Phantom of the Idol Review

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Kami Kuzu Idol
神クズ☆アイドル
Kami Kuzu☆Idol

Synopsis

Phantom of the Idol is about Kazuki Yoshino and Yuuya Niyodo are idols who make up the duo ZINGS. While Kazuki gives his all in every performance, Yuuya views the job as just another means of making money. Yuuya’s apathetic attitude toward the fans and inability to take his job seriously causes his manager to give him an ultimatum: unless he starts putting in more effort, he will be fired.

Backstage, Yuuya meets Asahi Mogami, an idol dressed in a colorful costume. Asahi would have had a bright future ahead of her—had she not died a year prior. Even as a ghost, Asahi wants nothing more than to perform for fans again. When she finds out that Yuuya does not hold the same passion for the idol life that she once did, she is overcome by a fit of rage and demands that he let her take his place. In a strange twist, Yuuya wakes up to find that Asahi has possessed him and can do what he is too lazy to do himself.

With Asahi performing for him, Yuuya thinks he has a ticket to an easy idol life. However, Asahi has other plans. Though she is no longer alive, she wishes for Yuuya to find the ambition that she still has. Together, she wants them to become the best idol the world has ever seen. But can an unmotivated man like Yuuya ever care about anything besides money?

WatchPhantom of the Idol Online

Review

Idoly Pride X Budoukan, Uramichi Oniisan edition. Never thought that the mish-mesh of those formulas would work so well.

Idol shows. You might’ve heard them aplenty, much less seen them in action, even if it’s clips on YouTube showcasing how much of a juggernaut genre this is in Japan, and there is absolutely no shortage of them since it’s a cultural phenomenon over in the Land of the Rising Sun. But, amongst the many copy-and-paste plans that have little to divide and stand out, how mangaka Hijiki Isoflavone managed to shine through with a story that sounds so typical, yet looks so paradox, is certainly baffling. And in the midst of a small following to the lot of you that watched this show, can most certainly say that you’ve enjoyed this in some capacity, this is my huge surprise in the lacklustre Summer 2022 season to say that I really enjoyed this. A LOT. And I’m not kidding.

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Usually, idol stories are just basically a bread-and-spread affair of repeating the tropes that the somewhat idol genre has been maligned for but not talked about a while lot, but in a very simple way, Hijiki Isoflavone incorporated 2 things: adulting, and the paranormal. And the adulting ranges from this boy pop duo ZINGS, which comprises of the youthful Kazuki Yoshino and the adult lazy-straightlaced Yuuya Niyodo. While Yoshino has a lot going for him with his looks and childlike voice that would be enough to earn big amounts of fans, Niyodo is the complete opposite with his darker, bass-like voice that just screams total laziness and uncharacteristic for the idol industry: a sloppy, half-assed personality and hostile behaviour towards his fans, that he is the plague of the duo whom just wanted enough to quit being an idol.

The unique plot twist, is that Niyodo encounters another idol: the beloved and popular singer, 17-year-old Asahi Mogami, whose life was tragically cut short due to an accident, robbing her of her prime days of idoling. Having been dead for a year, she desperately wants to get back into the industry, but she has nowhere else to turn to being a ghost…and that’s where Niyodo enters the scene with a clear win-win situation on Asahi possessing Niyodo, showcasing his vibrant side that definitely is a total 180 to shock fans with ease. This is the journey of Niyodo and Asahi as they venture through the lifeblood of the newbie, but fledgling ZINGS as the joining of forces between yesterday’s real star and today’s dirtbag, initiates the Phantom of the Idol’s story and their rise to decent fame.

On hindsight, a ghost and a living human for a comedy seems like a recipe for disaster, but how Hijiki Isoflavone weaved this intricate comedy can only best be described as a niche of sorts, very similar to Uramichi Oniisan. The story itself has some funny elements between Niyodo and Asahi, and each of them already had their charm from the get-go, that with the ghost possessing collaboration of an idol who’s pretty much done with his job and the idol whom died but still wants to continue her legacy even after death, brings about the comedic tones that’s just oh-so-perfect. Even more so with Yoshino being tagged along as the other half of ZINGS, try as hard as he might to convince the lazy, Uramichi Oniisan-influenced Niyodo to perform at his best, it depends on his mood to get over and deal with it, and that’s already saying about his childlike voice that pleases the ears of the many.

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But don’t go for a sec thinking that ZINGS are the only people that make up this show, because what makes it more engaging and entertaining are the side casts that amp up the insane comedy strikes that at times, can be a hit or miss. Manager Hitomi Shinano is the one that glues the duo together; the Niyodo (Hardcore, Happy Three Friends) Fan Club of Kasenjiki, Tsugiko and Shigutaro is a wild goose chase of having their post-night bar activities and analyzing each and every of Niyodo’s actions and fantasizing to the insane degree. God I love the trio’s unkempt dedication and endless praise to the dirtbag.

And last but not least, where there’s the main idol group, there’ll be veteran groups, such as the case of the boy idol band Cgrass and its strange leader Hikaru Setouchi, whom has been the hardcore fan of Asahi’s enough to sense the Phantom in Niyodo and clash the psychological battle of not being found out. Every character does at least make sense, from Niyodo’s Uramichi Oniisan to Asahi’s Idoly Pride, and the Niyodo Fan Club’s Budoukan vibes giving the show its run for the comedy, which is definitely not for everyone, that it takes a certain level of people like you and me to enjoy the simplicity of a story that has the comedy driven in its own length of hilarity.

I do feel that the need for CG in idol shows have since become the overrated usage, and this perception will not change for future idol shows going forward. Sadly, what Studio Gokumi has done here is only a touch above the average mean with somewhat mediocre but “acceptable” CGI for the dances, which to be honest, I would be happy if it didn’t came with it just to save a measure of the insanely expensive anime production cost.

Elsewhere, everything here just seems like an ordinary low-tier show that has been given a relatively small budget to work with since the anime didn’t really set on fire for being just your oh-so-typical idol show with a unique twist, that come what may, will not change the perception of the majority out there. It’s just alright and serviceable for a standard such as this.

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But where Kami Kuzu☆Idol really shines is in its songs, which is for the par of course, its own set of songs that have been curated for this sole purpose. Both Fumiya Imai and Shun Horie did a knockout job on their part as the main duo ZINGS of Niyodo and Yoshino respectively, given that the former is best well-known for Given’s supporting boy Hiiragi Kashima and the latter, one of my favourite characters in a while: Dragon, Ie wo Kau.’s scaredy-cat dragon Letty (and KanoKari’s simp Kazuya unfortunately). Even Nao Touyama as Asahi Mogami has had her share of fun being the ghost idol and also with one of her ED songs. Speaking of the OST, ZINGS’s OP, holy wowsers is it very catchy and fun to listen to, and I’d be glad to put this amazing song on repeat for days on end, definitely one of my top OPs of the season. The many scores of ED songs range from decent to good, and I’m fine with all of them either way for a different mesh that serves up “bang”s (though not to the point of banger).

All in all, I still thought that Kami Kuzu☆Idol a.k.a Phantom of the Idol would’ve been an underappreciated show, given the many tropes and its kinda lackluster freestyle way of storytelling. But this is part of the charm why this show works, and I for one, as mentioned in the beginning, embraced it and came out with a smile on my face. Maybe not the show that I would remember a season or 2 after it finishes, but all I can say is: thank you Kami Kuzu☆Idol for lighting up my sweltering Summer 2022 seasonal run, that despite the short 10-episode runtime, I didn’t feel like I’ve wasted my time watching a show that’s for the very niche. And even if you come out with a different feeling that this show isn’t so much worth your time, if you just wanna chill out to idols and ghost possessions, the wacky comedy style, it’ll do.

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Kami Kuzu Idol 神クズ☆アイドル Kami Kuzu☆Idol Synopsis Phantom of the Idol is about Kazuki Yoshino and Yuuya Niyodo are idols who make up the duo ZINGS. While Kazuki gives his all in every performance, Yuuya views the job as just another means of making money. Yuuya's apathetic attitude...Phantom of the Idol Review
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