Originally, I was going to work on a write-up about a super popular anime that’s airing right now; the one called Oshi no Ko, you might’ve heard of it. However, I feel like I needed to take some time to gather what I wanted to actually discuss in that post, plus I’ve been doing a bad job keeping up with it so… we’ll save that for another day.
In the meantime, I wanted to talk about another idol-related TV series and one that also has the word ‘oshi’ in the title. Recently, I had the urge to finish the… fascinating anime titled Oshi ga Budokan Ittekuretara Shinu, or in English, If My Favorite Pop Idol Made It to the Budokan, I Would Die. I watched a few episodes when it was first airing back in 2020, but due to reasons I can’t remember, I just ended up leaving it in my ‘on-hold’ list.
But as I had the interest to go back to it, I was intrigued when I found out that a live action adaptation of the OshiBudo story had aired recently. And since I’ve always wanted to watch more Japanese live action dramas, I thought it’d be fun to check out this version over finishing the animated one. So that’s what we’ll be talking about today.
With that said, let’s jump right in!
Oshi ga Budokan Ittekuretara Shinu (EN: If My Favorite Pop Idol Made It to the Budokan, I Would Die) is a Japanese live action comedy drama that aired back in October 2022. The story follows Eripiyo (played by Matsumura Sayuri), who seemingly lived a normal life until she stumbled upon a live performance from the Okayama-based underground idol group ChamJam. After being entranced by one of the unit’s members, Ichii Maina (Irei Himena), Eripiyo decides to devote her entire existence to supporting and obsessing over the less popular and more reserved Maina.
But despite the unrivaled amount of passion and love Eripiyo expresses for her oshi, she’s always met with a quiet, cold and/or uncertain attitude whenever the two have any interaction. The show explores the peculiar idol-fan relationship between Eripiyo and Maina, as well as ChamJam and their small-but-faithful fanbase.
How It Compares to the Anime
I guess I should start off this review by mentioning how this live action version compares to the anime, since I’d imagine more people have seen that than the one we’re talking about today. Like I said earlier, I didn’t finish it so I had to rely on the few episodes I actually saw, as well as a post from fellow blogger Rise of Phoenix Talks Pop Culture Japan. They provide a great review on the anime and offer another interesting perspective on the Eripiyo/Maina relationship so definitely go check out their write-up!
But essentially, if you’ve seen the animated version of OshiBudo, this live action drama pretty much conveys the same exact narrative and storyline. There are some differences that I noticed, even after skimming through some of the later episodes of the anime, such as familiar events taking place in a different area of Okayama or even scenes that weren’t included in this drama version (i.e. when ChamJam did a sports event at a school gym). But other than that (and some other atmospheric differences that I’ll talk about later), this drama still expresses the story of ChamJam and their devoted fanbase, with Eripiyo and Maina being at the forefront.
The Eripiyo/Maina Relationship
The main plotline of OshiBudo essentially revolves around the relationship between those two, as Eripiyo tries her hardest to support her favorite idol (especially when she’s the least popular one in the group) while Maina’s shy personality prevents her from conveying her true feelings about her number one fan. Most would probably suspect that the end goal here is for the two to somehow break the frequent disconnect and awkwardness between them, in order to interact better as idol and fan.
But the thing is, and I’m about to echo a lot of the same sentiments as what Rise had in their post, Eripiyo and Maina’s characters don’t really change a whole lot throughout the show. While her intentions of supporting the much less popular Maina are generally commendable, Eripiyo is way too obsessive about her oshi, to the point where it takes her until the last couple episodes to actually understand what she needs to do to help Maina grow as an idol. On the other hand, Maina’s timid nature resulted in constant misunderstandings whenever she says something to Eripiyo during handshake events, etc. I totally get her struggles with anxiety but Maina not being able to properly respond to whatever Eripiyo blurts out to her, while amusing the first few times, eventually got repetitive and annoying. I kept thinking about how all these misinterpretations between the two of them felt as painful as ones shown in shoujo romance stories. *cough* Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season *cough*
But even when the two actually started realizing what was necessary for them to improve as an idol or as a fan, it honestly felt so minimal. Sure, it may feel like a massive challenge to overcome for a person like Maina but as a viewer of this TV series, it didn’t really feel all that satisfying despite the build-up, and made me go… ‘eh, okay’. I’ll somewhat give this the benefit of the doubt, since they did release a whole movie sequel to this show last week (May 12th), so maybe it’ll further explore the Eripiyo/Maina pairing.
Reo, Kumasa and the Others
Like I said earlier, this show does also showcase some of the other characters and their individual relationships. One of the more prominent ones is with ChamJam’s leader, Igarashi Reo, and her devoted fan Kumasa. Compared to Eripiyo and Maina, it’s surprising how well they managed to show off a more natural and fulfilling idol-fan relationship between Reo and Kumasa. Seeing both of their backstories, in terms of Reo’s background and her endeavors as an aspiring idol, as well as Kumasa’s reasoning for being a die-hard Reo fan; I enjoyed watching those two a lot. Seeing them interact during handshake events or even the scene at the fashion show where Reo does their usual cheki pose towards Kumasa… whether or not their relationship is in any way realistic, many of the scenes that featured these two definitely made me smile.
As for the other ChamJam members, they all had their nice moments, even if most of them were very brief. Each member had a problem they dealt with and the way they overcame them as a group or between certain characters were, for the most part, nice additions to the main storyline. The anime might’ve done a better job at developing the ChamJam members not named Maina or Reo but various short scenes, like when all seven of them said brief lines during handshake events which related to their personalities or mannerisms, did a sufficient job at giving us more info about each character.
Its Enjoyable Portrayal of the Idol Phenomena
Which kinda leads me to a point I wanted to touch upon, it being the show’s interpretation of the idol phenomena, especially when it comes to the underground scene. And to be very honest… I thought it was great. In my opinion, they did a really good job showcasing how a more amateur, less popular idol group operates and does things. Performing on a tiny stage in a literal underground venue, having a small but hard-working team of staff behind them, and the way they handled handshake events or cheki photo opportunities; all of these felt like things I’d legitimately see if I were to attend an event of a group like ChamJam. Similarly, the depiction of idol fan culture was done pretty well too, as seen with fans buying/creating gifts to give to their idols (and the staff screening said gifts), needing to do multiple part-time jobs in order to have the funds to support them, or certain fans getting emotional about their oshi having the chance to be in the spotlight, rather than their usual position in the back. Even more dramatic or negative ideas like an idol getting caught up in baseless rumors… while not as hard-hitting as something you’d see in a story like Oshi no Ko, it still gets the overall and realistic point across.
Another thing that I also noticed and appreciated was how they always took a second to go over some of the idol-related terms/abbreviations that the characters frequently said. Lingo like ‘fanre’ (fanletter), ‘daisenko’ (a really bright lightstick used during concerts), ‘tsuri’ (things that idols do to make someone become a fan of them) and even ‘gachikoizei’ (fans who develop actual romantic feelings for their oshi)… still being somewhat new to the broader idol scene, I really liked how they made sure to explain what these words meant, as many of them were new to me. I also figured that by doing this, it helps regular viewers, who may not be familiar with idols, understand many of the concepts or ideas revolving around the culture/fandom. That way, it honestly allows this show to appeal to both the idol fans who can relate to a lot of these things, as well as to the more general public.
A Cast Full of Surprises
While I don’t normally watch live action dramas, there were a few times where I became interested in a show because of someone I know being featured in it. But in the case of this OshiBudo adaptation, I went in completely blind… yet I ended up finding a ton of interesting discoveries and even seeing a few familiar faces by pure coincidence.
Our main character of Eripiyo was played by Matsumura Sayuri who, by my surprise, was a founding member of the idol group Nogizaka46 before she graduated in 2021. Finding that out made me wonder whether or not her previous experiences as an idol and essentially witnessing first-hand how fans acted, helped her convey the personality/behavior of Eripiyo. Maybe not to a literal degree, but I do feel like Matsumura did a great job expressing many of the common sentiments that fans have about idols. The way she was so passionate and energetic whenever she saw or talked about Maina felt really enjoyable and funny at times, and she just put on a nice performance, all in all. (I think it also helped that she does look a lot like Eripiyo lol)
Maina, on the other hand, was played by Irei Himena; and while I don’t know a whole lot about her, I thought she was great as Maina. Her very shy and timid nature was done very well and honestly felt a lot more believable, compared to Maina’s portrayal in the anime where she was much more expressive. And again, I think it helped that Irei does resemble her character a lot.
Another fascinating thing about the cast were some of the other ChamJam idols. While I did like Nakamura Riho and Wada Miu as Reo and Aya respectively, what stood out to me the most was that four members were played by ladies who are currently a part of the idol group @onefive; with MOMO as Sorane, KANO as Maki, SOYO as Yumeri and GUMI playing Yuka (additionally, these four were former members of the now-disbanded unit Sakura Gakuin).
Why I’m emphasizing this is because I’ve actually heard of @onefive before, thanks to my friend Leap suggesting a couple songs of theirs to me; one of which was used as the ending theme to this show. So that alone just felt like a weird and funny coincidence lol (here’s him featuring them on one of his roundups). But also seeing actual idols play idol characters, similar to what I said about Matsumura Sayuri and Eripiyo, adds another level of ‘genuineness’ to this whole thing, in my opinion. They all know what it takes to be an idol and I’m sure they’ve experienced many of the things that were shown in this TV series, so I’d imagine that that aided them on how to portray these characters well. On related note, I thought it was insane how I previously took an initial liking to @onefive’s SOYO, and then finding out that she played my personal ChamJam oshi in Yumeri… it’s fate, I’m telling you.
Lastly, I HAVE to talk about Kumasa. Jitsukata Takao just made him feel like a genuine and down-to-earth dude who loves supporting someone like Reo, and by doing so, I ended up loving Kumasa a lot throughout this show. He was frequently amusing to watch and you could definitely tell by his mannerisms how passionate he felt about his favorite idol and her aspirations. And when compared to the anime: while I don’t think Maeno Tomoaki’s take on the character was bad, his vocal performance of Kumasa in the anime felt a bit cliché and leaned towards a more comical depiction of a ‘big-sized’ idol otaku, if that makes sense. I’d say if you want a better image of a guy like Kumasa, it’d be better to watch him in this drama, rather than the anime (at least, in my honest opinion).
Oh, one more actress I thought I’d mention: I was absolutely shocked when I recognized who played Eripiyo’s co-worker at the bakery… it was Akase Akari, the singer and cosplayer known for performing the ending theme to the Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru anime. She was great in this show.
Despite the actual storyline between Eripiyo and Maina being a bit of a mess, I think the main thing to take away from this show is its fun depiction of Japanese idols and the fans that support them. We seriously get some great interactions among all these characters, whether it’s Reo and Kumasa, the odd-but-humorous connection between Motoi and Sorane, or even pairings within ChamJam itself such as how supportive Maki and Yumeri were towards each other… it’s a story that focused (and honestly, relied) on character relationships, and for the most part, all of them were shown off very well.
And as I alluded to earlier, the way they showed off ChamJam’s everyday activities and tasks as an underground-tier idol group, as well as seeing how fans manage to devote their whole lives towards supporting their oshis… not saying that this is a kind of story you should take too seriously but I can tell the directors and writers of this show (and the original author of the source material) strived to make something that felt more accurate to what’s seen around the idol industry. It was enjoyable to the point where I honestly believe that this live action version works better than the more humorous animated one. I think the real life setting allows its to have a much more meaningful and authentic depiction, in terms of visuals and concepts shown throughout. In fact, watching all this unfold made me wanna physically go watch a performance from a lesser known idol group, since I’d imagine the overall vibes would be fun to experience. Plus, I do want to check out the IRL locations of this show if I ever visit Okayama.
Rating: Would recommend watching!
Aaaand that’s all I got for you today!
Hope you enjoyed reading this fairly lengthy review (lol). Feel free to share any thoughts on this drama or the animated version in the comments!
Looking forward to seeing the movie, and to end it off, here is the live action cast of ChamJam performing the group’s main song, “Zutto ChamJam”.
Thanks for reading!! 😀
5 replies on “I Watched the Live Action Version of OshiBudo (Review/Thoughts)”
Oh nice! I actually meant to check this out at some point but I wasn’t sure whether to go with the anime or the live action adaptation of OshiBudo instead, lol, I guess this gives me more incentive to check out the latter then 😛
Tbh I didn’t actually know Mirai-zu was used as the theme song for it when I first came across the PV nor that @onefive was actually part of it until I saw an article on like Crunchyroll or something that talked about it but yeah, I thought it was pretty neat to cast somewhat of an actual up-and-coming group in @onefive for this as well (as opposed to like a one off group made for the show specifically or an already established group)
I forgot if I ever mentioned it before too but if I had to say I probably like SOYO the most out of all them too. I really like how she projects herself for the camera (specifically her facial expressions) and she’s also the group’s best dancer I feel (I for sure watched her solo PV version of Underground more than the group version one, LOL)
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It’s a fun show, for sure, and I’m glad my post gave you some interest in checking it out (lol). If you need a link to where/how to watch it, this one’s probably your best bet (https://olynsubs.wixsite.com/olynsubs/post/if-my-favorite-pop-idol-made-it-to-the-budokan-i-d-die-full-episodes-01-10).
@onefive being there was such a big coincidence, to the point where I found it shocking and funny at the same time. I think the other actresses still did a great job at portraying idols, despite them not having any experience in that field (supposedly), but @onefive taking on those roles definitely added to the entire experience of watching this show.
IIRC, I feel like this might be the first time (or at least, a rare time) we’ve had the same favorite member in a group haha. For me on the other hand, I really liked how SOYO looked in the Underground MV, and I think my appreciate for short-haired idols/seiyuu certainly was a factor in that lol. But I will say, the other @onefive members had their good moments in this drama, especially from MOMO/Sorane… some dangerous stuff from her ngl
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I remember seeing this pop up on my radar, but it fell off my radar since I saw the anime and there were other titles I was more interested in at the time. I’m really glad that the live action adaptation did a bit more of it’s own thing, especially with Kumasa. I always felt that his character in the anime got done a bit dirty, so it’s nice to see him humanized in this version.
I also totally forgot that Matsumura Sayuri was cast as the lead for this one. I’m sure that her lived experience was really helpful (she had some passionate fans!) for her portrayal here. I also totally forgot @onefive was in this series too! I’m glad they got to dip their toes into acting here!
My last bit is that if you’re interested in a live-action that’s very similar but a bit more intense you could try “Dakara Watashi wa Oshimashita” (2019). Similar female wota with female chika idol group member, but it’s a little more intense with action and tone.
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It’s hard to actually say (due to my lack of knowledge) but at the very least, I feel like there’s a high chance that someone out there in the idol fanbase is very similar to Kumasa (the one shown in this live action version). That’s how genuine I thought his character felt, but I am kinda curious now with how he was perceived in the anime.
Matsumura Sayuri has definitely made a fan outta me, and it’s nice to know she had some Eripiyo-like fans of her own (lol). It was also surprising to hear that this was pretty much @onefive’s debut roles; they did great!
Ooooh, thanks for the suggestion! Definitely will consider checking it out, it does sound interesting 👍
I get that. It’s kinda hard since we’re putting two and two together based off one another’s reviews and viewing experiences lol. Talking about Kumasa’s irl there are totally a lot more guys that fit Kumasa as a personality then not when it comes to idols. Truly a genuinely supportive fan to idol relationship.
She for sure did/does! Wishing her nothing but success moving forward!
And you’re most welcome! It’s not for everyone but it does seem up your alley.