Note from OG: A good friend of mine and fellow Nation member King Kai had recently finished watching this show and since (as of this writing) I am currently busy watching “That other super huge idol show” I requested a guest post from the king. Here it is, Kai’s “must watch” post on one of the longest running idol anime in existence, Aikatsu!
Greetings everyone, I’m Kai of Deluscar – the king who rules over the darkest depth of the aniblogging word (hence the dark ass theme). OG calls me King Kai, and I hereby declare everyone should address me with the same level of respect that he does.
Anyway, I was asked by OG to talk about Aikatsu and it was kind of a perfect moment since I never really talked about it much on my blog despite finishing it sometime ago.
Genres: Comedy, Music, School, Idols
Number of episodes: 178 + 1 big movie and 2 sub-films
Aikatsu is awesome-it’s because they did a lot of things right, some minor, some major-but it’s how everything comes together in harmony which contributed to why it’s such an awesome show. First off,
1. It’s an idol show unlike any other.
I admit, Aikatsu is really for people who have an appreciation for idol shows. If you do though, you will realize this is truly an idol show unlike any other. The setting of “idol schools” is definitely an interesting idea, for one, and it’s always fun seeing them doing their idol activities. Characters would chant “Aikatsu! Aikatsu!” every time they are committing to them to sync themselves up-which to me are also just as good and meaningful as the actual live performances. I mean, seeing all their hard work, dedication and smiles, it’s just hard not to cheer for them. Aikatsu! overall has a really nice optimistic atmosphere, and I love it to bits.
These idol activities, or aidoru katsudou-Aikatsu as they call it, actually goes as far as scaling cliffs and cutting down massive trees. In fact, Aikatsu! itself is a little outside of the realm of realism, what with the characters transforming mahou shoujo-style into their idol costumes, unique stages for each song and the “appeals”. It’s like an idol video game come to life… in fact, it’s TOTALLY a game (Aikatsu was originally an arcade game before the anime adaption). This “fantasy/magical” element however, nicely lets the CG live sequences settle in which would otherwise have been a little awkward, which leads me to…
2. Incredible Live Performances
It took me some time to get used to Aikatsu’s CG live performances but I have since grown fond of it after awhile. It may also have to do with the fact that Aikatsu began with subpar CG quality but in later episodes improved so much to the point of having one of the best CG quality in anime. Outside of technicality, the usage of CG nicely matches the sort of “magical” style Aikatsu went for. Last but not least, the details that went into each song is nothing short of amazing-incredible cinematography, detailed dance choreography and thematic, vibrant backgrounds. As far as performances go, I have no complains on this front, and at this point, I really can’t separate Aikatsu with a (good) CG performance-they just very naturally go hand-in-hand.
3. Nice Music
I’m going to shamelessly plug this post: “Why do people like idol anime?“, but in short, idol anime music is good because aside from the songs, you are also getting invested in the “stories behind the songs”. The context behind the songs are what makes them so emotional. Aikatsu, despite already having impressive music even outside of context (with a few incredible singers/seiyuu too I might add), is also good at this-I, for one, will never forget that spectacular moment in S1’s finale when Calendar Girl was playing in the background.
Note from OG: “Signalize”, the show’s first ever OP is one of my all-time favorite idol anime OPs alongside Wake-Up Girls!‘s first OP, “Tachiagare!”
4. Lengthy anime, but lengthy character investment and a unique structure
Aikatsu! is a long anime, hitting over 170 episodes, it’s one of the reasons why I stated “Aikatsu is really for people who have an appreciation for idol shows”. However, this actually works in favor of the show overall. It may be long, it may just be a little bit repetitive, but because of that, character development in this show is really unlike any idol anime I have seen. The thing about this show is that it relies on “long-term character investment” and if you have the patience it’s hard not to like any of these characters by the end of it-it’s the main reason why I came to like Akari, despite her character not really being my cup of tea at first glance.
Also, Aikatsu! has a unique structure where characters WILL reach the end of their development and you will still be able to see how much they have grown post-development (Ichigo post S3). New characters, even protagonists would also spring out to replace the older, developed ones. In fact, the focus constantly switches between characters, but the anime manages to provide ample attention for each and every last one of them for us to care, and Aikatsu could do this because, you guessed it, it’s long.
Yes, you totally see this coming didn’t you? Because Aikatsu has such a large character cast, it’s a no-brainer that some of the characters would get paired up with one another. Yuri shipping is a huge thing in idol shows and Aikatsu is no different. Filled to the brim of teasing and aggressive hand holding; I’m sure any of you who like yuri would enjoy the hell out of it. Just about any pair from the anime could generate a unique dynamic and thus contribute to just how shippable the characters are. In fact, I’m a huge Ichigo X Aoi shipper myself. ALL HAIL ICHIAOI.
Note from OG: It is a known fact that Aoi Kiriya is one of the idol universe’s supreme goddesses.
Overall, Aikatsu! is great because of how all the good elements of the show work together in harmony. It’s a unique idol anime with an almost “magical” vibe, it has great idol performances with excellent 3DCG works, it has great music, it’s long but this works in favor for it’s characters and last but not least, the oh-so-glorious shipping.
To encapsulate this whole post, yes, Aikatsu is awesome and you should watch it. That is all.
Follow King Kai on Twitter.