Futsu no Joshi Kousei ga Locodol Yattemita Anime Review : Exceptional Idol Anime

Locodol_ss_09AFutsu no Joshi Kousei ga Locodol Yattemita or I would simply call it Locodol is an idol anime. The idol concept in Locodol is however, different than other idol-themed anime. Locodol is about local idols who promote their town to attract more interest from locals and outsiders. Also, instead of working for professional agencies, the local idol here works for the city hall, partially as public servant. In my opinion, this is a nice concept. Captured my interest directly just by watching the first episode.

The anime was from July 4, 2014 to September 18, 2014. That is the same year where Love Live! Season 2 and Wake Up! Girls were aired. Following the TV Anime, 1 Special Episode that acts as the sequel, bundled with the Blu-ray volume 1 and 2 OVAs were released after that, making the total episode of 15 (12 TV Anime + 1 Special Episode + 2 OVA).

Pay attention to the title. Futsu no Joshi Kousei ga Locodol Yattemita literally translates to Normal High School Girl Try To Become A Local Idol. Think about it. Most popular idols in Japan started their career since they were in Middle School or High School. This title sounds very normal if you saw them from idol perspective. But what makes this anime interesting is the different approach. Most idols will aim for their own popularity. But in Locodol here, the idols are promoting their town instead. A more noble reason.

Story
Okay, more into the story. It’s about a normal high school girl named Usami Nanako who lives in Nagarekawa-shi. She is a very normal high school girl who sometimes worries about her weight. The story begins when Nanako wanted to buy a swimsuit but doesn’t have enough money. Her uncle, Oota Mitsugu who works in Nagarekawa-shi City Hall suddenly offers her a job that will allow her to buy a swimsuit. Her job turns out to be promoting the newly renovated swimming pool in the city. Even more than that, her uncle is actually making her a Locodol or local idol. In the pool, Nanako meets her partner, Kohinata Yukari. Yukari is a very charming girl that seems to be perfect in everything. She handles the difficult stuffs by herself and let Nanako do the easier parts. Their live as Locodol known as Nagarekawa Girls begins.

The story of Locodol is very lightweight compared to other idol animes. It makes the story much easier to be consumed by younger audiences. Instead of telling a story about idols who struggle to gain their popularity, Locodol tells us a story about how nice is it to work as an idol, especially when you do it for your town as public servant. Overall, the story is conflict free and very peaceful. And this is the only conflict free story about idol. Also, the peaceful elements truly reminds me of A Channel. Fascinating!

Animation
The animation is very good. Quite comparable to THE IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS but with brighter impression. It’s likely because of the atmosphere of the story and the animation managed to deliver that impression nicely. While it looks very good, it’s still below Love Live! by roughly 1-stop. I am not going to complain about that because the quality is already very good.

Music
Perhaps some viewers might be disappointed because this is a story about idol but there are only 2 insert song performed by Nagarekawa Girls. From the point of view of the story, I think that is acceptable since Locodol isn’t about idols from large agencies. Even with only two songs, the 2nd insert song, Nagarekawa Girls Song is a truly good song that moved my tears to drop when watching it. The 1st insert song is Uogokoro-kun Song. It’s more like a song for kids. Not really my taste although it isn’t bad. The Background Music is something that is also noticeable because BGM is excellent in this anime.

The opening song is “Mirai Fanfare” 「ミライファンファーレ」performed by Nagarekawa Girls and the ending song is “Mirai Shoujotachi” 「未来少女たち」also performed by Nagarekawa Girls in the earlier episodes and with Yoshioka Maya then Minase Inori join in the latter episodes. The opening and ending songs are both excellent, especially the ending song. So, overall, the music in this anime is excellent!

Characters

2 main characters are introduced in early episodes and 2 others join the party in the middle of the story.

Main Characters

Usami Nanako
Locodol_Nanako
Voiced by : Itou Miku
Voice Acting Score : Excellent
Nanako is the main character in this anime. She is a very normal high school girl who become a Locodol due to her uncle request. She doesn’t seem promising at first but later become used with the situation as Locodol. Even with the low hourly payment, she still dedicates herself as Locodol who promotes their town. Not much to say about her because she is a very normal girl.

Although Nanako is a very normal girl, Itou Miku voice acting is excellent. I noticed that Mikku’s voice acting gets better along with the story progresses just like how Nanako gets better in her career as Locodol. I am truly impressed with Mikku’s voice acting, especially if you knew that Mikku was still a newbie seiyuu.

Kohinata Yukari
Locodol_Yukari
Voiced by : Misawa Sachika
Voice Acting Score : Masterpiece
Yukari is Nanako’s partner in Nagarekawa Girls. She started her career as Locodol before Nanako. She is also Nanako’s senior in their school and she is also superior than Nanako in every possible way. Yukari is a granddaughter of the previous Mayor in town. She is a daughter of a rich family and she lived by herself in an apartment. She is capable to do many things. In Nagarekawa Girls’ various activities, she talks more than Nanako and usually leaves the easier part to Nanako. She seems to love Nanako more than just a close friend. In my eyes, Yukari is a realistically perfect girl, just like Minami Haruka from Minami-ke.

Misawa Sachika voice acting is truly outstanding here. She is rivalling Satou Rina when voicing Minami Haruka in Minami-ke and also Suzaki Aya when voicing Kitashirakawa Tamako in Tamako Market. It has been quite sometimes since I have fall in love deeply with one’s voice acting. When you checked Sacchan’s record, you’ll realized that she is still considered a newbie seiyuu at that time. This is really something beyond my expectation from a newbie.

Mikoze Yui
Locodol_YuiVoiced by : Yoshioka Maya
Voice Acting Score : Excellent
Yui is the one inside Uogokoro-kun. She is in 3rd year in high school and also a member of drama club. She is very short (short enough to be inside Uogokoro-kun) but also athletic. However, although she is short, her chest isn’t flat (which makes Nanako kinda depressed when seeing her for the first time). She refers Nanako as her senior because Nanako started her career earlier than her. However, although she only works as Uogokoro-kun, her payment is actually higher than Nanako.

Just like Mikku and Sacchan, Maya is also considered as newbie seiyuu. Surprisingly, she also performed excellent in this anime voicing Yui’s interesting way of speaking. It is just unfortunate that Maya doesn’t have much important role in anime.

Nazukari Mirai
Locodol_Mirai
Voiced by : Minase Inori
Voice Acting Score : Excellent
Mirai is Yui’s substitute as Uogokoro-kun. Due to Uogokoro-kun’s and Nagarakawa Girls’ tight schedule, the city hall thought it would be too much for Yui to handle Uogokoro-kun all the time alone. Therefore, Mirai is chosen as Yui’s substitute. The fact that Mirai can fit in Uogokoro-kun suit means Mirai is short (but she is flat-chested unlike Yui). Mirai is a very shy girl and not good in interacting with other people directly. However, inside Uogokoro-kun, she can do it much better. Mirai is also a member of drama club like Yui.

Inorin’s voice acting being excellent is something that many of you wouldn’t doubt. After all, she won Best Actress in Seiyuu Awards 2015, just one year after her role in Locodol. Like the other lead seiyuu(s), Inorin was still a newbie at the time this anime was aired. She performed her role excellently just like the others.

Secondary Characters

Nishifukai Saori
Locodol_Saori
Voiced by : Shimoda Asami
Voice Acting Score : Very Good
Saori is the manager of Nagarekawa Girls. She loves taking picture of Nagarekawa Girls and always bring her camera around in every event. She has her own unofficial fansite of Nagarekawa Girls. It appears that she used to be a cosplayer, judging by the collection of her unique clothes.

Shimoda Asami is the only veteran seiyuu with noticeably important role although she is not part of the main role. Her character is also the only supporting character with noticeable roles. Her voice acting here is very good but when compared to the lead characters, I think she is less impressive. That is surprising because she has more experienced than the others.

Oota Mitsugu
Locodol_MitsuguVoiced by : Murozono Takehiro
Voice Acting Score : Very Good
Mitsugu is Nanako’s uncle who “forced” Nanako to become locodol. Mitsugu works in the city hall and always do his best to promote the town inside or outside the town. A tough job he had because Nagarekawa particularly has nothing special. However, he is very dedicated to his job. He choose Nanako as Locodol simply because Nanako is her niece, which means he already knows her. He is also the creator of Uogokoro-kun Song. He is the only notable main character in the series. However, when Saori makes appearance and took over Mitsugu’s role as the manager of Nagarekawa Girls, his role become less important.

To be honest, I have no idea about Murozono Takehiro. This is the first time I know him but his voice acting as Mitsugu is clearly right on the place.

Locodol_CastsThe casts of Locodol. From left to right, top to bottom :
M·A·O, Tsuda Minami, Izawa Mikako, Izawa Shiori, Shimoda Asami

Yoshioka Maya, Itou Miku, Misawa Sachika, Minase Inori

Other Characters
Of course we also got more supporting characters. But generally, their role is rather minor so it’s not important to explain their role one by one. But even as minor characters, they play their part on the story, especially the other idol characters.

Locodol_ss_13A

Final Thoughts
I must confessed, this anime impressed me deeply to the point where my tears of happiness flowing. It has been quite sometimes and the last anime that made me emotional was Love Live! and Hibike! Euphonium, but not to the extend where my tears were flowing. Natsuiro Kiseki in 2012 was the last anime did that because I was so emotionally compromised. In short, Locodol is the best idol anime I’ve watched so far and also the 3rd best of all anime I ever watched up to this point (1st is A Channel and 2nd is Natsuiro Kiseki). Every part of this anime is excellent. The story is exceptional, it is a masterpiece. Realistic but fun. Lack of sadness, conflict, and any frustrating things. It’s purely entertaining. It might not suitable for some of you, especially those who wanted deep story. Locodol is story much more lightweight and easy to consume. So, for those who looks for fun and entertaining anime, this should be on your watch list.

Story 10
Animation 8
Sounds & Musics 9
Characters 9
Voice Acting 9
Overall 10
Rated as Masterpiece

Pros :
(+) Masterpiece storyline
(+) Very good animation quality
(+) Excellent sound and music, even with the lack of theme songs
(+) Characters are interesting and fun
(+) Voice acting is very superior even with newbie seiyuu line as the main characters

Cons :
(-) A few wrong minor detail but can be easily forgiven

Locodol_ss_Final

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