The IDOLiSH7 anime is on a break for a hot minute, so let me take a second and lay out some reasons to watch it.
Based on the mobile rhythm game of the same name, IDOLiSH7 follows a fledgling manager and her newly assigned group of seven male idols on their journey to debut, with plenty of laughter and tears along the way! It is, at its core and true to its name, an idol anime. I’m not gonna lie and say that you’re going to love it regardless of your opinion on cute boys singing, but I will say that it has some aspects that make it worth giving a shot even if that isn’t your usual cup of tea.
No Gaming Needed!
Playing the game beforehand isn’t necessary to get a grasp on the story or characters. The IDOLiSH7 anime is presented in a way that encapsulates various parts of the game, including relevant side stories mixed into the main story at appropriate times to add extra appeal to characters and flesh them out a bit more. Sure, playing the game beforehand might give you more to look forward to before watching the anime, but each could honestly stand alone as good promotion of the other since the story is exhibited differently in either medium.
Not Everything Is As It Seems…!
Despite it’s colorful and bubbly look, this series runs the gamut in plot twists and drama. From health complications to group dissolutions, a lot of times it seems like anything that can go wrong for IDOLiSH7 will, and they don’t always make it through things unscathed. Each main character is more than just a personified trope and has their own baggage, but some are more open about it than others. Even the company president and the cheery production manager Tsumugi works with have their own issues and pasts that shape who they are and effect the decisions they make as professionals. This dramatic roller coaster of a plot expands beyond anything the two remaining episodes of the season could contain, which is why fans of the game are already praying for a season two!
Impactful Female Protagonist!
In many stories like IDOLiSH7‘s, it’s easy to question the protagonist’s actual importance within the story. Does this producer character actually affect the story, or does she merely exist as a self-insert character for the audience? Tsumugi Takanashi is, for the most part, a catalyst for many of the events in IDOLiSH7 and serves as a leading point of communication between the members of her group and others, as a manager often is. Her goals and motivations are just as important to the story as the seven members she manages, being simplistic and so inherently connected to their success and happiness as a group that at times it can feel like she’s sitting on the backburner. Given that Tsumugi is the player character in the game, her prevalence in the anime is a welcome one, especially compared to similar game-to-anime series that vaguely include the player character or cut them entirely.
The members of the rival group in this show, TRIGGER, exist as more than flat characters that antagonize our 7 cute idols and 1 cute manager. They serve as experienced, popular entertainers for IDOLiSH7 to strive towards and gain advice from. Beyond their cold first impressions, TRIGGER is a group with their own form of camaraderie and objectives that serve as a foil to our main group while still being likable, three-dimensional characters that intrigue fans just as much as IDOLiSH7. They’re important enough to the plot that they sing the show’s ending theme and have their own off-shot webisode about their debut!
Even if you’ve played the game and already know the story, the anime for IDOLiSH7 shows things in a new way. The character designs are slightly less detailed than Arina Tanemura’s original designs, which softens the look of the anime in comparison to game visuals. What it lacks in detail, the anime makes up for in dynamic scenes that are a far cry from the game’s static visual-novel-esque presentation of the story. Wordless expressions during dramatic moments and colorful chibi exclamations during comedic ones mix things up for old fans and keep things interesting for new ones. Live scenes during concerts and filmings are a mix of CG and 2D animation that have unexpectedly large chunks of the given performance between cuts, which, even then, are often cuts to fans, giving them an immersive feel. I would be lying if I said the animation was always pristine, but for the most part TROYCA knows when to put the extra effort into a focal scene, making it a solid production overall.
If you’re an anime fan looking for a solid character-based drama, IDOLiSH7 is certainly worth a peek!
The first 15 episodes of IDOLiSH7 are currently available on Crunchyroll, with episodes 16 and 17 airing on May 19th!