“What should I watch now?” Thus is the question we, as anime fans, will ever wonder, for ever and ever. With an endless list of shows available for us to watch, it is sometimes complicated to filter out which ones are good and which ones would be better off disappearing into a deep abyss. This column serves exactly this purpose; in whichever category appears from one week to the next, the best shows will be picked out, leaving you with a good amount – enough to watch anime for entire days without pondering over the incessant question that attacks all anime fans.
This post has barely started, and yet, I hear already countless voices in the background, yelling at me: “Magical girls aren’t idols!” Yes, I am aware, thank you very much. However, due to my being well-versed in neither of these categories, and yet wishing to talk about both, these categories were both jammed together in order to fulfill my satisfactions. They both involve cute girls and cheesy friendship, and both target the same type of audience (either 8 year old girls, or 20 year old males), therefore deal with it; I’ve decided I would be a spoiled brat for a day.
Episodes: 2 seasons of 52 episodes + an extra season of Chibi stuff
Synopsis: Amu Hinamori is a student at Seiyo Elementary, where she has a reputation for being “cool and spicy”; however, her real personality is that of an extremely shy and easily intimidated girl. One night Amu makes a wish that she would have the courage to be reborn as her “would-be” self. The next morning Amu finds three brightly colored eggs—red, blue, and green—in her bed. Each egg eventually hatches into a Guardian Character: Ran, Miki, and Su. Guardian Characters are angel-like beings that aid a person into becoming their “would-be” selves and fulfill the person’s dreams. The Guardian Characters accomplish this by giving encouragement and advice, but they can also temporarily change a person’s personality and abilities. With the Guardian Characters, Amu’s life becomes much more complex as she now struggles to deal with her new personalities and the Seiyo Elementary Guardians—a student council group where each member has their own Guardian Character—who recruits Amu to search for and seal the X eggs and X Characters, corrupted forms of people’s dreams.
“Why isn’t Madoka put in the spotlight?” Once again, I hear voices yelling: maybe I’m turning schizophrenic. The biggest reason behind this change is simply that everyone has watched Madoka already; Were I to recommend it, no one wouldnlearn anything of Mahou Shoujos other than what they know. The reason I recommend Shugo Chara is because it is a series which truly intrigued me, despite being the girliest anime I have ever watched. Although the series follows students in elementary school and does not really break out of its cheesy format, the characters in Shugo Chara are extremely solid; the personalities are simplistic, but well done, and the amount of shipping in the show triggers any fangirl’s heart to fight over who is best. The show may be old, long and no longer watched due to its length, but as a magical girl it is definitely interesting and deserves some praise. I used to hate magical girls (still kinda do) and I still watched the 104 episodes of Shugo Chara and wished for more.
Episodes: 2 seasons of 13 episodes
Synopsis: In the beginning of the 21st century, a world war breaks out over interplanetary travel tech. The environment is pretty much destroyed so mankind leaves Earth, settling on other planets, and starts Star Calendar 00.
Entertainment and songs become heavily regulated and eventually banned on several planets due to their power to move people, but a brave idol group puts on guerrilla performances in these systems in the name of a famous act from earlier times that sang to Earth’s bitter end, AKB48. Famous throughout the galaxy, the group’s name is AKB0048.
This story centers around a group of girls from various planets, some where entertainment is banned and some, where it is not, striving to become great idols and join AKB0048.
Therefore, they participate in the entrance exam and eventually become undergraduates, aiming to someday succeed the current members of the group.
This show has been making waves and waves of fangirling. Not only does the show in itself have some really cool songs and a somewhat interesting concept, but it also transfers its idols in real life with the AKB0048 band in Japan, which has been reproduced in many countries in order to provide the same experience. Overall, the combination of these two elements make AKB very popular for its genre, and it definitely has a lot of originality, leaving the viewer for much more than just “a simple idol show”. AKB0048 pulled off many interesting and original concepts, and although they didn’t master them to the level of Madoka-like shows, definitely proved that one didn’t need to follow overused templates in order to be successful.
**Thanks to MAL for the summaries and info!**