Winter 2017 First Impressions: Idol Incidents – Episode 01 Review

Natsuki Hoshina is an average school girl in a rural village until one day she gets the chance to run for office, where she can become an Idol Dietwoman for the Heroine Party.  As part of her campaign platform she has to perform a show with fellow Dietwoman Shizuka Onimaru to beat her opponent from the Rougai party in the upcoming election!  What else does political office have in store for her?

It’s weird.  When I first watched the episode a couple of days ago I found it bland but ultimately inoffensive.  However, the more I think about it while digesting real life events that are going on across the globe, the more the whole concept of this series irritates me.  If you’re going to make a show about politics, even if you have to mash it up with idols, you should be trying to make some kind of statement.  This show doesn’t.  The only statement I can see is that blind optimism and a catchy tune (or slogan, if we were to apply this to reality) is much better than having any sort of knowledge that qualifies you to do the job.  This message doesn’t appeal to me in any way whatsoever, especially after a year like 2016.

What are Natsuki’s qualifications for holding office?  Well, she can run up a hill faster than a lot of the other girls and she can sing and dance.  What does it matter that she doesn’t know the meaning of words like “party” or “policy” (or even how to say them) and is representing the platform that everyone should just be happier and enjoy teen girls dancing?  There’s no chance that this could go wrong!

For an idol show, Idol Incidents doesn’t even look that good.  There’s something very off about the characters’ mouths – whenever their mouths are open it’s always unsettlingly far and in a way that reminds me of a hamster.  It must be the strange convex curve that their upper lips have.  The character designs are what you would expect of a run of the mill idol anime.  A lot of the shots in the performance at the end of the episode are done using CG; meanwhile the training montage earlier on is almost entirely pans over still images or cutaways while characters describe what’s happening, which is especially egregious considering it’s not even a long scene.

Considering the Heroine Party doesn’t appear to have any political stances it’s hard to visualise an compelling plotline for the anime.  Rather than setting up an ideological conflict with the Rougai party, who currently have the majority in government and are real politicians, I imagine that they will reduce them to evil strawmen and have the idols defeat them through the power of song in each episode.  What a waste of potential.  We could be having idols debate the dwindling state of the economy entirely through song instead!

There was one part of the episode that I did, and do still, like.  Shizuka, another government idol, has a series of flashbacks in the second half.  In one scene she goes out on stage and performs with some other idols, but apparently her aura is one of unquenched bloodlust that poisons the other idols on stage and they all pass out around her.  It was hilarious.

This was a weird review to write: because my thoughts on Idol Incidents changed so thoroughly since I first watched it, my notes were all but useless.  But with how many idol shows exist these days, even if you’re a fan of the subgenre I cannot recommend this.  The governmental element of the show is nothing but flimsy window dressing for another rote idol anime.

3/10

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