Aikatsu – Episode 8

Let’s keep on riding this Aikatsu train! The last couple episodes have both been a very fun time, so it seems like we may have finally shrugged off those early episode blues. Aikatsu #6 turned out to be almost as silly as I’d hoped from this show, while #7 had an oddly sharp take on twitter. I don’t really expect this show to have much to say regularly, but if it can maintain the last two episodes’ combination of reasonable storytelling and general charm, I’ll be more than content. Let’s see what today’s Aikatsu brings!

Episode 8

Well, the recap segment is focusing on Ichigo’s ridiculous signature training exercises, so it seems the show is starting to understand its own appeal

Of course, it’s also focusing on plenty of that awful CG. I wonder if those CG performances are a highlight for the show’s intended audience? It’s not like five year olds are going to be miffed by the absence of sakuga, and plenty of adults don’t seem bothered by embarrassingly abrasive CG, either

Ichigo’s got a video camera

“I’m currently on my way to return the props we used for drama class.” Oh man, a theater episode?

Ichigo’s video blog would definitely be a hit

Ichigo spots a secret idol dancing in the basement. Nice effect with the backlighting here

“The Underground Sun.” Ichigo enters the harsh world of idol speakeasies

“There are still all kinds of mysteries in Starlight Academy, huh?” This I am here for. Exploring more of the weirdness of Starlight Academy sounds like both an inherently fun narrative direction and a solid way to make this world feel a bit more grounded and lived-in, as opposed to some kind of sitcom set that they just visit for adventures

There’s a mysterious girl who’s never attended class

All of the students are tired of Bepp’s incorrigible bullshit

Oh man, this new girl sure has a design

The melody of this announcement hews extreeemely closely to the traditional Disney jingle, appropriate for our class of princesses

“The headmistress determines the most sensational girl in each grade.” Alright, THIS is a plot. Tournament arc yeaaah

It sounds like it’s largely based on who made the most waves professionally, which makes sense. Once again, a bit more grounded than the “heart and dreams” approach

Oh my god this girl behind Ran with the cat-eared skull on her shoulder

This ridiculous fucking entrance, these neon green shades. Aikatsu is a good show

Hikari “Flash” Minowa, known for her impromptu underground performances. Aikatsu is definitely a good show

“She’s never once been on stage in public.” That seems like a tough brand to maintain

Hikari and Ran cross eyes. DESTINED RIVALS

“They transferred in while you were doing your Net Live Tour.” Ah, that explains how her promotion works

Aoi keeps nerding out and it’s throwing Hikari off her Cool Beauty game

This episode’s not precisely what I was expecting, but it accomplishes a similar goal – introducing Hikari adds texture to Ran’s character, giving her preexisting personal conflicts that enrich her personality

“Her body temperature’s high?” Ichigo is a good antidote to Ran’s self-serious nonsense. Now that it’s no longer Ran’s focus episode, she’s no longer the conduit for the episode’s lesson, meaning Ichigo can dunk on her a lot more freely

Yeah, Ran’s personality has turned into a source of consistent comedy now that she’s just “one of the gang.” Ichigo and Aoi just find her melodrama adorable

We get a repeat of that cool idol dancing in the basement. Well, they did animate one whole cut, it makes sense that they’d want to reuse it

The lighting of this whole segment is pretty distinctive

“My concerts are just for my fans. I forbid anyone else watch them.” Hikari continues to be an incredibly improbable character in all respects

Huh, Ran actually seems aware that her big dramatic announcements are kinda hollow and silly. I like that

Ichigo and Aoi have just been excited onlookers for this entire episode, which is endearing in its own way. These idol rivalries are just so thrilling

“My boss got mad at me, but I won’t give up! Hikari is doing her best too!” Let’s see this guy’s story

The teachers don’t seem particularly concerned about Hikari skipping all her classes forever

Headmistress still isn’t impressed by Bepp’s bullshit, though

This is all superficial “do your best” nonsense, but I like the relationship between the teachers

Ran is definitely learning how to be less formal with the other two

Aoi’s getting some strong faces this week

“When I wear Spicy Ageha outfits, I feel like I can put in more effort.” Only the most subtle of merchandise sales in our Aikatsu

She once met the designer for Spicy Ageha, another former idol

“It’s a showtime.” Thanks, Bepp

These dramatic strings for Ran’s emotional bond with her Spicy Ageha outfit

Ran doesn’t want Ichigo’s yakiniku juice. C’mon Ran, we’re all friends here

Hikari underlines the theme of this episode – Ran learning how much stronger she can be when she has friends supporting her

Lots of very wholesome rivalries in this show. Everybody enjoys competing

As someone who’s being poked with a cattle prod to provide commentary over every new event, I’ve kinda started feeling fond of bank footage. It basically works the same way for me as it does for the show creators

(granted, it’s not like Aikatsu provides material for any kind of meaningful criticism, so I really don’t know why you’re all here. But hey, I’m glad you’re joining me!)

Hikari pulls off the first outfit that isn’t just “here is my color, all of my clothes are the color that is me.” Nice work, Hikari

All of the live performances use the same two songs and the same pair of choreography routines. Even for filler, this show sets a really low bar for itself

They tie

Well, that was fun. Time for Hikari to go hide in a basement with a video camera for another year

They’re planning on a Special Audition with all three of the leads

And Hikari mails Ran to make sure she steps up her game for the Special Audition. BURNING RIVALS

And Done

Well, that was kind of a nothing episode. In spite of some occasionally silly moments, Hikari didn’t really distinguish herself as a character in any way, and most of this was very generic rival banter leading up to a very standard conclusion. Fortunately, we’ve now gotten far enough into the show that the cast has developed a pretty reasonable rapport, meaning it’s easy enough to watch Ichigo, Aoi, and Ran hang out even when the show isn’t really giving us more reason to care. And hey, we’ve got continuity! I guess we’ll see if putting three idols on stage does anything to fix this show’s CG woes…

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One thought on “Aikatsu – Episode 8

  1. Man, I can’t wait for you to reach season 2 and see the REAL CG. Because holy crap does it deliver, and gets even better in S3, not to mention the amazing music throughout (seasons 2 & 3 hit incredible heights on the music front!).

    Aikatsu is and probably always will be my favourite thing in the universe, it’s the show that got me into writing seriously again (some 3.5 years ago now) and is also why I now have the first novel in a planned series finished (very similar setting, too, albeit in the far future instead of contemporary). Glad to see you enjoying it 🙂

    I’d love to link you to a retrospective series I’m writing (stalled right now due to moving house, grr), but since it’s spoiler city for things you’ve not reached yet, I’ll leave it here and let you continue at your leisure.

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