Blu-Ray Review: STARMYU – Season 1

What will you do to become a star? For Yuta Hoshitani the dream is not to become a star; but to perform on the same stage as his idol. Dreams always begin small and today we take a closer look at MVM Entertainment’s upcoming Blu-Ray release of STARMYU – Season 1.

Synopsis:

First-year Yuta Hoshitani enters the esteemed Ayanagi Academy with dreams of following in his idol’s footsteps. But competition starts the moment he steps through the doors when some of the best young talent in the industry try out for a spot in the musical department.

Catching the eye of an eccentric member of the academy’s elite Kao Council, Hoshitani and five other misfits are given the chance they were hoping for. With egos as strong as their talent, it’s up to Hoshitani’s shining personality to bring Nayuki, Tengenji, Kuga, and Tsukigami together for the biggest performance of the semester. While the strict authorities of the Kao Council try to put an end to their inventive musicals, these five young stars practice day and night for a show that will shake the school!

Our View:

STARMYU caters to the anime fandom that likes spontaneous musical performance with flashy lights and handsome looking characters; but dive deeper beyond these beautiful visuals and you’ll find a darker – more competitive – nature that highlights that stardom isn’t everything you might imagine. From my perspective at least STAYMYU’s ‘bright and colourful’ visual presentation should be overlooked in order to enjoy a deeper storyline with the characters found within it. If done so you’ll find that STARMYU isn’t a male-variation of LOVE LIVE! Or K-ON! But instead a more competitive storyline with struggles and repercussions for those involved; and this is only just the beginning.

STARYMU namely follows the exploits of Yuta Hoshitani who, after witnessing a student from Ayanagi Academy practicing on an outdoor stage, dreams of performing on the same stage of this new found idol. As such Yuta pain-stakingly struggles to learn music and stage performance so that he can enter the same school as his mysterious idol; that school being Ayanagi Academy. Upon entering Ayanagi Academy Yuta then learns of the Star Teams and the additional training they receive from each member of the Kao Council, the most talented students from the Musical Department who stand at the top within the academy. As such Yuta takes part in the Star entrance test in hopes of being put on a team that works with the best of the academy.

It’s at this point we learn how competitive the students of Ayanagi Academy are as well as the importance of being accepted into a Star Team. For Yuta Hoshitani it is a difficult struggle; but fortunately for him Itsuki Otori, a Kao Council member, takes a liking to him and a number of other students. In the usual manner Yuta, along with these other students, would have failed; but due to Otori’s interest in these people Team Otori – and in turn Team Stardust – are born; and now the journey can really begin. Competitive academy nature is put on the backburner for the time being as viewers are introduced the different characters that make up Team Otori; with each character having a single episode to overcome the difficulties within their own hearts.

Team Otori is, to be blunt, a group of misfits. The main protagonist, and team leader, Yuta Hoshitani is disorganised and isn’t used the world of musical arts. Toru Nayuki, who Yuta befriends on the first day of school, is shy, quiet and easily gets stage fright. Kaito Tsukigami meanwhile is often compared to his successful parents and his older brother which means that everyone else expects him to do great things. Kakeru Tengenji is a famous kabuki actor and finds himself unwilling to work with those who aren’t on the same skill level as him; and finally we have Shu Kuga who is a bit of a recluse and mysterious person. It’s the task of Otori to form these misfits, who (truth be told) are each talented, into an exceptional team of performers and as such the first five episodes of this twelve episode season is about exploring these characters personalities through Yuta’s own approachable personality.

It’s nice for each episode to spend time focusing on a character and seeing the main character help overcome their fears or personality styles; and the same also comes back – much later in fact – when the team help Yuta with his own doubts and regrets. They may be a group of misfits; but they eventually do become close and work as a team ready to tackle the best performances within the Academy. Ironically this is only part of the story; as the rest focuses on the school (performance) life of Ayanagi Academy.

By the half-way point the series begins exploring the difficulties of being a Star Team at the academy; in this case Star teams are required to perform and achieve passing grades in order to continue being accepted as a Star Team. As such Team Otori adapts a well-known piece into their own style for a unique performance that brings new life into the school; much to the annoyance of the Kao Council. A second performance meanwhile, of which would be shown to the public, is also performed; but when disaster strikes due to bad weather Team Otori use all their resources in order to put on a show they desire – yet again much to annoyance of the Kao Council and its strict legacy.

STARMYU explores the prospect of multiple personalities from different origins banding together to create a team that shouldn’t even exist; but while doing so we see them perform to the best of their abilities and beat all the odds to become one of the most outlandish teams in the academies history. Elsewhere meanwhile the remaining Kao Council members find themselves plotting a way to dissolve the group due to the shame they bring on the traditions set out by the council. School life is never easy; and in this particular academy it’s even difficult – especially when everyone is judging your next move.

The focus of STARMYU is essentially the characters, their performances and the daily struggle of surviving within an academy that hates your existence; the reason being due to Otori and his unorthodox approach to managing the students and crating the performances. At times it is light-hearted, warm and fun – with plety of spontaneous dance and singing routines – but on the other hand it can be dark, deceptive and dangerous. It’s a nice twist to what I was simply expecting to be an Otome style musical.

Extras:

Despite all of its musical charm this UK Blu-Ray release of STARMYU, which uses the FUNimation master as its base, only features textless opening and closing songs as part of its bonus features.

It is a simplistic barebones release, even more so as it does not feature an English dub, but in addition to the textless songs we do receive a selection of FUNimation related trailers. Once again as this is a FUNimation master the trailers are tailored to North American FUNimation releases rather than for products MVM have planned for release.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50, BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 3:33:28 (Disc 1), 1:11:16 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

This first season of STARMYU acts as an introduction to the characters and the world of Ayanagi Academy and as such does not find itself with a conclusive ending; but a satisfying ending that leaves itself open for Season 2 (which broadcast in Japan in 2018) and Season 3 (broadcasting this year in 2019). If you are looking for a conclusive musical performance then sadly this is not it; but it does open up a new showcase of music and entertainment with an all male cast.

The focus on STARMYU is Team Otori (Team Stardust) who find themselves overcoming difficulties in order to achieve their dreams and put on the show they desire. In starts with overcoming ones shortcomings, such as working together and accepting friendship, before moving on to the difficulties of attending Ayanagi Academy. As such over these twelve episodes we see each of the characters independently grow while overcoming the obstacles they have been set by members of the Kao Council. The end result? The become the best at the academy and to achieve each on of their dreams.

STARMYU – Season 1 is presented with the consistent quality one would expect from a Blu-Ray release mastered by FUNimation; but unlike traditional FUNimation releases it is only presented in Japanese audio with white subtitles. This isn’t a  negative (as I highly doubt I would have enjoyed it as much dubbed) however FUNimation’s preference of subtitling (i.e. everything in white) means that when multiple conversations or arguments are taking place it can be difficult to follow along if you are not used to reading subtitles. A change in colour, or font – such as Sentai Filmwork subtitles – would have made this approach much more manageable and easier to understand.

For me STARMYU was a nice change of pace and I was pleasantly surprised by what it had to offer; sure enough some similarities can be seen with K-ON and LOVE LIVE! (i.e. it is an underdog story) but at the same time it had that comical charm and progressive storyline that other anime series tend to leave out after awhile. Be advised this is a ‘music’ themed anime series; so plenty of spontaneous musical performances (with visual flairs) will occur on a regular basis – these are not my forms of enjoyment but some songs (and performances) were really good; so it’s well worth giving it a try.

Score: review-stars-3

STARMYU – Season 1 will be available on Blu-Ray via MVM Entertainment on the 18th March 2019.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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