Posted 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
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 05:51 AM)
    I wanted to catch up on SAOII … but then I took an arrow to the knee.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 05:24 AM)
    Now, theres thunderball watched, competent Bond fare, but better than nothing, mid tier Bond is still entertaining and it had its moments, suffers from comparisons to other Connery Bonds though I saw however. Watchable nonetheless.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 05:22 AM)
    I think even if I was stuck I don’t feel I would end up updating myself on sword art, what K-off just detailed there has further dettered me. That sounds like a kind of fanficy/12 year old fiction plot that the writer probably thought was fantastic as he was coming up with it but didn’t have the skills to pull off.
  • afgm
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 05:00 AM)
    You caught up on Sword Art Online, because frankly, you had nothing else to do and it seemed worthy of your time.
  • k-off
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 03:31 AM)
    Let that sink in. So you’re telling me, that in a tournament played by 50+ players all over Japan, this guy can somehow travel cross country, break into someone’s house, and kill them ALL within the short time frame of the tournament match? What the fuck? You defy common sense, shitty writers, not that I expected anything out of you twits in the first place.
  • k-off
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 03:30 AM)
    Don’t ask me why I bothered catching up on SAO, but I did, and holy shit it is bad. So apparently, this Death Gun fellow is actually two people, with one playing the game while the other sneaks into people’s houses and kills them when Death Gun shoots someone in-game.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 02:55 AM)
    Yellow face, yellow face, oh heaven above… =<
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 02:54 AM)
    @Aidan: Thanks, noted. Live and let die interests me I guess for the Baron Samedi guy, I remember him from the goldeneye game as a secret boss.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 02:46 AM)
    Lazanby has only one bond film. That being her majesty secret service. Dalton has two films.
    As for bond films for you to see emma, The spy who loved me is considered Moore’s best, though Live and let die is not too bad.
    As for the rest you have seen the best. Connery has only one decent bond film left, that being thunderball. His other two, diamonds are forever and you only live twice are pretty terrible. For one Connery goes yellow face for YOLT.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Sep 18. 2014 01:52 AM)
    regarding Bond: I didn’t mention George Lazanby since I frankly haven’t seen any of his bond flicks, And I’ve only since Dalton’s License To Kill which was alright. I like to add that Dalton did an alright job on the Penny Dreadful tv series. That series is weird with not much sense of direction but can be ultimately entertaining.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Clipboard03

Mushishi – 07

Now this was such a beautiful episode. We often see Mushi portrayed as parasites. In fact, they are pretty much based on the insects and viruses of their world. There probably are enough real viruses and insects living in the Mushishi world, but they just aren’t the focus of the series. Anyway, what they did […]

Clipboard04

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders – 06 & 07

This is where this arc gets weird. We’re still in adventure modus, however in these two episodes Jotaro not only meets some of the most bizarre Stand users, it’s also done in the most camp way possible. You can see a clear difference with the first two seasons of Jojo: there it was all about […]

Clipboard01

Ping Pong – 05 & 06

Episodes 05 and 06 are dedicated to character-development. It’s here where Ping Pong shows that it also knows its stuff in terms of storytelling; the develoment doesn’t start too early or too late, and these two episodes really added depth to all of the different characters, despite that there were no big matches. I’m currently […]

Clipboard01

Mushishi – 03 – 06

I have not forgotten about this show. Not at all. I just finished marathoning these four episodes, and holy cheeseballs on a stick! this is the best anime in years! This was everything I could have hoped for and blows just about everything else out of the water. Talk about raw, powerful storytelling. I now […]

Clipboard03

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – 03 – 05

Jojo really is not kind to its females. Every time a hint is even dropped to a girl kicking ass here, it comes with this weird plot-twist that undermines any fighting potential of them. In this arc, it’s the rule that says that your stand will kill you if youaren’t strong enough. And so, Joseph’s […]

Clipboard01

Ping Pong – 03 & 04

The opening of Ping Pong wasn’t done in time, so the first two episodes showed a sortof montage as a placeholder. Now we know why, with episode 03 and 04. The creators actually got the single best animator currently in the business to oversee it: Shinya Ohira. This guy understands animation like no other. The […]

Clipboard07

Ping Pong – 02

Yes, I know that more people here were involved in making this series beyond Masaaki Yuasa. It’s written by the creator of Tekkon Kinkreet, Taiyo Mashimoto. That guy is awesome. And the combination between those two makes this series even better. Because here’s the thing: anime is significantly different from manga or light novels. Beyond […]

Clipboard02

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders – 02

We can never quite get rid of magic fights at a school, now can we, Jojo. Ah well, I forgive it this time, just due to how hilarious it looks seeing these ridiculously bulky men walk around pretending to be high school students. It’s just so over the top, and yet Jojo sets itself apart […]

Clipboard01

Mushishi Season 2 – 02

Oh yes. This is it. This is what storytelling should be about: telling real stories about real people, all with their own problems that need to be overcome. And this show does that time and time again in just one episode. I still can’t believe how authentic this series is. The thing is, when I […]

Latest Reviews

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: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]