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[R2 DVD box art]
AKA: らぶドル
Genre: Music comedy/drama
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: Currently unlicensed in North America.
Content Rating:
Related Series: Console game on PS2.
Also Recommended: Full Moon, Kirarin Revolution, NANA (if it doesn't necessarily have to be pop music.)
Notes: There's also a LoveDol videogame on PS2. Whether that's based on the show or the show is based on the game, I have no idea. Nor do I really care about finding out.
Rating:
 

LoveDol ~Lovely Idol~

Synopsis

The LoveDol are about to have their third batch debut, but their manager is told that the session will be delayed because the current group do not have what it takes... yet. And so, the long process of getting the girls ready for their grand debut starts.

Review

Before I start this review in full, I would like to make it clear that I'm a bit of a music snob. After all, listening to music is one of my favorite pasttimes. And as many genres as I like, when it comes to Jpop, my relationship to it has been casual at best. Still, some artists -- like Makino Yui and her mellow singing -- have slowly been winning me over through themes from Aria and Sketchbook, for instance. Nor do I really think that the fame of Sakamoto Maaya is undeserved. Far from it.

When it comes to bubblegum pop, though, my feelings can be described in no other way than frigid, and there's no better example why than in LoveDol. Right from the opening theme, an annoyingly dizty and squeaky affair set to cleanly produced, but horribly generic elevator music, LoveDol tries to convince you that these people should be rooted for. "They're ready", the manager whines in the opening episode, as he's cut down by the president of the company and told to buzz off and not come back until the girls truly ARE ready.

Ready for what, you may ask? For one, looking and acting like this...

Wow, I can barely contain my excitement about watching this random group of four girls grow into becoming pop stars. In fact, I think my ears just tore themselves off my head and ran screaming from the room in pure, unadulterated joy.

Anyway, along the way, our dear manager decides that maybe he should have more girls joining the group. One of them ended up being his little sister, because every group needs a lolita character. To be fair, though, she was the one who bullied herself into the group instead of him dragging her into it. However, as he still ponders what his group lacks, he just HAPPENED to walk past someone singing in the street. EUREKA!

Unfortunately for him, the girl in question, Mizuki, apparently hates singing and basically tells him to get lost. Yes, she's a street singer that hates singing. See, she's doing it for revenge, which is why she's "so good" at it. Well, good enough to completely spellbind our dear manager loser, anyway. So, what does he do? Why, he starts stalking her, of course. Every day, even going so far as to get the other LoveDol members to help him out. It still astounds me to this day that she eventually caved in and joined this travesty.

With the full cast finally in hand, the next step on the road to stardom is voice acting. For a magical girl mascot dog, if you were wondering. Next up on the list is.... being a swimsuit-clad extra on a commercial. What that has to do with singing is anybody's guess, but I suppose being an idol is also all about looks. That's why I just love shows like this, and yes, I'm lying through my teeth.

Not to worry, though, because after this, the girls resume their grand quest of getting their dance steps in sync, so they can impress the otaku crowd with their fabulous singing. Of course, there's still the fact that they're just not ready yet. What's that? Mizuki's talent are making the other rely on her too much? Well, we better give her a solo debut then, except... that wasn't the case after all. Oh, you just had to work harder. Well, then... my bad for thinking you were going somewhere with this little story element.

Then, Mizuki must face her past and her mother, which brings her singing progress to a grinding halt. If you're expecting anything remotely dramatic, though, then prepare yourself for disappointment. In fact, if you're expecting anything remotely logical, presented with any kind of detail, you'll feel a great dissatisfaction afterwards. I guess the only important thing was that she had a falling out with her mother, and that it lead her to singing, which then lead her to the third batch. Don't stress the small things, ok? Oh, and work harder.

The twelve episodes this show consists of counts among the longest twelve episodes I have ever had to undertake. The infernal singing should probably take most of the blame for this, but the running jokes -- like the girl with the blue hair (I don't remember her name, ok?) and her magical ability to make microwave ovens explode -- just kills me stone dead. Oh, and then, there's the abuse of the main lead, a classic within comedies revolving around one guy, several girls. And this isn't even a romantic comedy. The ONE TIME this show actually managed to be funny -- which happened in the last episode, where the girls were told to perform a sound check before the big night and proceeded to take jabs at each other's bad habits on the mike in a hip-hop'ish fashion -- the sound manager tells them to knock it off and sing their song instead. The standup comedy skit lasted 20 seconds. Thank you for making sure I would not enjoy this show any longer than strictly necessary, you asshole.

If you think you can suffer through twelve episodes of the pinkest, most ribbon-clad bubblegum pop ever seen (at least, I hope this is the case), then you will love this show. If you're a bit of a music snob, though, you may want to keep your ears in their proper place by avoiding it. Its dramatic bits are pretty worthless, its comedy is -- save for that 20 second scene -- already used and reused in hundred shows or more, and its music is one of the reasons the show felt so much longer than the 276 minutes it really is.

What else is there to recommend about this show? Nothing, that's what.

I hope my ears comes back soon. I need them to listen to something else, so that I can get these horrible songs out of my head.Stig Høgset

Recommended Audience: Aside from my extreme dissent to the kind of music this show promotes, there really isn't much to complain about. There's some fanservice, which is nothing new for this kind of show anyway.



Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
LoveDol ~Lovely Idol~ © 2006 AIC / TNK / LoveDol! Production Committee