Private Tenshou Gakuen is the seventh of ten school districts circled within a 130-meter tall wall with restricted entry and egress aside from officials. The academy is fully autonomous by the government but to strive for independence, the school allows students to engage in club activities after school, which comes with a strangely unique system. Each club is ranked according to its overall accumulated points gathered from various club activities and school events. Points can also be received by winning at the school's periodic Tenshou Gakuen Singing Contest, where many students compete. The members in the clubs work hard to win the contest for their goal. (Source: MAL News)
Actors: Songs Connection in as one of this season’s stranger properties, and felt hard to pin down basically from start to finish. Based on the ensemble cast and musical premise, it’d be natural to assume this is a male idol property, or that it’s based on yet another mobile game. But in fact, it’s actually based on a series of musical CDs, wherein popular voice actors sing Bocaloid songs. Fittingly, this episode’s central narrative focuses on new high school student Saku Otonomiya demonstrating his Vocaloid-singing chops, and thereby impressing the heck out of his new classmate Sosuke.
The path towards that narrative punchline is a winding one, though, and this episode feels like it’s simultaneously pulling in a variety of different directions. First off, a great deal of this episode is taken up by scattered introductions of all its various characters, as Saku wanders his way through a variety of his new school’s social circles. As is often the case for adaptations of “pick your favorite character” mixed media (like this season’s Azur Lane), this often results in an unfocused-feeling episode, with the full first half of Actors feeling particularly slow. It feels like an unfortunate fact of these adaptations’ meta-textual priorities that they’re pretty much always going to be somewhat messy, rambling narratives; their ultimate goal is to highlight all of the actors the audience is here for, while narrative cohesion is significantly more negotiable.
That aside, more unique to Actors is its inclusion of the bizarre “White Wall” concept. Saku’s beloved,doomed sister (as I said, this episode goes all over the place) at one point states that this world contains “white shadows,” spectral figures cast by white objects, that protect us from harm. We also consistently see shots of a massive white wall surrounding Saku’s town, which only seems visible to Saku and a few other characters. There’s clearly a fantasy-mystery thread running through this narrative, but how that will at all tie together with Saku’s traditional band narrative is anyone’s guess.
All in all, there was a fair amount about this episode that intrigued me, but it all felt a little too unfocused to really keep my attention. I enjoyed the buildup to Saku’s first vocal performance, and that sequence itself was quite impressive, but there are at least two other shows taking place here, and I’m not exactly sure I’m interested in either of them. That said, the music and visual execution here were strong enough that if you’re seeking a music-centered drama, Actors is probably worth a look. You can also free Actors: Songs Connection anime watch online and Free Download anime.