Confined to a hospital bed, the one bright light in young Suzune’s life is watching videos of her favorite idol, Akari Amasawa, and singing along—whenever she has breath enough. She dreams of one day singing and dancing on stage herself, and the nurse indulges her, albeit with a worried expression. Fast forward several years and Suzune has made it to the final round of contestant screening for the idol-making tv show, Selection Project, the very series that discovered Akari Amasawa seven years ago in its first season. Suzune’s heroine has since died, but her dream has not. As she prepares for her moment in the spotlight, we’re introduced to a lively cast of characters covering the full geographical—and character trope—range of Japan, with the winners for each region being heavily foreshadowed. The problem is that one of Suzune’s competitors within the North Kanto region is also given a winning personality, rich backstory (“California-born, Takasaki-raised! It’s me, Seira Kurusu!”), and a lot of screen time. Too much for this to be her only appearance. This, and the fact that Suzune collapses, disoriented, during her performance, do not bode well for our plucky idol-hopeful. She recovers in time to sing the final line, but it is not enough to win her a spot on the show. She returns home, dejected, singing quietly to herself.
I was not expecting this—and I mean that in a good way and on several levels! First off, I had zero plans to watch this series, and didn’t even rank it in the preview post as I’ve never really gotten into idol anime. But hey, it’s Friday night and what else is a chronic otaku with no social life gonna do? Second, I was not ready for another series kicking off with a broken dream like last season’s Aquatope. (*Clears throat.* I’m not crying. You’re crying!) Third, I was totally sucked in within the opening minute or so by the stunningly gorgeous background art. Seriously, this is P.A. Works-level quality. I also liked the way the cast is clearly intended to pick up on the characteristics associated with different regions in Japan, and am looking forward to learning a bit more about Japanese stereotypes about each other. Fourth, I’m curious to find out whether or not something mystical happened when Suzune collapsed in the middle of the song—perhaps something to do with Akari? And fifth, wait, do I need a fifth reason? Well, there are five lunch hours in the work-week and I need to fill ’em with something that goes down pleasantly with my sandwich and cup of tea. So yes. Rather surprisingly to myself, I will be watching the next episode, and probably the one after that too.
Selection Project can be streamed on Funimation. Preferably with lunch or after a long day of ganbatte-ing.
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