Idol no Akahon – Review
13-year old Shiho Iida is one of those girls who always wanted to be an idol. When she finally received the call that a company wanted to book her, it turned out that a miscommunication caused the group to book three separate talents at once. Rather than turn down the girls who worked so hard to get there, it’s decided that the three of them will form an idol group, the uncreatively titled Triple Booking.
Oh, and did I mention the creator of Seitokai Yakuindomo wrote this?
In case it isn’t apparent, I don’t know a thing about idols. I was never into Japanese singers or anything related to that, aside from what I hear in general anime. This series could be an exact copy of The Idolmaster for all I know, but I doubt it since it’s only one volume long. Even with that lack of knowledge, there are still one or two things that I found odd about how this series portrayed the life of an idol. Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t a real life idol usually have to, you know, sing?
The focus of this manga is on the personal lives of characters who happen to be related to the idol industry. It focuses so heavily on what everyone is like that there’s never any time spent on actually showing them working. We see them help judge a contest at one point, and I think the heroine’s classmates discuss her work once or twice, but that’s really it. We see them sing more in the Seitokai anime than we do in this whole series (check after the credits of OVA 4). I understand that the focus is supposed to be on the comedy, but it’s not a good sign if the reader constantly forgets what the premise of the series is supposed to be.
And speaking of the comedy, I was expecting a lot more out of this series. Partially in how funny the jokes were, but mostly in the actual amount of material each chapter gets. There’s a good deal of time spent explaining whatever situation the characters are in, and while it wouldn’t matter if the chapters were a normal length, the average Idol chapter is about six pages. That’s not a lot of room to waste, and it rapidly cuts into the space saved for the actual humour. It’s too short to really count as a slice-of-life, so if it can’t bring in the laughs I have to wonder what the point of reading is.
I suppose maybe part of my dislike for the way Idol turned out is because of the style. For some reason the artwork, coupled with the layout of the panels reminded me of Yotsuba&! more than Seitokai. It’s obviously not as well drawn, but that was still the main point of comparison I had going in. The fact is that this kind of writing works much better with either more pages to work with or a 4-koma layout. I know this isn’t the first series Ujiie Tozen has worked on, so I suspect the reason it was this short was because he realized this type of series wasn’t the best thing for him. That, or he couldn’t figure out how to make the actual singing funny.
I’m not going to go so far to say that this was a bad series. It’s fairly harmless, and short enough that someone could easily blow off steam by reading it. But after finishing, it’s hard to say that anything was really gained from it. I suppose this is a good example of how some ideas don’t work perfectly on the first try, though I’m still left wondering why this series keeps getting referenced in Seitokai. Did the seiyuu for that series just really want to call themselves Triple Booking when they sang the opening? We may never know.
Highly Recommended: N/A
Recommended: Idol fans, Seitokai fans, anyone with internet and an hour to kill
Not Recommended: Anyone who dislikes perverted humour, anyone whose favourite Haruhi episode was Live Alive