Monday, January 28, 2008

Lovely Idol 4

It’s been a while since I watched “Lovely Idol,” and I’d kind of forgotten what the show was about. Luckily, I had my reviews to rely upon, and quickly got back up to speed. I’m quite sure they’re the only English language resource of their kind, which makes us the English Speaking World’s Number One “Lovely Idol” Resource. I can’t speak for what the Japanese have about “Lovely Idol.” I’m sure someone had erected a golden statue of Mizuki or something. If you’ve forgotten who she is (and you probably have), go read my reviews again.

Tomohiro (the girl’s manager) is talking to a recording engineer of some sort, and extolling the virtues of his new set of girls. Everything is going swimmingly, until his sister, Ruri, shows up, ostensibly to deliver an umbrella, but I think she’s just being nosy. The recording engineer takes them down to the recording studio, and they see Yui, one of the older idols, doing some…recording for her newest drama CD. The engineer also gives them a bag with a DVD of the latest episodes of “Magical Girl Sunny,” who fights monsters or something. Yukimi, another of the older Idols, is one of the voice actors. Tomohiro and Ruri also get a big stack of scripts, so that the girls can all practice their anime voice acting.

Tomohiro and Ruri are walking outside, and Ruri is complimenting Tomohiro about how hard he works for everyone. She promises to help him as much as she can, but Tomohiro suddenly becomes very concerned and starts to tell her about the thing she has to work on most herself. He sort of trails off and doesn’t tell her, and Ruri gets self-conscious because now she doesn’t know what’s so terribly wrong with her. At that moment it starts raining, and that provides a good distraction for Tomohiro to run off and leave her alone, despite the fact that she’s the one with the umbrella.

Back in the studio, the girls are perusing the scripts. Even Mizuki (remember that she’s the one singing for revenge). Ruri encourages them all to practice reading. Ruri decides to act as the cute dog. She has the cutest habit of referring to herself in the third person. It’s not annoying at all. So the girls start reading aloud. Mizuki is the evil villain, and she does sound pretty evil, if being evil means having no personality she’s got it nailed. The other girls all vary. Some are terrible; others not so bad. Ruri barks pretty well. They discuss their notes and touch upon the subtle vagaries of the performing arts for a while.

Back at the Tomohiro/Ruri homestead, Tomohiro wants to tell his sister something, but, again, he just can’t bring himself to say it. I don’t see how this guy can handle the cutthroat world of pop-star management. Ruri goes to her room and works on something secret. The next morning Tomohiro, still in bed, gets a call from Ruri. He’s come down with a bad flu; the girls can head over to the recording studio on their own and he’ll meet them there. Ruri tells him not to bother. She’ll take care of everything. She’s even made a business card of her own! She hangs up on her confused brother, but I can see precisely what’s happening. She’s going to supplant him as manager. Now we can see which child was loved more.

On the street Ruri tells the others that Tomohiro isn’t coming. They say that they can’t go without their manager, but Ruri announces that now she’s the manager. I’m starting to like her now. Cue commercial break.

At the studio the girls listen in as Yukimi and the others record for the latest episode of “Magical Girl Sunny.” Ruri and Aneki, the manager of the older groups, are bickering about Tomohiro. Ruri adores him; Aneki thinks he’s a moron. They leave that debate unresolved. Back to the recording. All the voice actors are in a big studio reading together. I kind of thought that voice actors recorded alone, and then everything was mixed together, but I’ll let this slide for the sake of drama. Mizuki notices that the script being read is not the same one that the girls practiced with the day before. It’s an old script (they didn’t notice, presumably because no one must watch “Magical Girl Sunny;” everyone I know says it’s terrible). They get the new scripts, and the recording engineer says that they need someone to voice the little dog.

The new girls line up in the studio, except for Ruri, who’s being a manager. One by one they woof a bit, to see who’s the best dog. Awful. The last girl meows. She doesn't even get the concept. The recording engineer kind of sighs and says that they’re no good. Ruri asks for another try for the girls, but he tells her, quite rightly, that they won’t get any better. Now Aneki (that other manager) starts to pile on too, castigating Tomohiro (who isn’t even there) for bringing on a bunch of stupid amateurs. Okay, I added “stupid” myself, but I’m sure that’s what she’s thinking. The recording engineer listens nervously. Aneki insults Ruri some more, until finally Ruri demands to try being that damn dog herself. Miku smiles, as if this is what she was planning the entire time. I mean, you’d obviously want to get rid of a younger, prettier, more ambitious rival manager, wouldn’t you?

I sort of forgot to mention that Tomohiro has dragged himself out of bed and shows up outside the studio in a little surgical facemask. He can’t go in because the “recording” light is on, but through the glass he can see Ruri bowing or something. Just then Aneki grabs her and hurts him a bit. She does it out of love.

Ruri gets into the studio and marches up to the microphone and barks her best bark. She turns around to see the recording engineer just smiling at her. No one says anything, so she starts to assume that he must be silently laughing at her ineptitude, but then he shouts that she’s perfect! Yukimi waggles a big stuffed bunny at her, and Mizuki starts the one-person-slowly-clapping thing at her. Everyone joins in! Ruri has vindicated the entire team!

They’re walking home that evening, and Tomohiro flashes back to the studio. Yukimi is talking to him through her stuffed rabbit. The rabbit says that the new group isn’t so bad. Okay. Then the rabbit tells Tomohiro not to forget about Yukimi. The rabbit goes away, and she looks sadly at him. What’s that about? Did he have a relationship with every single one of the older girls? Back to the present, Ruri can tell that something is on his mind, but he doesn’t tell her about Yukimi, and she seems satisfied with his terrible, terrible lies. Ruri gives Tomohiro all of her homemade business cards and states that she’s retiring from being a manager. She runs to join the other girls, and all is well in pop stardom.

No comments: