Genres: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Isekai.
Themes: Bands, Music, Light Rock, Metal, Urban.
Number of episodes: 12
Plot Synopsis: Cyan Hijirikawa is a first-year high school student who has a good passion for music. However, she is very shy and doesn’t have the courage to join the school’s music club. But on one fateful night, she gets sucked into the rhythm game she had been playing on her smartphone after receiving an item called “Strawberry Heart”. Cyan ends up in a new world called Tokyo Midi city, a place where those who command music controls everything. After some crazy events Cyan is approached and recruited by Maple Arisugawa, the CEO of Banded Rocking Records to join his recording agency. She meets ChuChu, Retoree, and Moa, the vocalist, bassist, and drummer of Plasmagica, one of Banded Rocking Record’s bands. Thus her new life as part of the band had begun while also trying to figure out a way back home.
The best way I could initially describe SBR is a cross between K-ON! and Bakumatsu Rock as the show takes elements of both shows, lighthearted moe comedy and a fantastic rock and roll adventure and combines them into one.
That and the two main bands are the all-girl light rock band Plasmagica and the ripped pretty boy metal rock band Shingancrimsonz, both awesome and entertaining in their own ways. As one would expect both bands represent their subgenre well. Plasmagica spends their free time being cute and doing cute things while Shingancrimsonz spend theirs being super macho and silly. From this short description of both main bands viewers can get that a third of the show is Girls Club and occasionally Boys Club shenanigans so those familiar with one, the other or both will easily get into those parts.
Of course there are other bands my second favorite being Tsurezure naru (especially its leader) after Plasmagica.
The 2D animation quality is both colorful and diverse. As far as I’m concerned SBR’s 2D is a visual treat and one of the show’s strongest highlights. Then there’s the CG. Anime fans know all too well the controversial topic that is CG in anime. Some are fine with it while others loathe it entirely. The CG worked quite well I’d say and it wasn’t overused at all. It was mainly used during the musical numbers and occasional fights against Dark Monsters. Speaking of…
The Dark Monster battles are both exciting and visually delightful seeing chibi animal people using the power of rock to take down evil. Most exhilarating despite it sounding ridiculous.
The music is wonderful with Tsurezure naru once again being a favorite of mine. I daresay their songs are better than Plasmagica’s despite those being fun to listen to. So yeah great songs and OST.
Having said that one of the show’s main flaws is its pacing. Now I am not a person that has much of an issue with rushed development or plot progression but SBR’s feels rushed at times. I mean REALLY rushed to the point of some major events being resolved in less than a minute. On the bright side SBR is clearly a show to have fun while watching so it is appreciated that it doesn’t dwell on seriousness or dramatic situations for too long.
While the rushed pacing can be overlooked because the show is fun and not to be taken too seriously, the one thing that keeps SBR from becoming very good is that I feel it’s missing something. It’s hard to explain but viewers could notice it while watching. It’s that special spark that helps make a show/movie/comic etc better than what it initially is. Basically SBR is good but is missing that special something to make it very good.
Now on to the yuri courtesy of Retoree and her crush on Cyan. For the majority of the first half her crush was referenced almost every episode and it looked like it would be an important subplot. Unfortunately when the second half kicks in her crush is hardly brought up being shown occasionally but nowhere near as glorious as in the first half. Disappointing but at least it was consistent till the end so that’s somewhat reassuring. Hopefully there’s a future OVA to rectify this.
Overall Show By Rock!! is a good show that could have been better. Most of the characters are likable, the SoL portions are fun, the music is great, the animation is a visual treat and the battles are pretty cool despite appearing silly to some. However, plot progression feels a bit too rushed and the show lacks a certain spark to boost its appeal from good to very good. As it stands the show’s fun and has enough to be memorable but could have been so much more. Recommended to viewers who like having fun but aren’t too critical.