What’s it about? Transfer student Otonomiya Saku is highly sought after for his vocal range, which the Singing Club is sure will help them nail the song they want to use for the upcoming competition. Other forces are interested in Saku too, and his potential as a conduit for the mysterious “white shadows” that move through the world and supposedly have the power to heal.
“Fine” is a terribly damning word. For a viewer, it means that in a world full of things that are excellent and things that are amazingly bad, this isn’t going to do much more than chew up some of the hours remaining until your death. For a critic, it means there’s very little to say beyond “if you are very into this specific subgenre, here is some more of it.” It is as filling and unremarkable as plain oatmeal or dorm room sex.
If you’re into male idol series, this is not offensively bad. The designs are competent, despite featuring three miles of eyebrows and the guy who’s allegedly a keyboardist despite having constant sweater paws. The characters fit into their various archetypes, from “the touchy-feely shippable one” to “the sinister glasses boy.” Kajiwara Gakuto, as Saku, gives a solid performance of the much-hyped song the Singing Club is after.
In fact, the episode briefly comes alive in those last few minutes, showing off at least a basic eye for composition during the mini-music video that doesn’t just rely on back-and-forth shots of the singer and his audience. It does come at the cost of a dead-dull lead up where a bunch of characters stare silently at an MP3 player and comment vaguely about how great the song we haven’t heard is.
Most non-genre fans will probably zero in on the supernatural element, and it’s very vaguely defined here. Saku has a sister dying of Vague Bedridden Sickness, which will no doubt give him an injection of motivation down the line, and there are a lot of characters saying ominous things in dark rooms. But as to how deep this supposed conspiracy goes and how much using music to contact the supernatural will divert the standard plot structure of the genre, it’s anyone’s guess.
It’s good that a music show knows how to direct its musical sequences, but it’s just not much fun to watch the rest of the character scenes. Everything feels naked in its gimmickry, including a shot in the opening of the main boys in the pool, just in case there are any stray Free! dollars left to squeeze from the market. And of course, there is an absolute tidal wave of characters that basically ensures very few of them will be developed to a satisfying extent.
If the writing can use its hook to subvert plotting expectations and use music for something besides The Big Contest, there might be enough here that invested genre fans can get something out of it. If you’re a casual idol viewer, it might be better to just give this one a miss.
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