Aikatsu Stars! Episode 01 Review: A Series Growing Up

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Aikatsu Stars! episode 01 aired recently and here is my episode review of it.

To start, I don’t know what format I’m going for reviews, so I’ll just write my thoughts of each notable scene/screenshots. I won’t go into great detail because I certainly don’t want to make this post into a breakdown analysis of an idol show that just aired.

Of course these episode reviews are not spoiler-free so proceed at your own risk. Oh and I’ll be comparing the two shows because why not? Here we go!

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The series starts off with Nijino Yume talking in third-person for a second (probably they want to highlight Yume means “dream”) and ran towards a stadium where she meets up with best friend Nanakura Koharu.

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The two are big fans of the 4-person idol group S4 and they both agreed to enroll at Four Stars Academy and become idols and hopefully be the next S4. They meet up in front of the stadium just in time for the big live event.

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Aside from the apparent CGI downgrade (but not too much), the two are having a blast watching their favorite idols do their thing on stage. The concert, or rather, scene ends with S4’s Shiratori Hime performing a solo dance-song number.

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At that moment, the two swore they’ll be a part of S4 and submitted their academy application letters and apparently they got accepted with no audition-like entrance exam.

The anime started of very nicely — Two friends who are big fans of an idol group entered one of their live concerts and it inspired them to be idols. It is soon revealed that Yume is very fond of Shiratori Hime and found inspiration to become an idol, similar to Ichigo was inspired Mizuki.

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The Start of a Dream

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Uniform looks okay, albeit plain. Design is a step down compared to the OG one.

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Our cute main character’s enthusiasm.

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Academy Headmaster Moroboshi greeting the new students, and…

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The “Top Stars” S4 entered the stage to also greet the new first year students.

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We get a glimpse of a potentially huge cast of characters. One of the things AS! got right is introducing a ton of characters for their potential part of the story. Let’s just hope they’re not just filler-one-shot characters like certain characters in OG Aikatsu!.

I’ll skip the VA info. Just go here if you want to know who voiced who.

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Kasumi Yozora still sounds like Ran, but without Ran’s trademark masculine tone.

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Nikaido Yuzu’s voice is cheerful and I had a hard time figuring out she has Aoi’s voice.

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Kisaragi Tsubasa’s voice is obviously Ichigo with a deepened voice.

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Shiratori Hime’s VA is new to the series, but she is perhaps the Mizuki of this series.

Introducing S4 at the beginning was a pleasant surprise. I mean, normally they tease them until the anime is a few episodes in. However, aside from Hime, the rest didn’t interact with Yume or other key characters. So… I guess it’s still teasing…

[Ohys-Raws] Aikatsu Stars! - 01 (TX 1280x720 x264 AAC).mp4_snapshot_06.24_[2016.04.07_19.18.07]After the ceremony, it is found out that Yume and Koharu do not share the same class, but fortunately for them, they both share the same room. As Yume entered her classroom…

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Yume meets her teacher Hibiki Anna aka the Johnny Bepp of Aikatsu Stars! She’s a rocker with a fiery attitude. She says a few Engrish words but what makes Anna so similar to Johnny is she also gave her students a nickname-title: Baby. For now I like her, but she will never replace my man the Johnny Bepp.

Anna laid down a few reminders here and there, but the important thing she tells the students is the act of self-producing, similar idol progression in OG Aikatsu.

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Following tradition, the teacher Anna hands out each student their IDs and the series trademark item the Aikatsu Mobile (phone). As Anna calls out the students to receive their items, Yume encounters a girl who is her fated rival and love interest (doujinshi, mind you).

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Meet Sakuraba Rola and, uh, she’s my favorite first year in the anime. Remember what I said about me liking Aoi the moment I saw her? Same with Rola here. When I saw her knocking on the window and then gave that wink, I know she will be one of the best girls in the series.

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She is confrontational like how she interacted with her teacher Anna. I love he—it. Her rebellious attitude, I mean.

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Selecting the student’s preferred dress is now done digitally compared to the traditional selecting the cards from a table in OG Aikatsu!.

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RIP Volks-kun. ;_;7

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Yume wanted to see her admiration Hime, so she climbed up a tree to get a better look, but she has a bad sense of direction and ended up bumping with Sen—Subaru, a boy idol from, uh, the Rose Tribe. Sorry, I had to say it. I mean, there are roses and stuff.

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Yume thought Subaru is a trespasser and told him to leave, but Subaru fought back with one of his own snarks and laid the smack down on Yume. Yume then exists the boys sector of the academy.

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Anyone can join the school with no audition-like examination and even though Yume is good at singing, Anna pointed out her voice isn’t on par with anyone else. Or something like that.

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As we see here, Rola is Yume’s fated rival and it’ll be interesting to see their rivalry grow from day one. This is something Aikatsu! S2 sorely lacked or totally abandoned. Dream Academy was introduced as a rival school for Starlight Academy, but instead they made both schools cooperate in events and concerts. The removal of any form of rivalry is one of the reasons why S2 was underwhelming.

Aikatsu Stars! is going in the right direction with this and I hope they’ll keep it up and not chicken out.

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From the looks of it, the designers are now teachers with their own specialty. I think this is a good idea to put all of these characters in one spot.

The school announces a small event where each freshman will go on stage to perform. To add tension, the top stars S4 will also observe and perhaps evaluate each student’s capabilities.

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The nervous Koharu goes ahead of Yume and Yume cheers her on.

I’ll be frank, I do not like Koharu’s character. I don’t like her one bit and I’m glad there’s Rola to eventually replace her as Yume’s all around buddy.

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Yume is now called on stage.

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The dressing room.

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The new CGI is, in a way, poor. I understand the anime is using new models to match with the perhaps new Aikatsu! game booths, but what’s unforgivable is they have better assets and they didn’t use it here.

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Yume on stage. She immediately produces an aura and right before the song ends, Yume executed a special appeal. Is Aikatsu Stars! pulling the same shit again?

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But no, it didn’t. Yume miraculously executed these moves on her first try. The members of S4, the headmaster, everyone was shocked to see a girl on her first year managed to pull off such feats. Is Yume naturally gifted? As Hime and the headmaster pointed out: A new legend is being born.

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Then suddenly Yume fainted on stage and everyone rushed to her aid.

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Yume wakes up in the infirmary with her beloved idol Hime at her side. The episode ends with Yume wondering why she had no recollection on what had happened.

One thing’s for sure, Yume stood on that stage and wowed the world.

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Non-holographic. Just like the CGI, they also downgraded their technology.

THOUGHTS

I thought Aikatsu Stars! started off great. They did so many things right like introducing S4 early, showing off new promising characters, and Yume not being an Ichigo clone. The anime is set in a different universe, so the anime will have no excuse to pander or reference the OG Aikatsu. And in doing so, AS! can stand on its own feet as something new and different. AS! is clearly a sign the series is growing up with potential serious plot points and drama in the future episodes. The music itself also grew up with a more mature lyrics and less cutesy tone.

With that said, one of the reasons why I watched Aikatsu! is the comfy factor of it. Every episode were full of fun with no drama getting in the way. You just sit back, relax and watch these cute idols do their idol activities without a care in the world. I didn’t get that comfy feeling when watching Aikatsu Stars! and I fear the series will forget its fond childhood memories as it grows up to a serious adult.

Here’s hoping Aikatsu! will still have the heart of a kid when it grows up.

OTHER THOUGHTS

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I got first dibs on Rola.

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[Ohys-Raws] Aikatsu Stars! - 01 (TX 1280x720 x264 AAC).mp4_snapshot_11.21_[2016.04.07_19.34.19] [Ohys-Raws] Aikatsu Stars! - 01 (TX 1280x720 x264 AAC).mp4_snapshot_22.43_[2016.04.07_20.20.40] [Ohys-Raws] Aikatsu Stars! - 01 (TX 1280x720 x264 AAC).mp4_snapshot_23.32_[2016.04.07_20.24.45] [Ohys-Raws] Aikatsu Stars! - 01 (TX 1280x720 x264 AAC).mp4_snapshot_24.09_[2016.04.07_20.25.31] [Ohys-Raws] Aikatsu Stars! - 01 (TX 1280x720 x264 AAC).mp4_snapshot_09.50_[2016.04.07_19.28.47] We all know Yuzu and Yozora are voiced by the same VAs of who voiced Aoi and Ran. There are some implications that Aoi and Ran are a bit too close to each other to the point of the creators teasing them several times. These teasing and implications has led to the increasing fanbase of RanAo.

Since I’m a big fangirl of the couple, I can’t help but notice Yuzu and Yozora are awfully close based on what I saw in episode 01. They’ve been seen side by side all the time and they synced lyrics together in the ending.

It’s obviously the goggles, but I remain hopeful to see these two interact. Oh and remember, Yozora’s profile stated she likes cute things and cute girls and as far as I can see, Yuzu is a cute girl.

This concludes my review for Aikatsu Stars! episode 01. What do you think of the episode? Is it a good successor for the series or a step down? Was I good with my first review of the episode or was I being delusional or incorrect?

— SHiN @ Lazy Lily Fansubs

2 thoughts on “Aikatsu Stars! Episode 01 Review: A Series Growing Up

  1. Excellent review of the first ep! I like it way more than I expected to. Rola is spunky! I actually really love the school uniform. Not in love with the jumping instead of running when preparing for a show-all I kept thinking of what is she falls?!!

    I think I will keep watching it just because I want to see what happens. I honestly am not sure about boys being in it and it possibly being darker than the OG. I love Aikatsu because it is light, fluffy, cute, no darkness, and its refreshing to have a romance free show. To me that’s Aikatsu!

    I’m going to be blogging about it soon-is it ok if I link to yours for the rundown of what happens in it?

    I adored almost every character in Aikatsu, even Akari & friends who initially I struggled with. Not getting the same amount of love for Aikatsu Stars. Will wait and see what happens next!

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