Though I never finished the original Show By Rock!!, I can still remember being charmed by its overwhelming positive energy, as well as its clear reverence for guitar-centric music. After two seasons of stories featuring the original cast, Show By Rock!! has returned with a new group entirely, as a fresh group of musicians seek their fortunes in Midi City. So far, I’m pleased to report that Mashumairesh absolutely upholds the charm of its predecessor, and is looking to be an endearing and musically rich production.
One of the things that most stuck out to me regarding this episode was the confident, lackadaisical pace of its opening segment. While the original Show By Rock!! dazzled us with world-shifting transformations nearly from the start, Mashumairesh’s first seven or so minutes are entirely dedicated to heroine Howan saying goodbye to her snowy village. Howan sings a daikon-centric song while strumming a daikon radish, gets encouragement from her diminutive family, and is offered a sendoff by her whole community. These minutes went a long way towards investing me in Howan’s story, meaning that by the time she runs into trouble in the big city, it was easy to sympathize with her feelings of disappointment and guilt.
Over in the big city, the introduction of Himeko and the rest of Howan’s eventual band felt a little more formulaic, with the band mates themselves seeming both underwritten and over-designed. In spite of that, the sequence where they attracted Howan’s attention through a street performance was genuinely phenomenal. Himeko’s lead vocal performance and even guitar solo are conveyed through fluid traditional animation, and their catchy song rises to a resounding chorus as Howan joins them for one of Show By Rock!!’s familiar chibi-CG performances.
Show By Rock!!’s comedic hit ratio is quite strong, its characters are charming, and its music is catchy. Though I felt the designs of Howan’s bandmates were a little over the top, the show’s overall art design is polished and attractive, and the animation of this episode’s performance sequence was excellent. Show By Rock!!’s return earns a solid recommendation from me.
It all starts with a girl from the middle of nowhere with a dream of music and making it big. Now if you heard that before I wouldn't be surprised at all since it seems to be a commonly used trope in media. But despite the start there is so much that Show By Rock Mashumairesh!! is able to do with it that puts it a cut above the rest. For while our main character, Howan, comes to the big city with dreams of rocking the world what she gets is something even more powerful and meaningful, strong bonds and friendships and a tight knit group where she can belong.
The big highlight in Mashumairesh for me are the characters and their interactions. The way that the characters are built up I think are quite organic and are done exceedingly well. Despite most of our cast being in a band together from the start it's clear that they are new to this and that they aren't that close to each other. Mashumairesh does a good job of having them interaction with each other and provide fun moments while also showcasing the distance that they have. This allows them to grow closer together and become more of a conceive whole which is one of the main themes of the show. There are a couple of arcs about the characters and how their friendship grows and I think it does a good job of showcasing how distance is created despite being able to interact daily and have fun. There is a lot that goes into a friendship and while fun times and interaction is great and usually leads to a strong friendship there is even more that can make a bond strong. And while a casual friendship is nice, in order to get more and to have more there needs to be a connection made, one the allows the others to see more of the person exposed and to accept it for what it is worth. And while I think the whole cast does a great job of opening themselves up to each other and connecting, I think there are two really good examples of these strong bonds in Delmin and Ruhuyu, and Howan and Himeko.
Delmin and Ruhuyu get less focus but I think there is a lot of strong bonds showcased between the two. They play into a tsukkomi and boke type of interaction with Ruhuyu being the tsukkomi and Delmin being the boke and I think it's done very well. They bounce off each other really well and there is a lot of liveliness and fun in their interactions. Ruhuyu plays herself up in a really fun way and I enjoy seeing all the different ways she tries to force her lunatic theme into everything. And while at first it is sort of accepted as the show goes on Delmin and the others poke fun at it and rib off of it more and more usually in fun ways. It's just fun seeing the way that they play around with each other. It feels like an authentic friendship experience one where each party isn't afraid to tease each other. This also happens with the band as a whole and Himeko as they grow closer to her. Overall the two of them are able to develop and get depth in the process of them becoming better friends. So even though their fun interactions were there from the start their bond is able to become so much more as they share more of themselves with the band. This is not just true of them but the whole band leading to strong characters and a strong impactful bond.
Howan and Himeko's relationship is in my opinion the highlight of the show. It's very nice to see a bond come from nothing be able to grow into a thriving powerful relationship between the two of them. They clearly leave an impression on each other with their interactions and you can see how the two of them are able to become so close to each other over the course of the season. One aspect that I really liked was how the show covered Himeko's initial distance from the group, how she handled herself, and why she did it. Despite being in the group from the start the show does a great job of showcasing her distance and her issues even despite not addressing them into later. It then is able to expose those issues while she gets development and in that process she is able to grow closer to the band and in particular Howan. It felt like Howan and Himeko were a perfect pair together and were both able to fill up what the other needed most. The two of them share something special and it's magical to see. It's specially nice to see how Howan's joining effects Himeko and how she ultimately grows from it. They also just make a very adorable pair that melts my heart.
The main characters were of course the focus but there were other important characters that I think were also done well. There was the boy's band, who doesn't get as much focus and thusly doesn't have the same depth but does make up for it in comedic moments. They too have parallels with coming together and growing closer although they were much more antagonistic to begin with. They have some strong episodes that show how music has grown on them and how they themselves have grown on each other, which I think went well. There was also a ShinganCrimsonZ cameo which had to be some of the funniest stuff from the show. There was also ReijinSignal who got a good amount of development despite the limited time they had in the show and served as a very good counterpoint to the main band. One of the interesting aspects that Mashumairesh covered was the difference between playing music for fun and bonding and playing music to strike it rich. And while the two can (and do) go together I think there is a clear divide between ReijinSignal who is a professional band, that is adeptly skilled at their craft and Mashumairesh and the paths that they take. The show does a good job of showing their different paths and the ways that it effects them and what they can gain from it. Both paths are looked at as valid, and are just different paths.
While the characters and their interactions were definitely the highlights there were a lot of other strong aspects that made the show shine. The art in general was very nice and I love the style and atmosphere that Midi City has. I think it perfectly captures the mood that it's trying to go for. This dark and night-life filled city with its neon lights and filled to the brim with music studios and the like. It feels like a great combination of the rock and the pop styles that the show and game at least traditionally cover. You can feel the music scene that revolves around the city, that rock 'n roll experience of staying up late, playing gigs, and having a lively city with so many bands running around. The atmosphere of the show is really nice in general and the show knows how to set up its scenery well to match the feelings such a place is supposed to invoke. The character art also pops and looks very good and strong which is nice. As expected of a music anime the songs are pretty good and nice to listen to. The choice to have many Show By Rock songs from the game show up in the background on the radio is a good unique way to both get those songs played but to have actual realistic background noise in places like the eating establishment that they frequent.
Overall I was very happy with how Show By Rock!! Mashumairesh!! turned out. Being such a big fan of Show By Rock!! I was anxious for how it would turn out especially with the whole focus on new bands but I think it went very well and it managed to live up to my expectations. I'd personally recommend it and I really had a lot of fun with it.