Thursday, July 16, 2015

Show By Rock Review

Show By Rock Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers. If you wish not to know some events in the story, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please leave the page, since I don't want to damage a watching experience for you.

With that said, thank you, and onto the review:

Do any of you remember K-On? The slice-of-life show about the girls who put new life into the Light Music Club? I do, and that's not because I re-watched it recently. It was one of the shows I watched when I got back into anime in early 2012, and like Code Geass, I watched it in bits and pieces. I managed to watch it fully around this time, and a review of that will come shortly.

In some ways, Show By Rock reminds me of K-On. However, it's also quite different. For one thing, Show By Rock was based on a mobile rhythm game (yes, a game you play on a phone) which is quite interesting. And on first glance, I was immediately reminded of K-On. Of course, I had no clue what the show was about, but that all fell into place when I watched Episode 1.

For me, Show By Rock is K-On on Crack. It has an overarching plot, the characters are very unique and some come from different backgrounds, the animation looks really good most of the time, and the humor can sometimes be laugh out loud! This show was just highly enjoyable, and quite unique for a show with a music theme.

Not to say that this show was absolutely perfect. We did have some issues with our main villain lacking some originality, and some episodes that managed to focus more on the other band from BRR rather than the one the episode was entitled too. But nevertheless, this show surprised me completely, and I'm super happy I watched it.

Let's start off with our story:


Cyan Hijirikawa is a first-year in high school who loves music. However, due to her shy personality, she doesn't have the courage to join her school's music club. One night, when she plays a rhythm game on her phone, she unlocks an guitar named Strawberry Heart. After this, she gets sucked into the game, and winds up at a concert of the trio Trichronika. However, she is now in another world called Midi City, a place where music controls just about everything.

Cyan also discovers that her look is a little different. Now, she has taken on the form of a white cat girl who's dressed in a Gothic Lolita style dress. Soon, a Dark Monster strikes the concert, sending Trichronika into the blank place that Cyan is now. After the 3 get captured and their Melodisian stones start getting corrupted, Strawberry Heart appears! And oh look, he talks! After helping her defeat the monster that was holding Trichronika captive, Cyan returns to her human form. But this time with cat ears, a tail, and the occasional nyan (meow!).

After being approached by Maple Arisugawa, the egg shaped manager plus the CEO of BRR (Banded Rocking Records), she meets ChuChu, Retoree, and Moa, who are currently a trio band known as Plasmagica, who are signed to the label. After being asked to join, Cyan accepts, and soon, we're off on an adventure full of rocking out and new friendships.

Overall, this was a great start to the anime. I feel that each episode has something interesting to offer, such as a battle of the bands, a summer trip, saving a fellow band member from being corrupted, or going to the beach for a training camp. Each were enjoyable to see, and I like that real conflict shows up, especially towards the end at the Grateful Rock Festival.

Of course, if you want to find an interesting villain, you aren't going to find it in Dagger. I would talk about him in the Characters section, because he's kind of a driving force to this story since he's the person behind the Dark Monsters. He's the head of Unicorn Virtual Music, another music company that's evil, and he's basically every stereotypical villain ever, which is why I won't talk about him in detail. I'm a little disappointed at this, since I did wish he were a little more unique, and not as bland as sandpaper, considering he's the guy calling most of the shots. He's kept Grateful King (a legend in Midi City) captive to work on a song for his personal gain, he's representing Criticrista (a rival band to Plasmagica) as their manager. He has a lot of control over things, but his personality is flat.

The story overall still is quite nice. I really liked how they gave both bands at BRR a chance for their own focused episodes. However, at some stages, it feels as if the other band may take over a bit in the other band's said episode. For example, in Episode 8, which mainly focuses on Shingan Crimsonz and Aion coming down under the effects of darkness, Plasmagica in a way kind of steals their thunder. I do like both bands, but this may irritate someone who prefers one band over the other.

However, this is still an example of how anime stories continue to be unique these days besides the generic LN s**t we get every single new season.

Let's move on to see how the bands are, and what they're like in music and personality:


I must say, the bands in this anime all have different styles. Each have different genres, and the groups each have some interesting people with different personalities. It's a relief seeing this, since I was a little worried that the majority of the bands would be bland and generic, so I'm glad to see I was proved wrong with that.

Let's start off with Plasmagica:

Plasmiagica is our main band of the series, and is signed to Banded Rocking Records. The 4 members of the band were gathered by Maple Arisugawa to help form a girl group to parallel Shingan Crimsonz.

Cyan is the newest member, being someone from the human world who must defeat dark monsters and especially Dagger in order to get back to where she came from. I mean, she was kidnapped by Dagger after all, so it makes sense. She's cute, adorable, energetic, and forms a great bond with the other 3 girls. She is on guitar and sings lead vocals by the end of the series.

Chuchu is on guitar and lead vocals as well, and is a pink bunny while performing. She is a bit strictly mannered, and kind of acts as the leader of the group. She does let pride get the better of her sometimes though, even letting it get so far as to have Dagger easily brainwash her in Episode 10. This is because during the second Battle of the Bands against Criticrista, Chuchu starts to become a little jealous when Cyan gets more attention from Rosia, even though that was probably on purpose in order to target Cyan.

Chuchu at first did form the band and did things in order to make herself stand out and become the star, and eventually split from the group to start a solo career. However, she doesn't leave after the spell on her is broken, since she realizes that her bandmates are important to her.

Retoree is on bass and backing vocals, and is a Golden Retriever when performing. She is very shy and doesn't open up to her other band members, though she does develop a crush on Cyan. She also uses her phone a lot to take pictures, Cyan being the subject of all most of them. She opens up as the show goes on.

Moa is on drums and backing vocals, and is a pink and black sheep when performing. She is actually also not from Midi City, as she is an alien from another world who was asked to investigate the city. She often ends her sentences with Pyuru (this is mostly removed in the English dub), and that's probably due to where she's from. She also reveals this to the other girls around the same time when Cyan's secret is revealed.

Overall, I really liked Plasmagica. All of them are pretty nice, and if I were in a band, I'd like to have them with me. I think I would bond the most with Retoree though, because we're both kind of shy.

Our boy group's riding in like a red flame! Meet the Shingan Crimsonz:

Shingan Crimsonz are the second main band of this anime, and are also signed to Banded Rocking Records. All of them have a distinct difference in their personalities compared to Plasmagica. Pretty much all of them besides Rom are very conceited, and will often get into arguments over trivial things involving their own selfishness. Rom is the male who constantly breaks up arguments and they always listen to him because.........he has.......a part time job. And since he does, we can trust him on making all the major decisions.

Though the males lack in being versatile personality wise, they all are super entertaining to see in motion. I mean, Crow calls his fans cattle, and at first, the pig fangirls hate it. But sooner or later, they LOVE it! And all in all, they each have funny lines and great moments, with Aion calling himself a god, and Yaiba constantly saying hence after most of his sentences. They each are entertaining, even though they kind of clash.

Rom has a past with Shuzo, the leader of Trichronika, as they both used to be in a band together. Though this didn't get explained as well as I would have liked, I bet that this would be great for fanfiction material. Better check on that!

Also, I like how these 2 bands are on opposite sides of the fangirl spectrum. We have one band who's mainly very cute and moe-like, and another who's more bishonen and hot.

Last but not least for our main bands, Criticrista:

These 4 girls are just debuting onto the music scene thanks to Dagger's music label.  Each of the girls is from a prestigious school called St. Midi, and they are the student council representatives there.

The one who clearly stands out from the group is Rosia. She is the lead vocalist, and has a presence to her that makes her their leader. She is keeping an eye out for Cyan due to Dagger's orders, and wants the band to keep winning or else. My personal favorite from the band is Jacqueline, who's pretty adorable and plays on drums.

What I'm the most happy about is that Criticrista doesn't go away after the first Battle of the Bands competition they have against Plasmagica. I liked how they still were present in the anime, and that they didn't just vanish so we were left with Dagger. After their Melodisian Stones get corrupted by Dagger after they lose the rematch round, it doesn't end there. The 3 main targets of Dagger's plan (Cyan, Shuzo, and Darudayu, drummer of Tsurezure) fought off against the monster, but Cyan recognizes a scream from it as Rosia so they all don't die. If they didn't bother to keep on developing them, I think the show wouldn't have been as good as it was, since Criticrista adds a bit of a rivalry dynamic to the show.

Other bands from this anime are Trichronika, a very popular trio in Midi City, and Tsurezurenaru Ayatsuri Mugenan, another trio who incorporates music from their hometown of the Far East.

Other characters include Maple, the manager of BRR. Angelica, his secretary, Grateful King, a famous singer and composer who is currently being held captive by Dagger and can possess Strawberry Heart, Ogasawara, Criticrista's agent. and finally, Dagger, our big bad villain.


The animation for this series was produced by the studio Bones, mot known for working on shows such as Soul Eater, Noragami, and Blood Blockade Battlefront. A different studio (Studio Gooneys) was responsible for the CGI.

Overall, the animation for this series was very nice. I think that it looked very polished and colorful, and it's a lot like many other shows that I've seen. But what makes this show stand out from some of the others is its use for CGI for the performing scenes, credits, when fighting dark monsters, and dark monsters themselves. Every time I see this type of animation, I can't help but feel amazed by what I see. This animation looks SO! FREAKING! GOOD!

Though Moa and Yaiba's animal designs looks a little odd due to their skin tone not really comparing to what they actually look like, each form is nicely animated and moves very fluidly. The performance are also pretty good to watch, as there are different stages for each band and colorful atmospheres.

So overall again, great animation from a highly praised studio. What more can you ask for?


The score for this series was mainly composed by Yasaharu Takanashi, most known for his efforts towards Fairy Tail, the Ikki Tousen franchise, and the Pretty Cure franchise.

Overall, the scores for this series doesn't leave as much of an impact as some of Yasaharu's other ones. There are some stand-out pieces, but the songs that definitely stand out the most are the songs that the bands sing when they perform. The most memorable out of these would of course go to Plasmagica, whose 2 songs are very nice and have great vocals.

The original Japanese for this show is pretty good. There were a good bunch of voice actors in there that I recognized, though some I hadn't heard anything from, or not as much as some of the others. Regardless of that fact, they were also nice, and I'm interested in hearing more from some of them.

As I mentioned in my Summer wrap-up, this show was one of the many from the Spring lineup that was picked to be given a Broadcast Dub from FUNimation. I have seen some moments and bits of episodes, and I must say that I enjoy it so far. Most of the actors sound like they're having fun, and it doesn't comes across as bad as say Absolute Duo or Maria the Virgin Witch. Chuchu is kind of written in a style of a valley girl or a housewife from the 60's in the script, which doesn't work as well as the script writers probably intended it too. Also, the voice of Dagger (who I'm pretty sure voiced Jiro in Kamisams Kiss' dub for season 2) still sounds a little flat. But beyond that, another great Broadcast Dub in the books FUNimation!

Highlight in the original Japanese are Eri Inagawa, Sumire Uesaka, Manami Nakamura, Ayane Sakura, Kisho Taniyama, Koko Uchiyama, Tetsuya Kakihara, Yoshimasa Hosoya, Yuji Ueda, Risa Shimizu, Hiroyuki Yoshino, Mamoru Miyano, Rina Hidaka, and Saori Hayami.

Highlights so far in the English dub are Bryn Apprill (I knew she would be Cyan!), Alexis Tipton, Caitlin Glass, Monica Rial, Mike McFarland (nice to hear him behind the mic for a change), Jerry Jewell, Ian Sinclair, Sonny Strait, Rachel Robinson, Vic Mignogna, Mikaela Krantz, Natalie Hoover, Morgan Berry, Tia Ballard, Dawn M. Bennett, Jad Saxton, and Stephanie Young.


So overall, here's another show that managed to surprise me. I enjoyed a lot about this show and what it had to offer, and I was satisfied by the ending.

This is highly recommended to people who enjoy light-hearted anime with a hint of darker elements, along with people who enjoy anime with music bundled with it.

Score: 9/10


Great story, especially from a mobile rhythm game.

Good main cast.

Very good animation.

Interesting CGI.

Great music.

K-On on Crack, for the examples shown in the introduction.


Dagger isn't interesting as a villain.

Some band focused episodes tend to accidentally focus on the other.

Score good, though not as memorable.

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