In the town of Nagarekawa, Nanako Usami, an ordinary high school girl, is approached by her uncle to become a local idol or "Locodol," partnering with upperclassman Yukari Kohinata to form the idol unit, Nagarekawa Girls. As the girls use their talent to promote Nagarekawa and their businesses, they are joined by Yui Mikoze, who acts as the local mascot, and Mirai Nazukari, who serves as Yui's substitute.
One time, my friend who also watches this anime told me that it isn't an idol anime, thus I can't compare it to Love Live, etc. But hey, the idol theme still sticks, so you can't judge me.
When I first heard about this anime, I thought of myself 'hey, is this going to be another 'great' idol anime'? Well, let's see how it goes, shall we?
Locodol revolves a group of fellow girls: two of them, Nanako and Yukari, as 'locodols' or local idols, under the name of 'Nagarekawa Girls', and two manning a mascot character, Yui and Mirai.
This basic story starts with Nanako given a 'locodol' job by her uncle, who works in the city council. She met Yukari before they were to perform for the first time together. Afterwards, it continues with the lives of the pair, meeting more new characters and experiencing some wacky moments. The story isn't very special at all, since it is a typical story device to have someone or a group to have progress along the story. Hence, the English title 'Ordinary High-School Girls Tried Being Locodols'.
The story doesn't show any idol industry shenanigans, which is good, because I love a relaxed story that doesn't involve any butchering of idols.
Now, I never heard of a locodol before, which is something unique about the story. Apparently, there are also other locodols around too, from different cities. They help to promote their own cities and also to bring the spirit to the residents. I think that the idea is interesting, although I like to see more of locodol action.
The story ends with a very sweet conclusion that leaves no gaping holes behind.
The characters have different personalities which I find quite similar to other characters. Nanako is quite a pessimist, with a lot of worrying that burdens her down. Yukari seems like a perfect person, but she can be clumsy sometimes. Yui is a typical small character yet so strong she can do interesting acts in her heavy mascot costume. Mirai is a shy person but is still sociable.
Throughout the story, both Nanako and Yukari learn more about themselves and they have nice development. They meet more new people who then support them in their own future events. Eventually, the whole town adores these locodols.
Nevertheless, all the characters are very cute, especially Nanako's 'nanyako' stuttering.
The art is pretty nice. The scenery looks gorgeous and I love the colour choice. It felt a bit like it was painted in many scenes, which give a nice touch. The character designs are cute and the facial expressions can exaggerate for comic relief, hence very cute too. There are some chibi designs which I think are cute too.
Most of the time, the atmosphere where the locodols perform are quite lively. It may not be a very big concert but more of a small-scale concert for the residents. The costumes they wear are great and the dancing animations are smooth and cool.
Despite not having a lot of songs, the quality is good. The opening and ending songs, both sang by the Nagarekawa Girls, have a certain relation to the anime and they have a good singing voice. They may not be as famous as other awesome anisongs, but it has its own standards. The background music is nice and cheery. The voice acting is great too, as they express their emotions well. There are some recognisable voice actors, especially from Yukari and Mirai, and a few supporting characters and other locodols.
I admit it that I enjoy this anime despite a simple story. It may not be a famous anime, but it still is a great one to enjoy.
A quick look at MyAnimeList's anime recommendations from this anime, I see other idol anime like Love Live, Wake Up Girls and Idolmaster. Honestly, this anime stands differently from others. These other anime have a group, while this anime has a pair. There may be following a similar route towards progress, but they encounter different experiences. So, if you are one of those guys who can't remember all the group members in a particular group, I think this anime shall be your first.
Before you start reading this, you should know that I am a person that greatly hates the idol genre. Most of what I have written here would probably be considered useful information only in the eyes of those who dislike the idol genre as well.
Story (9/10): In all fairness, Locodol has nothing particularly great about it in regards to a story. The reason for my scoring is because Locodol is an idol anime of its own instead of trying to be the same old stretched out stereotypical idol anime. I believe the greatest point about Locodol is the fact that Yukari and Nanako aren't idols solely for the fame and fortune, but for the promotion of their own town. When performances are put on, the Nagarekawa Girls perform for small crowds in small local spots without a huge fanbase. I like this point a lot because when you watch the girls perform, you can see that they enjoy what they do and they're happy to do it for the sake of their town's promotion regardless of how popular they are.
Art (7/10): Nothing particularly special in the art department. One thing I do thoroughly enjoy about Locodol's art is how the costume designs are done. The Nagarekawa Girls just wore skirts with plain t-shirts the majority of the time. On special occasions they would wear something a tad flashier, and on an even more single special occasion they wore a handmade, slightly flashy costume. Throughout the entire show it was just very casual dress. None of this glittery, frilly, attention seeking clothing. I believe there are far too many visuals going on in many other show's performances that those visuals are there to distract the audience from what is a very identical song to a very large portion of idol songs. The Nagarekawa Girls however have only their songs, plain costumes, and a stage with barely any lighting. Given what I just said about flashy visuals clouding the actual performance; I believe that how the Nagarekawa Girls perform allows the viewer to see what the idols truly are based on their actual skills, originality, and enthusiasm.
Sound (7/10): While the sound effects, voice acting, and opening and ending songs were generally average, I do however enjoy the fact that there was a lack of music. It seems strange to give the sound a 7 for not having much sound, I know, but as a person who doesn't like the idol genre for many reasons including the songs that are sung, this show is - in my eyes - the saviour of the idol genre. Throughout the show there were only a small amount of songs, and the songs sung were not the same old backing tracks with awful lyrics about love, hearts, etc. Because the girls were promoting their town, the songs were about, yes, the town. So for the sole reason of originality in their songs, I give the sound a 7.
Character (8/10): The score I have given the characters is based entirely around the hate I have towards the stereotypical Japanese idol. Stereotypes of an idol in anime would include: putting on a cutesy act only in front of her fans, use of overused emceeing lines before a performance, works only for the popularity and/or money, schemes to make other idols (particularly newer idols) fail during their performance or completely cancel the performance itself, lines such as "you don't belong here" are said to the main idol/s in attempts to emotionally hurt them, etc. Whether the main idols themselves have these traits or whether they belong to the "villain" of the series, Locodol follows none of these stereotypes and I applaud it for doing so.
Enjoyment (9/10): As a person who deeply hates the idol genre, I can say that Locodol was a pleasure to watch as it didn't conform to the many stereotypes of an idol anime. Not only did I get enjoyment out of the comedy, the yuri undertones, and the general cheerful atmosphere, but I got enjoyment out of just how different it was to the same old idol anime formula.
Overall (9/10): If you've been pointed in Locodol's direction but aren't a fan of idols, I can't stress to you enough about how much you should consider watching this show. read more
Nagarekawa: a quiet, peaceful country town in Japan, where there aren't any tourist attractions to attract tourist for such amusement parks but they do have public swimming pools! So the Nagarekawa City Hall decided to promote their city, by introducing Kohinata Yukari and Usami Nanyako. Thus the Nagarekawa girls was born with 2 more girls joining them. Their aim? Promote Nagarekawa City!
The story for the series is nothing much interesting but 4 main girls being the locodols trying to promote Nagarekawa via National TV or entering contest in order to be featured in the Television. They do have fanservice but not that much, what i also expect that constant comedy and the good moments has done this perfectly. So i might as well give 7 out of 10
The animation throughout the series is fluid, not lag or weird animation or akward animation, the background image is not too saturated, the character designs were pretty nice and appealing. Once again, Studio Feel is in charge for this since i can see the hair gradients of the characters. Rate 8/10
The sound were pretty appealing not to loud, childish or boring. The OP and the ED is fine, the voice actors for this series is decent, not too bad. 7/10
Most characters i like would be Usami Nanako with her mess up lines for such her name and also her air-headness. 7/10
Overall there is nothing much spectacular about the series but I do enjoy watching it. What i assume that this may ended up as a casual experience filled with characters and interactions that make your lips twitch into a smile almost against your will. Also it's quite relaxing and calm. With that i give 8/10
First review on MAL (although I have several anime review blog entries).
Note: The score is adjusted to MAL scales by adding 1pt to the original score.
First of all, this is not the usual idol anime you watch. It's not like shows like Love Live, the The iDOLM@STER etc. Instead surprisingly, the 'Futsuu'(Plain) in the title is what makes this show avoid your stereotypical idol anime.
But on the other hand, it also means that this anime is more close to your usual slice-of-life anime.
The most important feature of this anime is that in many ways, it is not 'idealized'. It depicts the plain-looking work of Locodols and how they slowly turn into someone suitable for the job, instead of *cough* turning into a lead guitarist from scratch in one year *cough*.
So let's take a look at the 'not idealized' and 'idealized' aspects:
>The life as a Locodol, i.e. the main plot. It is more close to real life, but it often becomes too plain and without comedic gags to support. You can't just simply take everyday life onto the screen and make that into an anime.
>Nanako doesn't look as if she can become a Locodol from the start. (Regardless of how it turns out)
>The mascot: it is just a normal mascot which reminds me of the Blue Badger from the Ace Attorney games. Surprisingly, the mascot turns out very good.
>Most songs. Well yeah, usual idol songs are too stereotypical, but here in Locodol, besides the last song they performs(sadly, it sounds like your usual idol track), all we have are some school anthem like songs and the ... mascot-promotion song. This show suffers from a lack of good songs. Explainable since their songs are about promoting things about the town, but poor in sound department nonetheless.
>The town's budget. Kind of realistic, but. In some cases it is rather the producer of the anime who is low on budget.
>The recognition the Locodols get. Especially: I'm not going to spoil the anime, but in one specific scene, what the Locodols did would be considered 'lame tactics' in real life.
>In one case the Locodols took a job not suitable for usual high school students yet they completed the quest. Common in other anime, though.
>Fanservice: Usually, when there is fanservice, it's not done very well. For example, Ep01 is rather misleading as it would probably make viewers believe that this show is totally about swimsuit fanservice.
>The comedy: ...Not that good. The stalker thing was meh: what did I say just now... 'lame tactics'?
>The infamous cliche 'I have been happy because you guys/girls are by my side': Still a bit cliched in this show, but overall natural and heartwarming. You would probably not feel that it's cliched.
>The yuri vibe: The problem with the yuri vibe is that it's one of the highlights of the show, so if you don't like yuri you'll find the show less enjoyable.
So how to sum it up?
This show tries to stand out from your usual idol anime, but to avoid bordering on a normal slice of life it tries to support itself with massive yuri vibes.
Overall the show is heartwarming, but still a bit cliched among 'cute girls engaging in activities' slice of life anime. Plus, especially in the earlier episodes, it fails to give us some entertainment value, and it still can't avoid several problems normal slice of life anime usually have.
>People who are tired of usual idol anime(I'm not a huge fan but far from being sick of the genre)
>People who like some heartwarming story about girls engaging in activities
>People who like light-hearted yuri.