mmm look at that sameface

One day, our protagonist Yuta Hoshitani encounters the ridiculous spectacle of some dude dancing it up in the rain and showering imaginary feathers everywhere, and instead of laughing at how narmy the scene was like a normal person he takes note of the emblem on the guy’s school uniform and enrolls in that school. The school is Ayanagi Academy and is host to a legendary music department known as the Kao Council, who are regarded as celebrities.
Both Yuta and his new friend at the academy – a soft-spoken boy named Tohru – set their sights on joining the Music Department. However, it is so exclusive and legendary that being accepted into it requires a rigorous audition judged by the Kao Council themselves. Being newbies, will Yuta and Tohru pass the audition and make it through? (spoiler- of course they do, although I did laugh at the fact that they don’t play the actual theme song until 3/4 of the way through the episode in some attempt at keeping that a secret.)

Yuta’s ahoge is so stupid looking, I just want to yank it out.

This anime started with the Universal logo, which surprised me. First of all because I don’t think I’ve ever seen an anime start with the Universal logo, dramatic earth rotation with fanfare and all, and secondly because you’d think if it was sponsored by Universal it would at least look good.
Because this show looks like absolute arse and half of the notes I took while watching the episode was me laughing at how bad the animation was. It’s so lame and cheap-looking that the whole thing feels like a bootleg Uta no Princesama. I don’t mean it’s an obvious attempt at cashing in on that franchise’s success (although it definitely is), I mean it’s like when you see those crappy fake Pokemon games that have official Pokemon art on the cover, but then the actual game is some reskinned bootleg crap that isn’t the actual game it says it was. Maybe this is what’s actually on a bootleg dvd set of Uta no Princesama because parts of it honestly feel that bad.

I don’t know what it is about obvious Utapri cash-ins and ironically having the blandest character designs possible (as I said before, I’m not a fan but the fact that the characters actually all look different is one thing I like about Utapri), but it happened with Shonen Hollywood and it’s happening again here. Most of these boys only have different hair styles to distinguish them by, and their faces are either ‘wide-eyed newbie’ (Yuta and Tohru) or ‘how to draw manga: bishounen template’ (everyone else). There was also something really off-putting about the artwork in the show that I couldn’t put my finger on until about halfway through – and I think it’s the fact that the lines around their pupils are too thick. Somehow it makes the art just look really amateurish. (And yet, the key artwork and some of the still pans – which there are a lot of, don’t look bad at all) To top it off, no one in this show emotes at all. Nobody every changes their facial expression and watching these characters talk and move is like watching some cardboard robots. Nothing moves except the mouths. It’s absolutely dismal. It pains me to say it, but even Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry had more love put into its animation than this. No matter what is happening, everyone just seems so incredibly, utterly bored. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an episode of anything that had so much happening and yet was so completely uncompelling in every way. There is zero energy in this, in a show about boy idols singing and dancing, and if you aren’t going to put any energy into a show about boy idols singing and dancing what the hell is even the point? The animation studio is ‘C-Station’ – who I’d never even heard of, and it seems their credits besides this are only ‘Seikoku no Dragonar’ (which apparently also sucked) and some Akame ga Kill webisodes (which probably were never required to look good). There’s this unbelievably awkward feeling for the entire run-time, like even the characters themselves have no idea what they’re doing or how to do visual story-telling at all. The voice acting is the only thing that feels professional.

You’d think the boring animation would mean that the budget had all gone towards the music – which would make sense, as this is a show about boy idols – but you’d be wrong, because the insert songs are utterly forgettable and the background music sounds like really bad 90s video game music for some reason. Seriously, there was a track at one point that I could have sworn was from Jazz Jackrabbit. It was actually pretty funny how badly it fit the scene.

Despite how overwhelmingly bad this was, it didn’t make me angry like a lot of other bad anime. Half because the quality was bad enough to be funny, and half because even with good animation the things that happen in this episode would be impossible to take seriously and yet are played completely straight. (When the Kao Council make their entrance they have a song and dance number right there in the school yard and I laughed so hard I had to pause it.) And despite how boring nearly everyone’s character designs were, there was something a little charming about Yuta and Tohru’s blossoming friendship contrasted against all the other characters, who are mostly angry for no reason. If I had more free time I’d probably watch this just to laugh at it, or at least until I couldn’t stand it anymore.


Out of 5,