Action music. A deep blue sea with emerald green coasts. Pursued by their enemies, a boy and a girl are entering the fantasy world where she was born. In parallel, or sometimes in the same scene, we get to see a teenage voice actress holding the script. In a moment of exaltation, it falls from her hand, and she loses pace. As she is being scolded, she realizes what time it is and freaks out and runs off, late for something. Cut to a short-haired girl sitting by a Shinto temple and moving her legs in tune with the drum, her eyes closed; she rises to go to the same place as the first girl. The same goes for a beautiful and energetic schoolgirl who today won’t go to the gym. And for the cool big sister in a family of five whose siblings protest when she heads off just after winning a videogame match. In the end, fifteen new girls with colourful personalities arrive at AirBlue, the brand new voice actress agency. By my account, we have the well-read girl with glasses, the cosplayers, the stoic, the really nervous one, the childish one, the long-haired and kind-looking ones (one with golden earrings), the blond-haired girl with a hat, the raven-haired girl with a baseball cap, the one dressed as a mariner, the Punk or Goth girl, and our four main protagonists. The brand new VA agency has both a kind manager and a tough coach. Things are about to get started when the CEO calls, and there is a change of plans. They are to perform a scene of Hamlet immediately, right then and there, much to the dismay of the new recruits!
I’ll confess I was skeptical that a show with this number of heroines could make any sense at all, and my excess-of-cuteness detector was sounding somewhat of an alarm. And, indeed, without the documentary trick of The Idolm@ster’s first episode, when everyone arrived at the studio all at once, it felt quite like Paprika’s endless parade. But after that, the show managed to find its feet and ease my concerns. It was very helpful that the personalities of our four main protagonists were effectively established early on, and the Hamlet acting scene served well to give a quick overview of the quirks and traits of the rest of the cast. Suddenly, everything felt more or less as it did when I tried acting at university. It may be only my impression, but the brand-new agency looks more suspicious than its Idolm@ster counterpart (an angle I’d love to see explored), with its CEO constantly surprising everyone, coach included. There seems to be more to the coach herself than meets the eye, too. Some conversations about insecurities that one wouldn’t normally have in front of everyone did throw me off a little, but the voice acting scenes themselves were so beautiful, and felt so much like acting, that my impression ended up being very positive. Things could still go wrong, but I’m cautiously optimistic about this one.
Cue! can be streamed at Crunchyroll.