The Summer 2014 Anime Preview Guide
Shonen Hollywood

by The Anime News Network Editorial Team, Jul 5th 2014

Carl Kimlinger

Rating: 2

Review: Thank you Shonen Hollywood. Thank you for giving us pretty boys dancing in unison and singing terrible songs. Thank you for giving us an idol-group producer who speaks solely in cryptic pseudo-inspirational speeches. Thank you for giving us a main character who is actually defined by his empty soul and total lack of personality. Thank you for writing cruelly stupid introductions for each band member and then spending the middle third of the episode having them practice each and every one, with crypto-garbage commentary on each from the producer. Thank you for giving us a production assistant with a bouffant pompadour and a speech style that's the Japanese equivalent of a flaming lisp. Thank you for theme songs that just demonstrate how poorly your idols harmonize. Thank you for flipping the idol-anime pattern and giving us beautiful boys instead of cute girls while still letting your boys kinda act (and bond) like girls. Thank you for broadcasting each boy's personality so that it's like a neon sign blaring “idol enthusiast” or “talented but self-centered” while still keeping them so generic and one-dimensional that even now, a mere half hour after watching, I can't honestly remember which is which. Thank you for the voice-over that tells us things we would find out anyway. Thank you for the languid pace, which coupled with total disinterest in the cast and a frightful lack of interesting showbiz detail, makes the episode's uneventfulness even duller than it has to be. Thank you for the ending montage, which manages to imply that the nice-guy idol sings to orphans and that the dropout idol loves his biker punk ex-comrades. But most of all, thank you for finally giving me an idol anime that I can wholeheartedly disparage. Oh, and no thanks for the laugh at the end. If you're going to suck, commit goddammit.

Shonen Hollywood is currently streaming on Funimation.com.


Theron Martin

Rating: 2 (of 5)

Review: Fifteen years ago Shonen Hollywood was a legendary boy band which would pack the Hollywood Tokyo theater night after night. (Think New Kids on the Block in their prime.) Nowadays 17-year-old Kakeru goes to that same theater each day to practice in the shadow of that tradition. He was aimlessly working a part-time job until he got recruited to be a potential idol singer, and now he and four other young studs are practicing to become the next how new thing to drive girls' hearts wild. They even have the dance steps and some perfectly cheesy canned introduction lines that they have to practice. To help give them a push, their President (who was doubtlessly secretly one of the original SH members, although that hasn't been revealed yet) declares that they will get to inherit the name Shonen Hollywood and get a new song, which is apparently what is being used for the closer. One has to be concerned about their chances for success, though, since that closer song is pretty lame.

In terms of serving as eye candy for the ladies, Shonen Hollywood has to be considered a success. The artistry looks great, the guys are all dashingly attractive in the classic shojo style, and the animation is even pretty decent. In fact, just about everything about it – even its sense of humor – seems finely-tuned to pander to female fans. And while there's certainly nothing wrong with that, the only other thing that the series has going for it so far is a sort of ephemeral charm. To say that the personalities shown so far for the five idols are very basic might even be an overstatement, and what little they do show offers little variety from the norm for these kinds of shows. A comment that the eldest one makes at one point about how there's a thin line between adoration and bullying was potentially interesting and insightful but needed more exploration than it actually got; perhaps someone decided it was too deep for the content?

By no means is the series off to an awful start, but so far it's just too bland.

Shonen Hollywood is currently streaming on Funimation.com.


Rebecca Silverman

Rating: 2

Review: Fifteen years ago there was a top boy idol band called “Shonen Hollywood” that was all the rage. They broke up for unknown reasons, but now five young men have the opportunity to be a part of its recreation! Kira's super excited; he's a former child star who has always wanted to be an idol. Makki's kind of dumb, but he's up for being center. Shun's cranky but okay with it, Kakeru seems to have zero feelings whatsoever, and Daiki doesn't make much of an impression at this point. So now they're practicing their dance routines and learning how to introduce themselves in the most embarrassing way possible to learn not to be embarrassed. It doesn't appear to be working well; I'm embarrassed for them.

Less campy than UtaPri and less charming than Love Live!, Shonen Hollywood is trying very hard to be an idol show for the ladies. This first episode has only moderate success, mostly because the boys have very little personality yet and their assistant manager/choreographer is this close to being a gay stereotype. The art is surprisingly realistic compared to other idol shows, and the boys are all wiry and muscular rather than lithe and feminine. The choreography is well animated and isn't over the top – it looks like something that someone could pull off while singing. That it isn't done in motion capture is impressive too, particularly as it's the only real moment we have to judge the animation from; otherwise there's a fair amount of standing around talking.

If you're looking for some eye candy of the male variety that isn't as blatant as Free! and comes with decently catchy pop tunes, Shonen Hollywood's first episode fills that need decently. It isn't a stand out debut, but it looks like it will take itself more seriously than the average idol show. If you like pretty boys singing and dancing, this is worth keeping an eye on to see how it develops.

Shonen Hollywood is currently streaming on Funimation.com.


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