Ensemble Stars! Episode 1 [First Impressions]
What in the world did I just watch? Am I watching an idol show or a freaking free for all brawling anime??? Okay, I’m going to be honest. Going into this anime, I expected the writing to be just as strong as Idolish7. Unfortunately, that’s not what I got from this first episode. I know I shouldn’t be comparing this to Idolish7, but it’s really hard not to since Idolish7 is basically what all idol show writing should be striving for. Not to mention, Idolish7 and Ensemble Stars were supposedly mobile game rivals since both grabbed at basically the same kind of audience. So far I’m not really impressed by it. But it is only just the first episode so HOPEFULLY they’ll get to a point where I can actually see exactly why it’s Idolish7’s rival and actually believe it.
I honestly hate it when anime try and explain too much about what’s going on in the first episode rather than just spreading it out throughout the episodes. Too much telling, not enough showing! And because of this, Ensemble Stars first ep failed to really differentiate itself right off the bat and felt like every other typical bland idol show. However, just because the introduction wasn’t impressive, doesn’t mean that it failed to make an impression. But I’m not sure if the impression was that good.
At first I was afraid that Anzu was going to be this no-faced character where we would never see her face, but thankfully we actually do get to see her. Unfortunately, she isn’t showing any signs of being her own character but just the typical bland character for viewers to self insert themselves into. Not to mention that the other characters are only referring to her as “transfer student.” Like, COME ON, she has a name, USE IT DANG IT. The entire episode it felt like she was just shoehorned in to act as the viewer surrogate so that “the game” could introduce all of the mechanics and how things work. Which is a shame, especially since she is the ONLY girl in this all boy’s idol school and the first person to enter the production course that was recently established. She should have had at least SOME spunk. Also, the whole “Oh you’re the new transfer student!” thing makes me cringe. It felt so awkward and felt way too “this was based off a game.”
So far, the premise felt like a mixture of Uta no Prince-sama and Idolish7, since this is an all boy’s idol school with varying courses and there seems to be only one female present in this entire anime. However, it became very evident on how strange this anime could get. There’s this sudden match thing called the DreFes Ryuu-ou-sen where students go against one another to see who has better idol skills. And that’s where things got crazy and my reaction is as follows:
WHAT IS HAPPENING WHY ARE THEY FIGHTING I’M SO CONFUSED.
WHAT?! What do you mean it’s OKAY to attack the person you’re performing against?! WHAT?!
I was literally at a loss at what was transpiring with the guys suddenly duking it out… with their fists and a guitar. I was caught so off guard. Not to mention the fight animation had no right to be that interesting. And what the heck do you mean to not forget about the “true enemy???” What even is this anime?! All of the things that happened feel so random and had no business being there. Especially when the student council came in to oppress the fight in the name of order. At this point I’m like: BUT WHY???
So far, the characters are very bland and I couldn’t help but compare the redhead and dark haired guys to other characters. Iori, Riku, is that you??? I swear, there’s always this kind of dynamic going on in these shows with the happy go lucky with the overly serious type. I’m hoping that the characters will become a little more dynamic rather than just being cardboard cutouts of their game selves. Because with a series packed to the brim with guys, I’m sure they can’t flesh out all of them but I hope they can at least put more dimension into the ones that get the spotlight. But I really didn’t like that they kept making really obvious hints to things going on with some of the characters. LET ME FIGURE OUT WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THEM WITHOUT YOU TELLING OR INSINUATING SOMETHING TO ME. Also, when it comes to the voices of the characters, it honestly just feels like I’m playing a game of “Oh, time to guess that famous voice actor!”. Like when they just pick all the popular voice actors with little consideration to how they sound as a group. I felt like that towards Utapri and Starmyu. Great individual voice actors, but they don’t sound quite right singing as a group.
What I did appreciate is that the dance sequences weren’t CG and were 2D animated. Though that was about the only thing I particularly enjoyed in this episode.
I’m a little frustrated at how this episode played out since it did so many things I really dislike in a first episode and I apologize for comparing it to Idolish7 again but it lacked the charm in intrigue that the first episode of Idolish7 had. Especially since I actually went back and rewatched Idolish7 and they made some pretty subtle foreshadowings. While in Ensemble Stars they basically pointed things out with a neon sign over them as if to say: HEY, PAY ATTENTION TO THIS. SOMETHING WILL COME OF THIS. There are certain things I’d like to find out over time and see if I can find the subtleties that could be hinting at something in the future. I’ll probably continue watching to see if things get better and I’m willing to blog about my experience. Especially since there’s this whole big mystery about how the school is conveyor belting out emotionless idols who don’t care about the happiness of their fans. Intriguing but a little too in your face. I know this can be better… PLEASE JUST SHOW ME HOW GOOD THIS ACTUALLY IS.
Possibility of watching: Most likely
Possibility of blogging: Willing to give it a shot