Ensemble Stars! – Ep. 1 (First Impressions)

Perhaps in an effort to differentiate itself from its contemporaries, Ensemble Stars! implements a competitive element. Idols in training duke it out in impromptu musical battles held in their academy’s campus. I think that’s the gist. The first episode actually kind of screws this up by having the first battle devolve a musical number into a fistfight in which one of the participants uses his electric guitar as a shield. I wish I was making this up but it’s true. Day one and this show already has cold feet about its own gimmick.

For that matter, I have to wonder what the incentive is for winning in these duels. Maybe to show off but that’s a pretty weak prize. I suppose this is where the revolution plot comes in. Yes, there is a war fought between the oppressive school council and the student body. Again, I wish I was making this up. I rolled my eyes at this point. I get that a lot of anime likes making a big deal about the student council but when it gets to this level of severity, I can’t buy into the show’s conceit anymore.

As for the characters…what characters? Frankly, the one who stood out to me was the one girl in the cast, Anzu (Maaya Sakamoto). How and why a girl is transferring to an all boys school is beyond me but I’m more astounded at how much of a self-insert Anzu is for the viewer. She is such a blank state that she barely speaks any lines of dialogue and so far, the most involved she gets in the plot is getting squashed by one of the idols competing in this episode. The four main idols start to talk about how she’s their inspiration and the key to the rebellion which is laughable as the show expects you to supplant your own charisma into her character. Maybe in the mobile game that works but here, you’re expecting far too much from the viewer.

Male idols or just idols in general aren’t my cup of tea so unless the show really impressed, it wouldn’t stick around for very long. Even so, I’ve seen better stuff from the competition so I suspect fans of the genre will stick with something else.

OP: “Stars’ Ensemble!” by Yumenosaki Dream Stars

ED: “Cherry Happy Stream” by Yumenosaki Dream Stars

Thanks for reading!

Watch Ensemble Stars! on Funimation

Read My Other Summer 2019 First Impressions

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