What’s the show? BanG Dream! 2nd Season, Episode 4.
How’s this episode? Every other anime can go home—this was the single best episode of an anime I’ve seen in a long damn time.
Way to oversell it in the first sentence of the review… I’m not, this was genuinely a joyous experience the likes of which I can scarcely believe I’ve witnessed.
Okay, I’m curious, what happened? So Kasumi has her heart set on the 5 of them “flying” during their prospective live show they’re amidst the planning stages of. The other members of Poppin’ Party are less confident about the idea. It’s then when Kokoro–the lead singer of Hello, Happy World–leaps into action with a plan to cheer up the girls and prove that flying is in fact possible. Queue what is perhaps the single most elaborate “concert” performed by Hello, Happy World on a gigantic cruise liner just for the girls from Poppin’ Party to watch.
And what makes it so elaborate–aside from being set on a gigantic cruise liner. Well first of all because this is Hello, Happy World we’re talking about its very theatrical and begins with Karoru assuming the persona of a masked phantom thief who “steals” Rimi away all the while they’re performing the song ‘Goka! Gokai!? Phantom Thief!’–Poppin’ Party chases the band and Karoru and Rimi all over the ship where there’s various specific “treats” for each of the members of Poppin’ Party to cheer them up. Then if that wasn’t enough Hello, Happy World promises another song and then disappears with the mysterious message “to the sky!” So Poppin’ Party heads to the deck where in the distance they see a giant hot air balloon of ‘Michelle’ floating across the city (Michelle is the giant pink teddy bear who DJ’s for the band–it’s just Misaki in a costume though–not a real bear). And suspended beneath the bear balloon is a carousel with all of Hello, Happy World who begin the performance of the second song ‘Worldwide Treasure!’
Wait, stop. First a cruise ship then a giant pink bear balloon with a carousel hanging underneath? How is any of this real?! Through the power of music and friendship! Just kidding, Kokoro is filthy stinkin’ rich and can afford anything.
Right, that old chestnut. So go on then… So then Kokoro equips Michelle with a backpack of sorts and the two of them jump off the carousel–plummeting towards the ocean below–Kokoro being the risktaker she is doesn’t even have a parachute! But it’s okay because it turns out the Michelle bear suit that Misaki wears was evidently designed by Tony Stark as a computer interface within the suit orders her to input a command. After a few failed attempts Misaki eventually gets it right and from the feet of her Michelle suit rocket boosters begin to launch. She catches up to Kokoro, catches her mid freefall and the two fly around the ship.
That’s… ridiculous! And that’s exactly the point. I can understand that people who’ve only watched the anime might feel like this ‘jumped the shark’ or even was a betrayal of the “grounded and down to earth” roots this show had exhibited previously. But I’d argue that, #1 This is an anime; absurd, ridiculous, nonsensical things happening is par for the course for most of them. #2 Nothing that happens in this episode is ~technically~ impossible, sure it’s ridiculous, complicated and improbable if you apply logic to it–but it’s all achievable given enough imagination (and the bankroll to back it up). And #3 Lighten up! This is fiction, this is fun, this is Hello, Happy World in a nutshell!
But aren’t you saying that coming from the perspective of someone who played the mobile game and is familiar with this level of shenanigans from that band? Maybe. But the irlwaifu never played the game and was indifferent by-and-large to the first season but she absolutely loved this. There was a child-like joy on her face as she watched the frivolites unfold and by the end of the episode she said “they are my favourite band now”. And it’s hard to disagree with that, from just playing the game and listening to the music therein Hello, Happy World always ranked Number 4 out of the five bands in the game. But after this episode it’s hard not to be won over by their manic charms–especially Kokoro who is energy incarnate and an enigmatic lead vocalist. As it stands now, Hello, Happy World is my second favourite band and this episode had everything to do with that.
So I guess it’s pointless of me to ask if you liked it? I loved every minute of this episode. I think I said in a previous review that Roselia (still my favourite band from this series’) deserved a spin-off, but Hello, Happy World deserves one way more–especially if every episode was effortlessly enjoyable and entertaining as this one.
Previous ‘BanG Dream 2nd Season’ Reviews:
If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!