The season before this show aired, we had Black Rock Shooter, (BRS) a title made for similar reasons: To sell via name and to appeal to its established audience. AKB0048 (AKB) is made just to cater the fans of the homonymous teen idol group and nothing more. Not only that, but unlike BRS which had a pseudo-serious premise to attract the unsuspected, AKB doesn’t even try.
The story is completely retarded and is nothing but a piss-poor excuse for some plot and conflict to exist in some form. It is still your typical moe-flick where nothing of importance ever happens … even when it is supposed to. Basically they combined the procedure of making pop-idols out of normal girls with a sort of resistance war against armies of oppressors. So you get pop idol / resistance fighters trying to become famous and glamorous / fighting against a status quo that has banned entertainment.
At the same time, I must hand it to them for not trying to make “just” a slice-of-life pop idol show. Those things get boring in a few episodes. Remember that snoredrome that was Idol Master a season earlier to this? As dumb as its earlier version Xenoglossia was, at least it had a little bit more than the obvious. So, no sir we have some context, this is a coming of age story taking place in a dystopian society. And the girls are not carefree K-On clones who aspire to be glamorous and mesmerize the audiences as means to get into their pockets. They struggle against their parents and sacrifice their platonic boyfriends in order to find happiness and help others … through J-pop. Ok, it’s stupid but the music in the show is supposed to have a magical effect that makes people happy. And supposed the society they live in went to some rough times because of too many carefree citizens and decided to head the other way. And supposed every time they have a forbidden concert they need to be singing for the fans at the same time they are fighting the security forces.
All that kinda remind me of the rough overall story found in the original Macross. And indeed, the director is Kawamori Shouji, the very same person who directed it. Of course over there the whole pop idol busyness was just a rather small part of a very big epic setting. AKB doesn’t have anything serious in it and hardly amazing battles or imposing antagonists. All you get is a bunch of cutely dressed pretty girls hovering in the air and singing J-pop songs, which makes the audience to feel happy. And then fight with martial arts and smoke bombs, while still singing perfectly. And the army is trying to capture them with nets and firework missiles. It’s stupid but at least it doesn’t try to pass as serious, despite the otherwise serious premise.
Speaking of which, the previous season we had another anime with pop idols. Symphogear was a complete failure for having a very rushed plot and a very uneven atmosphere that was jumping back and forth from fluffy to tragic like crazy. So trust me, it could have been far worse; or do I need to unbury the dreadful memories of Final Fantasy 10-2 to prove my point? I otherwise find no interest in this mess; I prefer something besides teen idols, where we also get engaging plots of the likes of Looking for the Full Moon, Perfect Blue, or Key the Metal Idol.
Other than that, the production values are quite good; especially for the team that took over the whole project. Satelight Studios have made several anime throughout the years, most of which are average in their budgets. I otherwise liked only Noein amongst them and only for its interesting scenario. In AKB’s case they did a fine job to portrait a dull society and its counterpart a dreamy land full of colors and concerts. They didn’t hold back on making everything look detailed and I would even say they went artsy with it. The girls are drawn almost chibi-like and have reflections of hearts and stars on their heads to the point I felt like I was watching an anthropomorphic version of My Little Pony. The 3D dancing of the idols is quite eye-catchy too with all the motion, and the fireworks, and the crowds, and the neon glow sticks you get in those concerts in general. It reminds me of the ending video of Heartcatch Pretty Cure for some reason.
As for the sound part I am no fan of J-pop but nothing sounds too irritating and the fans will definitely get kicks out of listening to the songs of their favorite band. And voice acting is ok, considering how some of the girls are actually voiced by the actual pop idols and this is their first time as voice actors.
Down to it, this is not a show of mass appeal despite trying to make it feel like it is for everybody by being easy going, full of cute girls, teen angst and high spirits. It was made specifically for people who dig pop idols, and that’s it; most won’t even give it a second glance because of the stupid story and no amount of good visuals can change that.
I can even say that the whole show is insulting, as it’s a poor attempt to mask an industry that thrives on the dreams and hopes of young girls by making it look like they are the saviors of the universe. There is no magic here people, it’s just people getting high on a shallow type of music before the singers get to their 30’s and are kicked out for fresh blood. Seriously, what is this crap trying to present it like a vital humanitarian act? The Red Cross does more than them and it doesn’t need to dress cute or dance their way through the battlefield.
And it can actually feel even worse if you think really hard about what is going on in this show. As you will notice early on, the girls are literally treated as objects instead of people. They are not allowed to sing their own songs; they must learn the established songs of the past pop idols and they must dance in the exact same way as they did. They are not even allowed to have their own personality and name, as their ulterior goal is to replace the older generation of AKB instead of being individuals. They are treated as if they are spare parts in a huge emotionless machine! That is what I loved in Looking for the Full Moon; the heroine there refused to sing the cheesy lyrics that others wrote for her and was dead set on doing her own song. She was only one pop idol and yet she had a million times more characterization than these 47 cardboards.
Not to mention that mysterious leader figure of their planet. It looks like a demon who had absolute control over everybody’s lives. For all we know pop idols could have been banned to prevent the demon from taking over the galaxy by brainwashing people with cute girls.
Easy watch? Yes. Enjoyable? Perhaps. Memorable? No. Quality material? Hell no!
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 8/10
General Artwork 2/2 (looks colourfully cute)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 2/2 (lots of hearts and rainbows)
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 3/10
Premise 0/2 (retarded)
Pacing 0/2 (loose)
Complexity 2/2 (rich context)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)
CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 2/2 (cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 2/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 0/3 (no reason to rewatch it)
Memorability 2/4 (the premise is weird enough to kinda remember it)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 2/10
Art 1/1 (looks cute)
Sound 1/2 (the songs are corny but they have their appeal if you are a fan of jpop)
Story 0/3 (retarded)
Characters 0/4 (drones)
I'll start this off with a disclaimer: I've only seen the two episodes that have aired so far. This is solely based off of those two episodes.
Normally, I would break this down into catagories and give detailed descriptions. However, I will simply give a brief overview of what I saw.
First, a heart-shape seems to be the recurring theme here. All the idols' eyes and hair have a heart shape in them when they catch the light. Personally, I find this to be corny and...well...stupid.
Second, I think this anime is another one of those magical-girl wannabe's that's disguised as a "friends are important, let's all sing" anime. Honestly, I think most people are going to hate it. I mean, it's so damn corny that I can't help but hate it.
Third, the sound quality and animation are it's only redeeming qualities. The insert songs are a little cliche but the CGI is well done, for the most part. If nothing else, at least they put the effort into the animation. I think, secretly, the artists wanted to make sure that at least SOMETHING good came out of it.
Fourth, I see no story here. I see a premise for a story...but no actual story. Again, this is only based off of two episodes so far but I don't really hold much hope for any kind of plot development.
This anime is like watching a train wreck: It's horrible and gruesome and it pains me to watch it but you can't help it once you start. Thank God there are only two episodes out right now or I would have put myself through hell finishing it.
Feel free to trash this little review if you want. As I've stated previsouly, this is only my opinion. I will finish watching it to the end and update as I need to. As usual, the overall score is an average of the 4 subscores.
UPDATE: After suffering through another four episodes, I can safely say that this series is not worth watching. The "story" is not well developed at all. This may be based on only watching six episodes but I can't see that it will improve at all. The fact that the animators saw fit to throw hearts into everything that catches a glare and the staff thought it would be a good idea to make this show as corny as humanly possible means that this show is suitable only for ignorant little children who don't know what real anime is.
ok so I just finished watching episode 12 there is supposed to be one more episode according to anidb.net, so im just going to base my review off of what i've seen so far.
the anime started off with a bunch of teens with the dreams of being idols i thought oh..thats kinda seemed wishy washy.. there was a few other animes that i've watched similar in this aspect and sometimes i was like meh why bother continuing but i cant ever stop watching an anime halfway through. Anyways after like episode 3 or 4 i started to get hooked to this the storyline would get better and better its not just ur average i want to be an idol so ill make sure im better then the rest. this anime goes bout showing u the pain and suffering that these teens and their families go through espically since they are all from places where entertainment is BANNED and punishable. Not only do these girls have to go through hard ships to make it big...but its their ONLY chance there is no turning back, this anime shows that their decision to become a idol effects EVERYONE and the impact/burden it causes.
the story in my opinion is pretty good it has sort of a rough start but it gets good!
The animation on this anime isnt bad but its not great i feel sometimes the characters limbs look a little to wobbly however once they start dancing in concerts the animation gets really good.
The music isn't so bad and theres alot of different songs, and alot of variety theres like 20 singers or something! cause there is ALOT of variety.
the characters...wellllllllll.....sometimes i confuse some of the characters cause some of them look alike and the fact that there is ALOT of them so it gets a bit hard to remember who is who and where they stand but each one has their own background and its pretty well developed for a anime thats so short.
Overall i give this anime an 8/10 its a pretty addicting anime but the way it starts may push people away, and of course not everyone is going to like everything in the idol genre.. its a good watch prolly not an anime i'd re-watch (then again the only ones i've ever re-watch was Last Exile and Kanon HAHAHA)
Edit: after watching the final ep i just wanted to add on ...i couldn't have asked for a better way to end it.
With the large amount of questionable things AKB0048 attempted, this show was inevitably doomed to fail. The large casts of characters, the doubtable synopsis, & its variety of genres clustered together just to name a few. Most ridiculous of all, the director expected AKB48 singers, a real-life, popular idol group, to successfully convert into voice actresses. Furthermore, most soundtracks in the actual anime will be inserted directly from AKB48's popular debuts, and this all just seemed too convenient to work out. Thus, I walked into AKB0048 expecting some terribly scripted dialogues, incorrect utilization of AKB48 soundtracks, and tons more to name. But here I am, telling you that AKB0048 can actually be safely described as multitudes of great things, one of them being a successful collaboration of impinging, tricky anime genres.
However, ignoring AKB0048’s flaws would be too generous. The plot of this Series was just too chaotic in the beginning, and awkward even to the extent of a laughable synopsis. Its attempt at mixing interplanetary mecha themes with the assemblage of idols, who are all such independent loli's, just seemed too silly to fit together. At first, I continuously questioned the silly premise of the story, but later I just decided to go along with it just due to the fact that I don’t have a time machine.
=Now the Actual Review Begins=
Even with all its flaws, AKB0048 proved to me that any future is possible.
Behind all this seemingly plugged up garbage plot, I found a pearl in the sea of sewages. Before watching this series, I constituted all my opinions about idols in a Western sense. Long story short, I live in a very industrialized environment where idols are all seemingly just good-looking people with no talent whatsoever. In other words, people like Justin Bieber over the past years have influenced me to completely lose respects for others with similar occupations (even in anime). Ironically, AKB0048, a crew consisting of cute girls, has elaborated enough on idols’ daily lives that I’m actually reconsidering my view point on this world’s entertainment industry. How it has done so with the slice of life, comedy, & science fiction genres fascinates me even up to today.
As a male, I never understood why a vast amount of the female population have always wanted to become an idol (not a sexist statement, it’s a fact that most idol groups include females). But, that is not to say they all have such ambitions for the same reason. With different feelings, intentions, and reasons for becoming an idol, most people who desire to rise to a position of fame come from places scattered all across the board. With that being said, most successful idols do share one thing in common; the way AKB0048 depict these idols, they all seem like a determined bunch, despite their inabilities, adversities, or any obstacles in their way. Now the supernatural situation within ABK0048 doesn’t seem as irrelevant, does it? This situational restriction on entertainment, although clumsily scripted, immediately creates a universe where young females are disallowed their dreams of perhaps rising to become an idol. Too bad even in a universe where interplanetary wars are supposedly happening, teenagers still don’t think when they act.
As the story starts developing, three young girls who want to become the 77th Generation of AKB0048 idols consistently meet more and more obstacles as the story progresses. The first few episodes explore some character’s family issues, backgrounds, personalities, and give a vivid detail of where the series is heading, while the whole entertainment ban theme overarches all these episodes. Things get tougher the more you get into it. Haters, dealing with failures, and stressing over little details of your actions will all lead to shed tears. But in the end, you’re never the only one going through it. There are always people going through the same pain as you, as they walk the same path as an idol. This relationship then establishes friendships between the idols depicted in this series, and it is a very interesting concept of friendship that it illustrates, by simply dealing with every day issues. As the Series progresses, the intensity builds up as well. At first the plot was driven simply by a few science fiction references, but by the end supernatural and mecha themes are thoroughly explored. Though, don't get confused because although the plot is very detailed in its description; the overall mood of AKB0048 still remains to mostly be drama/slice of life. Even though the execution of mecha scenes in AKB0048 seemed needless and unnecessary, the appearance of mecha did contribute to illustrating just the difficulties that even idols have to overcome. But to an extent, this theme was probably exaggerated on too much, while lacking the correct coherence most mecha/shounen shows actually have.
Besides these heavily emphasized themes, AKB0048 also frequently (meaning, A LOT) transitions into comedy moments. These scenes often follow serious, dramatic moments, but rarely feels barged in through the whole development. In fact, the serious moments themselves appear to be melodramatic sometimes too. But, those are just the result of the conflicted traits within some characters, which essentially arouses a feeling of dramatic-ness without the actual atmosphere being so just by itself. This makes even further sense because most of the characters are professional drama queens, which, as I mentioned before, makes up these light-hearted comedy moments within this anime. Just the over dramatic atmosphere itself being consistently interfered by clumsy, klutz moments are hilarious by themselves, but the show sometimes even makes fun of itself. I won't go into details, but let's just say perversely suggestive jokes occur frequently. Even in the one beach episode (ep10) and other possible candidates where fan-service was visible, the story still progressed and was always accompanied by those suggestive jokes mentioned above. In other words, fan service done correctly without being too distracting. Personally, this consistent aspect of the show made it a more enjoyable watch.
The developments of characters were incredibly smooth as the series played out. That is, to say, if you didn’t get annoyed by them from episode 1. Some characters are very irksome when they are first introduced. Unlike most anime though, these annoying characters all change in some ways in AKB0048. It's not just subtle or slight adjustments either, it's life changing choices these characters decide on which makes the viewer so attached to them. These character developments don't just occur to a few selected people either. While there are obvious main characters with bigger roles, most other (side) characters actually get their own arcs, and have a re-occurring role(s) throughout this whole series. Please note that though the cast of character is about 2 dozen idols, AKB0048 was able to handle all those characters while getting the plot to flow well, and making sure nobody gets overshadowed for the most part either, now that's just a bit impressive.
For an anime almost made to commercialize AKB48's songs, I'd have to say it did a great job. Any fans of the real life AKB48 idol group should check out this anime (and vice versa), think of this show almost like a behind-the-stage TV series. The music was top notched in terms of the J-pop genre, but I feared for terrible synchronization with the animation, and luckily it didn't turn out bad at all. There were also notable background music playing and it's remarkable how just a light-hearted themed soundtrack can help scenes transition from one to another (especially from those dramatic to comedy scenes). Also, due to the lack of experiences it probably took a while for those AKB48 member to suddenly become voice actors. But by the end not only was the voice acting minimal quality, they all seemed to fit the character very well, so well that It should be considerably outstanding for those undergraduates.
Animation was good, and there were obvious efforts put into the character designs. Those efforts are exemplified by the motif of carving cute (loli-like; moe) things such as hearts with a very shallow curve into characters' hairs. Not only the characters, but it's choreography within those dancing scenes also seemed fairly unique. The animation even switches into a 3-D dancing crew during actual performances of dances, and my eyeballs were just overfilled with soothing joy. For someone who's impatient to the point that even waiting 10 minutes for a movie to start becomes a problem, I'd have to say it did a fine job entertaining me with those mesmerizing dancing performances.
All in all, with a few due casualties, I think AKB0048 deserves a better rating than what most viewers are giving it. While exploring the daily lives of idols, AKB0048 accurately depicts symbolic obstacles faced by those working in the entertainment industry. Although this anime is layered over by exaggerated, heavy mecha/supernatural themes, AKB0048 still manages to blend it in somewhat nicely into the rest of its plot, and ended up with a just right amount of varieties of genres. There's never any overly done action scenes, and the serious parts/arcs of this drama have nicely attached meaning behind them all. Though, do look out for comedy scenes caused by melodramatic moments, inelegant characters, and some referenced jokes which barely cut for PG13-audiences. As for recommendations, this series is a tricky one due to its vast amount of genres; however, I would recommend AKB0048 especially to slice of life fans out there, who won't mind a few awkwardly fastened mecha plot points here and there.
Thinking back on AKB0048 now, there may be hope for the entertainment industry after all. With such a surprising treat from the first season, I can safely say second season may be just as exciting. Now if people would just listen...
Unas morrillas que vieron un concierto de AKB0048 hace muchos años unen sus sueños y bla bla bla, crecen, pasan cosas y finalmente se unen a AKB haciendo un tipo de casting alrededor del universo para reclutar morrillas como ellas. Es una historia demasiado sencilla, aunque con sus temas de terrorismo del entretenimiento y demás tratan de darle más profundidad y tensión a la historia, realmente sabemos que no pasara nada mas allá de unos llantos y epifanías baratas. Solo vemos a las chicas acoplándose a su nueva vida como futuras idols, es divertido y aprecio las comedias que no solo arrojan ecchi a lo idiota, pero es más como un Big Brother de idols preadolescentes.
El problema principal es que todas, o casi todas, las protagonistas tienen de 13 a 15 años, así que sus problemas son muy comunes y sencillos: problemas con sus padres, traumillas del pasado, pasar de niña a mujer, etc. Así que no hay mucho explorar ni profundizar, ahora mismo voy a una secundaria y vería exactamente lo mismo. Además todos los personajes son muy monótonos, en realidad ninguna de las chicas tiene una personalidad llamativa o interesante, así que no llegas a apreciar a ninguna.
Al final Nagisa por fin se da cuenta que su padre no la odia y bla bla bla, concierto, batalla y ya, no hay más, la protagonista queda exactamente igual que como empezó.
Al final de cuentas esta serie termina siendo una publicidad compleja para las bandas, principalmente AKB, aunque un poco innecesaria, puesto que es una de las bandas más populares en Japón. Igual que siempre, tiene conceptos muy interesantes, todo el rollo de terrorismo y que el entretenimiento corrompe el alma y eso, se me hizo muy interesante, casi recuerda a 1984 de George Orwell, todos seriamos unos criminales de pensamiento. Tambien llamo la atención el como hacían la sucesión y demás, lograron transportar a la banda al futuro sin transportar a la banda al futuro como tal y reconozco que estuvo bien realizado. Pero, igual que siempre, perdieron el tiempo en problemas estúpidos y comunes de niñas de 13 años y chicas moe peleando. Si eres fan de esta banda, seguramente te va a gustar mucho, si no, deberías estar haciendo otra cosa.