BanG Dream!

BanG Dream!,[a] also known as Bandori (バンドリ), is a Japanese music media franchise owned by Bushiroad. Created by Bushiroad president Takaaki Kidani in January 2015 with original story by Kō Nakamura, the project began as a manga before expanding to other media. In addition to other manga, BanG Dream! includes an anime television series, live concerts, singles and albums, and the mobile rhythm game BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! by Craft Egg.

BanG Dream!
BanG Dream! logo.svg
Franchise logo
バンドリ
(Bandori)
GenreMusic
Created byTakaaki Kidani (Bushiroad)
Manga
BanG_Dream! Star Beat
Written byKō Nakamura
Illustrated byAya Ishida
Published byBushiroad
MagazineMonthly Bushiroad
DemographicShōnen
Original runJanuary 2015December 2015
Manga
Written byKō Nakamura
Illustrated byMami Kashiwabara
Published byBushiroad
English publisher
MagazineMonthly Bushiroad
DemographicShōnen
Original runApril 2016February 2019
Manga
Yonkoma Bandori
Written byHakuto Shiroi
Published byASCII Media Works
MagazineDengeki G's Comic
DemographicSeinen
Original run2016 – present
Light novel
Written byKō Nakamura
Illustrated byHitowa
Published byASCII Media Works
ImprintDengeki Bunko
DemographicMale
PublishedApril 25, 2016
Manga
BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! Roselia Stage
Written byPepako Dokuta
Published byOverlap
English publisherTokyopop
MagazineGardo Comics
DemographicShōnen
Original runFebruary 10, 2017September 25, 2017
Volumes2
Manga
RAiSe! The story of my music
Written byKō Nakamura
Illustrated byRyū Shihara
Published byBushiroad
MagazineMonthly Bushiroad
DemographicShōnen
Original runFebruary 2019 – present
Anime television series
Directed byAtsushi Ōtsuki (season 1)
Kōdai Kakimoto (seasons 2 and 3)
Produced byAkane Taketsgu
Atsushi Iwazaki
Atsushi Ōta
Naohiko Furuichi
Yashiyuki Shiotani
Yasuhiro Nakajima
Yuichi Kawakami
Written byYuniko Ayana
Music byElements Garden
StudioIssen (season 1)
Xebec (season 1)
Sanzigen (seasons 2 and 3)
Licensed by
Original networkTokyo MX, BS11, KBS, AT-X, Sun TV, tvk, NST, RAB, TV Asahi, TV Aichi, TVS, BS Fuji, MMT
English network
Original run January 21, 2017 April 23, 2020
Episodes39 + OVA (List of episodes)
Game
BanG Dream! Girls Band Party!
DeveloperCraft Egg
Publisher
GenreAdventure, rhythm
PlatformiOS, Android
ReleasedMarch 16, 2017 (Japanese)
October 19, 2017 (traditional Chinese)
February 6, 2018 (Korean)
April 9, 2018 (English)
May 30, 2019 (China)
Anime television series
Pastel Life
StudioStudio A-Cat
Original networkTokyo MX
Original run May 16, 2018 June 21, 2018
Episodes6 (List of episodes)
Anime television series
BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! ☆ Pico
Directed bySeiya Miyajima
StudioSanzigen
DMM.futureworks
Original networkTokyo MX, Sun TV
Original run July 5, 2018 December 27, 2018
Episodes26 (List of episodes)
Anime film
BanG Dream! Film Live
Directed byTomomi Umezu
Written byKō Nakamura
Music byElements Garden
StudioSanzigen
ReleasedSeptember 13, 2019 (2019-09-13)
Runtime72 minutes
Anime television series
BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! ☆ Pico ~Ohmori~
Directed bySeiya Miyajima
StudioSanzigen
DMM.futureworks
Original run May 7, 2020 (2020-05-07) – present
Episodes10 (List of episodes)
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

The franchise's premise is based around all-female bands whose members are also voice actresses in the anime and mobile game; as of 2020, the project has seven groups, four of which are capable of playing their respective characters' instruments. The first band, Poppin'Party, was formed in February 2015, and further groups were introduced in 2017 with the launch of the mobile game: Afterglow, Pastel*Palettes, Roselia, and Hello, Happy World!. In 2018, a backup band called The Third was renamed Raise A Suilen and joined the series, followed by a seventh unit named Morfonica in 2020. For live performances, Poppin'Party, Roselia, Raise A Suilen, and Morfonica's voice actresses play their own music, while the others are limited to vocals.

The anime, which follows fictional representations of the seven bands, currently consists of three seasons. The first season, produced by Issen (OLM with Bushiroad) and Xebec, aired from January to April 2017. Sanzigen took over production duties for the second and third seasons, which were respectively broadcast in winter 2019 and 2020. A movie BanG Dream! Film Live was released in 2019, with a sequel planned for 2020; three films focusing on Roselia and Poppin'Party are scheduled for theatrical release in 2021 and 2022. Spin-off anime series include BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! ☆ Pico and its sequel Pico ~Ohmori~ by Sanzigen with DMM.futureworks and Pastel Life by Studio A-Cat.

The series has enjoyed international popularity for its live performances and mobile game, while the anime has seen mixed but improving reviews with later seasons. In 2018, the franchise expanded to include a male-based counterpart Argonavis from BanG Dream!.

PlotEdit

BanG Dream! follows Kasumi Toyama, a happy-go-lucky girl and a new student at Hanasakigawa Girls' High School. During her first weeks at the school, she tries out for numerous clubs in an effort to rediscover the "Star Beat", a "sparkling, heart-pounding" feeling she experienced while looking up at the stars in the night sky as a child.

One day, while returning from school, she spots a trail of star stickers that lead her to a pawnshop owned by her classmate Arisa Ichigaya. In the storage area, she finds a star-shaped guitar with glittery stickers on it and quickly becomes attached to it. The two later visit a local live house, SPACE, where Kasumi decides to create a band upon watching a performance by a group named Glitter*Green. She then recruits Arisa and three of their classmates – Sāya Yamabuki, Tae Hanazono, and Rimi Ushigome – to join her, though they are reluctant for personal reasons. Despite their initial misgivings, the five overcome many hurdles and ultimately agree to form the band "Poppin'Party". With her bandmates, Kasumi finds the excitement that she had been looking for.

During their first year of high school, Poppin'Party meets and befriends four all-girl bands at Hanasakigawa and nearby Haneoka Girls' High School, each of whom has their own stories: Afterglow consists of five childhood friends who maintain their friendship through music; Pastel*Palettes is an idol group who are capable of playing their own instruments; Roselia strives to become the perfect band; and Hello, Happy World! is an eccentric band that seeks to spread happiness.

HistoryEdit

Early history (2015–2016)Edit

The concept for BanG Dream! was conceived in March 2014 by Bushiroad president Takaaki Kidani, who wanted to lead a music project after seeing the success of Love Live! School Idol Festival, a mobile game published by his company.[2][3] While attending The Idolmaster Masters of Idol World!! 2014 concert at Saitama Super Arena, he expressed interest in guitarist Aimi Terakawa and figured that his new project's best method to gain success would be to have voice actresses who could play their own instruments.[2] To differentiate it from similar music works, Kidani has stressed that BanG Dream! is not an idol franchise but a "girl band" series.[4]

Kidani approached novelist Kō Nakamura to create the characters and story,[2] and he partnered with Aya Ishida for the franchise's first work BanG_Dream! Star Beat;[5] the manga started serialization in the Monthly Bushiroad magazine in January 2015.[6] According to an August 24, 2016 post on Nakamura's Livedoor blog, the name BanG Dream! stemmed from the idea of "shooting" toward one's dreams.[7] Star Beat, which was also adapted into a light novel by Nakamura, contained differences in character personalities and world setting that were changed with later developments in the franchise.[8][5] Nakamura would also write song lyrics for Poppin'Party and is credited as the franchise's original story creator;[9][10] certain aspects of the plot were inspired by his high school life such as the desire and efforts to form a band, the guitarist finding the instrument in a pawnshop, and band meetings being held in a warehouse.[11]

At her ~Love Generation~ concert on February 28, 2015, Aimi announced she had aligned with BanG Dream!, which included creating a band and serving as its guitarist and vocalist.[12] Rimi Nishimoto and Ayasa Itō joined the band in April, and the three hosted the franchise's first live concert on April 18.[13] In June, Aimi performed a solo concert at CharaExpo 2015 in Singapore, the franchise's first performance outside of Japan.[14] The group was officially named Poppin'Party during the month, and Sae Ōtsuka and Ayaka Ōhashi completed the band lineup later in the year.[6] In addition to live performances, the five would voice their own characters in other media such as an anime series and animated music videos;[15] the character designs were also loosely modeled after their voice actresses to better reflect their ability to sing and perform.[2]

Poppin'Party's debut single "Yes! BanG_Dream!" was released on February 24, 2016.[16] A music video for the song was produced by Issen, a joint venture formed between Bushiroad and OLM, Inc. in 2015 that was also tasked with developing the anime.[17][18] To lead the animation project, Nakamura served as writer while Pixiv artist Hitowa and Elements Garden's Noriyasu Agematsu managed character design and music production, respectively.[17] The first live for the full Poppin'Party group took place on April 24;[6] the band's early performances were inspired by fellow all-female group Silent Siren, and the two bands would later collaborate for the Battle of the Bands-style "No Girl No Cry" concert at MetLife Dome in May 2019.[19][20] Poppin'Party's third single "Hashiri Hajimeta Bakari no Kimi ni / Tear Drops" ranked tenth on the Oricon Weekly Singles Chart in December, marking the first time an anime music group appeared in an Oricon chart's top ten prior to their show beginning broadcast.[21]

Anime and game (2017–present)Edit

 
Illustration from Girls Band Party! featuring the vocalists of the initial five bands

In 2017, BanG Dream! expanded to include the anime and the mobile game BanG Dream! Girls Band Party!.[22] Prior to the latter's release, the franchise struggled to attract further fan support; in the spring, media attention was drawn to an official dōjinshi (self-published works like manga) event that saw only nine registered circles (a group of artists creating a certain work) despite organizing for 400 available circles.[6] A lukewarm reception to the anime eventually prompted Kidani to refocus his scope on the game;[2] by its launch on March 16, GBP had attracted over 560,000 pre-registered players.[23] Kidani attributed its eventual success to the collaboration with Craft Egg and Elements Garden and the inclusion of cover versions of popular songs.[2] Four more bands—Afterglow, Pastel*Palettes, Roselia, and Hello, Happy World!—were introduced with the game's arrival.[22]

Roselia, who first appeared at Tokyo Game Show 2016, released its first single "Black Shout" on April 19, 2017.[24][25] The group then enjoyed success in May 2018 when its debut album Anfang, which contained the band's first five singles, ranked Number 1 in the Oricon Weekly Digital and iTunes album charts; the album also sold 25,000 copies in the first week of release, the second-most on the Oricon Weekly Albums Chart.[26] The band went through two member changes in 2018, with Yuki Nakashima replacing the retiring Yurika Endō as bassist Lisa Imai in May and Kanon Shizaki taking over for Satomi Akesaka, who left the project in September due to sensorineural hearing loss, as keyboardist Rinko Shirokane in November.[27][28][29] In March 2020, Roselia won the 14th Seiyu Awards' Singing Award.[30]

On January 13–14, 2018, the five bands participated in the Garupa Live and Garupa Party! at Tokyo Big Sight, which included activities to promote Girls Band Party! and performances.[31] The Third (Beta), a backup band that provided instrumentals for Afterglow, Pastel*Palettes, and Hello, Happy World! at the event as their voice actresses were not musicians, eventually became a standalone unit;[32] the tentative name was a reference to being the third live-action band in the franchise after Poppin'Party and Roselia.[33] The group's first live took place in March, and it was officially renamed Raise A Suilen (stylized as RAISE A SUILEN) in July.[34][35] A seventh band, Morfonica, was introduced in March 2020 to commemorate Girls Band Party!'s three-year anniversary; the group's members also play their own music.[36]

BanG Dream! saw its first dual-single release day on February 21, 2018 with Poppin'Party and Roselia releasing their ninth ("CiRCLING") and fifth singles ("Opera of the wasteland"), respectively.[37] Poppin'Party's first album Poppin'on! was released a year later on January 30, 2019; consisting of the group's first 11 singles, it peaked at fourth on the Oricon album chart.[11][38] On February 20, the franchise simultaneously released six singles, one from each band at the time;[39] the tracks recorded top-ten placements on Oricon's daily chart on February 19, with Roselia's "Safe and Sound" being the highest in third.[40]

In January 2020, Poppin'Party's "Initial / Yume wo Uchinuku Shunkan ni!", whose tracks serve as the theme music to the anime's third season, became BanG Dream!'s first single to top Oricon's Weekly Single Sales Chart after selling 27,000 copies from January 7 to 11.[41] Shortly after the single's release, the franchise surpassed two million total music sales.[42] Five months later, the BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! Cover Collection Vol. 4 ranked first on Oricon's Weekly Albums Chart with 2,231 first-week sales.[43]

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, various franchise-related events in 2020 were delayed. For instance, Poppin'Party's second album Breakthrough! was intended for a June 3 release before being pushed to June 24.[44] The BanG Dream! Special☆LIVE Girls Band Party! 2020 was originally scheduled to take place on May 3 until it was indefinitely postponed.[45] A stage play focusing on Raise A Suilen titled We are Raise A Suilen -BanG Dream! The Stage- was planned to premiere in July with nine shows prior to its postponement.[46][47]

MediaEdit

Live concertsEdit

The voice actresses of Poppin'Party, Roselia, Raise A Suilen, and Morfonica play their respective characters' instruments during their live concerts, while the other groups are limited to providing vocals.[36] Roselia's Haruka Kudō and Megu Sakuragawa described this distinction of being a "voice actor's band" as helping the franchise gain popularity among those unfamiliar with the game and anime,[48] while the anime's director Kōdai Kakimoto explained in 2020 that his staff implements events from the live-action concerts into the show to "portray the connection between real life and anime." For example, the third season's final episode features references to the BanG Dream! 7th☆Live as both take place at the Nippon Budokan.[49]

The first BanG_Dream concert, titled I Started a Band in Spring! and held at Shimokitazawa Garden, took place on April 18, 2015 with Aimi, Nishimoto, and Itō; the three played mainly cover songs with the exception of the original song "Yes! BanG_Dream!".[13] Ōtsuka joined the project with the second live Instruments × Girls = Justice! at Shinjuku Loft on June 14.[50] On August 15, the four performed at the It's summer! Bang-A-Dream! at Duo Music Exchange.[51] Ōhashi completed Poppin'Party's lineup during the Welcome! Poppin☆Party!!!!! concert on October 11 at Differ Ariake.[52]

In 2016, the BanG Dream! First☆Live Sprin'Party 2016! on April 24 marked the first performance since the franchise's rebranding to BanG Dream!.[53] The Second☆Live Starrin'Party 2016! on November 13 at Tokyo Dome City Hall sold out much of its tickets shortly after opening sales in mid-October;[54] a preview for the anime's first episode was shown at the concert.[55] Poppin'Party concerts in 2017 included the 3rd☆Live Sparklin'Party 2017 at Tokyo Dome City Hall on February 5 and 4th☆Live Miracle Party 2017! at the Budokan on August 21. The latter also enjoyed box office success as it sold out its 11,000 tickets prior to general sale; Live Viewing Japan simulcasted the performance in 41 Japanese theaters, with showings also taking place in Hong Kong and Taiwan.[56][57] Delayed screenings would also be provided for later lives; for instance, the BanG Dream! 5th☆Live in 2018 was shown in select North American and Australian theaters by Azoland Pictures and Madman Entertainment, respectively.[58][59]

Roselia made its on-stage debut as a secret guest at Sparklin'Party.[60] The group's first standalone live took place on June 30, 2017 at Shibuya Duo Music Exchange.[61] The concert, known as Rosenlied, drew such an overwhelming positive attention that it resulted in a second live with the same name on July 29 at the larger Ariake Coliseum.[62][63] The second Roselia concert Zeit was held at Makuhari Messe on October 8.[64]

The Third's maiden concert took place on March 25, 2018 at Shimokitazawa Garden. Ōtsuka made a guest appearance at the show, while Riko Kohara was introduced as the group's guitarist.[34] On May 12–13, The Third served as the opening act for the BanG Dream! 5th☆Live at Makuhari Messe; the concert was split into two days as Poppin'Party performed on the first (titled Happy Party 2018!) and Roselia on the second (titled -Ewigkeit-). The live was also Endō's final concert with Roselia and Nakashima's first.[65] The Third was renamed Raise A Suilen at their second live at Akasaka Blitz on July 17, during which Risa Tsumugi joined the group as disc jockey.[35] Raise A Suilen's first live with the new name and full lineup was in conjunction with Poppin'Party in the BanG Dream! 6th☆Live at Ryōgoku Kokugikan; RAS' Brave New World performance came first on December 7, followed by Poppin'Party's Let's Go! Poppin'Party! a day later. Roselia and Hello, Happy World! voice actress Miku Itō were guest performers at the show.[66]

Poppin'Party, Roselia, and Raise A Suilen hosted the BanG Dream! 7th☆Live on February 21–23, 2019 at the Budokan. Roselia performed on the first day, titled Hitze.[67] Raise A Suilen's Genesis took place the next day, with Itō, Pastel*Palettes' Ami Maeshima, Afterglow's Sachika Misawa, Glitter*Green's Suzuko Mimori, and the franchise's male-centric group Argonavis having guest performances.[68] The final day was Poppin'Party's Jumpin' Music♪.[69]

In summer 2019, Raise A Suilen and Roselia conducted lives with Heaven and Earth and Flame/Wasser, respectively. The former, held on July 13–14 at World Memorial Hall, featured Itō, Maeshima, and Ōtsuka as guest singers.[70] Flame/Wasser was Roselia's first outdoors concert, taking place at Fuji-Q Highland Conifer Forest on August 3–4.[71] The two held a joint concert titled Rausch und/and Craziness at Makuhari Messe on November 30–December 1.[72] A second Rausch live by Roselia took place at Musashino Forest Sports Plaza on February 1, 2020,[73] followed by another Craziness show by RAS at Ecopa Arena on February 9.[74] RAS also held a concert on December 29, 2019 titled The Creation ~We are Raise A Suilen~ at Line Cube Shibuya.[75]

On January 27, 2020, Maeshima held Pastel*Palettes' inaugural concert with the Pastel*Palettes Special Live ~Manmaru Oyamani Irodori Special☆~ at Zepp Tokyo; fellow band members Sawako Hata and Ikumi Nakagami also appeared at the show.[76] Prior to its postponement by COVID-19, the Special☆Live Girls Band Party! 2020 was planned for May 3 at MetLife Dome.[45] The BanG Dream! 8th☆Live is scheduled for August 21–23 at Fuji-Q Highland Conifer Forest, with Roselia's Einheit on the first day, Raise A Suilen's The Depths on the second, and Special Live ~Summerly Tone♪~ by Poppin'Party, Maeshima, RAS, and Morfonica on the third. Poppin'Party will also host a standalone performance under the 8th☆Live name in October.[77]

PrintEdit

BanG_Dream! Star Beat by Ishida and Nakamura debuted in Monthly Bushiroad on January 8, 2015. Featuring numerous differences in character traits from the current series, the manga consisted of twelve chapters and ran from the magazine's February 2015 to January 2016 issues.[8] A light novel by Nakamura and illustrated by Hitowa, which follows Star Beat's story, was published on August 25, 2016 by ASCII Media Works under their Dengeki Bunko imprint.[78]

A second manga series, BanG Dream! by Mami Kashiwabara and Nakamura, began serialization in 2016 in Monthly Bushiroad.[79] Shogakukan Asia acquired the rights to translate the manga into English in February 2017; although the company first released the manga in Southeast Asia, its license was not exclusive to the region.[80] 2016 and 2017 saw the release of two four-panel manga with Hakuto Shiroi's Yonkoma Bandori, which debuted in ASCII Media Works' seinen manga magazine Dengeki G's Comic,[81] and the surrealist Banban Doridori by Nyaromeron in Sogakukan's Coro Coro Aniki.[82]

In 2017, the first non-Poppin'Party-centric manga, BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! Roselia Stage, was written by Pepako Dokuta and circulated in Overlap's magazine Gardo Comics from February to September. On March 2, 2020, Tokyopop announced it had licensed the series for North American release.[83] Raise A Suilen also received a series, titled RAiSe! The story of my music, by Nakamura and art by Ryū Shihara; RAiSe! began in 2019 in Monthly Bushiroad.[84]

An anthology series manga of the chibi anime spin-off BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! ☆ Pico was published by Bushiroad and released by Kadokawa Corporation on March 14, 2019. Officially titled BanG Dream! Garupa ☆ Pico Comic Anthology, the book is a compilation work from 17 artists.[85]

AnimeEdit

An anime television adaptation, which was animated by Issen and Xebec and directed by Atsushi Ōtsuki, aired from January 21, 2017 to April 22, 2017 on Tokyo MX.[86][87] The 13-episode series follows Poppin'Party's creation, with certain events being inspired by real-life moments that the voice actresses experienced; for example, Kasumi losing her voice in one episode is based on the same occurring to Aimi during the first BanG Dream! live.[2] The band performs the show's opening and ending theme songs "Tokimeki Experience!" and "Kirakira da toka Yume da toka ~Sing Girls~", respectively.[88] The anime was streamed on the Anime Network and by Crunchyroll.[86][89] Licensed by Sentai Filmworks in North America, it was later released across seven Blu-ray and DVD volumes.[90][91] An original video animation episode received advanced screenings before being released on November 22, 2017 on the seventh BD/DVD volume.[92]

Sanzigen replaced Issen and Xebec for the second and third seasons, which saw a shift to primarily computer-generated animation;[93][94] in comparison, the first season only used CGI during performances to better show the nuances in playing instruments.[95] Although CGI was the focal animation type under Sanzigen, certain aspects like various props continued to be drawn by hand, and motion-capture acting was utilized for performances.[49][96] BanG Dream! was the first non-science fiction production by Sanzigen, who prepared for the anime by creating a music video for the Roselia song "Neo-Aspect".[97][98] Kōdai Kakimoto took over as director while staff members like composition and script writer Yuniko Ayana continued their roles.[99]

Airing from January 3 to March 28, 2019 and simulcast on Sentai Filmworks' HIDIVE platform, BanG Dream! 2nd Season focuses on Poppin'Party in addition to Afterglow, Pastel*Palettes, Roselia, and Hello, Happy World!, as well as the formation of Raise A Suilen.[100] Unlike its predecessor, the season featured a larger emphasis on concerts, which Sanzigen reflected by titling each episode after songs (the first season used "fun and cute" titles that followed a subject and verb sentence structure).[49] It featured two opening themes with "Kizuna Music♪" by Poppin'Party and "Brave Jewel" by Roselia, along with two ending themes in Poppin'Party's "Jumpin'" and Roselia's "Safe and Sound".[101][102] An English dub of the season, directed by John Swasey and licensed by Sentai, was released on Blu-ray on April 21, 2020.[103][104] Like its subtitled counterpart, the dub was streamed on HIDIVE, which began that same day.[105]

The third season was originally scheduled for October 2019 before being delayed to January 2020.[106] It details Poppin'Party's participation in a girl band competition and the growth of Raise A Suilen;[107] the premise of a contest had been entertained by the animation staff prior to the start of production on the second season.[49] With more focus on the bands' individual development, the season's episode titles were taken from lines stated by the characters in the episodes.[49] BanG Dream! 3rd Season aired from January 23 to April 23, 2020,[108] though the first episode came out on January 7 as it was bundled with a limited-edition Blu-ray release for Poppin'Party's "Initial / Yume wo Uchinuku Shunkan ni!".[109] The single's tracks are also the season's theme music, with "Initial" as the opening and "Yume wo Uchinuku Shunkan ni!" as the ending.[110] Kakimoto and the previous season's staff returned for the new installment.[111] HIDIVE continued to simulcast starting with the January 7 premiere date.[112]

Outside of the main series, two chibi spin-offs called Pastel Life and BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! ☆ Pico aired in May and July 2018, respectively.[113][114] Studio A-Cat worked on Pastel Life,[115] while Pico was animated by Sanzigen in conjunction with DMM.futureworks.[116] A second season of Pico titled BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! ☆ Pico ~Ohmori~ premiered on May 7, 2020.[117]

A movie animated by Sanzigen titled BanG Dream! Film Live premiered on September 13, 2019.[106][118] The movie was directed by Tomomi Umezu with script by Nakamura; in addition to the main cast, Kazuyuki Ueda and Elements Garden returned to reprise their roles as character designer and music producer, respectively.[119] After opening in 56 theaters,[118] the film produced approximately ¥300 million at the box office in its first month. A sequel titled BanG Dream! Film Live 2nd Stage was announced in March 2020.[120]

A two-part film series focusing on Roselia called BanG Dream! Episode of Roselia (each subtitled Yakusoku and Song I am.) will see a theatrical release in 2021. The following year, a Poppin'Party-centric movie titled BanG Dream! Poppin'Dream! will also open in theaters.[121]

Mobile gameEdit

 
A BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! promotion with Lawson in Chongqing in 2019

BanG Dream! Girls Band Party!, also known as Garupa, is a free-to-play mobile rhythm game developed by Craft Egg and published by Bushiroad's Bushimo for the Android and iOS platforms.[122] Revealed at Tokyo Game Show 2016,[123] it was first released in Japan on March 16, 2017.[23] An English-language global version was launched in Singapore on March 29, 2018, with a worldwide release taking place on April 4.[124] The game was also released in traditional Chinese in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao on October 19, 2017, with Mobimon Inc. serving as publisher;[125][126] mainland China received its own version by bilibili on May 30, 2019.[127] A Korean-language edition was published by Kakao Games on February 6, 2018.[128][129]

The gameplay consists of tapping notes as they scroll toward the bottom to the rhythm of a selected song.[130] Playable tracks include original pieces from the series and cover versions of popular anime music, the latter of which was inspired by their popularity during the BanG Dream! lives. Kidani compared the inclusion of covers to the use of mainstream series in Bushiroad's Weiß Schwarz card game as "drops in momentum" are canceled out by "the addition of popular titles."[2] Some covers were spawned by collaborations between the game and other series such as the anime Is the Order a Rabbit? and Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World.[131][132]

An augmented reality application based on the game titled Bandori! Garupa AR! was distributed for a limited period starting January 9, 2018.[133] In 2019, Girls Band Party! partnered with SCRAP Co. to organize "Find the Random Star!", an escape room-like game in which participants search for Kasumi's lost guitar by solving riddles located throughout the city. The event ran from December 4, 2019 to February 29, 2020 in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka.[134]

ArgonavisEdit

In May 2018, Bushiroad revealed a male-centric project titled Argonavis from BanG Dream! (stylized as ARGONAVIS). Despite sharing the BanG Dream! name, Kidani emphasized that Argonavis takes place in a different world from the main series, meaning there would be no interactions between the characters of both projects.[135] The titular band began performing in December; like their female counterparts, Argonavis plays their own music in addition to portraying characters.[136] Argonavis also overlapped with the main franchise at the BanG Dream! 7th☆Live on February 22, 2019, where they served as the opening act for Raise A Suilen's Genesis performance.[68] Manga artist Hikaru Miyoshi designed the characters and Nobuhiro Mōri wrote the story.[137]

An Argonavis anime series produced by Sanzigen debuted on April 10, 2020.[138] The Argonavis from BanG Dream! AAside mobile game, which serves as a sequel to the anime and adds the bands Gyroaxia and Fantôme Iris, will be released in late 2020.[139]

ReceptionEdit

"[W]hen Garupa (Girls Band Party!) was released, everything just went through the roof... That's why, while there are a lot of people who thought, 'Wait, how did this thing become a hit when the anime was that bad?', I think it's all because of the game's level of polish and the live shows. We accomplished something that didn't seem possible, after all."

Bushiroad president Takaaki Kidani, in a 2018 interview with Real Sound[2]

BanG Dream! has received worldwide acclaim for its live concerts and Girls Band Party!.[2] In 2017, Jessica Liong of ComicsVerse described the "biggest appeal" of the franchise as being "its live performers. The key, it seems, is to draw people in with anime girls and keep them with the glamor of real-life concerts."[6] After Poppin'Party's debut single "Yes! BanG_Dream!" sold less than 1,500 copies in its first week and their second song "Star Beat! Hoshi no Kodou" had 3,414 in the same time frame, performances such as at Animelo Summer Live 2016 helped boost the initial-week sales of their third single "Hashiri Hajimeta Bakari no Kimi ni / Teardrops" to 11,301. By 2018, the band's singles regularly saw over 10,000–20,000 sales in their opening weeks.[140]

The series has become a financial boon for Bushiroad. In 2018, it averaged over ¥4 billion in annual revenue, making it one of the company's top-producing intellectual properties. From August 2017 to July 2018, Bushiroad's Weiß Schwarz brand experienced record sales after adding BanG Dream! cards to its collection.[141] Girls Band Party! grossed ¥31.2 billion ($282.55 million) between 2017 and 2018, including ¥9.1 billion in 2017 and ¥22.1 billion in 2018;[142][143] during the latter year, the game was the 15th-most successful mobile game and the second-most successful rhythm game in Japan in terms of revenue, only behind The Idolmaster Cinderella Girls: Starlight Stage.[143] BanG Dream! has also collaborated with various entities for promotions, including Pacific League baseball in 2018,[144] the Lawson convenience store chain in 2018 and 2019,[145][146] and Seiko watches in 2020.[147]

AnimeEdit

The anime has garnered mixed but gradually improving reception over time. Although the first season had lukewarm responses, the second and third have been regarded in a more positive light by reviewers. Chris Beveridge of The Fandom Post, who reviewed the first two seasons, praised the franchise's preparation for the anime's later seasons by producing other media to flesh out the setting rather than hastily creating additional seasons.[148]

The first season was one of the most-discussed shows on Japanese social media during the winter 2017 season.[149] However, it received mediocre reviews with particular criticism aimed at its plot. In a "C–"-grade critique, Anime News Network's Christopher Farris described the story as being "one of the downright emptiest [he had] seen in anime in a long while", citing the lack of true adversity faced by the characters.[95] Opinions on the animation and design were divided, with Farris calling it "a great-looking product overall" while Otaku USA writer Brittany Vincent—who noted other music shows like Love Live! also use CGI—wrote they "don't look particularly great".[150][95] Although Vincent praised the show for having "a lot of heart", she added "there are more inspired choices out there" for music anime.[150] Beveridge expressed his pleasure with the cast's realism, though he stressed the viewer's opinion of the characters "will make or break the show." He ultimately described BanG Dream! as a "solid and serviceable show that felt like a lot of other girl band shows."[151] In a 2018 interview with Real Sound, Kidani admitted the unenthusiastic reception from Japanese audiences led him to shift his investment to promoting Girls Band Party! before its release.[2]

Among Western reviewers, the second season was generally seen as an improvement story- and animation-wise. In an article for Polygon, Julia Lee listed the season as one of "six new anime series to watch this winter", praising the emphasis on the new bands and the switch to CGI "without losing much of the artistic style that made the first (season) pop."[152] Farris questioned the inclusion of new characters without much introduction, writing it was a jarring transition for those unfamiliar to Girls Band Party!. Nevertheless, he commended its emotional impact and increase in musical numbers, grading the season as a "C+" as he felt there were "still a lot of caveats to iron out before it can be called a true success for all but the most devoted."[153] Beveridge praised the season's performances for its fluid animation and "infectious energy" in the songs, and added that although he was not invested in the individual characters, he found it "incredibly easy to be engaged from episode to episode and enjoy the journey."[148]

The third season enjoyed favorable responses from writers like Farris and The Fandom Post's Shawn Hacaga, the former issuing a "B+" grade and the latter—who considers himself a fan of the franchise—writing reviews for each episode.[154][155] Describing the season as "a generally solid show in its own right," Farris praised the storyline for its concrete emphasis on the three main bands (Poppin'Party, Roselia, and Raise A Suilen) and its success in promoting the franchise's premise that "playing in a band with your friends for fun is the ultimate goal of performing".[154] Hacaga lauded Raise A Suilen's story, prompting him to regard the season as exceeding his expectations in his review of the fourth and fifth episodes, and described the bands' growths throughout the season as "an absolute joy" to watch in his final critique.[156][157]

DiscographyEdit

A total of 39 girls divided into eight bands (Poppin'Party, Afterglow, Pastel*Palettes, Roselia, Hello Happy World, Glitter*Green, Raise A Suilen and Morfonica) have each released singles and albums, the latter of which include original and cover songs. Glitter*Green's lone single "Don't be afraid!", which was used as an insert song for the anime's first season, was released in collaboration with Tantei Opera Milky Holmes.[158] Kō Nakamura and Elements Garden's Asuka Oda serve as the franchise's lyricists, with the former writing lyrics for most Poppin'Party songs while the latter does so for the others; Elements Garden's other members such as Noriyasu Agematsu and Junpei Fujita also compose and arrange music for the series.[159]

Various songs from BanG Dream! have been used as theme music for other Bushiroad properties. Poppin'Party's "Saa Ikō!" and "B.O.F." served as an opening and ending theme for the Future Card Buddyfight series, respectively; Aimi and Nishimoto also voiced characters in the show.[160][161] The Cardfight!! Vanguard series utilized Roselia and Raise A Suilen songs for its 2018 reboot, with Roselia performing the opening "Legendary" and ending "-Heroic Advent-" (the latter appearing in the G: Z arc),[162][163] while RAS was responsible for Cardfight!! Vanguard: High School Arc Cont.'s themes with "Invincible Fighter" and "Takin' My Heart".[164] The 2018 Cardfight!! spin-off Bermuda Triangle: Colorful Pastrale featured the Pastel*Palettes song "Wonderland Girl" as its opening.[165] In 2020, RAS performed the opening "Sacred world" for the anime Assault Lily Bouquet.[166]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ "BanG Dream!" is a stylized form of "Girl Band Dream", the "G" of "Girl" replacing the "d" of "Band" to form "BanG".

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit