It’s MyGO, the new-generation spin-off of the BanG Dream! brand, will undoubtedly stand out right away even if you aren’t familiar with the larger BanG Dream! franchise. With its rain-soaked opening scenes where we watch a budding band of schoolgirls break up while others lament how miserable the experience has made them, the series immediately distinguishes itself from the larger sea of musical multimedia project anime. This is neither a K-ON or a Bocchi the Rock!, and as it progresses, It’s MyGO demonstrates that it is completely unique in addition to being a very amazing new start for BanG Dream! as a whole.
It’s not necessary for the duration of this review to compare It’s MyGO to its franchise antecedents, but it’s still important to do so. least of all because the majority of the BanG Dream! animation up until this point has been created by series creator Yuniko Ayana and director Koudai Kakimoto. Therefore, It’s MyGO’s radically different tone and approach don’t signify a franchise hiring new creators to upend things with a brand-new vision, but rather the main storytellers using their established grounds to keep pushing and experimenting with what they can do. Instead of just being a testbed, It’s MyGO seems like a story in and of itself and succeeds as such. By the time it’s over, however, a few aspects identify it as such an experiment, although a hugely successful one.
It can be difficult to evaluate It’s MyGO outside of the wider BanG Dream! story, especially if you’re an experienced fan who is familiar with it. A large portion of the new anime is built on Ayana returning to ideas from the first season of the program (remember, the one that wasn’t CGI animated?) in order to explore or subvert them. The do-or-die urge for multiple characters to play in a particular band with pals suggests more underlying concerns and may not be the best method for what is meant to be a lighthearted activity. It’s MyGO, however, conveys the advantages of success at such endeavors in a more visceral, palpable way than any of the BanG Dream! anime before it by stressing on the sheer work that must be put in, not just to refine performances but to make the relationships between bandmates function.
This inevitably leads to It’s MyGO being a succession of extremes, with exciting heights and unrelentingly miserable depths in between. Even while those who prefer a more welcoming package may find this to be off-putting, the brand has conveniently covered that ground before. This animation from the BanG Dream! series is by far the most outrageously ambitious ever, and as a result, it is all the more impressive for it. A fascinating exercise in figuring out what the story’s true vibes will be is watching the story and characters since the prickliness is intrinsically linked to that intricacy.
This is mostly learned by following the characters and getting to know their genuine selves. Similar to Kasumi and a few other characters introduced across the BanG Dream! narrative, the main perspective character Anon decides on the spur of the moment to join a girls’ band. But it soon becomes clear that Anon’s efforts are mostly motivated by a need for attention and approval from others rather than a sincere desire to play music or the chance of making sincere connections with new people. She uses clichés about doing your best and never giving up in the face of difficulty to entice potential allies like Tomori, but this is only because Anon has convinced herself that she belongs at the heart of a story like this.
The people who have been drawn into Anon’s orbit have experienced one of the worst outcomes that could have happened from holding out for such hopes and goals, which Anon is unaware of and which we are only briefly made aware of. Additionally, none of them are in a situation where they can try again since they have moved on and are no longer in pain. Taki, the drummer, has become ferociously protective of both herself and Tomori, the singer, whom she feels bound to defend. As a result of her fixation with her ex-bandmate Saki, bassist Soyo has turned inward and developed into a cunning schemer who views everyone she knows as only tools for mending that connection. Even the lead guitarist Rna, who wasn’t a part of the break-up and appears to be the least developed “comic relief” of the core group, owes her wandering, stray cat status to bad narrative beats stemming from incidents that date all the way back to that first BanG Dream! season. As implied by their names, they are all lost girls.
The actual person at the core of this, despite Anon’s best attempts, is Tomori. Although it would be a stretch to refer to Tomori as the “lead character” because It’s MyGO is firmly committed to being an ensemble work, Tomori is nevertheless the vital center of the group, keeping its pulse. She is a sincere individual who is so forthright and truthful about herself that her lyrics and stage presence reflect this quality. She is therefore difficult to discuss without at least accepting the character’s obvious coding as being neurodivergent to some extent.
Tomori’s portrayal seems to have been made with a lot of care and respect, even though I personally can’t speak to evaluating it in comparison to the real-life experiences of people on that spectrum. We can see her unwillingness to let go of anything, which relates to the concerns that motivate her interactions with former and current bandmates. As she frantically seeks to understand why she is unable to feel as others do, her lyrics begin as mantras scrawled in her thick notebooks. Many of BanG Dream!’s other, more cartoonish characters have never attempted to be as raw as this one. To have them permit Tomori to let out her heart’s screams on stage despite things like Anon’s shallow attention-seeking or Soyo’s manipulations still sounds triumphant.
I understand that some viewers might find the characters’ more trivial, untidy traits off-putting, but I think they’re just as much of a strength as Tomori’s heights. The conflict between these individuals creates melodrama of the greatest caliber, influencing the heightened emotions that give these fictitious (and many non-fictionalized) musical indulgences their potent emotional impact. The storyline of It’s MyGO is interwoven with passing references to the situations of its performers, including the break-up of the earlier band and the other former members. It encourages repeat episode viewings and expands the realm of the story to demonstrate how MyGO’s journey still has more to offer.
With its new narrative tone, the series’ visuals keep up the pace.
If you’ve been following the franchise (and side projects like D4DJ), you know how far the studio’s CGI capabilities have advanced. SANZIGEN is back to animate the series. The following stage in that progression is represented by Its MyGO. Beyond the optimistic elements of earlier works, the more dramatic directing allows them to demonstrate their talents as characters’ desperate, dejected body language is portrayed in all its savage grandeur. The studio’s proficiency in rendering facial expressions has also far exceeded expectations, enabling the characters’ continuing, always changing nuance. Taki’s incredulously enraged wrath at them and Soyo’s calculatedly distant emotions are both carefully observed. The choreographed opening theme number features Tomori’s tense body language, which is so much a part of her performance.
Even with the familiar CGI models and style, it so clearly distinguishes the series that you probably won’t get confused by it. On sight, it’s MyGO for the previous BanG Dream! seasons. The bright sequences have had their saturation cranked way up, while the darker pictures pitch as murky as some of the characters’ attitudes, fitting the contrast between the storyline’s highs and lows. The darks, in particular, can occasionally border on being too dark. But when these opposites collide in musical situations, the consequences may be breathtaking.
The group’s initial performance in the seventh episode is among the best illustrations of the animation team’s attention to detail. Tomori stumbles through the first verse of the band’s performance, which repeatedly falters until gloriously roaring to life for the remainder of the song. The band eventually comes together with their new song in the tenth episode. On stage, Tomori delivers poetry with no additional sound. I must congratulate Hina Yomiya, who plays the voice of Tomori, for capturing the character’s particular range with a delightful, invigorating aplomb. The rest of these scenes, however, stand out as the kind of stuff you wouldn’t anticipate from a show whose first-season depiction of a “awkward” musical performance was only an impromptu rendition of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”
It’s MyGO almost becomes a victim of its own popularity due to the overwhelming thrill of breaking the norm. Because of its captivating start and sledgehammer of a middle, its carefree glide to a conclusion by the last episode feels lacking. That is intentional. It would be inconceivable for the female characters to be completely satisfied by the end of the story given the dynamics of the female cast. Even more than any unresolved character arcs, that titular gang foreshadowed in supporting roles throughout this season contributes to the painfully abrupt finale. It’s not that it doesn’t stick the landing; in fact, by the time the closing titles appear, it hasn’t even touched down.
But if the BanG Dream’s most obvious issue! That there isn’t more of It’s MyGo!!!!! can only suggest that this anxious little experiment was a resounding success.
Yuniko Ayana has proven her prowess as a writer for this brand and the breadth of what she is capable of. Kakimoto and SANZIGEN assist her in producing a show with a diverse ensemble of performers that may not have drawn as many viewers this season, but nevertheless merits attention. The MyGO team has created an anime that fits those requirements while still standing, yelling, on stage as itself as a fresh start spin-off and continuous multimedia tie-in.