Real time: Ive never been a fan of idols both the Western kind or Japans versions of them. The same goes for idolbased anime mostly because many of them tend to be formulaic or of poor quality. There have been some good ones but Ive seen very few of them. Honestly the only idol anime I can say that I really love is Fancy Lala and even thats stretching it as Fancy Lalas focus isnt really on being an idol. I havent seen either The IdolMster nor Wake Up Girls I do plan to see the former later on AKB0048 was fun and ambitious though kind of stupid at times Ive heard great things about Skip Beat and ZombieLand Saga but again havent seen them. I like Aikatsu well enough though it is a show aimed at children and is much more on the silly idealistic side of things and anyone whos talked to me at all knows Im not touching Love Live with a ten foot pole mostly because of the fact that it plays sexual harassment for comedy and that absolutely does not sit right with me. I wasnt intending on watching the newest idol anime 22/7 but reading someones review of the first episode had me intrigued because it had a main character who was very cynical and bitter far from your typical idol anime protagonist and it had an interesting if stupid premise. I know nothing of the actual real life idol group 22/7 so the review will solely focus on the anime. To be honest the first episode did win me over and I was really hoping this would be good. And it tried. It really tried...but it fell flat on its face. Big time. So whats the story? It begins with a girl named Miu who finds a mysterious letter in her mail. She and seven other girls are made to gather at a zoo and a man named Gouda takes them down to an underground facility. There they find out that theyve all been recruited to start an idol group called 22/7 and everything they do is going to be dictated by a magical sentient wall that spits orders on brass plates. In order to be successful they have to follow the walls orders to the letter. Understandably many of the girls dont know whats going on and are opposed to it Miu especially as shes not too keen on the idea of being used to fulfill someone elses whims wall or no. But then she gets fired from her job and has no source of income. Reluctantly she and the other girls return to the facility and decide to become the idol group 22/7 though they still have no idea what the wall even is or why they have to do everything it tells them to do. Yeah. The idea of a sentient wall dictating an entire idol group is pretty hilarious in how stupid it sounds and its inspired many a joke since the animes premiere. But if you ignore that the anime promised to be a more cynical realistic look at the idol business not unlike Wake Up Girls. And for the first four or so episodes the anime seemed to hit the ground running. It has smooth stunning animation though not without the occasional glaring CGI great music Miu is a great refreshing protagonist who actually had flaws she needed to overcome and the anime seemed to actually care about characterization rather than making the girls into one note moe archetypes. In all honesty 22/7 could have really been something great and it promised to try and stand out from the sea of bad idol anime. So what went wrong? Why the low rating? Well...a lot of things. First off for an anime about a group of idol singers it doesnt really highlight a lot of things that are important to showing the girls becoming idols. We never see them take dance lessons or record songs in a recording booth other than like one single scene and thats it. We rarely if ever see them actually putting in effort or learning about the ins and outs of the idol industry and those things are really important if you want to show these girls growing as both individuals and as a group. Say what you will about Aikatsu but it at least showed the girls taking the time to practice train and go deep into the business practices that make idols what they are. Even Fancy Lala didnt simply gloss over these important details as it knew they were really important if it wanted to show how the idol industry worked. Theres only one scene in episode 3 where the girls are having their first concert and have to deal with bad audio equipment but it gets resolved right away and leaves no impact whatsoever. For what its worth the actual soundtrack is good and the songs are well sung but I only have one issue with the opening theme: It seems to just cut off at the end like it didnt have time to really wrap up before the show was set to start. The second main problem is the series overall structure. Every episode has two parts to it with one half taking place in the present showing the girls activities and the other half consisting of flashbacks to the girls backstories showing how they got to be where they are. But this can be a double edged sword and without the right balance this can really make or break a show and not only does 22/7 suffer from this its way of inserting flashbacks in their episodes results in a weird tonal whiplash. For example episode 6 begins with Reika as a baby nearly dying of some unknown illness with her mother doing so later and the next scene? Bam Girls at the beach in their swimsuits Can you see how jarring that type of transition can be? 22/7 can be at its best when it actually puts effort into tying the girls pasts to current events Sakuras episode being one such example but at its worst when its unable to find that balance Again Reikas episode. Because of the way the episodes are made the show tends to gloss over things that are important while putting too much focus on things that dont really mean much in the big picture. For example various episodes imply that Sakura returning to America is going to be important but nothing ever comes out of it and that plot thread is never resolved. If I could use one word to describe 22/7 in a nutshell itd be...contradictory. The writing for this show is really inconsistent and its like the writers dont really know what they want to do with their characters most of the time Nicole being an example in that early on shes established as a haughty bitchy character but shes occasionally nice to the girls and just seems to flipflop between the two personalities without a real reason for being either one. Not even her focus episode sheds any light on why shes so needlessly mean to the other girls. Some characters are better than others with Miu being the standout example. In my opinion I feel shes the best character. Both her backstory and personality are down to earth and shes such a refreshing change from the happy optimistic idol series mains who want to be idols though I will admit her low pitched voice really isnt going to win her any Oscars. But again as the show loses steam halfway through its run Mius original personality seems to disappear until the very end. Ayaka is pretty much a nonentity as a character and her reasons for being an idol are...really stupid and dumb and poor Reika really got the shaft because her episode was not only poorly written and endorsed a bad message Reika doesnt want to wear a skimpy swimsuit for a photo shoot because she doesnt want to be a teenage sex object which would normally be valid and understandable? Too bad Get in the bikini Reika but was really sexist. Juns episode wasnt much better: What do you do when all your idols save for one get sick from food poisoning? Instead of postponing their jobs and waiting a day for everyone to be back to normal lets completely overwork a 15yearold girl by having her do a crap ton of jobs even the ones her idol friends were supposed to do over the course of an entire day Which then leads me to the shows biggest problem: The characters as individuals are fine though kind of bland but since we never really get to watch them evolve and grow as a group any pathos that comes from events such as breaking up doesnt feel earned in spite of the shows attempts to milk as much drama as possible. We never really see them truly come together as a group despite the shows attempts at telling us that theyre awesome as a group because you know we never see them doing stuff like dance lessons practicing their choreography recording songs struggling or bonding over their idol work or actually working together. Basically the show is paying lip service to the idea of developing them as a group and doesnt think to show them actually struggling. I think the show might have done better had it just focused on Miu and cut down the flashbacks in favor of putting more time into having the girls learn to function as a group like the show tries to advertise. Finally we dont learn much about the wall and even at the end what the hell it even is is never really resolved making it yet another plot thread thats been abandoned for the sake of idol flashiness. Its a shame that 22/7 turned out this way as I really wanted to like this show. The first three episodes were great but after that it loses steam quickly and just ends on a whimper too caught up in its own hubris to really attempt something meaningful. Then again this is another commerical for a famous idol group so I guess it turning out the way it did was inevitable. I mean Ill still watch this over Love Live Except episode 6. Screw that episode in the eye but its an idol show that tried and failed to stand out from the oversaturated genre and just didnt deliver.