Ink and Paint: A Ponderance from Idol Hell

For those who don't know, Aikatsu! is ending its original series in about a week.  And as much as I'm embarrassed to admit it, I'm a little sad.

You need to understand - idol shows, especially the all-ages ones like Aikatsu!, have kind of filled the niche once reserved for magical girl shows.  And this particular show was so relentlessly positive and feel-good that I frequently watched it as a pick-me-up.  Hell, the whole reason I got into it was because I was going through a depressive period and needed something positive.  Plus, being an all-ages show, Aikatsu! had no random gross fanservice to distract from the show (looking at you, random closeup of Eli's butt while she adjusts her bikini leg from Love Live...).  It was a fun, fluffy show.

But I agree with the consensus that, until the current story arc, this last season felt like oddly lifeless wheel-spinning.  It introduced too many new idols & new brands entirely too quickly, cluttering an already massive cast (the main idols alone number around 17 at my rough count).  It felt distracted and designed like something where the creators no longer cared about anything other than their "sell the game" obligations.  Previous seasons at least had plot reasons for every new introduction, but this one felt like some Bandai exec was saying "Hey, you need to introduce Dolly Devil and Mecha PaniQ now, so think of something!" and that was all that was done for the script.

There was a lot to like about this show.  Like I said, it was a positive show; the main competition the girls had was always within themselves, and even the girls who declared themselves rivals would encourage, inspire, & support each other.  The songs and (most of) the clothes were very cute, and while most of the character had "their" hook, each felt like someone who'd be fun to follow individually.  The fandom in this country stayed relatively small, mostly thanks to an unfortunate lack of legal streaming, and with a few exceptions (such as the game purist on Tumblr and whoever keeps editing TV Tropes to act like Hikari was a major character), most of them have been pretty cool.  And as weak as this abbreviated final season has been until now, I'll miss it.  (I'll probably keep the first Christmas episode in my regular holiday viewing rotation.)

I'm looking forward to Aikatsu Stars and seeing if it's a full sequel or if it's just set in the same general universe.  So far, the designs look good, and what I've heard of the songs in the previews is catchy.  And maybe reducing the brands in-show used will mean that my favorites don't get abruptly forgotten (I still miss Futuring Girl).  We'll see.  But yeah, this is the show that dragged me into idol hell, and I hope its send-off is appropriately solid.

(FYI, when the last episode is subbed, I'll post some thoughts here.)

UPDATE 3/29/16, 7:55 AM EST: Well, scratch that idea. The subs I use haven't bothered to sub the finale in what is close to a week.  This has me worried if anyone will be willing to sub Aikatsu Stars in a timely manner, and that's due to start later this week.  We'll see, but for now, apologies that my plans for a finale review have been thwarted.

Comments

  1. Idol hell. A place I know all too well. And my wallet. My wallet knows it too.

    $100 Hello Kitty plush? $120 for a doll? A straight up Barbie sized doll? Sold. Key chains? All of the figures? A bag and glasses case? Give me everything!

    No regrets. Maki best girl.

    God help me if they start merchandising Tokyo 7 Sisters. I will buy things with Yamai Sawori or Sakiya Yumeno (because the world needs more southern Dixie bell rock star outfits).

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