The Summer 2022 Preview Guide
How would you rate episode 1 of
Shine Post ?
Community score: 3.6
What is this?
"I want people all over the world to love their idols! A shining beacon for that...... that's the Shine Post!"
With big dreams but only small achievements, the idol unit "TiNgS" was supposed to find their salvation in one of the best managers in the business...but what appeared instead was a man with no motivation. However, he has a special power that he can use to help the girls.
Shine Post is based on writer Rakuda and illustrator Buriki's light novel series and streams on HIDIVE on Tuesdays.
How was the first episode?
I have to admit, Shine Post has a pretty strong pedigree for a multimedia project. With the director of Ume Musume, the writer of Revue Starlight, and the character designer of Macross Delta, it should be catnip to fans of gacha game anime that break the mold. While the first episode has some unique qualities, though, I'm just not convinced of its ability to fulfill its potential.
There are explanations for this lack of conviction that have more to do with me than with anything Shine Post did. An idol anime would have to get pretty wild to draw my attention, and while Shine Post has a gimmick, it still carries a lot of the typical hallmarks of its genre. Plus, it's the end of preview guide and the burnout is strong, so an anime better be something special to draw much more than an exhausted shrug from me, and this simply was not that special.
Idol anime have developed a stock archetype protagonist: the girl whose main personality trait is that she always works hard and tries her best! She loves singing and dancing and has dreamed of being an idol since childhood, but now that she's realizing her dream, there are obstacles! Obstacles and trials! But she'll get through it by trying! Her! Best!!! While I am always a proponent of trying one's best, it gets wearisome to see over and over, especially within the space of one season, with only minor tweaks from one iteration to the next. Haru is one of those iterations, and I honestly could not tell you what exactly it would be that sets her apart.
Shine Post is notable in that it eschews the CG rigs that have come to be expected in idol series, instead making heavy use of rotoscoping for dance sequences. It certainly looks better than the alternative, but there's still an uncanny smoothness to it, unnaturally fluid and detailed compared to how everything else moves. The art style contributes to this as well – it's oddly shiny and glossy, with barely-there linework that makes them look like they have an otherworldly glow. It would be a neat twist if they turned out to be celestial beings, I suppose, but also, I'd eat my laptop if that turned out to be the surprise gimmick.
Nah, the gimmick is simple, straightforward, and not super interesting: their new manager can see lies. So he knows how sincere Haru is. Like every other idol protagonist. Yawn.
From its opening scene, Shine Post was a bit of a surprise for me. While big concert scenes are not uncommon in idol anime, rarely do they look so good. Singing/dancing scenes are usually done in full 3D animation, and tend to look markedly different from the 2D animation in the rest of the show. And while there were no doubt 3D models used in all the dance scenes in this episode, the art style remained so consistent and high quality that you could hardly tell. Moreover, when multiple characters were dancing as a group, they weren't simply sharing the same animation rigging; each character had subtle differences in movement and timing that made it look far more real than is normal for idol anime. But while the animation quality throughout this premiere was impressive, it was the big reveal at the end that really hooked me.
For most of the episode, Shine Post appears to be your average idol group anime. Our singers are comprised of well-worn character archetypes: the dunce, the princess, and the overly earnest main protagonist. But where it starts to stand out is the reluctant manager who has vowed to never manage an idol group again. The reason for his apparent trauma seems clear: he got fired for being too good at his job (thus making his coworkers feel incompetent), and as the idiom goes, “the nail that stands up gets hammered down.”
Of course, there's a reason he's so good at his job: he sees auras around people. At first, the implication is that he can tell what resonates with a crowd or not (something super useful for an idol manager), but the truth, as we learn by the end of the episode, is that the auras indicate when a person is lying.
This reveal redefines the whole episode. All the kindness he sees on the street are just unfelt platitudes. His polite and upbeat coworkers are just sucking up to him. Even Kyouka and Rio are insincere about why they want to be idols, only telling him what they think he wants to hear to save their jobs. His daily life must be depressing as hell.
Yet, Haru means what she says—and that changes everything for him. She must be like a diamond hidden in a sea of garbage. So it's not for the idol group that he changes his mind to be their manager, it's for her. The two of them are united in goal and purpose about bringing the joy of idol culture to the world—and she's brave enough to shout it out regardless of the derision she likely receives. It's no surprise that this means everything to him.
All in all, the first episode of Shine Post deserves not only a watch but a rewatch. The twist at the end completely changes how you interpret every character in the show and all the scenes before it. It shows there is a lot more going on than meets the eye in this series—and even gives us the subtle cliffhanger of what Kyouka and Rio are hiding. It's good stuff all around.
Shine Post belongs to one of those somewhat ubiquitous multimedia franchises encompassing game, manga, light novel, and anime that, despite its best efforts at a gimmick and intense cuteness, doesn't really do much to stand out. This time around our heroines are the three members of failing idol group TiNgS, unable to draw more than thirty-seven people to a single show. But if they want to remain active as a unit, they're going to have to draw a crowd of two thousand within a year. Oh no! Whatever shall they do?
Since the easy answer – just break up and try something else – obviously isn't going to cut it, we're stuck with this episode, wherein the president of their agency, Yuki, secretly is rooting for them and trying to save her cousin from himself, and so pairs the four up as idol(s) and manager. It's all the heartwarming sweetness of nepotism with the charm of a group that can't quite manage to sync their dance moves brought together in one big cheese sandwich, with the special sauce that is new manager Naoki's super secret power: when someone is lying, he can see them glowing. I will admit that that surprised me; based on what we saw of Naoki walking down the street listening to other people's conversations and spotting some folks shining brightly, there's no real indication of what his power actually is, and given the context of the story, it's easy to assume that he's able to see people's star power or something similar. When we learn what he's actually seeing, the implications for his new job are even more dire, because of the three TiNgS girls, only one of them is being honest about why she wants to be an idol.
Naturally it's Haru's naïve but earnest honesty that ultimately convinces Naoki to take the job, and it's hard to blame him for any cynicism he might have; he's apparently been working in this field for long enough to know that “honesty” and “show biz” don't often go together. His real goal, therefore, could be said to be keeping Haru's dream alive, saving her from the harshness of the industry she entered with a heart full of perky glee. Rio and Kyoka are already shining with lies, but if Naoki can turn things around for the trio, maybe he can bring them back from that edge as well.
As idol show premises go, it's functional, but not quite compellingly different enough to make this stand out if you're not already a genre fan. When you add in factors like deadly dull choreography, bland character designs, and something kind of odd about the way the girls' pelvises are drawn, this feels more uninspired than it perhaps should. It isn't terrible, but it also isn't the beacon of Haru's dreams.
Even for genres I don't especially love, if a show can do at least one thing to stand out and grab my attention, I can usually meet it halfway. Shine Post is a great example of this, in that it takes the well- worn tropes of your average idol anime and manages to execute them really well. It isn't reinventing the wheel or challenging expectations in any way, but it still manages to be a charming and breezy half-hour, and sometimes that is enough.
The most apparent asset that Shine Post is determined to flaunt is its animation, specifically its character animation, which is frankly stunning. It's almost too stunning, since the gorgeous and lively characters can sometimes seem at odds with the bland backgrounds and show's generally basic direction, but I still have to give the folks at Studio Kanai some well-deserved kudos. Whether it is the opening dance number, the excellently timed comic gags that the TiNgS girls get up to, or even small incidental cuts, Shine Post is always giving its cast as much life and personality as possible, which is a must in the idol anime genre.
Speaking of the cast, this premiere establishes TinGs as that most endearing of idol anime girl squads: The well-meaning but unsuccessful underdogs who have one more shot to make it big before they disband forever. Again, there's nothing here that we haven't seen a thousand times before, but it's hard to be too mad at Haru, Kyoka, and Rio when simply hanging out with them is a fun time in and of itself. They're just goofy enough to produce some reliable comic routines without ever coming across as too corny or one-dimensional.
As for the prerequisite “New Manager/Player Insert Character", Naoki, well, the jury is still out. He technically *does* have a personality and some conflict derived from his backstory, but none of it is particularly interesting. That is especially concerning since this guy apparently has a vaguely supernatural ability to detect someone's talent/potential/whatever based on their shining aura? It takes effort to make such a goofy gimmick feel subdued and even kind of boring. One can only hope that the growing TiNgs group will be able to make up for his lack of personality.
Shine Post plays it way too safe to be truly exciting or memorable, but this summer if feeling so lackluster that I'm perfectly willing to settle for “gorgeously drawn and functionally written", at this point. If you love idol anime, it will probably be a must-watch, and genre skeptics like me would do well to at least give it an episode or three to work its charms.
This is kind of a weird premiere. Not in its content – this is basically your standard idol show, just with slightly more focus than usual on the central group's male producer – but rather in its vibe. This is a premiere where I can look at it from a distance, and appreciate that there are a lot of individual elements that are good, even great, on their own. But somewhere in the act of putting it all together there was some kind of misfire, and the actual experience of watching it is never as entertaining or engaging as it feels like it should be.
A lot of it is in the details. Little things, like how it's obvious which characters are voiced by experienced voice actresses and which are performed by first-timers who are working to promote the real-life idol groups attached to this mixed-media franchise. Or how the energetic musical score quite often feels like it's compensating for the lack of energy in a scene rather than enhancing what's already there in the script and visuals. Sometimes it's in more crucial parts, like our manager character's tragic backstory – see, at his old job he was so incredibly good at promoting his idol group that it made everyone else jealous, so he quit to spare them being hurt. That seems like it could be trying to say something about the cutthroat nature of showbusiness, but “I was just too good” is never a great way to introduce a character who's supposed to be tragic. He's also the one we know the most about by episode's end, which means our most well-established main character's entire story is undercut from the start.
But like I said, there are a lot of strong elements to all this too. The production looks great, with a ton of lively animation through every scene of this premiere. The standout is the opening concert, which effectively melds 2D and 3D elements to make a really impressive stage performance, but just about any shot that lasts more than 30 seconds has at least one cut of very nice-looking character animation. There's a ton of attention paid to hair and fabric when the characters move or gesture. The girls themselves aren't anything to write home about, but the way they're animated instills a ton of personality that otherwise wouldn't be present. I also like the twist about Manager-kun's ability to see people “shine” when they're talking – at first you'd expect he's seeing some kind of star quality in people, but it's actually him recognizing that they're lying. That's an interesting angle to take with a story built around show business, and could turn into something really intriguing if it fleshes out an opinion on the comorbid nature of deceit and entertainment.
Unfortunately I don't think I'll stick around to see if that happens. Whatever part of this concoction that didn't mix right, that missing chemical reaction left me pretty cold, and wholly unattached to any of these characters. And if I don't care about the characters, there's only so much that good visuals and inoffensive music can do to keep me around. It's a shame, because there's really nothing wrong with Shine Post – there's just not much right either.
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