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.
*Original review of the first 50 episodes follows. For an overview of the rest, scroll down*
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.
***The rest of it***
And then there was more. And more. And then a little bit more. But I'll make this quick.
Season 2 of Aikatsu, episodes 51-101, aka the dark ages of Aikatsu. Dream Academy, a rival school, is introduced, and with it the most frustrating time for Aikatsu fans. The new characters are poorly developed and seem to be way too talented right out the gate. Where the first season was fine with having characters lose, suddenly we see a bunch of ties happening. There are, however, good episodes in all this. Oozora Akari is introduced midway through and is immediately lovable, overturning everything bad in the rest of the season. Basically, any episode that doesn't have a great focus on Dream Academy characters is at least decent.
Season 3 of Aikatsu, episodes 102-153 (somewhere around there, anyway), the Akari generation. There is a new protagonist, and while the old cast is still around, they are now side characters. The producers seem to have realized that everyone hated Dream Academy and more or less dropped them from the show entirely (they appear maybe 3 or 4 more times for the remaining duration of the show). The show goes back to its roots and, despite having a few more rough patches than before, is once again the Aikatsu we know and love (if you've gotten this far, you must love it).
Season 4 of Aikatsu, episodes 154-end, the...actually, it's just more of the Akari generation. Which is good! They didn't fall into the season 2 pitfall for the climax. And the actual climax itself was pretty great, being a story arc that lasted longer than any other since the one that capped off the first season and was a great way to end the series.
Season 1, the first 50 episodes (and the movie, which was amazing), remains my favorite era of Aikatsu, but the last year and a half were certainly a worthy addition. At its best, Aikatsu was lovable, heartwarming, and maybe even a little tear-jerking. At its worst, I was shouting "NO! NO! NO!" at the screen in frustration. It had its ups and downs, but in the end it's become a series very close to my heart. I will miss the girls of Starlight Academy.
“My name is Hoshiyama Ichigo. I’m your ordinary first year middle school student. Back then, I would have never imagined that I, me, someone like me could become an idol!”
Aikatsu short for Aidoru Katsudou! (Idol Activities) is a collectible card game created by Bandai which revolves around using cards featuring various designer clothes to help aspiring idols make their dreams come true. The story tells of Hoshiyama, Ichigo as she slowly rises to the top with her best friend Kiriya, Aoi and new member of the group *drum rolls* Shibuki, Ran. I know what you’re thinking… “Not another anime about idols.” Which I can
totally understand, since we already have the second season of Pretty Rhythm out. (Pretty Rhythm: Dear My Future) So I could totally understand if you decide to skip the whole entire series. However, to tell you the truth the anime isn’t half bad. To be honest, I truthfully enjoyed it since it contained a brand of pure innocence I haven’t seen in a shojo anime. When I watched the anime it felt as if I’ve been taken eight years into the past to when I fondly enjoyed cartoons like Power Puff Girls and Totally Spies. What a very nostalgic feeling it was. Anyway, if you’re looking for an anime that will make you feel like a seventy year old woman mesmerizing and remembering the glory years of her childhood than I highly recommend this anime to you. Overall if you plan on watching this anime I guarantee that bits and pieces of your childhood will start to sing.
Ichigo Hoshiyama is your normal first year middle school student who has the aura of an idol. At first she didn’t have any big dreams like becoming an idol, no not at all, she only wanted to inherit her mother’s bento shop, but that all changed when she went to Kanzaki Mizuki’s concert. The bright and blinding lights, the shouts and screams of fans everywhere, the garish attire of idols, and the beautiful melody coming from the speakers; a whole different world compared to Ichigo’s life. “Why is everyone cheering? Why are there so many lights? I’ve never seen anything like this before in my entire life!” Those were the thoughts of young Ichigo as she looked around the entire complex of the concert mesmerized by each and every angle. Everywhere she turned seemed to look like some strange machine she had never encountered before. She was dumbfounded.
Kiriya Aoi, Ichigo’s best friend, is an idol expert in every way; she knows everything there is to know about idols including their history and their music. Aoi is the definition of a true friend and will do whatever it takes to achieve her and Ichigo’s dreams of becoming well known idols.
Shibuki, Ran is a professional idol who has been in the industry at a young age. At first, she hides her true feelings and emotions in front of all her classmates through a mask that is haunted by the past memories of a former roommate and friend. With the help of Ichigo and Aoi, however, she is able to slowly open up her feelings and become very close friends with them in due time.
There is a substantial and appropriate amount of character development throughout the series so far, which slowly help develop strong relationships between characters through particular meetings and events. With only a matter of less than ten episodes you could easily tell that through each episode there is proof of a growing friendship.
A bit of sugar, spice, and everything nice (PPG reference) will brightly describe the cuteness of this anime’s art style. This art style grabs the watcher with its absolutely adorable appealing scenery, character design, and attire. The art style may be a bit irritating, however, since it switches from 2D to 3D very similar to the way Pretty Rhythm: Aurora Dream did. Hey, at least the anime does not pointlessly switch from 2D to 3D like The Best!! Extremely Cool Student Council President did with its awful art design and its pointless switches from 2D to 3D every few minutes. The way Aikatsu used 2D and 3D is a great way of adding a bit of POP to the singing and dancing of the characters. The anime also uses a variety of bright colors such as shades of pink and purple adding to the anime's overall light hearted feeling. Rarely or will it ever use any dark and shady colors in this anime since it's far from the anime's original intention of creating an innocent daily life of an idol.
“Hi Signalize! The answer lies on the other side of the sky…” The opening of this anime uses a bit of fresh elements of calming and yet POPPING rhythms. It uses its own unique characteristics which make the anime different from other shojo openings. “Sunday, Monday, Chu-Chu Tuesday. Everyday I’m flipping pages like a calendar girl” The ending is absolutely amazing with an overall classic feel of a very old setting adding elements of the 1900s and cuteness using a gramophone record and chibi creations. Even the ending song uses an old pop feeling when I hear and see it making it one of my favorite anime endings. The voices of the characters are in no way dark and serious, these seiyuus do an excellent job of adding an innocent and cute atmosphere to the anime. One thing that best surprises me is that Morohoshi, Sumire a 12 year old seiyuu is voicing the main character. Overall she’s an excellent choice since she has the perfect voice for her.
The anime is so innocent in every way. It felt wonderful to feel like a youngster again just by watching this anime. It is so childish and so far it doesn’t capture the several harsh realities of the world which can be both a pro and con in its own way. I greatly recommend this anime to people who enjoy watching shows like Pretty Rhythm: Aurora Dream and who just want to escape the adult world and feel like a kid, rejuvenated by this anime’s childish and cute atmosphere. But of course this anime is also a good way to just unwind yourself from all the stresses and cruel gifts of this world. Grab a cup of hot chocolate milk with some of those adorable tiny marshmallows and watch this anime... who knows you might feel like your in Candy Land.
Well when I saw the picture of the cover for the anime it was really cute and looked girly so I thought I would give it a try when I watched the first episode it was so much like Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream which is also an anime about making idols but in Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream they skate and dance while skating which is really cool and in Aikatsu they just dance normally and sing which is a bit more like a bit more real !!! :D But because they were so much alike I was quite shocked but still the way they set
up the story is sort of the same and because I like Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream I really liked this one aswell I highly recommend this to those people who love to watch animes with music dancing , friendship and a bit of romance, its all girly and lovely so cute :D!!!! Also in the next episodes I am hoping that there will be some hints of romance in there because if they are thinking of something simillar to Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream they will eventually put some romance in there but when I read the description for Aikatsu it said that it was originally a game where you produced idol and because I did not play that game I do not know if there will be romance but because I am such a big romance anime fan I hope there will be ^.^ I hope this was helpful >.
This is my first ever review but,I really like Aikatsu and it'smy most favorite anime ever! So, this is all about girls trying to become the top idol and beating the current top idol.
The first episode wasn't that good but when you keep watching it until the last episode you wil enjoy it.
For me this is my rating:
I understand the story even when i just watched episode 1 and 2.The story is like other idol thing when you have to beat someone but this one is really great!
I really love the art but when they like sing and dance it's 3d.
The animation of the 3d is great but i dont really like it but overall,I think the art is great.
I love the music and I keep singing it everywhere even the bathroom xD
The characters are great but some of them doesn't fit in the story.
I enjoy it but sometimes i skip boring parts since some parts are boring (kinda)
Overall,9. I think this anime is awesome watch every episode on it and i think you will like it too (i dont think boys though xD)
~Reviewed by Rachel-san~
There aren't many idol anime with over a hundred episodes, and there are even fewer idol anime that have the ability to hook and surprise you for such a long period of time. Coming in at just under two hundred episodes, Aikatsu is a series that manages to do both, and there are so many ways to describe it; energetic, revitalising, and optimistic, to name a few. But the best thing about Aikatsu is that it's able to toss its target audience aside and create something able to entertain people of all ages. Unlike Hollywood family movies or shows like Friendship is Magic, there isn't
much dumbing down or simplifying of the content within—it's effective, straightforward, and surprisingly realistic in its presentation.
So what makes it different?
The premise is straightforward: A school for female idols named Starlight Academy exists to seek out and train its kin, be it through acting, dancing, singing, or some other form of entertainment. Aside from an exceptionally kind headmistress and a few spunky teachers, there is no supervision or management to keep the girls in check; much like college, the primary reason for their attendance is so that they can discover who they are as a person (or idol) whilst remaining in an open social setting. Thanks to its believability, the concept itself provides you with many dramatic writing opportunities. Who are the students? What are their reasons for attending? Why are they all so interested in living a monolithic public life? These questions are regularly asked and answered, and their answers further the countless possibilities of the universe time after time.
To bridge the gap between idol and school life, the staff always provides students with opportunities to get their name out and/or obtain new apparel, resulting in a rush of motivation for everyone involved. Depending on their popularity, idols can even influence the work of prominent and rising fashion designers or brands at large. Once the characters' training cycle begins, the lurking element of surprise prevents you from taking your eyes off the screen. That's not to say it's all training and no action; the fun graces you one episode at a time, so the competitions, extracurricular activity, and other unspoilable events don't seem out of place for when their time comes. In other words, the occasional slices of life flow as naturally and beautifully as the show at large.
One aspect I've found to be unique to Aikatsu is its painless and beautiful sincerity; the characters have natural unbreakable bonds between one another, be they incandescent rivals or shimmering partners. It shies away from the trends of melodrama and grittiness by keeping things light and sometimes funny, completely aware of the fact that the most powerful emotional stirs are naturally-occurring. The cake is topped with a sprinkling of internal conflict, often pertaining to the difficulty of meeting one's own expectations. For a cast made up of teenage girls, they're delightfully headstrong and angst-free. That maturity spares you the clichéd nature of most conflicts within Idolm@ster and Love Live, and often gives you the opportunity to ask yourself the same questions. I truthfully believe the series is ultimately sociological, as is any great drama.
That said, the show's composition resembles western TV dramas much more than it does your typical anime; the supporting characters are constantly evolving, changing roles, and moving into the picture, whilst the main characters themselves aren't as prominent as you may believe. Such traits are definitely not suited to everyone, but for anyone searching for more complex development, they are a dream come true. The continuity put on display here is fairly amazing—things you may haven't seen for dozens of episodes can slowly begin to reappear, and they always have a graceful fall into place. It doesn't sound so surprising on paper, but the practical appropriation of older content happens when you least expect it to. You'll want to trust me on this one.
For the sake of performances, a fun little wardrobe transition to 3DCG is made whenever an idol needs to be on stage. But don't hold your breath! While the CG starts out on rocky ground, it goes out of its way to make some vast adjustments every few episodes. By the time you're a third of the way through, all of your gripes with its appearance will disappear. Still, it never stops making improvements, and things become increasingly gorgeous as you approach the final episode. The beauty of the CG is best illustrated during group performances, yet it also has some interesting tricks up its sleeve like flying objects and wireframe views that liven up the stage experience. Some incredible on-stage camerawork does a great job illustrating the benefits of using 3D animation, and definitely proves why the show chose to use the medium in the first place. I'm not quite sure if the show could have retained the same energy without it.
Finally, let's talk about the music. Some insert songs are impeccably composed and arranged, others excel in one of those two departments, and the few songs leftover are straight-up bad. From a production standpoint, it's rather hit-or-miss, but the hits have the strength to absolve it of the misses. I even find the insert songs that are only okay to be a treat every once and a while, but due to the subjectivity of music, your personal results may vary. On the other hand, the background music is so subtle and relaxed that I doubt anyone could take issue with it. Heck, sometimes they're just little piano arrangements of prominent insert songs. It's definitely more consistent overall, and kind of sounds like something you'd hear from a modern Nintendo game or device. Kind of perfect to do work to.
Point is, this review may make it sound like I think Aikatsu is exceptional and near-flawless. That's because I do. I find its weaknesses completely redeemed by the underlying strengths. I find it able to appeal to any demographic without a hitch. I find it to be of a standard that all other kids' anime should hope to achieve. If you're not sick of anime already, I would plead that you at least give it a shot. Otherwise, it's never anything remotely amazing, nor does it outright excel in any category; it was just enough to retain my interest in anime for much longer than I expected.
And so as it decides to let go, I find myself doing the same.
Although this anime has a bit of a slow start, the story is one of the better ones that I've seen. Although it is a fairly typical coming-to-fame story, it is well done and unlike most anime that feel unfinished it keeps going until the story reaches a proper end. One very interesting thing is the cast collecting in the anime to the point that the main cast actually switches about halfway through. There are around 100 different characters and they each have interesting personalities, although some of them have unfortunately short screen times.
The art of the main series is well done with the girls
being very cute and are all modeled differently, which is important for such a big cast. In the beginning the dance scenes are a bit of a problem since they're bad enough to feel like carcinogens, but that is fixed later in the show. The dance scenes are actually held in virtual reality in the show and when past recordings of dances are shown on screen they have the same animation as when they were first shown so it may be that their own technology is improving making the bad dance scenes slightly more forgivable. The dances at the end have better CGI than pretty much any other anime I've seen.
The music in this show is amazing. There is a total of over 70 songs and although there are both hits and misses the hits are amazing and many are top ten worthy, although partly due to the lack of insert songs in most anime. The voices were all outstanding. Oddly enough, the age gap between the seiyuu for the two protagonists is about the same as for their characters but in the opposite direction. All of the seiyuu do a good job and the ones who speak other languages add a bit of spice to the atmosphere. One character develops an even more cringe worthy version of Engrish, which is interesting to watch.
With such a huge cast it's amazing that they gave every character an interesting and unique personality. There are even some characters who end up in the main cast who you wouldn't expect to because of their eccentric personality traits. The anime is about the characters and they all do a great job at making the anime fun to watch. There are sure to be some characters you won't like, but you can only hope that those characters won't get as much screen time. It's great to see the different characters from different places as they will often use this as a method for world development.
With everything this anime does well it is incredibly enjoyable. As a kids show they try to decrease the character-viewer disconnect so anything the characters view as being good actually is good. There are some foods in the anime that just make you want to try them and some did have a limited availability in real life but none are available outside of Japan. Just like with anything it's more important who you're with than what you're doing so although this is just a really good rendition of a generic story the great characters and great music make it far better.
With every considered this is a great anime that does not disappoint. There are still some questions unanswered, but they did a better job addressing the most probable questions than most anime do. Anime with futuristic settings are bound to have holes in their logic but this one does fit quite neatly. Whether if you like cute girls doing cute things, music anime, or even sports anime depending on your reason for doing so this should be a good anime to watch. As an original anime you don't have to worry about which episodes are filler even though the anime is on the longer side.
Despite what some may say just by looking at any images or promotional stuff for this series, I am not afraid to say that I have, without any regret, enjoyed Aikatsu! to its fullest!
First off, the story is very simple: a group of girls aim to be the best idols by attending an academy that solely focuses on idol training. That's pretty much the gist of it. Of course, you have to understand this series is supposed to be for kids. However, there's something about watching each episode that feels satisfying. If ever I'm having a bad day, or I'm getting tired of seeing other
shows that are serious and dark, Aikatsu! always brings a smile to my face.
The characters is one of the aspects that makes it its own. There are a myriad of characters that we see, and they all have their own unique personalities. What's great about them is all of them have plenty of screen time to be able to get a good judge on them. With the roster they have, I'm sure there's bound to be a fanbase for each one, which is great.
While the animation isn't all too special (and, likewise, there are times when we see a dip in quality), it's really more about the character designs. It's not just the personalities that make the character stand out, it's how they look. Just by looking at them, you will be able to tell who they are.
Finally, we cannot forget about the music, for without it, it wouldn't be Aikatsu! in the first place. With each episode, there are songs written specifically for the show. You will hear them as the opening and ending themes or as inserts; they are performed by the fictional characters, but, surprisingly, not by their voice actors. There are so many songs, it's unbearable, and I have all of them. Every single song is so catchy, it's hard not to love them!
As you can see, I'm giving this so much praise, despite it only being a kids show. But, does it have to not be a kids show in order to make it seem not weird? The show is harmless entertainment. I've stuck around with this series since episode one, and that was three and a half years ago. It shocks me that it's run for this long; I had originally thought it'd end by at least two cours. At first, I thought it was so-so, but as it went on, my love for it grew more. It even came to the point where I practically cry with each episode because of how much I love it (the last episode was no better).
If you're looking for some good old fun with great characters, awesome music to dance to, and you don't care what the general audience for the show is, I'd say give Aikatsu! a shot.
Do you have a dream? Do you know somebody with a dream? Now tell me this: Do you believe that a dream can be accomplished if effort becomes an ingredient in the story that is your life? Hoshimiya Ichigo certainly has a case for any doubters of this theory. Who is Ichigo you ask? Hoshimiya Ichigo is a normal girl like numerous young girls who watch this in Japan. Hoshimiya Ichigo is a normal though animated human like all of my readers. Hoshimiya Ichigo had a dream and with effort, turned her scoop into a mic. Hello readers, this is Aikatsu.
Aikatsu is an anime that
began airing in Japan in October 2012 and swiftly became a marketing hit among young girls and even older male otaku. It ran until March 2016 and would soon be replaced by Aikatsu Stars!. Though, what exactly was the reason behind the success of such an anime? Honestly speaking, it was likely many different things that helped leap Aikatsu's popularity, though what really made it special was the market value it offered and characters that were all able to shine in amazing forms. If you have stuck around this long, allow me and my assis...
Yurika-Sama: May you get on with the review? Unless you want me to suck your blood?
Very well, Yurika-Sama. Aikatsu begins with Ichigo's best friend Aoi suggesting our heroine that they tryout to earn a place in the very prestigious Idol academy known as "Starlight Academy". Starlight Academy is a famous academy in the world of Aikatsu and Aoi herself who adores all things idols very much believes their time has come. Can an uncertain Ichigo believe in herself enough to pass an audition and join in the ranks of idolhood? Upon meeting Mizuki who is acclaimed as the most popular idol known currently, Hoshimiya decides to take the leap in the process changing her life forever. Now, my second assistant will help me critique the anime fairly and as accurate as possible.
Aoi Nee-San: Now that was something special! Though, was Aikatsu as special?
Well, Aoi. I honestly need to admit that Aikatsu is a very flawed anime that could of been great and an instant classic! While Aikatsu was certainly above average for sure and proved a long running idol anime could work, the anime seemed to really struggle at different points of its famous run. If it was starting bland with very ugly CGI or a horrible executed fifty one episode second season that introduced less interesting characters that caused just uprising characters to fade into a role of become sideline catchphrase characters. Sadly, a girl known by the name of Otome really never recovered from what I witnessed and even an attempt to keep her relevant felt lackluster compared to the character who had the throne before her. Avoiding spoilers, it was a pity. Aikatsu also had struggles later on and at times had art that was really nothing amazing. Actually, it was even trash at times. Though despite my criticism, Aikatsu really did shine in certain areas as wel-
Yurika-Sama: Did you even like our 170+ episode anime?
Aoi Nee-San: Personally, I thought it was very special!
Letting me finish girls, yes I did enjoy the vibrant world that was Aikatsu. It had a fantastic cast of characters and is entertaining despite the flaws. It also has fantastic music and is certainly a must watch for fans of idol anime. Though, if you fail to enjoy anime that are dragged on or that can be called cute, avoid Aikatsu. Also, did I mention that the voice cast will be returning for Aikatsu Stars? So, if you enjoyed the VA for Aikatsu then you'll likely be pleased at the news!
Yurika-Sama: By the way, what is your opinion on me?
Anywho. Thanks for reading. Let's all.....
Akari: You barely discussed me...
Listen, future watchers won't want to be spoiled! You are amazing, no fear. Anyway...
This anime is not finished yet, only 19 episodes out , but it is nevertheless one of my favorites! do you like super cute anime with a good story and lovely characters! then it is perfect!
I think it is much better and intressang than Pretty Rhythm: Aurora Dream.
it has a lot more action, and I like that they dance instead of skating. I also like the main character here better than in Pretty Rhythm: Aurora Dream.
You meet many more characters, each with their own unique personality!
it is an anime that makes you never want to give up what you really love! bit like yumeiro
First of all, the anime is bringing down logic. For an example, Shibuki Ran is a professional idol and yet Ichigo and Aoi are higher than Ran. Aikatsu8 was full of BS, instead of the higher-ups, they put rookies! The fact that rookies have surpassed higher-ups is just stupid.
Second of all, characters such as Yurika, Kaede, Shion, Ran etc have REALLY less showtime. Season 3 is about rookies trying to become top idols and they are supposed to give more showtime to them more, BUT when they want to show that the top idols being their seniors, it's mostly Ichigo, Aoi, Otome or Sakura. They
NEED to give more showtime to the other characters as how Ichigo, Aoi, Otome & Sakura are given. 1 or 2 episodes are not enough for them!
Third of all, the transferring program is TOO much. They've given more showtime to the transfer student idols than the non-transfers already in Season 2. Season 3 is like just 'delaying' the awesomeness by doing a transfer student program. They can just have the Unit Cup but bringing in Season 2 stuff again is just 'outdated' already. Just have the seniors advice them and show them stuff to their juniors.
Lastly, Akari has too much showtime. May the other characters have a fair amount of showtime, please.
(Currently at ep 66)
Ever since I watched Love Live! and K-On! I needed something cute, relaxing, fun and music filled to watch that I could watch at the end of the day to unplug from work, university and everyday life. To be honest I wanted to see more Idol stuff, as I'm now stuck in Idol Hell forever and I don't plan on getting out. I then AKB0048 thinking it was going to be another cute anime albeit in a futuristic setting, and boy I was wrong and I got them feels out of it, but still I needed something to let off some steam.
then crossed Aikatsu. "Watashi no atsui aidoru katsudou, Aikatsu! hajimarimasu!". Boy, I can't begin to tell you how stupidly kawaii it felt after watching the main character telling me every chapter "you need to relax? here, aikatsu's gonna start". When I started watching it I thought "it's gonna be great to watch it for fun". Then, I think about 4 days after I started I was already into part 2 of the first season and I couldn't let go.
The story of Aikatsu follows Hoshimiya Ichigo on her journey to become an Idol and be the best at it with her lifelong friend Kiriya Aoi. They both enter Starlight Academy with hopes of being the best in everything they try. Each episode has its own story and adventure that you can't wait to see. That is the whole premise of the show, until you realize there's something more hidden behind the story, which is a message of hard work, have fun doing what you like, never give up, and if you fail just smile and keep moving forward. On top of that, after each episode you get an "Aikatsu! Aphorism" which might seem dull and gimmicky, but when you think about it, you can really put some of them to use (one of my favorites is from one of the latest I saw which said "Start your new year running!")
As for the artistic side, the use of a HUGE bright colors palette really puts you in the mood of feeling happy, relaxed, fun and wanting to dance and sing along. Each character has its own colors and can easily be recognized. The only flaw this anime has is its 3D side. The first 15 or so episodes have one of THE WORST 3D animations possible, but if you bear with it, you actually get to see it evolve and become one of THE BEST 3D animations. It really shows its evolution through the episodes and right now, what I see in the 3Ds is almost on par with AKB0048 in all honesty.
The musical side of the show is its best part and its greatest strength. Although I am a huge fan of Love Live music, most of it tends to be cutesy, mostly jpop oriented and not easily listenable by people outside of Japan. What Aikatsu does is something beyond what I could imagine. The blend of genres Aikatsu has on its show is something incredible. You got the j-poppy Idol Activity, but the more western pop oriented sound of the Signalize opening. Then you get the old shcool poppy sound of the ending Calendar Girl. There's an episode that even dares to try with Gothic Rock/metal with the song Glass Doll, which, as a huge metal fan myself, found reallly well composed.
As for the characters, they're all unique, with its own ambitions, strengths and weaknesses. Its as well one of the animes greatest strengths, as it follows each story carefully and what being an Idol means to every character (Ichigo best girl, but Otome (oh my god those Love you!s) comes in a close second with Seira (from the second season)). Each one of them has its own art and personality that blend together so good.
All in all, Aikatsu!, although aimed mostly at a much younger audience than myself (I think its aimed towards <13 girls) it has given me a lot of joy and happiness watching it, everything about it so good and cheerful that I can't get enough of it.
This is a pretty fun anime. I loved it. It is a typical Shoujo idol anime but it's entertaining.
The characters here never fail to make me smile. Hoshimiya Ichigo being the main protagonist is extremely fun-loving and naive. Kiriya Aoi is the Idol Professor who supports her best friend Ichigo. Shibuki Ran is cold and hard to approach at first but later Ichigo and Aoi befriends her. All the characters here have special and lovable traits of their own.
The music is enjoyable. There isn't even a single song I hate in this series.
The animation is pretty nice and I loved the Shoujou-flavours in characters' designs.
story is typical idol anime, dreaming of becoming top idol. But the road to success is handled well and it's enjoyable.
Overall this is a kid's show and very funny. It's not for everyone though. People who are looking for a lighthearted series will definitely enjoy this.
This anime usually gears to kids. As the time goes on, it goes less and less. Here is my review for Aikatsu. (I almost typed Aikatsu Stars)
Aikatsu is one of the anime that can be reference who is in the entertainment industry. As one watched longer, there are some quotes that everyone can find. It's a lesson that can be used to viewers as well. It showed how hard the work to be a top idol. Even it is a game adaptation (card adaptation), one must not deny that the way their doing can be a real life demonstration too.
As the story goes, the audition
gets upgraded and updated. The graphic of the auditions are getting real every season. The first audition came from a 3d graphics of a video game. This was not a problem to viewers who started watching the first few weeks of Aikatsu. As time goes on, it had changed a little by little. Now, at the end of the Audition, the graphics of it is like Anime version but more. (can't explain this part properly) therefore, the art is good enough and doesn't need anymore revisions.
OMG the music :) the jazz music of the endings. Keep up the good work. As for the OST's, for first and second season, i like the music of the preview. Even the OST's are good, it did not feel any premium melodies embedded to the ost. Therefore, no complaints here.
These section is the time I need to be strict. Even though every idol in Aikatsu already is 100% pass, the downside of idols, maybe most of them to be exact, is their seiyuu. This is the reason why my rating did not become a full 10 mark. It's because I felt betrayed 100 episodes after that some other person did the voice for something else. My advice for this is before one make one of this anime's Music became their fav, know the singer first. Better yet, know the Seiyuu of ones chara before concluding right away. This is where i got betrayed. I looked up to Ichigo because she sings very good, and then when i looked up the profile here in MAL, it turns out Sumire did not sing in the anime. I did not even know there are two seiyuus listed :/
Full of enjoyment. When it's Akari's arc, it's starting to get less and less. One does not change gears that quickly to adapt Akari as the main character and leave out the previous main charas. So, when one watched the movie of Ichigo, nostalgia kicks in. I still enjoy Akari's arc. So yeah.
I would not say masterpiece, but the plot, the storyline, the lines are amazing. I am surprised that some episodes after audition, one can give a good quote that can be used in real life. This is one of the reasons that inspired me to keep watching
Aikatsu is very unique to begin with. Even it explains a little bit of how real life for idol industry works, cards are like the magic tools for each idol. I wish that Ichigo should've made another season in her story, but it still good in every way. Recommending is hard because it might get view as a kiddy girly anime.
I've seen all 178 episodes of Aikatsu. Since the main character changes season 3 I will probably separate my reviews for seasons 1&2 to 3&4
To be honest, the story in season 1 surpasses the rest for one main reason: the character actually had a set goal that was realistic and specific which is to pass Mizuki and become Starlight Queen.
The rest of the seasons were utter disappointments. To summarise, they would create a new (unoriginal story) arc which has nothing to do with the final outcome of the show, manage to actually successfully create some kind of suspense or excitement and betray us
all with results that make no sense. Oh the amount of anti-climatic moments.
The only reason why I barely gave it an OK is because I forgive the fact that it is a kid's show and they actually give out good messages to learn from.
Unlike the story, the art for Aikatsu is actually pretty good. Although it doesn't go off to a good start, Aikatsu has become my second favourite in terms of CG performances (first is Pretty Rhythm).
My only complaint is quite personal, but the excessively colourful and bright atmosphere and overly extravagant dresses isn't my style. Not that I don't like it at all, but most of the dresses, especially the PRs, went overboard with random ribbons and gems or some other bizarre design. Not to mention, when coords are paired up against coords from other brands or a song of a completely different genre, it really hurts my eyes. Luckily they fix that in season 2. In my opinion, the school dresses (simplest coords in the anime) are my favourites.
It's hard to believe that an anime can get you hooked by only the songs. If I had to admit, the only reason why I managed to finish this anime are just because of the performances. They are addicting!
The 1 point that I took off the score are mainly the singing voices. Not going to lie, some of them are annoying and hurt my ears. Even though none of the singers are bad at all, and I know this because sometimes a voice would be given to multiple characters and it will sound good for some, but different for others, since the singer has to change the voice to suit the character. I don't know why they would do this if it makes them sound really bad or why they don't just assign a different singer that could actually portray a naturally cute voice that doesn't sound fake.
However, I still need to mention that the majority of the voices are actually pleasant to listen to and a handful of them will give you eargasms.
There is a lot I want to say for this LMAO. Luckily, the characters all have a very powerful identity that distinguishes them from other characters and unique characteristics that really make their strong points shine. I especially love the fact that the 'idol activities' they do soon becomes a representation of who they are.
For example, Ichigo's Aikatsu is stamina training which includes climbing cliffs without a lifeline. Kaede is skydiving from helicopters, although no one knows where she gets the stuff from. You don't even question the logic, or whether the things they do have anything to do with being an idol, because that's what makes the show fun.
The bad thing is actually just one thing that was hell of a downfall for this anime. None of the characters actually have any bad points. o.o
Let's not mention the lack of antagonists because not even a single character ever started out on the wrong path. They just started out nice and friendly and then flew to even better like every single opportunity was planned. Apparently, one disagreement already counts as 'fighting' so it only ever happened once. The only good development is Akari who is the main character of the third season onwards, since being an idol 'copycat' is the closest we would get to an immoral act in the show. Basically, the annoying drama we get in most shoujo animes, there isn't a hint of it in this one which makes it annoying on a completely different level.
Okay make it two things. None of the characters are actually suited for a tournament anime. Sure they have pretty good sportsmanship, the characters also try to win, but their attitude just isn't enough. They lack in competitiveness and aggressiveness which makes it extremely frustrating.
As hard as it is to endure the childishness of this anime, the idol performances really came through to me. They are amazing, honestly, and make up about 98% of my enjoyment. The offstage time is merely the icing on the cake. After all, you need to watch the stories behind these performances to enjoy them to its fullest.
It's a good show to relax with if you have nothing else to watch. Despite all its disappointments, the performances are masterpieces. Moreover, the fact that there is a performance every week and there are 178 episodes including movies and a spin-off (Aikatsu Stars), with every performance getting better every week is very pleasing.
First of all before i begin this i almost wished they had seperated season 1 and 2 from season 3 -4 since even reviewing those last two pulls my rating down which is why i will actually give them a slight one of their own reviews so i get my message through.
Season 1-2: Story Made me a big fan of this anime with its own spin of the idol world and how they divide the audiotions and everything else up into different parts of jobs an idol can get. Its not all that realistic considering the idol world is very harsh but it gives
that happy lucky spin that sometimes this kind of anime needs. Ichigo is a typical leading character yet has something about her which is fun to follow her through the entire anime though i will say my favorite songs arent from her brand but she and every character in these two seasons makes it a complete and great season of their own. Season two story also gives you a little headsup on whats going to happen in season 3 with the introduction of Akari whom i can talk about when i get to season 3-4. Honestly i was worried about watching this anime but when the story was so easy to watch and characters so easy to like it made one of my favorites idol wise anime.
Characters well there are tons so i wont say them all. Ichigo is the typical happy hard working anime mc which we all know but there is something about her that atleast makes her loveable as a character in herself.Shibuki ran and Kiria Aoi are her friends which combination are always nice and funny to watch and with the rest of their friends they complete this anime. Hey you forgot Mizuki yeah the idol queen who rarely or never loses anything. This anime makes mizuki at times feel like a duo mc with ichigo which you will probably feel after a while and it can be annoying.
Music wise this anime got their good bad and ugly ones but i dont think its right to say those and those are bad since it very much differs from person to person What they like It shouldnt be up to me as a reviewer to say those are the best or something. Eventhough i will say that Loli gothic has my favorites mostly. And this can be said for season 1 - 4.
I honestly have few dislikes about it but that the creators made mizuki some immobil mountain kinda irritates me but that might be one of my few complaints so to speak. Since music or sound is just very individual preference
which is why I liked the variation of songs in this anime. The characters are easy to like and the story makes you just want to follow it through.
If i was reviewing the first 1-2 seasons alone i would give the anime 8 maybe -9 but ye old 3 and 4 pulled it down. Not much but they did. Stay tuned for 3 and 4 now if your able.
Season 3 -4 revolves around Akari whos idol carrier begun from watching ichigo on the tv.
Story: It cant be helped but one does feel that these 2 new seasons were being a part of the great milking consept many long anime are famous for. The story has its big typical similarities with the first specially. When i got to the 3 i just felt like it started to be too much of the same or being too dull. It didnt have the same light as the former too and the reason i did push myself through all the episodes was because i wanted to stand here saying i have watched them all so i know. The songs , story and everything else feels weaker and its as if your mind keeps wanting something else. Though i admit this might be because im more of a first mc person in general with anime i still feel its just a reworked characters and story and nothing really new. The 4 season has its own way as Akari and co discovers some new idols but remains the same as the 3 eventhough its about half the episodes it still just makes me want to end it.
Characters: Akari who is the main here who follows her star ichigo and wants to try to reach the summit over here beloved senpai with Sumire the devoted loli gothic fan and Hinaki the child star and fashion girl.
Eventhough i probably should think of these two as seperated in a way from the first 2 i will always think that there is something lacking in just about everything in this anime with a minor expetions. Its ok but when its done before and been done big then watching something with the same thing becomes just fair and a decent idol anime nothing more.
I mean i liked parts of some characters that they got a japanese ish character next to kitaoji but i hate saying that there is nothing about the main characters that gave me that i love thing. I have tried to like it but couldnt and can only say what i think and feel about it.
I think even if i were to have watched the 3 and 4 season first or if they had been the first i wouldnt have enjoyed them as the first or second. So stand alone anime i would give 3-4 somewere between 6 and 7 but not much else. It suffers from the been there seen it all consept.
Overall with 1, 2, 3 and 4 i will give it a close 7 if anything maybe minus 7. For whoever who have managed to come this far the first two are great and i do advice going into the 3 and 4 with an open mind if you can sadly i admit i dont think i could. Dont expect the big drama and screaming but expect a fun anime that is lovely in its own way.