- Titles: I★CHU: HALFWAY THROUGH THE IDOL, I★CHU: Étoile Stage
- Genre: Idol, CBDCT,Comedy
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: Lay-duce
Étoile Vio School is a very special place. For one, it’s the only place where IChus are made. Probably because no one knows what the heck and Ichu is. I think it’s just a name for idol. Like any other idol but I guess you have to differentiate yourself somehow. In any case, Étoile Vio is the place to go if you want to become an idol, I mean Ichu. But unlike what you may be imagining, it isn’t just fun and games. The students here have to work extra hard just to avoid getting thrown out, never mind getting a chance at an actual big stage. But that’s o.k. because they are all happy to put the work in. Even Fire Fenyx. They might be behind in sales and popularity but Kanata, Akira and Seiya are not about to call it quits!
Let’s face it, most idol shows are the same. It’s really difficult to write up a synopsis that doesn’t sound like I’ve copy-pasted it from an older post. I’m also beginning to see a lot of patterns in the tropes. Maybe I’ll do an idol show analysis someday. Yeah, I’m sure that will draw in the crowds!
How can I put this? I★CHU is not a show that had a huge budget but when I compared it to other idol shows, it has a few things going for it. As always, the draw here is the character designs and well, it’s up to you whether you like them or not, but they were impressively consistent throughout the entire series. Sure, they got a bit odd-looking when pictured in the distance, but angles and animation didn’t distort anything and that’s great.
The animation was also quite fluid. This is probably due to the fact that there wasn’t much of it at all but the little that was there, was very well executed.
However, what makes I★CHU stand out for me is the fact that the performances were entirely 2d. As in not in CG. This is actually very rare for this type of show, even more so when you consider that I★CHU is just another one of those extended mobile game commercials. Non-CG Idol performances are a bit of a luxury and I wasn’t expecting it in this little show.
Story & Characters
You know, I’ve considered just turning this blog into a dedicated boy idol show review blog. No one would read it. I am the only one to watch these after all. But it would make me happy.
Boy idol shows fall into the “unintentionally hilarious” or “so bad it’s good” category for me and I earnestly enjoy them. Not because they’re smart, or high quality or even particularly easy to tell apart. Just because they’re my brand of turn your brain off and smile sort of show. They often make me laugh out loud with how cheesy they are. The objectification is even cheesy and feels rather non-predatory. And the characters are always these sort of loosely defined good boys that you just want to pat on the head and go awww. Even the bad boys are like that.
I went on a little random spiel there, didn’t I? What I’m trying to say is that I★CHU is an idol show. I would call it slightly above average in that it had good production but otherwise it’s a cookie-cutter example of the genre. And as long as I don’t watch too many in a row, I am always up for a standard idol show.
Now unfortunately it didn’t go the insane route that some other series go. As such, I’m not going to be able to turn this post into a fevered dream. I like my fevered dream posts. But it still embraced all the corny nonsense I was hoping to get.
The school makes absolutely no sense. Not only that a school like that couldn’t function but even the challenges they set up don,t really hold up to any scrutiny within the context of the show itself. Things just sort of happen and you gotta accept them. The principal is only ever seen in a gigantic pastel bear outfit and he seems to be a bit of a sadist. There’s a cross-dressing idol that performs in girl outfits as part of his act but is very open about being a bot but also is never not in those outfits. He puts on a wig and makeup to go exercise.
There’s a bunch of bands that just go in and out as they please and have joint concerts even though they play completely different musical genres. Like a show featuring one Visual Kei group, one traditional pop band and a jazz ensemble. Don’t get me wrong, I do think it’s kind of cool but I have a feeling the audience is going to get confused.
The students seem to randomly live either at home or at the school. I mean that one character is seen to have a bedroom at the school dorms but then two episodes later goes home to sleep. It’s bananas. And that’s part of the fun. I’m not going into the main characters here either. There’s a band made up exclusively of boys from all sorts of different countries and they all live together and speak different languages at each other, there are touchy-feely identical twins that love pranks and the main group features a popular ex-model that quit because he wasn’t expressive enough and a popular ex-child star that had rouble handling fame, yet they both decided to become teenage idols? Brilliant!
In case you’re not familiar, yes this is a rather tame, logical and down-to-earth setup for an idol show. You know what, I should just start describing these series instead of trying to review them. Nothing I could come up with would be this entertaining anyways!
So what’s the bottom line. I liked I★CHU for the same reason I like most idol shows. It was dumb undemanding fun. And that’s all. You definitely don’t need to watch it but if you think you might like it then I say go for it!
You might like this anime if:
You enjoy idol shows. You think any of those boys are cute.
My favourite character:
All of re:Berserker. As a group. Honestly, if they did a spinoff featuring re:Berserker not only would I watch it, I bet it would become my favourite idol show of all time. High praise indeed. Actually, forget my laissez-faire endorsement up there. You should watch I★CHU for re:Berserker. I think we only see them in like 3 or 4 episodes and sometimes just for a little bit but still worth it!
- Every time they sing the Shine Shine song – clap!
- Every time Akio is gloomy – take a sip
- Every time the twins play a prank – gasp!
- Every time Kusakabe is painting – take a sip
- Every time they all gather in the auditorium – take a sip
- Every time Lucas is being tsundere – take a sip
- Every time anyone mentions a samurai idol – see if you can find samurai idols
- Every time Akio smiles – awwww
- Every time anyone drinks – join them
- Every time anyone is hungover – switch to water
- Every time the principal trolls his students – take a sip
- Every time the boys from I♥B do some cooking – get a snack
- Every time there’s a live show – take a sip
- Every time anyone makes the devil sign – take a sip
- Every time anyone speaks in a foreign language – not japanese! Japanese is the local langauge. Oh boy, so many of you are gonna ge
I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.