At this point, I feel like Ensemble Stars is a lost cause in regards to being a good idol anime or up to the quality that Idolish7 did with its anime. I won’t doubt it’s a good mobile game, but the anime adaptation isn’t great. Looking back at this episode, I realized one of the anime’s greatest weaknesses. Not only is it telling rather than showing but the characters talk way TOO MUCH. There’s hardly a pause for us to actually think for ourselves as the characters will immediately jump into explanations for each other and the situations. We aren’t given any time to pause and reflect over what happened and it feels like the pacing is just going “GO! GO! GO!”. I literally rolled my eyes when Sakuma comes in and says “Let me tell you an old story.”
Anyways, we are finally formally introduced to the fourth member of Trickstar, (who I actually forgot was a part of the unit whoops) Mao Isara. I was actually pretty apprehensive about Isara since he was part of the Student Council and had some suspicious reactions. Though they were REALLY quick to smack down ANY questions to Isara’s loyalty… a little too quickly and I found that a shame. It’s like: Am I not allowed to dwell on my thoughts longer than a moment or so??? So I can only assume that Isara won’t betray the group. But it still makes me wonder why he looked kind of sus at certain times. It’s obvious that he knows more than he’s letting on, but something is holding him back from sharing probably vital information. Now if the anime would do more of THAT rather than tell me stuff, this adaptation would be a lot better.
I really wish we just focused more on Isara in this episode. Instead, we suddenly got really fast paced character development for Yuuki… which came out of nowhere. It felt so weird and out of place since there was no build up to this moment, especially with that Knights guy randomly sliding in. This guy just comes in to start drama, drama I don’t even understand currently. We weren’t shown ANYTHING of Yuuki’s past before this moment so of course I wasn’t going to be convinced of this moment or the supposed “bond” between him and this new character.
However, in other news Hokuto just freaking established himself as the best character in this show because he is the first person to refer to Anzu by her freaking name. That was like the most liberating moment so far. And while Anzu herself still lacks personality (and probably will continue to lack personality throughout this adaptation), it’s still nice to hear that characters are starting to view her as a person rather than just a blank slate where she can be a self insert. And while I know that Akehoshi referred to her by name as well later in the episode, Hokuto still started the trend so he’s still the best.
I did enjoy seeing UNDEAD’s performance though. Since S1 would be voted by the public, away from the control of the student council, AKATSUKI won’t be able to monopolize the votes like they did with their performance against Ra*bits. So UNDEAD basically forced a battle of the bands against them, which was pretty cool since I thought it would be lame to not see more than two performances. It was also nice to hear Masuda Toshiki’s deeper singing voice MMM.
I know I’m criticizing this series a lot, and I really wish I didn’t have to, but it’s mostly out of disappointment of what this series could have been. I can see there is a lot of potential in the plot and so far I’ve seen sprinkles of very interesting themes. However, the overall direction and delivery of this adaptation is below par. What helps me continue with this series are the mysteries of what is actually going on. Like the whole Student Council basically manipulating things to go a certain way and certain groups aren’t allowed to move up in the hierarchy. That is pretty interesting. But I think the anime is just so stuck on trying to develop ALL of their characters and shove in as much information as possible that they’re missing out on really focusing in on the more interesting parts of this series.
Right now, I feel so disconnected from all of the characters because while I may know about them, I don’t really feel like I know them personally. Something that Idolish7 really focused on getting us the viewers to really know the cast of colorful characters and that there is a lot more under the surface. We get to see Idolish7 grow and work towards their goals, but we see almost nothing from Trickstar. Sure we see snippets of them practicing, but I feel like there could be a lot more shown to us than just that. Especially since Anzu is supposed to be the producer but we’ve seen her do nothing of importance so far. I can only keep my fingers crossed that this will somehow be more enjoyable the farther I get into the series.