One day, second-year high school student Kanade Amamiya is suddenly scouted by legendary idol Haruto Mikami. He now faces the life an idol with others in the same agency. He aims to make his CD debut in Dream Festival!, joined by the mysterious Shin Oikawa, the stoic Junya Sasaki, the kind but passionate Itsuki Katagiri, and the clumsy but smart Chizuru Sawamura. In order to receive the Dream Festival! Cards sent by fans, can Kanade and the others become the best on stage?
First things first, let's state the obvious: DreamFes is an idol anime based on a videogame, with a sprinkle of magical boys, in 12 episodes. If you've considered that and have your expectations set accordingly - good. We can also get two things right out of the way: it won't win any award for the story or the overall visuals. Personally, I wouldn't call either of those mediocre, in fact in my opinion, the efforts can, at the very least, be seen, and that's enough to rate of both of them above the completely neutral "meh" middle ground.
Ok, so it's an idol anime, what
about the idols then? That's one part where I think the anime rises above the average. The main cast consists of five characters, and unlike in some other anime of the genre, they actually are distinct individuals. It might not be painfully obvious right from the start, but as the story unfolds and we get to know them all, it actually becomes clear that they're not just five blanks with different looks. I dare say they aren't even necessarily the usual archetypes, either. It's not only in their back stories and motivations, but it's also visible in how they relate to and deal with each other and with problems life throws at them. Even the supporting characters have their own personalities, and while many of them only have a few appearances throughout the season (consider the constraints of 12 episodes), it manages to shine through quite nicely. They're all loveable (or not, though I don't think there's a single character here that deserves hate) for different reasons, and that's awesome. What's also worth noting in regards to the characters is the fact that most of the VAs are rookies. It's not hard to pick up on at first, and it may be weird and annoying. But hey, everyone's had to start somewhere, and honestly, even if they didn't get any better throughout the season, they grow on you.
Well, what about the music, then? I think it's great. If you're into Japanese pop / idol music in general, of course, but that's common sense. Coming from the game, where it's the main point (it is a rhythm game, after all), it's no surprise that those songs we can hear in the anime, some of which we can even see being "born", are actually mostly quite strong. Totally radio-friendly, of course, either inspirational or emotional (or both), with the usual awkwardness of Engrish here and there - which you've already learnt to love if you're here for this kind of music. And the way the story goes, we learn the meaning of the songs, the stories behind them, which I do believe can important to be able to enjoy music in general. It turns the songs personal in relation to whoever makes it, but at the same time it also gives a way to relate to them, which doesn't have to be exclusive, but is certainly a nice extra.
This sounds like a very good anime! And it really is, probably the most underrated one of the season. Doesn't seem like much at first glance, but once you get into it... The story manages to remain real (or as real as it can be, of course, within the genre limits), almost mundane, in a way, which I believe is an awesome feat. The way the boys interact, the things they have to face and the ways they deal with them: it's actually believable. Even the fanservice parts, whether humorous or of an entirely different nature, felt more organic than in many other anime, more believable details of whatever is going on than things just tacked on as an afterthought. Then of course there are the "magical" elements, the way the idols transform once on stage: it's a cool extra addition that makes the anime a little unique. And it also plays into how the stage performances are rendered 3D graphics: not of any eye-watering quality, for sure, but the thing here is the fact that it's taken over from the game, where we see this same animation style, so it's another way to tie them together. It's unusual at first and takes some time getting used to, and some may never like it at all, but it's worth remembering that it isn't a gimmick without a reason.
All in all: DreamFes is a very good anime, one of those that may just be greater than the sum of their parts. Almost like an underdog, really, and it's rather incredible that it comes in as a timid, shy, ordinary little thing, and then manages to exceed the expectations. That's truly all I can say, it's simply underrated. I'm convinced that it could be an instant favourite of many of the genre's fans, at the very least.
So, first thing: If you are you are going to watch this anime is a MUST that you like boybands, bishonen, why? After all... this anime is about bishonen in a boyband.
If you don't like these two things you can still watch the anime, but you're not their target audiance so I'm sure you're not going to find the same enjoyment as I did,
Let me state the obvious, I LOVE these idol/boyband/bishonen anime but this is a review so I'm goint to do it as it has to be made.
Story: The story is good, is about a group of boys who wants to become
idols(each one with their motives) and the anime shows their path to do it while they grow as persons and professionals. Simple and good and they worked this in a good and enjoyable anime.
Art: The art is good, is not the best in the world, I got myself thinking a lot of times staring and thinking that something was missing, the movements were a little stiff, something like thiis. They use CG for the dance parts, is a good CG and is well blended with the 2D animation, Have I seen better CG usage in this kind of anime? Yes. But is good so I'll give the Arts a 7
Sound: I love the "main songs" and the anime introduces us to a good number of songs so they don't always sing the same(this is a really good point), when they are not together as a group you see the seyuus are not exactly the best singers you'll find out there. And the voices for Chizuru and Kanade are quite annoying for me. But the songs are addictive and nice to hear so I'll give an 8.
Character: This is a usual idol anime, you'll have a little of their stories as persons, why they want to become idols and their doubts like "should I really be an idol?" "Why am I doing this?". I liked their backgrounds, is convincing and well wrapped, it explains their personalities and you get to really cheer for them, the anime gives the space for them to grow up as persons and idols so is good, and for those who didn't get their space the anime ends announcing a second season for 2017 so I believe they'll explore some characters more in the second season. I'm going to give an 8 and wait for season two :)
Enjoyment: I liiked the characters as said above, the songs, the ending(since there is a second season announced) so I'll give this a 9.
Is a good anime, not the best I've seen in my life but I enjoyed it and the songs are going to stay with me for a while. I'll be waiting for the second season :)
Good enough idol anime but with a couple of things thats hampers it to be any better than an ok one and here is why.
Although the story has a nice beginning thats kinda original and the progress through it is done well in its own way it tend to gets dull as it progress. The reason for this isnt necessarily the story itself but the storys content you can say.
The sound is one of those elements i talked about when it comes to a certain downfall of this anime. I find the songs uinteresting and the op and endings arent any better. I mean
its not horrible songs and i would grade them as passing idol anime songs but nothing about them makes me want to go back and listen to them again. I would rather watch another idol anime for the songs than to watch this one again for the same reason.
When it comes to characters i actually find them well done in a sence but as we know the main character has alot to say even if its an idol anime. The main character here is a noob in the buisness which can be used as a reason for his slow progress but he problem is that even after that he doesnt progress much in the sence of becomming more interesting or engaging. I find myself remembering many other characters more than i do the main one. His only redeeming quality is one thats with a lot of other mains is that he can do it always but not much more. Even main characters who only seem to have a good attitude also manage to show other abilites that they might not be as much aware of but this main isnt interesting overall.
I enjoyed it to some regards but this anime wont be that anime i go back to if i find myself wanting a good idol anime.
Overall as i see the story combined with the mediocre music and ok characters thats been overshadowed by an uninteresting main character i cant give it more than a 5. I mean if you want to enjoy a great idol anime with good songs to booth this isnt the one but if you just want to go into the idol anime world i think this anime does that well. As long as those who watches this doesnt think this is what idol anime in general are. Since there are alot of better ones out there.
I decided to write a review before the final episode because the episodes seem to be very consistent in quality and feeling. I gave it an overall 8/10, but personally my enjoyment is 11/10.
Dream Festival! is an anime about a few guys who are hoping to make their debut as idols, their dream is to win the Dream Festival contest. We meet Amamiya Kanade in the first episode, who never even thought of becoming an idol, but through Mikami Haruto's persuasion he accepts the offer. He later on forms an idol unit with Shin, Junya, Itsuki and Chizuru and they become the DearDream unit. Later
on we get to know their main rival, the Kurofune unit.
This is a very typical idol-boys kind of anime. You've got your concerts and silly idol-things (like sending kisses to fans, "every fan is very important to us!", trying to aim higher and higher, occasional drama among the unit mmebers) in every episode, but somehow DreFes does it all in a very endearing way. Every aspect of this anime feels "good, but nothing special", but I think that's what makes it so great - it's a very nonchalant, easy-going anime.
However, that does not mean that it's superficial or boring. I think the personal dramas were good, the occasional suspense was exciting, and all in all, I was (and currently am) entertained.
DreFes isn't the best with songs. For example, UtaPri has a lot better songs, but DreFes has some catchy tunes too. Just don't try to focus too much on their terrible English lyrics... They don't use much technique in their songs either - the variety of instruments and modern effects is quite minimal, and every song has the same kind of feeling to it. This kinda makes the concerts (or as they call them, Lives) repetitive and boring, but luckily the songs are quite short, only 1-1.5 minutes long.
For some reason, the animation team went with using CG characters for the dances? Which was a terrible decision in my opinion. The dances look very awkward and even the facial expressions seem kind of blank and emotionless. But then again, luckily it's over quickly, and in comparison to some other CG animations, DreFes actually does surprisingly well.
STORYLINE AND CHARACTERS
I think DreFes's charm lies in these things. Every episode has a pretty solid and enclosed storyline that is easy to follow. The occasional humor is very endearing and adorable. The characters' little quarrels and problems with each other are always solved, and at the end of every episode, everybody goes home with a smile on their face. The problems presented in these episodes are very real (being trampled by rival unit, having to choose between personal career and the idol unit, family problems, etc), but with love, everything can be solved~!
DreFes uses total "newbies" as their voice actors for the main characters. The only "big name" is Mikami Haruto's voice actor, all the other guys have this as their first role. [note: There are still some characters, whose voice actors we don't know.] I won't lie, it's pretty obvious that these guys are kind of new to this field. Sometimes their acting comes out a little flat, and you can hear their effort, but really, it doesn't make it unenjoyable. I think they're doing a great job despite this being their first time. Their characters' personalities really come through, and with the whole package of animation, background music, and all that, the emotions do come through. All in all, I think they are doing an exceptionally good job. Personally, I prefer these new voice actors, because it's kind of different from the usual, it's nice to give them a chance, and it's a nice mix of 'unexperienced voice' and 'trying hard and actually doing it right'.
Unlike some other titles this season, DreFes's animation quality stayed pretty consistent, which is a big thing. Now that doesn't mean that there aren't occasional derp faces, but I think they are cute in their own way. The dancing is surprisingly well animated (except for when it's the CG dancing part), the colors and character designs are really pleasing to the eye. But that's about it - they don't really go overboard and try to make it flashy and sparkly. It's a pretty simple artstyle but I guess that's exactly what makes it nice.
Now it's not like we haven't seen other idol anime titles do some silly and weird things in their idol universes, like flying through the sky and building things with strings of talent etc. etc., so it's really no surprise when I say that in the DreFes universe, the fans choose the idol units' clothes for the concerts, which they then put on magically in a magical-girl-transformation way. The outfits are printed on a card called Dream Card (or Dorika), and when the concert starts, the fans just shoot these out from their designated card holder thinga-majingas, and then the idols need to catch a card to be able to equip it. Surely this whole system was created to boost sales for the game, and it's actually not very well explained in the anime why they went with this kind of system or how this works (but I guess it's my problem for trying to look for logic in an idol anime)
OTHER DREFES THINGS
DreFes is actually pushing through really hard in Japan with arcade games and buyable Dorika cards, and overall they're doing a very strong campaign for this merchandise line. This would make anyone think that the DreFes anime is also just a sales technique and no deep meaning will be found in the storyline, or no huge budget will be spent on it. I was actually surprised in a very positive way. I think the anime is very down-to-earth and loveable, despite the fact that it was really only created to help sell the merch.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH DREFES
- loveable characters, interesting chemistry between them
- quite relaxing, it's an easy anime to watch, with a solid storyline
- some songs are actually pretty catchy and all that
WHY YOU SHOULDN'T WATCH DREFES
- if you really don't like the concerts and are not willing to skip them
- if you wish for more depth and/or negativity in an anime
- if you're looking for anything sexy or something like that (DreFes is actually very PG-13)