Winter 2019 Anime

A Whole New Dimension – ‘BanG Dream! 2nd Season’ Episode 1 Review

bangdream2-1

What’s the show? BanG Dream! 2nd Season, Episode 1.

So how’s this episode? Right so I’m going to get a few ‘biases’ out of the way real quick so you understand exactly where this review is coming from. First of all I really enjoyed the first season of this show, so much so I wrote an impassioned defense of the show where I compared it to (somewhat) similar show ‘Love Live’ and explained all the ways it was better. (You can read that review by clicking this link!) Secondly, I play the ‘BanG Dream! Girls Band Party’ mobile game pretty religiously, though I admit I skip a lot of the story parts in the game as I’m more about the rhythm and gacha parts of the game. But that means not only do I know and like a lot of the characters, but I’ve heard all the songs from the 5 bands in the game approximately a million times each, so suffice to say I’m a fan.

Right, thanks for full disclosure and all that. How does that affect how you approached this anime’s first episode? I was wary, mostly because I was wondering how they’d suddenly introduce 4 new bands into a show since the first whole season focused solely on ‘Poppin’ Party’ the band who comprises the main characters on the show. I worried that it might come off as overkill or confusing or at worst just bloated and messy to introduce twenty characters at once–but remarkably, somehow they completely pull it off. It’s not flawless, but it works.

Pastel Palettes in action.

20 new characters?! Yep, we’ve got ‘Pastel Palettes’, who are introduced right off the bat being watched on television by one of the other characters, so it seems like they are the famous, established girl band of the series. Then the other three bands, who are still playing local venues are: ‘Afterglow’, ‘Hello, Happy World’ and fan favourite ‘Roselia’. We only get a glimpse of each of the band members but they all have a distinct and fun character trait that either compliment or contrast with the image of the band they are in. But before I go into the individual band performances there’s something important that I should have probably addressed earlier as it’ll undoubtedly be the thing that catches most people’s attention–especially those people who only ever watched the first season of the show.

Yeah, and what’s that? The show is in 3D now. That is to say all the characters are 3D anime characters against mostly hand-drawn 2D backdrops.

‘Afterglow’ performing.

Oh? And how do you feel about that. Here’s the thing, I didn’t actually know this was going to be the case… I knew they had a new animation studio behind the 2nd season but I didn’t know they were doing 3D and at first it was jarring, as it often is to see characters in 3D. But the more I watched, and the more I thought about it not only did it make a lot of sense but in some ways it was actually better than the first season’s 2D visuals, and that’s a hard task because at times season 1 looked absolutely gorgeous. But why I think it’s better here is that we have five musical performances in this episode (and that’s not even including the credits) so to animate all these traditionally would have taken a long time and increased the budget exponentially. But with 3D, you get all the fine detail of individual fingers picking guitar strings, or striking keyboard keys and the fast animation of drumming and dancing without having to resort to the usual budget tightening tricks of traditional anime like panning over still images of people performing. Also it’s not that much of a stretch for players of the game to see these characters in 3D as that’s how they are portrayed in the mobile game story scenes, so in a way it makes more sense.

I love that expression on Rinko!

Fair enough, and these performances you mentioned, are they any good, aside from being actively animated? They are probably the best thing about the show so far. Speaking from a biased perspective ‘Roselia’s’ performance was the best, they are a straight up rock band and hearing ‘LOUDER’ (one of their best songs) accompanied with visuals for the first time sent chills down my spine, and the little animation flourishes they put into lead singer Yukina’s performance gave her so much stage presence in a way I haven’t seen since the ‘K-On!’ days with Mio singing the ED songs. What was most surprising however was ‘Hello, Happy World’s’ performance, as they are my least favourite band from the game but seeing how much energy they all had and well their (admittedly gaudy) visual aesthetic matched their rambunctious songs it completely sold me on them and that’s something I never expected to happen.

Yes that’s a pink bear as the DJ, don’t ask questions.

Can you give an unbiased review of this episode, like what you think a person who’s not a fan of the game could come to expect from the show? Actually I can, but it’s not my opinions but those of the irlwaifu, Sharon that I’ll have to relay. See, she didn’t much care for ‘BanG Dream’s’ first season to the point where she kind of made fun of it, which is fine. Nor has she played the mobile game, so her opinions are completely unbiased. But the way she reacted to seeing ‘Roselia’s’ performance was with surprise and delight, and by the end of the episode she was not only happy to have watched the show but even looking forward to the next episode! How’s that for an unbiased review?!

The lighting throughout Roselia’s performance was astounding.

Fair enough, and a summation of your thoughts? How would you go about recommending this considering it is a 2nd season? I think you could conceivably watch this and not be too lost, but I ~am~ basing this off one episode, the call-backs may become too strong to ignore later on. If anything this feels less like a 2nd season and more like an adaptation of the game. Season 1 gave you all the minutiae of ‘Poppin’ Party’s’ formation and the backstory for all the characters but this almost feels like it’s setting up a larger scale ‘battle-of-the-bands’ style series just against a slice of life backdrop. I could be wrong and the show could scale back to how season 1 felt by next episode but I’m hoping we get this type of show week after week. If any of this sounds interesting, you’re interested in more instrument heavy, J-pop/rock or you just want to see some really well put together 3D performances than I’d say give ‘BanG Dream: 2nd season’ a go!

Yay!


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18 replies »

  1. Hmmm. I dropped the first season when it aired but lately, I’ve been having second thoughts after reading other people’s posts about it. The urge to come back and catch up is getting a little tempting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d argue that you could probably just watch the second season and not miss too much. Unless of course you want to complete season 1 for completions sake.

      Who else is writing posts on it? I’d love to read some but none of the bloggers I follow have posted about it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • It was months ago last time I read up on BanG Dream. Gah, now I’m trying to remember whose I read.

        I’m a completionist so yeah, I’d have to watch Season 1. Besides, I recall liking what I saw of the characters. Tbh, I think I only dropped the show at the time because I was busy with college and there were other CGDCT anime that appealed to me.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh boy, there’s proper RAGE on Twitter from some people who really don’t like the 3D thing. Me, I have no issue with it, particularly when the models look as good as they do here. And have we all forgotten how charming Kemono Friends ended up being despite not only being dodgy 3D, but playing back at a shonky framerate too? 🙂

    I haven’t watched any of this yet, but I loved Love Live. Still need to catch up on Sunshine, and the wife was actually enjoying the first season of Love Live so I should return to my rewatch sometime soon… and perhaps add this to the never-ending queue!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad I don’t see any rage on my twitter (though I probably don’t follow nearly as many people in the community as you do). Then again, it’s twitter so people would be raging regardless. If it had been 2D but with a bunch of panning over still images to save on the animation budget people would be raging too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know why I bother with Twitter sometimes. Rage seems to be the default state for so many people. It’s exhausting.

        Oh well. At least we can mock those people from afar in the safety of our comments sections. :3

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I find it best to block/mute people as to make my twitter experience more palatable. Maybe that’s ‘living in an echo chamber’ but I’m not on twitter to make my life more miserable, I’m there to raise awareness for my blog, get updates on things I’m interested in and occasionally share drunken thoughts.

        The reddit page for the first ep of BanG Dream 2nd Season is infinitely more palatable, everyone’s obviously fans of the game and are just so happy to get excellent performances of the songs they love. I’m not a reddit guy, but it almost makes me want to visit there more!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve long since given up on worrying about the “echo chamber” effect, since literally everyone on that hellsite is doing the whole echo chamber thing, so there’s no real point trying to “convert” anyone. You may as well hang out with people who share your interests!

        Reddit can be fun. I don’t hang out on there much but I enjoy most of the conversations I have on there. There’s a very specific kind of… style and tone to Reddit comment threads that I find rather appealing. It’s hard to pin down exactly what it is, but people there seem to be fairly articulate and willing to express things clearly and in depth when necessary rather than bitching about TLDR.

        Of course, that’s a generalisation; every subreddit is different. But the bigger subreddits for popular shows/hobbies/whatever tend to fall into that mould. It can be a total timesink if you let it, though; that’s why I don’t spend too much time contributing and just lurk for the most part!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Lots of people have always gotten their panties all bunched up with CG shows. There are pluses and minuses to it, but I don’t mind all CG shows, they have a lot of advantages like you mention about being able to (relatively) cheaply add a lot of detail like accurate musical instrument playing (they *can* do that with drawn animation, but it’s obviously more expensive because they don’t do it).

    I liked the first season of BanG Dream (although you are a candidate for the loony bin if you think it’s better than Love Live!). I liked this first episode as well, but found that I don’t really care about the individuals in the other bands yet. I don’t play the mobile game (and I’m not going to).

    Oh, and Roselia: fourth best band for me in this episode. Their metal just isn’t interesting enough for me, even in all those songs from the AniUta rating earlier this year. There are no hooks for me and it just gets kinda boring. I like more of the poppy rock of the other bands (best song I’ve heard from the whole franchise: 1000-kai Urunda Sora). If I was ranking them from this episode, it would be:

    1. Afterglow
    2. Poppin’ Party
    3. Hello Happy World
    4. Roselia
    5. Pastel Palettes

    Like

    • I mean, people are entitled to their opinions right? Or is it only your opinions on things that matter? Maybe you were having a ~jest~ with that “loony bin” comment but I can’t say I’ve been looking forward to your comments recently as they’ve been very ‘high and mighty’. I’m all for you expressing your opinions but don’t make me feel bad for liking something.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry, it was a jest, and because I had gone back and forth with parenthesis editing it, it was an error the winking face didn’t make it in. And that really did turn out a lot worse in this whole comment that seemed overly complainy. I don’t think that liking BanG Dream is bad. And I’m sorry that I made you feel that way.

        To try to counteract some of the negativity in my other comment, I do think that this episode was a really good way to start this series, and probably a lot better for the people who have put in a lot of time to the mobile game, which is really who I think the primary audience for the show is.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I completely think you were justified in your reaction. I’ve made a lot of unnecessarily negative and jerky comments lately and I need to not do that.

        I’m sorry you had a bad day, and I’m sorry I made it worse with my comment.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I played the game a lot before knowing and hearing that there is an adaptation of anime coming out. Just left this in my watchlist but still confused is it great or not. I just feel sorry for the fan base and a lot of hate to this show. Some say it trying so hard to be “K-ON!”, CG things, or something like edgy things. Surely, I’ll give huge attention to this show later.

    Liked by 1 person

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