Synopsis: A girl is obsessed with her favorite idol, a minor member of a less popular group, enough that she says she’d die to see her play at Budoukan.
When I think of idol/music anime, I pretty much envision something along the lines of Love Live!. That’s just standard practice by now, but OshiBudo doesn’t quite follow that blueprint. Of course, standard idol anime put all the emphasis on the group and its members, and while this anime gives the idols their time, this one is more about the crazed fans that obsess over their fave.
In a way, I can kind of relate. You see, I consider myself a big fan of Irene, the leader of Red Velvet, one of the biggest groups in Kpop. Now, Kpop and Jpop are very different, but you get the idea. Anyway, let’s actually talk about the story now. 😛
Seeing an idol anime from another perspective was long overdue. It turns out that the stans can be pretty entertaining in their own right, and this anime largely revolves around their obsessive behavior. Buying tons of CDs and merch, camping out in extreme weather for front row tickets, and following every move they make on social media is what these super fans do best, and no one does it better than Eripiyo.
The comedy associated with her hardcore stanning probably would’ve eventually grown tiresome to me, but OshiBudo does a pretty good job of preventing this by introducing us to the group at the center of this fandom, ChamJam. When the focus is on the group, this anime tends to resemble your typical idol anime, so fans of the genre should feel right at home here. The thing is, ChamJam isn’t a popular group, so despite a small and vocal fanbase, they’re trying to work their way up the ladder, with their long-term goals matching those of their biggest supporters: for them to reach the Budokan.
In this respect, the pacing is deliberate, and by the end of the season, they’re not there yet, and realistically, that’s how it should be. I don’t think I would’ve liked it that much if they suddenly shot to superstardom in the blink of an eye, so I thought the gradual climb they made was most appropriate. While still on the topic of pacing, there was another area where I felt like OshiBudo kind of dropped the ball.
I absolutely hated was how so incredibly slowly Eripiyo and Maina made any progress in their relationship. Early on, Maina gives off the impression that she actually likes Eripiyo (which contrasts with how distant she is around her), but this sentiment stalls out in spectacular fashion. By the end of the season, Maina works up the courage to finally tell Eripiyo… thanks. Okay, so that’s not quite all the things she said, but it took an entire season for her to finally say something heartfelt and meaningful, and that lack of initiative was so painful for me to watch.
Undoubtedly, the yuri fans are going to be disappointed that more didn’t happen between them, however, I guess it’s possible that we could get a second season. That won’t immediately help ease anyone’s pain, but when life gives you lemons… get mad and make life take the lemons back. 😛
Contrary to what you might think, there are other characters in this anime besides Eripiyo… but hardly any of them really matter (at least to me), so let’s talk about Eripiyo instead!
Just by the synopsis and the first PV, you knew that Eripiyo was destined to become a Yuri Anime Legend, and she definitely lived up to it. She never misses a chance to show/declare her love for Maina, and despite all that, her affection is as wholesome as can be. Eripiyo seems to genuinely care about Maina, and I really liked the moments when Eripiyo was more serious about the situation. It’s easy to dismiss her affection or not take it seriously when she’s as over-the-top as she usually is, so I think these more reflective moments really helped to show her (and her love) in a different light.
And then there’s the object of Eripiyo’s affection, Maina. To be honest, I don’t really get why Eripiyo was so obsessed with her, because to me, she’s just as bland as the other members of the group. Her shyness seemed kind of cute at first, but it eventually went from cute to annoying, since she does nothing productive with what little time she gets to talk to Eripiyo. I did feel kind of bad that Maina didn’t really have any fans (besides Eripiyo and Motoi’s sister), yet that wasn’t enough to really get me to care about her.
When I wasn’t frustrated by Eripiyo x Maina, I was enjoying seeing the other pairing this anime had to offer, Yume x Maki. Now these two seemed like a legit couple, so they’re basically the opposite of what we saw with Eripiyo and Maina. They were always sweet together, and seeing them be so mindful of each other was just what this anime needed. They held hands a lot, and the subtext between them was really strong. Like that time when Maki was sick and offered to give Yume her cold, then she brought Yume in close and they… touched foreheads. They’re not canon, but they might as well be, because we can all see what’s going on~
As for the other members… meh. There’s Reo, Sorane, Aya, and that one whose name I don’t remember but don’t care enough to look up. I didn’t care all that much about any of them, and personality-wise, I found them either pretty forgettable or simply not that likable. And since I have to mention them, the supporting characters like Kumasa and Motoi round out the super fans, and I thought they were somewhat entertaining themselves. They were nowhere near as entertaining as Eripiyo, but they’re hardcore stans, and they aren’t shy about it, so props to them. I think actually enjoyed those two more than some of the idols, however, they all pale compared to Eripiyo.
Eripiyo and her super hardcore fangirling are probably the biggest reasons to watch this anime, and while that’s very entertaining, the other yuri pairing, Yume x Maki, was nice as well. I may not have been that fond of ChamJam or its members, but I think that others will view them more positively than I did, and as a whole, you could do a lot worse than this cast of characters.
Using CG for the performances seems to be pretty popular nowadays, but OshiBudo doesn’t go that route, and for that, I’m thankful. Sometimes, CG dancing ends up looking kind of awkward, yet the hand-drawn style here makes sure everything looks natural, and CG is only used sparingly. It might not be as easy on the animators as CG, yet I think hand-drawn art can’t be beat in situations like this.
Moving on to the music, like you’ll often see in pop music, I think an artist/group’s image seems a lot more important than their actual music. That’s my nice way of saying that I didn’t really like ChamJam’s music. That doesn’t mean I think it was bad, but that super cutesy style just isn’t exactly my cup of tea, and it can probably be found in literally every idol anime. To my untrained ears, these idol groups (and the individual idols themselves) all sound pretty similar, so I think there’s a solid chance that fans of the genre will enjoy the music a lot more than I did. 😛
Overall, I think OshiBudo was able to breathe some new life into the idol anime genre, while still displaying a lot of the same musical qualities that draw people to the genre in the first place. Eripiyo was great and worth the price of admission for yuri fans, but you can’t help but get the sense that this could’ve been much more enjoyable for yuri fans, had Eripiyo and Maina done things differently…
If this anime gets a second season, maybe it could live up to its yuri potential, but as it stands, I think yuri fans and idol anime fans alike can find something to like here.
+ Yume x Maki are a cute couple
+ Makes idol anime seem a little different
– Hardly any real progression of Eripiyo and Maina’s relationship
– I wasn’t a fan of ChamJam or their music
– I imagine the comedy could get repetitive for some people