TV version of the King of Prism -Shiny Seven Stars- movies.
Oh lord, I’m only writing this review because I think it deserves an analysis from someone who has actually SEEN the Pretty Rhythm series from start to finish. If you’re going to start this anime on its own, just know it means you’re practically watching the 2nd half of a finale and have no business doing a review based on that alone.
So where do you start? Tl;dr 1) watch two movies: ‘King of Prism by Pretty Rhythm’ and ‘King of Prism: Pride the Hero’ first THEN this one.
2) For best experience, watch Pretty Rhythm: Rainbow Live first, has a female cast but serves as the prequel to King of Prism
3) Technically the King of Prism series are solely for Pretty Rhythm fans so you should in fact just start all the way back from Pretty Rhythm: Aurora Dream (not that there’s any important plot points but there are maaaany jokes/references that you will only get by watching that), though its optional esp if you’ve outgrown children’s anime
Here’s the long explanation:
One of the great things about Pretty Rhythm stories (Aurora Dream, Dear My Future, Rainbow Live, King of Prism) is that unlike other shoujo/magical girl franchises it NEVER repeats itself, instead it grows up with you. While I was watching it throughout my teenage years I’m always surprised with a “there’s no way that they did that”; anyway I’m going to explain this in a way that people that have never seen Pretty Rhythm can understand where I am coming from.
Imagine starting off with a completely innocent coming-of-age idol anime touching some heavy topics such as friendship/loneliness, sabotage, child abandonment -> that is Aurora Dream. Next we are presented with a more worldly, competitive, shounen-like story, with a new cast of characters including Korean idols. A world where “winning isn’t important as long as your audience is happy” cliche DOESN’T EXIST anymore \o/ and being no. 1 is everything -> that is Dear My Future, the sequel to Aurora Dream which cleverly completes the story of the first season and its literal hype.
Now if it wasn’t amazing enough that we’ve got an idol anime with an actual villain (well… I mean one that is actually a threat), how about we diversify the music, improve the CG art by leaps and bounds, have no filler episodes and add instruments to the performances? Okay now we’ve got Rainbow Live. While set in a completely different world, it’s still the same universe with a new cast of characters. The story goes more in depth about the idol system that was in the first two seasons. What’s great about Rainbow Live is that plot armor doesn’t exist – there are 7 “heroes” so it’s not always the main protagonist that shines. Now this season is from 6 years ago so it might not be a surprise now but watching this anime was like the start of a revolution. Never have I seen an idol anime where the songs aren’t always the happy generic pop type but now we’ve gotten straight up rock, jazz and some classical elements in these girl’s performances to showcase their individual characteristics. The story is full of mystery, the romance is unpredictable, there are some happy moments but its ~80% complications and angst. Some characters have happy families, others have issues of their own resulting in a lot more conflict initially. We’ve still got a villain in the show and long and behold, they’ve finally introduced male idols!
And that’s when we get to King of Prism. Granted you need to the first two movies: King of Prism by Pretty Rhythm and King of Prism: Pride the Hero. They focus on the main male love interests of Rainbow Live: Kouji, Hiro and Kazuki who are the main heroes but also act as mentors to the new cast of 7 male characters in the final installment of the Pretty Rhythm series – Shiny Seven Stars. It essentially brings light to the dark/corrupt side of the idol system that they are using and concludes the end of the main villain. Funny enough, if you told middle school aged me about King of Prism I would’ve gone “ew nah, male idols? not interested”. Unfortunately, I’ve grown an interest in BL along my anime journey, then King of Prism came out; so with each season being targeted by a higher aged audience it certainly feels like I’ve grown with the series.
Now here are some FAQs (haha I wish as if anyone’s ever asked me questions about Pretty Rhythm TT^TT)
Do I need to watch Pretty Rhythm Rainbow Live/King of Prism by Pretty Rhythm/Pride the Hero?
You do not need to watch Rainbow Live esp if you’re not interested in female idols, but I highly recommend you do since some characters in King of Prism had their journey start from Rainbow Live, notably the main love interests and Yu Suzuno who is the younger brother of one of the main characters. Also starting with King of Prism may be overwhelming since all the characters are technically “good” already and it might be hard to tell since some of the stuff they do which seem normal were impossible feats in Rainbow Live. Though, if you do not want to watch it, scroll down to Rainbow Live spoilers to see what you need to know anyway.
The first two movies is a must though. While the seven main characters play a minor role in them as it is Kouji/Hiro/Kazuki focused, it sets up the conflict leading up to the main seven competing against the main villain. How it goes is that all 12 episodes takes place in a single tournament day, focusing on one character each episode and their background story leading up to their final performance. Why would you start a story at its conclusion? Start with the movies.
In fact, you should just start from Aurora Dream if you can since that story itself far surpasses other popular idol anime I’ve seen such as Aikatsu, Love Live, PriPara… I won’t say AKB0048 since that was just as emotional. (sorry no hate, don’t get me wrong some of those anime do things much better than Aurora Dream but in terms of story they always had the most impact for me) Not to mention that there are a sht ton of easter eggs that reference all the way back to the first seasons of Pretty Rhythm ever.
Is it gay?
Yes. But don’t come here if you’re looking for a proper BL story. While Kouji, Hiro and Kazuki have gay elements in their performances (for fan-service’s sake) it is already established in Rainbow Live that they are straight. Nevertheless its presented as a running gag that some male characters, with absolutely no shame, act “flirty” while others refuse to do so. The “friendships” between the male characters are abused so bad its so good, but thankfully only where appropriate. As an example, Leo Saionji (a girly-guy) acts like a possessive girlfriend to the MC but oh thank god they never fetishise Yu Suzuno, the younger brother, as that would’ve been concerning. Because Shin x Louis exists, there is actual canonical love but you shouldn’t count on them since its sorta… ya know… toxic… unless you enjoy tragic love I guess. (should also note that Rainbow Live itself had subtle lesbian bait so gay isn’t exactly new)
Can I ignore the gay?
No. This anime is packed with wayyyy more fanservice than Yuri on Ice. Some of the idols are extremely flirty inside (and outside) of their performance – sometimes intentional, sometimes as a joke, sometimes due to influence/peer pressure AND sometimes they don’t. As I mentioned, its only there when appropriate so for some characters whose identity isn’t romantic/flirty they won’t incorporate that into their performance. For the most part though it is very gay. Most (not all) characters are gay in their own unique way. The main character is gay, the villains are very gay I have no other word to describe it.
Is King of Prism solely for fanservice?
Considering that this is a sequel to Rainbow Live they both made this anime fujoshi-bait while managing to complete the story as a whole so as a Rainbow Live fan, watching this is a must. In fact they pretty much completed the mysteries of Pretty Rhythm’s world building since it started back from Aurora Dream episode 1. Shiny Seven Stars is an episodic anime and the contents of the story highly depends on the focus characters in that episode. We’ve got the MC involved in a romantic relationship, we’ve got some characters looking up to their mentors like they’re in love, we’ve got characters who enjoy dressing flamboyant and some of them are totally normal. Regarding the themes of the show, I’d say its prominently about self-identity. What is their purpose? What are their motives/resolves? What can they offer to the team? Surprisingly all these characters have depth for an episode worth of screentime. You learn about their backgrounds, experiences, and when you see these characters learn something about themselves, you might learn something about yourself. If you dislike shallow characters, honestly you don’t have to worry with this anime because character development is one of the best. Even the villains aren’t just “bad guys” but they’re treated as humans too.
[RAINBOW LIVE SPOILERS]
What do I need to know if I don’t want to watch Rainbow Live?
Basic terminology relating to the idol system of their world explained in Rainbow Live -> Prism Shows are the main entertainment system which combines ice-skating, singing, dancing and appeals (which come off kinda as super powers). Should note that this anime is based on a children’s arcade game. The main appeal is called a Prism Jump, basically the performer does a figure skating jump, they can create illusions and points are earned based on the quality of the jump. The main way (initially) to gather points in tournaments was doing multiple jumps in a row. The struggle in Rainbow Live was being able to do four consecutive jumps which only non-humans were able to achieve at first.
Another appeal is called Prism Live which was introduced in Rainbow Live and allows the performer to play with instruments, which only the 7 MCs could do but now just about anyone can do them. At the end of Rainbow Live, a bunch of appeals that weren’t jumps/lives were introduced which is why the King of Prism series is much crazier than Rainbow Live with everyone doing all sorts of unique tricks of their own.
The most top-tier tournament is the Prism Queen/King Cup separated by gender. Edel Rose which is the Prism Show specialty school the MC enrolls in were originally the antagonists in Rainbow Live, until the principal (main villain) was kicked out.
Also Kouji has a girlfriend, Hiro was originally the bad guy, Jin is Hijiri’s half brother and has an inferiority complex which is why he’s evil.The different worlds in Pretty Rhythm is connected by a magical realm called Prism World which is the power source for Prism Shows (its how people can dance on ice and create illusions like its normal) and they are delivered by messengers called Rinne who are all identical but can take a different appearance to pose as human beings. At any point, the staff in Prism World can essentially cut off the power source and end Prism Show entertainment in the human world. June (the nun; supporting character) was one of the villains in Rainbow Live and a Rinne, but became human and lost her memories.
How is King of Prism different to Rainbow Live? Is it better?
Songs are more individualistic (we’ve got straight up a street dancer wearing a fundoshi, Kabuki dancer, and cross-dressing) so yeah it is very, very wild. You know how at the end of Pretty Rhythm superpowers other than Prism Lives are introduced? Yeah that happens and the diversification is crazy. Sadly there is less focus on chained jumps though. Personally I liked Rainbow Live more but I think the performances in Shiny Seven Stars is better in terms of uniqueness, originality, and overall aesthetic.
Do Naru and the others come back?
They come back as cameos, some of them have speaking lines but they don’t play a role in King of Prism sadly.
[RAINBOW LIVE SPOILERS END]
Finally, will I enjoy King of Prism if I don’t watch Rainbow Live?
Honestly I don’t think you’ll receive the same enjoyment as someone who has seen Rainbow Live; in fact, some people say you do need to watch Rainbow Live. It depends though. Do you like idol anime? Do you appreciate CG? (I once showed the CG to a friend saying how good it is and they complained it looks “too obvious” don’t be that person). Are you a mature female audience? Do you not mind gay tropes/mild nudity? If yes to all of the above there is a high chance you’ll like this anime. If you’re male you should probably watch Rainbow Live instead – it was written intended for all ages both young and mature (obviously if you like idol anime ofc).
On the other hand, if you’re a Pretty Rhythm fan, this would probably be the best thing you’ve ever seen just for the sake of seeing a children’s anime targeted for adults combined with satisfying top-tier performance – the creators literally decided to do whatever the hell they wanted with it without caring about public opinion, only for it to actually be well received. Its definitely not childish but it doesn’t try to be emo/edgy either. You can complain about the yaoi-bait but Pretty Rhythm IS a female-targeted anime and holy its actually fluffin nostalgic with all the references they put that you can only understand by watching the very start AND Pretty Rhythm’s successor PriPara. Funny enough the quality of Pretty Rhythm peaks in this season; in fact, its because the creators put so much effort into making King of Prism so over the top that its one hell of a masterpiece. You can also free King of Prism: Shiny Seven Stars anime watch online and free anime download.