OP: 「Unite up!」UniteUp!
That’s right, it’s me, ya boy! Coming straight out of hibernation to bring your favorite source of <insert addicting drug of choice here>, straight into your eyeballs, whether you like it or not. With too many commas and absolutely zero punctuation, it’s time once again to overanalyze character interactions and tell you why there’s “not enough representation” (whatever that means). And then hiss, snare and howl at you like a werewolf who’s about to become mad by the intrinsic glow of the full moon, at the beginning of any semblance of an intellectual conversation, because my gay ass knows better than you. I am the king of my own perpetual high horse.
That aside, there are many good series airing this season, even if it might be a lazy season. So far some good series I’ve watched that have left me impressed; from gay witches to the what in the Xenoblade Attack on Titan is this. Of course, we can’t forget. No, they are absolutely not gay, and, hey this guy might actually be gay and not know it yet, to the accidental farmer harem (I’ve actually read the manga), all the way to fairy slavery. This season has everything! What’s not to like? Of course, joking aside the one anime everyone has their eyes on sporting a name longer than the rebuild of Evangelion movies, is A-1 Pictures, Nier: Automata Ver1.1a (post here). Trigun is back, but I have no idea what that even is, and the show you must absolutely without a shadow of a doubt pick up is Tsurune: Tsunagari no Issha; It’s just that good, you don’t want to miss it. And here’s an honorable mention to all you freaks that enjoyed (that’s me, I enjoyed it) the cuteness that is the ice guy. When he gets nervous, snow starts pouring, oh delightful. There are more premieres that have yet to air as of this writing, therefore I can’t really comment on them, without proper popularity to back them up and the goodwill faith that the show will be acceptable. If they are mentioned above that’s because I enjoyed them in some way or another. I had to have my piece of season pie.
However, we are here to talk about UniteUp! Exclamation point and everything. I can already hear all of you collectively rolling your eyes and gagging at the fact this is another idol show, but what’s worse is that it’s another idol show about boys! Oh the horror, where will you get that sugoi dekai fix! How will you properly function without mini skirts and overused washed-out personality tropes? Here’s how – Go watch Onii-chan wa Oshimai! (Not linking that BS, google is free.) You dirty ecchi freak! Or maybe you want to become a dog and be stepped on, hey whatever floats your boat. And Love Live has a mini 3D chibi CGI show this season, no need to break your morals! The art style in 3D is actually quite cute.
So what about UniteUp, you were saying? Ah yes~ Thank you disembodied voice. Now that everyone else has clicked away, it’s time for the gays and gals to start gushing about how good UniteUp first episode actually was. The show starts with what I want to call a bombastic show-stopper opening and it certainly was! It grabbed my attention at least. Over the top umm – dancing – was a little too much. But it made me smile at least. Some might find it immediately cringe, but I think it’s good that they went all out with the mocap, what is this? I thought to myself. However, that feeling of being in a stadium, patiently waiting for that artist you have been looking forward to for months and waiting in anticipation, just for the lights to dim and then with a sudden white flash – there they are, the ones who’s voices strung you out of a bad spot or took you away when you were feeling down, the lyrics and music that helped you deal with something uncomfortable. At that moment they look like gods. They really hit the nail on the head with that one.
And so the concert starts in full swing, it is later revealed that this is a two-man group called AneLa who have signed on to the music talent agency sMiLea. Not a lot of fuss is spent on introducing those two, but instead, we are swished into Kiyose, Akira (Toya, Kikunosuke) bedroom, where he is singing his heart out, to an anime song. His emotions are raw and the singing is unprofessional and doesn’t come off as good, but there’s a certain heart to it. However, it was for that same reasons that I felt endeared to him. And even more so as the episode progressed. After school Akira goes to his club activities and meets up with Keechan (VA?), his childhood friend. I really appreciate that Keechan has more of an American build – he’s the typical fix-it otaku, that’s obsessed with video games and has a nice heart for helping others fix their electronics. We see later that Keechan is physically fit, so I really, really love how they designed him. Keechan and Akira go have some fun after club, where else would they go but Karaoke? Keechan has been secretly recording Akira behind his back and posting it online. This prompts Keechan to receive an e-mail from sMiLea something about scouting Akira, so it seems.
Ah~ I won’t bore you with the details, the episode itself is quite fun to watch and enjoy for yourself, however, let’s talk about that conversation between Akira and Keechan, right at the end. It felt real, like both of them were dealing with those emotions, Keechan genuinely apologized to Akira and pushed him to follow his dreams, even if it’s not Akira’s goal, it seems everyone around him is already pushing him as well though, so it’s only a matter of Akira believing in himself and pushing forward, something that he manages to overcome by the end of the runtime. Personally, I really loved that scene on the train, it felt like Keechan was genuinely worried about losing a friend.
Hey! It was genuinely good, yes the opening performance was in 3D, but the renders were on par with the style of Fire Emblem and the lighting and composition were pleasingly done as well. Plus the EDM hardstyle pop was appreciated and made me really want to listen to it again (Check below). The cinematography was well-composited – I couldn’t get enough!
I don’t want to keep you any longer, so let’s just say I’m looking forward to keeping on watching how CloverWorks brings creativity to the dying idol formula and explores new themes around these characters. This was enjoyable, and far from being on the chopping block. I’ll at least give it 3 episodes in a blog form and see how I feel after that, but I might pick this up for coverage alongside one or two more shows. We’ll have to see.
Happy new year everyone, and I hope your 2023 is filled with lots of love and tons of fun! <3
Full-length images: 42.