Original Run: April 5, 2020 - December 27, 2020 Number of Episodes: 15 Genre: Idol, Music Based on the Video Game: IDOLiSH7
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for IDOLiSH7: Second Beat. Reader discretion is advised.***
Japan’s newest idol group, IDOLiSH7, is rocketing up the ranks. Not too long ago, they could hardly excite a crowd on the street. Now, they are filling entire arenas.
Filling IDOLiSH7’s ranks are:
- Riku Nanase (voiced by Kensho Ono)
- Sougo Ousaka (voiced by Atsushi Abe)
- Tamaki Yotsuba (voiced by KENN)
- Iori Izumi (voiced by Toshiki Masuda)
- Nagi Rokuya (voiced by Takuya Eguchi)
- Mitsuki Izumi (voiced by Tsubasa Yonaga)
- Yamato Nikaidou (voiced by Yuusuke Shirai)
With their rising fame, the group members are handling the pressures of celebrity life in their own way. What they need to realize, though, is that they are each essential in what makes IDOLiSH7 the success that it is.
If there is a series that more encapsulates the difficulties of staying up to date with the newest anime shows of 2020, I would like to hear it.
To give you some background, I had expected to review IDOLiSH7: Second Beat (IDOLiSH7 2) at the end of Summer 2020. Then COVID hit, and IDOLiSH7, as well many other series, went on hiatus. So despite episode one releasing on April 5, 2020, and only being 15 episodes long, the finale, at last, came on December 27, 2020.
Since I was getting tired of needing to reschedule its review, IDOLiSH7 2 became an obsession. An obsession fueled, in large part, by a surprisingly excellent first season. IDOLiSH7 1 upended what I should expect from an idol-anime; I should not just assume them to be dead on arrival. Season one boasted an engaging story that focused on a variety of interesting characters with actual personalities. It did not have a cash-grab feel, which many other shows in the same genre possess.
Therefore, it is fair to say IDOLiSH7 2 had my attention.
Having now finally watched it, I see no reason not to recommend this show. Speaking as a reviewer, IDOLiSH7 2 was good, and I go into why shortly. However, as an anime fan, I realized something I did not count on the second I started watching.
Although the first season was a delightful surprise (the shock of which I believe to be why I didn’t notice sooner), it turns out I did not and do not care about IDOLiSH7 in the slightest. I was very disinterested in season two.
Again, and I’ll repeat this throughout the review, I will recommend IDOLiSH7 2 since it was, technically speaking, and well-made. Nevertheless, do know that this was not my cup of tea. Thus, do not expect glowing praise of this series.
With that out of the way, IDOLiSH7 2, like its predecessor, was character-driven. And when I use the term “character-driven,” what I mean is everyone in this show, particularly the members and crew of the titular group, had personalties leagues above the cardboard cutouts I typically see in idol-anime.
The boys of IDOLiSH7 had insecurities, fears, reservations, doubt, and many other qualities that made much more than a collection of pretty faces.
For example, among the seven, there was Mitsuki Izumi. He wasn’t the best singer or the most talented dancer in the group. In terms of stage performances, he was average but could hold his own. As a result, he wasn’t the most famous member of the team. Mitsuki’s strength was in his charisma.
When the boys of IDOLiSH7 had their televised talk show, Mitsuki led the conversation because he knew how to get the others talking. He was good at giving everyone the proper amount of speaking time and keeping the atmosphere light and fun. In these instances, Mitsuki was the center of attention.
But since Mitsuki was the lowest-ranked IDOLiSH7 based on ranking, fans of the other members thought he was hogging the spotlight. This was a case of ignorant fans not knowing what they were talking about and failing to understand the bigger picture. Be that as it may, when someone who already considers themselves to be subpar, being on the other end of such hate isn’t easy.
Keep in mind; this was only Mitsuki’s story. Every other member of IDOLiSH7 had their own issues they had to handle.
The thing I like about IDOLiSH7 is that it knows a team doesn’t automatically function by simply putting people in the same room. If a member can be replaced with a snap, there wasn’t much of a team from the start.
The IDOLiSH7 we saw throughout seasons one and two could have only existed with these seven members. Change one of them out, and you have a completely different dynamic.
Many other idol shows fail because members can be swapped without anyone noticing. Therefore, there was nothing worth connecting to. IDOLiSH7 didn’t have that problem.
Let me repeat myself. I am recommending this show. I believe my disinterest in it had nothing to do with the quality of the series itself. If you enjoyed the first season of IDOLiSH7, I see no reason you wouldn’t like the second.
WITH THAT SAID, I did have problems with IDOLiSH7 2.
First, sometimes this show’s comedy would devalue its drama.
For instance, there was a scene where IDOLiSH7’s center, Riku Nanase, was talking to his twin brother Ten Kujou (voiced by Souma Saitou). To put it mildly, the relationship between the brothers was a strained one. Here they were having this serious talk that was both hurtful and disheartening. Meanwhile, throughout the IDOLiSH7 household, general silliness and slapstick ran amuck.
It was hard to focus on what was going on between the brothers when there were, like, five running jokes happening simultaneously.
IDOLiSH7 knew how and when to have moments that hit hard. Occasionally, though, this season couldn’t help itself with the unwanted comedy.
Second, this season’s villain; a.k.a., there was a villain. No, this wasn’t some rival group. Instead, it was a full-fledged antagonist who would go around sabotaging sets and putting performers in danger. And all because this person didn’t want IDOLiSH7 and other idol groups to do a cover of a long-disappeared idol.
I don’t claim to know anything about the Japanese idol industry. My knowledge is based on what I have seen in anime. Thus, I can’t be considered an expert. Still, I found it odd that a significant obstacle in IDOLiSH7 2 had to do with someone being offended by a cover song. In every other instance I know about, a cover is a way to give tribute to an artist. It is considered a celebration of music. People don’t get too butthurt over it since the original song hasn’t gone anywhere.
However, this season made it seem like the idol groups were taking a dump on someone’s grave. The antagonist even sent a letter threatening to execute what sounded like a terrorist attack if the cover was sung. That seemed excessive and, frankly, really f@#$ing stupid.
Regardless of any issues this season might have had, I would be surprised if IDOLiSH7 doesn’t receive a third season.
I expected to be more enthusiastic about this season than I was. However, the surprise that was its predecessor held more weight than I imagined.
Be that as it may, this was a solid continuation.
This series has proven to be unlike others of its genre. With a strong story and even better characters, fans of this franchise have a lot to look forward to.
Although this may not be my show of choice, I give IDOLiSH7: Second Beat a recommendation.
But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise IDOLiSH7: Second Beat? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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