J-pop songstress Konomi Suzuki made her acting debut in Netflix's sweeping musical fantasy, Lost Song. This week, Nick and Micchy find out if there's noteworthy underneath the surprisingly bland fluff on this show's surface.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network. Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead. Not Safe For Work warning for language.
Micchy, I don't usually talk about it, but I deal with semi-regular bouts of insomnia that can make getting rest an absolute hell. But I recently had a breakthrough. Just this past week, I discovered an absolute miracle cure that's given me the heaviest, deepest sleep of my life!
And on top of that, Lost Song proved to me that time travel is possible; I'm pretty sure I just spent this last week in a '90s Don Bluth musical.
Let me be up front here. While we've undoubtedly covered worse anime on TWIA, Lost Song
is far and away the dullest thing in recent memory. Because this isn't like, An American Tail Don Bluth. This is PEBBLE
and the Penguin Don Bluth.
But with uncomfortable tiddy.
It's really quite remarkable how much Lost Song feels like it was made for children in 1992. There's a plucky heroine who just wants to sing, an obnoxious know-it-all character, sidekicks who do nothing important, a romance between two pieces of wet cardboard, AND an over-the-top evil prince, all in one show! But also, y'know, the worst anime tiddy I've laid my eyes on in a long, long time.
Pony's nipple-less shelf boobs aside, even the less terrible boobs look uncomfortable as hell.
Now now, we can't just speed through introductions. Lost Song
is a dense story with a vast ensemble cast and we need to give them a proper breakdown. For instance, there's our main(ish) heroine, Rin:
Wait no, that's a bowl of bran flakes in skim milk over a beige background. Rin's nowhere near that compelling. There we go:
But listen Nick, she has a dream
Like that's probably the biggest problem with this show. Literally half of it rests upon the shoulders of easily its blandest character. Rin has all the rough edges of a bowl of porridge and all the texture of distilled water.
Hey, I wouldn't say she's the blandest character in the entire show. She's very much a stock kid's movie protagonist, with only the barest of motivations ("sing and be nice to everyone b/c idk my family's dead"), but at least she's got a nice singing voice thanks to Konomi Suzuki.
No, the absolute most boring character is Cardboard Knight-kun.
Lost Song is one of those things where you can immediately deduce their personality from their appearance, and Henry has all the magnetic charisma of a child's knight Halloween costume from Walmart.
Meanwhile, his rival is the best character in this whole mess, His Majesty of The Bad Haircut.
I get the impression we're supposed to dislike Prince Resting Bitchface, but he's just so much
that I can't hate him. I mean sure, one of his first lines in the show is "why don't poor people die of thirst," but how can you possibly take this guy seriously when his face is just so gloriously dumb-looking.
In a cast of Saturday morning cartoon heroes, he's the obvious petty villain, but just by having the most expressive design in the whole show (and Todd Haberkorn
's wonderfully bitchy dub
performance), he becomes the most fun to watch.
Though we are getting ahead of ourselves again, since we haven't even discussed our OTHER main Heroine, Finis:
I'm sorry, Fin-who?
See Finis is 2% milk because she has one (1) whole character trait. She gets lost easily! Every scene she's in. Every episode. Ha. Hahaha. ...ha.
She's also incredibly dumb, don't forget that. Like remember the time an assassin dresses up as her maid and she doesn't figure it out until he's within striking distance? She's all, "Oh, Corte, what good horseback skills you have! Oh, Corte, what thick arms you have!" and doesn't realize her attacker is a dude until Cardboard-kun points out that the guy has a beard.
If she were Little Red Riding Hood, she'd be dead within ten seconds.
And that's the second big problem with Lost Song. The other half of its story has to be carried by somebody who is so ridiculously naive and helpless that she basically gets tossed around like a tetherball for the first 2/3 of her arc. Like replace Finis with a Big Mouth Billy Bass and nothing really changes.
That is, until the big ~twist~ in episode 7.
You mean when Prince Rudo (yes that is his real name) totally punks Finis and Henry? Because that was a great twist alright.
Prince Bitchface has been forcing her to use her powers of song for warfare lest he execute Cardboard Boyfriend, so she's been going around blowing up hordes of faceless enemy soldiers for reasons we're never really clear on.
Because it's WAR!
This all costs her own lifespan, since her song magic comes at a price. She exhausts herself so much that eventually she concludes there's only one song left in her, so her maid encourages her to elope with Cardboard Boyfriend. Prince Rudo doesn't like the sound of this and totally punks her into wasting her last song on a fire to crucify her own boyfriend.
As far as pranks go, it's a pretty darn good one, though only possible because Finis has all the wherewithal of a newborn puppy on medication.
First of all, you'd think she'd stop singing when the guy under the helmet starts screaming his head off. Second, that one-song limit is totally arbitrary. She couldn't have conjured up a bucket of water or something? Who's to say she didn't have two songs left in her, anyway? This whole twist is totally contrived, and the more you think about it, the less sense it makes.
Well, without it, we couldn't get to the only interesting part of this show. THE APOCALYPSE!
Turns out Finis DID have one song left in her: a song to literally blight the planet of all life. Which seems like it should take more out of her than lighting a candle but whatever.
Oh yeah, she freaks out so bad about her cardboard boyfriend that she bypasses her one-song limit to rain meteors on the earth. Because that obviously makes more sense than getting a goddamn bucket of water. Now to be fair, she's literally been locked in a tower for god knows how long, so it makes sense that she's emotionally warped and has no idea how to deal with grief, but geez, the girl needs some chill.
Hey, stupid or not, it's the closest this show ever gets to being engaging, and the only real surprise in a story that's otherwise equivalent to a bad Tales game. Not only does she destroy all of humanity, she also somehow makes herself immortal, living through the rise and fall of countless human civilizations as the world is continuously reborn and inevitably destroyed again.
That's just the plot of Heybot!
Coincidentally, everyone she knows gets reincarnated (?) in every iteration of civilization she lives through, because of course they do.
Like Henry, who's somehow so boring that he actually gets less
attractive when he starts wearing glasses.
I didn't even know that was possible! Put my bland knight boy back in his JRPG cosplay
, where I can at least laugh at the fact that he's a total weenie despite supposedly being one of the best knights in the kingdom. Anyway, by an even bigger coincidence, Rin's half of the show has actually been taking place on a totally different timeline where everyone looks and acts the same as they did in Finis' time.
This does explain why Rin spent seven episodes doing nothing of consequence while the actual plot happened in Finis' half of the story; they literally couldn't interact with the plot because it would give away the twist. That isn't a good reason to make half your show totally inconsequential, but at least it's a reason.
I mean, I guess there was some foreshadowing. Like how the moon in Rin's time is ever so slightly bigger than it is in Finis'--oh who am I kidding, any reasonable person would've concluded that the two stories were concurrent based on the editing.
But maybe the most shocking part of this whole thing—which takes an entire episode to explain and even then barely makes sense—is how little any of it actually matters. Like we cut to episode nine and all that's changed is that Finis is "Evil" now and was actually the source of the Magical Songstress mythos that Rin mentioned a few times. But you could just set Rin's part 10 years after Henry's death and not much would change.
It really wouldn't! Literally the only thing that would need to change is Henry's presence in Rin's half of the show, but it's not like the two of them interacted in any meaningful fashion.
Well, Henry's presence does lead to the best pun in the whole show, so I guess I can forgive it that much.
Instead, all that recursive history bullshit adds is that Finis murdered billions of people just because she couldn't get over how future-Henry was happily married with kids. Like. Girl. Ya need to move on already.
Yeah, it doesn't do much to make Finis sympathetic, even though the show insists we should feel for her.
I'm sorry she had to suffer the trauma of killing him herself, but it's been millennia, I think it's time to stop murdering more people over it. That line of Finis' is especially bad because Rin just lost her entire family like a week ago. Like damn, am I supposed to sympathize with Finis or not, you're really making this hard.
And sadly, the rest of the plot just kinda peters out from there. Like it tries to bring more shocking twists into the picture, like how Rin is actually a baby born from Finis' song of healing somehow???
And i mean like a literal baby born outta song.
inb4 obnoxious know-it-all comes to explain why that's SCIENTIFICALLY IMPOSSIBLE
Oh, fuck that kid. Everyone else levels out somewhere around boring, but Al just makes me want to shove him into a locker for all eternity.
He really is the nerd character from a '90s cartoon, voice and protractor glasses and all.
I want him to crash his stupid medieval jetpack.
Here's the thing tho: I like him because he's like one of those obnoxious nerd characters in Saturday morning cartoons. It's kinda nostalgic, ya know? All that means is that I'm an enormous nerd, so I will accept my punishment of being shoved in a locker.
I just can't stand him. His only shtick is to say that magic, in a universe where magic is a proven and observable phenomenon, isn't scientifically possible, and every time he said it, I wanted to smack a lunch tray out of his hand and dunk his head in a toilet. It did not help the "climax" of the show when we're supposed to be invested in how sad he is to see Rin disappear.
Nah, I get the sense he's one of those kids who postures because he doesn't know what else to do with his life; he drops the act when he's truly vulnerable. At heart he's a dorky kid who really wants to do great things and only pretends to be confident. All that said, I like him for the same reason I like Prince Bitchface. He's one of the few characters in the show with enough personality to get any reaction at all out of me.
I get that, at least. Wanting to punch a child is certainly a more stimulating emotion than boredom. But in the end, that's probably the most positive thing I can say about Lost Song. It wasn't 100% boring all the time.
Y'know, I'd agree with you if not for one thing; it's a musical, at least when it remembers to be one. Like I'm sorry, I'm a sucker for "I Want" songs, so when Rin broke out into one in the first episode, I was immediately sold (but don't tell anyone).
Eh, you're gonna be on your own there. I love me some musicals too, but the songs found in Lost Song
mostly left me cold. They're not bad, but nothing besides Finis' "Song of Mortality" really left an impression on me.
Oh, I'd be lying if I said the songs were memorable, but I'd also be lying if I said I haven't been listening to them on loop for the past hour.
Not many things can be Dance with Devils
! Lost Song
is more of a Red Garden
, but if you're one of the ten people who unironically like Red Garden
, you might enjoy having it on in the background while you play mobage or something. Alternately, if you're so into animated musicals that you enjoy even the most mediocre of Don Bluth movies, you might like this show. Lost Song
is simplistic as hell and honestly kind of dumb, but it's not a bad time if you're in the mood for fluff. It wouldn't be my first recommendation to anyone, but there are definitely some who'd like it. One last thought though, holy shit that last-minute secret princess plot thread they introduced in the penultimate episode.
Tiddy minstrel was a princess all along WAIT WHAT
Oh you mean Pony "Totally A Real Name" Goodlight revealing she's
Yeah that's another one of those twists that doesn't really mean anything and kinda just uh, happens.
The thing that makes it for me is how this timeline's Henry has been crushing on her for five years despite never having spoken to her or seen her face. The reveal comes out of left field and means absolutely nothing, but god does it make Henry look like a shallow doofus who can't even recognize the woman he claims he loves, which is hilarious.
He took one look at The Royal Décolletage and was hooked, I guess. In the end, I wouldn't call Lost Song a bad show, but more a show devoid of anything particularly remarkable. It's harmless and mostly functional, but there's a billion other things I'd recommend before ever thinking of it again.
Good thing it's getting a sequel! D'ya reckon it'll be any better lol?