Shounen Hollywood: Episode 01

“We’re Self-Conscious”
「僕たちの自意識」

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So, the much-awaited, colourful, bubbly and innuendo-rife anime has arrived, with a hilarious cast and more than a few moments of WTF-ery. It was…interesting to say the least and I got quite a few laughs from it. It’s not a bad show by any means, but it’s one of those where you’re sure to suffer from some second-hand embarrassment throughout pretty much the entire 24 minutes. I didn’t know what to expect when getting into this show so at least I haven’t set myself up for disappointment yet.

The Plot: The basic premise revolves around five highschool boys, ranging from 14 to 18 years old, who’ve been scouted by Kaichou (Namikawa Daisuke) to form an idol group. They’ve all got their unique personalities and styles, with some of them being more enthusiastic and serious about the whole idol business than others, but in the end, they’re all fairly hardworking and intent on making it big in the music-idol industry, despite the harsh realities of working in this industry. It’s parodic, silly and satirical in ways that highlight the eccentricities of the idol life in Japan and touches lightly on the darker side of the music industry, but mostly, it’s cheesy, ridiculous and, at times, cringe-worthy, but all in the name of watching pretty boys literally trying to be pretty.

The Characters: 

– Kazama Kakeru (Osaka Ryouta) is the main-er character, I would guess, seeing as a lot of this episode seems to be from his point of view. He was scouted by Kaichou during a part-time job in a juice bar and seems like a relatively easy-going guy. Despite his enjoyment of his mellow, calm and easy life, the thought of a future as a famous idol makes his heart beat just a little faster.

– Araki Ikuma (Kakihara Tetsuya) is the oldest guy in the group and becomes the “centre” or the guy who’s supposed to hold the group together and lead them as an idol group. He’s by far the most serious of the group and I guess being the oldest puts him in a position of maturity and leadership that Kaichou intends the rest of them to look up to. He’s got a real serious side of him that I suppose is attributed to his age, and his philosophical and existentialist moment in this episode spoke of something very thoughtful and intense about his character.

– Saeki Kira (Yamashita Daiki) is the youngest of the group but also the most experienced, being a child star. He knows the tricks of the trade, understands the finer points of extroversion and is cocky in that bratty, kiddy kind of way, but still seems to be a pretty sweet boy. I think he’s the typical spoiled little brother of the show but that could change in the coming weeks.

– Tomii Daiki (Aoi Shouta) is the second-youngest of the group and is an excited, enthusiastic puppy most of the time. He’s nice in an innocent, exuberant manner and I actually think he’s a real sweetheart. I think he’s pretty one-track-minded, focusing wholly on becoming the best idol he can be, but who knows? He might have some angsty hidden depths behind that messy exterior.

– Maiyama Shun (Ono Kensho) is pretty much my favourite character of the lot. He’s a snarky little brat who has absolutely no respect for his senpais but he’s also a bit of a goofball, easily embarrassed and just a funny one to watch. He’s the most relatable in the sense that he just  cringes at some of the things Kaichou and Teshigahara make him do. Also, the fact that it’s Ono Kensho speaks for itself. Everybody loves Ono Kensho, and his character here is so different from his usual deadpan Kuroko voice. I like him on principle!

The Verdict: This show is essentially Utapri but without the irritating lead female love interest. It’s unapologetically silly, embarrassing and sometimes you just have to ask yourself why you’re watching something that looks like it was written on steroids. Nevertheless, there’s something quite relaxing and comedic about watching five pretty boys being idiots. There are some really awesome moments of real  humour and that’s definitely something I can appreciate from a show as whacky as this. For the first episode alone, and as far as first-impressions go, I’ll toss in a 7/10 for it’s dose of amusement as a brainless summer watch that serves more as eye candy than anything else.

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2 thoughts on “Shounen Hollywood: Episode 01

  1. Haha “WTF-ery” I couldn’t agree more. At the end of it all, my favourite was the Owl named Cat. Honestly though, I’d do the 3-episode test because I just find it in between genres and not quite standing out on any particular one. The angst isn’t quite angst; comedy ain’t outrageously funny and the politicking of the music industry isn’t quite sinking in either. You’re right about Ono Kensho but IMO, Kakki’s stood out the most – didn’t think he could carry off sounding more grounded than he is here as leader with terrible taste in jerseys :)

    • Goodness, yes, that was another favourite part! I literally went “Are you serious? An owl named ‘Cat’??” out loud haha. Yeah, it really doesn’t fit into any single genre, much like Megane-bu. I feel like a lot of the not-yaoi-not-quite-shounen-ai-fan-service shows they’re churning out are pale imitations of Free, which is blatantly parodic and silly and that’s what makes it good haha.

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