“Heroines Run The Show features endearing characters and great pop songs. It is a fun and lighthearted series that also explores deeper themes about Idols.”
For the Anime Spring season, we reviewed weekly Fanfare of Adolescence and every 6 episodes Requiem of the Rose King. Now that this season of Anime is coming to an end, we are reviewing more series. And today, I have chosen Heroines Run The Show. This series was made by Lay Duce, the same studio that made Fanfare of Adolescence. So, is this one worth watching as well?
With Heroines Run The Show, we are going away from the world of horses to enter the world of Japanese Idols. Obviously, this is quite different. Here, we follow Hiyori Suzumi who arrives in Tokyo to pursue her career in track & field at the Sakuragaoka High School. To survive in this big city, she starts a job as a manager-in-training for the Idol group LIPxLIP. Its two members Yujiro and Aizo happen to be in the same class as her. From there, Hiyori has to balance her school life, training for track & field and working to manage LIPxLIP. As you can expect, this is not easy at all. Thus, this is a lighthearted and fun series. It deals with school life, everyday life, love and friendship. It is a comedy and slice of life.
But at times, it also knows how to deal with more serious subjects. We are talking about Idols here. So, it had to deal with public image and “scandals.” For Idols in Japan just like other celebrities, public image is everything. As such, a little picture that is so harmless can become a scandal for them. Because the fans and the press overreact and create insane rumors about it.
In the second part of the season, there is a storyline dealing with this. Even if the tone is light, it still finds the right way to address that issue. In fact, it is quite poignant. Indeed, the way the scandal affects Hiyori’s personal life is really sad. She did nothing wrong and nor did the Idols. And yet, she is the one suffering the most from the scandal because she is seen as the one stealing the Idols from the fans’ fantasy. Though, it is also hinted that the Idols’ career would suffer if the scandal goes further. That started because of photos of them hanging out like friends would do.
Thus, this storyline leads to another obvious problem among Idols fandom – the obsessive fan. And when I say obsessive, it is really obsessive. Chizuru is that type of fan. She is the one who is going to secretly intrude the Idols private life. This all lead to the reveal that Chizuru is the one who took the pictures that lead to the scandal. Going back to the series, I realized there were many clues dropped here and there to tell us it was Chizuru all along and Chizuru was Chutan. I really like that. Indeed, it is carefully crafted.
This storyline line is lead in a clever way. Chizuru’s obsessiveness becomes toxic. Moreover that toxicity hurts people around her, it hurts herself as well. But more importantly, it hurts the Idols whom she claimed she loved. Thankfully, there is a happy resolution for Chizuru. In fact, she realizes that her behavior is hurtful. And with the help of Hiyori and Juri, she chooses a better path. By the end of the season, he is still a super dedicated fan but not obsessive anymore.
I think it is a beautiful message. Instead of simply being a criticism of that issue, the series goes beyond. Because it actually tries to provide a solution to the problem. Obviously, this series is not going to drastically change all the obsessive fans. But talking about the issue and providing a solution on how to change is helpful. It adds something to the conversation. And doing it in an anime can have an impact.
Season 1 ends in a happy place. And as of now, a second season or a continuation project haven’t been announced. So if this is a series finale then, I am disappointed. It does not feel like one at all. There is still a lot of story to tell about these characters. The final episode feels more like a mid-season finale. If it is just a season finale and there is more to come then, I am satisfied. Because it is definitely a good way to end your season while preparing for what comes next.
Hiyori is a character who overflows with energy. She is always so positive and she gives the best of herself whatever she does, and sometimes even too much. Because of this, I think it is a character who is so easily likeable. She is the heart of the show.
Then, there are Yujiro and Aizo. As Idols, on the outside, they seem like the cute and nice guys for which everyone is falling. However, privately, they are not exactly how they seem to be. Indeed, they spend a lot of their time arguing. So for the audience it is fun banter. Though, for Hiyori it is a lot of work to manage them. Ultimately, they do care about each other and more importantly, they care even more about Hiyori even if they do not always show it. They can actually be playful with her at times. It is an heartfelt trio. And you just root for these characters the whole time.
Moreover, it is so funny to see that Aizo doesn’t like girls. As an Idol, he is surrounded by fangirls, so it is not exactly easy for him. Hiyori often comes to the rescue. One of my favorite scenes about this is when he pretends to fall asleep.
With Yujiro and Aizo, the series shows it is not easy to have a normal life when you are famous even more so for teenagers. But it is important that they live their life. This what they learn during the series.
Heroines Run The Show has a big cast of characters beyond the two Idols and Hiyori. They all have something to bring to the story. Ken is especially funny. He is Aizo’s brother and unlike him, he has no troubles with girls. In fact, he spends a lot of his time flirting. At first he feels like the archetype of the popular high school boy. But as we learn more about him and his relationship to Aizo, we realize he has a big heart.
Hiyori’s friends are the other highlight from this secondary cast for me. Firstly, with Chizuru the series explores the obsessive fan storyline which was an important issue to address like I said above. Secondly, Jiru is the girl who takes care of herself and has a desire to help others. She is not the popular girl because she is not the popular girl. But she is still able to have a good time in high school with her boyfriend and her friends. Finally, Hina is Hiyori’s friend from track & field. She is always so supportive of Hiyori. Plus, I like her back and forth with Kotaro. They clearly have feelings for each other but they are stuck at staying friends.
This series has wonderful visuals. Lay Duce opted for a different style than Fanfare of Adolescence. I do prefer the animation style from the latter but I also like the animation for this series. They gave big eyes especially for the female characters. It is a style that fits for more lighthearted series like this one.
OPENING AND END CREDITS
This series has an opening credits ‘Julieta’ sung by LIPxLIP. I can tell you I had the song stuck in my mind for a long time. It is exactly the type of song you would expect from an Idol group. Plus, it is quite fitting for an opening. Indeed, it is dynamic and catchy. The credits give you a good idea of the vibe from this series.
Then, the end credits song “Tokyo Sunny Party” is performed by the voice actresses of Hiyori, Juri and Chizuru. It is a good song and a fun way to end the episodes. Obviously because of who sings, the end credits focus on these three characters. However, in some episodes the end credits are different and sometime highlight secondary characters.
Since it is an anime about Idols, the soundtrack does feature several songs from LIPxLIP and songs from Full Throttle4 who appear in the series too. These are great Idol pop songs. Among, all the songs we hear, “Romeo” is probably my favorite. Koki Uchiyama and Nobunaga Shimazaki who voice LIPxLIP have a beautiful singing voice that fits right in for pop Idols. I have all the albums and singles from the series. And I do regularly listen to the songs.
Heroines Run The Show features endearing characters and great pop songs. It is a fun and lighthearted series that also explores deeper themes about Idols.
Heroines Run The Show is now streaming on Crunchyroll.
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