Apr 6, 2018
gomennasai (All reviews)
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.

*yeah, I’m a DreAca apologist, and I’m not sorry

PS: Koharu is best girl