Synonyms: Aikatsu! Idol Katsudou! Idol ga Tsudou!, Aidoru ga Tsudou!, Aikatsu! 2, Idol ga Tsudou! 2
Japanese: アイカツ! アイドルカツドウ!
Status: Currently Airing
Aired: Oct 8, 2012 to ?
24 min. per episode
G - All Ages
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.201 (scored by 2487 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisIchigo Hoshimiya is a regular, ordinary middle school girl. But when her best friend, Aoi, invites her to join the idol training academy, Starlight Academy, her whole world is turned upside down. As she encounters all kinds of rivals and learns what it takes to be an idol, she uses her Aikatsu Cards to challenge countless auditions.
Related AnimeSide story: Aikatsu! Movie
Summary: Aikatsu! Dai Starmiya Ichigo Matsuri Zenyasai!!
Characters & Voice Actors
Note: This review is for the first season of the show, which is the first 50 episodes and was originally its own entry on MAL.
When I was first taught about "idols" as a child, we knew them as false gods. Then I started watching anime and I realized it's practically the same thing for Japan.
Aikatsu! follows the idol trend of the past few years. These are shows about cute young girls singing and dancing that look like they're for young girls but are actually for grown men, only this time around it actually is for young girls (it has some periphery demographic, though). It follows a group of middle school friends led by Hoshimiya Ichigo learning to become idols at Starlight Academy through various "idol activities."
But what are "idol activities?"
Singing and dancing are definitely involved and, as one would expect, are the primary concern. But that's not all, oh no. Aikatsu! delves much further into the idol world than that which we see on the stage at concerts (and probably further than reality). These girls take long runs, chop down giant trees, scale mountains with their bare hands, and navigate trap-ridden haunted houses. I'm not even exaggerating here, all of those things literally happen in the show. It's no thriller, but there are a few surprising times where you wonder where these girls get the strength and courage to face these obstacles.
But being an idol isn't all about training your body, either. Being an idol is also an image and representation. When you become popular, you get fans, and you need to be sure you don't let those fans down; this fact is not ignored. There is a certain episode in which Ichigo becomes overly worried about making a good signature and being able to do it fast when it comes time for her to meet fans and sign things for them. The problem is that she forgets the "meet fans" part, and only focuses on the signing, a fact that is soon brought to her attention by a friend, making her realize that she had been letting fans down who not only wanted to get a signature, but also to simply see her face and talk to her a bit.
Further, there's an image to maintain. This is a fine line that could have easily fallen into the territory of shaming non-perfect body types, and even arguably toes the line at best. When Christmas break comes and it's time for Ichigo to go home for a couple weeks, she can't resist her mother's cooking; she eats and eats and gets...big. The people around her are disappointed with her, but not because of her new shape; it is because of how she let herself go, how she allowed herself to be lazy and leave her idol activities at the door step when she came in.
At 50 episodes, there's a lot of time to develop story and characters. As one might guess from the above, most of the story is episodic, but there is still a certain continuation to everything. New idols are introduced and have bigger roles in subsequent episodes, a lesson learned in one episode will continue to be put into practice throughout the show, and as our girls get ever more popular both in the academy and in the outside world, things get busier. There are times where we might see a string of slice-of-life episodes followed by a slightly more dramatic story arc, but these never come too suddenly to feel out of place. They start reasonably and end well, with the possible exception of one near the end where it seems as though idol units begin to grow on trees and the viewers are left wondering who belongs where and what this sub-group, should they actually exist, is even doing.
Lead protagonist is Hoshimiya Ichigo, with main support Kiriya Aoi and Shibuki Ran. Ichigo is a cheerful girl, always happy, but not always very smart. She decides she wants to do something and she goes and does it, no hesitation. Sometimes things work out great. Other times they don't. She doesn't take these moments for granted, but she doesn't let them get her down; she bounces back, taking what she's learned and applying it for the future. She's the kind of character who just attracts other people to her.
But she wouldn't be able to do that without such great friends. First up is Aoi, her childhood friend who showed Ichigo her first idol concert that made both want to be idols and convinced them to apply for Starlight Academy. Aoi is the "idol professor." She knows everything about idols. No, really. Everything. She's also an idol herself and Ichigo's #1 fan and as such, knows how to keep the peppy blonde in check...while occasionally succumbing to the craziness herself.
And then there's Ran, the most mature member of the trio. She is first introduced as being popular around the academy for her cold, no-smile demeanor, having a confidence built up due to having years of entertainment experience under her belt before having even entered Starlight Academy. Getting her to warm up to Ichigo and Aoi was not easy, but when she finally allowed them to break the ice with her, we see what is really a very calm and caring personality and an irreplaceable source of confidence, even if she is sometimes the one who needs it the most.
But there are a lot of characters here. Kanzaki Mizuki, the aloof and mysterious upperclassman and most popular idol at the academy who only very rarely shows a more emotional side (but don't worry, she does) is the most prominent support. She is the endgame, the goal everyone else is trying to reach, but a rival that always moving ever forward. A lot about her is left in mystery, but we're also given a lot of tidbits that show her to not be the 100% perfect being she's made out to be, and she never lets up, considering that, while she provides motivation for others, those behind her are also what motivates her to keep going.
But again, there are a lot of characters, many of whom don't really get a chance to be fully realized. The extra idols with recurring parts, which include Otome, Yurika, Shion, Sakura, and Kaede, largely fall into this group. All of them at least an episode or two dedicated to their development, but afterwards they occasionally may make things feel too crowded and will largely stick to their base personality for the rest of the show without ever really being focused on again. It's a bit of a shame, but it was a trade-off for the extra focus on the show's main group.
However, the show doesn't ignore any characters. There are multiple side characters who could easily have been left by the wayside but get their time in the spotlight, such as dance instructor Johnny Bepp (who, yes, does play a pirate in one episode) and Ichigo's mother, father, and little brother. These sessions are largely abrupt, but short and sweet. They really help to develop the relationships all around, giving all the characters more depth, all while not sacrificing the main focus of the show.
And what is the main focus of the show? What do you think is the main focus of a show about idols? Music!
Oh, we're definitely treated to music in this show. Every single episode climaxes in a concert scene. It's not a different song every episode, but it is changed up enough that by the time you begin to grow tired of a song, they start using a new one. Also, the first ED, Calendar Girl, is amazing and actually well portrays the show's eventual theme. Overall, though, while even Aikatsu!, like others of its kind, may seem to occasionally throw in more songs to advertise new singles, it never really feels out of place within the context of the show because most of what the characters are doing are related to their job as idols and leads up to the eventual musical piece.
But speaking of those concerts and advertising...there are some weird things going on.
One can't write a review of Aikatsu! without mentioning the forbidden fruit of commercial anime: cards. Aikatsu! too wants to sell you some cards. In the show, these cards are their outfits and are...generated?...in the Aikatsu machine for the concerts. Yeah, it's weird, but it doesn't tiptoe around it. Much effort is spent on matching up each member's outfit with everyone else and getting new cards for new outfits to fit a different occasion, including the special "premium" cards that are only given to the most worthy of idols. At the end of the day, it's hard to say if this was purely an advertisement gimmick, a legitimate-if-strange part of the story, or something in between.
There's also this thing they do during concerts called "special appeal." It's hard to even describe what these are since it really isn't grounded in reality at all, but it's this mid-concert thing that typically only takes a few seconds to do and ranges from spinning around wildly to shooting a heart with an arrow. They're supposed to be these things that make a concert and performer more impressive in some way, but it's never made clear what the actual purpose of them is or why they exist at all. There's even an episode focused on them, but all we really learn is that most idols can only do 1 per concert while Mizuki can pull off 3. Around the halfway point of the show they're never really brought up again, but they still appear in the concerts.
Things are very pretty (and pink) in Aikatsu! land, but a little rough around the edges. Character designs are distinct and animation is typically fluid, but at the forefront of every episode's concert is a sequence of re-used animation where the girls are inserting their Aikatsu cards into the Aikatsu machine. The concert scenes are all in CGI, which can be a bit daunting next to the 2d animation of the rest of the show (which sometimes even appears for the audience during concerts). A quick eye can see commonly re-used background characters, not really a problem in most cases since I also see the same people every day at school, but the worst offender is a particular scene where the headmistress is addressing an assembly of girls and the two halves, hair color aside, are mirrored, like each girl has a twin sitting in the same position but on the other side of the room.
At the end of the day, Aikatsu! is just a happy show. Its run time is used very well, as it doesn't have to crank out material before its inevitable end and viewers are given plenty of time to get attached to the characters without having to leave them so soon. Certain episodes later on in the show really wouldn't have even worked without the kind of run time this show had; the impact they made just wouldn't be the same in a short series.
Aikatsu! is also not for everyone. It is a kid's show and even fans who usually like idol shows such as Love Live and Idolm@ster may not be able to get the same enjoyment from this one. Feel free to judge this one by its cover; if a group of young girls in frilly dresses over a pink background doesn't seem like your kind of show, don't watch it. But if you do like this kind of stuff, or just feel like giving it a shot, you ought to like what you come in for.
With Aikatsu’s third season finally spreading its wings, I figured now would be an appropriate time to share my thoughts on the series thus far. The now-bestselling multimedia franchise (already raking in billions of yen per year) may seem intimidating at first glance, but it’s a lot friendlier than it looks.
Starlight Academy is a school built for aspiring idols; a school so influential that it’s dominated by none other than Kanzaki Mizuki, one of the top (and most mysterious) idols in the world. Brave, elegant, and monolithic, she lights up the world around her, inspiring adults and children alike. When Hoshimiya Ichigo’s idol-obsessed friend, Aoi, drags her to a concert of Mizuki’s, they’re quickly spellbound by the same passion felt by so many others. Before you know it, the two decide to transfer to Starlight in pursuit of their newfound dream. This dream, however, doesn’t come without a seemingly endless horde of challenges.
Throughout the world, idols use branded Aikatsu Cards to create and coordinate the clothing of their performances. These pieces of clothing can be combined in many different ways to form a Coord, an outfit used to entice and intrigue the audience. Each Coord can have different powers, or Special Appeals, to maximize the crowd’s excitement levels. Furthermore, a sizable amount of brands (each being Cute, Sexy, Cool or Pop focused) are created by Top Designers around the world to reflect different contemporary fashion styles. To simply say that all of this creates an interesting setup is a definite understatement.
One of Aikatsu’s definite strengths is the pacing and character development at large; you really feel like you’re watching these characters grow as not only idols, but human beings. Mizuki quickly grows from a distant object of admiration to a friendly, beaming rival, and this is where the series hits its stride – by making use of the episodic format to provide interesting and fun situations, the formula almost never grows stale. New characters are introduced regularly and naturally to keep the cast’s traits balanced, and this is rarely a problem. Truthfully, some of the second season’s material and themes are redundant, but never in my hours spent with the series was I bored or annoyed, only filled with childish excitement. When it gets it right, however, the drama is smooth and unexpectedly heartwarming. It’s one of the few shows that successfully captures the emotional nuances and fruitfulness of a wonderful and pure friendship.
But the purity of its art is unmatched. For a complete lack of fanservice to be notable is somewhat depressing, but here we go – there is, surprisingly, none whatsoever. Compared to some other current idol shows, it may sound like a joke, but trust me on this one. That aside, the vibrance of the art itself may come as a surprise to some. Sunrise’s signature fluidity takes a backseat to one of the most unlimited palettes in recent memory, and the designs throughout the show are proof of that. The early CGI is little rough, but it never stops improving; changes are frequently made on the models until the second season, and from there, it’s always looking fantastic. Given the progress, it’s nothing to complain about, but may throw off newer viewers.
The music throughout is pretty hit-or-miss in terms of production, failing most when delving into EDM, but the composition remains consistent and beautiful. Overall, the original soundtrack tends to be much more interesting than most insert songs, and the soundtrack’s orchestral arrangements of them are usually preferable. The characters’ voice actors are mostly (and surprisingly) new, some even debuting, but they sound unexpectedly professional – Ichigo, for example, is played by a girl her own age, and a voice that could keep anyone smiling. Aoi sounds as cute and bookish as she looks, and later characters follow the same trend. It’s definitely more than enough to keep you engaged for hours on end.
Small problems aside, Aikatsu is one of the most fulfilling and engaging idol shows of the now, but its western audience is minuscule in comparison to its Japanese counterpart. There are a multitude of reasons that could lie behind its small, dedicated fanbase, but the episode count and child-friendliness are most likely the major factors. Regardless, it’s something that I believe transcends audience. It’s for people of all ages, genders, and nationalities, and it’s more than worth a try. Maybe you’ll like it. read more
Almost the exact same storyline. The only main difference is one is about becoming Idols and another is figure skating.
Both anime have the seem feeling. They are both about becoming idols. Also they the same "special effect" when you perform well on the stage.
Both are about idols
Both have a school for idols (starlight and pretty top)
Both have popular idols they look up to (callings and kanzaki mizuki)
Both know absolutely nothing about idols and the entertainment world before they started their idol career
Both have a certain type of item used for clothes (prism stone and aikatsu cards)
Both have 3 members in the team and the last member who is more experienced in the entertainment field and is often difficult to talk to at first but opens up over time (mion and ran)
almost everything is the same so if u like one of it, u will surely like the other as well
both have main girls that know almost nothing about the idol world
both have already popular idols (boys+crush) helping them when needed
Both shows are about cute young girls who start from the bottom of the idol world and try to climb their way up. There are some similar archetypes such as the main characters have never practiced before but have some talent at being idols, and both shows have an elegant and mysterious popular idol that the newcomers are aiming to reach.
Both Idol anime
Both about young girl how become idols
Both Anime have special Idol cards
Both Kawaii girls
Lala and Ichigo are both equal good in their first audition!
Pripara and Aikatsu are similar in both concept and execution. Pripara's a bit more over the top, and focused more on a tighter cast of character and has more conflict, but they're both absolutely adorable idol shows that have optimistic themes, good music, and cute main characters. If you like one, you'll probably like the other.
A lot of things are similar to Aikatsu and Pri Para. For example, they are aimed towards girls. They are also about becoming idols, and have special idol cards. The characters are also very likable in their own way.
If you liked Aikatsu, you may just fall in love with Pri Para!
Opening Theme#1: "Signalize!" by Waka, Fuuri, Sunao, and Risuko (eps 1-25)
#2: "Diamond Happy (ダイヤモンドハッピー)" by Waka, Fuuri and Sunao (eps 26-50)
#3: "KIRA☆Power" by STAR☆ANIS (eps 51-75)
#4: "SHINING LINE*" by STAR☆ANIS (eps 76-??)
#5: "Du-Du-Wa DO IT!!" by AIKATSU☆STARS!
Ending Theme#1: "Calendar Girl (カレンダーガール)" by Waka, Fuuri, and Sunao (eps 1-25)
#2: "Hirari / Hitori / Kirari (ヒラリ/ヒトリ/キラリ)" by Waka, Risuko, STAR☆ANIS, Fuuri and Sunao (eps 26-50)
#3: "Alice Blue no Kiss (アリスブルーのキス)" by Rey (ep 44)
#4: "Original Star☆彡 (オリジナルスター☆彡)" by STAR☆ANIS (eps 51-75)
#5: "Precious" by STAR☆ANIS (eps 76-??)
#6: "Good morning my dream" by AIKATSU☆STARS!more
Which fansubbers do you like the best? Click + to approve of their subs for this show. Click - if you don't think they did such a great job.
Related ClubsMinako Kotobuki FC, Twenty (12) Anime , Aikatsu, YuiKaori Fan Club, FALL 2014 ANIME, RIBBONS!!!!!!!!!, ~Toyonaga Toshiyuki FC~, Cute Girls Doing Cute Things, U.A.S (Unpopular Anime Supporters), Aikatsu! Fanclub, SweetKotomi's Cute Girls: Island Paradise
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