- Studios: MAPPA
- Source: Original
- Genres: Sci-Fi, Music
- Synopsis: “Set in a world where the concept of music ceases to exist. The story begins when a boy encounters Myuu, a mysterious girl who possesses an audio input jack in her body. The two intermingle with the history of rock music and embark on an unforgettable journey.” -MAL News
An original boy meets girl story in a world where music doesn’t exist by MAPPA. Can’t say I wasn’t interested as MAPPA has been doing a lot of good work lately. Listeners started off strong but fell apart the further in the story it got. While the overall idea and concept of the world of Listeners is expansive and the pieces are present in the show, it lacks the connecting pieces to tie everything together. It’s like each episode is an arc, extremely rushed, and the moments that happen in between each of these “arcs” are left out. I felt disoriented every time I saw a new episode, thinking I missed something from the last episode, which wasn’t the case.
Artwork & Animation:
First off, I want to say that the opening animation is the best opening of the season (Spring 2020). The amazing attention to detail in every single frame is spectacular and every way. I can only imagine the amount of in-between animation it took to get all the movement to look that smooth! I’ll leave a link below for your viewing pleasure!
Now the opening and ending animation are both phenomenal. The overall art and animation are impressive but didn’t quite live up to the hype and expectation that the opening set. The mech designs are a key element in the story and I personally didn’t find the “Amps”, as they’re called, very striking and it didn’t help that they were animated in CGI. There were hits and misses, but overall the art of Listeners is satisfactory and made the show a pleasurable watch.
Much similar to the story, the characters of Listeners are quite sporadic and piecemeal. The exception is Echo and Myuu and even then, there is quite a bit of growth that we don’t see upfront. One episode, Echo is a defenseless boy trying to find his place in the world and the next episode he’s carrying the entire world on his shoulders. The lack of steady progression creates these moments in the show where it lacks tension and only creates more questions. The rest of the cast are simply put, background characters whose only purpose is to progress the story for Echo and Myuu, coming and going as the story needs. It’s difficult to emotionally invest in the characters when there’s so little development for them besides their name and occupation.
Sound (OST & Voice Acting):
To say that the heart and soul of the entire show is the soundtrack, would be an understatement. One of the unique things about Listeners is the amount of ending songs. Each episode has its own ending, which, of course, are all excellent songs. While I’m not sure exactly what ending songs are about lyrically, I get the feeling that they represent the feelings of the characters that were focused on in that specific episode. Jin is an incredible artist and he crafted the soundtrack to fit into the world of Listener, so well to the point that it felt like Listeners was molded to the soundtrack instead!
I really enjoyed the soundtrack of the show the story itself but the story was hard to get into as it had big gaps in-between key plot points. I felt confused each time I started a new episode! Not to mention that I was expecting more of the “Life without music” portion of the story and that didn’t really come until the very end.
Listeners is an ambitious original anime with a soundtrack composed by Jin. Unfortunately, it makes the same mistakes as Jin’s previous work Mekakucity Actors (animated by SHAFT) with its piecemeal story and lightly written characters. Though a strong soundtrack and decent world-building does make this show a worthwhile watch regardless.
Best Girl: Janice
To avoid spoilers, I’ll keep this section short. Janice’s presence really slowed down the tempo of the show and to be honest, was the reason why the show scored as high as it did (I was going to give it a 4 initially…). I thought her personality and her chance encounter with a certain character brought the chopped up story of Listeners together into something that was worth watching.
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