Show By Rock!! is a twelve-episode animated adaptation of a rhythm video game developed and published by Geechs, in conjunction with Sanrio. The anime was directed by Takahiro Ikezoe and written by Tōko Machida. The studio that produced it was Bones.
Show By Rock!! features a first-year high school girl called Cyan Hijirikawa as its main protagonist. Though she has a passion for music, she is extremely shy and cannot bring herself to ask to join her school’s music club.
Whilst playing a rhythm game, Cyan earns a guitar called ‘Strawberry Heart’, and she is then pulled into a different world. She ends up in Tokyo Midi City, where those who command music control everything. She takes the form of a cat girl whilst in the new world, and winds up joining a band called Plasmagica. However, she quickly comes to learn she was pulled into the strange world for a particular reason – to fight against beings known as ‘dark monsters’.
Aside from the first episode, the first half of Show By Rock!! has very little focus on the monsters. Instead, it goes for more traditional girls club anime approach, showing the four members of Plasmagica – Cyan, Retoree, Chuchu and Moa – interacting with each other and other bands.
There are several different bands that appear in Show By Rock!!, and they cover different genres. This results in a varied soundtrack, which is pretty damn good overall. Of course, as this is a show about music, you would expect that to be the case.
The members of the other bands are certainly a quirky bunch of characters – it’s quite fun watching them play together and interact with their fellow/rival bands.
When the plot does go back to focusing on the dark monsters, Show By Rock!! doesn’t really bother dragging things out. For the most part, things that might more traditionally span over the course of a few episodes are resolved in one. This has an impact on the pacing of the plot.
Though some things are resolved, another one is shown at once or twice and mostly forgotten about – Retoree’s crush on Cyan. Whilst this has led to some fanart from the internet, nothing really comes of it in the show – which is quite a shame.
One of the things about Show By Rock!! that might put some people off is the use of CG. It’s generally reserved for dark monsters and the bands performing, and it doesn’t look too bad. It probably helps that the band members take on cute animal-like forms, regardless of the genre of music they perform.
Ultimately, though, Show By Rock!! is enjoyable to watch. Of course, the music is easily the best part of the anime. Whilst the pacing isn’t the greatest, there’s plenty of other things here to love.
Whilst it has a few things that could be improved, Show By Rock!! proves to be a fun watch, with a good soundtrack.