Of all the series that aired this season the one that confused me the most without a doubt would be Show by Rock!! – one of two offerings by Bones studio this season. It’s interesting that there are a fair number of series this season that are really random and crazy without spelling out a lot of information at the front of things – Punchline, Mikagura Gakuen and Kekkai Sensen (Bones’ other work), so I have found myself needing to watch these series’ premiers two or three times to get a somewhat clearer idea of what is going on in their stories. Well, I just gave episode 01 of Show by Rock!! a re-watch … just to see how this odd series would strike me the second time around. And actually I kinda liked it a little better and was able to understand a little more – meaning work out some kind of framework that the story has. There was so much that was thrown at the viewers during the first episode that I felt it was impossible to keep it all in my memory so I decided to write it down here. Okay then … bear with me! ^^
The main character, named Cyan, is a shy girl with an interest (and a fair amount of talent) in music who wants nothing more than to join her school (is it set in high school?) K-On club but cannot work up the bravery to do so. One evening after a failed attempt to even enter the K-On club room she vows to try again the next day and begins playing a mobile game on her phone that reminded me a little of a bullet hell setting and was named the same as the anime title itself: “Show by Rock”. After defeating some kind of boss character she receives a special item – an electric guitar called “Strawberry Heart”, but then is suddenly sucked into her phone and transferred to a bizarre digital world/dimension. Apparently this is some kind of digital dimension called “Sound Cosmos” and the planet (erm … I assume it is a planet) everything takes place on is called “Sound World”.
On “Sound World” there is apparently a super powerful, boss type bad guy who intends to take over the entire planet and cosmos itself and owns a company called Unicorn Virtual Music Inc., and was the one responsible for teleporting Cyan into this alternate dimension in the first place with plans to utilize her guitar playing skills to achieve universe wide domination somehow. However, Cyan does not make it to the lead bad guy’s HQ, but somehow gets waylaid en route, landing smack dab in the middle of some kind of outdoor rock concert performance. She discovers in this world she is a kitty-eared and tailed gothloli complete with huge ringlets and froofy dresses, and discovers when she lands that she is a computerized 3-D type image (with no mouth – don’t ask). During the concert the band lead singer has a crystal pop out of his heart and gather some kind of energy together; we later find out this is called a “melodisian stone”.
Suddenly everything changes (as if the “what the hell is going on” factor was not bad enough already) and a 20 storey giant skeleton with horns wrapped in light purple mist and humongous sub woofers on his hands and between his horns on his forehead suddenly appears (which looks kinda like the boss character the MC defeated in the mobile game on her phone to win the Strawberry Heart guitar special item). The three band members (the name of the rock band is Trichronika and its three members are named: Shu Zo – the lead singer – and the twins are named Kai and Riku) and a still baffled and now terrified Cyan suddenly find themselves in a mini pocket dimension that is apparently only accessible to talented musicians – one of the band members at that point called Cyan a “myumon” … perhaps the name of the planet’s inhabitants? While in the pocket dimension non musician inhabitants of the world can watch what happens on giant wide tv screens.
Turns out this giant skeleton thing is called a “dark monster” it seems, and if the musicians have the energy of music crystal thing inside them absorbed by it they too turn into dark monsters apparently. The rock band is almost absorbed when Cyan whips out Strawberry Heart (the guitar can talk by the way) and proceeds to wipe the “dark monster” out by playing incredibly quick guitar riffs, “saving the day” and preventing the energy from rock band’s melodosian stones from being stolen and their becoming dark monsters themselves. After popping out of the pocket dimension Cyan (now returned to the world of 2-D animation, thankfully) is recruited out of the blue by an egg with a moustache that is apparently into being on the receiving end of S&M who also happens to be the CEO of a small musical agency (the egg’s name is Arisagawa Maple). Long story short Cyan accepts and joins the female band of the agency called Plasmagica – her fellow band members are named Chuchu, Retoree and Moa. We discover that there is also a male band there (named Shingan CrimsonZ), and the last moments of the episode are dedicated to Cyan’s first meeting with them via a flashy entrance.
This is definitely a series that just tosses one in the middle of insanity with no warning or foreshadowing whatsoever, and throws one thing after another at the audience until they are effectively buried in information and barely have any context to place things in. The multimedia aspects of the series were well done. Heck, even the 3-D style animation worked pretty well for me (though in truth I found the switch from 2-D to 3-D to 2-D disorienting as all get out, but kinda found myself not fussing over it too much when all was said and done). I am still not quite sure what to make of the series as a whole, whether I will follow it or even whether or no I would blog it (that would indeed be a surprise). But whatever happens with it I still find myself grinning and puzzled when thinking about it.
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