by Rose Bridges,
How would you rate episode 1 of
How would you rate episode 2 of
After months of anticipation, Classicaloid is finally here! Yes, I've been waiting for this show—can you blame me? It combines one of my favorite anime genres—reverse harems—with one of my all-time favorite things: classical music. It's an odd combination of interests though, and this "famous historical figures as pretty boys/girls" formula has a mixed record in the past. So for the rest of you, how does this latest gimmick measure up?
Classicaloid is actually intended for a pretty wide audience. The show airs during the general-audience slots reserved for things like of The Heroic Legend of Arslan and My Hero Academia, rather than late at night like many other anime. So while there is plenty of fangirl-friendly fare in this cast full of magical pretty boys, the show is intended for younger kids and their parents too. Classicaloid is basically the latest in a long, trans-Pacific tradition of using animation to fascinate kids with classical music, spanning from Fantasia and Looney Tunes up to Princess Tutu.
So far, Classicaloid is pretty great at fusing the informational and the entertaining. The plots are basic reverse-harem fluff about the group trying to get along in their mansion. Landlady Kanae is a no-nonsense teenage girl who comes off like a killjoy at first, with her insistence that the old mansion has to be torn down. As of episode 2, she's started to grow more likable as she shows a softer side in her interactions with her friends. Her doofy pal Sousuke also grew on me after episode 2 explored his ambitions as a DJ. (He was mostly just annoying in the first episode.) By far the best non-composer character is Sousuke's little blue iPad-like gadget. It alternates between spitting out composer facts like a music Pokedex and gently chiding its delusional owner.
Mozart's portrayal is based pretty heavily on the "goofball genius" best known to modern audiences from the play and movie Amadeus. For all the creative license it took in its depiction of Mozart and Salieri's relationship, Amadeus was spot-on about Wolfgang's very raunchy sense of humor. He famously sent letters to his family and friends full of poop and fart jokes and composed music for private gatherings with titles like "Leck mich im Arsch." (I'll let you figure out what that means in German.) Whether the real Mozart would take this to the level of making a boob cake is another matter, but the experience reminds him enough of his original life to cause his "Musik" powers to activate.
"Musik" involves the "classicaloid" (series term for these composer bishonen) tapping into strong emotions and activating magical powers. They start conducting rock arrangements of their famous pieces (specifically, Beethoven's 6th Symphony and Mozart's "Eine kleine Nachtmusik") and summon colorful, miraculous illusions that envelop everyone around them. It's basically "the power of rock." Beethoven uses his powers to save the mansion from the wrecking ball in episode 1, while Mozart uses his to liven up Kanae's birthday party after she rejects his "gift."
On that note, let's talk about Beethoven, even if he's had less focus so far than his pink-haired friend. His brooding, emotionally tortured persona is equally common in his pop-culture portrayals because it's also largely based in reality. The character's obsession with gyoza is a little more puzzling, and I have to conclude it's likely a Japanese pun that flies over my head as a foreigner. My favorite part of Beethoven in this show is his indie rock star outfit, which feels weirdly true to how a modern-day Ludwig might dress. It also helps that unlike Mozart and his "pinkness," Beethoven actually looks a lot like his historical counterpart, with his messy white mop of hair.
There's just so much to love about this goofy show, from the rocking OP to the impressively detailed music mansion to shoebill mascot character Hasshie. With the next episode, Classicaloid appears to settle into the familiar reverse-harem pattern of "introduce a new one each episode," giving us the classicaloids for Chopin and Liszt. I'm eager to see how it portrays each of these composers and what it does with the other ones we've seen on the sidelines, like the imposing "Bach-sama" and idol singers Tchaikovsky and Badarzewska (the one actual female composer among the cast). This isn't the kind of anime that will set the world on fire, but if you're just looking for a rockin' good time, Classicaloid will give you that and then some. It doesn't matter how little you know about classical music. And who knows? You might learn something and find a new tune to love along the way.
ClassicaLoid is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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