When I first heard about a new Show By Rock!! anime and found out it would not star Plasmagica (The lead band in the first two seasons) I was disappointed. Readers who saw the end of Season 2 will know exactly why. Despite that I was interested in seeing the new lead band in action. Were they worthy of getting the spotlight? Let us find out as we take a look at Show By Rock!! Mashumairesh!! aka Show By Rock Season 3.
Check out my reviews of the first two seasons HERE.
Note: While characters from the previous two seasons are referenced Mashumairesh is a standalone story set in the same universe that can be followed without having seen them.
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy
Themes: Bands, Music, Light Rock, Metal, Urban, Yuri.
Number of episodes: 12
Plot Summary: Howan is from a snowy countryside village. Though she enjoyed her life at home she dreamed of playing on a big stage. One day she got a letter of invitation for an audition in the big city. Meanwhile Himeko, an equally passionate musician was part of a band with two other girls but personally preferred going solo. As if drawn together by fate Howan got lost in the city and heard Himeko’s band play. The two gazed each other and thus their lives would change forever along with the other girls Ruhuyu and Delmin.
The two main differences between SBR 3 compared to SBR 1 and 2 are:
1: This a laid back story about a band coming together. There are no evil schemes to conquer or destroy the music world nor are there battles against dangerous monsters.
2: This is not an isekai. Howan is from the musical world unlike the protagonist of the first two seasons who was transported from “our world” to the music world.
Personally I do not mind this change. While the villains and isekai element were interesting parts of the series they are the least important to me. Removing them did not affect my overall enjoyment of SBR 3 at all. In fact, I would go so far as say Season 3 is my favorite season by far.
For unaware readers Show By Rock!! is a series about kemonomimi (animal people referred to as) musicians in a world full of mostly kemonomimi. There are other creatures like eggs or aliens but the vast majority of the music world inhabitants are kemonomimi called Myumon. Most of them are small. To be specific, only important characters are human shaped. If you are a side-character or part of the background you are a cute little Myumon. In fact you are more animal like than the important characters. That is the only reason the leads and other major characters are bigger than everyone else…
…That is until the bands perform. Then they transform into cute cg chibi animals. This is a perfect segue to the presentation. Not much to say for veterans. S3 is as good as S1 and S2, meaning the characters are excellently drawn and the CGs are cool and adorable. As usual whether viewers enjoy the performances or not depends entirely on how they feel about Japanese CG. I still think they look nice in this series. The show is extremely colorful and lively, especially in Midi City where it is busy 24/7. The show is set in a world where music is celebrated and bands can become legends. Speaking of music the Insert songs are glorious. I like all the songs, especially every Mashumairesh tune from the OP, ED and their other songs.
As mentioned this show has no looming darkness threatening the lives of the cute animals. The show follows the journeys of three bands with Mashumairesh getting the most development and REIJINSIGNAL the least screen time though their backstory and role in the story is quite clear. Our four heroines each have personal obstacles to overcome, some greater than others but nothing too heavy (except maybe one).
Let us briefly go over the male band, DOKONJOFINGER. No. They are not love interests. They have their own separate journey from Mashumairesh. Like ShingancrimsonZ they are loud, brash, passionate and manly but not as manly as their predecessors. Still manly enough and a blast to watch. They are four high school delinquents who must somehow become in sync. Bless manly anime boy bands, their limitless energy and especially their passion.
As mentioned in the above Note viewers need not have seen the previous two seasons to follow this one but there are references to the old cast, from CDs, posters, videos, songs and maybe even a cameo or two…Oh yes.
The main reason I enjoyed this season so much is because there were no distractions and the number of bands were smaller, giving them enough time for viewers to get to know the characters and potentially become their fans. Not to say this was a big problem in the previous season as all the old bands got time to shine but as the show progressed some of them started to feel less relevant. Not so here. All three bands had simple and clear purpose. The story was simple, which helped keep things in line. Most important of all there was a proper conclusion. Not a series finale as I will explain at the end of the review.
On to the main event. Let us briefly go over what to expect from the leading ladies, starting with the side-couple.
Ruhuyu is the genki of the group and one of my all-time favorites in anime history. Yes. I loved her that much. She has a very special kind of energy, one you could call “Lunatic”. Besides becoming a legendary drummer she wishes to become a deity. Readers will have to watch to see what I mean.
Delmin is the soft-spoken (poker face) one as she is far from quiet.She is very good at knitting and cannot help but want to help people in need, especially the elderly. She is very wise but lacks social skills and knowledge despite being helpful.
Howan is a country fox with a poor sense of direction. She is very friendly and does not think ill of anyone. She does not give much thought to many things. Not to say she is an airhead. It is like she goes with the flow most of the time. She is capable and easy to like and befriend.
Himeko is the tsundere. Not much to say about her character…EXCEPT the reason why she acts distant toward others. Once the truth is revealed viewers can understand why she does not feel comfortable playing in a band at first.
Another huge reason why I loved this season so much was the TRUE main story. Yes. Forming the band and working hard to become legends is an important plot point…but the real main plot is about Howan and Himeko’s blossoming romance. They are/were one of my Top 4 favorite yuri couples of 2020. I love/loved them that much. Ruhuyu X Delmin are great too but Howan X Himeko is where it is at in SBR 3.
Overall Show By Rock!! Mashumairesh!! is my surprise hit of Winter 2020. I did not expect to love it as much as I did. The cast is smaller than past seasons but greatly benefited from it. The story is much simpler but again better for it. The presentation remains colorful and excellent. While there were no battles or evil villains this season I do not feel they are the main draws of the show. It is the story of animal girls (and boys) forming bands and rocking out in cute chibi forms. I am not certain longtime fans will love this season as much as I did but give it a try. You never know. As for newcomers, if interested, same thing. Give it a shot. What do you have to lose?
Hopefully the same kind of awesomeness established here will carry over to Season 4 when all bands come together for one big All-Star Super Show.