What’s it about? Meet Chihaya Anon, a new transfer to Haneoka Girls Academy, and a late transfer at that. It’s hard enough that she’s got that going for her: life only gets tougher when she realizes everyone’s already got a social group, i.e. their own bands. In a scramble, Anon tries to get her own group together, but it’s not going to be easy. If anything, she’s in for quite the challenge…
As Anime Feminist’s resident idol lover, Bandori, or BanG Dream!, is a franchise I’m familiar with, though I’ll fully admit that I haven’t dipped my toes into it. So when I was offered the chance to check out a new entry in the overall franchise, naturally, I said yes, largely because BanG Dream It’s MyGO!!!!! (here after BDIMG!!!!!) combines the virtual with our own reality, to the extent of keeping the names of the real-life talent behind the virtual girls a secret.
I also wanted to give this a go because Bandori aren’t necessarily idols: they’re female bands, which are very different even if they have the veneer of being idols. While I do use idol in here a few times, I’m using it more to give a frame of reference, but let me make it clear: Bandori is about music groups, not idols. I think it’s really important to life up that fact because it’s easy to use idol as a pejorative when actually, I think Bandori is doing something neat that pays homage to idol culture while also paying homage to popular groups like SCANDAL, Band-Maid, PUFFY, Chatmonchy, and even BABYMETAL, though I don’t expect this entry in the franchise to go into heavy metal territory.
All that in mind, let’s dive into BDIMG!!!!!’s premiere.
Episode 1, “Haneoka’s Quirky Girl,” introduces us to first-year Chihaya Anon, a pink-haired girl who’s transferring to Haneoka Girls Academy just before Golden Week, which is strange because it’s technically still in April, but is also weeks after first term begins. It’s then that she meets Takamatsu Tomori, a shy student that’s very clearly going to be one of BDIMG!!!!! members.
That’s good, because it quickly becomes apparent that a lot of Anon’s classmates are in bands…save for Anon and Tomori, of course. But this doesn’t stop Anon from engaging with music: in fact, she decides to pursue forming her own band, which is of course, the group we’ll follow over the course of BDIMG!!!!!.
Like a lot of anime in this particular vein, episode 1 is about getting the band together, and BDIMG!!!!!’s premiere is no different: we meet the girls, and we segue into the first conflict as Anon tries to start something bigger than herself. And yeah, that’s kind of that: it’s a very simple premiere, though I found myself pretty engaged the entire time.
I’ll admit: when I took this on, I expected 2D animation, not CG, and while I’ve gotten my fill of that, I’ll admit, I have pretty neutral opinions here, and it’s not just because this is an idol show. I think it’s because it’s just fine: nothing is too jarring, hair moves like it should, and it’s all good. Perhaps that’s because this is a Sanzigen joint, and they’re known for specializing in CGI. I’d have preferred 2D, but this isn’t too jarring. It didn’t detract from my view at all, and once I put aside my own preferences, it felt like watching any other show and at times, looked really, really nice. Since I already plan on sticking with this series, I’m sure it’ll just become a part of the BanG Dream experience. Point is, I’m not going to spend much time ragging on something that doesn’t look bad.
What doesn’t feel like anything else is, of course, the music: at least, the taste of it we get. It’s not the full experience, not by a long shot, but it gives a bit of insight into what some of this group’s sound will be. I feel like I often say this when it comes to idol music in particular, but it does sound different than other groups I’ve heard before. I found it easy to draw comparisons to school music club queens, Afterschool Tea Time from K-On! because of course, that’s natural. It’s hard to escape the comparison, actually, though I don’t think that’s to the series’ detriment: it’s kind of what it is when you have an all-girl group in a high school setting. And while the only taste we get comes from the outro, I still can readily say I got good vibes right off the bat. I’m especially happy that it sounds like the ED is hinting that MyGO will be more into ballads than pop, though I wouldn’t mind if they dipped their toes into the latter. It’s just nice to hear a different sound from an idol–or really, a music-focused–anime.
BanG Dream! It’s MyGO!!!!! is a sweet intro to a new group in BanG Dream’s franchise. Anon is a nice character to grow with, and certainly will be the heart of BDIMG!!!!!, though I anticipate I’ll like the rest of the group, once we get to know them a bit more intimately. I also really look forward to that moment of cohesion when the group comes together, choses to stick together, and makes music that touches my heart. That’s always the most powerful part of idol music for me, especially when it comes to anime that center music at its heart. That build up is what makes them so impactful, when done right.
In the end, BanG Dream! It’s MyGO!!!!! is an easy recommendation, especially if you want to make “trying an music anime” a late resolution this year. Give it the classic three episode try, just to see if you like it: you may be surprised by what you find.