[This post contains spoilers for the movie]
The last week (until Tuesday) I was in Japan. While navigating the complicated rail system of Tokyo, I kept seeing Aikatsu posters, until it dawned on me that it had just started showing on Saturday.
I had to watch this, I thought. I knew there was an Aikatsu movie happening, but I didn’t expect it to land by the time I was there! So I hastily put it into my plans.
It took me a while to find a cinema online with my limited Japanese skills. As luck would have it, the first item on the list of theaters showing the movie was in Odaiba (Aqua City), the very place I was going on Monday. I was going there to walk around and see the Gundam, so I decided to hit two birds with one stone.
I took the Yurikamome line to get to Odaiba, and it was really wonderful and my favorite train ride of my trip. It’s a driverless train, and the view of the Wangan line and the Rainbow Bridge was really cool.
Anyway, a bit of bumbling later, I found myself sitting inside an empty theater. A bunch of people filed in, but the total population inside was less than a dozen. I was about the only man–there was a small schoolgirl contingent, and a few adults with their children.
So, the movie. I have the Japanese ability of a kindergartner, but I was able to get the gist of it, even if I’m not even ten episodes into Aikatsu 2 (as of this time of writing, I am around 40+ episodes behind, with Aikatsu 3 starting this fall). Ichigo is doing a big concert, produced and handled entirely by her friends.
It’s pretty straightforward enough but there are some turns that make it interesting–there is something about Mizuki quitting the idol business, which depresses Ichigo. Not that I care much, because Mizuki isn’t an interesting character (more on this in another post), but it sets off a side arc for Akari to do something. It’s a fun quest with several scenes that could totally go into my “Aikatsu is an Idol Anime” folder.
There’s a new character, Kanon, who’s a folk singer who busks by the bay with her acoustic guitar and one of Suzukawa’s friends. She has a nice insert song.
The concert proper takes a whole chunk of the movie, and does this whole set thing for Ichigo, but cuts the songs right before they get really good (I was dismayed at how they just faded out Idol Activity rock ver). Meanwhile in the mountains, Yurika and company fetch Ichigo’s dress for the final act. There’s a really fun live drama segment that has all the in-universe shows like Naughty Detectives, Swallowtail, crossing over.
So Ichigo’s new song goes without a hitch, because of the power of friendship and all. Then there’s a really sweet encore, and that’s pretty much it. Mizuki is an idol again, everyone is happy, and Akari feels a little closer to her mentor. Everyone gets to do something neat in this movie and there are enough songs to meet the quota, and then some. I felt encouraged to keep watching the TV show so I could catch up–I’m really interested in Akari’s character!
The ending sequence is amazing, and has to be seen.
PS: I got a full set of cards, featuring Akari’s dress in the movie. Later that night I found an Aikatsu arcade machine and played the hell out of it using the cards. The game is extremely enjoyable and addictive and I would spend an ungodly amount of money were it available here.