There are a lot of TV shows out there and in this golden age of TV streaming, the choices have never been greater. So how do you cut through the noise and find the “Best of” for any chosen topic? Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest and unforgettable shows through the years.
For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best anime, our attention this time turns to shows centered around idols and pop stars. From cozy musicals to otherworldly space operas, there’s a good choice to whet your appetite.
Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below, and we’ll get them added on!
Whenever someone steps into a job that speaks to them, they’ll often do whatever it takes to maintain that occupation. Sekkou Boys follows a passionate college graduate named Ishimoto, who can’t wait to get involved in the idol industry.
To her surprise, her first task is managing a boy band called the Sekkou Boys. The Sekkou Boys aren’t like anything you’d ever see. This band comprises four Greco-Roman sculptures who are all new to the entertainment industry like Ishimoto.
With her college experience and knowledge about the idol industry, it’s up to Ishimoto to ensure that they strive in the idol world. Like its premise, this is a hilarious idol anime with numerous jokes that’ll keep you laughing and entertained.
Wake Up, Girls: The Movie
Wake Up, Girls: The Movie is an incredible prequel film that’s essential to watch before diving into the main series. This film does a wonderful job of establishing our characters and their world. The girls aren’t keen on becoming idols at first and all have goals to stand out.
Furthermore, this movie provides fans with a straightforward premise and takes its time developing the girls into well-rounded individuals. While the show’s male protagonist lacks any remarkable traits, he respects and appreciates the girl’s assistance and dedication.
The film balances its comedy and heartwarming scenarios well. The visuals aren’t always the best as some may find it difficult to tell the girls apart due to their similar designs. However, if you can look past its subpar visuals, you’ll find a film that’s captivating enough to keep you entertained.
Love Live! School Idol Project
Love-Live! School Idol Project (Love-Live) is a surprisingly emotional anime with incredible songs, stellar dialogue, and colorful characters. While it’s not an anime for everyone, those that adore pop stars and concerts will enjoy what this show delivers.
Love-Live’s characters display a great amount of personality and appeal. While all of them have a passion for music, the story explores their differing weaknesses and strengths. For instance, one of the characters is a phenomenal piano player while another is an impressive singer.
It’s these distinctions that help viewers pick out those they relate with the most. Furthermore, the series contains some great humorous bits to help spice things up. If you adore shows with catchy songs and likable characters, then Love-Live is worth checking out.
The Idolmaster follows 13 professional idols who are under the watchful eye of the quirky 765 Production Studio. As these girls’ popularity skyrockets, their family-like relationship starts dwindling. Therefore, the anime explores these performers’ lives as they must work together to maintain their familial companionship.
Despite having an ensemble cast, The Idolmaster spends time dissecting the lives of all thirteen girls. Each episode has an interesting plot tailored toward the backstory of each female protagonist. At the same time, The Idolmaster implements some exposition bits to make each episode connect to its larger concept.
Furthermore, you can expect the episodes to revolve around that particular character’s problem with themselves or others. There will be many times when the girls engage in verbal disputes. However, our characters will come together to form positive solutions to solve their ally’s issues. Fans looking for an anime about friendship and managing fame should consider watching The Idolmaster.
Some say, that the best friends are those who’ll have your back no matter what. At the same time, it’s important to understand your worth and to choose your friends wisely. Skip Beat’s an anime that tackles this premise head-on by placing its female protagonist Kyouko in this situation.
After spending most of her time supporting her friend Shoutarou, Kyouko’s adoration for him vanishes after she overhears him talking ill of her. Enraged, Kyouko vows to get revenge on her former friend by entering the world of showbiz, in hopes of surpassing him.
Kyouko’s revenge plan doesn’t start off well, as she’ll encounter people who’ll force her out of her comfort zone. For her mission’s sake, Kyouko is determined to push herself if it means making Shoutarou pay for his actions. This anime features a nice mix of comedy and wholesomeness.
While fans will empathize with Kyouko because of how poorly Shoutarou treated her, she’ll endure scenarios where it’s hard not to laugh. This is a great anime to watch for those wanting to see the challenging sides of the entertainment industry.
This is arguably one of the most brilliant animated films of all time. This film was directed by the late and great Satoshi Kon, famed for other works like Paprika, Millenium Actress, and Tokyo Godfathers. This anime investigates the horrors of fame and lust through the perspective of its idol protagonist, Mima.
In it, Mima throws away her idol career to become a famous actress to her fans’ and fellow idols’ astonishment. As time flies by, disturbing events unfold that put Mia in a broken state. This film is a thought-provoking gem with enough mystery and twists to keep viewers engaged.
This anime’s depiction of the dark sides of fame is brilliant and genuinely terrifying. Visually, this anime looks great and holds up well compared to other films. It contains a mix of dream-like and realistic imagery that aims to tamper with viewers’ heads. If you ever wanted to know what it feels like to be placed in an anime protagonist’s shoes, check out Perfect Blue.
There are many shows like Slayers and Puella Magi Madoka Magic that like to tackle their respective genres from new angles. With how successful those two shows became, it’s a no-brainer that more anime aimed to adopt a similar standpoint. Enter Zombieland Saga, an anime with a comedic take on idol-themed anime and its culture.
The story follows Sakura and six other girls from different eras who get revived by a strange man. This man wants the girls to revitalize the Saga Prefecture, his homeland, by creating an idol group. Sakura and the others accept his terms and conditions. The rest of the series focuses on their wacky adventures as zombie girls and idols.
Zombieland Saga strives to entertain its audience with its hilarious scenarios, colorful characters, and catchy music. Everyone offers something fun to the narrative through their different goals and personalities. Visually, this anime looks as impeccable as other idol works. Fans of pop stars will adore how zany and absurd this show can be.
Aikatsu is a show that follows the trend left behind by similar themed works. It’s another show where adorable girls sing and dance their way through life. It follows Aoi and her friend Ichigo. These two apply to Starlight Academy in hopes of becoming celebrities like their role model Mizuki.
Little do they know that their journey to stardom will involve them participating in activities like rock climbing, traversing obstacle courses, and others. For those worried, fear not. There is a good amount of scenes depicting our cast performing, singing, and dancing. It just chooses to spice things up by placing our cast in exaggerated circumstances.
On that note, the characters themselves have a few surprises up their sleeves. There are many occurrences that will leave you baffled and mildly shocked. Nevertheless, this show stays true to its idol roots and has our cast deal with issues related to the occupation. From needing to forge a proper signature to scheduling proper fan meetups, the girls explore it all.
That said, this show isn’t for everyone and feels tailored for children. If you’re a fan of shows with outlandish scenarios for their characters to contend with, check out Aikatsu.
AKB0048 takes place in a world where Earth has become inhabitable. At the center of this desolate universe is the Deep Galactic Trade Organization, which has a tight grip on the newly inhabited planets and deems music as evil. Their outlandish take leads to the formation of a talent group called AKBoo48.
Despite music being considered universally illegal, this group aims to bring music back into the lives of the former inhabitants of Earth one planet at a time. With the constant threat of being arrested at a moment’s notice, our group will endure numerous training regimes to become the best music group in the galaxy.
This is a show where you can tell its creators were given immense freedom to do whatever they please. While this group will visit numerous planets and host multiple concerts, the series tends to shift gears and displays the poor sides of idol life. The characters in this show have likable personalities and aren’t placed in the story to be eye candy for certain fans.
The animation and musical numbers are as great as you’d expect. While the show doesn’t spend nearly as much time fleshing out its villains, the battles in this show feel like a spectacle. If you’re searching for an idol anime with a great mix of absurdity, charm, and action, check out AKB0048.
Shows like AKB0048 owe the Macross series a lot of favors. This was one of those series that presented the strange idea of mixing pop stars with action-packed robots. While Macross’s numerous follow-ups offer something new and exciting to seek your teeth into, it’s best to check out the show that kickstarted it all, 1982’s Macross.
Macross takes place amidst a mysterious spaceship crashing into planet Earth. Humanity forms the United Nations to oppose the threat. The UN forces acquire the spacecraft and grant it the title SDF-1 Macross. Zentradi (an alien race) descends on Earth after some time but loses some men due to the SDF-1 Macross’s fire.
This leads to galactic warfare. The Macross attempts to escape by launching into the Moon’s orbit, but it and the city it was in teleported to the far reaches of space. Hikaru, an acrobatic pilot, and Lynn, an aspiring singer, get caught in the mess. In this epic journey, these two encounter the cruelties of war with Macross’ crew.
There’s this odd enthusiastic sensation one will attain while watching this show. This show features nice romance, mecha, music, and sci-fi elements. This show delves into the terrible outcomes resulting from the clashing of ideologies, cultures, and war. Some of the show’s cast members have likable personalities and contribute to the plot in reasonable ways.
The same bodes well with Macross’s other installments. Many entries add something refreshing to this anime’s universe while staying true to its roots. While there are a few duds, most of them have equally engaging storylines, characters, and beautifully animated worlds. While I’d recommend giving its other entries a shot, you can’t go wrong with Macross from 1982.
So, there we have it, our picks for the best anime through the years about idols and pop stars!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!