Sekkou Boys

November 4, 2016

Pop idols these days are getting more manufactured and artificial these days. Behind all that sparkly goodness and cuteness are all just fake glitter. Gosh. What am I saying? It is time for a new brand of pop idol groups. One that is not of the current era but from ancient times! Folks, meet Sekkou Boys. They aren’t your ordinary and typical young teenage boys. They are literally made from stone! Yes people. As ridiculous as it sounds, this is a group of new and upcoming idols made out of Greco-Roman busts! Wait. What? Singing rocks? Can stones even sing?! Whatever. Anything goes these days. One can only hope that their singing won’t be anything rocky.

Episode 1
Miki Ishimoto just graduated from college and is eager to start her first day at work at a talent agency, Holbein Entertainment Inc. She is puzzled that the chief manager, Hironori Yanagisawa is having back problems. He is only 38. He takes her to see the president, Hanzo Horibe. She is very eager to take her job seriously and Horibe hopes she will carry her enthusiasm all the way. No half heartedness, prepare yourself for working long hours. She is still keen so the boss asks her where she got all that stamina seeing she graduated from an art school. She narrates about her passion for arts. However no matter what courses she took, she always ended up doing sculptures and she is sick of it! So her hate for sculptures has given her all that strength and willpower? Horibe in convinced in what she sees as true art (the show business) so he agrees to let her meet the brand new idol group that she will be managing. Miki, I think you’re too fast in daydreaming the life of t he rich and famous. And all that fantasizing comes crashing down when she sees the idol group. Greco-Roman stone busts?! Not sculptures again?! Folks, meet St Giorgio, Hermes, Medici and Mars. They’re all yours. I guess this explains Yanagisawa’s sprained back… I hope Miki doesn’t go into some traumatic rage and smash the sculptures! As Miki reels from the shock, Horibe explains that they used to be an agency for human idols but these boys have their profiles set in stone! Literally?

Episode 2
You mean Miki has to pick up and carry all the sculptures from their apartment into her car?! How the f*ck do they move around in their apartment alone then? But the boys get the scare of their life since Miki is running late and she is stepping on it. Oh, did she mention she just got her licence? Scream, boys! They arrive at Holbein and pass by lots of production stars and actors. The boys thought they are big stars but unfortunately many see them as props. Miki is so overwhelmed by everything that she fumbles before the path of the famous enka singer, Jiro Mitajima. Although Miki apologizes, his entourage isn’t too pleased that the young ones these days lack respect for their elders. Sekkou Boys are also feeling lousy and losing motivation from it all. They can’t do it. That is when Kinue Yamashita, the manager of this cutie idol, Mira Hanayashiki introduces her to the boys. She is a big fan of them and believes in them. That was enough to give Sekkou Boys all the motivation they ever need to do their job. They vow to protect her and the likes and bug Miki to get her phone number. An excuse to give their thanks? During the interview, the boys are dazzling like bright lights while Miki can only role her eyes. They’re just stones, right?

Episode 3
Miki learns from Horibe that Sekkou Boys will be getting a big role in a very famous TV series. The catch is only Medici gets the part. They don’t want to miss this opportunity so they hope Miki can cheer up the rest. After Miki tells them, the boys discuss this upcoming role and Medici seems to be getting a little arrogant. Later as Miki sends Giorgio back, he tells her he envies Medici as he can’t act because he is a saint. Things could have been more awkward if they found out later so he thanks Miki for doing the right thing. Then he bugs her about Mira’s phone number. Still haven’t got it? Miki reads the script for Medici’s role. From the way she sounds, his role looks bad. What can be a role worse than an artist’s mistress who lives in fear of his violent wife? The other boys also read the script and they realize how bad the role is. They promise not to tease but cheer him up. When Medici returns, he can tell they’re trying to be nice to him. But Medici isn’t sad but happy indeed. We see a replay of the only scene Medici appears: He is the murder weapon of the artist who can’t stand his wife’s nagging anymore! Wow. The sculpture didn’t break? Medici thinks he might win an Oscar! Miki can’t be more excited than this. The other Sekkou Boys are just speechless…

Episode 4
Thanks to Mira’s recommendation blog, Sekkou Boys’ next even is a sell-out. Giorgio is like telling his mates what they shouldn’t do but isn’t he himself the one getting nervous? Before the event starts, Miki wonders why there are many guys waiting in the queue. Hermes believes they are Mira’s fans and are here to see if Sekkou Boys are worthy of Mira’s praise. So now you know what the event is a sell-out? As it begins, Sekkou Boys use their usual charm except for Giorgio whose nervousness starts sinking it. He makes bad puns… Because of that, the internet is rife with negative comments about him and Google even has bad memes created! In the next meeting, Giorgio seems mad although he angrily denies it. He goes out for a walk himself and unwittingly makes an old lady think he is a killer and the baby cry harder. When phone calls flood the agency, Miki thought Giorgio is getting flamed again but surprisingly they are his fan clubs. It seems Giorgio appeared in a pharmaceutical ad and everyone loves it! Especially his ‘troubled’ face. He is an instant hit! They even got a new buzzword going around: Giorgio-ing! Later he reveals this face of his is from his pose from staring down a dragon and not in pain, agony or holding it in kind of face.

Episode 5
The boys are in a talk show with Setsuko Furoyanagi. She spams Mars with lots of questions he can’t seem to answer right away. He is stammering. Can sculptures sweat like hell? Flashback reveals everyone was excited when they learn they are to appear in her show. However despite the offer came from Setsuko herself, Horibe warns that she has a reputation for ruining many comedians and newbies into oblivion due to her mega stupid lines and questions. So as the boys discuss who should talk to her, they believe Mars should do it because he is the god of war and the hunter of love. Thus he is invincible and will charm her heart. Well, Mars isn’t into older women but since the group’s reputation is riding on him, I guess he’ll have to do. So back to the talk show, man, this woman doesn’t stop talking! It is bad enough that she is questioning his many women he courted in the past, his pals abandon, backstab and shift everything back to him! I guess Mars was defeated on that day… There goes his invincibility legend… Making it worse, he gets a call from his sister, Athena berating him of how bad he sucks that he gave Olympus a bad name. Oh God…

Episode 6
Miki thinks Hermes is the most mature of the lot. Cementing that thought is how considerate Hermes is when he suggests she drop him off here instead of sending him directly to his apartment so she can quickly go home and get some rest after a hard day’s work. Miki hears from the other Sekkou Boys that they don’t know much about Hermes’ private life. Then she hears from Kinue that she saw Hermes with Mira the other day. Fearing there would be a scandal, Miki and Medici spy outside his apartment. Hmm… Various hot babes streaming in looking for Hermes… Then a few other guys too. Seems Hermes is hosting a house party. Even more shocking that he is in a full body sculpture and has a (sculpture) baby in his arms! Hermes introduces Trismegistus. It’s an ordinary screw, by the way. Hermes is describing its lucky charms and some of the people who used it tell of miraculous stories although from what I see it’s just pure coincidence. He plans to sell it at a high price and everyone would love to have it. Hermes sees a blinding light and it is from Miki turning into Super Saiyan in her rage! She is not amused by his multi-marketing nonsense. Making her even mad is that this baby, Dionysus actually became the god of wine because of Hermes’ influence. Miki continues to blow her top she is going to keep a close watch on him from now on. Man, she is scary!

Episode 7
Miki doesn’t know about the legendary idol group, Dandy 2 Men (Dan2) so she is surprised that they are invited to their dinner show. Even Sekkou Boys are their biggest fans. While taking a train there, Sekkou Boys ended up arguing due to differing opinions. At the hall, their hostility is set aside when Mira is here. As usual, they wax lyrical about her but then it starts to go downhill when Hermes taunts Mars’ helmet as some full nude helmet. Sekkou Boys start arguing among each other so loud that the other tables are probably wondering what the heck is going on. Nobody is scarier when Miki blows her top. Luckily Dan2 starts and we are introduced to the legendary idols who are also bust sculptures! Folks, meet Moliere and Brutus. Sekkou Boys suddenly put aside their differences, become hardcore supporting fans as Mira cheers them on. And Miki is so damn confused.

Episode 8
Sekkou Boys are going to appear on a live show and Miki is not too pleased that they are taking this very lightly. Sure, a few appearances here and there gave them some experiences, right? Even more so, they want to come themselves and not appear in her junk as there will be many fan girls. Stressing her out even more is that they are not only late for rehearsals, but they came in a limo? How did they even get that? Then at the backstage they think everything will be a piece of cake despite Miki’s constant warnings to prepare themselves. Yeah, they’re taking it easy. Think they can nail it? You bet. They think. As the show gets underway with lots of appearances from other guests, Mira is taking too long in her time slot. Going overboard with her time allocation? Once she is done, the next guest is this group, Sanjusangendo Hashiritai. Looks like hundreds of gold statue multi-arms deity! OMG! They look the same?! And are they going to be interviewed one by one! Sekkou Boys start sweating they won’t have enough time to appear as they discuss the need for somebody to cut them off. Then Giorgio did a Kanye to remind the hosts about the time constraints. The talk is cut but now the group will be doing solo performances! Yeah, it felt like an eternal song. Finally Sekkou Boys as the last guests not only have no time for their talk, they are quickly ushered onto stage to perform but even so they have no more screen time left!

Episode 9
Miki is working Sekkou Boys to the bone. She’s like their mother now, warning them no more scandals. But then Mars sneaks into Mira’s place via courier and they talk about bugs and rocks. Unfortunately a spy drone took pictures of them together and it blows up to become a scandal. You should see how furious Miki is! I hope the way she beats him up doesn’t break him. Of course Mira is stressing out over this as Mira’s agency wants to have talks with theirs to avoid this being leaked to the media. Hermes is glad Giorgio doesn’t know about this because he has a crush on Mira. Speaking of him, he is currently seeing some reporter. To deal with the situation, she suggests ‘bartering it with a less damaging story’. Meanwhile the other Sekkou Boys are having BBQ with Dan2 since all their jobs for the next few days got cancelled. BBQ party courtesy of Hermes. Thank you. On the other hand, Giorgio enters the reporter’s room. Sexy time? He must be regretting sleeping with her but it saved their agencies a lot of trouble as both sides backed down. So the scandalous thing Giorgio did is that she is digging his ear wax? WTF?!

Episode 10
When Miki gets lost in the rural area, she sees Sekkou Boys’ CD being used in agriculture and as Frisbee!!! They look at the music review sites and they’re mostly rotten reviews. Even those that are good reviews are just being sarcastic. That bad, huh? It is then they realized they haven’t been invited to music shows and just varieties. Miki vows to do anything she can to change their image. But first she needs to get a new music producer. She is so desperate that she barges in front of the world’s best producer just to give her card! Security takedown! Since she lacks connections, she sees Kinue for help. They learn Mira’s music producer is Masuda Moveman who is the forefront of EDM. Miki continues to look for a producer but to no avail. When Yanagisawa hints her, she gets an idea to call her old classmate from music school. She goes all out to bring DJ Surprise to Sekkou Boys but what does she see? Sekkou Boys partying with Mira and looks like Moveman is going to produce music for Sekkou Boys. You’re not wanted anymore, DJ Surprise. As Mira praises Kinue, Sekkou Boys also wish they had her as their manager. If that is not bad enough, they badmouth Miki! Too late to take back your words. Poor girl has had it with them all and leaves.

Episode 11
Miki returns to her family home at Fukuoka. She is really through with Sekkou Boys. Her parents couldn’t be more welcoming for her to come home. I suppose Medici couldn’t stop sending texts to her so she started blocking him. When Horibe asks Sekkou Boys about Miki, they lie that she is away at a marriage interview. But the problem now is bringing her back and nothing is going to stop them. Miki doesn’t remember her room was this messy with artwork. She remembers a frustrating art moment and the teacher told her to think about Agrippa. Speaking of which, she has a bust of this in her closet. Then she hears Sekkou Boys calling for her outside. They are brought here courtesy of Yanagisawa. They apologize and commend all her good points. She is the only manager for them. Miki vows not to run away anymore and will become their manager again. Sekkou Boys welcome her back by throwing and extravagant (booze) party fit for a queen! Next morning when Miki wakes up, she doesn’t find Medici anywhere.

Episode 12
There is a note lying around indicating Medici has been abducted. When a call comes through, everyone makes Miki take it! But it is not the kidnapper but Moveman who is organizing a party this weekend and is inviting Sekkou Boys to join. Though they accept the offer, Miki wonders if they are going to abandon Medici. Of course not. They’ll get him back before then. As they snoop around for clues, eventually Mira learns about it and has an idea who abducted him. A fanatic Mira fan-cum-stalker is arrested but he is not going to reveal the whereabouts that easy. The police aren’t helping either because Medici’s case is considered theft. So he is just mere plaster? But with Yanagisawa uses his hacking to pinpoint Medici’s location. It seems he is held in an abandoned warehouse. But the big problem is about to crop up. There are thousands of Medici clones! OMG! Which is the real one?! Don’t worry. Miki can tell via her bond and guts. So she’s going to test every single one? Thankfully Sekkou Boys manage to get back as a whole in time for Moveman’s party. Everyone is glad Miki picked the correct one. In actual fact Miki doesn’t have a goddamn clue! It was a scribble that Miki wrote on him somewhere when she was drunk! Miki is truly part of the agency when she now suffers from back pain. Welcome to the club.

They’ll Rock Your World
And so sculptures are humans too? Well in that case I am very sure that many otakus will also view their holy sacred figurines and their dakimakura waifus as equal humans too. I’m not sure why the stalker kidnapped Medici of all and perhaps it was how close Medici was to Mira and his devious goal to break up Sekkou Boys before they get too close to her and ruin his sick fantasy. But I am guessing that it is to serve up a final episode drama and to show how strong Miki’s bond is with her sculptures and that she is the only manager for them. You can’t say her bond is weak if she can’t pick out the right Medici without that ‘cheat’. Can you tell well made clones apart? I mean, can you tell an ant from another ant?

I’m not sure how to put the character development but it feels that I don’t know more about Sekkou Boys or how well they have grown from the start and at the end. Each of them is based off Roman or Greek mythical characters or a real nobleman. Due to my lack of interest in this area of history, I didn’t even bother to find out more about them. Though, I’m pretty sure one of them is a Roman God of war and it would be mind boggling for that dude to put down his weapons and start singing? Mind boggling indeed. But as far as this season is concerned, just like any bands in the world, they have their bond, their ups and downs, their funny moments together. So are they any good? Uhm, they’ve been so good in putting on those rock solid faces without altering into a single other emotion that I can’t really tell. Really.

So the only one I can talk about is Miki whose fate has her deal with sculptures her entire life. With her youth and first time on a real job, she is driven with passion and guts (and naivety) to get it right. She goes to great lengths to take care of them and make sure they don’t go out of line and ruin themselves. It’s a good thing they listen to her when she is mad. You don’t want to make her mad. Really. It is a good thing she doesn’t resort to smashing sculptures. I know there are many clones but hey, every Medici, every Mars, ever Giorgio and every Hermes have their own personality and as individualistic as they are can be. Thank goodness she has lots of stamina to chauffeur those rockies around. However she is still human and this means she has emotions. So it was literally rock bottom for her (pun intended) when after all she had done for them goes unappreciated. It was awkward when there is a strained relationship between the manager and his idols so they were literally between a rock and a hard place (pun intended again). And of course seeing that this is still a feel good anime, they patch up good and their relationship back to almost as solid as a rock (sorry for all the rock puns).

I can’t say much about Mira. She is nice and cute girl whose only reason she has some sort of appearance in this series is so that we can still have a cutie female idol instead of being spammed with manly sculptures. Not used in seeing that kind of idol yet. So they connect her to Sekkou Boys by being their fans but that is much about it. I believe Sekkou Boys are interested in her but due to that risk of scandals arising from dating, it feels like we won’t be expecting a real romance between a human and a bunch of rocks. I guess it wouldn’t work out anyway. As for Kinue, I can’t say much about her but she is more experienced than Miki. Maybe it is because she doesn’t have to handle rocks… Yanagisawa may be a minor character but he seems to be the running joke of suffering from back pains each time he gets his screen time. That final scene of him being a hacker? It felt like to distract us from this running joke.

One of the things that constantly bug me about Sekkou Boys is their mobility. I always wonder how they move around without someone to push them. After all, you don’t really see them move or being animated at all. For example after Miki sends them back to their respective apartments, how the heck do they move about?! Because assuming if they don’t and when Miki comes to pick them up the next day, wouldn’t they be exactly in the same place where Miki left them off? So I have this conspiracy theory that whenever the cameras are not on them, Sekkou Boys will have popped up miniature and cartoonish limbs that will make them move around with ease! Or maybe there are a few little men hidden inside them coming out to move them around when nobody is watching. Oh yes! That could possibly be the only explanation. Otherwise if you think about it, it wouldn’t be just plausible for Miki to carry all of them on and off the stage and chauffeur them everywhere. She would have to do it like four times and her back is still fine? Wow. Super woman indeed. But to show how human she is, eventually her back pains have caught up to her.

This leads to the mind boggling question if they are durable. Obviously they are heavy and I am sure if they are sculptures, they must be at least be made out of stone. I don’t expect them to be made out of porcelain but I am sure that Miki must have dropped them a few times initially. Shouldn’t they be chipped off little by little? Of course thank goodness if Miki doesn’t drop them at all then it is fine and good. Then if the sculptures break, will they die? Will they be easily replaced? Can their crack be easily repaired? Ah, so many mysteries about them so it is no wonder in a way we are interested at them not as an idol group but these issues?

The other conspiracy theory that I came up from the fact assuming Sekkou Boys do not and cannot move on their own is that maybe the conversations you hear them speak are all just a figment of our imagination? Holy sh*t! Big conspiracy theory! I mean, look at them. Look at when they talk, their mouths are not even animated! So how can they speak if they don’t move their mouths and I don’t see any speaker outlet or anything close to it anywhere on the busts? So this must be it too. Everybody is so idol crazy that they are just hearing things that they want to and thus Sekkou Boys are just inanimate sculptures whom everybody somehow believe to be real idols taking the world by storm. Erm, at least in a small part of Japan. You know what? Let’s just screw logic and go with the flow. Talking rocks? Rocks as idols? Hell yeah, we love them!

Art and drawing are pretty standard. But I have to wonder if it is also taking some shortcut because Sekkou Boys aren’t really animated and could even be real life cut-out pictures of them. In fact, their poses never change at all and it is like they could just slap their picture in there without putting much effort into animating them. Even if they are real cut-out images, it doesn’t feel jarring with the 2D animation at all. Most probably is because they are all shades of white so it might go easy on your eyes there. This series is animated by Liden Films who did animated shorts like Miss Monochrome series, Senyuu, Aiura as well as full length TV series such as Yamada-kun And The Seven Withces, Terra Formars, Schwarzesmarken and the new Arslan Senki.

Famous male seiyuus lend their voices to Sekkou Boys and even Dan2. Tomokazu Sugita as Giorgio, Jun Fukuyama as Hermes, Daisuke Ono as Mars, Takehito Koyasu as Moliere and Keiji Fujiwara as Brutus are quite recognizable. It is only Shinnosuke Tachibana as Medici (Tomoe in Kamisama Hajimemashita) that I didn’t recognize. Not too familiar with his voice yet. I also couldn’t identify Takahiro Sakurai as Yanagisawa since his lines are rare to come and he doesn’t speak much. The only female seiyuu I recognize was Yu Kobayashi as Setsuko. The rest of the casts are Shiho Kokido as Miki (Kotone Amamiya in Brave Beats), Yui Makino as Mira (Sakura in Tsubasa Chronicle), Rena Maeda as Kinue (Nike in Soredemo Sekai Wa Utsukushii) and Takaya Kuroda as Horibe (Renjou in Kurenai). The ending theme is obviously by Sekkou Boys. Despite Hoshizora Rendezvous feels like a generic boy band idol song, it also feels like a cheer song for themselves as they cheer and spell out their group’s name in euphoric fashion. S-E-K-K-O, B-O-YS, Sekkou!!! Definitely one of the more enjoyable aspects of this series.

Overall, a daring try in making us believe that sculptures too can stand aside our usual powerhouse idols although it is all just for the light hearted comedy. Yeah, seeing sculptures talk and trying to make it big as popular idols is indeed amusing. But don’t be surprise that even if such head busts may not become popular mainstream idols on TV, maybe they will become YouTube stars because that is where all the weird things happen and some even go on to become household names. So don’t count Sekkou Boys out just yet. They may just rock the boat and cause the idol industry to revolutionize and evolve to another level. But for now, I’d prefer my kawaii idols in sexy outfits doing sexy provoking moves singing sex provoking lyrics on stage. Ah, the desire of the flesh is still preferably prevalent and strong compared to stone cold plaster rocks.

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