Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Anime Review: Show by Rock

Yep, in a way I watched two shows about music last season, although this show and Sound! Euphonium were so different that I tended to compare this one more to Wish Upon the Pleiades instead. They were both rather cute, fluffy shows that you could almost believe were for kids at first, especially since the original game/character project is from the same company that created Hello Kitty.

Show by Rock!

Cyan really wants to join the music club in her new school but she's shy, so shy she can't even make it into the classroom to meet the other girls. So as she lays on her bed one night, wishing she could find that courage while playing a musical video game, the last thing she expected to happen was to be sucked into a world via her game, turn into a cat girl, and suddenly be tasked with saving this world via music and her new band!

While the show is a solid little affair, very little of it is stand-out amazing so let's talk about the one part that is, the CGI. I'm not entirely sure why but whenever the characters perform a show or battle dark monsters they're sucked into an alternate dimension where everyone appears as super-deformed version of themselves (similar to what they look like the original video game by Sanrio) and the CGI looks great. It's certainly helped by the fact that they don't look anything like humans so, much like Toy Story two decades earlier, it's much easier to skirt the uncanny valley and even if the backgrounds in these sequences are simple to the point of almost being distracting. I've seen some people say (but wasn't able to independently confirm so this is hearsay) that the people doing the CGI are actually from outside of Studio Bones, ie they're not from an anime studio and that makes sense. Anime doesn't tend to have big budgets so I imagine most studios would rather do in-house, abet less experienced, CGI work to save money, I was honestly wondering where Bones had been hiding so much talent when I saw the first episode!

Since the original game is connected with Sanrio asking "is this a kids show/can I show this to kids?" is a pretty logical question and the answer is, well, perhaps. 99% of the show is cute and clean, possibly too intense depending on how young the kid is, and then the president for Cyan's band pops up. He's not a lecherous old man type per say but has enough questionable moments (adult jokes) that I'm not sure I would show this to a kid. Which, to speak more broadly for a moment, feels weird, is this show a way Sanrio is trying to reach even more of the otaku audience than they already do to get them to play the game? How weird is it that one of the ways you market to otaku is to create something that's almost indistinguishable from something aimed at younger kids? I did think the show did a good job at creating an almost completely new plot in 12 episodes (the only part that left me wondering "is this from the game?" were the vignettes with the middle schoolers in the countryside) and I'll admit it did make me more curious about the game/want to buy a ton of merchandise so I suppose it's a success for Sanrio on that front!

As for the rest, as I've said, the story isn't anything special but it works and it's a fun "fluff" show. I like having a few fluff shows each season where there's no pressure on me to completely and fully pay attention, I can do that or I can also work on a crafting project or eat dinner and just relax and this fits the bill perfectly for that. I will admit I didn't understand the massive love for the band SHINGAN CRIMSON (both in the show, judging by how large of a role they had as side characters, or form the fandom outside of the show) but that's really my only complaint. I don't see myself buying the show simply because I don't see myself rewatching it but for those interested you can find it on Funimation's website, on their youtube channel, or streaming on Hulu.

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