Yume Nijino has been accepted into Four Stars academy, home of the beautiful and talented S4 idol group. She and the other newcomers are determined to discover their talent, with a choice of specializing in beauty, singing, dancing, or drama. A tough road lies ahead of them, and they must rely on each other to overcome their weaknesses and develop their unique strengths.
At the first-years' opening performances, Yume performs stellarly but faints and is unable to remember being on stage at all. Struggling to find her talent, she meets Rola "Laura" Sakuraba and the two develop a friendly rivalry, working together to learn and improve.
Though they have their differences, all the students share the same goal: to become the next S4 idol. But hard work and determination, along with teamwork, are needed if they want to join the elite S4.
#1: "Start Line! (スタートライン!)" by Sena and Rie from AIKATSU☆STARS! (eps 2-25) #2: "1 , 2, Sing for You!" by Sena, Rie, Miki, Kana from AIKATSU☆STARS! (eps 26-33) #3: "Star Jet!" by Sena, Rie, Miki, Kana from AIKATSU☆STARS! (eps 34-50 ) #4: "Stardom!" by Sena, Rie, Miki, Kana from AIKATSU☆STARS! (eps 51-75) #5: "MUSIC of DREAM!!!" by Sena, Rie, Miki and Kana from AIKATSU☆STARS! (eps 76-100)
#1: "episode Solo" by Ruka, Nanase, Kana, Miho from AIKATSU☆STARS! (eps 1-25) #2: "So Beautiful Story" by Ruka and Sena from AIKATSU☆STARS! (eps 26-50) #3: "Bon Bon Voyage!" by Risa and Miho from AIKATSU☆STARS! (eps 51-75) #4: "Pirouette of the Forest Light (森のひかりのピルエット)" by Sena and Ruka from AIKATSU☆STARS! (eps 76-99) #5 "Start Line! (スタートライン!)" by Sena and Rie from AIKATSU☆STARS! (ep 100)
Before I started Aikatsu Stars (AiStars from now on), I was kind of worried. I’ve heard from multiple places that it ruined Aikatsu, that it turns to crap at a certain point of a show, stuff like that. Since I’ve heard those things about the 2nd season of Aikatsu and I ended up very much liking it*, I said, okay, how about watching it and finding it out yourself? It was indeed a disappointment, but in a positive way. In the end, it became my favorite show of all time second only to Ichigogen, also known as the first 2 seasons of the original Aikatsu
(OGKatsu from here on). And after marathoning OGKatsu, especially after Akarigen, it felt refreshing.
Those who seek out the same kind of writing as in OGKatsu: you’re going to be disappointed. AiStars is a much more plot-driven show with a darker theme, even though it’s still a character-centric show at heart. If you outright hate drama or drama-centric episodes, this show is probably not for you. Friendly rivalries aren’t gone, but they’re much more serious, especially in the 2nd season; characters can be outright hostile to each other, with deep ideological differences. Idols no longer have to cater to each and every whim of the brand designers in order to acquire new dresses: they’re the brands themselves this time around, designing their own dresses. This goes hand in hand with the show’s main theme, self-producing. Special appeals, which were a big thing in OGKatsu, do exist, but they never get explained; this actually makes the story better, as it has other priorities. Yume is a much more expressive protagonist compared to Ichigo (or even Akari), not hiding her frustration, even capable of tantrums when things don’t go her way – she’s 12 years old after all. That doesn’t make either of them less of a great character (Ichigo is still one of my favorite characters of all time), just make either of these shows different. It has a much more modern feel to it: while OGKatsu felt like I’m watching a show from another decade (not that there’s anything wrong with it), AiStars has a much more dynamic feel to it, feeling very much like an anime from 2016. All in all, it ended up being its own thing without being unapologetic about it.
AiStars is not a perfect show, that’s not how I give out scores. Perfect shows simply don’t exist. It’s especially impossible for a show with 100 episodes. The CGI for the stage events is a stepback, for example. Characters who would’ve deserved to have their comeuppance ended up being redeemed without much of an explanation. Plot points ended up being abandoned and never much mentioned again (and don’t let your nostalgia goggles fool you: this was the same case in OGKatsu as well). Some side characters would’ve deserved their own stage events *cough*Haruka Luka*cough*
But there are plenty of other things making up for it. The characters are well-written and have complex motivations. You’ll end up caring for them, investing in them. The music is catchy as hell. The show is looking beautiful and as I’ve said earlier, dynamic. The voice acting is stellar, especially Yume’s – she’s voiced by Tomita Miyu, the same VA who voiced Riko in Made In Abyss; remember this name in the future.
If these things ended up convincing you, watch Aikatsu Stars. You’re not going to regret it.
After finishing Aikatsu Stars! I felt giddy, and not many animes can make me feel that way after watching the last episode, including that ones I consistently watch over. Which means, there was something kind of special about this anime.
As with the original Aikatsu!, this series focused on idols, daily idol activities and competitions, which is typical in this franchise. For an anime aimed at kids, this was particularly well done, but I did notice that unlike in the original, this one had a slightly more mature tone that the original lacked, which made it enjoyable for the older audience. I won't say
anything more to avoid spoiling but the drama in this was definitely heavier than its predecessor.
The art is one of the strongest points in Stars!. Everything is so detail-focused that it's hard to say anything bad about the art at all. And I'm talking character and dress designs, and even backgrounds! The animation was also smooth and the 3D performances have definitely improved in quality since the original.
Like the art, sound is one of the strongest points in this anime. No matter how many opening and ending songs there were, you remember each of them vividly as they were continually sung by the characters throughout the series at different times. Also, every single episode had a performance, so that was something to look forward to, especially if it was a new song. There was a multitude of songs in this, and that was typical for an anime about idols. Overall, the sound is just amazing.
Not much to say about the characters. They weren't poorly written but they weren't particularly special either. The characters' personalities are reminiscent of the original's, which is where everyone sports this positive attitude towards their activities most of the time. But unlike in the original, we actually get to see some antagonists pop up in the first and second half of Stars!. Elza Forte was especially memorable for her prominent role in the second half and I was surprised to see how that second half actually developed with her arrival in Japan. Other than that, the characters did their job of representing the themes of this anime well.
Despite my liking for action, horror, mystery and romance, this kind of genre puts me at ease and makes me excited at the same time. It's always refreshing to watch this anime, despite the repetitiveness. In other words, I enjoyed this, A LOT.
Bringing everything together, Aikatsu Stars! is one spectacular anime to watch with kids and adults alike. I'd recommend this anime and this franchise in general, to people who are looking for something refreshing after a binge-watch session of Hellsing or other heavy anime, to get that balance back in place, especially if they don't mind this genre. Or just for anyone who's looking for a long anime to escape a bit of reality.
I have watched aikatsu since the first original one and the first season of aikatsu itself is really good in my opinion.
Though, it become more 'weird' and having no clear direction of the story, after it ended, I have quite high hopes for aikatsu stars.
Still, Aikatsu stars has some similarities with the original aikatsu which some makes me happy and some not.
For the characters for instance, I don't know why but I kinda think that they are kind of running out of ideas in making new characters? because in my opinion, almost every main character are like fusion of two characters from the original one.
Yozora, its really obvious that she's a fusion of Ran (appearance) and Sora (name partly and personality). Then Yuzu, fusion of Kii (appearance and most of the personality) and Aoi (some personalities). Hime is like some part Maria (surname and personality), Ichigo and Mizuki (both are like the adored senpai's). Ako is like Otome (appearance and surname) and Yurika (personality). Sakura has some Aoi vibe (both good at many things before) and added with Seira (rivalry). And as usual, Yume, the main idol is soemone who was not very good in idolhood like ichigo and akari.
It's kinda disturbing in my opinion though.
But, I love how they made few changes in the card system and the arts are actually pretty good.
What I love the most is the story is more.... intense, darker and romantic than the original one. I love how there's actually some mysteries about idols itself and its not just any plain boring mystery in my opinion. I also love the fact that it has some romance to it. It makes the story more interesting to watch, I think.
With the common motif in the anime being cliche, it also demonstrates it's own repetition. Many of the songs are reused numerous times, even in the same episode. The dress maker transformation seems to happen every episode as a filler. The predictability of the plot and the characters being your basic shoujo/idol main characters does not make me want to finish the series. This is your typical 'cute girl' anime while the live performance costumes ruin the 'cute.' I would not want to continue watching this anime to see if it gets better. In conclusion: if you watch one
School Idol anime, you have watched them all.