BanG Dream! – Preview
Original Air Dates: January 21st, 2017 – ???
Synopsis: Kasumi Toyama felt a heart-pounding thrill every time she gazed up at the stars as a child. Since then she’s been looking for, without success, for something that would inspire the same feeling. One day, after entering high school, Kasumi stumbles upon a star-shaped guitar in a rundown pawnshop and for the first time since she was a child she finds that thrill she’d been searching for. Kasumi becomes determined to form an all-girl band and begins a search for four like-minded bandmates: Saya, Arisa, Rimi and Tae. Will the five have what it takes to make their dreams of stardom a reality?
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Kasumi is as starry-eyed and ditsy a protagonist as they come. She has this manic quality and lots of vibrant energy that is sure to appeal to a certain subset of audience members, but the trouble is her overly aimless nature is more than a mere character flaw, as Kasumi dictates the very pacing and flow of the show.
Linny: Kasumi almost seems like a wannabe Yui from K-on! with the musical theme for both show, and their shared confusion about which club to join. However unlike Yui, Kasumi DOES have this rather vague aim to recapture the thrill she felt looking at the night sky so there’s that…sadly, it really isn’t enough to make her stand out from the plethora of similar leads we get ever so often, especially in female based band shows.
Tom: Outside of Kasumi, BanG Dream! doesn’t offer anyone else to latch onto. The rest of the girls, who’ll ultimately form the band, make fleeting appearances here, and outside of getting a general gist for each (shy girl, temperamental girl, etc.) there isn’t anything to latch onto. All eyes are on Kasumi and if you don’t take to her, there’s not much else to grab you.
Linny: If the premise didn’t already feel super familiar and tired to you, there’s also the slow pace that Tom has mentioned and the somewhat generic supporting characters. The most unique thing about the show so far is how hostile Kasumi’s younger sister seems to be towards her, which is the exact opposite of shows like these where younger sisters exist to idolize or pick up after their ditsy sister.
Tom: BanG Dream’s narrative moves at an exceedingly slow pace, as dictated by its aimless main character. We spend much of the first episode wallowing in Kasumi’s indecision and inability to find her passion in life. Some of this is merely due to setting up and introducing her character, but the series continues down this wandering, pointless path for far too long before finally introducing the meat of the story: Kasumi’s burgeoning interest in performing as part of a band. But by the time we reach that realization interest has faded and attention has wandered. It’s important for first episodes to make exceedingly effective us of their time to really suck audiences in, but BanG Dream! just doesn’t accomplish that.
Linny: To put a positive spin on the show, I would say the first episode could be a relaxing watch for audiences that have an affinity for cute high school anime girls and enjoy watching the, somewhat, average daily life of Kasumi and her quest to find a club that wows her. However, if that doesn’t sound relaxing or interesting to you at all, then you’re likely going to be zoning out for most of it.
Tom: It doesn’t help that the final moments of the premiere give us a glimpse at the CGI models used to depict the girls on stage. They’re not impressive, and don’t quite match the girl’s 2D designs, libel to make for a jarring switch between on stage sequences and off stage.
Linny: BanG Dream’s premiere episode failed to show promise of anything unique that hasn’t already been covered in most high school music band stories. Thanks to the super laid back pace and clueless lead, there’s not much in it that’s going to immediately suck in anyone, except those very new to the genre/trope. Since, this is based on just one episode, it is too early to completely dismiss the rest of the show but what we saw made for a very dismal start.
Tom: BanG Dream! is the next iteration in the long line of Mixed-Media Projects. These types of anime, that tend to launch alongside audio CDs, manga, and more rarely feel well thought out and put together. BanG Dream! is, unfortunately, no exception, suffering from poor pacing and an inability to keep its proceedings tight and engaging. But I don’t think BanG Dream! is among the worst we’ve seen this season and if you prefer your stories a little slower, less aim driven, BanG Dream! could likely be a decent watch.