Episode 1 was mediocre, episode 2 was better, episode 3 & 4 were great. I was comparing it to Pretty Rhythm, but now, besides their background of both being adaptations of arcade games for little girls, Aikatsu! already detached itself from Pretty Rhythm. Pretty Rhythm is a Nekketsu sports show, Aikatsu! is a realistic idol show. Pretty Rhythm is Virtua Tennis, Aikatsu! is Top Spin ( I played Top Spin 4 at a friend’s place this weekend).
The plot is similar: the reveal in episode 2 about how the school’s director in Aikatsu! is a previous top idol, who used to be part of a duo until her partner mysteriously vanished, immediately made me think about Kyouko in Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream, the manager of the girls, who used to be a top idol, until her rival mysteriously disappeared. Seems like Aikatsu’s plot in the end will revolve around this just like Pretty Rhythm. I’ve even willing to bet the 3rd heroine who has yet to join Ichigo and Aoi will be the daughter of either the director or the vanished idol.
However, when you stop looking at the plot, then the similarities end. When I watched episode 3 of Aikatsu! I really felt like I was watching a documentary about an idol’s daily work routine in Japan. It was really amazing in a sense.
Aikatsu!, is a contraction of “Idol Katsudou” or idol activities.