Takashi Miike’s director-for-hire style reached one of its apogees with “Idol x Warrior”,  a TV show addressed to female audience between the ages of 2 and 6 that also served as a promotional vehicle for a toyline and the in-show Japanese idol group Miracle².

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The general setting revolves around the Music Kingdom, a land that contains musical treasures called Sound Jewels, which together produce the “Song of Blessings.” The Sound Jewels are stolen by the Demon King, who corrupts them into Negative Jewels. Through the Dokudoku-dan, the Negative Jewels are used to turn humans into Negative Jewelers to spread a Negative Aura for the Demon King to use in his plan to conquer the human world by composing an evil song. In order to recover the Sound Jewels, the goddess of the Music Kingdom sends the Fairy Rhythms Poppun, Rockie, and Clanosuke to the human world to seek help.

In the first episode of the series, Mai Kanzaki, unable to gather enough Harmony Energy to fight alone, holds auditions to recruit idols to help, who will also be members of a new idol group called Miracle². Kanon is one of the girls auditioning, stealing the show from the beginning. During the waiting, she meets another contestant, Alice, and the two become friends from the get-go. However, during the audition, Alice’s mother, Shizuko is turned into Negative Jeweler Hysteris, by the Dokudoku-dan, and proceeds on lashing out to her daughter for failing her audition.  To rescue her, Kanon is summoned by Poppun and battles alongside Mai.

In the second episode, we are introduced to the third member of the group, dance prodigy Fuka. Initially, she is not interested in becoming also an idol warrior, but she joins when Okada, a teacher from her elementary school, is turned into the Negative Jeweler Koegare

I am not sure how much criticism a TV show for kids can receive, but “Idol x Warrior” does not seem to claim any particular laurels of quality, as it is mostly an almost embarrassingly vehicle of commercialism, with the distinct purpose of promoting the group and various toys and memorabilia based on the show. In that fashion, a rather large part of the first episode is taken up by a transformation/dancing sequence, which serves not much purpose apart from the aforementioned promotion.

Apart from that, the intense colors, the glitter, the animation, the children music and the hyperbolic theatricality of the grown up actors really tried my patience (which is quite large, while I had no such issues with the rest of Miike’s works for children, such as “Ninja Kids”. ).

On the other hand, the costumes, the acting by Asaka Uchida as Kanon, Suzuka Adachi as Mai and Yuzuha Oda as Fukaand the overall presentation of the villains (in absurdly gothic style) work quite well for the series, and are the elements that deem it (somewhat) watchable.

Not much more to say, this is a title only for hardcore Miike fans.

My name is Panos Kotzathanasis and I am Greek. Being a fan of Asian cinema and especially of Chinese kung fu and Japanese samurai movies since I was a little kid, I cultivated that love during my adolescence, to extend to the whole of SE Asia. Starting from my own blog in Greek, I then moved on to write for some of the major publications in Greece, and in a number of websites dealing with (Asian) cinema, such as Taste of Cinema, Hancinema, EasternKicks, Chinese Policy Institute, and of course, Asian Movie Pulse. in which I still continue to contribute. In the beginning of 2017, I launched my own website, Asian Film Vault, which I merged in 2018 with Asian Movie Pulse, creating the most complete website about the Asian movie industry, as it deals with almost every country from East and South Asia, and definitely all genres. You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.