First Impressions – Futsuu no Joshikousei wa [locodol] Yatte mita


Could you handle the pressure of being a local idol?

spring14-highwIdols are everywhere, and even though Love Live! is over as a series, everyone still wants to jump on the idol anime bandwagon. Or at least I will. So what happens when a small town needs something to give it a shot in the arm?


What’s a “locodol”

locodol-Nana takes things seriously

If Nanako does something, she wants to do it right, even the class log book

So you thought school idols were a specialized category of idols? Well, when you drop a few levels of exposure (and usually, talent) and you get to “local idols” or ‘locodol’, where we again see the Japanese penchant for making sketchy portmanteaus of English phrases. We’ve seen things that are somewhat like this, like in Wake Up Girls! where the Sendai region had a competition among local idol groups to take on the I-1 club, but when you bet even farther out into the country, like Nagarekawa (not the famous Nagarekawa in Hiroshima, some small town), it’s more a situation of just following along with what the bigger cities do.

locodol-Success at singing


But Nanako Usami isn’t interested in being an idol at all. In fact, she’s never even heard of it. All she wants is a new swimsuit so that she can go to the big town event of the pool center reopening. That and an idea of what kind of thing she can do. She hasn’t joined a club, but the performance ones keep catching her eye: Drama club, Guitar club, Keion club. Ah, what to do.

locodol-Ojisan has a trick up his sleeve

I like the tail on the jersey. Oh, and ojisan looks pretty sketchy, doesn’t he

Enter her uncle, who is the civil servant in charge of local promotion. Or maybe all the civil servants in Nagarekawa are in charge of local promotion, or maybe there just aren’t that many civil servants. And uncle’s not that good at it, so far only coming up with cheesy co-branding schemes that put the town’s name on jellies and soda. But knowing that Nana wants a new swimsuit, he comes up with a job for her to help with, so she can get some money. He’ll even pay in advance because the job is at the new pool opening. Of course, everyone watching the show at this point is thinking “Nana, you big dupe, the ‘job’ is you wearing your swimsuit.” She even buys his “well, who goes to a pool and doesn’t swim?” reasoning.

locodol-betrayed on all sides

She’ll never trust anyone again…

So now that we’ve established that our lead character is gullible, and her uncle is minorly manipulative, it’s time for the pool event. Nana’s shocked when it’s her performing, and then even more shocked when it’s her performing in a swimsuit (nobody watching the show is shocked). She’s paired up with Yukari, who’s pretty, blonde, and fills out a swimsuit nicely. In contrast, Nana is brunette, ordinary, and it’s bad when uncle wishes you were just a little flatter to appeal to ‘that’ demographic. Yukari’s actually pretty pro at handling the event (and we even saw her right at the beginning on TV, promoting the pool opening). But Nana’s just a bit flustered and too nervous, and of course everything goes bad until Yukari gets the idea to play the town song (not the Town Song, but “Ah! Nagarekawa”), at which point it turns around and turns into a successful event. What will the future hold for these two ‘locodols’?


A Sneaky Charm

locodol-what a greeting

Yukari has a nice way of greeting people

That’s what this show has. The premise isn’t amazing, the character design is fairly ordinary, the animation from Feel isn’t anything to write home about. But where this show shines is bringing the laughs, and it does that with its timing. Jokes that are amusing but not stellar are delivered beat perfect. Reactions are delayed just that precious amount to get a laugh. And the show’s pace helps: it’s not a fast paced show, but rather it’s fairly slow and quiet. There are no long discussions, only one fast speech from Nana’s uncle about how the town doesn’t have anything special, and the performance by Yukari and Nana is funny in an unintentional manzai fashion. But it really works, being much funnier than I thought this show would be. Nanako has a cute charm, and great reactions, while Yukari has a continuous not-so-subtle pressure that she exerts on Nana, pushing her to accept things and do things that she normally wouldn’t. It reminds me of another show that has the same sort of dynamic, albeit with a completely different subject matter, Koe de Oshigoto. There’s a carrot and stick approach: Uncle with the stick, reminding Nana of her obligations, and Yukari with the carrot, encouraging Nana to do her best.

locodol-Looking to the future

Hopefully the start of a lot of fun


We’ll have to see how the show integrates more characters in, because I know there are at least two more girls coming into the locodol frame. But this was definitely a promising start, the kind that is always welcome from a show that you didn’t expect anything from. I hope it’ll keep it up.


Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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14 Responses to “First Impressions – Futsuu no Joshikousei wa [locodol] Yatte mita”

  1. JPNIgor says:

    I wasn’t even going to give it a go, but I ended up trying it because I had too much time on my hands. It got its charm and I like the characters and I do want to see where this locodol thing will go… But if I’m without time on my schedule, it will most likely be the first show I will drop.

    And if I were Nana’s mother, I wouldn’t let this shady uncle get near my daughter… I’m not sure if he is a good person ._.

  2. Wanderer says:

    It’s a cute and fuzzy show about mostly nothing. I always like having a few of those around to relax to.

    • Highway says:

      It’s really nice to have that sort of show. Always nice to look forward to a show that you can relax to.

  3. zztop says:

    We again see the Japanese penchant for making sketchy portmanteaus of English phrases.

    And this is why words like karaoke exist in today’s language, blending the Japanese for empty (空 kara) and the English orchestra (オーケストラ ōkesutora).

  4. skylion says:

    I enjoyed this one, I’ll be happy to follow it.

  5. Foshizzel says:

    Cute character designs and interesting plot! Also a shady uncle who wants his niece to wear a swimsuit for work? Dayum…

    I probably will watch more because it is one of those relaxing shows~

  6. HannoX says:

    Nothing great about this show so far (except Yukari’s boobs), but it was fun. I’ll stick with it for now. I’m sure Uncle will come up with more skeevy jobs and schemes that should keep the humor going. And the town song was enjoyable, both music and lyrics (usually the lyrics for such songs are awful). Hopefully there’ll be more good songs.

    • Highway says:

      I was actually surprised that “Ah, Nagarekawa” was so much in a minor key. Usually anthems aren’t just because that feels negative. I don’t know how many other songs there will be, it’s not really a singing idol sort of job, I think. It’s more of an appearance and mascot kind of idol job.

      • HannoX says:

        You may well be right it being an appearance and mascot kind of job, but with a few more songs available a music CD could be put out. Animes are mostly about pushing as much product as possible. Well, we’ll see.

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