Winter 2017 First Impressions: Marginal #4 – Episode 01 Review

Marginal #4 are a hot new idol group who are going to go far!  The unit is made up by L and R Nomura, Atom Kirihara and Rui Aiba, four seventeen year old boys newly plunged into stardom.  Despite their success it’s still early days and the boys will have to learn to manage their new star-studded lifestyle along with their everyday high school life.


Marginal #4 is standard idol genre fare, with very little hooks that would make the show appealing for those who aren’t desperate to watch every idol anime that comes out each season.  I’m not a huge fan of idol anime (I enjoyed Love Live Sunshine, and B-Project was okay even if I mostly forgot about it after watching a few episodes) so this episode didn’t do a lot to convince me that it was worth any more of my time.

The visuals are pretty standard and mostly interchangeable with any other idol anime.  Each of the boys in the group are colour coded to make them easy to identify at a glance, and are decked out in cute matching outfits when doing their performances.  The animation is fine with no major hiccups, and like many idol shows the performances also include CG animation outside of close-ups to save the 2D animation team some work.  The models used in the CG cuts look fine and don’t detract from the performance.

I will admit that I did find the song that the group performed quite catchy.  The lyrics were fun and it had a good beat so the performance was a pretty pleasant experience for me – in fact, it was probably my favourite part of the episode.  Hopefully as the series progresses they’ll keep singing new songs because there are some idol anime where they fall into a pattern of singing the same song a bunch of times which does end up in diminishing returns for the viewers.

So far the characters aren’t especially exciting.  Each of the four boys conforms to a cliche character archetype thus far; you have one guy who’s kind of spacey, another who’s the sensible one, one who’s a passionate playboy and lastly the calm, tranquil “prince-like” boy.  Hopefully they expand on their personalities in later episodes because as it stands in the first episode none of the characters are especially compelling.  In fact, I was more interested in the older idol duo and was hoping to see more of them than the minute or so of screentime they got.

Although you may enjoy Marginal #4 if you’re an idol fan, I can safely say it didn’t do a whole lot for me and I won’t be watching any more.  Getting through this episode was kind of a boring slog, with the only high point other than the opening being the scene where everybody wants the boys to join their after school club.  I’ll keep hoping for an anime which shakes up the usual idol formula.


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