BanG Dream! is a franchise I’ve been a big fan of for close to a year. I started the mobile game out of curiosity and fell in love with its characters. Ultimately, I decided to give the anime a shot. Did it meet the expectations I had coming in?
BanG Dream!’s main protagonist is Kasumi Toyama, a girl who is just starting high school and trying to decide what club she wants to join. She stumbles upon a star-shaped guitar, and, along with a hapless Arisa Ichigaya, decides to form a band.
The BanG Dream! franchise is owned by Bushiroad. The anime was animated by Issen and Xebec. While Issen’s claim to fame seems to only be BanG Dream!, Xebec has a number of other titles under its belt, such as Love Hina, To-Love-Ru, and Pokémon Origins.
BanG Dream! is licensed in North America by Sentai Filmworks. It can be viewed either on Sentai’s streaming service, HIDIVE, or on Crunchyroll.
If you’re only going to do one thing right in a music anime, it had better be the music, and BanG Dream! does an excellent job on that front. On top of its OP and ED, it has a number of insert songs that are all fantastic, and its background music is enjoyable to listen to as well.
One common complaint about BanG Dream! is its animation, which I don’t entirely understand. While it’s definitely not up to the level of something like K-On!, it’s far from unwatchable. There’s really nothing jarring or uncanny about it.
One thing to note is that BanG Dream! does use the common technique of animating its performance sequences in 3D. These sequences are usually short, and the art shift isn’t excessively disturbing.
The story is where BanG Dream! really shines. BanG Dream! does follow the “standard” idol anime format, which is to say comedy with a generous dose of drama mixed in. Overall, the characters are likable, and the anime does a great job keeping you invested in the story until the end.
While BanG Dream! is often compared to K-On! due to both being centered around bands. I personally feel like that’s an unfair comparison, with BanG Dream! following the idol anime recipe, and being closer to Love Live! than K-On! in tone. If you’re coming int it expecting an experience similar to K-On!, this is something I’d keep in mind.
While I’m not sure I’d recommend BanG Dream! to someone who hasn’t watched an idol or music anime before, it’s an excellent choice for someone who’s already a fan of that genre, and especially for someone looking for something like a “not quite Love Live!”. If you’re already a fan of the mobile game, the BanG Dream! anime is definitely worth your time.