The Gekidol anime is part of an ambitious multi-media project in combination with the theater house Alice in Project where the anime shows the plays and the plays are the anime! With an air of mystery surrounding just what to expect, we knew we wouldn’t be in for a standard persevering through hard times with smiles idol anime. Of course, what’s theater without drama on and off the stage! Yet even with these initial thoughts in mind, we couldn’t have foreseen how Gekidol would play out.
Kaoru – Director of Alice in Theater who is always looking for promising young talent. She holds a hidden burden on her shoulders which she masks with kind smiles and alcohol.
Seria – A lovely, shy girl who dreams of acting but has troubling personal issues. Her delusions run deeper than they initially appear. She has an incredible ability to mimic others exactly but wishes to build upon her surface-level acting
Airi – A former gravure model, Airi hopes to leave her past troubles behind and devote herself to acting. She’s usually very confident and dependable but close friendships can either be her strength or her weakness as she tends to get codependent.
Aimi/Lovemin – An idol whose passion never flounders in either theater or idol activities. She’s the brains behind the acting idols crowned Gekidol. She’ll get heated about online hate or interference with Alice In but she’s also quick to collect herself and try to improve the situation.
Akira – the boyish older member who eventually takes over as director. As one of the original members of Alice in Theater, she has a strong sense of loyalty to it and its members.
Art and Music
Kizuna, Dandelion Girl, and other poppy songs are used as insert or ending songs sung by one or a few of the voice actors of the main girls with the cuter opening theme sung by all of them. Uno Blaqlo is the writer/composer for most of the idol songs used in Gekidol. There’s nothing to complain about with the songs’ construction but there is not as much emphasis on music as you might think from an anime with ‘idol’ in the title. Lovemin is the only girl that embraces what it means to be an idol while the other girls use it as a tool to keep their studio open. The art is neither flashy nor sloppy and the overall tone is on the darker side to match the mood of the story. Since there’s not much full-on dancing, the animation doesn’t falter or need to switch to 3D animation.
With a cute and hopeful exterior, the first few episodes show us we are slowly moving to a more psychological, suspenseful anime than initially expected. It seems something like Wake Up, Girls with the non-flashy character designs and darker look at the world of performance but by episode 4 it takes a noticeably more chilling turn. Airi’s feeling for Seria seem to be more than just yuri-baiting but it’s unsure how that could be resolved with Seria still bound by the past. Yet the girls have many cute and silly moments to make you feel like those off-putting scenes are out of place in their hopeful, friendly world.
Seria’s pure goal of becoming an actress like her idol Izumi is shaken a bit when she is faced with Izumi as a person’s effect on those that knew her. Seria’s formerly greatest ally Airi immediately grows distant from her and the rest of Alice in Theater upon learning Seria’s motivation for joining. Kaoru is always working on her own behind the scenes to protect the girls and keep the place running but doesn’t seem to have much support of her own. Gekidol seems initially like a happy story of down-on-their-luck actresses expanding into the idol world to protect their dreams but hiding their own personal demons.
While there is a lot of buildup and foreshadowing of complex interpersonal problems, they end up being solved rather simply after some talking and fighting and don’t play a big role in the plot. The plot being… complicated. It’s hard to tell where the story is going and feels a little rushed once Gekidol starts revealing what’s really going on. Having the girls act out the past none of them understand is a nice twist to show the audience how deep the story goes but the drastic change is not very supported by information we learned earlier. You’re given a lot of information out of left field and then much of that is wrong or changes later so plot reveals from that point on seem less important. One of the last scenes between Seria, Izumi, and Airi dropping their characters and fully expressing their frustrated feelings is at least powerful and well done even in its simplicity.
The girls are cute and relatable and balance their own young problems with the responsibility of keeping their floundering theater open under the threat of a much bigger theater. While the idol side is lacking in passion and growth, it’s nice to see how the main girls grow and adapt as actresses. Frustratingly, many scenes beg for bigger reactions or courses of actions from the main characters that are instead gotten over far too quickly. One of those disappointments being that Airi’s feelings for Seria are never given closure. You can see the promise of something deep and complicated under the stage lights but Gekidol does more to confuse than entertain in its last few episodes. At least the ending doesn’t leave us wanting anything more than a better explanation since things wrap up nicely. What did you think of Gekidol? Let us know in the comments if you hope to see more from the Gekidol Project!