There’s just something about musical anime that makes it so so cringe-inducing, yet so so entertaining. We’re not talking about music anime where the characters are members of the light music club or have a band à la K-On! or Fuuka, or where the characters are pursuing more classical music like Hibike! Euphonium or Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso. In those types of music anime, we can predict when the music will start or what the songs will be like, which makes them far more comfy and no less enjoyable to watch.
Bu today, we’re talking about anime that are either straight-up musicals in anime form, anime about making musicals, or anime in which the songs are timed much like they would be in a real-life musical. These songs, unlike those made by most school idols or other anime musicians, often tell a story about the setting, or reveal something about the character’s current mental state. In this way, they’re less predictable. It could be the combination of these things that makes you want to curl up in a ball with one eye open as you watch these anime - but damn it, you know you’re going to keep watching them.
So with that, let’s take a look at some of the most cringey - and the most entertaining - musical anime out there!
1. Dance with Devils
First, let’s talk about the anime most like a real-life musical I have found. Dance with Devils follows female protagonist Ritsuka and her over-protective brother as she gets pulled into a supernatural story involving four devil-boys and a pomeranian. Stay with me, here. Of course, not only do all the boys want her, they also all sing. It might not sound like it but man, is it enjoyable. However, it also happens to be one of the cringiest anime I’ve ever watched.
We get alerted to when songs are going to start by a title card, but the actual timing of each song within the episode is pretty random. The best part is that every character has a distinct voice and style. Hell, one guy even raps! Which is the first time I’ve seen serious rapping in anime. Saying that, it was probably the most cringey song of the season - even Ritsuka’s face as she watches Mage spit his lines is one of near-death embarrassment. Bless. Then there’s the fact that every song is so dramatically acted out. In any case, if you love the musical cringe, Dance with Devils should be the first on your list!
Unlike Dance with Devils, the musical element is actually built into the plot of Starmyu, also known as High School Star Musical. This anime follows Yuuta Hoshitani as he tries his best to get into the musical department of Ayanagi Academy, despite having no previous experience. There, he meets and becomes friends and rivals with all kinds of different male characters. Who are all awesome at musicals. So begins these boys’ fight to get into one of the most prestigious groups in the school: the Star Frame Class. Of course, this involves a whole lot of singing and dancing.
However, the singing isn’t like it would be in other school music anime. In fact, it’s a musical about musicals, with most of the songs in the first season being character introductions. As someone who owns most of the Starmyu character songs, I can tell you they’re all pretty amazing. However, when you’re watching the anime, they sort of pop out of nowhere in a way which makes you go “noooo” and squeal in excited anticipation at the same time. Unlike Dance with Devils, where the song works in with the plot of the anime, the songs in Starmyu are more like cut-ins, taking the character out of the present timeline and into some other situation where they can be dressed up differently. Sound good to you? If so you’d better get watching, as the second season is currently airing!
3. Uta no Prince-sama
While UtaPri is technically more of a reverse-harem idol anime, the way it’s set up is much like the above two. We have our dead fish-eyed female protag Haruka, who enters Saotome Academy with the dream to write music for her favourite idol. There, she gathers a healthy harem of beautiful idol boys who all want to sing her music, and only her music. Of course each character has their dark secrets, and each character is head over heels for Haruka, so they’ve got plenty to sing and dance about. And boy, do they sing and dance.
Much like Dance with Devils and Starmyu, the songs (other than the ED, of course, which is also always a character song) seem to come out of nowhere, and are a representation of the characters themselves at various points in the series. Also like Starmyu, the songs take the characters out of the main storyline so they can fly into the sky and sing and dance surrounded by the universe or whatever. With four seasons under its belt, it seems anime fans can’t get enough of this particular brand of cringe. So if by some miracle you haven’t seen UtaPri yet, it’s time to get started!
So there we have it, the main musical anime that you just can’t stop watching despite the cringe being very, very real. Have you seen these anime? What did you think? Do you know any other cringey musical anime (let’s be honest, I need more in my life)? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section, and let’s get talking about the cringey greatness that is musical anime!