I am well aware of the fact that I am one of maybe seven people who watched this show. I am equally aware that I never would have watched it myself if I weren’t being literally paid to do so. Maybe Shounen Hollywood knew these things. Maybe it was aware it had no audience to impress, and thus no audience to disappoint. Maybe that’s why it decided to be one of the most secretly ambitious, balls-to-the-wall concept-happy productions of the year.
I mean, the thing was also just fundamentally good – that was a surprise too, but it’s important. And it was good in a way most things never try to be – falling somewhere between Genshiken and Flowers of Evil on the naturalistic pacing scale, Shounen Hollywood was never afraid to have a pointless five minute conversation just to let the characters and episode breathe a little. But beyond that – how many shows this year had an entire episode that was staged as an in-character play commenting on the show’s overall themes? How many shows pulled out an impromptu full-episode musical? How many shows would depict their stars’ on-air debut by just straight-up broadcasting their entire first talk show appearance, complete with three performances and interviews from entirely unrelated and never-again-seen characters?
This show doesn’t make any sense! If you’re making a random boy idol tie-in show, you do not spend half the season crafting insane concept episodes! You do not adopt naturalistic slice-of-life pacing for all the character-building scenes! You do not make your central themes “the ephemeral nature of stardom and the inherently fake nature of showbiz”! These ideas are terrible! I mean, they’re great, obviously, and I certainly appreciated that the show decided to be such a world-weary yet guilelessly ambitious production, but how did this even get made?
You were a very unlikely thing, Shounen Hollywood. I might have been the only one in the audience, but goddamnit I was cheering for you.