The Dream Festival is the stage that all idols dream of singing on, with their professional debut on the line. In order to get there, idols work their hardest every day to perfect their performance… and the key to coming out on top is the Dream Festival Cards sent by fans to their favourite idols. Receiving these Cards makes the idols who make it to the stage shine even brighter. Now head to the Dream Festival with your Dream Festival Card in hand for the idol you love most!
Kanade Amamiya, a normal high school student, suddenly gets scouted by the legendary idol, Hayato Mikami. Kanade was going to decline the offer to become an idol, but then he finds himself going at it with the rookie class idol, Junya Sasaki, and he realises that he wants to make people cheer – make them smile. He was destined to become an idol! He manages to get into a rookie idol class in D-Four Production where he finds himself working alongside other famous idols: the mysterious Shin Oikawa, the stoic Junya Sasaki, the kind but passionate Itsuki Katagiri, and the clumsy but smart Chizuru Sawamura. In order to receive the Dream Festival Cards sent by fans, Kanade and the others will have to become the best on stage.
It’s not exactly a secret that I will occasionally watch an anime not for its humour, artwork or for its deep or interesting plot. Sometimes, that’s just not what anime is about. Sometimes, all I want from an anime is to fill my screen with bishounen, and that is exactly what DREAM FESTIVAL does. There’s nothing particularly unique about the plot, but the songs are catchy, there’s plenty of dazzling colour and a glut of cute guys with style trying to overcome obstacles to be famous idols. And if they change into their stage outfits like magical girls having a transformation then, well, that’s just an added bonus.
The main focus of course is Kanade and his journey to become an idol. As is customary for this type of anime, he is keen to make friends with his fellow idols (to the point of being a bit of a busybody) and gets to know them by helping them with a problem or obstacle he is currently having. The managers mix-and-match him with the other rookie idols to form workable teams and dynamics in order to strengthen their talents and see where their strengths lie. The boys have to work together, but must also bear in mind that everyone is also a threat to their future idol status.
The adventures of Kanade, Junya and Shin as idol group Traffic Signal (terrible, terrible name for a group, by the way) are quite amusing. Kanade realises that his dream to “make everyone smile” is a bit broader than he anticipated, in idol terms. He finds himself not only singing and performing, but also going on variety shows and participating in romantic ‘scenarios’ for the fans, much to his embarrassment. Just goes to show that being an idol isn’t all stars and rainbows and, like any other job, you have to do things that you don’t particularly enjoy or that go against your personality. The other members of the band have been in this gig for longer, so they know exactly what to do, but it is amusing to watch Kanade sweat and struggle underneath the eager gaze of so many cheering fangirls!
One thing I’m not entirely sure of is the 3D element that kicks in during the concerts. I can see what Sunrise were trying to do, but I don’t think they’ve pulled it off as well as they have done previously with one of my favourite dance anime, Tribe Cool Crew. With all the camera pans and angles, much like you would see at a real live concert, it stood to reason that the characters needed a bit of 3D. However, the problem is that the characters look noticeably different here, with their face shapes and hair changing as they were re-drawn for this purpose. It’s not enough to completely ruin the scene, but it does look odd.
This isn’t going to win any accolades for character depth, plot twists or superb animation but, to give DREAM FESTIVAL! its due it is a bright, colourful and positive experience with a bit of eye candy to top it all off. And sometimes that’s just what I want my anime to be – something that doesn’t require much brain power that is cheery and uplifting and a little silly to bring a smile to your face. If the new season of Uta no Prince-sama isn’t enough for you this season, I would move onto this one to top off your weekly quota of handsome anime idols.