Last season had a lot of mixed reactions from my fellow Ani-TAY compatriots, but surprisingly almost everyone I know that watched Locodol agrees that it was a strong entry in the season. It's a comedy show that draws from the idol genre to make an entertaining twist on the usual.
Locodol is all about, at first, two girls who enter the employ of their city as "Locodols" or Local Idols. The plan is to make the city of Nagarekawa popular for tourism again through exposure with these locodols.
Clearly this draws some influence from the idol genre, but it tends more towards playing with the various tropes surrounding small-time idols, the decreasing population of rural Japan, and how weird ideas tend to work well.
The biggest differentiation between Locodol and the normal idol show is that the two girls (Nanako and Yukari) are locodols that have no idea what they're doing. Even the city that employs them has no idea what it's doing. As such, many episodes feature the idol team just making up stuff as they go along.
Invariably, this poor planning results in bad situations. That's where this show shines in its excellent use of the comic Indy Ploy. The idol team tends to do totally off-the-cuff things to save the show.
It contributes to the light comic feeling of the show, while also making the show just the slightest bit cuter. As the art style can attest, this show is cute, but it's cute in an innocent way. The beauty of the show is in its earnest, fun nature.
Really, the best part of the show just lies in the raw fun. There's a lot of indy ploys, crazy ideas, weird running gags, and references for the avid Japanese media fan. Among other things, the main cast contains an entertaining idol otaku manager, the tomboy-ish Nanako (repeatedly lampshaded), the Ojou Yukari (also repeatedly lampshaded), and the chronically shy mascot characters.
There's rarely any tension, but there's plenty of hook material coming from the entertaining use of various comic devices that the writers clearly enjoyed themselves writing.
It's amiss to not mention this, but the reason I initially started watching this was because it made a reference, just one reference. That's all it took.
Anime cosplay they say. Thanks Locodol!
Like a lot of shows of this nature, it isn't really going anywhere in particular. There's no deeper meaning behind the show. It's just there for pure light entertainment. Even the finale isn't a huge concert or anything of that nature, it's just another day in the life of Locodol. That sort of thing might not be up your alley, and that's fine.
It's rare for a lot of people I know on Ani-TAY to agree on something as much as people have agreed that Locodol was a really fun show in a season that we polarized on quite often. It did everything it needed to for it to be a fun episodic ride for everyone.
It had the comedy, the references, and the weird endearing quirks down to a science, and it really knew its characters and how to use them for maximum comic effect. Whether it was some idol otaku obsessively blogging about the Nagarekawa Girls or Nanako deciding that this episode required fanservice to keep the audience interested, it never missed a beat.
It has the issues that come with being a very episodic comedy show, but it shines through it by being endearing and comical at every turn. I'm very happy with the show that I got out of it, even if it'll never quite be "best of the season" material.
You can watch Locodol on Crunchyroll.
This is part of Anime Marathon 2014, a continuation of Anime Marathon 2013 by popular demand. I'm on a mission to review every anime I can for the TAY community and anyone else that wants to read. I can never guarantee when these reviews will be posted, but I'll do my best to keep it consistent.