It should be no surprise by now that I watch (and enjoy) idol shows. In most of the season preview posts I’ve made, I’ve mentioned an idol show – whether it be Love Live! from , [email protected] from last season or even *cough* Love Kome. However, I don’t think any of these series have made me quite as happy as Idol Jihen.
Idol Jihen is, as the title suggests, an idol show that was an original story created by MAPPA and Studio VOLN – a combination of studios that worked together to create Ushio to Tora, but the likes of MAPPA have independently worked on shows like Zankyou no Teror and Yuri!!! On Ice. With MAPPA not having ventured out into the idol anime scene prior to Idol Jihen, many were surprised at this new adventure.
Originally broadcasted in Winter 2017, Idol Jihen follows the story of the Heroine Party, Sunlight Party, Starlight Party, Bishoujo Party, Wakaba Party, Subculture New Party, and the SOS Party in their fight to save the day, solving Japan’s environment, waste and childcare issues along the way!
For many, the synopsis of the show will sound ridiculous. I get that. I’ll be honest, though, it was partly this that made me want to watch it in the first place. The premise that some would argue is “novel” genuienly intrigued me,
but that probably says more about my taste in anime than the show itself. Regardless, we’ve seen the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Donald Trump become involved in politics in the last twenty years, so is the concept of idols being in the Diet really so novel after all?
The plot of Idol Jihen focuses, arguably, on many issues that we’re facing in the real world. Environmental issues, controversial facilities, power hungry leaders, over-populated islands with cats taking over… Okay, so not all of the issues in the world of Idol Jihen are actually realistic, but it’s not a political show. Those who do think it’s a show based around politics, fail to see what the show actually is – an idol show. Of course it’s going to be a light-hearted series, that can almost be seen as a parody. It’s not a show about politics, it’s a show about happiness – as emphasised by the main character Natsuki’s almost chant of “I want to make everyone smile!”.
If there is anything to sell this show on in particular, it’s definitely the art style and the soundtrack. Forget Love Live! and your Aquours and your μ’s, I need more music from SMILE ♥ X and the sub-unit With… Heck, some even Cherry 7 (the rival idol group in the show) music would be nice. With just one listen to the OP – Utae! Ai no Kouyaku – I was hooked. The insert songs within the anime are limited, but they’re all catchy so it’s all swings and roundabouts, really. As for the art style, I personally really like how glittery it all appear to be. Not only that, but the art style used for the landscapes, particularly the rice fields which cover Natsuki’s village, are remarkably pretty. MAPPA certainly did a good job.
Overall, Idol Jihen is worth a watch if you’re wanting a light-hearted, easy watch. As it starts off quite episodic, no real attention is necessarily needed for a good quarter of the show. Sure, as I’ve previously mentioned, it’s also a little weird during Episodes 3 and 4, but sit back and enjoy the rest and it’s honestly a good watch. It’s definitely a show that gets a lot of negative press, but I do genuinely think that a lot of the criticism is truly undeserved and I still stick by what I said in my Winter 2017 First Impressions post – it was definitely not right for this to be the ‘sleeper’ show of the season.
This post was written as the ninth installment in my #12DaysOfAnime posts! #12DaysOfAnime is a challenge taken on by loads of anime bloggers, vloggers, podcasters and other people on many different platforms. We just have to post twelve consecutive posts about anything anime-related for the twelve days leading up to Christmas!
Keep an eye out for my other posts that will be a part of the #12DaysOfAnime Challenge! These will cover a variety of topics such as anime reviews, conventions and much more, so there’s going to be something a little different every day!
Hope to see you around!