Welcome back to Otaku Thursday! It is the first of a new month, and may I just say I’m floored that it is already September? I feel like the season of anime only just began and yet here we are, already over halfway done with it! I feel like just yesterday we were at the beginning of August and celebrating Hotsui Matsuri. But no, here we are in September, I’m waiting for summer to end and fall to begin, and I am gearing up for Spooky season. Which is why today I thought I would review something super light hearted, but still touching on the subject of the ghostly: today we’re going to be talking about Phantom of the Idol.
So Phantom of the Idol is a show, low and behold, about an idol who has died and comes back to essentially–haunt? Possess? Possess–another idol. Now that seems pretty straightforward. Seems like a good premise? It gets better. The idol who died was a female pop idol who was very cute, energetic, and loveable. The idol who gets possessed? Is a jaded dude who I found hard to believe even wanted to be an idol. Yes, the main character of this show is Niyodo who is the rather lazy but good-looking portion of a singing duo called ZINGS. Honestly, I don’t even know how this man became an idol–like we do see it–we see him being headhunted, but I don’t know how he made it past idol training. Because by the time the show starts, he does not really try. Which is unfortunate because his partner Yoshino is trying really hard and just really wants to get along with Niyodo and do the best for his fans. Literally the first ep I felt so bad Yoshino was paired with Niyodo. But no worries, because our pretty phantom Asahi comes in clutch, possesses Niyodo–and not only get to continue her dream and perform on stage, but give the ZINGS fans a new energetic side of Niyodo. Literally such a great concept. Now I especially like this concept for two reasons: the first being that Asahi gets to continue performing and gets to show the ZINGS fans a good time. The second being that I hope this teaches Niyodo something about what it really means to be an idol. Because you know me, I love character development.
Which speaking of character development, we’re on episode, like, nine out of twenty-four and I just want to say that Niyodo is making progress. While he was eager to let Asahi take over his body and do all the hard work in the beginning, she taught him pretty early on that he couldn’t always rely on her. And now, while Niyodo is still lazy and looking for easy ways out, he definitely endures for the sake of the fans, and will give his performance more energy than before–he even is on better terms with Yoshino. Which just to say, is so cute to see. His idol partner is adorable, hard-working, and actually reminds me a little of Asahi herself. I think it’s good for Niyodo to be able to see why trying hard isn’t just good for the fans but for also helping Yoshino’s career by pushing up the notoriety of their group as a whole.
Side characters in this anime are also really fun characters. We have the solid group of ZINGS fans that we see every episode and who often comment on the group and how they are progressing. More importantly, we get to see them freak out and predict whether Niyodo is going to be normal or “god” mode as they say (aka is Niyodo in control or is Asahi in control). They are a nice refresher from typical idol business, plus they are kind of cringe–but surprisingly realistic. It’s actually the best worst. There’s also a fellow idol group called Cgrass where a member, the leader, Setouchi, who is an avid Asahi fan and immediately recognizes Niyodo doing Asahi-isms. His plot-line is actually really cute though, it goes from him calling Niyodo a terrible idol to literally him becoming a fan of him–all because Niyodo says it’s okay that he likes two different idols. Niyodo just really is an honest guy with no idea how fandoms normally work…
The music and animation for the show are pretty good, but not amazing by a longshot. In fact, the animation tends to annoy me more often than not–but only for one reason. The regular animation is fine, but I HATE the cgi it switches to during performances. To be honest, the cgi during performances is one of my pet peeves. If anything, the redeemable portion of this is that at least the CGI looks kind of like the regular animation. But the movements are just a little clunky. I also am kinda sad that there aren’t a lot of songs for the ZINGS–they pretty much perform the same thing. Which yes, a lot of idol shows do–but I was spoiled by The Heroine Runs the Show where LIPXLIP had lots of different performance songs.
Overall though, I’m really enjoying Phantom of the Idol. It’s super light-hearted and a fun look at both idol and fandom culture. It also really showcases the innate coexistence and relationship of the two–the idol and the fan. I feel like there’s going to be a lot of character development in this anime, which I’m really going to enjoy, and I can’t wait to see it. I think the one thing I really wonder is–if this show is 24 episodes, will there be a moment where we see it take a turn? Will the lightheartedness become suddenly more serious? Or are we just in for fun times? I have no idea, but I’m eager to find out. So if you were wondering whether or not to watch this show, I’d say: Yes. Watch it. It’ll be a fun time.