All of my reviews contain spoilers for the reviewed material. This is your only warning. 880 22/7 is not really an anime so much as it is a 12episode shrug. It would be unfair to call the show bottomofthebarrel but rarely does an anime start with so much potential and not just squander it but fail to deliver on every conceivable level. To its limited credit 22/7s failings are not simple ones. This is a series whose shortcomings are borderline artful. It is if nothing else interesting to dissect how it went wrong. To be fair as possible from day one there were always going to be two kinds of 22/7 watchers. The show is in large part a promotional vehicle for the real idol group of the same name. Its most famous member stateside Sally Amaki is something of an internet sensation for her fluent bilingualism and interaction with overseas idol fans something the demographic only very rarely gets. For the people watching to see Amaki and her fellow idols work their way around a script for the first time and simply interact while incharacter the series is perfectly competent at specifically that thing. If still unremarkable. 880 880 Were it that boops alone could make an anime good we might live in a better world. 22/7s core premise however feels more of a part with some of the groups actual music. 22/7 are eclectic as is expected from a JIdol group. But their most distinct works are odd baroque stringheavy and often tense pop songs. The series premise that eight girls have been selected by shadowy government agency The GI Project to join a pop group at the behest of a mysterious statue called The Wall seems to set 22/7 up as a sort of Madoka for the idol girl group anime genre. Its an admittedly unfair comparison but its one 22/7 invites and indeed the shows opening few episodes hint that we might at some point learn more about the nature of The Wall. We do not and aside from its first episodewonderfully tense with a dusky energy the show never manages to summon again22/7 seems fairly content to color safely within genre lines for much of its run time. 9 of the series 12 episodes cover most of the same ground that anything cribbing notes from The Idolmaster does. 880 We get character backstories the cast interacting with each other as they feel each other out during their rise to fame jokes a couple actual performances et cetera. Frustratingly playing it safe is arguably where the show is at its best. While only about a third of the character focus episodes presented are particularly good theyre at least wellputtogether on a production level. Juns episode in particular has some of the seasons better directing even as its writing is fundamentally cliche and wrongheaded. Enough so that unless you are exceptionally good at overlooking this kind of thing it will suck most of the fun out of the room. So those are the shows ups and downs for most of its runtime. In its tenth episode the series finally pulls the trigger on what it attempts to sell as its big reveal. 22/7 are forced to disband leaving their lives as idols and their happy memories behind. In a better show this would have emotional impact. Here it mostly serves to jerk the viewers around for another two episodes before the finale. There 22/7 reconvene at GI Project headquarters. The Wall begins speaking to them they confront it about ordering them to break up affirming their from any outside perspective dubious independent existence as idols and desire to be such. They break into the thing and end up outside where they perform an impromptu concert for their fans. It turns out to have been orchestrated by GIP the whole time at the behest of the Wall itself. Roll credits cue postscript promoting the upcoming OVA. 880 To clear up any possible misconception its okay for a series to exist as a way to sell something. Many anime manage to have solid emotional cores wellconsidered themes and interesting things to say despite also pulling double duty as a way to get You Dear Otaku to buy toys or CDs or whathaveyou. Where this becomes less okay is when something tries to present itself as a rebellion against a system it is not just participating in but perpetuating. 22/7 are a real idol group the fictional characters in 22/7 are written at least allegedly quite close to their realworld counterparts. 22/7 as a multimedia project is the brainchild of Yasushi Akimoto the man behind massive idol pop projects like Onyanko Club and AKB48. Even this is not entirely damning in of itself the duplicity of music being presented as rebellious but also bankrolled by major labels has deep roots in a wide range of genres including punk and hiphop but the sheer flatness of the entire affair undercuts any spirit of affirmation or solidarity it might try to instill. 880 To admittedly simplify when your show includes say a plot wherein an idol is uncomfortable posing for a swimsuit shoot and resolves that plot by having other characters essentially tell her to get over herself you can no longer claim to be standing against the system in even symbolic fashion. Distressingly enough weird outofplace swimsuit fanservice was also a strike against AKB0048 another numericallytitled idolrelated anime property that Akimoto had a hand in. Albeit a much better one overall. All of this adds up to quite possibly the most disappointing anime of the year thusfar. The show is certainly not meritless. As mentioned its competenttogood on the production end of things and some of the individual character arcs are compelling. Particularly that of Miu the shows ostensible protagonist and one of its few genuinely daring choices in how simply unidoly she is. That too of course is sanded away over the course of the shows run. 880 A1 in general continue to prove themselves as a surprisingly relaible studio in a postCloverWorks world and the actual music is quite good if youre into the particular vibe its putting down. The high drama of the shows opening theme Its Difficult a cheery number about how life is hard and confusing feels like it was written for a series with ten times the writing chops of this one. Still these relatively meager positives cant save a fundamentally broken series. Its a shame 22/7 seem like a genuinely interesting group and they deserved a genuinely interesting show to showcase them. This however is not that show. 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34 /100
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