It says a lot about how charming and entertaining Aikatsu, a simple, unassuming slice-of-life series is when I am consistently finding it more appealing than all the big story-driven anime of today. It may not be anything amazing if you look solely at its story, but as far as pure entertainment goes, it is something quite special.
The main TV series has certainly seen its share of criticism over the past couple years, and I can't say that most of that criticism is wrong. But considering the main complaint regarding Aikatsu has been its repetitiveness over time, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise
that its movie is a far more exciting package than the typical episode. It is not constrained by the show's episodic formula, so there is much more freedom to explore the characters here. And it does so on a far bigger stage.
It also helps that it focuses primarily on a central group of characters (the Ichigo, Aoi, Ran trio) rather than the dozens of side characters, even if they do all show up for a brief amount of time. Aikatsu has always been strongest when it focuses on those three rather than the side characters who are more or less just walking catchphrases. That's not to say that all of them are that way (Seira is a pretty interesting character, for example), but I can't say I ever enjoyed it all that much when an episode would focus on someone like Otome rather than Aoi and Ichigo. They're still here, but not really. It's Ichigo's story.
The movie has its share of emotional moments as well. It isn't aiming to make anyone tear up, as it would rather deliver something heart-warming rather than sad or dramatic. It works best that way, too, I think. Compared to other idol anime such as Idolmaster which veer very much into drama territory at times (and largely fail at it due to the huge, jarring juxtaposition between happy-happy slice-of-life and the characters screaming in angst), Aikatsu feels far more honest with itself. It's precisely because the emotional moments are natural that they even feel emotional in the first place.
I just wish they could have done this without relying on the Ichigo and Mizuki rivalry. It was a nice way to give Ichigo a push into the idol world at the start of the series, but this late into the game it just feels unnecessary. Mizuki isn't a very exciting character in the first place: she's 'perfect', popular, everyone loves her, blah blah-- the typical shoujo rival who lacks any real personality of her own. I don't think I'd be alone in saying that the series would benefit from her disappearing for a while. Ichigo is so far above her at this point that I honestly have to wonder if there's something wrong with Mizuki's in-show fans.
Aikatsu's movie is oozing with visual charm, from its colourful art style to the girls' performance on the big stage. The movie's CG is a huge step-up from the TV series, and especially from its beginning episodes where it was genuinely distracting (and just a little bit creepy). It blends in just fine here. I'd even go as far as to say it looks nice. There's none of the usual stilted animation and abysmal frame-rate that you typically find from CG in anime; the girls move and dance naturally. There's also a few subtle details in the animation of the movie's quieter moments, like Aoi listening to a conversation and nearly spilling her ice cream, that add to the 'movie' feeling and help the characters feel more alive and authentic.
The only real flaw with regards to the movie's presentation is that the music is largely the same as the TV series. Considering the massive episode count of the TV series and the fact that the girls perform a song at the end of each and every episode, the music does get pretty stale after a while. There's really not much that can be done about this with regards to the TV series (a new song every few weeks would require an astronomical budget), but it would have been nice if the movie had an all-new soundtrack, or at least something a bit closer to it. The few new tracks that are there, however, are among the series' best.
I would not recommend watching this movie without having sufficient experience with the TV series, but I suppose it can be done if you're wondering what the hell the series is about and perhaps don't want to watch 140+ episodes in order to find out. Just do keep in mind that the characters are the source of the series' enjoyment, and without any attachment to them I'm not entirely sure you'll get all that much out of the movie.
Compared to most shoujo anime which focus on teenage drama and abusive relationships, Aikatsu conveys themes far more valuable: friendship, family, and bringing happiness to others. I don't think Aikatsu is necessarily something you'll be watching for its themes (they're subtle enough that you may not even notice or care about them), but these details do succeed in making it a much more positive presence in the anime industry than most of what gets shoved at girls these days. And guys, too. The anime industry needs more Aikatsu and less harem-teenagers-superpowers-savetheworld nonsense that encompasses half of the anime airing today. Aikatsu is not deep or brilliant or anything of the sort; it's simply excellent entertainment, which is more than even most 'serious' anime can say.
And really, Aikatsu is the kind of show that I could recommend to anyone without hesitation. Unless you value your masculinity more than anything else (in which case there might be some insecurity issues at play), Aikatsu being primarily aimed at 12-year-old girls shouldn't have any impact on your enjoyment of it. It's a better slice-of-life than just about anything that comes out these days, and the movie especially so. The idol aspect really isn't that important. Aikatsu is much more than that.
There's also Aoi, and Aoi is a blessing upon the world. Yep.
Well, Honestly the first time that I watched the movie I didn't like it at all, but with a second watch I have to say I really enjoy it. For a person that is fan of the series is a good oportunity to watch in a rainy day or in an evening you don't have anything else to do.
The story is really simple. Ichigo is planning and producing with her friends a festival with her name, so she has to search for a good song and a new dress. This time, is a good oportunity to see all Aikatsu characters all aroun at the
same time. So, movie is set up between season 2 and 3, so new characters like Yuri or Madoka doen't count.
Talking about the characters the only ones that have really development afre two. The first one is Mizuki. In this movie for unique time we see what is afraid of and some of here doubts of being an idol. I can't say more because it will be some sopilers, so... let's continue. Ichigo is a person that anybody can admire. She knoes that she can't do things alone, so, she acepts help of anyone so this is a good thing if you want to succed, and she does in this movie.
If I am honest the music is good, while watching the movie, a lot of Aikatsu past songs return, so, if you like idol music you can sing with the characters. Basically the festival is only to show how many song Aikatsu has. The music is enjoyable, fun and invite you to dance with the characters. But personally if you hear too much those songs later you can get tired.
The problem with this movie is that it focused only on Ichigo and that's why I got mad with the movie at the first time I watch it. Why only Ichigo? Aikatsu have plenty of other Idols. Maybe a group festival... But thinking it, Ichigo is the first protagonist of the series, is her story, not the others (well, yes, but Ichigo is the important one). So, It is good that the movie protagonist is Ichigo. If you have this on mind you will enjoy the movie, just like me at the second round I watched it.
Overall is a 7. It is good, have an average animation, not too diferent of the main tv series, it doesn't have anything new things to anime . It is only a good oportunity to hear many Aikatsu songs all gathered.
This is a review of the movie that happens after the events of episode 112, I wouldn't recommend to watch this as the first thing you see of the series since you will miss all the attachment to the cast, but I can't recommend enough to try out the main series, the total amount of episodes might look intimidating but now that I reached the point of the movie I'm sad of being so relatively close to the end. The characters are so absurdly lovable and following them in their steps through the idol world and all the events that happen along the way is
tons of fun, I can't recommend it enough. With that said, let's start the review.
At the start of this movie, Ichigo recieves a chance to take one big step in the world of idols with the organization of a super live event, and we follow her and all the friends (and somewhat rivals, but they are more friends than anything and I love that) that she made along the way to make it an unforgettable experience for everyone.
The pacing of this movie was fantastic and kept me hooked from start to end, seeing them prepare everything, mixing the comedy from the characters, the heartwarming moments of appreciation between them (and the people, like the designers, who brings them all the help to shine), and the struggles that happen during the preparation of such events, all leading to to the fantastic live event that made me feel like if I was there with the rest of the audience between all the songs and some surprises along the way.
This movie also touched a lot a theme that I love from this series: finding the inspiration for a dream thanks to another person. Mizuki is so important for Ichigo after changing her life making her want to enter the world of idols at the start of the TV series, and the appreciation and admiration that Ichigo feels towards her reaches me, we see that in a very satisfying way in this movie both for this two characters, and also for Akari towards Ichigo as the generations of idols keep passing and the younger characters find inspiration on the ones we have seen grow during the series.
The visuals are an improvement in comparison to the main series, with the CGI of the dance scenes delivering hard as usual, the improvement the series made on this part from the start of the series to now is impressing. In terms of songs, outside of few (and great) exceptions, the movie reuses ones from the main series, I personally don't mind that at all since that made me sing along with the characters when they played, only making the “concert experience” even better.
I really like pixel art and the movie caught me off guard with the ending, playing the main OPs and EDs that didn't show up before during the movie together with the pixel visuals, too good.
This movie was everything I wanted it to be coming from Aikatsu and I couldn't be more satisfied. Definitely a must watch for any fan of the TV series.