Otaku USA Magazine
Our Anime Idols Are Different!

Sometimes anime idols are horses

In the ever-growing world of anime idols, it’s getting harder than ever to stand out. Early adopters like Love Live! and Aikatsu! paved the way… but with so many idols out there and only so many hours in the day, writers and studios are coming up with new spins on the concept. Some are inventive. Some are weird. But they’re all anime you can watch either now or soon!


Some Idols are DJs


Bushiroad struck gold with BanG Dream!, whose vocal talents also play their own instruments and perform as full bands. For their upcoming D4DJ, though, the idols are… well… DJs. They still perform like idol units, and sing their own music. But there’s at least one member of their group actively spinning onstage. It’s a pretty cool concept, and opens up a lot of potential musical material. And, of course, each group has their own personal style and aesthetic — including the outer space-inspired Photon Maiden and the elegant private school girls of Lyrical Lily.


Some Idols Are Magical Princesses

The Girls of Lapis Re:LiGHTs

Music is pretty magical, but this particular set of anime idols takes it to the next level. Mixed media project Lapis Re:LiGHTs features girls training to combine those abilities and become magical idols. And yes, they’re going to actual magic school. The new anime features princesses on the road to the throne, exchange students, and even a few paranormal creatures in the mix — as in yes, one of these girls is absolutely a werewolf.

Watch Lapis Re:LiGHTs!


Some Idols Are… Horses?

Uma Musume: Pretty Derby

Before Cygames went in on ZOMBIE LAND SAGA with Mappa and Avex Pictures, they were behind Umamusume: Pretty Derby. This show answered the question that someone, at some point, must have asked: what if famous Japanese race horses were pop stars? In the world of Umamusume, horse girls have a chance to become racing stars — which also entails being singing, dancing idols. It’s a very different sort of Winner’s Circle in this universe, let’s just say.

Watch Umamusume: Pretty Derby!


Some Idols Are Ruling the Stage

Gekidol / Actidol

Since 2016, the Gekidol Project (sometimes translated “Actidol”) has been attempting to drum up interest in stage dramas again. This particular media mix project goes a couple levels deep, with its stars playing their idol characters, and then the stage roles those idol characters play. Back in 2016, the cast of the project performed Alice in Deadly School, a show-within-a-show about a zombie apocalypse. Both Gekidol and Alice in Deadly School will be joining the ranks of anime soon — so you’ll get to see these idols in action before long, even if you can’t make it to a live show in Ikebukuro.

And there are still more inventive idol concepts out there! What are some of your favorites?

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.