When Kasumi Toyama was out camping as a child, she heard the rhythm of the "Star Beat" while admiring the starry night sky. This sparkling, heart-pounding sound left a lasting impression on her, and since then, she has constantly been seeking to rediscover that exciting thrill.
Now, as a newly enrolled student of Hanasakigawa Girls' High School, Kasumi is more determined than ever to find that long-lost sensation again. She attempts a myriad of school club activities, and even considers taking up a part-time job, but none of these feel suitable for her. That is, until she chances upon a star-shaped guitar in the storage room of an old pawn shop. It leads her to a live house, where she is captivated by watching a live performance for the first time. Spurred from the adrenaline, she instantly decides to form a band without even really knowing why. However, such a venture requires her to confront various hurdles with new friends she makes along the way, all in her pursuit to encounter that twinkling, heart-throbbing ardor once more.
BanG Dream! is a part of the "BanG Dream!" multimedia franchise, which was developed by Bushiroad in January 2015.
The franchise also released a mobile rhythm game, titled BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! for iOS and Android, which was developed by CraftEgg and published by Bushiroad. The Japanese version was released in March 2017, and the English version in April 2018. As of July 30, 2018, the game has surpassed 10 million downloads worldwide.
#1: "Don't be afraid" by Glitter*Green (ep 1) #2: "Kirakira Da Toka Yume Da Toka: Sing Girls (キラキラだとか夢だとか ~Sing Girls~)" by Poppin'Party (eps 2-13) #3: "Tear Drops" by Poppin’Party (Re-broadcast eps 2-12)
There is something inherently satisfying about listening to music. A reviewer recently said that putting any mildly evocative imagery alongside any mildly evocative music can produce a reaction in just about anybody, even if that reaction is essentially 'cheap.' Regardless of whether or not the reaction I experienced while watching BanG Dream! is the one the animators were aiming for, the fact that this show managed to spark a reaction at all is why I rate it so highly.
To put it into perspective, BanG Dream! is a story about a band's timid first steps towards discovery, focusing in particular on character motivation, growth, and
self-discovery. The title most similar in style that I know of is probably K-On, but, all musicality aside, BanG Dream! is almost - and I stress 'almost' - as good as Your Lie in April in showing genuine character development. The very start of the show introduces the protagonist - Kasumi - as a happy-go-lucky, naïve but extraordinarily brave young girl, and the early episodes focus on having her meet and get to know the other members of the band: Saya, whose backstory is perhaps the most fleshed out; Rimi, whom I believe experiences the greatest growth of character; Arisa, my personal favourite; and Tae, who just sort of exists on the side. Okay, so maybe the show isn't perfect...
The story is simple: learn to play some instruments, get an audition, perform at a venue. The art can be amazing, especially when it's clear the animators have put a great deal of effort into making the rare 3D scenes, but it's not anything extraordinary. The music is nothing special either, but it becomes something special when it's paired with the people who are singing it. I don't know a lot about Poppin'Party - the inspiration behind BanG Dream! and the people who provide all the voice work - but their music is charming enough.
This is the best anime I have seen where character's thoughts and feelings are so vividly rendered, and almost all of them experience genuine growth and development. The clearest example is Rimi, who, at the beginning of the series is a timid, shy young girl who is outshone in every way by her older sister. That doesn't stop Rimi from overcoming her fears, however, and she goes on to become one of the strongest members of the band, setting aside her timidity and performing live for hundreds of people. Saya longs to join the band but feels she cannot because she must care for her family. Arisa is reluctantly dragged into everything but underneath, desperately enjoys her time with the band. One of my favourite moments is when, because Kasumi is ill, Arisa, Rimi and Tae perform by themselves; these girls do not just exist to compel a plot, they are friends above all else. Several times during the show a family crisis or personal fear threatens to destroy the band completely, but that isn't the priority - this is a music anime that spends remarkably little time actually focused on music. The changes each character goes through from the beginning of the show to the end is what makes BanG Dream! so enjoyable to watch, even if its story, art, and even its music, are relatively mundane in the wider anime world. If you're looking for a story with strong character - one that makes you feel so many emotions, but all of them wondrous - I wholeheartedly recommend giving BanG Dream! a go. If nothing else, it's sure to make you feel something, at least.
It's become a common trend in recent years for an anime project to spawn an idol group - it boosts the popularity of the franchise, and provides another avenue for profit. However, according to Takaaki Kidani, founder and president of Bushiroad, the company responsible for the BanG Dream! multimedia project, the era of idol anime is coming to an end, and band shows will be the next big thing. Which is interesting, because despite technically being a band anime, BanG Dream adheres incredibly close to the idol formula. You can buy albums and character songs for BanG Dream. (Shouldn't the focus be on the instruments?)
You can go to a concert and see the voice actors perform live. And it's not just concert tickets and CDs that BanG Dream is trying to sell you; the multimedia project also includes card games, headphones, several manga series, and a mobile game. BanG Dream is an extremely commercial project, which isn't a bad thing in and of itself. However, it becomes a problem when the pursuit of financial interest comes at the expense of creativity.
Everything about this anime is designed to be safe and inoffensive. There's nothing new or risky here that could potentially alienate consumers; just trends and tropes that have proven themselves to be successful thrown together into an amalgamation that's sure to sell. It's something that nobody is going to hate, but that nobody is going to love either. Rather than creating something that's only okay for everyone, it would have been better if they had created something that will be at least one person's favorite. Sadly, making a good show seems to be secondary to making good money.
There's not much that's more generic in anime than a story of a high school student trying to start a club for one of their interests. With that premise alone, you already have a fair sense of the events that will go on over the course of the series: In the first two thirds of the series, it'll be necessary to recruit more members, and of course they'll all have some issue that needs to be worked out before they can join, and once the group is finally completed in the final third, there will be some last challenge to overcome. But genericness aside, there's also the issue that the series is loaded down with fluff. There are so many scenes that don't accomplish anything, when there's so much that needs to be accomplished. It would have been possible to tell a much better story in much less time if the staff actually cared enough to write something interesting, but as it is, the story is generic and insubstantial.
Scenes that don't accomplish anything doesn't refer only to the half-developed plot; character growth was only sorely lacking. The characters start the series well within the lines of clearly defined archetypes, and over the course of 13 episodes, they never really go beyond that. There's the occasional scene that will hint that maybe some growth is going on, but it'll never result in lasting change. This results in a tragic absence of sincerity. No matter how absurd a situation characters are placed in, it's still possible to relate to and care about them if their actions and emotions feel genuine. Here, the situation isn't all that detached from ordinary life, but these characters are so flat that it's near impossible to connect with or be invested in them.
Perhaps another aspect of this is that the characters aren't visually appealing. BanG Dream relies heavily on CG for its performance scenes, and this causes the characters to look really unnatural, especially their faces. And even when the show isn't relying on CG, the use of stills and pans is abundant. Over the course of its run, there were two occasions on which episodes were delayed by a week, and it also started two to three weeks into its season. It's not unreasonable to expect that this extra time would be put to good use for making sure that everything actually looked good, but apparently CG was passable, and the staff couldn't be bothered to go beyond that.
After watching a certain amount of anime, you begin to pick up a few words and phrases: youth, dreams, bonds, excitement, you get the idea. These are the types of words that make up the songs from BanG Dream - no real depth, just a barrage of platitudes and banalities. At least, that's how the lyrics are for the opening and ending themes. As for all of the other songs that are sung over the course of the show (like five?), they're left untranslated. It's probably no great loss, though official releases ought to get into the habit of translating song lyrics. Despite being a band show, it seems that the music really wasn't all that important.
None of these factors on their own would necessarily ruin an anime. A solid cast could compensate for a lousy story, and some people won't care how a show looks or sounds as long as it has something interesting to say. The problem is, BanG Dream doesn't have any strong suits; everything about it is derivative and half-baked. It doesn't have anything new to say, and exists only to make a profit off of an existing trend. It projects a future for the industry where creativity is shunned, and the only thing that matters is marketability. This is everything that is wrong with the industry. Good riddance.
I decided to give BanG Dream a shot since I enjoyed the tap tap hell which is the rhythm game. In all honesty, I usually go into these types of anime with low expectations and I set the bar especially low because of how boring the synopsis made the anime sound.
At a glance, BanG Dream looks generic, bland and boring. Storywise, there’s nothing outstanding about it but it isn’t bad nor good, it’s more mediocre. The plotline is definitely not the selling point for this anime. It’s your standard “airhead gathers girls to start a band/group” which is fine, it’s supposed to be lighthearted.
Although, there is some realism within the show. It touches on family issues, finding yourself and there are some very serious takes on friendship and relying on others. The plot itself isn’t completely predictable, there are a few things that might leave you wondering what will happen next. The story does start off slow and a couple episodes are mainly just the progress of the group which can be boring. Overall, the story wasn’t bad but it could’ve been better.
As for characters, they’re all very likeable. A variation of tropes, you’re bound to like at least one of the main girls. There was at least one episode dedicated to each member, the development was pretty good for twelve episodes. The bonds between them all were displayed well and the friendships were developed nicely throughout the series. If you played the game like myself, you will notice an absence of three other bands, if you haven’t played the game you aren’t missing out on much so don’t worry about it. If BanG Dream does get a second season I would like to see more of these characters implemented in story rather than just being cameos.
The artwork was nice, like most band/idol anime the colours are vibrant. Everything else was pretty standard apart from the eyes, they seemed to focus more on the eyes than anything else. Only complaint would be the CG, it was messy. Didn’t look particularly good and they would’ve been better off without it.
Now one of the more important aspects, music. The OST was nice enough, it wasn’t memorable or anything but it did add to the atmosphere during scenes. Although, there were a lot of times where background music wasn’t used where it could’ve been. If you don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff then it shouldn’t be a bother. The opening and ending were nice, ending better than the opening in my opinion but both were catchy. The songs were cute and funny, the voices were raw which I can appreciate since they’re all supposed to be novices. The seiyuus did a great job portraying their character, you could really hear the emotion.
Generally speaking, BanG Dream wasn’t fantastic but it was enjoyable. Lighthearted atmosphere, cute characters and catchy songs. Whether or not you watch this anime is for you to decide. I hope this review at least helped you finalise your decision!
Here Comes Another Music Extaraveganza …
Just as always this anime revolves around a bunch of girls who gets into music that is finds their soul of universe !! well the main female protagonist oh there are only females no males well wanted to find something sparkly and shiny and finally find that in music and a guitar well so she goes on a hunt to recruit members to form a band !!
The story and characters of this anime are inspired from the original band ‘ Poppin Party ‘ many incidents are taken from the real experience of the real band and thus the
name of the band in the anime is also ‘ Poppin Party ‘ .. the real poppin party has also featured the opening and ending of the anime and a few OST too…
The anime revolves around ‘something shining and sparkling ‘ ( you will see what I mean once you watch the first episode ) ..and slowly with effort and luck of course she gets to pull of members … and so the story starts !!
The story is slow and boring at first but it picks pace up soon and gets better , and interesting and since it’s a music related anime the voice and songs count a lot , The voice cast is superb and the songs are also awesome in other words they have covered the music factor of the anime well !!
The characters of the anime are also exquisite and cool , they have a variety of characters from bold to shy , tsundere to composed , energetic to dull etc
Overall one can enjoy the anime .. I hope my review was helpful !!