Content Warning: Mild comedic body horror
What’s it about? Left without electricity and owners, four androids face the threat of an imminent, forced shutdown. However, there’s still hope in the form of performing at Babel, a music epicenter of entertainment where a song well-sung might just save their electronic lives. These androids don’t dream of electric sheep—they dream of a musical future!
Here I am, faced with my decision to take on yet another boy band idol show in the form of Technoroid OVERMIND. This time, the twist is that they’re androids, a plot that had yours truly–AniFem’s resident idol lover–questioning why exactly I keep trying to find good idol shows with male idols when like, they just don’t get the love they deserve! Truly, it’s a shame.
Technoroid OVERMIND (hereafter Technoroid) is a curious entry in the long, time-honored tradition of cis male idols getting snubbed in anime. These boys are only boys, assumably, because of make, model, and coding, but they’re not idols. At least not initially, and definitely not because they want to; rather, because it’s the only way for them to survive.
Episode 1 starts with the boys in pretty dire straits: they’re definitely about to “die,” which is a shame in a society where androids are ubiquitous and have saved humanity by allowing us to live alongside them. But sea levels are continuing to rise and greener, more efficient energy is becoming less of a desire and more an absolute must.
Enter Cobalt, Chrome, Kei, and Neon, four technicolor androids that put the “techno” in Technoroid. They’re aided by an AI named Eliza who, with a lot of goading, introduces the concept of working to live so they can pay their electric bill–which, by the way, gives them life. Yeesh, fucking brutal, ain’t it?
So naturally, these pretty, pretty boys go and try to get into an idol competition…and immediately fail, which sets up the rest of the series and their very distant rise to electronic fame. And I mean very, very, very distant rise–Cobalt, Chrome, Kei, and Neon have a long way to go before they’ll be able to make their mark on the world.
This is a Doga Kobo joint, so it’s look perfectly fine: the boys are vividly colored, including my stan, the pink-haired, hime-cut wearin’ Neon, a cis android whose androgynous vibes immediately appealed to me and might just be the only thing keeping me watching this series until the plot develops a bit more.
The “looks perfectly fine” extends to the insert songs, which are rendered in cell-shaded 3D and actually look really, really good. Like, I was a bit shook at how nice the music snippets looked, though they get a bit too glossy-looking when the art leans into using too much light on the characters. The music itself has yet to become memorable, though I felt the first stirrings of idol affection in my heart. The taste we get is enough to satisfy me for a first episode, though I’m nowhere near stan levels.
I laughed my way through the bulk of this premiere not because Technoroid is particularly funny but because it’s just so absurd. There’s something darkly hilarious about an AI introducing the concept of capitalism to androids so they can continue to exist. It’s not the way I expected this plot to go at all, and for that, I kind of have to give this shows some credit. It’s one of the more outlandish premises for an idol show, only it’s played completely straight in a way that has a lot of potential to become more than just okay.
Yet at this time, Technoroid OVERMIND is kind of just what it is: a basic idol show with a premise that’s yet to shine and a premiere that most viewers will pass over unless they’re the kind of watcher who checks out everything before making their seasonal list. Then again, its surprise murder in the post-credits sequence might lean this show more towards Nier: Automata‘s upcoming anime than Idolish7, which might just make it redundant.
It’s another case where there’s an established fanbase that’s likely mostly in Japan, as the mobile game that launched last January has yet to see an official translation. There’s an English wiki that feels pretty regularly updated, so hopefully, the demographic that’s engaged with Technoroid Unison Heart, the mobile game, will feel at home seeing what will eventually become the unit KNoCC (I hate this name) go from digital rags to technological riches.
In the end, I doubt that this series will get a lot of coverage, but honestly…I think I’m gonna stick around and have fun with this one, just to see these ragamuffin boys pay that electric bill as they stay on their grind to the top of Babel and the heights of idoldom.