If anyone had asked me last week if I watched Idol Anime, I would have definitely said, no. Though I don’t find anything offensive about the genre, the anime about a J-Pop band working their way up through the ranks of music entertainment to finally become stars and have one huge performance on the “Big Stage” is just not for me. There are just so many problems with this genre, it’s hard to like it. For one thing, the characters are all basically the same group of pretty girls. Well, except for that one anime I watched about zombie idols brought back from the dead to save a small rural area. That was kind of different. Another problem is that Idol anime are always just filled with loli girls. Well, except for that one anime I watched about vampire boy bands that were competing to get their wish granted. I don’t think there were any loli girls in that one. Also there’s a problem with the actual performances of the Idols, that are always in this really bad CG animation that rarely blends well with the rest of the anime. Except for that really cute Idol anime I watched about celebrity drop outs that had all of the performances fully animated. That looked really good! But the biggest problem with Idol anime is that it’s always about the same thing, a band’s rise to fame. Except for that one Idol anime I watched about a magical school where the students sung songs to perform magic. That wasn’t about a band, but I’m pretty sure it was still an Idol anime. . . . Okay, so maybe I do like Idol anime, just a little bit! So, if you also think that Idol anime is just not for you, here are some series that might change your mind!
Zombie Land Saga
Can’t get enough of Zombie Loan’s shady undead antics and body part swapping? Love the anime Is this a Zombie?, but wish there was more singing and dancing involved? Is your favorite character in Soul Eater Dr. Stein? Than you might just like the Idol anime, Zombie Land Saga! This unique Idol anime is about an eclectic group of deceased girl Idols from a wide range of eras in time. The late singers include a geiko from the feudal era of Japan, a 1960’s folk singer, a 1990’s yankee girl, a J-pop star from the early 2000’s, a modern child star, and a modern aspiring J-pop star. All of these less than fresh singers are brought back to life (more like semi-life)) to form a band and save the Japanese Prefecture of Saga from obscurity.
Does the though of watching anime filled with singing smiling faces make you sneer? Does anime peppered with girls with poofy candy colored hair and floofy bow clad dresses give you the chills? Insist on only watching anime that is just as cool and edgy as you are? Than you might like the Idol anime Visual Prison! This series definitely leans on the darker side. The standard cutesy, pastel colored singers that you might find in other Idol anime have been swapped out for black leather clad vampire gents. The bubbly J-pop songs that are usually featured in series are nowhere to be heard and this anime instead features dramatic ballads and aggressive rock songs. And instead of becoming music stars with the power of friendship . . . Okay, the good guy vampires still win the singing competition with the power of friendship, but it’s an edgy friendship!
Drop Out Idol Fruit Tart
Compared to other series in this post, Drop Out Idol Fruit Tart isn’t that unique, or edgy. It has a pretty typical cast of bubbly cute girls working together to form a band and become stars. Each girl has one way or another become rejects of the talent/entertainment industry. One was a child star that aged out of her job. Another was an underwear model that was too shy to model underwear. Another was a rock star that never developed a following. And for all of these girls the last talent agency that will give them a chance is Rat Productions. Like with many other Idol anime, the band works together, over coming expected obstacles, and performing in ever more difficult and important concerts to climb their way up through the ranks towards stardom. What makes Fruit Tart Drop Out a bit different is that the performances that the band give are fully animated rather than the standard CG animation of singing and dancing. Not just one or two, ALL of the performances are animated! So from one scene to the next, the concerts blend seamlessly into the whole series without any jarring change in art styles. So if you actually like the stories of Idol anime, but never really liked the performances, it might be that you’re just not a fan of anime that switch between 2D and CG animation. And Fruit Tart Drop Out, might be the Idol anime for you!
Magic Kyun: Renaissance
Magic Kyun: Renaissance might be the most unique Idol anime of this whole post. In fact, it’s so unique some might say that it’s not an Idol anime at all! Though it really seems like an Idol anime, technically the characters aren’t actually working to become a star. And the main characters don’t actually form a band. And if you wanted to nit pick, none of the characters even want to become an Idol. So maybe this anime might not be 100% an Idol anime, but it feels like an Idol anime! The main character (Kohana) enrolls to an elite magical school to become an artist. In this world art is made with the power of magic and magic spells are cast by singing songs! So as the main character meets more students and learns about different art forms, she also gets to see performances of young artists using musical magic to make their art! Of course, Kohana has songs and magic of her own too, so there are collaborations between artists (duets) too!