unfair to prefer one over the other at one point. The individual entries will probably get a bit shorter than usual, but I do want to highlight both, because I’m enjoying them a lot.

AKB0048 is very genuine and despite its huge cast it actually keeps track of everyone. It’s very charming, but what surprised me also were some of the production issues so far: here is the thing: most of the main voice actresses in this series are members of the real AKB48 group (or whatever it’s called) and have very little experience, if any at all. And yet they are all doing a really good job at bringing their characters to life! They aren’t trying to stuff themselves into stereotypes either. That was one of my biggest beefs against that Idolm@ster show (or at least the first three episodes that I managed to last) and what prevented me from enjoying it unlike a lot of other people: everyone felt like a stereotype. Here instead the characters have a much better defined backstory, motivations and personalities that don’t need to be shoehorned into archetypes. And thank god there is no Kugimiya Rie either.

Also, I’m not sure because of who this was, but one of my beefs with Macross Frontier was that as soon as someone started singing outside a concert, it still felt like everything was taking place in a recording studio, with random instruments appearing from out of nowhere and all. Here though, when characters are singing for leisure, it really feels that way.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Now, as for this week’s episode of Aquarion Evol: bloody Nora, what a plot twist. I should have known from the couple of Mari Okada and Shouji Kawamori in a series that tries to be as over the top as possible: to think that there were points at which I actually tried to take the love triangle between Amata, Kagera and Mikono seriously. They’re the same person. Of course. With that, all makes sense. I like that though: it’s a satisfying twist after all that bloody build-up and this episode lead into it pretty well. That dream sequence in particular was awesome, and actually among my highlights of this series.

And Shoji Kawamori, did you again just pull the “it really looks like one of the main cast members died but h/she turns out to be fine in the end?” I’ve seen too many of your series to know where this is going, unfortunately. It would be an awesome twist if I were wrong, though, but the dead sign that Zessica is fine is that bit at the start of the episode where she talks to Mikage: whatever that was leading up to hasn’t happened yet.

Why I really liked this episode by the way also had to do with that this episode went back to the city of the first episode, and showed in a completely different light now that it’s destroyed and evacuated. Earlier I complained that this show didn’t do anything about continuity. I really have to take that back now. At this point, there are tons of scars in the landscape of events that happened in the past, from this destroyed cities to Andy’s filled up holes. One notable exception is that we still don’t know who the heck does the maintenance on the mechas in this series.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

16 Responses

  1. DmonHiro says:

    My reaction to AKB0048:
    Before episode 01: Wow, this show’s gonna be absolute shit. The premise is retarded and it’s just a big add for the idol group.
    After episode 01: Well, that wasn’t so bad. The songs are nice, the voices are surprisingly good and it’s got a certain charm. Still dumb though.
    After episode 02: Well, the characters sure are interesting and the DES are a bigger threat then I expected them to be.
    After episode 03: HOLY SHIT! Are you freaking kidding me? Damn, that was an excellent episode. I’m sold! Bring on the next episode.
    After episode 04: This is still top notch. I can’t believe what a great job everyone’s doing. What’s going on? This show was prime C-list fodder. It was supposed to be shit. Also, DAMN Sonata is so adorable!

    • ChobitsChi says:

      I wholeheartedly agree!

      I was mentally ready to trash this show, to laugh at its ridiculous premise, to hate it with passion…
      Instead, I fell in love with AKB0048 and I don’t regret this one bit!

  2. Qwerty1 says:

    Is AKB0048 really that good?

    I tried watching the first episode but couldn’t get to the point of believing a story revolving around idols being outlawed… and the cg was a little creepy at times… and those hearts in everyone’s dead eyes…

    • DmonHiro says:

      You fell in a small trap. This actually DID happen in feudal Japan, when all forms of entertainment were forbidden to anyone but royalty.

  3. Scruffy says:

    Aquarion Evol .. WTF was that?? The last 2 episodes have been awesome (I was on the borderline of dropping it while Mikino was doing her pouty thing. But what on earth do they mean that he’s the same person? Was he divided into 2 halves when his mother was kidnapped? Very wierd.

    One other thing .. is it Netorare if it’s your other self that takes your girl??

  4. Blob says:

    @AKB0048. You guys just like watching little girls running around, right? This show is so much male oriented, it’s freaky…. i don’t think I’ve ever encountered a show that was tailored so specifically to gender aside from hentai and yaoi. The plot is pure nonsense that never gets any explanations at all (and i doubt it will) and the dialogues are pretty bad, but what freaked me out the most was the all male audience of the first concert and the absolute void of any significant male character, both father and boyfriend are just filler characters at this point (again a doubt there will be more to it). It’s based on the AKB48 concept so this should not surprise me, but imo this anime topped the freaky factor of the actual AKB48 group.

    • psgels psgels says:

      … and yet, the one who recommended this show to me was a girl. ;)

    • DmonHiro says:

      You’d be surprised how many females like watching little girls run around, my friend. And if you’re creeped out by a show that has yet to do anything creepy just because it has little girls in it, you are the one with the problem.

      • Blob says:

        @DmonHiro

        Heh….. I’m not creeped out by little girls running around, I’m creeped out by the dynamic this show has, which mainly has to do with the AKB48 franchise than anything else. It’s not that AKB48 don’t have any female fans, there are plenty but it’s the fact that the original and the utmost purpose of this group is to cater to male otaku culture and this show is pretty much in your face about it in a way I haven’t encountered before. Speaking of which the manga of the same franchise had actually softened the effect by introducing a guy as main character. Perhaps you chose to ignore it or like this anime despite it and that’s fine, doesn’t mean that I have some sort of problem for not doing the same.

        • Blob says:

          “Perhaps you chose to ignore it or like this anime despite it” should be “Perhaps you chose to ignore it or like this anime despite it or because of it” forgot to add it, but it that applies too and it’s all ok btw.

    • Anca says:

      The script writer is also female, and she’s one of the few that can write scripts that always resonate with me (<- also a girl).

  5. tktym says:

    Lots of girls in Japan love akb48. . .just as they love ayumi hamasaki, mostly because they want to be like them in a sense like how all boys want to be like micheal jordan or insert sports star here. Of course most of the men in Japan who like them are the standard otaku types, but the group is suprisingly mainstream and are pretty much getting so big that people(most Japanese people) dont really associate the whole “only for dirty old men/otaku” stigma that was there when they first came out years ago when they were marketed as cute high school girls (seriously they were in high school girl outfits all the time when they came out) Now though They are serious(using that term loosely) singer/perfomer/idols whatever. Hell, some of the most popular members of the group e.g. Tomomi Itano is pretty much the spokesface of the Docomo cell phone company (or is it softbank? I forgot) her picture is everywhere!

    I do find it interesting that people are finding this show good. It’s not my cup of tea(I’ve gotten pretty sick of anime and all its pandering as of late so I don’t watch much anymore) but I’ll at least read psgels reviews of the show. . . if he continues to blog it. . .

    @demon hiro
    “And if you’re creeped out by a show that has yet to do anything creepy just because it has little girls in it, you are the one with the problem.”

    now that isnt neccesary, if you cant discuss something without trying to throw veiled insults at someone for voicing their opinion, then maybe you should not say anything at all.

  6. RABUJOI says:

    This isn’t just an anime thing…if there’s a death scene like Zessica’s, there’s virtually NO WAY she’s actually dead. Even if we saw her lying in state, embalmed and all, we’d have our doubts. She’d pretty much have to be blown to bits or cremated or something before we’d actually believe the show killed off a core character.

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Aug 29. 2015 03:51 AM)
    Fury, like blackhawk down, weren’t really of note, they were just action movies, never poor, never great.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Aug 29. 2015 03:49 AM)
    Theres an old French documentary, it might be from the 50s or a bit later than that which dealt with the holocaust.
    Shoah is another long loooong doc about WWII.
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Aug 29. 2015 03:46 AM)
    Haven’t heard of men behind the sun.
    And I actually didn’t want to watch inglorious basterds because I was certain it was gonna treat a serious subject unseriously.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Aug 29. 2015 03:45 AM)
    @;(: I had to watch boy in the striped pajamas twice to really appreciate it.
    Pianist is more my thing because its bleaker and in general I’m quite the fan of Polanski’s films.
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Aug 29. 2015 03:43 AM)
    @Emma: actually I found boy in the striped pajamas to be underwhelming in comperasion to how holocaust stories are. And the pianist is a great movie. But when you think about it, the guy kind of avoided a much worse fate by hiding and never being found.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Aug 29. 2015 03:42 AM)
    I still need to see all quiet on the western front.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Aug 29. 2015 03:41 AM)
    *goofy
    Men behind the sun shows the torture of the Chinese under the Japanese, its on the wrong side of exploitation cinema.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Aug 29. 2015 03:39 AM)
    Some war movies go the goo route like inglorious basterds and the black book.
    Unfortunately there are also films such as men behind the sun.
  • ;(
    (Saturday, Aug 29. 2015 03:37 AM)
    @Emma:
    Yes, it is controversial there.
    Both the attacks they received and especially dealt seem to be a taboo subject there. I think they omitt most of what they did in China from their history classes in highschool.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Aug 29. 2015 03:37 AM)
    @;(: The bombing scene in Gen is still a pretty powerful thing. I believe theres something biographical in grave of the fireflies…

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Gangsta. – 08

Some focus on Alex this time around as with the drug out of her system she remembered that she had a younger brother. A pretty startling revelation for her as forgot about him the whole time she was under Barry’s control. It was done well on just how much this shocked her but I must […]

Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There! – 08

Itami continues to be a mystery as he is shown not only to be a ranger but also a member of special forces. Its not really confirmed whether he is a genius in hiding or a slacker who was tossed into high profile positions and got through it with minimum effort. The big part of […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 07

This episode has been a weaker episode than those so far. The opening has gone through a number of changes now that we have reached over the halfway point. Megumi’s part of the opening has been replaced by a shot of her grave, the colourful transition after showing the title is now a series of […]

Gangsta. – 07

Now the past has been mostly revealed, Worick’s friendship with Nicholas has become a more complex thing. Worick seems to see him as a good friend yet resent him for going kill crazy and murdering his whole family. Though the murder of his father looked to be an order he himself made to Nicholas and […]

Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There! – 07

I understand that for an anime adaption some character designs need to be simplified in order for an easier time to keep them in proportion in animation. But while the characters who suffer in this episode because of this are indeed minor characters, its really a shame to see them become something unrecognisable. The two […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 06

Well the story continues on from the flashback, showing Miki first joining the club. Right off the bat the episode pushes to answer the question of Megumi’s existence. It’s a answer that was pretty obvious by this point as the foreshadowing was pretty heavy on this particular detail but this episode makes it crystal clear. […]

Gangsta. – 06

When taking into account the show so far, I find that the quiet character moment stand out far more than the over the top fight scenes with knife wielding psychos on rooftops. The dialogue between characters is much more engaging that two characters jumping around like Bleach Soul Reapers. In particular it great seeing Worick […]

Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There! – 06

Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” is a fairly iconic piece of music in pop culture. So much so that after Apocalypse Now (1979) whenever there is a helicopter assault in any piece of media, it’s practically obligatory to play Ride of the Valkyries. Even just today when finishing Far Cry 3 and had a […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 05

As these episodes go on it really is something to wonder about the matter of Yuki being a hindrance or a help. I have said previously that she does push the group in the right direction but it is still a case where her mentality is dangerous. The group need to come up with excuses […]

Latest Reviews

Little Witch Academia The Enchanted Parade – 81/100

I wonder when it was that a film being childish became a flaw. As a medium grows it takes steps to aim to mature itself and seek a more intellectual level of presenting entertainment. Animation did it as Anime aimed to explore terrontry that cartoons refuse to explore and video games only recently broke away […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Review – 85/100

For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided […]

Shirobako Review – 80/100

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]