Marginal 4 box art

  • Genre: CBDCT, School, Slice of life, Cotton Candy, idol, comedy
  • Episodes: 12
  • Studio: J.C.Staff


There’s no such thing as too much of a good thing. And you know what’s a good thing? Adorable and very handsome young men, dancing and singing for out entertainment. For the new generation of gifted young singers, the greatest possible dream is to ignite the hearts of thousands while on stage. A true idol is more than a mere singer and dancer, they are the caretakers of the dreams of the masses. The bringers of joy and carriers of smiles. And now, L, R, Atom and Rui have joined the fray of those mythical creatures, ready to take on the responsibilities and rise to the challenge. But being part of a unit comes with its own set of obstacles. Will the boys really be able to triumph?

When I reviewed to drastically underrated IdoLish7 (still have no idea about that stylization) Lina ordered me to watch Marginal#4 (anime boy idol bands have the best nonsense names). By ordered she mentioned that Marginal#4 was the boy idol show she had enjoyed the most in recent years. See, clearly an inexorable order. Long story short – here we are! Get ready for some *enjoyment*.

it’s tough being wanted by everyone!

Ok so Marginal#4 is a show full of cute boys clearly marketed to enthusiasts of said cute boys. It was made by Rejet which I know for a fact are responsible for some visual novels or otomes I have enjoyed, but for the life of me, couldn’t track down which. In any case, as one of the dozen seasonal game tie-in animes, the budget was visibly restrained but choices were made, and those choices were pretty smart.


Choice the first: Design!!! Character designs/models were obviously given the utmost care here and the effort was not wasted. As far as I’m concerned these are some of the prettiest pretty boys I’ve seen in a good long while. You now have all the information you need. Successful review over!

Ok so the tradeoff here was that proportions are sometimes a little off and the boys occasionally seem to have tiny hand syndrome. It’s pretty hilarious when you notice it. There’s a visible loss of detail with distance but it’s not as bad as some other shows. As for animation, well they obviously splurged on the surprisingly few dance numbers (which are blissfully 2D), but anything else resembling action, running, fighting….uhm that’s it…. looks like sloppy stop motion. I can confirm that I did not care at all. Loved it.

marginal boys
Just don’t show their hands – problem solved!

The other chunk of the budget was obviously dedicated to voice acting. The entire cast is impressive and they play off each other very well. No one stood out that much but as a cohesive group they were in sync and each had a pleasant enough singing voice for me to believe they could make careers of it.

Every other element was serviceable and discreet. As in backgrounds, colours, soundtrack even… And you know what. This really worked for me. The few things that really needed to work were perfect while the overall average production was unobstructive for maximum audience enjoyment.

Now while I was watching the show and taking notes. Noticing certain tropes I had seen in other boy idol shows and trying to make parallels, I realized something shocking. I mean truly unbelievable really. You may want to sit down, are you sitting down? O.k., get this, I have only seen two boy idol shows! (3 with this one) Is your mind blown??? Cause mine was!

Marginal 4 atom
I know right!?!

I go into sugar high overload whenever I review any of these, cause what’s the point of reviewing them normally? Because of this, I can come off as an expert and uber fan (which is the point). But in fact, I’ve only watched Uta no Prince Sama and Idolish7 that falls within the genre. Crazypants, wouldn’t you say? So, keep this in mind as I know make sweeping generalizations about boy idol shows.

Marginal #4 isn’t one!

I mean it is, in the sense that the boys are part of an idol “unit” (they never say band or group, which really highlights the manufactured business side of it) but in construct the show is a school slice of life with very little screen time dedicated to actual idoling. There are school festivals and club hijinks and absolutely ridiculous fantasy episodes. In fact, episode 8 was a rather believable hardboiled crime drama with noire elements that had me longing for a spinoff entirely based in that universe.

marginal crime drama
Marginal #4 s2: Fatal Vice (sign me up!)

What I’m saying is that Marginal #4 is a silly cbdct show. It has little touches of hoyay for those that enjoy that, light comedy throughout and a fully episodic structure that requires very little effort or commitment from the audience. The boys themselves are fairly interchangeable variants of nice adorable boys, you can mix and match for your vanilla fantasy of choice.

As far as *cute* shows go, it is super enjoyable (I am reusing that word nonstop on purpose). Not quite as kitchy or delightfully stupid/camp as I tend to prefer, but there’s a sort of innocent gullible feel to it that made it perfect for unwinding at the end of a long day.

Too bad Mel from Melinanimeland has a “no idols” policy, this would have been her new favorite show ever.  Oh well….. at least you guys shouldn’t miss out

PS – I know like 4 people read my pretty boy reviews but that’s OK – this one is for us guys

PPS – This one turned out rather tame all things considered. I’ll try to put together a more ridiculous one next time!

marginal 4 gloom
I said I’ll do better next time!

Favorite character: could you choose a favourite rainbow?

What this anime taught me: every cute boy has one thing they really like… find it and they’re yours for life.

Why limit your happy to an hour?

Suggested drink: a Big Bang

  • Every time we see a Marginal #4 poster – take a sip
  • Every time Atom is loud – plug your ears
  • Every time we see or hear about a marimo – water your plants
  • Every time we see Sun Juice – take a sip
  • Every time there’s a double entendre – fan yourself (just me?)
  • Every time R references gaming – take a sip
  • Every time anyone mentions “Skitter” – take a sip
  • Every time anyone mentions Korean BBQ – get a snack
    • if it’s Atom…it’s gonna be Atom
  • Every time Unicorn Jr fail to make an entrance – giggle


5 thoughts

  1. Irina, it sounds like you might need more cute boy idol shows! Just an observation. . .

  2. It’s not that I don’t have a “no idols” policy, I just don’t feel attracted by them, however if I had to watch one I would probably go with Uta no Prince… I mean Suwabe Junichi voice a character in it and this should be enough to make me happy.

    Regarding my level of interest in the present series, it near to zero. It’s really a good thing they all have different hair color…

    oh and just to let you know weird idol group name doesn’t stop at anime… some in flesh boy/girl group can have really weird name.

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