|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
D4DJ First Mix
(Rent+ or Buy)|
(All episodes watched):
Well, I must admit to there being a sort of fun, silly feel to this show. Rinko's infectious enthusiasm makes her likable. She finds herself at a school which happens to have what can only be an elaborate job training program for the entertainment industry, and DJ'ing in particular. One thing I noticed was that background characters have ordinary sized eyes while the main players have oversized, expressive ones. Another thing was the definite CG feel to the animation, especially of song and dance acts (though it wasn't as obvious and distracting as in some other shows). Learning a little about how a DJs do their jobs (like synchronizing the Beats Per Minute of two songs to make a clean transfer from one to the other) was sort of interesting. It was almost predictable for Rinko's new friend, Maho Akashi, to recognize some sort of latent DJ talent within her. One problem might be that the music itself doesn't exactly thrill me. This wasn't brilliant, and it's too soon to say where this story is going, but I think I'm on board for episode two.
In episode two Maho enters herself and Rinko into an amateur 'remixing' competition. Remixing seems to be modifying songs but keeping the basics; again, this was educational and interesting. We get our first introduction to the girl who will be the third member of the team. I was eager to watch episode two and my interest hadn't flagged as I wondered just how these girls would make a name for themselves in the highly competitive field of DJ'ing at Yoba Academy. The third girl, Muno, has a talent for the video arts, which are often part of this field (she will serve as a 'VJ', or Video Jockey). And in episode four the final member of the team is recruited, Rei, a girl who is a talented pianist and can actually compose music. Early on you learn something in every episode, though later episodes largely stop trying to be educational. That's OK, because we can root for these girls. I don't know exactly what has been done right, but I remained curious where this story was going and hoped things work out well for the team. It's hard (perhaps impossible) for a not particularly dramatic series to keep us on the edge of our seats, but the thought occurred to me during episode five that D4DJ was coming closer to doing so than most anime do. I really felt some of Rinko's infectious optimism and enthusiasm. The bit where the girls choose a name for themselves made sense and was fun. In terms of comedy, D4DJ is definitely my first- or second-favorite show of the season. The competition with other teams at the school is friendly and constructive. They sometimes help each other, as happens in episode seven. In episode 11 a group they've beaten actually learns a lesson and improves itself. To a certain extent, this is another anime about being Idols, as the team dances and sings Idol-style during their performances, but the DJ angle gives it some originality. And it knows how to be fun. About the last thing I was expecting when Rinko decides to make a foray into singing rap was that it would impress me, but the rap contest she holds with Muni was surprisingly fun and even moving--even though I didn't quite grasp what was peeving Muni in the first place. I was always looking forward to the next episode of D4DJ.
The girls manage to earn a spot at the prestigious Sunset Stage competition. Normally (and predictably) they would manage narrow wins against overwhelming odds and somehow take the prize; but that's not exactly what happens here. The best part of the finale is how they deal with things not going entirely their way. It makes it all seem much more plausible and sincere. Also, the 3D animation of the performances was fluid and fun. This was one of those shows which I waited a long while to watch the final episode because I didn't want it to ever end. But there's a hint of a possible second season: 'See you in D4FES', whatever that stands for.
Last updated Wednesday, February 10 2021. Created Wednesday, October 28 2020.