BanG Dream S2

June 8, 2019

I didn’t really expect this series to get a sequel. So when BanG Dream S2 came out as a surprise, what else could even surprise me even more? The announcement of a third season at the same time! Woah. I guess we’re done with idols and now it is the era of girl bands taking over by storm. Just kidding. I made that up. In the last season, the closure of a popular live house didn’t signal the end of the series nor was it the end of the girl bands. Because it opened up a few opportunities for them to further live and pursue their dream. So yeah, I’m here to see how far they can go. And also how cute girls playing instruments can be on stage.

Episode 1
We are reminded that girl bands are the trend now. So overly popular. So that we don’t freak out at why every girl in town is part of a band. Yeah, it’s a new school term with Arisa being part of the student council body. Rinko Shirokane is the new student council president and unlike the previous one who was spunky, she’s a nervous wreck. Poppin’ Party members are all in the same class. Except Tae. Don’t worry. This won’t break up the band, right? After another practice until the wee morning and heading to the convenience store, Rokka Asahi pleads for their help to come perform at Galaxy tonight. Can’t pass up this chance, can they? Rokka is relieved since she needed to find bands to play for the reopening of this place. We see a few bands perform like Afterglow, Hello Happy World and Roselia perform, it is Poppin’ Party’s moment on stage. Once it’s over, Roselia’s Yukina makes an announcement. They will be self-sponsoring a live show of their own. I guess Poppin’ Party got pulled into the hype because they too announce they’ve got a show coming up. I hope they just didn’t devise this impromptu.

Episode 2
Yeah, Poppin’ Party is already making plans for their show. Such big dreams. Until Sayo points out the literally so many things to do and prepare. From ticket sales to rehearsals and checks. Can you rookies manage that? Then Yukina officially invites Poppin’ Party to perform with them and of course they accept. Wow. So exciting. It’s going to get busy. Even shy Rokka wants to come see. Poppin’ Party practice hard and come that day when they head to the backstage, they see Roselia members passed out! It looks like a murder scene. Apparently they got so busy in preparing for their own show that they burnt out. I guess this is what happens when you self-sponsor your own show and to keep cost, you do literally everything yourselves. Poppin’ Party would love to help but Yukina insists they can handle it fine (were they?). It’s their show. Poppin’ Party could learn a thing or two watching them making preparations. It’s time for the show as Poppin’ Party heads out as the appetizer before Roselia nailing it as the main dish. Although Poppin’ Party feel good despite admitting they are nowhere near Roselia’s level, they are confident to throw their own self-sponsored live show. Too bad Yukina had to rain on their parade. They are in fact nowhere near that at all. Yeah, why the shock look?

Episode 3
This brat, Chuchu is some genius producer? She confronts Yukina and wants her band to team up with her to produce the most awesome label. Rejected. Poppin’ Party are now having doubts to do their own show. Meanwhile Rokka wants to form her own band as she can play the guitar but looks like there are no openings. Yeah, looks like every other girl is already in a band. I don’t know if she is tailing-cum-stalking Kasumi for inspiration but gets caught. She brings her to a bathhouse where she works part time. Is this a free pass for Poppin’ Party to hang out so that she could come enjoy their shows? Rokka tells them her story. As a newly transferred student, she came here to see the last performance at Space. That’s how she knew about Poppin’ Party as she saw them perform. Rokka was in a band too in her old hometown but they broke up as the rest wanted to concentrate on their studies. She is confident she can find others to play with here. Seeing Poppin’ Party on stage gave her a lot of motivation to make her dreams come true again. Poppin’ Party then play a song for her. Cue for Rokka’s life story so far. We see her love bands so much and started out with cutting a cardboard shape of a guitar. Then she saved up to buy her own electric guitar. Man, she must have saved up loads of money or electric guitars in her village must be darn cheap. Short snippets of her time in her band till they break up and Rokka’s moments to come to Tokyo. Either the memories or Poppin’ Party’s song made Rokka cry a lot. She hopes to form a band and perform with them. With that, Poppin’ Party decides not to give up on their self-sponsored show. Meanwhile Chuchu is furious that Yukina still rejects her. It’s like she can’t take no for an answer. She even gives a song she wrote for them to try. Again rejected. Roselia will write their own songs to the way to the top. They don’t need a producer. Oh Chuchu, please don’t take it out on the trash if you’re frustrated. At least she cleans up. Still in disbelief, she’s starting to sound like a villain because if she can’t team up with them, she’s going to destroy them. Yeah, she really can’t take no for an answer.

Episode 4
Poppin’ Party is sure coming up with lots of (unrealistic) ideas for their live show. FLYING?! Lovely. But can it be really done? Hello Happy World’s front vocalist, Kokoro Tsurumaki wants to help seeing that Poppin’ Party isn’t smiling with this idea. Hence she rallies her other bandmates for a brainstorming session. Not sure if all those scribbles make sense. Maybe. If you’re as quirky as the rest of them. Like the dramatic queen (chuunibyou?) Kaoru Seta, the happy go lucky cheery Hagumi Kitazawa and positive thinking Kanon Matsubara. Maybe. Only the dog mascot, Michelle or real name Misaki Okusawa is the voice of rational that nobody listens. Poppin’ Party is invited to Kokoro’s luxurious liner. Damn it’s huge. You mean this entire liner just for this exclusive performance? Okay. It starts off with Kaoru ‘kidnapping’ Rimi. Then the rest are made to run and chase them all over the ship. Yeah… Is anybody tired yet? Nope. Show’s just getting started because now Kokoro and Michelle take off in a giant bear air balloon before jumping off! Wait, what?! I wonder if Poppin’ Party can see anything from down there. Anyway, Michelle notices Kokoro has no parachute! Michelle only has hers and despite being afraid of heights, she takes the dive. Well, parachute has no strings. OH SH*T!!! Kasumi, you call that flying?! They’re falling!!! Turns out Michelle’s suit has some Ironman technology so a voice activates and tells her to do some Konami cheat code activation for some special boosters! Now they’re flying! To top it off, more fireworks and a huge writing in the sky, “SMILE”. I’m more flabbergasted… As expected, Poppin’ Party is so amazed at this concert (was it?!) and is now motivated to do what they want. Sure. If they have the money. But I suppose this ‘concert’ was to motivate and bring their smile back because nothing can stop them once they have that smile. Unless, money. I mean, you really want to fly like that in your live show, right? To end it all, more ‘drama’ with Kaoru and Michelle ‘dying’. The latter finally having her nerves give way. Man, what a really out of this world episode.

Episode 5
Pastel Palettes is excited to be debuting at the biggest idol festival, World Idol Festival (WIF – I can see why didn’t call it World Idol Festival Event…). They are only worried not to make that same blunder the last time. Bassist Chisato Shirasagi has a busy schedule since she is also acting in some drama. She rarely practises along with her bandmates and that is partly she is also secretly practising by herself in her studio. Too bad Tae works there and she hopes she will keep this a secret. But I think everyone knows she is practising too hard because they can hear her bass lines getting duller. Uh huh. Her bass strings are wearing out. Wow. People noticing the bass part? Vocalist Aya Maruyama is already having some sort of self-confidence issues (also some strained relationship with Chisato due to a song that they are to sing as a duet). She sure doesn’t need any more issues with the internet all abuzz that this fake girl band is going to be at WIF. You see, the blunder they did was during a performance, they were caught lip synching. If not for Chisato bravely explaining the technical difficulties that made them unable to perform live, it could have ended much worse. Now they are ready and will be playing their instruments for real. With Chisato bribing Tae with expensive bread to keep her secret, keyboardist Eve Wakamiya spots this and thinks something is wrong. Telling to the rest, it gets awkward when Chisato pops in. One of those rare times she decides to practice together. They change to topic to start practising. However it didn’t go well as Aya blunders. Some tension here and there that made Chisato blow her top. Wow. Such drama. But you know, it won’t last long. The duo eventually made up and vow to get better. You can tell the drama is all over when Aya starts crying. Now the band is truly one again. At WIF, Pastel Palettes just got a small stage. Ah well, it’s a start.

Episode 6
The local market district is going to hold a local festival. Hence our girl bands are eager to participate. But the focus of this episode is Afterglow since they will be performing a live concert at that event followed by Poppin’ Party. During the festival, it starts to rain just as Afterglow is about to start jamming. Yeah, the rain sure knows how to put a damper on the show. Yeah, extra effort is needed to keep the rented equipment from getting wet. So while they way for the rain to stop, time for some flashback. It seems Afterglow members have been childhood friends ever since young. Mostly in the same class, grade after grade. Then that one time one of them got placed in a different class, Ran Mitake thought the only way for them to be together more often is to be in a band. So picking a name wasn’t easy. Yup, the trusty English dictionary for reference. After stumbling upon a few weird words, they like the sound of Afterglow. Coincidentally it’s evening when they pick this name and they can only practice after school. And that was how Afterglow came about. With the rain stop, it’s time for the performance to be back on schedule. Thank goodness the rain didn’t last forever or it would have been a no-show. Like as though fate is trying to make them live up to their name because it’s evening when they finally could start jamming. At the end of Poppin’ Party’s show, Kasumi announces their self-sponsored show at Galaxy. Rokka is shocked but it should surprise everyone else too since Poppin’ Party never told anyone. No flashy fireworks to end the festival but the first star in the sky sure made everyone’s day.

Episode 7
Sayo’s twin sister, Hina (who is the guitarist of Pastel Palettes) wants both their schools to jointly hold their school cultural festival together. And since Poppin’ Party is eager to play there too, looks like their schedules are getting busier. Rokka laments she still can’t find a band to play in but her day is light up when Poppin’ Party makes reservation to play at Galaxy. As if that wasn’t enough, yeah, Tae feels that she really needs to convey her music and practices aren’t cutting it. Hence she does solo live street performances. Because the other members of Pastel Palettes are busy with their own commitments, they can’t play at the festival. Hence Hina suggests Aya form their own temporary band for this. So they rope in Kanon and Tsugumi Hazawa (keyboardist of Afterglow). Completing this line-up is their own Roselia’s Lisa. Ran is not amused Hina dragged Tsugumi into this but Hina takes it the wrong way and thinks they want to help out. Yeah, they’ll have a special double festival band! Can’t they just say no? As Tae is playing one of her street solos, she is joined in by Rei Wakana. Rei is Tae’s childhood friend and they used to perform together at the park before she moved away. It was Tae’s first exposure playing music with another person. Rei recently moved back and is now a bassist in a band. Time to remember that promise of forming a band together. Oh right. Tae’s already in a band with her school friends. Rei still wants her to think about this and suggests listening to her music. Give it a try. You’ll not regret it. Meanwhile Chuchu is ecstatic at the blazing performance of drummer girl, Natsumi AKA Masking. She is confident that her all-star band will explode into the scene and knock Roselia off their high horses.

Episode 8
Tae drops the bomb to her Poppin’ Party girls: She wants to play in another band. With Rimi interpreting that as filling in as a support guitarist, everyone is relieved that she isn’t quitting the band. Is she? I mean, it’s not like Tae confirmed that either. So Tae goes to see Chuchu who of course tests her to see if she is worthy to be part of the band. Of course she is. How could she face Rei if she failed? Kasumi tries to imitate Tae’s way to write songs. Not working. But of course. So she goes to see the makeshift band for hints. Well, everyone has their weird habits in writing them. And so Kasumi tries lying flat on the chairs… Well, you won’t know if you don’t try. But I don’t think this will work either. Speaking of which, the makeshift band want to write a song for the festival but none of them are songwriters. So they just decide on the theme of the song. But of course. To cheer others up. What else? Meanwhile Rokka is still having a hard time trying to recruit band members. Lisa talks to her about Roselia’s dream of playing at Future World Fest. As you can tell, it’s the world’s biggest music festival. It started as Yukina’s dream (hence why Roselia was formed) but soon became their dream. On the other hand, Kasumi stumbles into Yukina and hopes she could play with them at the festival. She’ll think about it. Hey, at least it gives some possibilities. I’m guessing the reason why the festival is holding a rehearsal in the hall is so that we can see the makeshift band strutting their stuff. Now we go over to Tae’s side. After a brutal practice, Chuchu announces their band’s name to be Raise A Suilen (RAS). With Tae on guitar, Rei on bass, Masking on drums and Reo Kurachi AKA Pareo on keyboards, she is confident they’ll be the next big thing and her music will put an end to the girl band era (isn’t this technically a girl band too?). Hence more practising until their explosive first solo concert. Guess what? It’s on the day of the festival. Tae, you looking worried.

Episode 9
Tae tells her bandmates about the scheduling conflict. She still wants to do both, though. How? By cloning herself! Damn, Tae. You worse than Kasumi. But don’t worry. Poppin’ Party stays positive. They’ll try to reschedule or something. Meanwhile Chuchu invites Yukina to her band’s debut and brags about it. Too bad she can’t go. She has her festival. Well, back at you Chuchu. You think your concert is more important than the festival? We see the festival having really weird themes. Like a happy haunted café and Kaoru serving her guests that makes all her fans swoon like hell. And yeah, Rokka is jamming with the grandmas from the shopping district?! Grandmas truly rock and roll! With Tae being so busy with her practice with RAS, she can’t make it for her Poppin’ Party practice thereafter. Now on that crucial day, RAS performs a concert so stunning that the crowd just wants an encore. Yeah, I don’t know how many times they go back out and played but you know it is going to eat into Tae’s festival’s time. And when it is about Poppin’ Party’s turn, I guess RAS is over and Tae leaves immediately. Woah. Can she actually make it now?! I don’t see the idea of Kasumi rushing to go get her. Will it make them run faster? Maybe. Friends motivate each other, maybe… So to buy time for the final performance of the festival, poor Aya has to go up that and tell some weird story after her makeshift band is done performing. Luckily we have Rokka to start doing her solo power riffs and devilish jamming! OMFG! Is she human?! Why hasn’t any death black metal bands scouted her???!!! This inspires Roselia to take it from here. By the time Kasumi and Tae arrive… It’s over. The hall’s empty. Everyone’s gathered at the campfire for the closing. Oh Tae, crying now won’t do you any good. You made your choice. Yeah, tell it to her, Arisa! Uhm, I guess she’s not even in the mood either. Poppin’ Party’s party just got popped…

Episode 10
No time for Poppin’ Party to feel gloomy. Time to move on. Poppin’ Party accompanies Tae as she goes around apologizing to everyone. I think the looping apology between Tae and Rinko is going to take a while. Surprisingly Yukina isn’t harsh on them since she knows what happened. Just don’t let it happen again. Many are talking about Rokka’s insane skills and thinking of recruiting her but Rokka herself isn’t in the mood since she is worried about Poppin’ Party getting back on their feet. Tae then talks to Chuchu that she wants to quit RAS. She has no energy to play for both bands and thought she could grow and practice with them. But this pisses off Chuchu a lot. RAS is everything to her and she doesn’t need amateurs using it as a stepping stone. She is selfish if she thinks she can quit when things get rough. Tae tells Poppin’ Party about her decision to quit RAS. But with a condition to play her last gig at their next show. Poppin’ Party wants to come see of course. Masking talks to Rei about Tae. Before she moved, Tae played her a last song. The tears in her eyes made her know she would be back. But she can’t stop her now. Seeing her again is good enough. This ‘sad’ story is enough to make badass girl Masking cry?! Poppin’ Party design their uniform for their show. Because they all want to add something, it turns out… WTF is this hell hole?! Poppin’ Party attend RAS’ show. They are amazed with the crazy fans. After their performance, Tae makes the announcement that she is quitting. Some fans plead her to stay but I guess back to those wild screams when she fist bumps with Rei. Why is Poppin’ Party looking gloomy? They saw how amazing Tae was up there as though she was like a different person. Are they in shock? Then Chuchu confronts them. She wants them to hand over Tae to her.

Episode 11
Chuchu can’t stay since there is an after party. Next time. But that comes soon as Chuchu’s visits their secret studio (Arisa’s basement) to once again ask Tae to quit Poppin’ Party. But wasn’t she to quit RAS? Yes. As a support guitarist. She will now be reborn as the main guitarist! Does Tae get a say? Yes. That’s why she is here to talk to all of them. She tells them straight: They are holding her back. After she left, Poppin’ Party contemplates on Chuchu’s words. In many ways they are true. For Tae to be scouted means they acknowledge her talents. Their music sounds super awesome and to be playing for a band like that is a chance of a lifetime. To drag out the drama, they don’t want to pressure Tae to give an answer now. Meanwhile Rei confronts Chuchu. She didn’t know she was scouting Tae as the main guitarist. You mean Rei didn’t intent on Tae playing together permanently?! So we see the rest of the scenes of Poppin’ Party gloomy. Yeah. Thinking about the future direction of their band. Eventually Tae and Kasumi talk. Oh heck, nothing to blow the blues away by playing some guitar together. Flashbacks, snippets of their time together. Uh huh. Really moved Tae’s soul that she started writing some lyrics in the sand?! Do tears come with it? With that, Tae texts everyone as she has something to tell them. Oh no. Is she going to play an opening act just for her announcement?! Oh wait. This song reflects her feelings. So yeah. Once done, the rest have their tearful say on this but nothing really that conclusive to point out if Tae is staying or leaving. And then more tears. I think they cried so much under the name of friendship that they managed to write a new song. Wow…

Episode 12
All the bands have prepared their set list for Poppin’ Party’s self-sponsored show. Everyone is so neatly done except Poppin’ Party. Are those scribbles? All that is left is Roselia. Because Yukina didn’t reply, they thought it was a roundabout way of turning them down. Like Kasumi is going to give up so they go ask again. Surprisingly Yukina accepts. So they were so busy in preparing their show to perfection that they were practising and didn’t even have the decency to reply? So what if Poppin’ Party didn’t come and the show didn’t have arrangements for Roselia? Oh yeah, I think they can accommodate last minute surprises. Because, they’re Roselia. Kasumi gets this idea for Poppin’ Party to perform twice. She wants to debut their new song in their final appearance. As they leave, oh no, it’s Chuchu. However she is here to support them and root for their show to be a success. Because she knows Tae is going to be a blast. After all, she is the best guitarist for RAS. That is when Tae tells her. Thanks for the opportunities. However I am Poppin’ Party’s lead guitarist. Chuchu suddenly has a mood change. The kind that says get out of my sight NOW. Snippets of everybody making the final preparations for that day. Yeah, Tae making some final adjustments to their new song to make it perfect. Last minute inspiration, huh? All the bands are on site to prepare and thus the cue for us to have a sneak peek at Poppin’ Party’s new song, Returns. Brilliant, of course.

Episode 13
This final episode is like a big promo music video and blow away the fact that Tae was ever scouted in the first place. With all the girl bands streaming into the backstage, Poppin’ Party leaves a camera message for them to record as ‘guestbook’. Rei is outside Galaxy, still wondering if she should go in and hear. She is surprised to see Masking here. Get this. She lives just upstairs because her dad who looks like a fishmonger but runs a fruit stand is actually the owner of Galaxy! Damn! The show kicks off with Poppin’ Party being the first to perform. They shock everyone by playing Returns. Rokka didn’t see this coming. Hope she doesn’t blunder with this sudden change. If the crowd isn’t too stimulated with that slow ballad, time for Hello Happy World to rev things up with their sunshiny performance. Since they too sing a new song, this throws Rokka off too. Now we ramp up the cuteness with Pastel Palettes also doing a new number! You keeping up with this, Rokka? Next is Afterglow with its rock style. And you guessed it, new song! Oh Rokka, you should see the pattern here. No introductions needed for Roselia but they do a familiar number. No unnecessary shocks here for Rokka. Phew. Poppin’ Party comes out to close the performance. She thanks everyone for their first self-sponsored show and especially her band members for being in this band. Funny, why should they look surprise? Did they not expect this? Especially it’s from Kasumi. They hit it with the familiar Dreamers Go piece. Hey. Is that Chuchu dancing to their tune?! And that ends the splendid performance. Do we hear an encore? Yeah. Time for bonus stage with another song! After the show as everyone leaves, Chuchu confronts Poppin’ Party. She hates to admit it that she was moved by every second of their performance. So she admitting they better than her? Too bad being the sore loser she is, she ‘threatens’ she’ll make a bigger comeback that will leave them eating dust. GTFO! Your threats mean nothing!

Go Like A (BanG) Dream!
Oh well. Until the next season arrives, we’ll only know if Chuchu can walk the talk. But I’m glad it somewhat ended on that note because it is like cutting this brat off before she could do more harm. And it ends with our girls giving this confused look that screams, “Huh? WTF this loli?”. But anyway, I still don’t understand how Poppin’ Party managed to get the sufficient funds to sponsor their first self-sponsored show. Maybe they got a huge discount from Galaxy’s owner. Yeah, Japanese people are pretty generous if you know how to push the right buttons. I thought Yukina shot them down that they weren’t prepared. Unless it was just to scare them to see if they were really going to do it. With that kind of sparkling confidence, you think Poppin’ Party can’t do it? Yeah. They did it. Wow. Everything so perfect. Ganbare! Po-pi-pa, pi-po-pa, po-pi-pa-pa-pi-po-pa! Damn their huddle shout sounds like a tongue twister or scatting. Good for some verbal password. I think. Not.

This season feels like it can be separated into 2 parts. The first part seems to be introducing the other main girl bands. Their brand of music and style of entertainment. I think this is so that people like me who didn’t watch that chibi comedy, BanG Dream Garupa Pico (or those who didn’t play the Girls Band Party) will get to know and be familiar with them. It is not a very deep story about them or their band members but they are at least given an episode of prominence just to indicate that they are one of the few main players besides Poppin’ Party. The second part seems to be about Tae’s dilemma to join another band. Personally, with the first half already close to being boring in my books, they needed some sort of drama to ramp up the drama effect that Poppin’ Party might be breaking up or at least move on either by finding a replacement for Tae (Rokka comes to mind) or just carry on without her. But of course, we all know very well that a band’s bond is strong and there is no way that Poppin’ Party is going to break up, right? RIGHT?! After all, we already had Poppin’ Party origins story in the first season.

With so many characters, I couldn’t be bothered to feel if there is one that I really liked. All of them felt boring despite the myriads of personalities and quirky behaviours. You got the serious one, the dreamy one, the ditzy one, the reliable one, some even having this chuunibyou effect, yeah a whole bunch of them. Last season, my favourite character was Arisa because she was funny. This season she was really toned down and I thought that was really disappointing. Not to say that Arisa was totally revamped and changed her character, she still retains what Arisa being Arisa is but to a much lesser degree. Sometimes she still cracks sarcasm but it wasn’t on the same level that appealed to me like she did in the first season. Kasumi isn’t as annoying as she was in the first season but still annoying nevertheless. She is still going at her own pace with her happy go lucky demeanour. Saaya and Rimi feel insignificant that they don’t matter but because they are part of Poppin’ Party, they do. Remember, their origin story was already told in the first season so whatever issues they have then are already ‘solved’. That’s why Tae is now in the spotlight and they don’t have any problems that would have us focus on them. I wonder if Tae who isn’t in the same class with the rest for the new term served as a foretelling for this issue. You know, a band is supposedly strong when you do everything together. Everything!

Although the other girl bands were given their episode of prominence, they still feel pretty insignificant and I still can’t remember their names. Yes, they are around to help each other but when it comes down to really getting to know them, something that would make you want to care for them, I don’t see there is any reason for me to support them. After all, Poppin’ Party is the star of this series so perhaps they don’t want to take away that limelight from them. So generally the other band girls follow their own theme that makes them ‘unique’. Like Hello Happy World with their marching band outfits but their songs are so lively and exuberant, you wonder if they are high on drugs on each performance. Really. Roselia’s trademark is being dark and gothic, Pastel Palettes are like colourful sunshine magical girls the musical version and Afterglow feels like street musicians.

One very underrated character is Rokka. I was under the assumption that she would play a big part in this season but as far as I can see, she is just a minor character. Sometimes I think she is just a red herring considering she just became a worker at Galaxy and somewhat an ardent supporter of Poppin’ Party. Not sure if this is her running joke that she wants to form a band but couldn’t manage to do so and hence her awesome guitar skills lying dormant and going to waste every second a band doesn’t scout her for her talents. Like I said earlier, I thought she was going to be Tae’s replacement but I guess fans would prefer the original Poppin’ Party. Maybe in the next season Rokka would play a more significant role. For now, she is just doing fine with her part time job at Galaxy. Hang in there.

This season’s supposed ‘antagonist’, Chuchu. Probably a character everyone loves to hate because of her very obnoxious sounding manner. Yes, she sounds annoying and tries to sound big and important as she mixes English words in her sentences. Wow. So trendy. You understand? Capisce. Okay. Because she has big ambitions and wants to achieve them quickly, it makes her look very pushy and demanding. Maybe this is the part that all of us misunderstood about her. It is hard not to try and look at her this way since it only enhances her bratty behaviour. You know, a young girl who claims to be a genius producer and then being so in your face, are you going to take all that? She is also arrogant thinking her music is the best in the world. The problem with that thinking is that she doesn’t see the point of view from others. Yes, we understand you believe your works are the best. But not necessarily everyone out there agrees. That is why Yukina and Tae rejected her. That inability to accept that reality mostly had Chuchu fuming and frustrated. And add more English words to the mix. Why? What? How? Unbelievable! F*CK!!! ;p.

RAS might be making waves in this series’ setting and it makes me wonder if the main girl bands here are living in a world of their own. Unfair of me to say this since obviously the focus is on Poppin’ Party and the other bands. They have their own followers and fans but with RAS taking the girl band world by storm and revolutionizing the industry, I just wonder if these girl bands here will they continue to stay the same or change and adapt to the new music scene. Eventually it will be a tough call to make because it all boils down to remembering their original goal when the band was formed. Will they be able to still achieve that dream if they have changed? After all, if nobody listens to their music, being part of a band is somewhat redundant, right? Unless they enjoy playing together themselves but I think that defeats the purpose.

As I researched RAS (read: Lazy Google research), I found out they are a real band although they were created as backup bands as some of the seiyuus in some of the girl bands are unable to play their character’s instrument. So who is the guitarist of RAS if it is not Tae? It’s the one behind Rokka! I never really thought of it until now but perhaps next season they could scout her and make her part of their team. And then Chuchu can brag about this blessing of being rejected because now she’s got a real awesome guitarist. But still, genius producer or not, you’re still an annoying self-centred brat.

And the rest of RAS, I wonder if they are the best of the best as Chuchu claims to have scouted. If you asked me, they are a bunch of ragtags formed together only by chance. After all, if they were this good, how come they weren’t scouted before? I mean, it is the age of girl bands in this anime, right? How the f*ck did Chuchu scout them anyway? For them to accept Chuchu’s invitation, they must be making the biggest gamble in their life to entrust her. Furthermore, RAS is the only band who is not made up of high school girls. This gives the impression they have more practice and exposure. But as I have said, they are a bunch of talented ragtags. Rei has been bumming around here and there doing part time jobs, Masking is a delinquent (probably beating up others, made her good at drumming – just a theory!) and Pareo whose rainbow dye hairstyle makes her head look like some Neapolitan ice cream feels like a lapdog to Chuchu because she does everything to please her. Even if it means being the object to take out her frustrations because you don’t want to attract the authorities’ attention by vandalizing a safety cone, do you? Do you see how weird these band members are? On second thought, that weirdness makes them look interesting than the other girl bands…

Music is supposedly the star of this series but just like last season, they still don’t resonate with me. Not to say that I don’t like their brand of songs but they didn’t sound catchy enough to retain my attention. So we have Poppin’ Party’s brand of happy rock music in Kizuna Music (opening theme) as well as Jumpin (ending theme). But sometimes Poppin’ Party don’t hog this section because we need to show why Roselia is the best among the bands featured here. They do not stray from their dark gothic rock style as they sing Brave Jewel as the opener and Safe And Sound as the ending theme.

One of the very obvious difference when watching this season is the fact that the entire series is now CGI! Woah. Why?! Hence the character looks slightly different but still maintain their recognizable features. Unfortunately the CGI effects make the characters’ movement feel stiff and one kind. Not to say that it is bad, but it really feels weird seeing the characters that we were introduced in the first season as traditional 2D characters to suddenly now become 3D render models. But the CGI might be a little appeasing during performances because this generation has gotten used to performances like Hatsune Miku so it’s no big deal. The big change in visuals might be due to the fact that the anime studio was changed from Xebec and Issen to Sanzigen who did Black Rock Shooter, another music based series back in 2012. I hope they do better the next season.

Overall, I still find this season boring and unimpressive. Chuchu being an annoying pushy brat trying to steal scout Tae was supposed to be some big drama but eventually the band that plays together, sticks together continues to prove true. But I’ll stick around for the third to see if there would be any shocking twists and revelations that would make me change my mind or perhaps a final closure on the series. But I doubt the latter will happen any time so soon since there are quite a number of fans of this series who really like the show, its directions, its music, its growth of its characters, etc. Makes me feel like I’m the only odd one standing against it all… You all gonna hate me for not liking this bunch of cuties? Wait till you see my awesome power chords and riffing! I’ll show you! Oh sh*t, I still flub my lines of Jim Croce’s Time In A Bottle for the umpteenth time…

BanG Dream

October 14, 2017

I see we still won’t get our third season of K-ON! And in the mean time waiting for the next season of Love Live! Sunshine, here, have BanG Dream as your snack. Heh. When I first heard that name, I thought it was going to be some sort of ecchi fanservice laden anime. Yeah, it sounds so lewd. So this isn’t about some horny guy whose life goal is to bang every woman in the world? No? Okay. I suppose it has been some time we have an anime revolving around an all-girl band so what better way than to put on a few fresh faces and a new anime about a group of girls to pursue their dreams of reaching for the stars. Well, that glitter in the music sense, that is.

Episode 1
Kasumi Toyama is so excited on her first day at high school that she has to ‘harass’ her sister, Asuka up. The eager beaver quickly makes friends with Saaya Yamabuki who is also in the same class. So enthusiastic that Kasumi rants about her dreams like hearing the beat of the stars during her introduction in class. Either you laugh or start thinking she must be one heck of a weirdo. She tries out several clubs and despite looking like she’s having fun trying them out, none seems to have that oomph. Is she so bored that she has to bug Saaya who helps out her family’s bakery? On her way back, she spots several illuminating star stickers on the walls and poles like as though it is guiding her to somewhere. It leads her to a storeroom and she is caught red handed by Arisa Ichigaya who thinks she is a thief. Because Kasumi is so persistent, Arisa allows her to touch the electric guitar casing. She likes it so much that now she wants to go see a live house. Arisa tells her to do it herself. Too bad Kasumi took the guitar along! So no choice, Arisa has to help her find a live house. Just why? They find one, Space and that’s not the end of the embarrassment. Kasumi states her intention to play the guitar but this isn’t a practice studio. Then they have to pay a ticket admission to enter. At this point Arisa must be damn annoyed and Kasumi continues with her sparkly enthusiasm. The all-girl band, Glitter Green makes their entrance and starts jamming, wowing Kasumi. Now, you want to know what bugs me throughout this episode? The way Kasumi is holding the electric guitar the entire time! Do you know how freaking heavy an electric guitar is???!!! And for her to carry it on her chest like as though she is carrying a book makes no freaking sense!!! Aren’t her arms sore?! Must be so amazed by everything that she can’t feel a thing in reality.

Episode 2
As expected, Kasumi now wants to start a band. The problem is, she is hanging out in Arisa’s home and eating breakfast with her grandma! WTF???!!! Is this worse than stalking?! Yes Kasumi, you don’t have to tell the whole world you’re starting a band. Then she meets Rimi Ushigome whose sister, Yuri plays the guitar in Glitter Green. Although Rimi plays the bass, she isn’t in any band right now. Oh you guess it. Please join my band! Arisa thinks she can annoy Kasumi as she puts up that electric guitar for auction. Can you pay 300,000 Yen for it? And with sad Kasumi continue to bug her, Arisa had to tell her off about her getting close to her so she could get the guitar for free. Because Kasumi continues to stalk her, Arisa gives in. Can’t blame her. She is at her place every single day. She just wants the guitar, right? Sighs. She lets her touch and see for a few seconds. When Arisa learns how she followed the stars here, she remembers planting them when she was younger. Isn’t that public property vandalism? Arisa once played the piano but quit. Wait for it… Please join my band! Didn’t you hear her she quit piano some time ago? When Kasumi takes the guitar case, the handle breaks! Dramatic drama as she becomes so apologetic for damaging it. Well, conveniently they are able to find a music repair shop to restore the guitar. Though, the case is a goner. And I still can’t believe Kasumi carries the heavy instrument all the back like that. Arisa is ‘kind’ enough to withdraw it from the auction and sell to her at 540 Yen (the withdrawal charge). What if still no money? She’ll sell it to someone else. Arisa’s grandma gives her granddaughter the keys to their home’s own jamming studio. Kasumi has her first feel playing a plugged in electric guitar. Amazing, no? And you could say Arisa could have been a tsundere all the while as she joins her band and to use this room on condition that they eat lunch together. No wonder she’s so permissive with Kasumi.

Episode 3
Rimi tells Kasumi the bad news: She can’t join her band! But stupid Kasumi keeps stalking her for a reason! Kasumi keeps optimistic by applying to play for the school’s cultural festival. We know Rimi is a shy girl so she can’t say what she wants easily. It gets scarier for her when western tourists ask her for directions in English. Kasumi thinks she can help out. Though she can speak in English, she’s ‘promoting’ herself as a guitarist! WTF?! Finally Rimi got the guts to tell why she can’t join her band. In short, stage fright. She goes blank when people look at her. The girls are supposed to go check out another concert at Space. You know how freaking eager Kasumi is when she picks up Arisa way too early just to be there and check things out. As the concert gets on the way, Rimi gets news from her sister that her band may not make it in time because of a storm. Space has strict rules of not making the audience wait so the other bands agree to help buy some time. But as time passes, Glitter Green never showed up. I guess that’s it. The gig is over. The audience must be confused since they never turn up. Kasumi won’t let it end this way so she goes out on stage and sings Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! OMG! If that’s not embarrassing enough, she drags Arisa out to play the castanets as accompaniment! Not enough? Sing again! OMFG! But guess what? I think everybody here is crazy because they think it is funny (sure is) and love it but a lot of people would start thinking how weird this is. So crazy that Rimi has found the guts to go onstage and do play her bass accompaniment of the song! At the end, Glitter Green is here. They’ll take it from here. But you know what? They play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! OMFG!!!!! When will the madness end?! This time with full music accompaniment and they let the trio carry on playing. It’s hard to imagine that this is the song that propelled them for greater things. Now that Rimi has got a taste of this excitement, she really wants to join the band. Wow. This is really one mad episode.

Episode 4
Man. Kasumi is real proud of her pathetic amateur guitar skills. Let’s painfully watch her slowly play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! At least she’s still got the enthusiasm. Heck, even fellow classmate who is also a guitarist, Tae Hanazono thinks she is weird. And since everybody starts calling her weird, you mean Kasumi just realized she is just weird?! Don’t you even cry about it! Tae is kind and patient enough to give Kasumi some guitar lessons. From tuning and even learning some chords. Oh God. More Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I’m sure she is going to turn it into a masterpiece. Kasumi learns Tae once started out in piano but then she saw how cool her mom was jamming. Yeah, mom was a guitar instructor. More annoying crap from Kasumi as she tries to boast and show off her new chords to Asuka. Chord by chord! Guess what song? Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! Yeah, it only uses major chords so it’s easy for newbies. At this rate, Kasumi can now decently play her favourite song. But all the practice comes with a price. As Kasumi hangs out with Tae more often recently, she realizes too late about Arisa. It is no wonder Arisa locks her out of her house! She forgot their promise to eat lunch together and is always rushing off for guitar practice. Heck, what about their band practice that she never turned up? Too late to regret now, Kasumi. To show Arisa isn’t a baddie, she lets her back in but must pay her back generously. I also think she might want to show off her new electronic keyboard she bought. Cool, no? But it is back to her usual breakdown because now that Tae is eating with them, there are 2 Kasumis now???!!! I don’t even… Kasumi is all excited for cultural festival. She even has big dreams after that to go for some audition. However it is time to get realistic. Tae puts her foot down and shoots her down that is impossible.

Episode 5
Tae explains that only bands whom Space’s owner approves get to play on stage. Tae has dreamt on going on that stage but is nowhere close to that despite watching various bands played here. Kasumi promises she will practise till she gets better. How long is that going to take? She’d better. Because Tae wants to feel that kind of excitement again. It never hurts from trying so when Kasumi requests from Space’s owner to play at space, she kicks them out. Owner is not joking and is passionate about it. She was once a band member and went on tours. She created Space to destroy the scary and dangerous image of live houses. So only those who has the same passion for music as her she will allow them to go on stage. After watching another performance, Rimi tells Kasumi and Arisa she made a new song with Yuri together. They hear her humming of My Love Is A Chocolate Cornet. Corny? Kasumi hopes they can try it out. But she can’t read notes. Tabs? Even Rimi has to painfully teach her? Oh, time to seek Tae’s help. See how cool she plays? Maybe they should replace Kasumi with her. So we’d rather have an expert like Tae teach an absolute rookie like Kasumi in hopes she can get better fast before the play? Whatever. Once ready, the quartet hold a mini concert before Arisa’s grandma, Yuri, Saaya and Asuka. It sounds fine and okay. I know it feels unbelievable that Kasumi can be so perfect now. At the end of the performance, they feel excited playing together. So Tae is officially part of the band now? As long as she is happy.

Episode 6
A year ago, Saaya was a member of a band as a drummer. Kasumi has been made the organizing committee for the school’s cultural festival. Quite chirpy as always, isn’t she? First order is to make Saaya her assistant! Wait. I thought they should vote? Well, everyone agrees too so whatever. They want to do a café for the festival and since Rimi suggests a bread café like Saaya’s bakery, why not? Yeah, so easy to just go ask for free breads, right? Kasumi is going to get busier because she too wants her own mini band to play at the festival. She hears Tae play a draft song she just wrote this morning and wants to play that. Is it me or does that song sound so much like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star? Oh well, that’s their inspiration song, I guess. Kasumi and her friends converge at Saaya’s bakery to test the aprons they will be using. Saaya’s little bratty kid brother must be very shy with so many girls over since he can’t bully his little sister. Only Kasumi stays over to brainstorm for ideas. Arisa claims she isn’t an easy woman (whatever that means) while Rimi and Tae strangely go out for sukiyaki together (is there some sort of lesbianism brewing between them?). As usual, Kasumi puts up her sparkly optimism and Saaya just smiles. Next day as they put up posters, it seems Kasumi has decided that the band’s name is Poppin’ Party. Poopin’ Panty what? Just kidding. However she has also put Saaya’s name in the band. Did she say she wanted to join? Coincidentally, Saaya bumps into her old friend and ex-bandmate, Natsu. She sees Saaya’s name and is glad she is in a band. However Saaya’s fake smile is so obvious. It screams that she didn’t want to be in this sh*t. She denies so and says her friend wrote it by mistake.

Episode 7
Flashback shows Saaya and her ex-band were excited to play their first gig. However Saaya got a call from mom. Actually her little brother called and is frantic something happened to mom. The gig was cancelled as she rushed home. Although mom is okay, she still get panic attacks from that traumatic incident. I guess Kasumi realizes too late they don’t have a drummer. Time to go around looking for one. Apparently she tries Hinako Nijukki who is the drummer of Glitter Green. But she thinks there is someone better to fit them: Saaya. But talking to Natsu and other bandmates don’t seem to reveal clearly why Saaya stopped playing. Like in true Kasumi’s fashion, she goes to bug Saaya herself. She knows why she is here so they talk privately. But still, nope. Not going to play in your band. To cut short that burst of emotions from Saaya why she can’t play, she is worried mom might fall sick from overworking again. Kasumi even offers to help with her shop and school work but that’s not enough. Saaya blames herself that everyone prioritizes her first. Because of that, she believes she messed up everything and made everyone anxious. That won’t be fun, right? Don’t waste your efforts on her, says she. Saaya’s crying. Kasumi’s also crying too. Oh, now Kasumi is trying to impose on her not to decide for herself? Let’s decide together. WTF. This ‘quarrel’ is interrupted when Saaya’s little sister caught the crying bug thinking they’re fighting. Time to pretend to make up. So it’s over? Not yet. Since Saaya insists she won’t join, Kasumi says she’ll be waiting. Don’t hold your breath…

Episode 8
Arisa gets a rude awakening since Tae is kissing and hugging her! What kind of dream is she having? She is still probably in dream land or just rolling Arisa as she continues her unsolicited rape. Saaya has her own rude awakening. Mom is starting to have those again… Although mom is rushed to the hospital and her condition stable, Saaya is going to stay by her side and skip the cultural festival. This means Kasumi and the rest have to do their best and make it a success. We see them doing their shifts before going around and checking out other stuffs like the haunted house and Asuka’s maid café. Is Tae their unofficial photographer? Saaya receives 2 messages from Kasumi. The first one was a call to ask about her mom and others. But the rest tried to hijack her call so that’s where the second message came. It’s about leaving their newly written song in an envelope for her to read (if she wants to). The lyrics resonates with her because it made her cry. Cue for mom to tell Saaya to go and have fun. At first she is stubborn but there is only a limit to how long she can be persistent because the plot says she has to become a band member. And with that, off she goes, running her way to school while listening to the music. Want to bet she can memorize it all at one go? Poppin’ Party is next and they manage to play their Cornet song without a drummer. When Saaya reaches school, she bumps into Natsu. Before Saaya could apologize, Natsu says they had fun. It’s her turn now. Saaya makes her ‘grand entrance’, much to the delight of her bandmates. She tests the drum kit and shows off her awesome drumming that she hasn’t lost a single touch with. Then we hear their song, Star Beat. Kasumi introduces the band members at the end of it. While everyone is having fun, we end with a cliff-hanger as Space’s owner decides to close the live house down.

Episode 9
Saaya goes to check out drum sets. They seem pricey but hey, her parents can help pay the balance. So she settles for this electronic piece. So as they get eager to practice, Tae receives word that everyone in Space is out from a cold. What are the chances of that? Since Space can’t cancel the much anticipated Glitter Green and Roselia’s performance, thus they go volunteer to help especially Kasumi who is just bugging to help. Okay. Hey, you don’t get such free labour in the form of cute girls these days. Luckily owner is around to supervise or else the temptation to fool around is too great. Glitter Green arrives for rehearsal. Poppin’ Party wonders why their school’s student council president is here. The moment she takes off her glasses, they recognize her as Glitter Green’s keyboardist! OMG! Superman-Clark Kent effect here! Superman’s identity will definitely be safe in this anime! After that, Roselia makes their entrance for rehearsal. The event goes well. As they are cleaning up, Kasumi sees a band member of Roselia crying and everyone else trying to console her. Not sure if she screwed up or felt it wasn’t up to par but the owner hints it isn’t the end of the world. Poppin’ Party tries standing on stage for the experience. Soon, they get their own audition to see if they are fit to play there. Well, less than perfect. So when owner asks who thinks they did well, only Kasumi raises her hand with optimism. The rest just looked embarrassed. Anyway, owner can’t let them play here and they have to do better than that. Don’t worry. Kasumi will practice as long as it takes. You don’t say because Tae saw Space’s schedule and notices the latter half empty. Then she breaks the news to them that she is closing down Space.

Episode 10
Tae looks like she is going crazy and Kasumi is ‘missing’. But when Kasumi returns, she is as lively as ever as she has designed outfits for their outfit. Next time they go see owner for another chance at the audition, she tells them they’re not there yet. Natsu’s band, Chispa is here to audition. Cheese pack what? Despite being all over the place, owner asks if they think they made it. Natsu confidently answers they believe they did everything they could. Owner passes them. While Poppin’ Party is happy for them, it makes them think what they are lacking. Yuri says that there is no one correct music. The answer is different for everyone. So all of them especially Kasumi thinks really hard. Kasumi thinks she really got it so she goes bug owner that night just to tell her how much she loves Space and will definitely play here. Really? Owner shuts her up with this: She is the worst of the lot! Heck, even Arisa is giving her piece of mind if she is tired of it all. I mean, when does it end? After a flawless performance? After playing at Space? She is always looking like having fun but Arisa is thinking having fun isn’t what it’s all about. So is she hinting she isn’t having fun in Poppin’ Party? So everyone works hard by continuing to practise. Yeah, Kasumi goes the extra mile by practising so hard that a couple of picks broke! So the next time Poppin’ Party shows up for audition, owner lets them in. Everyone looks ready. But Kasumi looks she has doubts. At this time? And as they start off, suddenly Kasumi cannot sing! No, she hasn’t lost her voice since she can still talk. Somehow she just cannot sing.

Episode 11
Gloomy. Depressing. Hey, at least it’s quiet since she can only talk softly. Oh sh*t! She visits the doctor and nothing wrong was found. She is told to rest so I guess no band practice. Yeah, not even playing her guitar. Besides, they have one more chance for the audition. So no hurry. Wait. You better hurry before Space shuts down. Being a ‘mute’ has its perks. She doesn’t have to answer when the teacher calls her. Otherwise she is acting weird. Like walking home in the rain and kissing Asuka?! Yikes! Better get her voice back fast! As she talks to Yuri, if it is not nervousness causing this, it could be stress. Kasumi? Stressed?! What’s Asuka’s opinion about this? She thinks she might be in a slump. Next morning, Kasumi wakes up and realizes she has her voice back! Oh no. The craziness is back. Right away they head for practice. But wait… She still can’t sing! I guess practice is over. For added drama effect, Kasumi runs away to cry in the park. Her bandmates catch up. I guess Arisa has enough of it. She starts off harshly about this farce. Kasumi is the one who is least making any improvements so why is she suddenly so concerned now? After Kasumi reveals what owner said, Arisa continues her criticism. It sure is true since Kasumi drags everyone in without asking their opinions first. It caused everyone lots of trouble. Of course we now have to say good things she did like how she amazingly brought together a band and she did learn how to play the guitar quickly. Since she is still adamant she wants to play at Space with them, they all start taking turns to sing a line of a song. When it is Kasumi’s turn, she ekes out whatever she can. Sounding soft and out of breath. At least it’s an achievement considering her circumstances.

Episode 12
Kasumi gets this idea of designing their t-shirts for practice. But first they have to study for the tests. After that they continue practising. They have a sleepover at Tae’s place. So no pillow fight and turning in early? No wonder nobody can sleep (except for Tae) so they watch the sky anyway. Too cloudy anyway. So D-Day is here for Poppin’ Party. This is their last shot at the audition. And after a group rally, they start strutting their stuff. Kasumi can sing albeit I feel it is not 100% perfect. Once the song ends, Arisa starts crying! She realizes she made a few mistakes despite practising so hard. Infectious enough to affect Rimi as she cries about the same thing. Before more could be infected, owner asks that question but aimed at Kasumi. Her reply? We pulled through. After lecturing how people do music because they love it, she finds their performance satisfying and passes them. Okay. Time for a big group hug and let all those tears flow. Yeah, everybody watching outside can also cry too.

Episode 13
Kasumi is being her usual chirpy ‘harasser’. She even joins in with whatever yuri thing Tae is teasing Saaya with. As this would be Space’s last performance, we have Glitter Green, Chispa and Poppin’ Party gracing it. The place is packed with people even during the day rehearsal. Even Poppin’ Party’s families are here. So there’s lots of preparation and nervousness before the main event begins. Glitter Green goes first followed by Chispa. And so Poppin’ Party who is making their first live performance is ironically Space’s last performance. At first Kasumi introduces the band and how it all started. I guess they can be good stand-up comedians in a way since everyone is ‘criticizing’ how Kasumi dragged them all into forming this band although it was for the greater good. And with Kasumi giving that silly reaction, no wonder the crowd is laughing. And so here is their song: Dreaming Sunflower. Enjoy. Goodbye and thank you very much.

OVA
Time for some low quality fanservice. I guess it is boring to see girls studying. So what are they going to do for fun? Go to the beach! Oddly, the guitarists brought their guitars along. With all the excitement and hype, amidst the chaos Arisa somehow ended up getting dragged into Kasumi’s pace and holds her guitar while in the sea?! Be careful not to get it wet. And Tae just leaves her guitar unguarded on the beach before dipping in. Wow. So fun. So carefree. Eventually they find a kind beach house owner to help safe keep their belongings. Who would ever reject cute girls? Meanwhile the girls of Roselia are practising in a rented summer house nearby. Yukina Minato is having trouble writing the perfect song. So what Lisa Imai suggest? Go to the beach! So Poppin’ Party and Roselia bump into each other. Can we have fun together? Sayo Hikawa insists they are here on a training camp. Eventually everyone has to loosen up by playing beach volleyball. This is what is all about, right? Too bad the dramatic drama and screw ups overshadow the low quality fanservice. I’m not sure if it’s true but once Sayo changes her casual clothes into her swimsuit, her team plays better! Proof that beach volleyball is all about showing skin if you want to level up? Anyway, we don’t know who wins because nobody kept count (so as to avoid clash between Poppin’ Party and Roselia fans). Kasumi has this idea for them join forces and form a 10 woman band called Roselia Party. The beach house owner has Poppin’ Party do a sound check. They go on stage and strut their stuff. Because there are no drums, Saaya sings the vocals along with Kasumi. There is a recorded drum play but it’s so perfect that it makes me wonder do they really need a drummer. As expected, Poppin’ Party is so good that the audience loves them and this gives Roselia motivation to practice and Yukina has found the inspiration for her perfect song. You mean it wasn’t the beach volleyball that fired them up? Just kidding.

Crash! Boom! Bang! Keep Dreaming…
ZzzZZzzzZzzz… Oh… I see the season is over. Oh boy. I guess I’m not really cut out for this kind of shows anymore. So the only thing I was hoping that would salvage the entire season was why Space’s owner decided to close it down. She has been doing it for almost her entire life and I don’t see why she decides to shut it down now. It’s not like she hates music or got bored with it. Definitely not. Maybe her reasons are personal and if she doesn’t want to tell us, fine. Thus I can only speculate that Space’s closure is because she needed to push all those young girl bands to a better place. I mean, can’t be playing in this cramped space forever, can you? Because we see how ‘depressed’ Yuri was at first when the place was closing down. So with Space’s closure, hopefully all band hopefuls who dream of performing big or small would find a better space to play their music. If they love music, they can go anywhere. Also, Space’s closure is to push Poppin’ Party and make it look as though they have made it through the final hurdle in time. Mission accomplished in time! Hooray! Now they don’t look like losers. Other than that… Yawn… Even the beasts that were awakened to destroy humanity and the planet would immediately go back to its slumber. Oops… Am I too harsh?

Unfortunately I’m so bored that I couldn’t really feel connected and how deep the interaction and bonding of the Poppin’ Party members. In anime genres like this one, a small group of characters is supposed to drive the story and their character development but it is a sad thing that I don’t really feel that emotional feel it. Yeah, maybe I’m such a dead person… I know everything this season feels just like the beginning of everything, the discovery of stuffs and the motivation that is needed to pull through. I know that they are going to pull through somehow with all the drama and ‘obstacles’ in their way, I’m sure they will overcome it. From gathering the band members (it took more than half the season) to Kasumi losing her voice and finally passing the audition. All as expected. Yeah, I sound like an expert in watching this genre but I can assure you I’m not.

So I am going to blame primarily Kasumi for the ‘boring’ character development. Just like in K-ON! and both Love Live series, the leader must always be an airhead (such leaders are even expanded to other animes like One Piece). However as compared to the rest, Kasumi passes off as more annoying than anything. She really gets on your nerves. For one thing, she goes at her own pace and doesn’t listen to everyone and drags them all into her own pace whether they like it or not. She could be one of the world’s greatest stalkers thanks to her persistence. It might look like she is giving you a choice but you realize that there isn’t any options because the only way to stop her from bugging you is to conform to whatever she wants. And because she says and does everything with that sparkly silly smile in her face, it makes it all hard to turn her away. Case in point: Arisa. Poor girl. Thankfully everything turned out fine and thus Kasumi is a ‘heroine’. Had it turned out badly like for example if everything flopped real hard, no doubt she will bear the full brunt of the blame. Dream over. Break up. Depression. Lethargy. Regrets. Suicide. Woah! Too dark a theme for a series that is all sunshiny, cheerful and bright.

I know it is good to be optimistic and passionate but the way Kasumi is portrayed doing so feels a bit unrealistic. In the real world, she would have been shot down as being ‘meiwaku’ (annoying and troublesome) and ‘shitsukoi na’ (persistent). I want to punch her at times but seeing how cute she is, I realize it’s even wrong to punch anybody. If Kasumi wasn’t in this band thingy, she would be hell of a good saleswoman. To show that she is human, somebody grumpy had to point out her flaws and it really hit her. Imagine someone telling you off you’re the worst when you are still on your high horse. Not so fun anymore, eh? I guess once in a while you have to be brought down to earth. Another unrealistic thing about Kasumi is how fast she becomes a guitar master in a short space of time. Do you know how long it took me to get to that level?! Maybe Tae was a good instructor but the fact we see Kasumi making so little progress at first and then suddenly becoming a pro when it matters, it just makes it all feel unrealistic. Did she sell her soul to the devil or something?

If there had to be a favourite character of mine in this series, I would definitely go for Arisa. In short, she is a funny girl. Like in any other group, there needs to be one who retorts and this is exactly what Arisa’s role is for. Because the rest are like ‘zombies’ and pandering to Kasumi so we need Arisa as a voice of reasoning and objection sometimes. She is the other one besides Kasumi to have this lively personality. But unlike Kasumi whom I consider as annoying, at least Arisa is funny. One reason is that she is a tsundere and it clearly shows at times when she doesn’t really want to do it but does it eventually or tries to give excuse to justify it isn’t so but it is in reality. So Arisa, never change. Of course, to also at least to show she is also human, she also cries and makes mistakes especially in their final audition.

For the rest of the other band members, I feel that they are boring and don’t really stand out. Heck, I think they all feel the same. They all have their issues to deal with at first but once they overcome that, they start to feel the same. Like Rimi who was once a shy girl. Now no longer obviously shy, she’s such a good and happy girl. Tae is also an airhead and at her own pace like Kasumi but at least she is not as annoying. Being Kasumi’s guitar teacher at first, once Kasumi ‘graduates’, Tae is just a good and happy girl. Saaya as the last member to join thanks to her worrywart issues also becomes nothing but a good and happy girl once she has less anxiety. I don’t know when it happened but there seems to be some sort of close friendship struck between Rimi and Tae ever since the band is completed. Did I miss something there? Or maybe Tae is just a little yuri by nature…

As for the other supporting characters, I can’t say the same for them. I feel they hardly make an impact at all. Glitter Green has got their own track record so I don’t see the need for them to even intervene with Poppin’ Party. Though, Yuri sometimes gives advice. Owner might look like a grumpy old woman but I am sure she just wants the best from out of those bands who play at her Space. If they’re not going to take this seriously, they’re not going to take music seriously anyway and thus do not have the right to play. She has seen lots of bands come and go and hence perhaps why she isn’t amused by Kasumi’s overhyping reactions. She’s lived long enough to see it all. I thought there might be some sort of issue with Asuka since she has this gloomy and troubled looks at the start. As the series progresses, she shows less of it as she opens up to her sister. Maybe it is because of Kasumi as an annoying sister that she doesn’t like? If so, then aha! Told you Kasumi was damn annoying!

Art and drawing are okay. One reason why I kept thinking how this series reminds me of Love Live is because of how cute the girls are. Perhaps it was the factor that made me watch this series… Not only Poppin’ Party but those other band girls too have this very cute looks. They have this very cute idol looks but the only difference of them instead of prancing around on stage, they hold and play instruments. Thus if destiny did not make them pick up the guitar, keyboard or drums, they will don flashy idol outfits and start dancing on stage with cute (and sexy) choreography dance moves. I noticed that there is some CGI used in here albeit only limited to when the band plays on stage. However the CGI is not that bad and is almost fits seamlessly into the overall animation. You might not notice the difference but if you looks closely you can tell when the animation is a bit different than the usual.

Since this is a series on music, I can’t say that I really like them. I’m not saying that the songs suck but they don’t really resonate with me. There are a few decent ones but it didn’t make me go crazy over it. The opening theme, Tokimeki Experience somehow sounds so much like an idol song that could be sung by the idol group in Love Live. Just add some electric guitar to make it sound like they’re a rock band. Oh wait. They are. The same can be said for the ending theme, Kirakira Da Toka Yume Da Toka ~Sing Girls~. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star although is spammed in the first half, thankfully that is done away once they have their own music.

For the voice acting, I guess it feels okay. Having a good singing voice is necessary for this kind of series and Poppin’ Party does a decent job in that. At least better than mine. The main casts are Aimi Terasaka as Kasumi (Sherry in Plastic Memories), Ayasa Itou as Arisa (Alice in Milky Holmes series), Rimi Nishimoto as Rimi (debut role), Sae Ootsuka as Tae (debut role), Ayaka Ohashi as Saaya (Yayaka in Flip Flappers), Suzuko Mimori as Yuri (Sanae in Teekyuu), Yuka Ozaki as Asuka (Serval in Kemono Friends) and Mami Koyama as Space’s owner (Balalaika in Black Lagoon).

Overall, this isn’t a bad anime but it is just boring and sometimes unrealistic to me (even if it is just anime). I read there are many positive comments on this show but like music itself, everyone has different tastes and opinions about it. Annoying main character puts me off at the start but I still persevered like the band because I was hoping that things would change for the better. Okay, I’ll give them that since they’re making small steps at a time. At least this is realistic because you can’t have them suddenly playing at the Budoukan and selling record breaking sales all over the world. Well, no harm in dreaming about that. But still, you have to wake up and make it happen or it will still be a dream. Meanwhile I am dreaming how BanG Dream would be an awesome name for a porn title…