An anime about idols going up against politicians? You have my attention. Question whether the combination worked. Let us find out as we take a look at Idol Jihen.
Alternate Title: Idol Incidents.
Genres: Comedy, Idols, Politics
Number of Episodes: 12
Plot Summary: In a parallel world similar to ours, the nation of Japan is plagued with social problems, yet its government can do little or nothing. To save the nation from collapsing, seven idol parties become Diet members and, by their song and dance, will rescue the Japanese society from stagnation.
As mentioned above the concept of the show has idols confronting corrupt politicians in an effort to save Japan from an economic collapse. Thus we see the Dietwomen as the idol politicians are referred go up against classic political stereotypes such as self-important douchebags, spoiled brats, narrow-minded misogynists, egomaniacs etc. Come to think of it, with the people in power all over the world nowadays can the politicians on this show really be called stereotypes? Anyway, besides the power of song, cuteness, sexiness and incredible charisma the idols do in more than one occasion try to reason with the politicians and successfully talk them into listening to the people instead of constantly having to rely their “super happy idol beam of justice” to wash away the corruption. There are some interesting topics that are brought up in several episodes such as economic growth, protecting the environment, women’s rights and even (sort of) terrorism to name a few. However, they are tackled in a simple to understand manner, meaning do not go into this anime expecting in-depth debates between idols and politicians on several real life issues. They are all simplified basically, which is fine. As long as it was entertaining and took its concept I would be fine with it. For the most part it did.
At its core though this show is an idol anime, meaning well-known events, joys, sorrows and struggles seen in other idol shows can be found here, just with a political twist and for the most part they are handled fine. Once again do not come into this show expecting life changing content, it is simply cute and sexy girls banding together to try and change the fate of Japan with the near godlike powers that comes with becoming a professional idol in fictional media while also working hard to be the best idols they can be. Typical idol shenanigans in a political world. While there is a pinch of social commentary regarding Japanese politics…like I said at the start of this paragraph, this is first and foremost an idol show.
Like other shows with large casts, if the people are not the main protagonists or part of the main team then do not expect them to get a lot of screen time, just enough to help viewers know who these other idols are. Solid stuff.
The animation and soundtrack are both solid with the ED’s animation being the highlight. Watch the ED in its entirety and it will make sense.
Obviously Natsuki X Shizuka is the main ship. Natsuki is the optimistic newcomer who wants to give it her all and help the Dietwomen as best as she can while Natsuki is a super serious grouch who means well but due to personal reasons does not bode well with others, especially Natsuki. Of course as the show progresses they become closer. Based on the descriptions I gave for both leading ladies their character arcs develop exactly as a veteran idol anime viewer would expect. Both arcs are done well so they can be enjoyed with little to gripe about.
Overall Idol Jihen is a solid show with an interesting concept that chose to play it safe though still got the point across. Do not come into this show expecting deep or compelling social commentary. It is a show about idols vs politicians with simplified approaches to real life topics. At the very least they take the topics seriously enough without detracting from the fun factor or the seriousness of certain topics. It is worth a watch for idol fans: A “Good time, no alcohol required” show if you will.