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The Summer 2023 Anime Preview Guide
BanG Dream! It's MyGo!!!!!

How would you rate episode 1 of
BanG Dream! It's MyGo!!!!! ?
Community score: 4.0

What is this?


Transferring to Haneoka Girls' High School, Chihaya Anon decides this is the perfect opportunity to start over. And in the age of the Girls' Band, what better way than to join one of her own! She's already got a lead in her new friend Takamatsu Tomori, who used to be in a band. But Anon's plans get disrupted when other members of Tomori's former band start coming out of the woodwork; their protective nature is driven by the past incidents that drove them apart. What happened to Tomori back then, and has she reached a point where she can choose to try again?

BanG Dream! It's MyGo!!!!! is part of a multimedia project by Bushiroad. It streams on Crunchyroll on Saturdays.

How was the first episode?

Christopher Farris

Seemingly positioned as a sort of soft reboot, "next generation" entry for the BanG Dream! series, one thing I can't accuse It's MyGO!!!!! of being as apparent as the gacha-bait multimedia advertisement it technically is. We are firmly in focused, character-drama mode with this pretty much from the jump, with previous franchise faves limited to cameos and but one marketable single played by the end of the third episode (without subtitles for the lyrics, natch). BanG Dream! has had its slower entries before. Still, the intro on this one is almost impressively melancholic, with some bits like a moody shot of raindrops or a gaze through the eyes of Tomori held perhaps a little too long by snappy anime standards.

Not to say that It's MyGO is all moody angst since it isn't, but it is methodical enough in its movements that I can see why they thought it might be prudent to get the first three episodes out all at once. It takes a minute to get a sense of where this one is going (apart from assembling the band, as we can tell will be formed in the OP), watching the initial focal character Anon ease her way into her new school, deciding to join a band as a friend-making exercise because, hey, that's just how things work in this universe. Anon is fun enough as we question the exact circumstances that led to her being an oddly isolated pink-haired guitarist whose quest to make musical friends isn't not going to get her accused of being a dime-store Bocchi. But she's got a bit more motivating energy, and it turns out she's not the main character, at least not entirely.

Co-lead Tomori is the one who immediately emerges as the show-stealer for it is MyGO, happily collecting cool rocks and enthusiastically info-dumping on her collection of penguin bandages to Anon at the first provocation. She's frankly adorable, and there's an appreciation in seeing a character so thoroughly coded as being on the autism spectrum who isn't bullied or ostracized by her peers yet still struggles with feelings of isolation simply in being unable to understand them. That's dialed up even further in the third episode, told entirely from Tomori's literal point-of-view, as we experience what's a whole previous season of a show that feels a bit more in line with the kinds of optimistic band-assembling stories expected of a franchise like BanG Dream!. Before some cracks form and pry it apart, of course.

Not all the details have been delivered even when we're three episodes deep. While we're piecing together the story of Tomori and the others she was previously associated with (some of who are on deck to be part of this new band), we're still waiting in the wings on the likes of Anon. There are undercurrents of ideas in how both she and Tomori feel pushed by the expectation to participate in things in certain ways. But it feels like we're still hovering over a point when this all will crystalize, and there's a lot of open air around it.

Despite the new approach, SANZIGEN is still getting mileage out of its experience with this animation style. Characters like Anon and Tomori express themselves cutely enough. They allow for little touches, like the bit in the OP where Tomori turns away and psyches herself up between the intro and the song's first verse. Whether those snippets of personality or short swerves into denser drama carry the slower bits honestly varies from scene to scene. And the first-person gimmick of the third episode is broken up by just enough cuts to break the immersion in a few moments. Props for a series like this pointedly not trying to be something like Love Live! (or many of the previous BanG Dream! anime, for that matter), but that might leave it a little too languid and low-key for some viewers so far.

Richard Eisenbeis

When I think of this premiere episode, my first reaction is not love or hate but frustration. This isn't because I've never seen an episode of the original BanG Dream! before (which doesn't seem connected to this one very much, beyond the setting regardless) or because I have some grudge against idol anime. Instead, it's because there's something in this anime that I want to like and become invested in—and either the anime itself or my limits as a viewer (or a mix of both) are making it one heck of an uphill struggle.

At the center of the story, we have Anon, a girl who has just transferred to a new school. But rather than being the innocent transfer student we see so often in anime, Anon's consciously playing the game of high school. Rather than going with the flow and just being herself, she calculates who she wants to interact with and what she wants to do based solely on having an easy school life that she can enjoy. Because in her new school, bands are popular, she decides to make one of her own to fit in—even though she seemingly has no drive to play music. This makes Anon an interesting character, especially when she stumbles headlong into Tomori's 'high school band break-up arc' in progress.

Tomori is an equally complex character. Neurologically atypical, she needs to collect things and put things in order. She is also adverse to change—hence why the band break-up was so hard on her and why she'd only join a band again if she had a lifetime commitment. Tomori is very much a girl who needs a friend, someone she can gush to about her special interest (i.e., collecting) in all its minutia who won't judge her. Can Anon be that friend when she is more concerned with cultivating a normal outward appearance than making deep friendships? It makes for an interesting dynamic between the two—one I was quickly invested in while watching.

My frustration stems from the fact that, despite these two great characters at the show's center, I was constantly confused about what was happening. However, this isn't due to the story but rather the art style and character design.

The episode begins in a dimly lit room where we see Tomori's old band breaking up. The scene immediately shifts to Anon walking to her new school to meet with the principal. Here's the problem. The main speaker in the opening scene is a girl with blue eyes and light, mid-back-length hair. Anon is also a girl with blue eyes and light, mid-back-length hair. Until Soyo appeared again in the back half of the episode, I thought she and Anon were the same girl (and had chalked up the hair color differences to the dim lighting in the opening scene).

Moreover, I didn't even realize Tomori was the short-haired girl in the opening scene because of the different uniform she wears in that scene versus later ones. The crux of my problem is that nearly every character in the show has the same basic face, nose, and mouth shape, with many sharing the same eye and eyebrow shape. Change their clothes or hairstyles, and I couldn't pick any of them from a lineup.

Once I realized my mistake, I had to pause every time a new character appeared and rewind to the opening scene to try and match them—checking names and hairstyles to figure out if each was someone we had been introduced to in the opening scene. It pulled me out of the story, and I felt like I was doing a mountain of unnecessary work to try and follow a story that was, in all other ways, well-told and interesting.

All in all, I think that this anime may be worth watching. It has a great lead pair with complex, realistic personalities and their own bags of issues they'll need to work through. It's to the point I honestly think I will also give the second episode a watch to see where things go. But as for this first episode, the art style made this one a supremely frustrating experience.

Nicholas Dupree

It's funny. Despite my abiding love for Love Live! and band anime, I could never get into this franchise. Something about the premiere of that first season just failed to grab me, and as the later seasons seemed to balloon the cast and shifted animation style, it never felt like there was a good jumping on point. This new spin-off(?)/sequel(?) is thankfully pretty accessible, and while I'm not in love yet, this first episode piqued my interest enough to watch some more.

Mostly that comes down to the dynamic between our two most immediate leads. Anon immediately separates herself from the typical lead for this kind of show, established as a calculating and self-conscious person who's always reading the room and trying to keep a very particular profile in her new school. There's doubtlessly a sad backstory about why she's so mercenary with her social life, but that carefully maintained persona clashes well with the earnest and incalculably awkward Tomori. There's a fun back-and-forth with them, where Anon's carefully crafted niceties only make Tomori feel more uncomfortable, and it's only when she puts the facade aside to speak plainly with her new friend that they can connect. It's a pretty unique dynamic for an idol(-adjacent) show and gives the episode a more dramatic and comedic texture than a more typical approach might have.

Weirdly enough, though, the music has pretty much no presence in this opener. The central drama is about a band that broke up, sure, and seemingly every character at Anon's school is in a band, but there are no actual songs in this episode. What we get instead is fine enough without musical accompaniment. However, it's still an odd choice for a show and franchise presumably all about these characters expressing themselves with instruments and performances. We don't even get an OP to sample what the titular band might eventually sound like.

I'm also not sold on the visuals. I don't mean the CG – the character animation here is solid and expressive, and a surprising amount of attention is paid to how hair hangs on each person's head. It looks pretty nice. The direction is good, too, though not exactly noteworthy. The color, lighting, and compositing make those well-articulated and animated models feel washed out and slightly out of place. There are some scenes, like when Anon and Tomori are in a karaoke booth, being splashed with colored lights, that everything pops right. The rest of the time, though, it feels like the white balance is off, and the vibrant colors of certain characters' hair or eyes are too pale. It's not enough to ruin things, but it has a distancing effect that can distract from the dialogue and makes me wary about any eventual stage performances.

That being said, I was still intrigued enough to try another episode, so the premiere has done enough right. Thankfully most of my misgivings are things that can either manifest or improve later on. I can't speak to whether this will be a satisfying entry to established fans, but as a total newbie, this is easily the most curious I've ever been about the franchise.

Rebecca Silverman

I need to get this out of the way first – Chihaya's voice is like nails on a chalkboard for me. Something about its nasal tone rubs me the wrong way, and I spent much of the episode wishing that someone else was the main character. Given how dedicated she is to being the center of attention, that's at least a little ironic, albeit not as much as her wanting to go by her family name, Anon. Whether or not her voice actor can pull off the singing may very well be the point this series lives and dies on, at least for those of us who have the same issue with her speaking voice.

It may take a while before things get to that point, though. This first episode is taking it slow, first establishing that Tomori was once in a band that fell apart and then introducing Chihaya's transfer to Haneoka Girls' Academy and the utter obsession that her new classmates have with being in bands. This is obviously to tie in with the larger BanG Dream! franchise; although you don't need any familiarity with the other stories in the greater series, you'll recognize some of the names dropped if you're up to speed. Since Chihaya is our point-of-view character, she's in the same boat first-time viewers will be, which primarily works. She's also so self-involved that it doesn't seem like she'd much care about the already famous bands coming out of her new high school; she's fully invested in making a clean start and being perceived in the most favorable light possible. That's her motivation for starting her band rather than joining her classmates' established one: she wants to call the shots in her new high school life.

It seems this is at least part of her motivation for asking the class' quirky girl Tomori to join her. The episode does a good job of showing us how on the outskirts Tomori is – she's always doing something in the background when Chihaya is talking to other classmates. She's still reeling from the dissolution of CRYCHIC, and she seems to think that it was entirely her fault the band broke up, something that Chihaya has no way of knowing, and Taki is desperate to protect Tomori from. Despite Chihaya's best efforts, Tomori looks to be the actual protagonist, or at least the more sympathetic character, which is an interesting route for this episode.

For a music show, this episode doesn't have very much, just a soothing ending theme and a lot of aspirations. The animation isn't the worst CG I've ever seen (far from it), but there is something uncanny about the girls' faces, mostly in the spacing of their features. I also don't love how the camera enjoys panning up and down girls' bodies, but it isn't overtly sleazy, so that's a clear case of "your mileage may vary." If you like shows about girls making music, this is probably worth a few more episodes because it's not entirely without promise. But Chihaya's voice alone is enough to make me stop right here.

James Beckett

You know, for a show with five exclamation points in its title, I expected BanG Dream! It's MyGo!!!!! to have a little more pep in its step, but this premiere suffers from a serious case of the Dour Sourpusses. I've often complained that idol anime can veer too far into the territory of being unpalatably saccharine and overeager. Still, this BanG Dream! spinoff is a textbook example of course-correcting too far in the other direction, opting for a dreary tone and a muted presentation that threatens to suck the life out of the proceedings before the musical adventures even get started. When the very first scene of a show goes out of its way to demonstrate why the main characters of this idol anime seem to hate both each other and the very work that goes into making music, it forces you to ask whether you even want to spend the time to get to know these girls in the first place.

Given what this premiere sets out to do, it isn't like BanG Dream! It's MyGo!!!!! is a complete disaster. The 3D animation work here is reasonably expressive and dynamic, even if this is far from a Studio Orange production. Anon herself seems a likable enough protagonist, and the middle third of the episode, which focuses on her efforts to befriend Tomori, gives us some relatable character dynamics that could lend themselves well to a band story. There's potential here, and I reckon that fans of the franchise will find more to appreciate by whatever allusions to the main series I may have missed as a BanG Dream! neophyte.

Really, this is all a long-winded way of saying that even though I didn't find this premiere to be outright bad, it was boring enough that I struggled to get through it in a single sitting. As someone that has struggled to get on board with similar series in the past, my standards for idol-anime premieres tend to be pretty high since I'm going to need some serious pizazz or some excellently written, high-caliber drama to perk up and pay attention. BanG Dream! It's MyGo!!!!! doesn't excel in either of these categories, unfortunately, so it will likely end up being one of those shows I completely forget about as soon as I'm finished typing the last sentence of its preview.

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