Aine Yuuki who is a regular student at Star Harmony Academy's normal division and meets Mio Minato from idol division who invites her to join Aikatsu to fulfill Aine's goal to make friends. She also befriends Maika Chouno and Ema Hinata who are also idols. Aine and Mio form a pair to become best friends to become the bright "Diamond Friends". Karen Kamishiro and Mirai Asuku are categorized as "Diamond Friends" and are in the Diamond Class!
#1: "Arigato⇄Daijoubu (ありがと⇄大丈夫)" by Aine Yuuki (Akane Matsunaga), Mio Minato (Ibuki Kido) from BEST FRIENDS (eps 1-25) #2: "Soko ni Shika Nai Mono (そこにしかないもの)" by Aine Yuuki (Akane Matsunaga), Mio Minato (Ibuki Kido) from BEST FRIENDS (eps 26-)
Just as a reminder, Aikatsu Friends, as the rest of Aikatsu entries, is stand-alone and you can start with this one without worries, which considering the length of the others can be a great idea if you want to see if this anime is for you in order to try out the others as well.
In Aikatsu Friends we follow Aine, a cheerful and kind girl who can quickly make friends with anyone to terrifying levels. One day she meets Mio, a very popular girl from the idol division of their school and they quickly connect, the story focuses in their idol activities together as friends,
wanting to become the best duo someday.
This anime is doing a fantastic job so far handling their relationship, Aikatsu Friends seems to be centered in "becoming Best Friends", with two characters forming a unit together, and this leads to heavy focus on the interactions between pairs of characters (be the main duo or the other characters that got protagonism, all with their fun and likeable personalities). Each episode is a lot of fun seeing in what events our characters are, be preparing dresses, participating in TV programs, or doing performances between others, while also seeing them develop and becoming closer as time passes and they get to know more about each other.
Talking about the performances, the CGI animation of them just keeps shining with its quality, the dances are beautiful and full of movement and effects, making for a visual treat, the series as a whole looks nice, with very appealing character designs (I love the gradient hair of the main duo in special), the animation of the series is also solid, although as expected of long running series, some episodes can't keep the level of the rest.
Aikatsu Friends has been fantastic so far and I can't recommend enough to give it a chance, be it your first Aikatsu entry or you having already watched others before.
As an Aikatsu fan, I've never absolutely hated a season/series, but this does it. Everything is so terrible. They wanted to improve the Yume and Laura relationship since people complained, but they made it a million times worse. On top of that, they took out the classroom scenes, which is a staple in this series and was needed especially since Aine, the MC, was new to being an idol (never wanted to be one in the first place). We need to see her at school so we can see her improve, just like the previous Aikatsu MCs.
Sound: Okay, so they completely got rid of
the system that made Aikatsu so awesome in the first place. Previously, there were voice actors and singers. The voice actors would voice the characters and the singers would be the singing voices of the characters. This ensured that none of the characters would have bad voices. Now, they got rid of that and made complete newbies-LITERALLY-voice act AND sing. These girls have not had any experience whatsoever and it really shows.
Characters: Well, the characters have great designs, but that's it. Aine is the worst Aikatsu MC and one of the worst idol MCs in anime history, alongside Chika from Love Live Sunshine. It also has to do with the fact that they took out the important classroom scenes. Don't even get me started on how everyone likes Aine and is obsessed with her even though she hasn't shown any talent or some sort of feature that draws people in. We are only shown the results of Aine's supposed training, and on top of that, she's apparently friends with everyone. Mio was supposed to be like Laura and all of the other cool types, but she failed.
My expectations for Aikatsu Friends! was way too high. Aikatsu Stars! was great and I just couldn't wait for the next series.
Then we have Aikatsu Friends!
I was way too hyped for this series, I regretted it. First episode was okay, that was because we were first introduced to the new dressing room (I thought that was cool) and our brand new protagonist, Aine.
I liked the art, the character designs weren't that bad except, they decided to throw in rainbow hair colours that matched their idol type. For example, Aine (cute-type): pink, Mio (cool-type): blue, Maika (sexy-type): purple and so on. The only characters that contradict
this is probably Karen and Mirai.
I couldn't give the sound a 8 because of the voice actors. Karen and Mirai's voice actors were fantastic but I disliked the rest. I love the ending song, it's very catchy, the solos by Mio and Maika were amazing. The music part is probably the best part about this anime. (EDIT: Sakuya and Kaguya's songs made me change my opinion. The songs are amazing)
I dropped this anime at episode 6, after they introduced Ema, I just couldn't continue on. I know there are new characters like Sakuya, a gothic-idol that you need for every aikatsu series but I still can't get into this series.
Honestly, if you're new to the Aikatsu series, just watch Aikatsu! and Aikatsu Stars! Forget about Aikatsu Friends!