It’s time for some more first impressions of this season’s anime! This was a show I had been waiting literally years to watch and I’m so glad it’s finally here. The show in question? Why, Ensemble Stars!, of course!
Ensemble Stars! is a series about high school male idols, based off a video of the same name. Set at Yumenosaki Private Academy, a school which specialises in producing male idols, the series follows Anzu, a transfer student who has joined the new producer course. Anzu is also the only girl in school. Anzu’s task is to help produce the idols that the school hopes is the next set of shining stars. The anime adaptation is being produced by David Production.
As excited as I was for Ensemble Stars! to finally air, I was also a bit nervous. I was somewhat used to the original mobile game and due to the self-insertion within the game, I was a little bit unsure as to how this would be adapted into an anime. In the game, you are the producer. You are Anzu. The characters talk to you. You are in control. Yet, as much as some anime series have chosen to go down the self-insertion route, it doesn’t usually work too well. Yes, One Room, I’m looking at you.
Despite my protagonist worries, I was super glad that we actually got a character to represent us. That was until I realised that Anzu is practically just an empty shell. She hardly says anything (I could practically count how many times she spoke in the first episode) and she doesn’t really have much personality either. I understand that they’re probably just trying to make up for the fact that the game is pretty much self-insertion, but I kinda wish that they also just went for it and changed it slightly to make it – particularly the dialogue – much more flowing. Poor Subaru does all the work instead.
Speaking of Subaru (arguably the main guy in the main unit), I’m also not so happy with him either. Perhaps this stems from my time playing the game itself as well, but I cannot get along with Subaru’s personality at all. He’s too loud. He’s the typical over-the-top wannabe idol. It’s a trait in most idol shows, I know, but he kinda takes it up a notch. I thought Love Live!‘s Honoka was the worst case of this. I was wrong. I take it back. Sorry, Honoka.
Although my written thoughts so far don’t paint a good picture of the characters, I do have my favorites. In particular, I have to comment on Rei Sakuma – the token vampire boy at the school. Anyone who knows me should know that I love vampires, but that’s not the only reason why I like Rei. I’m intrigued about his motives. Sure, he seems to be helping Subaru out somewhat, but I feel as if there’s something else behind this. Surely he’s not all goody-goody like this?
The show is definitely a good one if you like a show with lots of cute boys (yes, they’re all quite attractive) but let’s move away from the characters and focus on other, more technical aspects of the show.
First of all, the animation. I wouldn’t have said the animation was anything special. It’s not mind-blowing by any means. (I’m sure David Production are using the majority of their animation budget this season on Fire Force.) That being said, however, I do quite like the CG. I know, not everyone likes CG, but I’m one to look past it, especially when it’s nice. I have no faults with the CG animation in Ensemble Stars! – it’s not as clunky as, let’s say Love Live!‘s was a few years ago.
If you haven’t played the Ensemble Stars! game, you might be a bit concerned about the music. There’s definitely a variety of different sounds within the series. For example, TRICKSTAR (the main unit) is your typical idol-sounding unit, whereas Ra*bits is a more cutesy sounding unit and UNDEAD (Rei’s unit) is certainly a little heavier. Personally, I am currently obsessed with listening to UNDEAD’s music.
So, if you like your cute boys or your idols, I can’t actually think of a reason why you shouldn’t be watching Ensemble Stars! this season. Sure, the protagaonist is basically an empty shell and the plot isn’t spectacular, but it’s a very good watch if just for the music or if you want a rather chill time without the need to concentrate too much on the story at hand.
EDIT (02/08/2019) – Spelling error.