Lemon Angel was once the greatest girl band of Japan, but then it broke up and most of its members vanished. When a music producer decides to put together a new Lemon Angel, average high schooler Tomo Minaguchi is approached to audition for the group. Little does she know of the mystery behind the original Lemon Angel...
I finished Lemon Angel Project just yesterday and I noticed that it didn't have a review yet, so I thought I'd do the honours <3
Lemon Angel Project is set in the year 2017, and is about Tomo Minaguchi, a girl who's close friend and senpai Yui recently died due to "unknown causes". While she was still alive, Yui told Tomo that she felt happy and full of life when Tomo sang, and she was also the creator of the popular all-girl group called the "Lemon Angel Project", who mysteriously vanished shortly before Yui's death.
A year and a half later, Tomo, along with other girls, tries
out to become a member of the new and revived Lemon Angel Project.
Basically, it sounds dull, simple and recycled, right? Haha. That is so wrong. Lemon Angel Project is far from mindless and it actually covers a lot of things rarely seen in shoujo anime, such as bullying people from other countries.
The art was beautiful! I didn't notice the backgrounds very much, but the people were pretty much always drawn beautifully. Especially Erika; her hair was done beautifully. I think it deserved a 9/10. Nothing to complain about ;3
Heck, I loved the OP song, Angel Addict. It fitted the series just perfectly and was one of those songs that made me just want to stand up and dance, and that doesn't happen all that often ;3 there was a great number of insert songs and songs used in the auditions, and each of them was beautiful and fitted what was going on perfectly. 10/10!
I thought that the characters were going to be simple and standard, because I shamefully based my initial thoughts on this series on Kirarin Revolution. Oh how wrong I was. One or two characters are standard and recycled, such as Fuyumi, but others stood out so well. The one who was the most unique was Erika Campbell. I won't describe her here since I think you need to watch the series rather than read this to fully understand how she is different.
Let me just say, this is the ONLY series that has kept me up watching until gone midnight. I marathoned the first 7 episodes because it was just so darn addicting; I wanted to see more and more!
I don't like idol series, or series about girls trying to become famous singers. But this one was so different, I can't understand why it's rated so lowly here on MAL ;3; I enjoyed pretty much every minute of Lemon Angel Project, and I'd gladly watch it all over again.
Overall, Lemon Angel Project was fantastic. It had lots of things in it that I really wouldn't have expected, and it was pleasantly surprising in that sense. I would recommend it to anyone who doesn't mind a all-female main cast <3
I realise that reviews criticising the anime are rated as 'not helpful' a lot, but I want to say that I'm not trying to criticise the anime, just trying to help people get a better idea of it =]
Usually I don't like futuristic stories because I don't like sci-fi stories, but for once, the future year setting does NOT have anything to do with the anime except for more advanced technology. Overall, the story was quite, well, normal. It's quite obvious from the start who's going to be the star of the show, so even at the parts where it's supposed to make you tense
with suspense (rhyme =D) you don't feel anything XD BUT. Suddenly, as you watch the last few episodes, the truth suddenly begins unraveling rapidly and keeps you on your toes. And the last episode is simply sweet ;D
The art might look pretty good at first, but when you look closer, you can see that the way they draw the girls aren't so good. The head-body proportions are...kind of weird o_O But other than that, it's good ^^ Nothing to comment on, really, as it's not really a big feature of the anime, not like Clannad, or Sola.
Hm... This is supposed to be a musical anime, right? However, some of the songs I found were not up to my expectations. Other times, the songs are really beautiful, the most beautiful in my opinion Watashi wo Sagashite as it's really meaningful =D So it's really up to you, as many people have different tastes.
Well... As you watch the first few episodes, you'll find out something about the main character: she is very, VERY annoying. But miraculously, she suddenly becomes not annoying in the later episodes -_- Other than that, I think the characters were okay, but none of them were very outstanding. The most outstanding character, in my opinion, is Erika, for obvious reasons (and not her skin colour).
The enjoyment wasn't consistent throughout the whole series, but rather, I find that the anime keeps you relaxed and non-expectant in the first few episodes whereas as the show progresses it starts to build up and gradually the enjoyment meter rises. Thankfully the series is short, so you don't feel bored for too long XD
I almost wanted to give it an 8, but I decided 7 would be better because of the significant lack of consistency - good in some of the SAME area, bad in some of the SAME area. But that's just my opinion, and I want to share it with you. I hope you'll find my opinion of this anime useful in deciding whether you want to watch it or not! ;D
While perusing my preferred anime download site one spring morn, I stumbled on an odd sounding series called Lemon Angel Project. I scoffed at the title and decided to click the link and read the synopsis just for the sake of a cheap laugh. And just like that, on a whim, I subjected myself to Lemon Angel Project, possibly a hidden gem that got lost in the unforgiving trends of the anime season.
Before I rip it to shreds, I’ll just get it out in the open that I liked LAP despite its shortcomings, of which there are many. It’s a short feel-good series that’s hard
to dislike, with heartwarming moments and catchy J-Pop tunes abound.
With that said…
There are many good reasons why this was likely forgotten by everyone, and most likely doesn’t deserve a high place on anybody’s To Watch list. It’s a show that lacks subtlety and finesse, barreling straight on into a clunky mess of a story without any warning. Aesthetically, the animation isn’t great. It was a series from 2006, but even by those standards it doesn’t look like a fresh face.
It isn’t terrible, but the appearance is just so mundane that it’s hard to keep watching for the aesthetics alone. With the animation and art style alike denounced as mundane, it’d better have a story to make up for the lackluster visuals. After all, Welcome to the NHK didn’t look too good and that’s a classic in my books. [C] is looking hilariously off model most times, but it’s too interesting just to be held up by that.
Fortunately, there is a story in there. It’s just so predictable and obvious that the show almost doesn’t win points for it. The synopsis is essentially as follows: Tomo, oddly enough the only girl with an odd hair color in the universe aside from the foreign girl (Who’s made painfully obvious is foreign, but more on that later), witnessed the disappearance of her favorite pop supergroup, Lemon Angel, over a year before the current time.
She learns that the former leader, the elusive and aloof Miki, attends her high school and so begins to stalk her.
What begin as time honored Shoujou-Ai clichés quickly and thankfully change to Tomo stumbling on the dark secret of Lemon Angel and auditioning for the revival group. Along the way, she becomes more confident, makes friends, deals with her and her friends’ pasts and yadda yadda yadda. This has all been done before, and done better in Mahou Shoujo shows.
To be perfectly fair though, the drama is quite effective in some places; the tsundere being humbled by an old lady being a prime example.
Despite the occasional gold specks in the depressing dank of the story, these alone don’t save it. There isn’t a single challenging thought or deed, which I think has been done to attract and keep as many viewers as possible. However, it’s easy to see just how this managed to become such an obscure flop with such an approach.
Okay, so the story’s a big piece of shit, but what about the characters? Surely they can hold a show on their own if they have interesting enough personalities or backgrounds. Well, hypothetical inquisitive person who I always seem to quote, that would be the case. And to give the show even more credit, one or two of the characters are a little compelling. Too bad it’s balanced by just as many flat, offensive, and just plain hyperbolic characters.
For every girl in a modeling agency who wants to break free from her restraining, greedy, corrupt boss, you get two girls whose only collective goal in life are to be members of Lemon Angel. Also a gay guy who makes Liberace look like a ladies man.
For every two of those, you get a villain whose only reason for existing is to make the main characters miserable just for the sake of being evil. C’mon, this is a show about five girls and their rise to fame as part of a citrus fruit/seraphim themed phenomenon. For hell’s sake, Heartcatch Precure does better characterization with their villains. I mean Kumojacky at least becomes a little less smug over time.
Lemon Angel Project has little characterization, especially with the antagonists. They stay bad throughout the episodes that they feature in, and have no chance to redeem themselves. If their actions weren’t so cartoonishly villainous, they’d be marginally less boring than the color beige.
Speaking of color, the focus on the foreign girl Erika Campbell and just how foreign she is doesn’t make for a very compelling plot. Then again, I’m just irritated that I never found out what her nationality really is. They say she came from South America, but being ethnically ambiguous, that would still lead to confusion over the last name Campbell, a distinctly un-Spanish/Portuguese last name. She also looks and acts similarly to Kaolla from Love Hina, so that only complicates matters more.
However, where the characterization, overall plot, and animation fail, individual elements of the plot come to the rescue. It isn’t too much of a stretch to say that despite the lack of a compelling overarching narrative, the plot itself isn’t bad. I retract what I said earlier. The small elements, like Erika learning the truth behind her brother’s past and the entire train station episode, are done pretty well and with enough conviction to make me forget the lame… everything else.
Since I seem to be running out of steam, there are just a few more points I’d like to make, and gripes I’d like to complain about.
There are a few minor problems that I had watching it, in addition to the larger ones. These weren’t enough to really make my experience unpleasant, but they sure didn’t help LAP’s case at all.
First, the main character’s voice is annoying through most of LAP, even when singing. I don’t know any kinder way to put that. Some people just don’t like it, but I found it mildly grating after a little while. Imagine Ahiru’s voice from Princess Tutu, except cracking while yelling into a wind tunnel. Now you can imagine how unbearable Tomo’s voice really is at times.
Finally, the entirety of LAP was punctuated with thunderstorms to frame a dramatic moment. I can’t tell you just how unfortunate it was that every single evening and nighttime moment was accompanied by an intense rain and thunderstorm. The last episode had a particularly hilarious example where thunder would sound whenever any two characters argued. I counted four different storms, all brought on by internal strife.
To summarize my first point again, Lemon Angel Project isn’t bad. It isn’t particularly imaginative or good, but you could do far worse in the coming summer months.
Lemon Angel Project is an ok idol show about the production side of the making an idol group...with a few "problems".
Now Lemon Angel Project is one of those animes that was lost in time (released in 2006, same time as Studio DEEN's Fate/stay night and Rec) and although Lemon Angel Project gives us a look at the inner workings of creating and making an idol group from scratch, the show is it itself using this as a foundation for the main characters and their trials and tribulations in the idol industry.
Well since we're talking about characters, let's talk about them shall we?, we have
Tomo Minaguchi voiced by Ryou Shihono a ditzy main character who gets some dilemma about the previous Lemon Angels and quite early, she's an audience surrogate when it comes to the production of idol groups. Erika Campbell voiced by Minori Chihara a Brazilian who came to live in Japan who is Tomo's genki friend in Lemon Angels, her dilemma has to do with her being a "foreigner" as well as her being in her younger brother rock star shadow, she gets some of the more interesting plotlines in the anime. Next is Fuyumi Sakakibara voiced by Juri Hirama a shy girl once a child actress and was childhood friends with Haruka Sendou voiced by Mia Naruse, her plotline follows Haruka the resident bully of the anime in which Fuyumi "assisted" Haruka until she warms up to Tomo's group and general "getting over her shyness" plotline to be expected in a shy girl archetype. Miru Nagisa voiced by Mai Kadowaki, a typical soft-spoken girl who has dreams of being in the new Lemon Angels and idolized Ann (one of the previous Lemon Angels)...she gets less focus aside from her focus episode and is probably the least developed from the main cast. Next, we have LA's favourite character, Saya Yuuki voiced by Ami Koshimizu, another of Tomo's later best friends but before that, she was a frienemy to Tomo and a tsundere towards Tomo, although her focus episode was about her corrupted Producer taking advantage of her (not that way...gravure and no singing, even though she REALLY wants to sing, that kind of advantage), she is something of a surrogate to the looking at the idol industry as a dog eat dog mentality to Tomo's "fun and ditzy" side of idol industry and because she'a a tsundere with a bit of idol dimension to her that's kinda why LA took a liking to her even after her focus episode ended and she doesn't become a supporting character and gets involved in some of the plotlines (at times)...hmmmmmm why does she remind LA of someone...*cough* Nico~ Nico~ *cough*. Finally we have Miki Suwa voiced by Miki Maruyama, the leader of the newer Lemon Angel Project, she the typical strict leader with a heart of gold and she has some beef with Tomo mainly because of Tomo's connection to Yui, the original creator of the Lemon Angels. Character wise, the characters have a bit of dimension to them (mainly Erika and Saya in this regard) though the majority are stereotypical though it's not a bad thing due to the subject matter of looking into dog eat dog, scandal-driven, training from hell idol industry.
In terms of animation from Radix is overall ok from it's time, from the character designs to backgrounds, though LA will quite honestly say that at times there were typical facial derps to low quality widepan of shots at times with Episode 12 being the hardest hit by this. Even though LA said that the backgrounding was "ok", they at best were the least remarkable thing from the animation department. LA isn't being harsh about the animation by the way, LA DOES realize it was made back in 2006, it would have a few issues and looking at it now at the time of writing this review, it has problems sure...but it doesn't outright make the anime bad, LA is merely pointing out that the animation was "ok" or at least acceptable even back in 2006...though some people might beg to differ.
Ohhh now onto the voice acting and let's get the elephant out of the room with voice acting and to those who knows what LA is talking about...it's Tomo Minaguchi's voice actor Ryou Shihono. Now LA sees what they wanted from Tomo with Ryou's vocals, as in the one ordinary "real teenager" vocals but with a flipside of a decent singing voice and the surprise that allows this main character to be somewhat unique...but at the cost of having those "real teenager" vocals to be both stiff and constantly monotoned. LA doesn't outright hate the choice of Ryou Shihono as Tomo LA is just more confused about the direction than hating her vocals, this is because the rest of the voice cast is typical moe and "anime-esque" vocals yet Tomo's character is the only one that isn't and again if it's for uniqueness at the cost of having monotoned and stiff vocals...LA just didn't get the direction given to Ryou Shihono because of this...thankfully her "normal cadence" didn't "completely" ruin the anime but LA just wanted to talk about Ryou Shihono and this "rant" about her, isn't LA raging about her more or less confused about her vocal direction. *ahem* moving on...to the rest of the voice cast...well the rest of the voice cast as LA said above is pretty decent and with some well known voice actors with good singing talent at that, from Minori Chihara, Mai Kadowaki and Ami Koshimizu with some one time (seriously) anime character roles of Juri Hirama and the aforementioned Ryou Shihono. LA's favourite voice actor quite obviously going to Ami Koshimizu as her role as Saya is something of a "playing against the type" before she even had a typecast of a bishoujo action girl. Nonetheless...the voice cast is a generally ok to better singing but with one confusing vocal direction LA just couldn't place.
Now, want to know LA's "problems" about Lemon Angel Project...well let's get the easiest one out of the way, that being that the "villains" of the anime (and yes to be honest there are some) are stock and blatantly evil or horrible character just to make the main cast look better in comparison and it works!, from the aforementioned Saya's corrupted Producer to Haruka Sendou, an arrogant, narcissistic bully diva to Tomo's group to the scandal-driven photographer. Hell, even when Haruka gets "redemption"...LA STILL didn't like her afterwards and kinda got what she deserved for what she did and how the anime portrayed her, the only defense to all these villains is oddly the MAJOR "Villain" of this anime being Shinya Himuro voiced by Takehito Koyasu as he isn't a two-bit corporate evil dude, he actually gives us a moral grey area to the idol industry concerning the previous and current Lemon Angels. The other problem is that, well, Lemon Angel Project as an anime trying to look at the production side of the idol industry, it's definitely more character driven than looking at the production side of things, though the few times it does it helps defend this anime and somewhat justified. The last problem and this was LA's pure opinion on this, was that many of the "surprise plot twists" were kinda predictable sans the final few episodes, this is obviously due to the "evil corporate or paparazzi doing evil things to destroy the Lemon Angels" and everything but quite early on the plot twists of Lemon Angel main cast forming to their trials and tribulations they go through was too predictable ...but again, LA's opinion on the matter and to this defense, the latter plotlines like the final episodes as well as Erika's focus episodes were written better to steer away from this flaw.
LA kinda find this anime admirable that an anime from 2006 even looking at the "dark side" of the idol industry no matter how stupidly coincidental it takes it kinda living up to it's name of "LEMON" Angel Project, it's still an interesting outlier for an idol anime even before it started catching on much later (look at Wake Up Girls and Cinderella Girls 2nd Season).
The finale arc deals with the secrets of the previous Lemon Angel Project being revealed to the main cast and the previous Lemon Angel butting heads with the current ones in a music festival. Really this final arc was meant for Tomo and Miki with a little on Miru for her idolization of Ann as a catalyst to start revealing the secrets of the previous Lemon Angel Project and Miki dealing the final blow to it all. If anything though the hints were there, LA didn't see this coming and the hypocrisy Miki had only made Miki in the wrong even further with the ditzy Tomo telling her what's what with this entire ordeal. So not only does the final episodes give Miki character development from her "strict leader with a heart of gold" scthick but it just made sense WHY she was strict to everyone in the first place......it still didn't help HOW she executed it all though. Did the final episodes go into melodrama territory with "get the band together again" plotlining?, yes, did the characters develop with this plotline, hell yes, did it end as predictably as it did, yes, was this final plotline good?, yes and to be honest the final few episodes helped what made LA dislike the very few early episodes and that is a good thing.
Even from this Lemon Angel Project does delve into an issue about the previous and current Lemon Angels and that does go into bit of *EARLY SPOILERS*...what is it?...well it involves the previous Lemon Angels and that's the hint in saying if you don't want to know and is planning on watching this anime look away now...that the 1st Lemon Angels were virtual idols...you know like Hatsune Miku and this comes into play of what "makes" an idol?, sure in this time and age, virtual idols ARE technically a thing and is HUGELY popular and accepted but if they're just programs are they superior or inferior to the more "human" idols of the second Lemon Angels....unfortunately Lemon Angel Project merely grazes the surface at this issue due to it's character-driven narrative and could have been better discussed in the anime instead of the typical..."we sing to make others smile" we see in almost every idol anime and the finale that we got which ended predictably with this notion as well.
Lemon Angel Project has it's problems (vocal direction for Tomo..OK ok..dead horse, animation derps, stereotypical villains with some stereotypical characters and missed potential on a certain issue involving idols), but even with those elements, LA can get behind this anime from it's developed main cast, it's interesting concept of looking at the dark side of the idol industry even before that became a thing and a solid finale. Even if this anime's flaws that had a fair amount that annoyed LA both plot and character-wise but nonetheless Lemon Angel Project isn't for LA an underrated old gem of an idol anime, more like a polarizing yet intriguing old anime about idols and it's industry from 2006.