Raki Kiseki is a second-year middle school student who transfers to Star Harmony Academy to become an idol. However, when she uses an Aikatsu Pass she received from her big sister (an Aikatsu engineer), something mysterious happens. Lots of doors appeared before her, and when she opens them, she meets Aikatsu idols she never knew before, such as Yume Nijino (Aikatsu Stars!). Raki vows to design her own premium dress and perform in it on stage.
Aikatsu on Parade is the MCU of the Aiaktsu world. It takes characters from ALL seasons of Aikatsu and puts them together, whether they were in the same universe or not, with an original main character to steer the story. While this sounds super fun, and don't get me wrong, it was, overall this show was a bit of a mess and a few major flaws made it unlikeable.Animation Animation was fine, best in the franchise so far. Both the regular animation and especially the CG concert scenes have come a long way over the years. SoundThis show has all kinds of music from all the other shows in the franchise, which is great for Aikatsu fans. Even the closings are all re-used from past seasons, which is nostalgic. I've personally always thought most of the music was catchy. Story/Setting The basic premise is an Aikatsu engineer somehow creates a dimension-traveling Aiaktsu card, that when swipped, allows the holder to open a gate to different dimensions (specifically, idol schools). The engineer's little sister, and our newbie idol protagonist, Raki, is unknowingly given the card. She quickly befriends Aikatsu Friends protagonists Aine and Mio as she enrolls in their school, and they end up traveling to another idol school when the card is swipped and a magic gate opens up. They then use then use the gates to travel to different idol schools from past seasons. Eventually, the show scraps the gates and vaguely says 'btw, now all the idol schools/worlds are connected' without any explanation of how slamming a bunch of universes together even works. The rest of the show can be summerized as 'cross-over the show', as there is no overall plot or goal, but each episode (occassionally two or three part) is a self contained activity where idols from different seasons do an idol activity together. These activities are very similar to ones that repeat every time the franchise is rebooted, except most training/learning episodes are removed. The super vagueness of the universes crossing over is a HUGE plot hole. Often with kids shows you can ignore some parts that don't totally make sense (ex: downloading dresses off of cards to wear), but since the entire show literally revolves around dimension jumping/combining its very distracting that no explanation is ever given on how it woks. Raki's sister makes little cameos every once is a while but never mentions how or why she decided to mess with alternate dimensions. The other problem with the 'story' and setting is it follows the character Raki, I'll explain more below my specific issues with her, but it just doesn't make sense to use a brand new idol as a catalyst for the entire show about pre-existing super famous idols. That would be like me staring in a movie with (and upstaging) Beyonce, Gaga, and Madonna. WHY. It would make more sense to just use the protagonists of Aikatsu Friends, or of any other season, instead. Characters This show has all main and secondary idols from ALL the previous seaons in the franchise, which is FUN for an Aikatsu fan. Its great to see them meet and interact, even if its shallow conversations. Of course watching them preform is the most fun. There are also a large amount of cameos of minor characters too, which creates a 'spot-it' game while watching. The downside to such a huge cast, especially since they're almost all pre-existing, is there is zero character development or progress. It gives the show almost of a 'non-canon movie' feel since they acomplish nothing note-worthy. The show's greatest strength is also part of its downfall. The BIGGEST problem in this show is the protagonist Raki Kiseki. She is a 'Mary Sue' through and through. On her first day at idol school, before her first class, she befriends Mio and Aine, two of the most popular people in all of Japan. Then, instead of actually going to idol school/classes, she gets to preform with them (and their other famous friends) and naturally be able to sing/dance well enough to get tons of praise. Not once in the entire series is she shown to actually attend the idol school, not even a single class scene. Almost every super popular idol she meets immediately considers her a friend and a competent idol, which is just annoying and frustrating. She isn't even portrayed as one of those confident 'prodigy' type characters, but only as a 'tee hee, aren't I so lucky?' type when the most famous people in Japan bend over backwards to help her out with random stuff. Its so irritating. It would have been SO much better if she was like a producer in training or mentioned to have done years of training before the series began. It really feels like a bad self-insertion fan-fiction. Overall I think, even with the huge flaws, I was able to get some enjoyment out of the series because I'm a fan of Aikatsu, and the cross-overs were fun. However, Raki Kiseki and her sister's dimension-crossing nonsense just felt like a bad self-insertion fan-ficton and it was distracting and maddening. I would only recommend this to large Aikatsu fans (the show assumes you already know who the characters are), and even then, I think its skippable, and possibly the worst Aikatsu show to date. It just has huge non-canon feels. I'm curious to see where the franchise heads after this.
So Aikatsu On Parade is literally just an accumulation of all the past Aikatsu! animes. As much as I want to give this anime a good review as a biased Aikatsu fan, there are some aspects of this show that I can't deny that make it pretty bad. So I will give my review in both considerations as an Aikatsu fan and as a normal anime fan Story: Aikatsu On Parade follows a brand new main Aikatsu girl named Kiseki Raki. Like all Aiaktsu stories, she starts as a new student in her second year at an idol school. However, instead of a new school, Raki starts off in a previous school already introduced in the universe, Star Harmony Academy, the main school of the previous franchise, Aikatsu Friends! Now if you are just a normal anime fan stumbling across this anime I would highly advise you not at all to watch it. To be fair it feels like it was very rushed and the entire "joining of worlds" is kind of BS. Throughout the story, they don't really give a clear explanation of how everything worked. Now aikatsu is also a kid's anime so there are some aspects of the show that are more on the fantasy side of things like girls taming killer whales, ghosts, the entire aikatsu system, etc. However, it seems like the entire basis of Aikatsu On Parade was completely insane Let me break down a little more (preferable if you've watched the previous animes) In each of the three previous Aikatsu! animes, there were top idols, top brands, etc. However, at first, it seemed like they were all in their own universes. It all changed during Aikatsu Stars! Hoshi no Tsubasa where a collab episode from the first Aikatsu came into the Aikatsu Stars show. Now of course when most-watched this episode, they were thrilled about seeing the O.G. cast of Luminas, Soleil, and Tristar. However, I couldn't bring myself to understand how it happened. After that event and the rest of Aikatsu Stars and Aikatsu Friends, we're brought with this story of how the girls are somehow all in the same world through Lucky's sister tinkering with the Aikatsu system. Somehow the girls are appearing in each others' worlds and meeting each other for the first time. They don't take a second to explain at all how this all happened, and how it works, etc. I felt like it was such a major plot point and the key to the success of this show but apparently it was just glazed over, rushed, and ignored, making the overall show confusing and having a less appealing story. There wasn't really the main goal either, every problem in the first few episodes was solved and then halfway through the show, they just dismissed the entire idea that our worlds are colliding and there's something we should do about it. Raki's main goal was to make the perfect dress, which is much less of a goal than Ichigo, Yume, and Aine & Mio's goals which were to be some of the best idols Animation: The animation is very clean, as most fans would agree, the best in the series, especially seeing Ichigo's 3d model compared to her very first model. obvious there are some moments where it is of low quality. However, the thing I am most disappointed in is the 3D dance models. Most are just reused from the previous animes and only 3 girls got new updated models, being Ichigo, Akari, and Yume. So most of the other girls have mismatched models, from their own era and anime Sound: Overall it was just very nostalgic and exciting hearing all the previous songs, to begin with, Aikatsu! has a very, very good soundtrack from their background music to the actual idol songs. It was also very nice to hear new versions of old songs with different idols singing them, my favorites being the Hime and Mizuki Start Line and Akari and Mirai's Identity. Characters: Honestly the saving point of this mess, the cast is the main appeal of this show. Heck to be fair, it's the only reason why I was so hyped for this season to come out. I mean who doesn't love when their favorite characters come together and have long awaited or dreamt of interaction? I got to see all my best girls and favorite characters and a bigger cast is more loveable in my opinion. The only down part is that the more the cast is, the less screen time most secondary and minor characters will get.
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