The Japanese music media franchise owned by Bushiroad returns with its third anime adaptation. BanG Dream! 3rd Season was directed by Kodai Kakimoto, and written by Yuniko Ayana. The studio that produced it was Sanzigen, and the music is by Elements Garden – a name that Symphogear fans should be very familiar with.
BanG Dream! 3rd Season aired during the winter 2020 season of anime, and is available to watch on HIDIVE – together with the first and second seasons, as well as the OVA.
The third season of BanG Dream! focuses on the BanG Dream! Girls Band Challenge!, in which the band that wins has the opportunity to perform at the Budokan. Unlike the second season, which jumped around a bit from band to band, this third season offers a tighter focus on just three bands: Poppin’ Party, Roselia and RAISE A SUILEN (or just RAS for short).
Whilst Afterglow, Pastel * Palettes and Hello, Happy World! do make appearances every now and again in this season, they are relegated to the role of supporting cast. It is a particular shame about Afterglow, as they had firmly been established as Roselia’s rivals.
However, a new rivalry sparks up between Roselia and RAS, and all Afterglow can really do is show their support for Roselia.If anything, the main stars of this season are arguably RAISE A SUILEN. The story begins with producer CHU2 scouting Rokka Asahi for the band, and almost all of the drama involves RAS in some way.
The third season gives viewers a closer look at just what the individual members of RAS are like, which is something that is carried over from the second season.Something that comes to light in this season of BanG Dream! is CHU2’s motivation for creating RAISE A SUILEN. She does come across as overbearing at first, but all the drama that RAS find themselves getting wrapped up in contributes to the growth of each member of the band in the end. Patience pays off when it comes to CHU2.Compared to Roselia and RAISE A SUILEN, Poppin’ Party have it kind of easy in this season. They’ve had their fill of drama with the first two seasons, so they can just focus on doing what they do best: creating music. It is always a joy to see Poppin’ Party’s interactions with each other and the other bands, and BanG Dream! 3rd Season is no exception to that.One thing that is consistent across all the seasons of BanG Dream! is its absolutely stellar soundtrack. Every performance by every band is an absolute joy to listen to, whether it is the powerful performances from Roselia or the jaunty tunes of Hello, Happy World!. The third season leans more towards those powerful performances with its focus on Roselia and RAS, with Poppin’ Party somewhat bridging the gap.
One aspect of BanG Dream! that fans quite enjoy is its yuri content. There’s a nice little treat early on with Asuka and Rokka, as seen above. However, that is overshadowed by a certain couple of members of RAISE A SUILEN as their drama comes to a climax. Being tied into RAS’s story also makes that drama all the more satisfying.
BanG Dream! 3rd Season is kind of in a weird place. Knowledge of the mobile game is practically a requisite for getting the most out of the second season, whereas the tighter focus on Poppin’ Party, Roselia and RAISE A SUILEN in this third season means it is a little bit easier to jump in. But you need to watch the second season before the third, so those who will get the most out of it are those who have played the mobile game. RAISE A SUILEN have not been added to the English version of BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! just yet at the time of writing (besides one song), so that could go some way towards explaining why the anime puts a greater focus on RAS.All in all, BanG Dream! 3rd Season offers an extremely satisfying experience. Whilst it is a little unfortunate about Afterglow, Pastel * Palettes & Hello, Happy World having very little to do, PoPiPa, Roselia and RAS more than make up for that.
The climax of this season is also spectacular, with a nod to the first season of BanG Dream, and demonstrating just what the Girls Band Generation is all about. Some compelling events lead up to a fantastic finale.
A tighter focus on specific bands allows BanG Dream! 3rd Season to present some compelling drama, plenty of fun scenes and an incredible soundtrack.