With another year of anime coming to an end it is currently awards season in the online anime space and with it comes a chance to shine a spotlight on some of the lesser known shows of the year that deserve to be talked about more. BanG Dream! It's MyGO!!!! is one of those shows, receiving three nominations in the r/anime awards including one for anime of the year despite being the third least watched full length show of the season it aired, summer 2023, according to My Anime List.
BanG Dream! It's MyGO!!!!! takes a step back from the prior seasons of Bandori, being a standalone entry focusing on an entirely new band in the titular MyGO!!!!! and going for a much more dramatic tone. For the most part I think it works wonders, creating a hard hitting story about how difficult it can be to deal with the loss of something precious to you, but eventually learning to start moving forwards and forming something else precious to you in the process.
After a successful first live performance most of the members of CRYCHIC think everything is going well, but suddenly two of its members, pianist, Sakiko Togawa and guitarist, Mustumi Wakaba quit the band, and without two of their members CRYCHIC drifts apart. About a year later Anon Chihaya moves to a new school and after seeing the band culture there she want to join a band, thinking she can get popular doing so, and luckily for her she’s in the same class as the ex-vocalist of CRYCHIC, Tomori Takamatsu. After initially being unsuccessful in recruiting Tomori, by chance Anon runs into 2 other former CRYCHIC members, the drummer, Taki Shiina, and the bassist, Soyo Nagasaki, and together with Soyo, Anon works to get the band back together. But unbeknownst to Anon these members come with emotional baggage due to their time in CRYCHIC so doing so turns out to be no easy feat. Along the way guitarist Raana Kaname practically forces herself on everyone else to become the last member of their new band, MyGO!!!!!.
The characters are both where MyGO!!!!! shines and are also unfortunately a bit of a let-down. The three characters that get the most development, Anon, Tomori, and Soyo, are all outstanding characters. Anon initially seems like a shallow character with her wanting to join a band purely to become popular, but by the end of the show she’s anything but that. Tomori and Soyo are both heavily affected by the loss of CRYCHIC in different ways and the way this is explored is what makes them such strong characters. In particular, Tomori is one of my favourite characters of the entire year with how well the show is able to explore her mindset throughout, even featuring an entirely first person POV episode from her perspective that does wonders on that front.
For the rest of the band, Taki is another great character; she just doesn’t quite get as much time to shine as the main trio. Raana is where the problems I have with some of the characters begin. She feels heavily underexplored because there’s no real insight given to her character like there is the rest of the band. She is fun to watch in the show though as she fills more of a comic relief role so I don’t think she’s a bad character by any means. MyGO!!!!! as a whole have great chemistry together with their bonds feeling genuine due to them forming slowly over the course of the show which is refreshing compared to most other anime where everyone seems to start off as best friends.
Where the real problems lie for me in MyGO!!!!! are the other two members of CRYCHIC, Mutsumi and Sakiko. The main reason for this is that the show hardly, if at all, explains their motivations for their actions leaving you to guess why the characters do what they do based on what limited information is given. Mutsumi is incredibly similar to Raana in that she gets almost nothing over the course of the entire show. As such, her actions make little sense and because she is actively involved in the main drama compared to Raana this ends up being a detriment to the show. She doesn’t play the biggest role though so it isn’t too big of a deal compared to Sakiko who I think drags down MyGO!!!!! somewhat as she plays a bigger part.
Don’t get me wrong, what the show does give with regards to Sakiko is good, it just leaves too much unexplained to where I have a less than favourable view of her character. While Sakiko leaving the band makes sense once you presumably find out why she left, things like never truly knowing why she is consistently hostile towards the members of MyGO!!!!! afterwards makes her come off as a bit of a shallow character compared to the rest of the cast. You absolutely can come up with reasons for her actions but the show is so vague here that anything could be right which is my main problem here. This all being said, the issues I have with Mustumi and Sakiko as characters can very easily be dealt with in the second season when that airs next year.
Tomori says the lyrics in MyGO!!!!!’s songs are “screams from my heart”, with this being the only way she’s able to communicate her feelings. This combined with the outstanding vocal performance from Tomori’s VA, Hina Youmiya, leads to so much raw emotion being on display in them. The pinnacle of this in the show is with the song Utakotoba, which I feel is one of the most emotional in all of anime with its usage of spoken word poetry during the first half of it. MyGO!!!!!’s songs are great all across the board, I’ve listened to them a bunch outside of the anime, particularly Haruhikage and Melody. The other band in the show Ave Mujica is a heavily concept based band, and while their song (unfortunately linking to it would be a spoiler) isn’t quite to my taste as much as MyGO!!!!!’s are, the show totally nails the concept of the band both in song and performance.
SANZIGEN has been the studio behind the Bandori anime since 2019 when the show switched to CG for its second season. This experience working with the franchise shows on all fronts from a production standpoint, especially with the show’s cinematography. I’ve mentioned the fully first person POV episode already, but outside of that the performances are where MyGO!!!!!’s cinematography is at its best, featuring camera movement only made available because of the 3D space that really helps capture the mood of them. Going from laboured feeling camera pans during their not so successful first song to dynamic camera work that highlights the energy during the climax of their later performances.
While BanG Dream! It's MyGO!!!!! isn’t my favourite show of the past year, I think it definitely deserves its AOTY nomination from the r/anime awards. It’s unfortunate that this show is both a music anime and a CG one, because those are things that turn people off from watching shows that absolutely deserve to be up there in contention with the best of the best of the current year like MyGO!!!!! does.