Shonen Hollywood, Season 2 – Review

Shonen Hollywood is back and, well, pretty much the same as ever. Same subdued character work, same cynical edge, same pretty-much-crap visual execution. If you’re one of the five or six other people who watched the first season, you know what to expect here. Shonen Hollywood is always a fun watch, and based on the end of this season, it looks like there may be even more coming down the pipe. Who knows what minor disappointments might next await our eternally disenchanted heroes!

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my episode notes below.

Shonen Hollywood

Episode 1

A reintroduction to the show and its characters. Shonen Hollywood might as well be the anti-Love Live – inherent cynicism, focus on character interiority, and extremely slow pacing. This first episode covers a length of in-show time that’s almost equal to its own running time, as Makki returns from an illness and the group preps for their nightly performance

Episode 2

Are we getting… CAT’S backstory??!!!?!

What the hell they’re giving Cat subtitles

President is as harsh as ever

These kids are such dorks

This is such a great way to reintroduce the characters. Thanks for your commentary, Cat

“Well, it’s not like we could be idols forever”

“Shonen Hollywood may be disbanding, but that doesn’t mean we weren’t here”

Strong music for this part

The SECOND EPISODE is largely focused on the tearful disbanding of their predecessors, in response to their original president’s death. Jeez

Yeah, the music continues to be good. Really great melancholy acoustic guitar

“It would be wonderful if you could lend a hand, Cat.” “I’m offering psychological support”

Episode 3

The president hates the handshake events

The president seems more human this season

Kakeru feels the same way – handshake events are soulless, random handshakes out on the street have an element of magic

Arguing over what to call tildes. This is my kind of show

Man, them fronting their various idol personalities while playing out this handshake event is great

Talking about their slight improvements over time. How they’ve transitioned from big dreams to working too hard to dream

Kakeru feels torn – his idol life feels less complete now that he’s preoccupied with college admissions

Kakeru answers the fan question with an honest “I don’t know what I want to do,” and Tommy covers for him. Tough stuff

Shun ends up buying a shirt he didn’t really want to to please the fans

Lots of great moments of them switching between real and idol selves. They’ve already learned how to “be idols” in a general sense this season, so now the show is messing with the expectations that places upon them

“What if fans saw them go a restroom?”

Kakeru just as insecure of his destination as ever

The backgrounds are gorgeous for this season. Lovely colors

“We have to become real so they’ll treasure today’s handshakes”

Episode 4

Oh shit, Tommy gets a role in a long-running TV drama

Of course, this results in a million inconveniences and compromises for the team

“Idols are cold-hearted!” “Maybe”

Kira: “I don’t particularly like any of you guys, not just Tommy.” lol

Tommy is concerned about his qualifications and his poor performance. He doesn’t like thinking he only got the job because his predecessor recommended him. But that can’t be helped

“Being an idol is a weapon. Use that weapon to secure a place for yourself in the future.” The hard truth – being an idol is a very temporary job, and the doors it opens are not permanent ones

Tommy keeps holding on to the past

Still some crap music – elevator saxs here

Yeah, Tommy starts nailing the parts! Shonen Hollywood’s animation unfortunately isn’t strong enough to visually demonstrate that, but still

“I want to believe that somewhere in this world, there’s a way to stay an idol forever.” A very Tommy resolution

“Thanks to you, I figured that I can just barely still pass myself off as an idol”

Episode 5

A Shun episode, focused on his lack of direction after he realizes he’s basically given up on his guitar dreams

“People with unrealized dreams are strong”

We don’t know what opportunities will come. We won’t achieve half the things we dream

Take joy in the unexpected, because the dreams you hope for may not arrive

“This isn’t about winning or losing. I’m surpassing my imagination!”

I really like how this season has emphasized their greetings as this repeated thing that the fans still love. Deviations from the script are not appreciated

Episode 6

Another one of ShoHari’s fantastic concept episodes. This one actually covers the detective drama Tommy appeared on, complete with commentary by the ShoHari members as they’re watching it. Makki is legitimately caught up in what happens, while Kira comments on the acting, etc. And the actual detective story is a cheesy montage of classic genre scenes

Episode 7

Makki and Kakeru share another very grounded conversation about their current circumstances and future on the way home from work

Makki’s center position is now up for grabs

“The President will come to a decision after observing your performances and behavior in everyday life.” So it’s a way to make them all push themselves to another level, and keep from being complacent. Like Miki, they’re always competing

They can only be their “idol selves” at all times now

“The two most terrifying things for an idol are the flow of time and complacency”

Kakeru doesn’t like this sense of inherent competition

Kakeru gets the position

My god, this conversation between the President and Makki is so good. The President keeps pushing him, and finally gets Makki to admit his bitterness, his frustration. But he was complacent before, and now he has a real, powerful drive

“Complacency makes a person’s light grow dim”

Episode 8

Another great episode. Kakeru feels very insecure about moving to the center, and even worse, he feels like everyone’s image of him is far greater than he actually is. He feels like an image of himself is running ahead of him, and he can’t catch it

“People seek everything from idols, even if they do not possess it”

“Isn’t that amazing? You released something that wasn’t inside you. It surpassed you”

“Depending on the time and the situation breathing down the idol’s neck, they can become gods or sacrifices”

Episode 9

Kira seems close to breaking the “no romance” rule

I love how all the stars can now “turn on” being their idol selves at the drop of a hat

Oh my god, the Director being all picky about his ramen and Tecchi having to take off the cover for him. This is fucking adorable, and such a great undercutting of his usual atmosphere

Makki sees an opportunity to get back at Kira for once

Makki and Kakeru go to spy on him. It’s pretty great how it’s repeatedly emphasized that Kakeru and Makki might be the only legitimate pair of “friends” in this group. They’re the only ones who hang out together outside of work, the only ones who have serious talks regularly. And outside of that, there are actual rivalries and a diversity of feelings

Makki’s feelings towards Kira are pretty complex, for example

Kira’s in puppy love

This sequence’s colors are beautiful

Makki yelling at him to use the “grind them up” catchphrase. Perfect

Kira is actually kind of a playboy, though it’s a weird mix of him being a young teen and a professional actor

“Find me, one day. I’ll be something that’ll make you brag about this day to your husband. I’m Saeki Kira.” DAMN, Kira

This was a nice sentimental episode

Episode 10

Shima, another one of the original members, wants God to give Hollywood Tokyo to him

Shima is a brilliant antagonist. His ideas are actually perfectly reasonable and even idealistic in their own way, and built out of a clear fondness for Shonen Hollywood. But he’s also holding on to the past just like God, but in a different way. He already comes across as ambitious, passionate, flawed, and a clear danger to their current lifestyle. But this show has already demonstrated that might not be a bad thing

The expression work is definitely somewhat improved this season, though there are still plenty of awkward held frames

Great contrast between their energy on stage and their insecurity immediately afterwards

“Is Shonen Hollywood worth risking our lives to protect?”

Really great conversation between all of them as they discuss the legitimate pros and cons of Shima’s offer

Tommy calling Kira out on his enthusiasm over the new job. Natural tensions, as usual

Episode 11

Strange and strangely phenomenal episode. The first half is a surreal sequence of the main cast bickering with the amusement park’s mascot while pretending to have a good time, and the second half concludes in a stirring blackout concert, with the cast giving thanks to the theater that created them. Really unique, compelling stuff

Episode 12

It’s also kinda weirdly appropriate how Shonen Hollywood got basically all their big breaks through personal industry connections

They decide to control their own final Christmas concert

A great extended sequence of all of them doing impressions of each other

There’s desperation in this season

Aw dang, it’s all a trick, they’re keeping the theater. Lol

Episode 13


You can even appreciate their “acting” versus their normal body language. JEEEEZ

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