I have seen quite a good number of idol anime in the past. Yes, this includes Idolmaster, Love Live, the 1-hour prequel for Wake Up Girls, Ongaku Shoujo and Re:stage Dream Days. While there is some drama, a producer or the girls working together manages the aspects of the group such as costumes, music, and other aspects.
Sure, there is some drama, but there are also some funny, heartwarming moments as well. Also, the girls in the idol unit usually get along with each other through strong teamwork. Of course, there are the yuri pairings as well.
22/7 (Nanabun No Nijyuuni) is like your typical idol anime, but different in a way. It’s a media project where they picked 11 girls out of about 10,000 applicants. The chosen ones portray their respective character in real life and in animation. Yes, the concept of this project is that the idols themselves transcends dimensions between the real and animated world. As expected, I surprisingly enjoyed this show for various reasons.
The story focuses on a shy and introverted girl named Takigawa Miu working at a convivence store. She has a hard time getting along with her coworkers. Eventually, she receives a mysterious letter from G.I. Project.
Eventually, she met 7 other girls at an amusement park. They are Sakura, Miyako, Reika, Jun, Nicole, Ayaka, and Akane, whom received the same letter. They find out soon that they are part of an idol group named 22/7 or Nanabun No Nijyuuni. The idol unit’s direction is done through orders from “the wall”, which they receive on metal cards. While Miu initially believes that she couldn’t become an idol, she eventually comes back and decides to do it to protect her loved one. That is after the manager from her old job fired her.
While Miu finds out that she will become the center of the group, she starts to lose confidence. She didn’t know if she can do it or not. While she was absent during the practice sessions, Sakura eventually checked on her. Eventually, the group managed to pull through in their debut performance, despite technical difficulties. It’s thanks to Miu playing the song’s instrumentals on the piano. With that, this begins 22/7’s quest to become the top idol group.
I have to admit that the show is definitely an emotional rollercoaster. Sure, all the characters are enjoyable, especially Sakura and Akane of course. Even so, there is no one I really find annoying. While it took a while for me to warm up to Miu since she whines a lot from the lack of self-confidence. I have to admit that throughout the series, she becomes more open thanks to her fellow members, especially Sakura whom she is very close with.
The funny thing is that I kind of feel that the children in this show are really mean. Between Ayaka’s sisters initially bullying her and boys bullying one of Ayaka’s older sisters to three girls bullying Nicole, they are ruthless. Also, I kind of feel that what happened to Akane can completely be avoid if her parents didn’t go into the extremes in both directions. Still, Sakura’s and Jun’s past pulls on the heart strings so hard. In other words, you probably need a box of tissues nearby.
When Miu gets over her initial struggles, she becomes a kind, but quiet girl that stands up to the people she cares about the most. While Miu doesn’t seem to remember what happened during her childhood, her personality was the same. She is still shy and spent time reading manga and music.
Eventually, she helped out Nicole when her classmates forced her in the role as the witch. When one of the bullies intentionally sabotages the play, Miu came in and beat up the bully. Yes, it’s a sacrifice since she wants to protect Nicole from the bullies. While it resulted in her getting into big trouble, she believed that she needs to protect the people she is close to. Yes, even at a very young age.
While Nicole is sad that she couldn’t thank her, she didn’t realize that she will meet her again when they became idols. This is something I kind of like about Miu. Sure, she whined initially and is shy, but she stands up for the things she believed in. It shows when the girls confront the wall and proceeds to destroy it when it doesn’t allow the girls to keep their idol group going.
Speaking in which, the interesting thing about Nanabun No Nijyuuni is that there is no real producer. Sure, Goda would normally take that position, but he simply follows orders. The thing that actually manages the production is of course “the wall” that spits out orders on metal cards. When it instructs the girls to disband the group, it’s obvious that it’s against their will. It took some soul searching and the girls reuniting and rebelling against the machine so that the group can live on. Then again, it could be its plan all along.
I find it interesting how “the wall” is simply a bunch of computers that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to analyze all of those videos and photos of the girls. Believe it or not, it uses recordings of girls in the building to come up with decisions on the group’s direction. Yes, the production staff is simply there to make the decisions a reality.
Still, this makes me wonder if these computers manage to obtain information on each girl’s past. Of course, it’s not just a coincidence why the wall picked them at random. After all, the show presented each member’s past dealing with some kind of difficulty before receiving that letter. Despite this, there is still a lot of mysteries still left unanswered about the wall.
I felt that Nanabun No Nijyuuni is like some kind of social experiment. However, the show never revealed who is truly behind it and what is the purpose. Not only that, nobody knows who manages or develop the systems behind the wall. I guess one can speculate.
Overall, 22/7 (Nanabun No Nijyuuni) is an interesting take of the idol genre. No, it’s not just the run of the mill drama where the idol group experiences some kind of difficulties with the girls figure out a way to overcome it. Nanabun No Nijyuuni focuses more on the personal struggles the girls have to overcome to work together to become successful. Yes, this also includes the wall, which is simply Artificial Intelligence making all the shots. This also includes some of the decisions that are irrational.
At the end of the day, this show reveals a scary future of machines taking over the world and telling humans what to do. Of course, they can rebel against the system, which is what the girls did. Despite this, I enjoyed the show a lot for what it is, especially given how enjoyable the characters are.
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