I tried so hard to make this column not be about idols, but it's about idols...
Fanart Friday returns, and Nate's in Atlanta, so I'm taking over Fanart Friday for the week (actually, I was nicely asked to handle the column). Last week, we celebrated Fanart Friday's fourth anniversary—which, let me say, is an incredible accomplishment—but this week we're moving forward with by looking into the future of anime. That is to say, it's time for some idols!
In case you don't know me, I'm Isaac, the writer of Tuesday's weekly Aniwords column. Now, with this being the first column of Fanart Friday's fifth year, I consider it my solemn duty to make sure that Fanart Friday's fifth year off with a column that Nate would be truly proud of. And what better way to do that than flooding Fanart Friday with glitzy pictures of idols?
There is no better way, I think. After all, idols are the goddess (and gods—there are some male idols!) of the current anime scene. Whether it's Love Live! printing money right and left, or Symphogear pulling in a new crop of viewers through its insanity, idols are clearly the way of the future for anime. I suppose I consider it my solemn duty, then, to make sure I help everyone in the anime fandom to acquaint themselves with our new singing overlords. Please enjoy!
DISCLAIMER: None of the art presented is the property of myself or Crunchyroll. All characters and series are tm and © their respective creators and corporate owners. All art is the creative property of their respective artists. Any artists who wish to have their work removed from this article may contact Nate, and appropriate action will be immediately taken. ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN AND ARE NOT THE OPINIONS OF CRUNCHYROLL, INC., ELLATION, OR ANY EMPLOYEES THEREOF.
I thought about it, and I just couldn't come up with a better way to start this column than with a picture from what's not only my favorite idol show, but also one of my favorite shows of all-time, the incomparable AKB0048. Seriously, you guys, this show is like one of the Best Things Ever. (Hint: lightstick missiles.)
While we're on the topic of my favorite idol-related things (and still in the post-movie wave), I suppose I should get in my shout-out to Love Live!'s Honoka Kousaka, the genki rain goddess leader of the powerhouse group, μ's. I'm well-aware Honoka's one of the least popular choices to have as Best Love Live, but I don't care. I think she's wonderful.
At the time of this writing, I actually still have the final four episodes of The [email protected] left to watch, so this could change, but...for now, Miki's my favorite out of the 765 Production batch. I always find myself drawn to greedy, demanding, lazy characters because they represent a lot of my own worst habits, so seeing Miki find something she truly wanted to do was pretty inspirational for me.
Moving away from just me talking about my favorite anime idols, it seems no franchise is safe from the idol craze these days, as even the venerable Pokémon franchise has got an idol now! Lisia's a contest coordinator in the Ruby/Sapphire remakes—and she also happens to partner with an Altaria, which also happens to be my favorite Pokémon. Wow...didn't do a very good job of getting of the topic of my favorites, huh?
Okay, I did it. Mayu Shimada is certainly NOT my favorite character in Wake Up, Girls!. I actually recall finding her foot-dragging rather annoying, although I also remember that she maybe had a good reason for it? Possibly? However, I do have a weakness for the chibi art style, so here she is nonetheless.
by ultmte READER SUBMISSION
Just because Nate's not around and I didn't decide the theme of this Fanart Friday until yesterday doesn't mean we don't have room for reader submissions! Especially when they're from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Especially when they're pictures of Haruhi licking Mikuru. Although, to be honest, Haruhi's constant abuse of Mikuru was one of my least favorite parts of the show...
by Vanten Boot
You'll also recall, however, that Haruhi had its own music episode. Although this band probably doesn't quite qualify as an idol group, I had to make a segue from ultmte's excellent submission back towards the theme—and good Haruhi fanart seemed a pretty decent way to do it.
I actually have yet to watch Locodol, but all the positive feedback I've heard about the series (along with awesome fanart like this) is really making a case for me to bump it up on my to-watch list. You guys know how it goes...you're watching your airing shows, you hear people talking about other things that make you want to go watch them, and then WHAM! You see a cool fanart and then the next thing you know you've watched the entirety of a 13-episode idol anime.
Speaking of idol shows I've heard good things about, apparently Shounen Hollywood is a lot more than just your typical bishounen series. I've heard that it's a surprisingly honest take on the idol industry that neither blasts it nor glorifies it. I'm honestly not sure how much that would appeal to me—as I tend to gravitate towards the campiness of idols—but hey, it's got a lot of cute boys, so.......
As an idol anime fan, it's basically unacceptable that I haven't seen any of the Macross franchise, but that's something I'm hoping to rectify quite soon with Macross SDF. Now, the above idol is actually Ranka Lee, from Macross Frontier, a show a friend of mine recently watched—and I've heard the music. I can't wait until my schedule opens up enough for me to start watching SDF, because this franchise sorta seems like it was made for me.
On the other side of the idol spectrum from Macross stands famed director Satoshi Kon's Perfect Blue, an anime movie about an idol who quits her group to pursue another career—and the horrible things that happen to the people around her because of that decision. A look at the darker side of the idol industry, this is one I'm putting off for a little while longer. I want to live the idol dream a bit more before I have to face Kon's dire vision of the reality of idols.
One of the biggest Love Live! fandom activities I've seen is the shipping of the girls with each other. Now, a lot of people will tell you that Maki x Nico is the best ship involving Maki, but those people are WRONG because actually the best Maki ship is RinMaki. And on the off chance that you're inclined to disagree and say something like, "Yeah, but where is that in the show?" I present you with this very convincing and important photographic evidence.
As you may have guessed by the fact that I haven't even finished the first season of The [email protected], I have not seen its sequel series, Cinderalla Girls. Fortunately, that doesn't preclude me from appreciating cool artwork of what looks like a trio of really cool idols. With smiles like that, how could you not be charmed?
After all that talk about Macross SDF, I decided I might as well include the franchise's original idol, Lynn Minmay, in the fun. After all, I'm going to be spending 36 episodes with her pretty soon! What better time to get acquainted and ready than the present? At first glance, she appears to be a really cool character—but, obviously, I'm just making that judgement on this one picture.
Aikatsu is an idol show that's kind of niche even among idol anime fans, but those people I know who have seen it seem to really like it a whole lot. Plus, from the artwork I found while working on this post, it seems you can draw the characters with really terrific derpy looking faces (see the above image), which is enough for me to want to watch it eventually.
I didn't actually end up ever finishing PUNCH LINE, but Mikatan (aka Strange Juice) was so cute that I kind of wanted to anyways. From what I saw, Mikatan really wasn't that great of an idol considering how weird her songs were, but with adorable bells like that in her hair I wasn't really too bothered by it in the end.
Not to belabor the point, but I couldn't let this column end without celebrating the most idol of all idols, AKB0048's Yuko Oshima. One of the weird/neat things about AKB0048 is that it names a bunch of its chracters after real members of AKB48, the huge idol group on which the show is based. I dunno how similar the real Yuko was to the anime version, but if she was anything similiar, she was probably pretty darn cool.
Oh man, if you haven't seen Miss Monochrome (and shame on me for taking so long to get to her in this article), get on that right now. A Vocaloid character whose voice bank was provided by voice actress Yui Horie, Miss Monochrome's show isn't so much about being an idol as it is about the journey to get there, albeit told in an offbeat, almost absurdist way that kicks up a whole bunch of laughs. It's weird, but it's hilarious.
I dunno if anyone's even watching Million Doll this season (I, for one, haven't gotten to it yet), but I've heard it's quite sharp when it comes to knowing what us internet-denizens are like. From the synopsis, which describes a girl whose superpower is to make any idol popular through the power of blogging, it sounds like something a blogger like me would like. Now if I could only find out how to unleash the power of making my favorite anime popular through blogging...
And to finish up, here's a reminder that there are a whole lot of idols out there—and the way the anime industry is going right now, it seems we can expect more in the future. As I said before, I'm pretty glad about this. Hopefully, if you weren't before this column, you are now. And remember, even if you don't love idols, the idols love you...
And that's everything I've got for you guys this week! Thank you for riding along with me through the loveliness of the idol world. If you aren't really the biggest fan of idol anime, maybe try checking out one of the shows I mentioned in the post—perhaps you'll find something you really love!
For those of you wanting to submit your art here, behold--the FIVE FIATS OF FANART FRIDAY!
1. Your work is always welcome here, regardless of your skill level or experience. To submit work to Fanart Friday, please PM me (username Anonymooo) with a link to your work.
2. The link must be the full URL, don't use any URL shorteners like bit.ly or goo.gl. An example of a full URL is:http://anonymooo.deviantart.com/art/Mooo-vs-Redblood-Phill-Cover-22690857
3. Your work must be hosted on a site like Deviantart or Pixiv (or your own official art website), not on Imgur, Photobucket,Crunchyroll Photos, or anything along those lines. This provides a verifiable source for the work.
4. I, and by extension Crunchyroll, reserve the right to remove or not share your work if it is deemed inappropriate. Any submissions that don't follow these rules will not be permitted in Fanart Friday.
5. Be excellent to each other. Don't steal anyone else's work or make fun of artists' submissions.
And now for the themes for the next three weeks of Fanart Friday!
-Next week, on OCTOBER 2nd, we're moving away from the ladies to the Halloween-themed MONSTER BOYS!
-Then, on OCTOBER 9th, we go back to the ladies from MONSTER GIRLS! And yes, Nate has assured me this will consist entirely of Monster Musume fanart, get ready for some Papipapipapipapipapi!
-And on OCTOBER 16th, we'll find our way to the monsters who inhabit the hallowed type carved out by Shanta-kun of Nyaruko-san...it's CUTE MONSTERS!
Once again, this has been Isaac Akers, your idol-loving host, and thank you for reading this week's installement of Fanart Friday. Don't worry; Nate will be back next week to restore some good old-fashioned guts and grit to free you from the enchanting spell of teenage songstresses I've tried to weave around you this week. And make sure you find your way back to Crunchyroll on Tuesday for the latest edition of Aniwords!
Isaac eases his compulsive need to write about anime on his blog, Mage in a Barrel. He also contributes to The Fandom Post and hangs out on Tumblr. You can follow him on Twitter at @iblessall or on Facebook.