Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Aikatsu(Season 1)

On my quest to find cutesy anime, I thought I hit the tragic end at one point in my life. All that felt like was left was Sailor Moon and maybe one or two that haven't been subbed due to their obscurity. However, through reddit, I stumbled upon a cutesy anime that not only quenched my thirst for cutesy anime, but also was also perfect for my thirst for idol anime.

  Our story starts off with a first year middle schooler ,Hoshimiya Ichigo, a happy go lucky girl who loves food. One day, she and her friend, Kiriya Aoi, a studious girl and the same age as Ichigo, go to see super idol, Kanzaki Mizuki in concert. Ichigo is so mesmerized by Mizuki's performance that she decides to transfer into Starlight Academy, a school known for making famous idols such as Kanzaki Mizuki. After getting accepted into Starlight Academy, Ichigo and  Aoi embark on Idol Activities, or Aikatsu, to help her train as an Idol. Along the way, they meet Shibuki Ran, a model who loves the brand Spicy Ageha, Toudou Yurika, a tsundere girl who likes to pose as a vampire, and Arisugawa Otome, a hyper active girl that loves sweets. Together, they embark on various aikatsu in hopes of surpassing Kanzaki Mizuki. 

The story is pretty typical: you have your happy go lucky main character who has an dream and then you have her best friend that will try her best to talk sense into her. It is almost episodic in nature, however, it does a lot of continuity, which is nesacery to help show that Ichigo is progressing as an idol. At the start of the anime, it shows that Ichigo is unsure of whether or not she wants to be an idol, but as she gets more involved with aikatsu, she grows to love being an idol. Along the way, she meets various friends, all with different personalities and they help her grow as idol. The main progression of the plot is measure by time, i.e various holidays and events. To be honest, for a show aimed at little girls, the plot was not too bad.

The characters had various personalities. We have happy go lucky Ichigo, the studious Aoi, the tsundere Ran as our main three. However, we meet Otome, a eccentric girl in the same year as Ichigo, Yurika, a girl pretending to be a vampire and of course Kanzaki Mizuki, a mature girl who is the schools top idol. The characters are stereotypical I will admit, but I enjoyed them none the less. One thing that does make me sad is the fact during that I couldn't bring my self to get attached to any of the characters due to there was so many rotating in and out around the main cast. Another problem is that the characters of the cast are distinguishable, they feel like they all have the same personality at the base. Otome and Ichigo feel like the same person except for one throws English around in the middle of her sentences.

The art for this anime came in two styles: the regular anime art and the CGI used during the performances. The regular art was great; everything seemed well animated with very little flaws. Each character looked distinguishable, and were most of the time well drawn. The CGI was a bit of a miss for me because while they were dressed super cute for the performances, the girls them selves looked a bit weird. I also felt like the CGI helped with the appeals these girls were trying to make, but in the end, just felt like it was over  done. However the transition into the CGI scenes came as almost a magical girl style fashion.

The music for the first season of Aikatsu was pretty good. The songs used in every episode were upbeat and happy. The opening and endthemes were well done and were even decent enough to be used as performance songs. My only complaint was that the songs did get repetitive but it gets better in later seasons.

Over all, I enjoyed marathoning this anime. I couldn't wait to see what it had in store for me next, and honestly I was not disappointed with the first season of Aikatsu. Was it perfect? No, but don't let that discourage you because this anime is worth watching despite the flaws.

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