For a show about a pop-idol band you'll be surprised at how good the story is in this show. The story is much more than a simple music drama as it also mixes in sci-fi action and it blends together very great. I found myself getting into the show pretty deep and as soon as you know it the show will be over. Another thing I liked about the story is that this show actually has a decent ending that will leave you satisfied. This is good as a good chunk of anime have very crappy endings that will leave you frustrated and sometimes homicidal (like after watching the original two-part finale for "Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995 - 1996)"). The characters are quite interesting and did get me caring about them quite a bit although there were some that were a bit weak but there isn't many. There are some creepy moments with the characters but nothing too hardcore. The action in this show is great with nice space and war action that's full of lasers, rockets, and crazy mechs and space ships that reminds me of "Star Wars (1977)" and "Starship Troopers (1997)"... So it's "Pop-Star Wars"?
Artwork in this show has a very strong look to it with nice rich coloring and solid character designs . The main female characters in this show are very gorgeous looking and defiantly have a pop-star look to them and have quite a nice array of beautiful costumes. Sure that sounds girly but believe me, it will appeal to the male audience as much as the female or possibly even more. I really love the designs of the machinery in this show as you get some very awesome looking mechs, spaceships, and weapons like the very awesome Mic-saber (a light saber mixed with a microphone). Background designs in this show are really nice with some very nice detailing (especially during the space scenes) and helps build up a strong atmosphere. The sets in this show also have some neat tributes to the original "Star Wars Trilogy (1977 - 1983)" that are very fun to look at.
They have two different designs for the main characters, one is in traditional animation while the other is done using three-dimensional computer animated characters. I really liked both designs although I liked the more traditional animated styled a lot more as (to repeat myself) they are very solid designs. The third dimensional style looks very clean and well done but they aren't perfect as they look liked something right from a video game cut-scene like "The Idolmaster (2007)" for the Xbox 360. Even though they do look like something out of a video game they do blend in with the other style very well... Most of the time that is as some scenes it is edited in badly and feels out of place like in the scenes where the girls are rehearsing. Animation is very solid in both 3D and non-3D animation although the traditional animation on the first episode is a bit jaggy during the scenes where they mix in 3D animation but other than that it is all good.
Do not bother watching this with the English dub on as it is shit with voices that do not match up with the characters at all and will annoy you to the point where you'll think that the whole show is bad. There is also a second reason why you should watch this with the Japanese dub as it does not make sense watching this show with the English dub (although a good lot of anime fans say that watching any anime with the English dub on doesn't make sense in general). The whole point to watching this show is to hear the members of AKB48 acting in an anime about their own band. Does that mean that the Japanese dub is any good? Yes, yes it is a pretty good dub. The voices matched up with the characters really well and they put in some good effort into the acting as well and doesn't sound rushed at all (unlike the English dub which sounded rushed as all hell). Soundtrack uses tunes from AKB48 and it sounds very good with a very bubblegum sweet and playful sound that made me feel very happy, this is saying a lot as I can't stand most pop-music although I do enjoy George Michaels work (don't judge). It also has a very strong sound to where it works great on a surround stereo system and heck with the mixture of the visuals and audio I would love to project this series on at a cinema as it could easily work and would make one hell of an experience.
There's a small selection of special features that includes (you've guessed it) text-less opening and closing credit sequences and commercials for this show that aired on Japanese television. The text-less credit sequences were very nice to watch as the mixture of visuals and audio make them feel more like music videos than your typical credit sequences. The commercials for this shows were okay and did set up what the show is about pretty well but it doesn't feel like anything special either. Overall this was a really good anime that will appeal more to the fans of sci-fi than the girls who like to play with Barbie dolls and worship that tramp Ke$ha. A real sci-fi gem that's worth your time.
Animation/Production Studio: Satelight
Genre: Animation/Anime, Music, Drama, Sci-Fi, War, Comedy
Running Time: 312 Minutes (13 Episodes)
Distributor: Hanabee Entertainment (http://www.hanabee.com.au/)
Rating: PG (Mild animated violence, sexual references, coarse language, nudity)