The Central Problem with Idol Anime

Ensemble Stars is a decent anime. The tension it presents between a culture that carefully curates the best idols, weeding out the vast majority, and one that homogenizes the group in order to avoid throwing anyone aside is an interesting one, made better by the show’s clear allusions to market pressure as the ultimate cause of both of these flawed strategies. Furthermore, it presents great characters, by-and-large: as in most gacha games, they can occasionally feel one-note, but those notes almost always hit, and enough time is spent with each boy that by the end, they’re mostly rounded enough to be charming rather than obnoxious.

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