Crunchyroll description: A group of aspiring idols gather at Takanashi Productions and are entrusted with the company’s future. The seven men who have just met represent a variety of totally different personalities. However, they each have their own charm and possess unknown potential as idols. Forming a group, they take their first step together as “IDOLiSH7.” Their brilliantly shining dancing forms onstage eventually begin captivating the hearts of the people. In the glorious but sometimes harsh world of idols, they aim for the top with dreams in their hearts.
Original run: 07/01/2018 to 19/05/2018
If I remember 2020 for anything other than being an all round dumpster fire of a year, it’ll be for being the year I got really into anime idol music. I had a lot of IDOLiSH7 songs on various playlists way before I watched the anime, and I loved them, so I thought it was finally time to dive into the show. For context, I haven’t played the game.
In my limited experience with idol anime, they tend to be quite formulaic; band forms, band has some issues bonding which they get over, band hits success and all is well. Throw in a rival band who are mostly assholes, and you’ve got yourself a show. Whilst IDOLiSH7 does play on a lot of these tropes, it does them really well.
The anime follows the creation of the band, IDOLiSH7, and their journey to debut and beyond. IDOLiSH7 are given a new manager, Tsumugi, who is brand new to the company (that her father owns, nepotism much?), so it’s as much a new experience for their manager as it is for the boys in the band.
Anime based on music live and die by their songs, and IDOLiSH7 has some great ones. I was already pretty familiar with some of them, having listened to mostly idol music all throughout the year, so it was really cool to see them in the context of the show. In the few idol anime I’ve seen before, during performance scenes the animation style switches to CG and it’s really jarring. It’s still very strange to me to see the sudden switch in animation but fortunately, in IDOLiSH7 I didn’t find it too bad and it seemed quite natural and well done.
What I especially loved about IDOLish7 was the characterisation. Often with a big cast like this, you run the risk of a lot of the characters being under developed and treated very much like a supporting cast. IDOLiSH7 does a great job of giving each of the main characters their own plots and time to shine. Sure, some characters do seem more ‘main’ than others, which is probably an inevitability, but it’s done in a natural way that doesn’t make it seem like these characters are overshadowing others or stealing from their screen time.
IDOLiSH7 is an example of idol anime done correctly. From great characters to catchy songs, all paired with solid animation. It’s really fun to take a journey like this with characters who are so endearing and well meaning, and I’d recommend IDOLiSH7 to anyone who likes idol music or shows!