Lolirock (Season one & two) - TV Review

Thursday, March 15, 2018

LoliRock follows the journey of young Iris, a spirited teenage girl with a beautiful voice and an unending desire to help others. When Iris joins the girl group LoliRock, her life is changed forever, as a new world of music, mysteries and magical powers is revealed. These three new friends are now bound together by their destinies as magical princesses and a fight against injustice. (IMDB)


The story is mostly centered on 15-year-old Iris, who loves to sing, but encounters strange situations each time she does so. After a little encouragement from her crush Nathaniel, she decides to attend an audition for a band called Lolirock that is searching for a new lead vocalist. This is how she meets Talia and Auriana and finds out the reason for the strange things that happen whenever she sings. If you have seen any other magical girl shows, you probably know how things go from here, so instead of just spoiling things for anyone new to the subgenre, I am just going to go straight into what I thought about seasons one and two.

My initial reaction to the show was “meh”. The music is just bad and if you judge it solely on the first one or two episodes, it comes off as a complete rip off of other higher quality shows. It feels very generic at first, but the animation is super pretty. I quickly decided that I would just keep it on in the background to keep me company...until I began to notice I was paying more attention to the show instead of the other tasks I had meant to be doing.

A few more episodes and it went from feeling like a decent rip off to a loving, fangirl/boy tribute. The transformation sequences are beautiful and I really love how the battles (and villains) slowly evolved with the show. The girls do not always win (or at least not easily) and are constantly being challenged to do better. Iris, Talia, and Auriana are never portrayed as “perfect” and are always stronger when together due to the “power of friendship”. Like most magical girl shows, it does become a bit repetitive at times (transformation sequences, monster of the week, etc) and at the end of season one, we are introduced to a few new characters (Izira, Carissa, Lyna), but they do not appear as often as I would like. The main villain, Gramorr, looks like he was designed for a completely different show and around season two the animations for him are just recycled in each episode. He only shows his ability two or three times during two seasons and comes off as very weak in my opinion (granted, he is stuck in a castle...but still). His minions (Mephisto and Praxina) and even his “pet” Banes are all ultimately portrayed to be much more capable. The two-parters are without a doubt the best episodes and my favorite moments are when Iris goes into her Shanila form.
So pretty!!!

Overall, when you set aside all of the numerous and obvious influences from other shows, Lolirock is a very good animated show that I would definitely recommend. However, if you grew up watching shows like Sailor Moon or Pretty Cure (aka Glitter Force) it may be hard to truly give it a chance. This is something that I had trouble with and still struggle with while writing this review. The outside influences are just too strong not to notice and unfortunately, I think it does take away from how much better Lolirock could have been (at least it does for me). It is hard to find yourself completely immersed if you are constantly noticing things that remind you of other shows (or as you will see below...easter egg like moments) Is it really a tribute to the creators favorite childhood shows? Or is it a well made ripoff...I still don't know.


The creator of the show, Jean-Louis Vandestoc, grew up watching anime and had a special love of the magical girl genre. Officially, only Pretty Cure, Sailor Moon, and Jem and the Holograms were cited as references for Lolirock, but a few others began to stick out to me as I made my way through the 52 episodes.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic/Equestria Girls
Some of the voice actors from the show are also the main voice actors on MLP. This, combined with the personalities of some of the characters (especially Carissa) and the role that Amaru (hello furry Spike) plays left me feeling like it must have had some influence on Lolirock (or at the very least the English adaptation). Also, the emphasis placed on the power of friendship reminded me of the core message of MLP.


Pokemon
Praxina and Mephisto ARE Team Rocket. That is all...




Josie and the Pussycats
Three girls in a rockband go around solving mysteries/helping people. This may just be how the Jem and the Holograms influence appeared to me though.






Others
Others who have watched Lolirock have pointed out similarities to W.I.T.C.H and Winx Club, but as I have not seen either of those shows...I couldn't say. Also, thanks to Alishia, I was made aware of something I missed:
   
Poor Amaru...he looks ashamed.

Season 1 Rating: 6/10
Season 2 Rating: 7.5/10
Watch/Buy: Netflix 

Official Site
Official Youtube (English)