The #1 Deerling Fan!
- Aug 10, 2015
- Reaction score
That's reasonable, and your opinions on it are totally valid. I wonder if maybe I should have mentioned that in my review? Eh, different strokes for different blokes, I suppose. For what it's worth, I hear the devil child in If Its For My Daughter I'd Even Defeat The Demon Lord is much worse in its overly moe portrayal of a child.The first is that that Somali resembles a little girl in the same way that in anime cats resemble cats. The cutesy things she says and does are the sorts of things little girls only do in anime, to appeal to a (Probably) childless audience. She has all the rough edges of kids sanded off, with that relentless cheerfulness and lack of really annoying disobedience or messiness. So while not a completely nonsensical character, she just doesn't feel real enough for me to buy the surrogate father-daughter narrative.
The other problem, which to me matters more since it's really more the main plot than Golem trying to learn how fatherhood works, is the really childish way humans are portrayed. Humans are nowhere near as consistently fearful, stupid, or hateful as the anime insists - nowhere in there is any acknowledgement of how curious people can be. The monsters' disregard for humans as another kind of people is kinda handwaved by showing the humans as always attacking first, so to speak.
Anyway, new review just finished today!...but I'm kinda meh on this one.
I give this new idol anime...a 64/100.
Real time: I've never been a fan of idols, both the Western kind or Japan's versions of them. The same goes for idol-based anime, mostly because many of them tend to be formulaic or of poor quality. There have been some good ones, but I've seen very few of them. Honestly, the only idol anime I can say that I really love is Fancy Lala, and even that's stretching it, as Fancy Lala's focus isn't really on being an idol. I haven't seen either The [email protected] nor Wake Up Girls (I do plan to see the former later on), AKB0048 was fun and ambitious though kind of stupid at times, I've heard great things about Skip Beat and ZombieLand Saga, but again, haven't seen them. I like Aikatsu well enough, though it is a show aimed at children and is much more on the silly, idealistic side of things, and anyone who's talked to me at all knows I'm not touching Love Live with a ten foot pole, the main reason for that being in the spoiler tag below.
I wasn't intending on watching the newest idol anime, 22/7, but reading someone's review of the first episode had me intrigued, because it had a main character who was very cynical and bitter, far from your typical idol anime protagonist, and it had an interesting, if stupid premise. I know nothing of the actual real life idol group 22/7, so the review will solely focus on the anime. To be honest, the first episode did win me over, and I was really hoping this would be good. And it tried. It really tried...but it fell flat on its face. Big time.
So what's the story? It begins with a girl named Miu who finds a mysterious letter in her mail. She and seven other girls are made to gather at a zoo, and a man named Gouda takes them down to an underground facility. There, they find out that they've all been recruited to start an idol group called 22/7, and everything they do is going to be dictated by a magical, sentient wall that spits orders on brass plates. In order to be successful, they have to follow the wall's orders to the letter. Understandably, many of the girls don't know what's going on and are opposed to it, Miu especially, as she's not too keen on the idea of being used to fulfill someone else's whims, wall or no. But then she gets fired from her job, and has no source of income. Reluctantly, she and the other girls return to the facility and decide to become the idol group 22/7, though they still have no idea what the wall even is or why they have to do everything it tells them to do.
Yeah. The idea of a sentient wall dictating an entire idol group is pretty hilarious in how stupid it sounds, and it's inspired many a joke since the anime's premiere. But if you ignore that, the anime promised to be a more cynical, realistic look at the idol business, not unlike Wake Up Girls. And for the first four or so episodes, the anime seemed to hit the ground running. It has smooth, stunning animation, though not without the occasional glaring CGI, great music, Miu is a great, refreshing protagonist who actually had flaws she needed to overcome, and the anime seemed to actually care about characterization rather than making the girls into one note moe archetypes. In all honesty, 22/7 could have really been something great, and it promised to try and stand out from the sea of bad idol anime. So what went wrong? Why the low rating? Well...a lot of things.
First off, for an anime about a group of idol singers, it doesn't really highlight a lot of things that are important to showing the girls becoming idols. We never see them take dance lessons or record songs in a recording booth, other than, like, one single scene and that's it. We rarely, if ever, see them actually putting in effort or learning about the ins and outs of the idol industry, and those things are really important if you want to show these girls growing as both individuals and as a group. Say what you will about Aikatsu, but it at least showed the girls taking the time to practice, train, and go deep into the business practices that make idols what they are. Even Fancy Lala didn't simply gloss over these important details, as it knew they were really important if it wanted to show how the idol industry worked. There's only one scene in episode 3 where the girls are having their first concert and have to deal with bad audio equipment, but it gets resolved right away and leaves no impact whatsoever. For what its worth, the actual soundtrack is good, and the songs are well sung, but I only have one issue with the opening theme: It seems to just cut off at the end, like it didn't have time to really wrap up before the show was set to start.
The second main problem is the series' overall structure. Every episode has two parts to it, with one half taking place in the present, showing the girls' activities, and the other half consisting of flashbacks to the girls' backstories, showing how they got to be where they are. But this can be a double edged sword, and without the right balance, this can really make or break a show, and not only does 22/7 suffer from this, its way of inserting flashbacks in their episodes results in a weird tonal whiplash. For example, episode 6 begins with Reika, as a baby, nearly dying of some unknown illness, with her mother doing so later, and the next scene? Bam! Girls at the beach in their swimsuits! Can you see how jarring that type of transition can be? 22/7 can be at its best when it actually puts effort into tying the girls' pasts to current events (Sakura's episode being one such example), but at its worst when it's unable to find that balance (Again, Reika's episode). Because of the way the episodes are made, the show tends to gloss over things that are important while putting too much focus on things that don't really mean much in the big picture. For example, various episodes imply that Sakura returning to America is going to be important, but nothing ever comes out of it, and that plot thread is never resolved.
If I could use one word to describe 22/7 in a nutshell, it'd be...contradictory. The writing for this show is really inconsistent and it's like the writers don't really know what they want to do with their characters most of the time, Nicole being an example in that early on, she's established as a haughty, bitchy character, but she's occasionally nice to the girls, and just seems to flip-flop between the two personalities without a real reason for being either one. Not even her focus episode sheds any light on why she's so needlessly mean to the other girls. Some characters are better than others, with Miu being the standout example. In my opinion, I feel she's the best character. Both her backstory and personality are down to earth, and she's such a refreshing change from the happy, optimistic idol series mains who want to be idols, though I will admit, her low pitched voice really isn't going to win her any Oscars. But again, as the show loses steam halfway through its run, Miu's original personality seems to disappear until the very end. Ayaka is pretty much a non-entity as a character and her reasons for being an idol are...really stupid and dumb, and poor Reika really got the shaft, because her episode was not only poorly written and endorsed a bad message (Reika doesn't want to wear a skimpy swimsuit for a photo shoot because she doesn't want to be a teenage sex object, which would normally be valid and understandable? Too bad! Get in the bikini, Reika!), but was really sexist. Jun's episode wasn't much better: What do you do when all your idols save for one get sick from food poisoning? Instead of postponing their jobs and waiting a day for everyone to be back to normal, let's completely overwork a 15-year-old girl by having her do a crap ton of jobs, even the ones her idol friends were supposed to do, over the course of an entire day!
Which then leads me to the show's biggest problem: The characters as individuals are fine, though kind of bland, but since we never really get to watch them evolve and grow as a group, any pathos that comes from events such as breaking up doesn't feel earned in spite of the show's attempts to milk as much drama as possible. We never really see them truly come together as a group despite the show's attempts at telling us that they're awesome as a group, because, you know, we never see them doing stuff like dance lessons or recording songs or actually working together. Basically, the show is paying lip service to the idea of developing them as a group. I think the show might have done better had it just focused on Miu and cut down the flashbacks in favor of putting more time into having the girls learn to function as a group, like the show tries to advertise. Finally, we don't learn much about the wall, and even at the end, what the hell it even is is never really resolved, making it yet another plot thread that's been abandoned for the sake of idol flashiness.
It's a shame that 22/7 turned out this way, as I really wanted to like this show. The first three episodes were great, but after that, it loses steam quickly and just ends on a whimper, too caught up in its own hubris to really attempt something meaningful. Then again, this is another commerical for a famous idol group, so I guess it turning out the way it did was inevitable. I mean, I'll still watch this over Love Live (Except episode 6. Screw that episode in the eye), but it's an idol show that tried, and failed, to stand out from an already oversaturated genre, and just didn't deliver.