In the past, I have been somewhat critical towards the state of idols in Japan and Korea on various things such as the apparent lack of talent and of course these agencies taking complete control of their personal life by preventing any of their members from dating anyone. However, this doesn’t mean that I dislike idols completely for the fact that idol themed shows has shown some positive aspects that can relate to life along with the cheerful music. Here are some of my reasons why I and many people enjoy idol-themed anime and video games. (Image Source)
1. Singing and dancing take effort and practice
Since I used to play an instrument (Piano and Clarinet), while I sometimes wing it because I used to be lazy, practice is still essential in learning a new skill. Music in particular requires a lot of practice and repetition to master a certain piece of song along with learning various musical terms such as reading musical notes, recognizing sharp/flat notes, octaves, cords, key signatures, etc.
Like with music, performing on stage while singing takes more work than say, playing a musical instrument since one has to memorize the music, the lyrics while performing on stage. Sure there is lipsyncing, but people are going to notice that very easily. This is one of the reasons why I like how Idolmaster and Love Live show the training and practice scenes before the big performance, it indicates how much energy the girls put in to give a good performance. Likewise, Idol simulators does this more in-depth with different types of training to improve a certain skill such as singing, dancing and visuals.
2. The Songs
While I do agree with Maki for the fact that music associated with idols “lacks depth and feels shallow like it isn’t being taken seriously,” but at the same time, these songs can also brighten up one’s day. It’s true that most of the songs are mostly cheerful and catchy, but it doesn’t have to be shallow either. In fact, The Idolmaster franchise has a variety of music that has some depth, particularly the songs sung by Chihaya.
On the other hand, I think there are a good number of talented singers that sing idol music. Of course this is a given mostly for the fact that there is a good number of talented voice actresses that are very capable of singing. Of course, this can be said to some real life idols too, although it’s probably a minority.
3. The Power of Friendship and Importance of Teamwork
Just like in real life, being an idol is tough because of the pressure he/she has to impress their fans. Moreover, you also have other groups that are competing for the top spot that might try to sabotage you from succeeding. Perhaps, there are other idol groups that are jealous of your success.
This is one of the reasons why the power of friendship is very prevalent in idol anime, it does not only allow good teamwork, but it also allow other members in the unit to help each other overcome a challenge or problem someone is facing in the group. Sure, everyone is going to have differences, but people will accept them and try to cooperate in order to reach their goal.
For instance, in Love Live School Idol Project, Honaka and her two best friends earned the trust from other girls and convince them their performances to join the group to save the school. While she was unable to get a venue during open house, she finds a solution and manages to achieve her goal by having the group perform on the rooftop. She also convinces her friend Kotori not to study abroad in order to keep the group together.
While Honaka is a good example of keeping the group together, characters like her plays a crucial part in bringing the enthusiasm and motivation to the group. Without it, the group would simply drift apart and perhaps forget how they become successful.
4. Diverse Cast and Character Development
Another draw with idol anime is that there are a lot of characters that have a wide variety of personalities and interests, meaning that there is at least one that will appeal to the viewer. Of course, this diversity allows the group to bring their strengths together to benefit the whole group. For instance, in Muse, Maki composed the music, Eli trained the girls on dancing and Umi does the lyrics for the group. While most idol groups will have a producer/manager of some type, there will always be differences in skillset besides the person’s interests, appearances and such.
Aside from the diversity, I feel that character development is the stronger aspects of idol-themed anime and simulators/video games. Perhaps, some of the characters decide to become an idol to improve their self-esteem, overcome an anxiety or jump-start their singing career. Whatever the reason might be, watching them change and develop while being an idol is one of the enjoyable aspects of these shows in my opinion.
While becoming an idol is not easy, the aspect I like about idol anime is the amount of effort the girls put into while showing good teamwork to become successful. From their experiences they face, I can relate to them because they want to become a better person while enjoying the activity they love doing most no matter how challenging and stressful it might be. Despite the grim aspects of the whole idol business in real life, as seen through idol anime and video games, perhaps there are a good number of things to appreciate about them.
With that, what are your feelings towards idol Anime? Do you relate to the experiences the girls face in these shows? Feel free to share your favorite idols from these shows.
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4 Comments… read them or add your own.
I like idol anime, but the ones that I like are the ones that aimed for younger audiences such as Aikatsu! and Pretty Rhythm. The reasons are more or less the same as what you have outlined above, in addition of having more mature writing in the sense that the characters appreciate the fact that separation is inevitable and will be happy for the leaving people.
My favourite idol would be Kiriya Aoi from Aikatsu! She has a cool yet charming feel, being very knowledgeable and her voice (singing and speaking) fits her image.
I haven’t watch that many idol shows outside the ones I mentioned. I can understand where you are getting at for the fact that nothing lasts forever and that eventually the characters or the unit will split up and go in their own way. Even so, the friendship will still be strong no matter what.
Can’t exactly put into words why I like them so much, but I think #4 fits the bill, especially with your example of Love Live and also in the case of Idolmaster. I’m usually not a big fan of vocal music (majority of my playlist is instrumental), yet do remember loving some of the tracks in AKB0048 as well as Love Live. Admittedly, I did once think that the music idols performed was shallow, but has been eroded with the time I spent listening too many. Hoping that Wake Up Girls turns out just as well as the rest and so far, isn’t doing too bad for itself.
While I do have a good chunk of idol songs, a good number of Idolmaster songs have cover version of Anime songs. But basically, it’s only 28% of my playlist and I mostly listen to a lot of songs from Anime.
As a whole, I do not listen to actual idol music for the fact that I’m not really that interested in the songs they sing and a good number of singers lack talent. Generally, I listen for talent, meaning I learn towards voice actresses and actual singers. I listen to soundtracks once in a while, but I generally focus on vocals since I don’t have that many instrumental stuff outside Key/VisualArts.
As for Wake Up Girls, I plan on reviewing the movie in the near future since Yakaman has unretired after the Fractale disaster.