BanG Dream

BanG Dream

img_5514.jpgWhen she was a child, Kasumi Toyama felt a heart-pounding thrill every time she gazed at the stars, and she’s been looking without success for something that could inspire the same feeling ever since. One day, she comes across a star-shaped guitar in a rundown pawnshop and, for the first time, discovers the thrill she’s been searching for. Kasumi becomes determined to form an all-girl band, and her search leads her to four like-minded souls: Saya, Arisa, Rimi, and Tae. Does this band have what it takes to make their dreams of stardom come true?

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Kasumi is crazy, and I think this is why I liked her from the very start. She stumbles on a band that have been practising together, are able to perform to crowds of their peers, write their own songs and becomes instantly mesmerised. Suddenly, she wants to form a band. She wants to play guitar, although she’s never held one in her life. She stumbles across people at school that can actually play instruments and invites them all to join her band. She is playing lead guitar and likes to sing, although I’m pretty sure that she can do neither when this anime starts. She can barely play Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star but she is determined to start a band. Okay maniacally enthusiastic anime character, let’s see how you get on here.

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In a vein similar to K-on! a schoolgirl band begins to form. Kasumi dreams of playing at local concert hall ‘Space’, but she’s got a long way to go before she can even think of getting up on that stage. She has to learn how to hold a guitar, to read tab and notes, to give an instrument the care it needs and how to adjust an amp. Most of all, she has to make sure that her newfound obsession doesn’t get in the way of her studies. Sound familiar? Probably. This anime isn’t going to break any boundaries, but it’s pleasant enough for you to watch if you want to give your brain a rest. Plus you occasionally get to listen to people who can actually play in a band and not just hear Kasumi murder the same chords of a famous children’s song.

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Though I’m almost halfway through the BanG Dream series, I still expect the characters to actually achieve something decent even though I’m pretty sure they won’t happen. I want Kasumi’s band to get together and play live. I want them writing their own songs. I have faith in the skills of the supporting characters – they at least know one side of their instrument from the other whilst it took Kasumi four episodes to learn how to tune her guitar. But in these situations there has to be at least one character that’s bringing everyone together as a unit regardless of how reluctant they are. It’s not the end of the world if she can’t actually play an instrument… maybe. I’m still waiting for her band mates to become more than just the generic characters they first appeared as: the shy one, the tsundere, the smiling one, the knowledgeable one etc. They’re not too mind-numbing as they are, but I feel we could see less of Kasumi struggling to play the guitar and more focus on how the others feel now that they’ve been pulled into their friend’s ideal of forming a schoolgirl band. Hopefully this will be shown a little more later on.

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BanG Dream is a fun and funky easy watch. Years ago I was introduced to K-on! and knew that this was a genre of anime that I could get on board with. I don’t mind a character’s blind enthusiasm in the face of dreaming about heading up a band with her classmates so long as the character is eventually made to realise that it takes more than holding a guitar and being able to stand in front of a crowd of people to form a group that people like and want to listen to. Kasumi is slowly being made to realise that there’s a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes of the allure and glamour she first experienced as she’s is using her excitement and passion to propel her makeshift band forward. I’d be interested to see just how far this group actually gets before the end of this anime season.

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