225th G-View: Locodol

We’ve seen the ins and outs of being a Japanese idol. We’ve seen idols saving the universe from boredom. We’ve seen idols saving schools from shutting down. We’ve seen idols become professional wrestlers. We’ve seen idols fighting the undead and many more larger than life situations. But what about idols whose goal is not to aim for the top but simply to “help the little people” in a sense? Find out what I mean as we take a look at Locodol (The actual title is not worth remembering and Googling Locodol is good enough.).

Locodol

Genres: Comedy, School, Idols

Alternative titles:

  • Futsū no Joshikōsei ga Locodol Yattemita
  • We tried being local idols
  • Normal High School Girls Tried Being Locadols

Number of episodes: 12, 1 Special and 2 OVAs

G-Rating: 9/10

Plot Summary: In the town of Nagarekawa, Nanako Usami, an ordinary high school girl, is approached by her uncle to become a local idol or “Locodol”, partnering with upperclassman Yukari Kohinata to form the idol unit, Nagarekawa Girls. As the girls use their talent to promote Nagarekawa and their businesses, they are joined by other teammates who help them accomplish their goal of improving Nagarekawa’s tourism and filling its denizens’ lives with joy.

 Decent attempt to get in Nanako's skirt

It has been established in the world of anime and manga that idols are one of the most powerful entities in both universes, second only to lolis. This means they’re capable of doing almost anything. This time the latest idols Nanako and Yukari take on a more “down to Earth” approach to spread happiness and help everyone around them. Basically they are government funded local idols who work as public servants with the main objective of promoting Nagarekawa as much as possible to attract more tourists and increase the local economy’s revenue. To put it simply they’re similar social workers who also happen to be idols, complete with a town mascot…who also happens to be one of the most badass mascots I’ve ever seen. From experience I know that a social worker’s main objective is to assist the community as much as they can from basic odd jobs to advocating their rights in court.

All part of the job Nanako

But that’s part of the show’s appeal, how the idols’ main objective is not superstardom or world saving but rather doing their part to make their town a better place. As King Kai ‘s coverage of the show in his Modesty and Selflessness editorial stated, the Nagarekawa Girls (as they’re eventually named) spread kindness through their modesty and selflessness and are repaid by the town’s support of their noble actions. It’s kinda complicated to explain as other idol shows also have their idols “be themselves” but in Locodol it is more evident. Let me put it this way, being idols is secondary to our heroines. They think it’s cool but superstardom is not their main focus. Besides, what other idol groups can say they have “disposing of hornet nests” in their resume or other low paying jobs? “They do it for the smiles, man.”

Sexy casual swimsuit idols

The show’s fanservice is like the rest of the show, casual and not forced. One could even say it helps move the plot along at times. My passion for swimsuits is occasionally fulfilled and (believe it or not) the courage to expose one’s gifted beauty to the audience also helps with our leading ladies’ growth at times.

Locodol Main FourLike other idol shows the center of its entertainment value comes from its lovable cast of characters. I’ve mentioned a couple of times how I enjoy shows where not a single character feels pointless or added in solely for the sake of a fetish. Everyone in Locodol has a role and they follow it to the brim. The characters also develop at a steady pace, some receiving just enough for the audience to relate with their progression while others get some flashbacks. In a sense the girls and their coworkers grow stronger together with the town of Nagarekawa thanks to their hard work and occasional glimpses of the town itself and its surprisingly rich history.

Like the feel of the show its animation quality and soundtrack are both casual and laid back, great to listen to after a hard day’s work.

 Red string of fate 1

As always in anime with female leads and no male love interests it is time to discuss the show’s yuri goodness and Locodol has plenty of that. But before we get there let us discuss our two leading ladies, Nanako and Yukari.

Nanako’s main draw is how REAL she feels. She’s the kind of performer a viewer cannot help but love to cheer for because of how earnest she is. She never puts on an act when she’s performing. She is literally a “A for effort” type of character. A minor spoiler, she is told how little monetary gain there is to being a government funded locodol but she still goes through with it because she loves the job, loves helping people/making them smile and enjoys working together with everyone. That’s why she’s so beloved.

Yukari on the other hand has all the tools to be a professional idol. The brains, beauty and the charisma. However, like Nanako, she does it for the love of the job (especially one person in particular) and helping others. Although Yukari may look like she’s always in control she too is as much of a rookie to the idol as Nanako is and though she does not make as many mistakes as her partner she still has much to learn.

Yukari's bliss

Now let’s get back to the yuri and its driving force, Yukari. While covering he show I once described Yukari as an inspirational human being. See, her love for Nanako is clearly romantic in nature but she knows full well how to play the game and not take any unnecessary risks, choosing instead to play the subtle game. In fact her main strength is that “she’s subtle, without being subtle”. You see, while Yukari does not take unnecessary risks she also does not hold back at all. Her advantage is that all her advances are perceived more as showing respect and admiration for Nanako rather than her true motives of showering her precious Nanako with love and affection. The show even adds that extra touch of eventually showing viewers how Yukari fell in love with Nanako. Want more? Stay tuned after the ED and viewers will usually be rewarded. As for how Nanako responds to Yukari’s “respect and admiration”. Let me put it this way, there are some viewers who believe Nanako is not as oblivious to Yukari’s feelings as she lets on but I personally think she is. Viewers are free to speculate as they watch the show.

Overall Locodol is an idol anime whose strength lies in how relaxed of a show it is and how little it focuses on becoming an idol. The cast is awesome, the presentation is laid back and the yuri is much stronger than anticipated. I cannot say idol detractors may change their minds with this one (highly unlikely as their hatred is absolute) but SoL and idol fans will most certainly get a show that feels different from what is regularly expected from idol anime. Whether they’ll like it or not depends on the person’s expectations of what idol shows need to be in their eyes.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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38 Responses to 225th G-View: Locodol

  1. Cyan says:

    I’m so glad I watched this! It was a nice change, I mean we are used to idol genre who have goals to be number 1, but this was more about the characters learning about each other and it was fun to watch. No complicated back story and no plot twist dragged us at all. Everything was just interesting from the mascot to their manager.

    The yuri was satisfying, Yukari was destined to be with Nanyako! And the other girls were adorable! I couldn’t see Yui as a senpai sometimes whenever she stands besides her kohai’s because she is just too short, haha. (I’m not one to talk, I’m a few cm taller than them. But being short is normal for girls! right? right!)
    I think the atmosphere of the anime was great! And you are so right about the fan service, it wasn’t forced and I still had my fill, especially whenever they wear there swimsuits.

    I hope we get more anime like this! I don’t mind another season!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lee503 says:

    The part in the last episode where Nanako and Yukari hugged was great. Pretty much spot on with the Yukari analysis, she knows to progress her relationship without being too forceful on Nanako. Her victory is getting closer and closer, even though its inch by inch.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. elkat4 says:

    I dropped AKB0048 after I lost the ability to take the anime that seriously and I never watched past the first episode of Love Live! or that wrestling anime (the later just because it felt a little too fan servicy for me), so I can say I’ve never had a taste for anime about idols, but I can only describe this anime as if K-on had an ongoing plot instead of a series of episodic adventures.
    Ultimately, Nanako, while not all that “interesting” as a character, comes as really genuine and likeable, the every girl without coming off as generic or boring.

    While Yukari is a goddess in human form. Interestingly enough, I find her to have a lot in common with my favorite characters from K-on, Tsumugi Kotobuki. Both are girls from rather rich families who, in spite their upbringing, are incredibly kid and fondly interested in making friends. They also have a degree of questionable sexuality though to different agrees. (Yukari wanting to become close “friends” with Nanako where as Tsumugi yuri googling any two girls who interact with each other.) If these girls are not somehow related, I could easily see them becoming fast friends, with Tsumugi rooting for Yukari’s efforts to woo(hoo with) Nanako.

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      Pretty much the reaction I expected from someone who isn’t into idol anime. Not much I can say about this other than, you watched it for Yukari. Okay. Oh and interesting comparison.

      Like

  4. rennercm123 says:

    I knew going in that I was probably going to like this anime. I didn’t realize just how much I was going to really love this anime! As said above, all the characters came across as genuine and likable. It’s also one of the few anime that I will sit through the opening every single episode. It’s a toss up as to whether this is my favorite show this season…it’s competing against Hanayamata!

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      Two really good shows. Best part is regardless of which one everyone who picked both up liked more, everyone won because they’re both really good.

      Like

  5. r0nkun says:

    Its official, Nagarekawa Girls are my favorite idol group. I don’t care that you only have two songs (I don’t include the town anthem as one). You girls are how I think an idol should be. Don’t you ever become “professional” Nanyako!!! You stay as you are! Yukari keep at it, your making good steady progress. She is already willing to sleep with you. I’m sure one day…

    Like

  6. Greenlightning says:

    Locodol makes other idol shows seem overrated (That’s just my opinion though)

    Like

  7. yurimylove says:

    what a superb review! You’ve showed admirable restrain, but I could just see your love for this series in between your words. I’m also personally fully satisfied with how everything worked out, and therefore am considering between 9 or 10 myself, pending the last epside/OVA. From my previous comments you already knew I’m 100% in agreement with your take on Yukari.

    Oh and their new song was excellent! I like how it’s delivered in episode 12, pretty much the entire song was animated/presented, and Nanako was super cute singing it on stage too.

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      While other idol anime fans could disagree with my opinion on this show I will most certainly not change my mind because they were dissatisfied. I know you’re fully aware of Yukari’s greatness.

      It was worth the wait. The writers built up the long-awaited performance quite well. Nanako’s always cute.

      Like

  8. anoncpm says:

    Definitely one of my top shows this year. It’s been a while since I’ve actually looked forward to watching something every week. Well, I have to add Barakamon to that list too!

    I wasn’t expecting this show to have such a strong yuri feel to it, at the most I had expected to see maybe some playful flirting. I’m trying not to get my hopes up about the OVA, an unaired episode would be the perfect opportunity to ramp up the yuriness 😀 We’ll see how it goes.

    I wish I could pick up the manga for this, but sadly there hasn’t been much of it translated.

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      Will review Barakamon very soon as of this writing.

      I know some sneak peeks revealed more swimsuits so that’s a plus. Don’t know what else will happen.

      Hopefully it’ll eventually get noticed by translators and we can continue enjoying Yukari’s quest to win Nanako’s heart.

      Like

  9. mutopis says:

    I really like this type of show: comedy, slice of life, with some yuri and not a lot of heavy stuff on it. It was nice, with some fluff with a little down to earth on it. Now if only the manga was translated.

    Like

  10. John Hayabusa says:

    I wish I could tell which one is more yuri: Locodol or Hanayamata. This show pretty much ships the main duo Nanako and Yukari, as well as the other duo Yui and Mirai. At first, I did not have a good impression of this but as this show goes on, I got sucked into it. I got to learn more about the idol world. Love the yuri-teasing and some fanservice. A good show for yuri lovers.

    Like

  11. Hanneman says:

    When i was taking a look at the Summer 2014 anime chart to decide what i was going to watch, i thought this would be a nonsense show with stupid humor, given the huge character in the back. Not only i was wrong about the show, but the blue creature became one of my favorite mascot character.

    Something i noticed is that when you dont expect a show to give yuri to us and it does, the surprise becomes one of the greatest qualities of it. (Maybe i wrote something obvious here, hehe)

    Overall a great show that i’m glad to have picked up.

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      I picked it up because it was about idols and Nanako and Yukari looked sweet. Didn’t expect we’d get as much yuri from this show as we did either. I honestly didn’t notice Uogokoro-kun until episode 2. I didn’t pay attention to “him” in the background of the cover.

      Like

  12. Probably my top show of the summer other than Aldnoah/Zero (I haven’t watched/finished a lot otherwise though). It’s my first idol anime, but I LOVED so many things about it. The laidback and down to earth aspect of it all, Nanyako and Yukari’s relationship as well as their respective characters, great music and pretty if low budget animation. It’s rare for me to see shows like that. And Locodol delivered every single week. I thought Uogokuro-kun (Yui-sempai and Nat-chan) were really cool too. It just brought a smile to my face, and I think I’m definitely going to check out some things like Love Live! or Aikatsu as far as idol shows go.

    I might be hyping it a bit too much, especially since I haven’t finished Hanayamata and Sabagebu, but I really loved what I saw. Still need to watch the OVA though.

    Great review!

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      Hey it’s a pretty good show (for those who get its appeal anyway) so it’s great you like it as much as you do. I’ll wait till Aldnoah Zero finishes before bothering to check it out. I’m in no hurry.

      Uogokoro-kun rocks and so does YukaNana.

      Love Live and Aikatsu are excellent choices for other idol shows to watch, though the latter is pretty long so keep that in mind. Idolm@ster is another one that’s majorly hyped but I can’t comment on that yet (as of this writing).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed, indeed! Yeah, I mean, Aldnoah’s okay as far as mecha and intrigue goes. I was kind of hoping it’d deliver in the yuri department (except…that…shower scene…though) but alas, we still have until January for that one season. Certainly check it out when you get around to it.

        They really do, I’m excited to watch this final OVA and I DO hope for a second season as well.

        Yeah, well I was going to check out Love Live! eventually, but upon watching Locodol I’m definitely convinced in making that MUCH more of a priority. Although the mobage game and all of those songs…my friends have warned me about trying to play/collect them. XD

        Aikatsu looked cute from the getgo but I don’t know how good/yuri it is, but we’ll see. I probably won’t get around to that or Idolm@ster for awhile, same with AKB0048 (which I still want to check out as well).

        We’ll see how it goes.

        Like

  13. kracensc says:

    Very good, very enjoyable from start to finish, the characters were very enjoyable and the yuri pairing was there.
    I just wish Yukari pushed harder, really wanted to see this develop far more than it did, it did develop a fair bit, but not enough to appease my want to see them two together.

    Like

    • Overlord-G says:

      It was not meant to go very far from the get-go so what we got was all we would get. If you accepted that you’d be alright.

      Like

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  18. Christian Appel says:

    4koma manga came out yesterday and it has – surprise surprise – shoujo ai as main tag.

    Like

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