Friday, February 03, 2006

Lemon Angel Project 1-2

Lemon Angel Project is one of those series I didn't know exactly what to expect from going into it. I knew it was about an idol group, and that's about it--while the first episode didn't impress me much, the second was much better, and I'm definitely getting drawn into the story more now.

A brief summary - Tomo (pictured above) is a normal high school student, except she has a good singing voice. You see in flashbacks that her best friend Yui (to Tomo, she's Yui-senpai) had started an idol group called Lemon Angel that's really successful. But Yui died, Lemon Angel breaks up, and Tomo keeps writing letters to Yui even though she's gone, which is how the viewer hears Akari's thoughts. Enter Kogure, a guy who worked with Yui on Lemon Angel and is now producer of a new group, a second Lemon Angel. The new Lemon Angel would keep Miki, the leader from the first group, but otherwise have all new singers in it--and Kogure wants Akari to audition. Kogure explains to Tomo the original Lemon Angel wasn't real--it was a computer program created by Yui, but Yui used Tomo as the model for the lead vocalist. Because it's what Yui would have wanted, Kogure convinces Tomo to try out. Things don't look like they're going to go well, but in the end Tomo pulls herself together and manages to do well enough to make the first cut and get invited back, along with 20 other finalists.

I was thinking this would remind me of Full Moon wo Sagashite and in some ways it does--but the character designs, animation, and Tomo's character all remind me of Aria. Tomo's a lot like Akari from Aria in that she's not all that confident of her skills, but she's determined when she needs to be, and sometimes comes across as more than a little ditzy. When she first meets Miki, who goes to the same school, it's an unqualified disaster, as she rambles on in a way that would probably make even the Dali Lama smack her upside the head. But in the second episode Tomo's less irritating, as she struggles with her lack of confidence in her singing, and can't help but feel like she's stepping into a world she knows nothing about and doesn't really belong in. Like Mitsuki in Full Moon, Tomo's an innocent going into a world that can be a brutal, back-stabbing place, and it'll be interesting to see how she reacts.

The relationship chart, two episodes in, is already getting complicated--there's Saya, a Lemon Angel candidate who quit her last company because she didn't want to take compromising pictures, and she immediately dislikes Tomo, thinking she's just using her connection with Kogure to become an idol. There's Kogure, who probably liked Yui, and it'll be interesting to see if anything develops between him and Tomo. There's Miki, who seems to hate Tomo, and may just be jealous that Yui held Tomo in such high regard. And Yui-sempai herself is sure to keep showing up in flashbacks.

I'd read this was a yuri series, but so far there's not a whole lot of evidence of that--there isn't the fanservice level you'd expect in that case either, although I may be speaking too soon because the next ep includes a swimsuit photo shoot. I can't say this series is good or bad yet, but it's interesting...I'll give it another ep or two to see how it goes.

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