The Summer 2021 Preview Guide
IDOLiSH7 Third Beat!
How would you rate episode 1 of
IDOLiSH7 Third Beat! ?
What is this?
Kujo starts carrying out his plans to defame Gaku and Ryu, in attempt to make Tenn become a solo artist to better achieve his goal of nurturing the idol who will surpass the missing Zero. Meanwhile, a new group ZOOL makes their debut, but they're giving the other idols the cold shoulder. Worse is when more of the past - especially related to Zero's lyricist Haruki Sakura - continues to surface. And it seems ZOOL's manager, Ryo Tsukumo, also has his own evil plans.
How was the first episode?
It's back! Are you ready? Whoops, wrong boy idol show reference there. But the fact remains that I'm nearly always ready for a new season of IDOLiSH7 for the simple fact that, despite incorporating so many of the tropes of its genre, it manages to tell an interesting story each time that very rarely feels melodramatic or stretched to the point of credulity. Considering that the series involves not one, but two sets of separated siblings with one taken in by a guy who is basically a mustache-twirling villain, a guy who speaks with an atrocious accent, and roughly forty named characters, that's no small achievement.
All of that said, IDOLiSH7 Third Beat! is starting off fairly mild. There is a very worrisome opening scene wherein we find out that at some point in the future TRIGGER will have a fall from grace, but then we move fairly quickly to pick up where the 2nd Beat ended: Re:Vale, TRIGGER, and IDOLiSH7 are all preparing for the concerts to open the new Zero Arena, Tsugumi's agency is doing so well that Banri's being brought on specifically to manage Mezzo, and by all accounts everything's coming up roses for all concerned. So now it's on with the formal suits and off to a fancy industry party!
Despite the party scenes being outwardly a bit dull, I suspect that we're getting a lot of important hints for the events to come. Even without several veiled references to something called “The Chiba Salon”, it's clear that everyone is moving into a much more dangerous, crony-filled area of the entertainment industry. The person who seems to be the most worried about this is Gaku, in no small part because of his raging crush on Tsugumi. But even without that, him seeking her out at the party to discuss some of the people present and their roles in entertainment feels ominous, like he's trying to tell her something without explicitly stating it. Several of the IDOLiSH boys are also either hearing similar statements or observing the way the people around them are interacting, and while really only Yamato looks upset (in fact, he looks furious at the end of the episode), it's clear that they're at least moderately aware of something going on beneath the surface of the gathering. Simply put, there's a sudden awareness that they've been wading in the shallows, and that farther out, the water hides sharks.
It's perhaps not the most exciting way to start a new season. There aren't really even any new songs, and the only major carryover from season two is the confrontation between Tamaki and Tenn over Aya, with the tacit acknowledgement on Tenn's part that there's something very off about Kujo, the man who adopted both himself and Tamaki's sister. But when you start to put together the pieces – the Chiba Salon, where Yuki's new co-start studied, the strange man in the flashy suit – there's a good chance that we're in for a much darker season. I trust the show to get us there and to make it worth our while.
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