Wednesday, March 1, 2017

BanG Dream! an introduction

For those who do not now BanG Dream! is a new multimedia project that launched in 2016. Think of it like Love Live! but with girl bands. And like Love Live! and other multimedia projects of its ilk there are various media releases for the franchise, from the anime that is currently airing, the mobile game (set to be released later this month) to CD releases as well as a manga series and live concerts.

The focus on girl bands helps it stand apart from other multimedia projects that focus mostly on idols though it is still cut from the same cloth in the end. So if you like cute girls and music then it is worth at least checking out.

The anime series focuses on Poppin' Party, the band that is serving as the face of the franchise. There have been some cameos from the other bands, but those so far have been unvoiced and blink and you will miss them so far. The story follows the band coming together and has been taking its time with this, which I think is one of its strengths as you can see the girls slowly begin to bond and improve.

Also since the focus is only on Poppin' Party there is more time to develop so there can be two parters and the like for a character's plot line to play out, instead of trying to cram it all into an episode. Though I do hope the other bands get their own series or at least some focus if there are future seasons.

The anime is streaming on Crunchy Roll if you want to give it a shot.

The game itself will be a rhythm game that is currently set to be released mid-March 2017. Recently there has been more information about the game, from both official sources and the few lucky ones that were selected to participate in the Beta testing. The game play looks fun and I am interested in the multi-player feature that lets you play a song with five other players. (Pictured above.) And with five bands of five members each there looks to be plenty of girls to find a favorite with. Not to mention a good mix of songs, especially since there are cover songs from real-life bands (BUMP OF CHICKEN, UNISON SQUARE GARDEN, Goose house, ZONE, etc...) beings used in the game.

Poppin' Party
As briefly mentioned there are live concerts that the voice actresses participate in. They play their own instruments and even wear the same outfits as their animated counter parts to keep up the synergy level of this project. Poppin' Party is the most active with their own solo concerts but it looks like Roselia is gaining in popularity as they just had their first one-man* concert announced.

*In Japan solo concerts are called one-man, as in their will only be one band performing, and sometimes you can even see two-man for when it is a joint concert between two bands. This naming mostly pertains to indie level artists as major artists typically only perform solo concerts.

Honestly I was not really impressed with the first episode. A couple of the characters seemed too close to being clones of Love Live! characters that it put me off but there also a couple that were different enough to keep me interested. The clincher for me was noticing in the credits that Elements Garden was doing the music for the series. I recognized them as being the group that write the music for the Uta no Prince-sama franchise so I wanted to stay to at least hear the songs. I am so glad I did as the anime does get better and the girls I worried about being clones I ended falling in love with in their own right.

I have always had a soft spot for pop/rock and it sounds like BGD will be giving that in spades. Plus the set up of having the voice actresses learn to play instruments reminds me a bit of ZONE, who started off as an idol group but then learned to play instruments to become band-idols. In fact I was delighted to see that one of the songs that is getting covered is a ZONE song, secret base ~Kimi ga Kureta mono~. It may the ZONE song that has been covered to death already but it is their most iconic song, and is just a good song period.

There is also something really exciting about being able to get into a new rhythm game when it launches for a change. I have already pre-registered and just wait to see the announcement of it launching around mid-March.

I just hope more people give the franchise a try so I can have others to talk to about it.


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