Hello and welcome back to our conversation about Selection Project!
Really sorry about the delay; school’s been keeping me busy but I found some time to finally post! And in case you don’t know what this is about, me and my good friend/fellow idol fan Leap250 have been talking about this rather interesting anime called Selection Project. As you can probably tell by the title, this is part 3 (also the final part) of this post series so if you haven’t read the previous installments (which I highly suggest you do), you can do so here: Part 1 | Part 2.
That being said, let’s continue!
That’s pretty much what it comes down to right? Like, for me, I never got that sense of bewilderment as to what was gonna happen because the story beats were just all too familiar to me. It ended up being a matter of me watching the show with the perspective of “when” something was going to happen rather than “if”. I get it, y’know, I don’t want to be that guy that continually harps on about how an older show did something first thereby it’s better. Rather, I’m almost never that guy. I’ll have my fun with it whenever it comes up in conversation, but I’m not one to put down a show because it happens to be doing something that a different unrelated show already did prior, intentionally or otherwise. Ideas are bound to be repeated the more stories continue to be made and, as you outline yourself, at the end of the day it’s all about the execution of the idea more than anything else.
Perhaps it was because I invested so much into what Selection Project had to offer *outside* its core narrative that I ended up feeling the way I do about its story, and I suppose by extension the backdrop by which said story presented in the titular Selection Project program. Specifically, I think it’s because they modeled the whole thing to be a televised reality show like the ones you mentioned that I became more attentive of its implementation (doesn’t help that I regularly watch ‘Survivor’ myself, lol). This ties into why I felt the eventual delivery was so clumsy is that past the audition rounds, every stage of the show was pretty much miracle after miracle all to keep their “group” intact, whilst also pushing them into being a group the further they progress, with them being split into subunits, and after that having them perform as a 9-man group. Everything about the way these rounds worked ran counterpoint to having a sole winner by the end of it. Almost as if the show *wanted* them to be a group in the first place.
You bring up a good point though with Idoly Pride and how contrived these kinds of shows tend to be, so much so that it should be looked at as a given, and that’s really just how you’re gonna have to approach this show so as to not take away from the other good things it has to offer. Like, the actual performances (XD)
The performances were really good. I read some thoughts from other viewers where they said only a couple songs really stood out to them, but I think as avid fans of multiple idol franchises and idol culture in general, it was easier (at least, for me) to appreciate all the tracks in this anime. Each song, especially the ones from the subunits, were fun, memorable, catchy and had their own individual charms. The stunning vocals from Suzu☆Rena in “B.B”; Splasoda°’s energetic, soda-themed pop track with “SPARKRASH”; and my personal favorite, the absolutely sick rock tune from GAPsCAPS, “NOiSY MONSTER”, where I also got to see an ojou-sama go hard on the bass… the variety was definitely there and I feel like there was something for everyone to enjoy.
Same could be said about the group songs, where “Itsuka Kanau Yume” had that typical Japanese pop idol atmosphere while “Naked Blue” felt much more modern-sounding. And in regards to the visuals, the animation/CG looked pretty great and fluid most of the time… a lot better than what was shown in Idoly Pride, that’s for sure (xD).
Since both of us do talk about music a lot, I was really looking forward to seeing what your favorite songs were from this show! 😛
Whilst familiarity with idol music as a whole certainly would help in appreciating the songs we got to hear over the course of the show, I would probably belong to that subset of other viewers that you highlighted, as I too am of the opinion that some songs do indeed stand out just a bit more than the others. Not that there’s any song from the series that I’d consider bad or anything, just that, as a listener I subconsciously gravitate towards genres and sounds that I personally like hearing, which in turn ends up reflecting my own music library. That is to say, if something sounds close to what I listen to on a regular basis, I tend to favor that more so than anything else.
To that end, Suzu☆Rena’s Electro/Pop is definitely right up my alley. In as much hype as there was behind Yano Hinaki at the start of the show, I’d like to give special mention to the other half of the aptly designated vocal unit in Mizuno Saku (playing the role of Hananoi Rena), whose singing I ended up liking the most out of everyone else’s. I’m also actually immensely fond of the opening theme “Glorious Days”, and the sort of pomp energy that it brings with its synth brass and percussion in the verses. By that same token, I’m a sucker for acoustic guitar in songs, so the many iterations of the ending theme “Only One Yell” became somewhat of a thing to look forward to after each episode.
The show’s visuals are very impressive as you mentioned, and really helps bring all these songs to life with its above average quality CG, which I would think says a lot considering how horribly wrong you can go with it. Definitely one of the show’s stronger points for sure.
It took me a few listens to warm up to “Glorious Days”, as with a couple other songs like “Naked Blue”, but I also enjoyed seeing that song as the final performance. Given that they already determined earlier that “Glorious Days” would be the song they had to do in the last round (originally with only seven people, before the sudden change of heart from everyone), it was nice to see ALL of them be present for this finale. And I know idol shows tend to present a completely new track to end off their show/series, and some may have preferred to see that instead of just having the OP play again, but I personally didn’t have a problem with it.
And since you mentioned a bit about the voice actresses, I felt like we could talk a little bit about them. Being a seiyuu fanatic when it comes to these idol multimedia franchises, I thought everyone did a pretty good job overall. Everyone portrayed their characters sufficiently, whether that be Hanai Miharu really conveying that ‘young lady’ aura with Shiori or Youmiya Hina’s high-pitched voice being able to take on the more funny/easy-going personality of Nodoka. Even after doing some research and knowing that Shino Shimoji is (presumably) the oldest and most experienced voice actress out of the bunch, it seemed like she was the perfect person to play an older sister-type character in Mako. I know voice acting tends to be overlooked by a lot of casual anime viewers but since Selection Project was the first major acting opportunity for a lot of these rookie seiyuu, I had to give them some props. Plus, mixing in some veteran voice actors to play the more ‘accomplished/skilled’ characters such as Oonishi Saori (Kurusu Seira) and even Hayami Saori (Amasawa Akari) was definitely a nice touch. Ono Daisuke as Sumipanda on the other hand… a bit questionable (lol).
With all that being said, I think this is a good time to wrap up our thoughts.
Leap, what’s your final verdict on Selection Project and would you recommend it to someone looking for a new anime to check out?
I would say that I enjoyed Selection Project for the most part. The story ending up being what it was aside, I thought it tells an engaging enough narrative with its own twists and turns that most anime fans can appreciate. The cast features a nice variety of cute and fun characters as we’ve talked about, and at the very least, the show does deliver on both the music and the visual side of things.
Whether or not I would recommend it though really just comes at a bit of a caveat, where I’ll only probably suggest to someone to check it out if I know beforehand that they already watched Idoly Pride, otherwise I’d recommend that they watch that first. Not because it came out first, nor am I saying Selection Project is bad in comparison, but simply because I personally liked Idoly Pride more. The areas in which I found this show lacked were Idoly Pride’s strong points to begin with, and the ones where Selection Project shined the most (in my opinion) are ones that are present in most other idol-themed show; namely in its songs and performances, which would be my biggest takeaway from the show overall.
I think I would have to agree with you, for the most part. Like I said earlier, the strikingly similar and constant resemblances to Idoly Pride turned me off a little at first, but as the anime went on, it definitely ended up conveying some different/unique ideas to keep me interested. I mean, I don’t think there are a ton of idol/music-themed anime that revolve around an ‘American Idol’/’Survivor’-type reality show, so that alone could be something a lot of people find intriguing, especially to those who are long-time fans of the genre. Add on the sudden twists and dramatic segments throughout, and I believe it presents itself as another entertaining idol anime.
Whether or not I would suggest this over Idoly Pride, that does depend. While both shows do express incredibly similar storylines, there are enough significant differences between the two that may gravitate a person to watch one over the other. If I were to make an extremely general observation, in my opinion, Idoly Pride incorporates more of a fun, slice-of-life atmosphere into their show, whereas Selection Project is pretty heavy with the drama. So it really depends on the individual’s preferences or taste. Similar to you, I also found Idoly Pride to be more enjoyable than Selection Project, but I can imagine there are people who could think the opposite.
I wanted to end this off with a bit of a fun discussion topic since we didn’t really talk about this: I was wondering which SelePro girl would you have given your ‘Yell’ to? I know this didn’t exactly matter in the end (lol) but because picking a favorite idol is common whenever people get into these types of shows/projects, it’d be nice to briefly show our appreciation for a certain character.
I mentioned this a bit earlier but I think I liked Mako the most. I really enjoyed the episode with her and the rest of GAPsCAPs, plus her mature, caring personality definitely resonated with me. Nodoka’s a close second cause I found her quick, food-related jokes to be pretty amusing at times.
Ooh! That’s certainly in keeping with the spirit of the show, and is also something that I’ve pondered on myself after the series ended.
To be honest, I feel like I would’ve given it to Rena. The way she acted so detached about the whole thing, yet still giving off a sort of aura that she’s a cut above the rest in both her performance and how she carries herself would’ve definitely earned my “Yell”. That being said, Nagisa’s cheeky antics and overall cutesy demeanor could just as well have won me over, and Suzune’s underdog story makes it real hard to *not* root for her, so on any given day my “Yell” could go to either of them too (XD)
Aaaand that’s all we got for you today!
I really hope you all enjoyed this short post series/thing; as I said in the first part, I had a strong urge to write about Selection Project after watching it so to be able to do it in this type of format was very fun. Plus, I want to give a huge thank you and shout-out to Leap, who graciously agreed to do this with me. Given that we both became fans of Idoly Pride AND ended up checking this anime out, I think he was definitely the best person to have this conversation with. I also have to apologize for taking hella long to write some of my responses (lol).
And interestingly enough, these posts were a bit of a ‘spin-off’ of a segment that Leap has on his blog called ‘Idol Chit-Chat’, where he talks about, well, different topics/aspects of the Japanese idol culture. I happened to collaborate with him on a review of a documentary titled ‘Tokyo Idols’ a few years back so definitely go check that out by clicking here!
Lastly, I would like to show my appreciation for those who decided to read our review. This was super fun to do, and I’m glad I was able to share my opinion on this wild show. Also if you have any thoughts about Selection Project or what we talked about, feel free to leave them in the comments!
Thanks for reading!! 😀