What’s It About? Miyama Suzune wants nothing more than to be an idol like superstar Amazawa Akari, an idol who got her start through the Selection Project, an idol reality TV show. Suzune also lives alongside chronic illness, and has since she was a child. Yet she’s determined to inspire others through her voice, so in her last summer of junior high school, Suzune enters the 7th Selection Project in order to make her dreams–and perhaps the dreams of others–come true.
They say life is like a box of chocolates: well, so is the Fall 2021 anime season. Howdy y’all, it’s your boi Mercedez, and I’m proud to tell you that I’m back to dumpster diving through all of the splendid offerings this season has. After a sluggish Summer that had a lot of promise but didn’t necessarily deliver, I’m happy to say that Fall 2021 has some stuff that I’m pretty interested in.
Only this time, I accidentally dumpster dived into an idol show? I swear I didn’t plan this: it just kind of happened. I genuinely picked this because of the title, and immediately didn’t do a lick of research in regards to what a “Selection Project” could be. That said, Selection Project is definitely idols, for sure is idols, and will be very much so focused on idols, so… yay? Or, Anifam, is this a potential nay?
Short answer: no, it’s good, though I’m a bit ambivalent.
Long answer: let’s dive right in.
We start our story ahead of a performance of a song, “Only One Yell,” which has all the initial beats of a karaoke banger; especially when the volume gets raised and we get a taste of those good, good idol lyrics. That immediately transitions to a girl in a hospital: Miyama Suzune, a girl who dreams of singing and dancing and moving around, but is, for the time being, bedbound. Naturally, this is our protagonist for the story that Selection Project aims to tell.
An indeterminable amount of time later, we’re with a slightly older looking Suzune who’s back home and heading off to chase her dreams. Namely, she’s off to an audition that will hopefully set her up to start down the path to achieving her dreams, which is really where a lot of this episode is spent, alongside the stories of multiple other girls auditioning and performing in similar auditions as well.
And in a twist that feels incredibly grounded in reality… things don’t go to plan, which is kind of what makes Selection Project a fascinating episodes overall, despite not necessarily being a super strong premiere.
One thing you can easily say about Selection Project is that it’s a pretty show from jump. There’s this engaging softness about it that’s probably going to hook me into making this one of the shows I cover ongoing elsewhere. The animation is beautiful and basically always on-model, with this soft, lavender and reddish-pink overlay for the shadows that kind of warms everything up in a very eye-catching way. That’s helped by the very enjoyable background music; which, while not necessarily the most dynamic music ever, is soft and playful, using snare drums, violins and violas, and piano melodies to evocative a purely optimistic atmosphere.
Selection Project is also trope-ish as heck y’all, but… not to its immediate detriment. Every girl, Suzune included, has one trait: there’s the blonde foreigner, the rich girl, the shy girl… you get it. It’s an easy and straightforward way to very quickly get you on board with what might be, once again, too many girls. We also get a taste of the other girls that are definitely going to make it to the finals, which is exciting… if a premiere about establishing a very big cast –which so many idol anime do–is your thing.
By the end of the premiere, we’ve got one girl from each region block in the show, and… that doesn’t include Suzune, even though she’s so clearly the protagonist. What’ll be interesting from here, since I’m definitely going to be watching until at least episode 3, will be seeing where the story goes with Suzune, and seeing if she can actualize and realize her dream in its entirity. I’m not… actually sure where things will go in regards to that, though I do think this is a fascinating way to kick off an idol series. I like that Suzune isn’t immediately the winner, and I like that we’ve got a ways to go before she’s pro in any capacity. It’s just a matter of Selection Project sticking the landing with her, which I genuinely think they will.
In the end, I’m not sure if I firmly say that Selection Project is, well… good. It’s definitely not bad, but it didn’t blow me out the water like a Love Live! Premiere might, or even like Idoly Pride did once I got past a character being car crashed out of the plot. Though rather hilariously, in a “made me laugh from shock” kind of way, this series does car crash an idol out of her career. Is this a new trope being formed for the genre? Has Truck-kun come to our world on the hunt for idols? The world may never know, but… something something stop killing off girls as a plot point, please and thank you.
Here’s the thing: if you’re like AniFem’s resident idol lover, then you’ll find yourself hyped because… idols, am I right? Moreso, you’ll find yourself intrigued because of the potential for you to definitely find a favorite girl amongst the cast, though I’m already a Suzune stan, even though her voice is kind of the most generic voice out of the entire cast. Still, credit to voice actress Yano Hinaki, who really delivers on Suzune’s desires to become an idol. The passion in her character is so clear from the first second that it’s hard not to cheer her on. And that is, in the end, the reason why I do think that Selection Project is a solid premiere that kinda sank its hooks into me in the end.
However, I have no problem openly admitting that as pleasant as a premiere this is, it’s still not going to be on everyone’s watchlist. There’s not necessarily enough here to get you hooked unless you’re really into idols or just… curious, I suppose. I will say that there’s this sense that things are going to take a turn: I don’t trust the panda-like mascot introduced in the back half of episode 1 a lick, and I sense that maybe this series gimmick will be what so many idol franchises before have tried: throwing in twists versus telling heartfelt stories about young girls. That said, I also feel the exact opposite, and imagine that this “idols meet reality meet auditions” series will be just that, and heavily steeped in authenticity and reality.
That said, if you’re looking for an engaging story about a young woman chasing her dreams backset by pleasant instrumentals, gorgeous animation, and really nice character design, then look no further than Selection Project, which will probably make it to my personal Top 5 for this season somehow.