On paper, the concept for BanG Dream! either sounds amazing or ridiculously cynical. Take the light-music rock theme of K-ON! and apply the multimedia enfranchisement and marketing style of Love Live! School Idol Project to make a mix of both worlds at once. As a fan of both K-ON! and Love Live! I was rather excited to see where something like that could go, but I also have to admit that the obvious corporate and marketing angle to it made me worried it’d be a soul-less shell.
Well, it’s late January, but the TV anime for BanG Dream! finally premiered and my initial impressions are very solid. While the first episode doesn’t really do anything new or unique to stand out within either the school life or music genre, it clearly knows what works and focuses on elevating that to the highest level. Our main character, Kasumi, has a great positive energy to her from the very first scene of the series that keeps you excited to follow her as she gets used to her new life as a high school student. She’s got your normal main character quirks to her, but I’m glad they decided against playing her up as an extreme airhead as so many series tend to do with this type of character.
Not too much of the cast is introduced in the first episode, with the exception of Saya who Kasumi meets on her first day at school. Saya is a rather calm person who helps out at her family’s bakery shop. As such she doesn’t have too much time with after-school activities, including clubs. I’m sure this will be a conflict once the girls start forming the band, but for now it’s just a minor note on her character. After following a trail of star stickers, Kasumi also runs into Arisa. We don’t learn too much about Arisa except that she’s a bit of a pushover, as Kasumi manages to drag her along to a live show after having just met her, despite initial protests. We also catch a glimpse of one more character, the shy and nervous Rimi. Overall, the cast seems fun, even if none of them really stand out as something special just yet.
The first episode has a really good pace to it, clearly having the formula down for how to give a good first impression on this type of series. We learn a lot about Kasumi, we start learning about the other girls and we get to both see a lot of scenes at school and outside of it to balance things out. I like that the introduction to rock music for Kasumi came from a live show after school rather than something that happened while she was checking out clubs, as it expands the world and scope of BanG Dream! a little more than many school based series dare to do early on. Even Love Live! ended up having Honoka discover idols while visiting another school, after all.
The music so far is really solid too, with this episode featuring the band glitter*green performing at the live show just before the end of the episode, which then closed out with the opening sequence. If these two songs are the level of quality we can expect going forward, I think people will gladly check out the singles and the mobile game without much doubt. I know that I’m interested at least. I will say though, the 3DCG during the OP was rather jarring and unfitting. I hope we won’t be seeing much of that outside of the OP. Considering the pervious music video PVs that were released before the TV anime didn’t go the 3DCG route it’d be disappointed for it to do so now.
But overall I’m very glad I watched BanG Dream!, it’s a super entertaining first episode and I hope it stays as strong moving forward. A big recommendation from me.
BanG Dream! is licensed by Sentai Filmworks and is currently being streamed on The Anime Network.
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