How 22/7 made me watch an Idol Anime again?

After Few Years Of Not Watching Any Idol Anime, I Am Finally Watching One

Many years ago, I used to watch Anime idol shows like IdolM@ster & AKB0048 like crazy. It used to be one of my favorite genres. But I sincerely grew tired of it over time, to the degree I no longer watch them at all. I could write a whole post about the reasons behind that, which is something I may do in the future, but it boils down to the following reasons:-

    • The stories tend to be so predictable, the main idol unit always wins against all the odds, no matter what. More often than not, their victory happens relatively easily. This can be fun to watch a bunch of times, but unless this is your cup of tea, you’re bound to get tired of it. There needs to be something that makes the story more interesting for an Anime of that kind to attract moi personally.
    • They tend to feature too many girls, often between 7-9, and sometimes way more. Each girl tends to fit a specific trope & that’s it, with not much effort going into making them interesting. Even if there are good girls among them, none of them will get enough focus to show you that. It’s kinda like harem Anime, but without the useless male protagonist. I admit there tend to be few gem when it comes to the design (which is a chance to add her pictures to my already-huge images collection), but that’s not enough to get me to watch them, or to finish them if I ended up starting them.

Despite all these reasons, I still feel fond of some of the idol Anime I watched in the past, like AKB0048 or IdolM@ster. Despite the fact they have many of the issues above, the story tends to either have a dark side, or focus on the business side of the industry, or something else which is enough to keep me interested. The last idol Anime I remember watching was Love Live Sunshine. I managed to watch season 1 back in 2016. I couldn’t get much into season 2, it felt so boring that I felt relieved when I dropped it.

Now, this article isn’t an attempt to bash Idol Anime as a whole. I am aware they have their good sides, like good musique & songs. There are also some that try to at least do something different. 22/7 is one of them. I stumbled upon it by coincidence. It was when I found an image of Kamiki Mikami on one of my Discord servers, and I really liked her design. After checking out her Anime, I decided to give it a go out of curiosity. Interestingly enough, it has many of the things I complained about above, but it still managed to be enjoyable for me, and for the reasons outlined below. If you like me, and you quit watching Idol Anime for similar reasons, then you may want to keep reading. Keep in mind there are a bunch of spoilers in the post.

Interesting Story & Plot

The main plot is about a bunch of girls forming an idol group, where all they do to reach success is listening to the orders of a mysterious being called The Wall, which is an actual wall that spits order in the form of metallic cards down a gutter made specifically for that:-

What’s the wall exactly? We don’t really know. Many would question the wall & whether it even makes sense. I won’t be surprised if many people didn’t like 22/7 just because of it. I personally liked the mystery behind it. One of the flaws of the show is that they don’t really explain anything about it. I simply assumed it was some form of AI that’s so advanced that it could lead them to success very quickly, which solves one of the gripes I have about the genre. Since this is a work of fiction, such advanced AI isn’t far-fetched to come to reality (unlike Google’s crappy AI that can’t serve you good search results or YouTube’s bad recommendation system, nihaha~). It would have been nice if they explained how the Wall came to being though, but just like many Anime, they keep things to be revealed in season 3 or 4 (if we ever reached that).

And since the wall is actually smart & knows what it is doing. I totally didn’t mind it when 22/7 became popular so fast. It didn’t happen because of the power of friendship or anything like that, but because of the genius of Bill Wozniak (or whatever the name of the developer of the wall’s AI is).

Some of the wall orders are strange. Like making Miu the center of the group, which really didn’t sit well with me. Nicole, the one with the talent & ability, should have been the one. It felt like either the Anime wanted to provoke us when it comes to the wall’s order, or they simply wanted the shy girl to be in the forefront of the whole thing. That made me want to drop the Anime at the time, but I kept watching, fortunately.

I totally admit they could have used the wall as an even better plot device. I believe that could have made 22/7 much more popular.

Bearable Characters

At first, I thought the Anime was going to focus on Miu, since the wall made her the center, and that it would be all about her making it along with the other girls that are all less shy than her. Since I almost dropped the Anime because of that, I am glad I was wrong. She was the focus at the beginning because of the format of the Anime. Each episode focus on one of the 8 girls, and Miu was the first to get the attention.

I didn’t like Miu at first, but the part where she played the piano & saved the day was so good, I felt happy & warm inside when I watched it. I even have an argue to rewatch that part now. She’s still far from being a favorite character, but I don’t dislike her as I used to.

Each episode takes some time to tell you the backstory of the girl in focus, along with advancing the story. Since the flashbacks don’t even fill a whole episode, they are quite bearable to watch. I hope I get to see more Anime with shorter flashbacks, since flashbacks in Anime tend to be way longer than they should be, and without telling you any interesting story like the ones in Grisaia No Kajitsu visual novel.

Just like every other idol Anime, there’s a girl for each common trope. None of them is annoying. The moment I saw Toda Jun, I thought she was going to be the annoying one, but no, I actually liked her quite a bit. She was very likable. It’s cute to mention that there is a Yayoi clone in the Anime (A poor girl with many siblings):-

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One of the girls is a mangaka, but besides wanting to draw when I saw her sketching on her tablet, I didn’t relate with her that much, which was strange for me.

There are a lot of clichés in the Anime. But they seemed quite manageable. That made me manage to enjoy it despite any flaw it had. I think 22/7 could have been much better Anime if it had more episodes, where the truth about the wall is explained better, or where the girls forge a path on their own without the wall.

Beautiful Characters Designs

22/7 has its share of beautiful characters design. I almost like the design of each of the girls (Well, all of them except for Maruyama). My favorites are Sakura and Nicole. I also quite like Jun and her hairstyle too.

I also shouldn’t forget to mention their 22/7 uniform. I really like how simple & elegant it is:-

Even Gouda-san has a good design. Just the fact he isn’t a cowardly guy makes him likable to moi.

Also…. Isn’t Mikami’s face so adorable? Who wouldn’t want to love her:-

And yes, she was the reason I watched the Anime, which was lucky for moi. Too sad she wasn’t part of the main Anime. I really want a season 2 that includes her now, that one episode sequel didn’t give moi enough of her.

Pacing

Since 22/7 is a quite a short Anime. It didn’t take me much to finish it. The story clearly deserves more episodes if you asked me. There have been many slow moments in it, but these didn’t last for long. Out of the 12 episodes, only 1 or 2 felt like a drag, which I consider a good number. If anything, I kinda wish the they showed us the flashbacks as a whole first, then continued with the rest of the episode. It always feels weird when the story jumps between two story points. It’s really not my favorite way of following a story.

And Finally

Seeing how I managed to enjoy 22/7, I think I still have some love & passion for this kind of Anime, provided it’s not entirely a copy-pasted version of the one before it, and provided that there’s more to look for that just kawaii characters. I don’t think the bar I set for the Anime I like is that high. I just want something new in each Anime I watch. It doesn’t even need to be anything spectacular. I also feel tired of some tropes. I mean, I have been watching Anime for quite a long time, and I have seen enough of many things, but I digress.

If you felt annoyed by Idol Anime the same way I did, you may want to give 22/7 a chance. It tried to be different, and the “annoying” parts felt so manageable. If you liked it after 4 episodes, then you will likely like the rest of it.

Because I liked 22/7, I decided to give idol Anime another chance. I already watched Selection Project & then Idoly Pride right after 22/7, and I have an upcoming post comparing the two & telling you my opinions on them. I am also fully aware that people are praising Oshi ga Budoukan for being too good, but I am still on the fence on whether I should watch it or not. I will wait & see.

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