Bad Boys, Great Actors
If you’ve made it to A3! Autumn and Winter, chances are you’ve seen A3! Spring & Summer. Same good recipe, new ingredients. The autumn and winter troupes have their own set of unique, engaging characters without going very deep into their every day lives much. Interestingly enough, it’s the stage where all is laid bare. Through their desire to act, we begin to really know these guys who will do anything to get Mankai Company back on its feet. Even after narrowly avoiding being shut down, new disasters are afoot that could mean the difference between stardom and suffering.
We have some beloved characters from the past season return as they work in the same company such as Muku and Yuki with, of course, Izumi who will lead this next group of guys. Sakyou has a much bigger and benevolent role this time on Mankai Company’s side as an aspiring actor. In both Autumn’s and Winter’s troupe we have the couple that threatens to tear apart the group, the former’s being Banri and Juza and the latter’s being Tsumugi and Tasuku. Bringing an equal amount of trouble to the Autumn group is Taichi and Sakyou and Omi make up the rest of the members. Winter group has Azuma whose former job as a professional cuddler is still not the weirdest thing about them with Homare’s inability to read the room Hisoka’s inability to remember anything!
As before, most events take place in Mankai Company on stage or in the dorms. We see our boys going over their lines, running through practice, and dealing with each other in their downtime while Izumi attempts to connect with and mediate for her troupes. She is, of course, very perceptive and driven and doesn’t get easily flustered by the frequent aggressive outbursts or craziness that is want to happen. The inner relationships of the company are far from the greatest of their concerns, however. As God Company rears its ugly head, they will do anything to tear down Mankai Company. This does, though, prove to be a double-edged sword.
Of course, in a show about acting, one should expect it to be good. But the incredible range the voice actors have and their ability to convey bad, experienced, and brilliant acting are amazing. The slight yet poignant differences that the audience can pick up when a character learns something new or channels a deep part of themselves almost feel like a key turning a lock. These aren’t limited to the acting scenes either, though Juza’s portrait was one of the more beautiful examples. The very noticeable difference in how Tsumugi and Tasuku talk to themselves before and after they reconcile sounds very natural and carries over in all their interactions. You can almost feel how relaxed their bodies are now that they aren’t holding onto all the hurt.
While the number and diversity of the cast mean there’s surely someone for everyone watching, it does make it hard to spend a lot of time getting to really know each one and see meaningful character development. A lot of scenarios are played out predictably even though there are a few well-written moments. It seems there was just too much ground to cover to do everyone justice. For example, it would have been great to see Azuma’s experience as a cuddler aid in his acting or helping one of the guys through their problems.
For fans of the game or just fans of boys in general, A3! Autumn & Winter gives you character designs for younger and older characters, tough men, lanky kids, and pretty boys that will have you swooning. With a good amount of angst and drama to keep things spicy, it does a good job of expanding on the series. Izumi is also a pretty good character for a female protagonist surrounded by guys in that she’s reliable and intelligent but also has her own worries she’s working on. If this season wasn’t enough for you, consider checking out the A3! mobile game!