Is Ensemble Stars! Anime Good?
Hello everyone and welcome to our place! 🙂 From the Japanese card app game (and later rhythm game) Ensemble Stars!, we now get a male idol Anime adaptation of what I believe to be of both games. Honestly, since the games are entirely in Japanese, I never played them. However, from what I could find, it seems that the story is following the card game, but the animation used in the concerts are from the rhythm game. Nevertheless, that doesn’t really matter when it comes to the Anime since it should be able to stand by itself. Since the Ensemble Stars! seems to be (surprisingly) off the radar here in the West, let me start by explaining what the story is about.
What is Ensemble Stars! About?
Anzu – most known as the transfer student – enrolled in the producer course in a famous idol-training academy, recognized for producing top-notch male idols which later become incredibly popular in show business. Because of this, all idol students are male, and she is the only female in the school or, at least, in the show business departments.
Right away, she meets the unit – what they call each band – formed by, what I expect to be the main male characters of the show. The group is called Trickstar and is Trickstar and, for some reason, they remind of a younger version of the Free team. I mean, they are not really that similar to the characters itself, but the main presets are there – the serious, the goofy, the smart, and the nerd-ish.
However, although it’s true the school produces great artists, it’s also true that things are rigged to benefit the school council which has full control of the school. The way units can develop – from B1 to SS – it’s similar to Food Wars!, which means the bands have battles between themselves to reach a higher level. Because of this, Trickstar members want to start a revolution, and they ask Anzu to be their producer, something she ends up accepting. Now, they have the difficult task to beat Akatsuki in two weeks. No, it’s not from Naruto, but the name of the three major members of the school council.
It’s Not About the Story, It’s About the Music… and the Cute Guys
Honestly, the story so far is… What word should I use… Bubblegum? Is that a thing? Meaning, it’s sweet, it has a nice beat, but at the same time, it doesn’t really say much – that’s Ensemble Stars! for you! In the first three episodes, the story is just about introducing most of the male characters while introducing how the school works at the same time. There has not been anything that was that deep, and in three episodes, Trickstar members were able to “start” a revolution, train with some strong dudes and, on episode four, they are ready to go against the first enemy, the unit from the school council.
I mean, it almost seems that the Anime is going to end on episode four. Of course, I’m pretty sure that the story will develop from that battle on. Nevertheless, that was the feeling I got. It felt too rush and too empty. However, I did read a comment somewhere from a person who played the game, and they said it gets better in the future. So, I’m looking forward to that!
Yes, I’m looking forward to continuing watching the Anime, even if it’s so simple that it’s almost childish. The truth is, the rest is pretty well done, except character development, but I’ll talk more about that later.
First of all, the music is good! And when I say good, it’s actually pretty good! Not only I never skipped the intro, but the units’ music is well made and well produced. Until episode three, I was able to get to know four different groups – Trickstar, UNDEAD, AKATSUKI, and Ra*bits. Each one of them has its specific sound, and I found myself humming, dancing, even singing to all of them. On top of that, all the guys are cute 😉
Cute Guys + Nice Animation = I’m Hooked
I think Dynamic Chord is still terrorizing my mind when I start watching anything that is male idol related. That ‘excellent’ experience is probably the reason why I started watching Emsemble Stars without expecting much. However, the Anime actually has great animation. From the character design to the background, to the movement while the characters are singing their songs, everything seems good enough and above the average, I’ve experienced this season. Moreover, although I prefer the choreographies to be designed traditionally instead of 3D like it was on episode one, the CGI looked good and well blended on the following episodes. Of course, you can clearly see the difference, but I’ve seen way worse.
Since the choreographies were designed for the rhythm game, it makes sense to use them for the Anime. It saves a lot of time, money, and it looks good, so I don’t see a problem at all. Did I also mention that the guys are cute? I did, oh well… It’s never enough saying that again! It has a male character for every taste, probably even more than one.
However, that’s the design. Character construction though is a little bland. Honestly, most of the characters are easy to like at face value. Nonetheless, they are not that intriguing or interesting as other Animes with the same theme. Especially Anzu who, although she does make some choices of their own and is not a complete follower, at this point, I’m not sure why she is there. Honestly, her being there or not, the story would follow the same route, and most of the scenes would be equal. So, unless they are trying to go for the reverse harem plot down the line, she is a bit useless.
Is Ensemble Stars! Worth Watching?
Ensemble Stars! is not for everyone, especially if the story does not develop to something more profound in the future such as Animes like Free! who was able to grab more audience due to how interesting the characters become.
However, if you like to watch cute Anime guys and Japanese Pop/Rock, then I think you should definitely give it a try. It’s true that it’s a very light story and won’t be in one of your favorite Animes of all time. Nevertheless, it’s perfect for watching and just letting yourself relax.
What about you? Have you watched Ensemble Stars!? What your thoughts about it? Comment down below! 🙂