Tag Archives: locodol

Locodol REVIEW


If you think that idols are the trappings of international stardom or at least national importance, think again. Quite a lot of the time, there are idols for just about anything; even your own local town. These idols are known as locodols [short for local idols] and their job is to promote their town and businesses within. This is captured in the anime Futsū no Joshikōsei ga Locodol Yattemita and reveals that there is more to being an idol than just looking pretty; there are names to remember too!

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Nanako is your typical high school student with a secret dream of being an idol and becoming famous. This dream is suddenly realised when her uncle, who works for the local council, asks her to help promote the opening of the town’s newly refurbished swimming complex. The town of Nagarekawa is going through a rebranding exercise and its next step is to recruit their own idol and mascot troupe; Nanako is part of that mission and her uncle manages to ‘trick’ her into performing as a locodol despite the fact she’s really got no stage presence whatsoever and gets frightened easily. Fortunately her locodol partner Yukari is a kind soul and helps Nanako conquer her initial fear and the event is a success despite some hiccups along the way. As the rest of the show unfolds, a new mascot [Uogokoro-kun] is introduced as well as new member Yui and her understudy Mirai to help complete the lineup for the Nagarekawa Girls. They even get a proper manager after her uncle is relieved of his duties! That’s all there is to the plot essentially; the girls go from one engagement to the other and eventually hit the national stage representing their home town. In terms of ambition, the show doesn’t have much unlike its characters.

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Locodol is a simple story and that simplicity is carried through into the art style, plot and overall message. However, there are some places which cause either some critical thinking or moments where you are left feeling slightly awkward or disappointed. I’ll start off with why I like this show; it’s got heart to it. Nanako, Yukari and Yui are true friends and there isn’t any bitterness or in-fighting going on. It’s so simple and everyone is rooting for everyone else. Nanako is a timid girl with little ambition, Yukari is a confident girl with dreams yet no friends due to her wealth and Yui is a nervous girl who is very athletic and agile, perfect for the task of wearing the Uogokoro-kun costume. Each of them has a flaw and they all work together to boost each other’s confidence and pull off the event they are taking part in. That made me feel warm inside. I even appreciated that these girls were intelligent, genuine about their love for their town as well as its history [except for Nanako who is ashamed of her ignorance] and quite humble at the same time. I want these girls to succeed! It’s light and fluffy entertainment which is there to make you feel happy and not strain your brain for twenty minutes every week. When you strip away the window dressing of the locodol gimmick and see the scenes where the quartet are just going around town and being themselves with no trappings of ‘fame’ around them, it’s quite sweet and enjoyable. I like how the show manages to balance life and work somewhat evenly. Of course there is going to be idol-related plot points but it’s not relentlessly shoved down our throats; we get pauses to breathe and actually get to know the characters as people – thank you!

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Now for the reasons why I am not so sure about Locodol. I do like the main characters and their individual drives, but I feel like the show has several underlying tones which seems a little unsettling. Nanako’s uncle and their new manager Saori don’t seem to worry so much about the girls’ insecurities and seem keen to exploit their charm and sexualise them way above the level any of them are comfortable [not as much for Yui who is in a costume most of the time, but even her figure is highlighted by the animators whenever she takes the suit off!]. With Nanako’s uncle it’s quite obvious and you don’t feel as disturbed because of its predictability but still, it’s kind of worrying that he wants to see his niece in skimpy swimsuits and whatnot. You think he was bad though? Saori is much worse! In episode four, there’s a pervert on the loose stealing costumes of idols and Nanako is scared out of her wits. Saori then shows up and its alluded heavily she is the pervert pinching the clothes; then it’s pretty much stated she runs the Nagarekawa Girls’ fansite secretly taking pictures on her own camera as the production team does their thing. The blog itself is pretty sexualised with a lot of candid pictures. Saori even has a crush on Nanako and uses that crush as a motivator to be the girls’ manager. I find that to be creepy. This awkward feeling is tempered slightly because Saori is a good manager ultimately and helps the girls get work but the feeling remains and it spoils my enjoyment of the show. The other part which saddens me is that the level of ambition of the anime itself is low, much lower than the characters within. The narrative seems pretty stock to me and it doesn’t try to break ground or do something different, it’s something we’ve all seen before and would wish not to see again [or at least not so often.].

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Am I turned off by Locodol because of its awkward perversions? Not quite. I try and look past it and look at the girls as people. They are nice people who look out for one another and are the kind of idols that we don’t see enough. They all have their charms and quirks plus they’re flawed in some way; but they come together to override the flaws and bolster each other through the hard times and ultimately come out on top when things look a little tough. The animation is pretty tame but it looks good enough to not be an eye-sore and allow one to focus on the story without being put-off by the animation quality; but it could be more ambitious, just like the show itself in the end. My summation? Try harder!

Locodol is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

RATING: CAUTION [The show has heart but it’s a bit of an underachiever. Plus the perverted undertones are off-putting.]

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Spring 2014: Preview Summary


The Spring 2014 preview has been completed and we have had thirty-six brand new series presented before us. Based on their review priority rating [RPR], I have come up with a basic order in which I will review the shows in question based on my initial impressions. You may think that this is prejudging these shows before they’ve even aired but we could easily have some of these shows pull a surprise out from under their metaphorical, you never know until the first few episodes have aired what you’re going to get!

If you missed any of the individual genre videos, click the following links to catch up!
Action / Fantasy & Magic / Comedy / Slice Of Life /
Sports / Sci-fi & Mecha / Game Adaptations

So what have we deduced from these first glimpses? Going from my RPR ratings, rated high to low, we have got this little chart:

RPR #
High 4
Medium-High 8
Medium 13
Medium-Low 8
Low 3

The outlook is good based on this reviewer’s first impressions. Most of these shows look good with some either being above or below average with only a few being considered lacklustre. Below is a list of shows indexed in order of review priority:

High Priority: Devil’s Riddle Story, No Game No Life, Soul Eater Not! & Captain Earth.

These shows have managed to catch my interest down to their innovative art styles, compelling plot and different spin on previously established archetypes. Reviews will be more forthcoming for these titles.

Medium-High Priority: Haikyuu!!, Brynhildr in the Darkness, Selector Infected WIXOSS, Chaika: The Coffin Princess, One Week Friends, Knights of Sidonia, The Irregular at Magic High School & Ping Pong The Animation.

The medium-high list are the shows which are still very good but didn’t quite fill me with rapture at first sight or seemed to play it a little to safe for my liking. Reviews will be posted slightly later.

Medium Priority: Atelier Escha & Logy, Black Bullet, Majin Bone, Dai Shogun – Great Revolution, If She Were To Raise The Flag, Mekaku City Actors, M3: That Black Steel, Even So The World Is Beautiful, Mischief of the Gods, Break Blade, Baby Steps, The Kawai Complex… & Roughneck Wrestler Matsutarou!!

The medium list comprises those productions which have either been considered good or inconclusive based on little or no information. This third premise is for shows that have either had no trailer or minimal content surrounding it published. Instead of labelling it bad, medium is a temporary default for such titles.

Medium-Low Priority: The Comic Artists and His Assistants, Dragonar Academy, Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers, The Buried Treasure of Nanana Ryugajo, Hero Bank, Blade & Soul, Daimidaler – The Sound Robot & Magica Wars.

The medium-low priority list is populated with shows that seem to either be OK or slightly disappointing based on its promotional presentation. Some of these shows DO have sparks of potential and I’m hoping to see them shimmer and generate a better review score.

Low Priority: Locodol, Is The Order A Rabbit? & Sudden Death.

The low priority list. The shows which seem to have no hope for being good or original. The shows whose existence is questionable, depressing or bemusing. Two of these titles are here because there’s no trailer or supporting content to go with it other than one poster and a small blurb surrounding its plot. Their outlooks aren’t good but you never know. What I do know is that these will be reviewed with less of a priority than the other shows listed.

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One important to remember is that things can change. Shows can go up or down in estimation, we cannot speculate too much in terms of quality or ‘goodness’ until we actually get some episodes under our figurative belts. These ratings are merely for ordering my review roster. I’ll be sure to change things up a little bit and throw in a low or medium-low anime further up just so it becomes a teensy less predictable though; keep you on your toes!

So what anime are you looking forward to? Now’s your chance to vote for as many shows as you like so we can get a gauge on what the Anifile audience is excited about. If the results for one show in particular are high enough but the show is further down the review list, I will respond by pushing it up a little bit. ;)

Right – the stage is set. Let’s watch some anime!

 

Spring 2014: Comedy


Our third entry into the Spring 2014 showcase is the comedy genre. We like a laugh every now and then and the anime here hope to tickle your funny bone into submission with their wacky plots and comical dialogue. Let’s check them out!

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Normal High School Girls Tried Being Local Idols
[Futsuu no Joshikousei ga [Locodol] Yatte Mita.]

Genre: Comedy
Animation Studio: Feel
Origin: Manga [Kosugi]
Airing Date: April 2014

Summary
In a small town, a young girl named Nanako is asked by her uncle to become their local idol. She then recruits a friend from high school named Yukari to join her in her endeavours. Over the course of the adventure, they represent the town in local broadcasts, events and even hold concerts.

Initial Thoughts
There’s something odd about this. There is very little to go on in terms of promotional material. I couldn’t find a trailer for the anime and minimal detail when it comes to plot save for a few images, manga snippets and whatnot. From what I did find it seems very simple. The characters look nice but the story isn’t very engaging. It’s about local issues; realistic but questionable content for an anime. The lack of material is also a cause for concern. Let’s hope it’s unfounded.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Low

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If She Were To Raise The Flag
[Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara]

Genre: Comedy/Romance
Animation Studio: Hoods Entertainment
Origin: Light Novel [Takei/Cuteg]
Airing Date: April 7 2014

Summary
Our story is about the adventures of Sota Hatate and his transfer to a brand new high school. He is different in that he has a psychological ability to read the emotions of other people which are represented by flags which appear above the person’s head. However, one day he spots a flag of death over his own head and he recruits a band of young girls to save his skin.

Initial Thoughts
The use of the flag motif is something novel. It adds a bit more substance to proceedings which makes this anime stand out a little more than others especially for those who are interested in psychology. Flags are common throughout the preview and are used not just for the usual emotive analysis but also for comedic effect. I’m going to keep my eye on this and see where this ultimately goes.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium

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The Buried Treasure of Nanana Ryugajo
[Ryugajo Nanana no Maizoukin]

Genre: Comedy/Supernatural
Animation Studio: A-1 Pictures
Origin: Light Novel [Otorino/Akaringo]
Airing Date: April 11 2014

Summary
Jugo Yama runs away from his home after being banished by his father and lands upon the island of Nanae. However, his life is disrupted further by the presence of a ghost of a young girl named Nanana Ryugajo whose spirit is trapped. Only the discovery of the person who murdered her will grant her the peace she craves. It is up to Jugo to find the clues pinning the identity of the killer and help Nanana’s quest for peace.

Initial Thoughts
Despite the rather morbid premise, this story is very light-hearted. Nanana is very much present throughout and the fact that she’s dead doesn’t really hinder anything. She acts as a guide for Jugo as well as a new friend. There’s an extra dimension in the addition of other people looking for Nanana’s treasure which adds a feeling of urgency; a much needed touch. It looks good and I think it has the potential to be an enjoyable tale albeit a little safe.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: Medium-Low

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Soul Eater Not!

Genre: Comedy/Supernatural
Animation Studio: Bones
Origin: Manga [Okubo]
Airing Date: April 9 2014

Summary
This spinoff of the original Soul Eater series focuses on the individuals of the Death Weapon Meister Academy and its NOT class. Its members are human-born and have been bestowed magical powers to turn into weapons. However, they don’t wish to become weapons like Soul from the original show, but merely seek to control their powers so as they can function in society. The main character, Tsugumi, quickly befriends two meisters [Meme and Anya] and has to pick which meister will be her…meister.

Initial Thoughts
Now I know I said I wouldn’t pick shows that are new seasons or established I.Ps; however this seemed different enough to warrant a look. Soul Eater is a modern classic and one of the most popular shows in American anime circles and hence the weight behind Soul Eater Not is substantial. I feel that even if you don’t know the original title well, that you’ll still get a kick out of this series and revel in the prospect of the original cast making the odd cameo. So expectations are high all round, let’s hope it delivers.

Review Priority Rating [RPR]: High

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So that’s it for the comedy anime, tomorrow we sample what is commonly seen to be the most iconic genre of the medium- the slice-of-life. What do we have in store? Check in tomorrow to find out!