By: Meru Clewis October 6, 20220 Comments
Meet the boys of VAZZROCK!

Crunchyroll, which has long underpaid its employees, has currently declared its intent to recast the English dub of Mob Psycho 100 rather than even consider meeting with SAG-AFTRA representatives to discuss unionizing their dubs—this would help actors gain access to things like health insurance, and help make up for lack of residuals. People continue to pressure Crunchyroll to change their stance on social media; we encourage readers who are able to take part.

What’s it about? Follow the talent of Vazzy and Rock Down, two idol units full of hot boys!

Now, you know why I chose this: if you’ve read anything I’ve done here at AniFem, you know it’s because my ears perked up, my eyes got wide, and I whispered, “Idols…!” into the night. My heart skipped a beat, as it always does because I just really love idols, and I said, “I want VAZZROCK, Vrai. It’s for me.” I knew in my heart this would finally be the show to pull me in. It’d be my next VISUAL PRISON, sans the fangs.

That said, VAZZROCK is… well, it’s a show. It’s a Crunchyroll show. It’s an anime. It’s entertainment even, hypothetically. And I do use entertainment lightly because episode 1?

Yeah, it’s basically a series of interviews.

The members of Rock Down.

Holy shit this show has an abundance of boys: twelve boys, all “enchantingly handsome,” as the leader of Mamiya Takaaki says. And like, he’s not wrong: they’re almost tailor-made to pull me in. There’s something likeable about each of them in their very generic designs, but that’s kind of where the attraction ends. They’re as 2D as this show. Honestly, give me back my boys from I-Chu: they had a bit more flavor, and that’s really saying something.

And it’s not that the show is ugly or anything: it’s perfectly below average, but I just couldn’t remember any of these dudes. They’re all a blur of black pleather, glovelettes from Hot Topic, thick eyeliner, and… charm? I guess. It doesn’t help that they do shockingly little, despite switching from their bland office to the set of a period drama in the back half. It’s just so stunningly boring: I don’t think I’ve ever seen an idol anime executed so poorly, and like… I’ve been in the trenches.

I’ve witnessed some mess.

Wait, you know what? I have one thing I like: I low-key stan Ruku-sama, who has this beautiful androgynous vibe and like, a side ponytail. Though I can tell if I want to sit next to him or like, be him. Gender, huh?

The idols shoot a period drama.

Usually, I try to give a bit of optimism in this bit, but I just sat through a literal interview with boys that I have no feelings about. They’re boys, they’re…styled like they should immediately pull me in, but honestly, I’d have rather been taking a nap to help with my chronic fatigue. 

But… I’m not continuing this. Okay, I’m not going past the three-episode check-in. I want to see if these boys level up. (Correction: I should call them men because like, they’re all in their twenties. I want to see if  these men level up.) But I’m not going beyond that: this show seriously doesn’t Vazz or Rock.

It just sucks, and that’s painful to say about a genre that’s often pummeled with misogyny. It genuinely hurts, especially because I really love idols and I like to have discourse about idols and critique a genre and movement and industry I love. But without context, this show doth not slap. It’s not at all its target audience: rather, it’s the fact that as its target audience, I feel completely out of the loop and thus, left out of any potential fun.

The boys of VAZZROCK put on a shining performance.

Here’s the thing.

Idol shows based on an already existing franchises necessitate that franchise being widely available, especially now that anime is a globally consumed product. This is where I’m going to bring in Idoly Pride, a show that does a fantastic job of introducing you to its units versus, say… Ensemble Stars, whose anime depends on you knowing all the ground. (Stan Fine & Eden y’all!)

If you’re not going to introduce the characters or endear your audience to them, the show’s gonna automatically flop. Idols depend on fandom and connection: doubly so for idol anime. And at the end of the day, VAZZROCK THE ANIMATION does nothing to get me to like these men: they’re just a collection of dudes in that one Victorian pattern that velvet has, and that’s just not enough in 2022. You gotta bring more to the digital table nowadays: we’ve all been in lockdown and us idol fans? We’ve got standards. Always have, then again.

And I know that there’s VAZZROCK media: it’s not a new franchise and has been around. But from the perspective of a viewer, it is new, and it’s important that it be understood as new because a good people are going to go into this unawares. They’re not going to have any connection to this media. It’s frustrating, sure, but it’s also reality, and I firmly believe that VAZZROCK THE ANIMATION doesn’t do its due diligence to bring in new viewers at all.

Safe to say I won’t be stanning Vazzy or Rock Down: these two idol units will be but memories, nested at the back of my mind… at least in a few weeks. The OP was a banger though. It was like if Splatoon had generically hot soft boys in all pleather doing the most tepid of crimes. I’ll give VAZZY that: they can slang a banger, even though I literally won’t remember any of their names, nor the lyrics. It was an attempt though.

Hard pass to this: once more, male idols fail me. But alas, my heart shall go on, ever in search of a season with decent idol anime, once again…

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