The Spring 2020 Anime Preview Guide
IDOLiSH7 Second Beat!
How would you rate episode 1 of
IDOLiSH7 Second Beat! ?
What is this?
After their successful debut and success and the Black and White show, things are continuing to look up for IDOLiSH7 as a group. Tsumugi wants to keep things going for them as their manager, so she's thrilled when the boys land their own TV show. In order to prepare (and drum up expectations), they appear on Re:Vale's program, and are pleasantly surprised by both the experience and the attitudes of the other idols. But there's one goal that Tsumugi and the others have their sights on that isn't on TV – the inaugural concert for the revamped Zero Arena. With their popularity soaring, it seems like a real possibility for the group – but when Riku's health gives out after a concert, things may not be as easy as they seem.
How was the first episode?
The original 2018 series that introduced us to IDOLiSH7 was definitely a pleasant surprise in the saturated world of idol shows, and from its first two episodes, it looks like the sequel is going to continue that trend. With all of the characters introduced (with the exception of any new players) things are already set up to progress more smoothly, and the start of the show does trust that we'll remember everyone well enough that it can just jump right in where the original left off. Mostly that's fine, and we're easily given little hints about characters' defining traits throughout the two episodes in case we're a little fuzzy on the details (I'd totally forgotten Sogo) – Yamato's past, Nagi's otakuness, Iori's take-charge abilities, and, most ominously, Riku's medical condition.
That last has always been something the story has had to consider, and it's shaping up to be an even bigger issue this time around. As IDOLiSH7 is gaining in fans and general popularity, a shot at performing in the inaugural concert for the renovated Zero Arena doesn't seem that far out of their reach. Riku seems fine when the guys join idol duo Re:vale on their television show, but after they perform a solo concert, Riku's breathing becomes labored, and Iori and Tsugumi force him to accept treatment for it, even though it will render him unable to perform an encore. That's definitely something that people noticed – Kuju, a new character who is very likely the mysterious director Haw9, reports as much to Tenn, Riku's twin brother at the end of the episode, and he can't be the only one who remarked upon it. Since “IDOLiSH6” doesn't have the same ring to it and Riku is a large part of the group's emotional core, this is a very concerning development – and one that might bring up memories for fans of Arina Tanemura's past work, specifically the idol-themed Full Moon, which has characters with similar health problems and is one of her darkest series. Yes, she's just doing the character designs here, but it's hard not to see the potential parallels.
Riku's health aside, it's nice to see the return to the dynamics that were present towards the end of the first season's run, specifically how the guys' relationships to each other and Tsumugi are growing. We're definitely seeing more of the latter in these episodes, with Nagi and Tsumugi bumping into each other when she goes to scope out the Zero Arena for inspiration and him not-so-jokingly calling it a date or Riku remarking on Iori and Tsumugi being alone together an awful lot in a suspicious tone of voice. (We have to wonder at Iori's haste to remove Riku from the room as well…) Meanwhile we have plenty of shots focusing on Yamato when the boys are working with Re:vale that should raise some concerns, although Nagi being emphatically told to shut up when he tries to raise the issue is the much more entertaining part. There's an ease to the characters' interactions that really works and makes this feel less processed than many other similar shows.
Naturally the songs and dancing are back as well, and Re:vale's music is really very nice. The choreography on the whole looks more masculine (as in suited for male bodies to best be shown off; last season had some moves that would have worked better with female bodies), though I am definitely not a fan of the tulle-adorned new outfits for the island number. Honestly, I feel like this has been worth the wait, and if you enjoyed the first season, I think you'll find just as much to like in this one.
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