There are a lot of idol anime and they surprisingly cover a lot of topics, genres, and themes. If you want a fun and colorful idol anime, there’s Aikatsu on Parade! to check out. Fancy a more realistic take on idols? There’s Wake up, Girls!. You want something in between that is wholesome with a bit of drama? there’s Love Live! Sunshine!!. Or if it’s dark and gritty idol anime you want, there’s Satoshi Kon’s classic thriller Perfect Blue. But what if you want something unique that is fun with an idol story that is grounded in reality and the main character is a fan dedicated to supporting her favorite idol?
The story of Oshi ga Budoukan Ittekuretara Shinu is just that—Eripiyo is a dedicated fan of the least popular idol member of an underground idol group, who spends her free time and spends all her money on goods, CDs, and event tickets so that her favorite idol, Maina, goes up in rank. Eripiyo is so dedicated to Maina that she always wears her old tracksuit because she’d rather spend the money to support Maina than buy new clothes. Hell, Eripiyo even often contemplates selling her organs. Yeah… Eripiyo is on the extreme side, but that makes Oshi ga Budoukan Ittekuretara Shinu makes an interesting show to watch—it’s about the dedicated fans cheering their idols from afar. So, yeah, you NEED to watch Oshi ga Budoukan Ittekuretara Shinu and here are a few more reasons why!
The Life of a Stan
The main star of this idol anime is not an idol, but a Stan—an obsessive fan—who goes out of her way to support her idol in any way, shape or form. Eripiyo is a tall and attractive woman who isn’t the typical fat and sweaty male otaku fanboy anime often likes to depict, and she ditched her normal life to become an idol fan the moment she first laid her eyes on Maina, a back row idol from ChamJam, an underground idol group only a few people know about. Eripiyo gives little priority to her fashion and health and focuses everything on buying all of Maina’s merchandise, buying all tickets for handshake events, artificially increasing online engagements by posting comments about Maina being the best idol there is, and Eripiyo makes sure she’ll be first in line to buy limited edition Maina goods. Eripiyo does everything to the extreme, she blurs the line between dedication and obsession. Why is Eripiyo going out of her way to support the least popular idol? Is it love? Eripiyo herself isn’t even sure because fans follow a cardinal rule to never fall in love with the idols they admire.
Apart from Eripiyo, we also get to meet other Stans of ChamJam, like the veteran Kumasa and the newbie Motoi. Each of the Stans supports one particular idol from ChamJam and they have their own way of showing support and that’s the appeal of Oshi ga Budoukan Ittekuretara Shinu—watching the fans cheer on their favorite idols.
A Brief Window into Japan’s Underground Idol Culture
Keeping an underground idol group afloat is very tough, especially if the group rarely gets any media coverage or isn’t as popular as mainstream groups. ChamJam do have a passion for singing, dancing and making people happy, but the group still needs to pay the bills, keep a roof over their heads, and put food on their plates, so they rely on their very small dedicated fanbase for support by holding concerts, selling CDs, doing handshake events, and selling merchandise. That’s all fine and good, but where the real money comes in is from exclusive merchandise with limited print, rare photo ops, or exclusive items for the first few people who sign up. This kind of culture may not work outside of Japan, but it’s very interesting to peer at a culture we don’t see very often and we don’t fully understand.
Oshi ga Budoukan Ittekuretara Shinu offers a one-of-a-kind story you’ve never seen in other idol anime. Sure there are some crazy fans in, say, Perfect Blue, but we don’t get to know them on a personal level, like how they spend their time at work, or how they manage to show up at every event just to support their idols. Eripiyo, Kumasa, and Motoi are just people who spend their time enjoying the things they love. Be it a hot afternoon or a chilly winter, they will be there, waving their glow sticks, cheering on idols singing and dancing on stage.