© BNEI／PROJECT SideM
© BNEI／PROJECT SideM
What is Idolmaster SideM?
Many of you may have heard of the Idolmaster franchise. Beginning in 2005, there have been games released in arcades, on various consoles, and on smartphones. There have been multiple anime adaptations and even live concerts.
Idolmaster SideM is a smartphone game and the first game in the franchise that focuses only on male idols. A rhythm game featuring these same idols was released on 30 August 2017. In a complete 180 turn from Dynamic Chord, Idolmaster SideM is a silly cute anime that is all about the moe feels. There is no overly-serious story and themes include the classic cheesy fare: teamwork, never giving up on your dreams, and giving smiles to the fans. It’s definitely an anime to add to your list of guilty pleasures.
Tell Me About the Ikemen!
The theme of Idolmaster SideM is ‘jobs’, and each idol is a former something-or-other. For example, the main 3 idols we see in the first episode are a former lawyer, a former pilot, and a former doctor. Other occupations include a former English teacher, a former florist, and a former amusement park mascot. There are characters that range from cute to sexy and from sweet to tsundere. This anime covers all the bases. It’s highly likely you’ll find at least one idol you can choose as your oshi (number 1 favorite).
Recommended for: people who are looking for cheese, people wanting something to relax with, fans of the Idolmaster franchise
Sengoku Night Blood
©2017 Marvelous Inc.・KADOKAWA・IDEA FACTORY／戦刻ナイトブラッド製作委員会
What is Sengoku Night Blood?
Sengoku Night Blood is an otome romance game for smartphones. It follows the story of you, the player, who is transported via smartphone to a world similar to Japan’s Sengoku period. The ikemen are all based on famous figures from this period. However, they are all vampires and werewolves! The anime decided to include the female character from the game, which I personally feel was the right option. With the main character Yuzuki in the picture, we can experience the very point of otome games – tokimeki (heart-pounding). The cast of characters is HUGE, which certainly brings with it many disadvantages, but there are surely going to be exciting moments when Yuzuki gets close to the members of each unit. Please, don’t start Sengoku Night Blood expecting a historical anime or superb character development. This series is not about that. It’s about those tiny moments that make your heart flutter. Ikemen fans only please.
Tell Me About the Ikemen!
Although the characters designs don’t quite do justice to the outstanding illustrations in the game, each character of Sengoku Night Blood is stunningly beautiful. The designs have been carefully crafted to reflect aspects of the real-life historical figure as well as the unit they belong to. Although it isn’t essential for you to know the figures the characters are based on, it may be a little more enjoyable if you do. The poster boy for this anime seems to be Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a vampire that is the right mix of sexy and cute to appeal to a wide range of viewers. With a cast of almost 30 ikemen, there is surely to be at least one you wouldn’t mind getting stuck in the past with.
Recommended for: people who like unique character designs, fans of otome games, people looking for some tokimeki action
Tsukipro the Animation
TsukiPro The Animation
What is Tsukipro?
Tsukino Geino Production (Tsukipro or Tsukinopro for short) is a fictional entertainment production company that has brought us 2D idols, 2D musicians, and even a 2D theater troupe. The first anime in the Tsukinopro franchise was Tsukiuta the Animation in 2016. The anime focused on the male idols of the company and was more of a cute anime without much plot (I personally enjoyed it!). Tsukipro the Animation focuses on another set of idols from the company. As it is assumed, some viewers will already be familiar with the groups, there isn’t much in terms of character introduction and it kind of dives straight in. The character designs don’t vary all that much, so it may be a little difficult to remember who is who at first. However, the music is pretty nice, especially if you are a fan of Japanese voice actors like I am. Even if you are not a fan of the anime, I recommend still checking out the Tsukinopro groups and sampling some of their tracks on the official YouTube channel.
Tell Me About The Ikemen!
The characters of Tsukipro are a little more mature-looking than the characters from series such as Idolmaster, and again, the anime character designs cannot quite do the illustrations justice. I can’t really vouch for the personalities of the characters at this point, but the voice cast is absolutely top-class (coming from a Japanese voice actor obsessive here). One of the groups, SOARA, is absolutely adorable, so you should watch episodes focusing on them if you want to grin like a madman at the cute, happy teenagers.
Recommended for: people familiar with Tsukipro, people not looking for plot, people more interested in the music than the individual characters.
Mr. Osomatsu 2nd Season
What is Osomatsu-san?
Osomatsu-san is a spin-off from the 1960s manga Osomatsu-kun by Fujio Akatsuka which revolves around the lives of 6 young sextuplets. The anime Osomatsu-san ages the 6 boys into a family of virgin NEETs in their 20s and follows their daily exploits. With its vivid colours, A-list voice cast, and hilarious jokes, the first series was a huge hit. Although I wouldn’t exactly call the Matsuno sextuplets ikemen, they are treated like idols by the fans. It helps that each character has their own image color, in a similar vein to pop idols. Fans even refer to their favorite character as their oshi (a term used in the idol world to refer to the idol that you support the most). Here in Japan, I’ve seen no lack of Osomatsu-san merch, and even Osamatsu-san ita bags are not uncommon. The first episode of Season 2 even parodies the amount of attention the series has received as well as the obsession some fans have with it. This is a huge recommendation from me. (BTW I’m a Karamatsu girl myself)
Tell Me About the Sextuplets!
Although the sextuplets look physically identical, their personalities differentiate enough that just their facial expressions are enough to tell them apart. Here’s a quick rundown of each character from eldest to youngest. I’ve added their cast in there too. Every single one of these voice actors are the crème de la crème of the VA industry, and are known for at least one legendary character, from FFVII’s Cloud Strife (Takahiro Sakurai) to Code Geass’ Lelouch Lamperouge (Jun Fukuyama)
Image colour: Red
Voice actor: Takahiro Sakurai [known for: Suzaku Kururugi from Code Geass]
Facial expression: ‘Standard’
Personality: Tries to act like a big brother but is quite self-centered. Spends his money on gambling.
Image colour: Blue
Voice Actor: Yuichi Nakamura [known for: Alto Saotome from Macross Frontier]
Facial expression: ‘Cool’ (watch out for his thick eyebrows)
Personality: Sees himself as a cool ladies man (he couldn’t be further from the truth). Usually seen in a leather jacket or a t-shirt sporting his own face.
Image colour: Green
Voice actor: Hiroshi Kamiya [known for: Koyomi Araragi from the Monogatari series]
Facial Expression: He usually has an angular mouth and smaller pupils compared to his brothers
Personality: An idol otaku, he often acts as the tsukkomi of the group.
Image colour: Purple
Voice actor: Jun Fukuyama [known for: Lelouch Lamperouge from Code Geass]
Facial expression: ‘Tired’. The top of his eyes are usually drawn with a straight line instead of rounded.
Personality: Depressed, anti-social, and just fed up. He gets along very well with cats.
Image Colour: Yellow
Voice Actor: Daisuke Ono [known for: Sebastian from Black Butler]
Facial expression: Always has his mouth open and you can see a heart-shaped tongue
Personality: A ball of energy, Jyushimatsu loves sports. The laws of physics don’t seem to apply to him.
Image Colour: Pink
Voice Actor: Miyu Irino [known for: Syoaran from Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle]
Facial expression: Large pupils and small mouth, often in a :3 expression
Personality: Slightly more effeminate and obsessed with being ‘rea-juu’ (somebody popular in real life). He is quite manipulative and it’s hinted that he doesn’t even have a heart.
Recommended for: comedy fans, fans of A-list voice actors as well as people just getting into voice actors, people looking for parody and social commentary, great for men and women!
A Surplus of Beautiful Guys
That’s it for the Fall 2017 ikemen anime! Of course, there are many ikemen and bishies making appearances in other anime this season, from Hozuki’s Coolheadedness (Hozuki is my biggest anime crush this season to be honest) to Blood Blockade Battlefront and Beyond as well as Children of the Whales. However, the above anime focus on the ikemen being ikemen and not much else. If you only try one ikemen anime this season, I would personally recommend Idolmaster SideM, just because it seems like a fun show to wind down with once a week.
What ikemen anime are you watching this season? What are some of your favorites of all time? Let me know!