This is not a review I ever expected to write.

However, and I totally blame The Angriest for this, I did end up watching AKB0048 on CrunchyRoll [1].

The Good

It turns out that AKB0048 is eminently watchable from start to finish, and tells a workable story from start to finish.

As the series goes on there is an increasing level of supernatural elements. I have sometimes been annoyed by this [2], but for AKB0048 the basic premise is so ridiculous to begin with that throwing in the mysticism actually helps the suspension of disbelief [3].

The characters are generally engaging; at least once you can keep them separate in your head. I found myself wanting the girls to succeed which is always a good sign.

Even with the limitations of CrunchyRoll [4], AKB0048 is a very pretty show to look at. On the relatively frequent occasions when AKB0048 shoots for ugly backgrounds, these are also solidly realised and usually quite well designed.

It is also a very pretty show to listen to. Given the nature of the show this shouldn’t be a surprise, but some of the songs are excellent. This is especially true of the first opening and closing songs.

The Bad

The Loads and Loads of Characters are not particularly well managed. My advice is to keep a close eye on Nagisa, Chieri, and Yuko, and mostly ignore the rest.

There are a couple of episodes, especially episode 10, where the ugly reality of idol singer culture intruded into the fantasy of the anime. In particular there was an utterly clumsy attempt to handle body image issues whilst still keeping within the “sexy idol” image.

Can you say mixed messages? Or Broken Aesop?

I knew you could.

I was somewhat disturbed by the amount of fan service of quite young characters, but given the nature of the show this was probably inevitable. Fortunately it isn’t in every episode, and episode 10 is probably the worst of the lot.

The Okay

The series finale isn’t a bad ending per se; it just didn’t do a lot for me.

I expected more as there had been some genuinely clever setup work leading into the final episode, including one surprise that darkened the series considerably but ultimately wasn’t resolved.

However the final episode tried too hard to generate an emotional response that the essentially lightweight nature of the series couldn’t sustain [5].

The Summary

I was pleasantly surprised by AKB0048, I watched it at a time when I needed disposable anime that I could watch without having to think too hard. For the most part it delivered the enjoyable watching experience I needed.

Overall AKB0048 is an above average series that is worth seeing once. I’ll finish up with a subtitled version of the first ending song.

[1] I know that there are technically two seasons, but they are effectively one story so the review only refers to AKB0048.

[2] **Cough** Rocket Girls **Cough**.

[3] To be fair Shoji Kawamori has form here. Exhibit A: Lynn Minmei.

[4] All the quality your internet connection can bear…

[5] This is essentially a personal reaction. Your mileage may vary.