Review/discussion about: ClassicaLoid
When I was in high school, prepping for my college-entrance exams, I would sometimes listen to classical music.
I read online somewhere that it could calm one’s nerves and increase thinking capacity. Wanting every edge available to me, I made it a point to play these pieces when the opportunity arose. Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro, K. 492” was usually my go-to choice for its rising-and-falling notes.
I don’t listen to a whole lot of classical music nowadays; metal has instead trounced everything else. But, as ClassicaLoid depicts, metal and many other motifs go together with the classics more so than one may initially believe.
Kanae is a typical high-school girl who happens to be the caretaker of her family’s spacious mansion. A mansion that also houses the so-called ClassicaLoids, reincarnations of extremely famous composers such as Beethoven, Mozart, and so on. However, these now-modern geniuses bring both mischief and craziness through their quirks and their abilities, leaving Kanae, her childhood friend Sousuke, and everyone else to deal with one ClassicaLoid situation after another.
As almost exclusively a comedy, ClassicaLoid attempts to tickle its audience’s funny bone not with a feathery quill but rather a conductor’s baton, filling the air with musical romps and lots of other noises. While it has its crescendos, the anime unfortunately has its diminuendos, too.
One of the show’s biggest strengths comes through in its weirdness. For it can get very strange. A mother and her son fart in the other’s direction for some bonding time. A merleopon statue takes the form of a censored-out penis. Fried tangerines replace heads and give way to creepy flower monsters. At one point, everyone except Hasshie the bird and Pad-kun the device turns into a fish. Aliens terrorize the Earth until they hear the blissful tones of all Eight Sounds in unison.
In other words, ClassicaLoid hits many different spots on the randomized map, going wherever it so desires to achieve laughter.
This random nature doesn’t always seem to align with the anime’s goals, however. Liszt’s “girls’ day out” and Beethes worrying about creating the perfect cup of coffee using exactly sixty beans has very little to do with the classical, instrumental, and musical motifs that the anime so regularly follows. Indeed, their Musik applies to pretty much anything, meaning these elements aren’t so much a driving force for the comedy as they are an excuse for the anime to do whatever it wants without regard.
That’s being too harsh, though. In fact, ClassicaLoid not strictly sticking with music-centric jokes and funnies is precisely the point of the premise. These ClassicaLoids are the modernized versions of their old-school counterparts. Watching them try to find the correct ingredient for jet-black gyoza or fail to do the simplest of chores makes for a silly contrast that helps with the anime’s comedic angle.
Otherwise, the anime does focus on the Musik, providing the audience with one new colorful performance nearly once every episode. Mozart’s “Symphony No. 25 in G Minor – K. 183.” Chopin’s “Nocturne No. 2.” Liszt’s “Liebesträume No. 3.” While they get reused occasionally, the show makes a clear effort to pack in as many of these famous pieces as it can muster.
In doing so, more comedy comes forth through the very crux of these compositions. For example, in episode four, Schubert performs “Lullaby” whenever he gets particularly excited, infantilizing those around him. Then, in the very next episode, Beethes performs his “Piano Concerto 5 in E Minor.” It also goes by the title “Emperor Concerto” which, coincidentally enough, summons emperor penguins to do his bidding. And all the way down into episode nineteen, Tchaiko’s “Swan Lake” forces the residents of Kanae’s mansion to romantically pair up so that a bunch of “swans” can whisk them away.
Simultaneously, ClassicaLoid has other, smaller jokes to fill the space between everything else. As Beethes plays his “Violin Sonata No. 9” (or “Kreutzer”), Pad-kun dons a Victorian-era wig to match the occasion. Or how, during Sousuke’s torturous “Boku Futsuu,” the eyes on Motes’ eel costume X themselves out as he “dies” from the aural pain. These smaller moments and details keep the comedy going even when the focus lies elsewhere.
Beneath the comedy, a looming subplot exists, tying many of the episodes and their events together. It involves Bach, the “evil” ruler of a production company, and his plot for something grander. Unfortunately, it never really gains much focus, it doesn’t affect the characters to any worthwhile degree, and it ultimately doesn’t matter when his device breaks down (twice).
ClassicaLoid also includes touchy-feely snippets. Kanae’s grandmother’s influence on her from the first episode brings a twinge of drama. And background scenes, like Kanae’s father saving Beethes and Motes from the facility that created them, offer minute explanations as to how this whole shebang came about. They slightly balance out the heavy amount of comedy and provide a better foundation for the plot, but these elements are either too infrequent or too unimportant to impact the anime, getting in the way of the comedy that ClassicaLoid creates.
This combined weak subplot with weaker plot elements isn’t the best means for the show to get across its larger message, but at least it tries for something.
Near the end of the season, Bach’s plan of normalizing music isn’t seen as beneficial but rather detrimental. Kanae describes such a musically averaged world as “lonely.” That “special music for special days” is only so because music isn’t everywhere. As her mini flashback depicts, the events her and the other characters went through are dear memories. Memories that, like music, are precious precisely because they represent one’s own experiences.
Again, a nice sentiment. But, with the story steeped in ridiculousness, the anime makes it tough to walk away from this story with anything else besides Musik and comedy in mind.
ART & ANIMATION
ClassicaLoid has a bit of an interesting style thanks to some specific artistic choices.
A lot of the intrigue comes from the characters’ designs. They generally stick out from their surroundings due to thick outlines and loud outfits. Quirky colors and classical inspiration further their outspoken looks.
For example, Beethes’ has his signature frazzled, white hair, but he wears a black leather jacket, contrasting his colors and highlighting his rocker gusto. Motes goes all pink with a big pillow-like hat and a tied sweater. In comparison, Schubert’s circular frames, mustard coat, and knee-high socks with brown pants hearken back to his era. Liszt’s orange eyes with embroidered-light-green dress, Bach’s disco attire with famous wig, and Chopin’s purple cape and long-silvered clothes continue ClassicaLoid’s nifty trend.
Most notably, the Musik performances make a concerted effort to be as involved and as spontaneous and as weird as possible. Mozart will cause machines to literally dance in humanoid fashion. Bąda’s ritualistic sun both hypnotizes her fans and melts Tchaiko alive. Schubert spits fire, turning everyone into living graffiti which in turn pays homage to the classic PaRappa the Rapper video-game series.
These segments go wherever they want to, introducing a lot of variety in the visuals. Moreover, they also increase the level of detail, highlighting the importance of the performances. Literal musical notes float through the air. Colors explode. Movement abounds. Entire settings morph. Altogether, these performances are some of the best moments in the show thanks to their involved, fantastical direction
In general, though, ClassicaLoid doesn’t wow too much. The inside of Kanae’s mansion and the brief glimpses of the local city aren’t rife with pizzazz. Actual animation also remains barley passable whenever the characters are neither performing nor going overboard with their actions. Plus, it isn’t ashamed to reuse frames, like during Motes’s Musik performance at the end of episode twenty.
Altogether, it’s a toss-up like that of the story. That is, the anime focuses a lot on a couple of specific areas, but many of the surrounding parts do not hold the same level of strength, ultimately reducing its final sense of worth.
ClassicaLoid’s comedy only comes about because of the crazy cast of characters that wave their batons throughout the season. As legends of the classical era reincarnated, one would probably expect Beethoven and Mozart and the others to carry an air of power and formality. Instead, they stir up all manner of trouble through their large penchant for wackiness.
Beethes cannot get enough of gyoza, a Chinese-inspired Japanese dish that wraps delectable foodstuffs in a doughy, grilled wrapper. More specifically, he can’t get enough of perfecting his gyoza, for Beethes strives for nothing less than mastery of the arts. Thus, he’s overzealous in almost anything he does (with a flamethrower often somewhere nearby). So long as his passions aren’t suppressed and his fate is his to control, he’s a very happy, very loud, and very musical man.
Motes cares less about music and more about having a grand old time. He constantly pulls pranks, makes jokes, and creates extra, unnecessary problems for everyone else at the mansion. While he continues to not follow the rules by rolling around through the hallways on his roller-shoes, he still has a kind heart in that none of his actions are designed with malice in mind. Him becoming the local “unidentified monster” to mother a weak fawn demonstrates handily enough that this prankster isn’t so bad after all.
Liszt thinks neither about gyoza nor pranks. Instead, she adamantly promotes a single facet of life: love. Thinking about her “little kitten” and watching out for her box-wearing friend, Liszt adores the expression of love in all its sincere, nonsensical forms. As a man-turned-bodacious-babe, she’s arguably the most normal, most mature of the group – but that’s not saying a whole lot.
Chopin goes in the complete opposite direction; he cannot tolerate people. A recluse in all but name, he locks himself away in his room, shopping online for new items and playing video games to earn that next piece of rare loot. When he does leave his “cave,” he either hides beneath a box or keeps himself way off in the distance. Alongside his occasional blunt remarks, his generally pessimistic vibe keeps the outgoing personalities around him from overtaking the show outright.
Schubert arrives a bit later than the others, but his oddball behavior fits right in. He idolizes Beethes, chasing after and defending the famous musician as much as humanly possible. In contrast, he hates Motes to the core and refuses to accept him as a friend. Schubert also accidentally loses control of his Musik whenever he gets too excited which, in turn, leaves him without much respect among his peers. That is, if they even remember that he is there to begin with.
Outside of the main legends, Bach, Tchaiko, and Bąda watch from afar. Bach tends to converse in only musical jargon. Tchaiko flits about in fits of rage. Bąda is the only actual female composer – and, as she is often reminded, the only one-hit wonder of the group. They are the bad-guys-but-not-really of the show, and, while they’re not as prevalent as Beethes and the others, they add their own personality and their own fun into the mix.
Despite their origins, none of the characters achieve comedic genius. Plus, their characteristics seem a far cry from their historic selves. Yet the anime incorporates the backgrounds of these real-life composers, often taking some creative liberties to make everything a bit more interesting.
For instance, in one episode, Chopin falls for an online avatar named Jolly, connecting back to the light of his life during his original years. Tchaiko’s whole character also counts. Her real name is Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky, an old Russian composer. Now an underage girl, the anime plays up her angry attitude, her devotion to Bach, and the fact that she cannot drink alcohol.
Certain characters, like Beethes and Motes, do get some more serious exploration of their characters peppered in throughout ClassicaLoid. Beethes contemplates the time when he was deaf, pushing him to achieve greatness. And Motes reels in the pranks and the goofiness to showcase that he can get serious and introspective when he so chooses.
Of particular note, Schubert goes through what can only be described as tangible character development. Late into the season, he becomes fed up with how everyone either forgets or does not seem to care about him. In retaliation, he changes his whole persona, ditching the soft, classical approach and adopting instead a set of sick rapping beats.
These moments aren’t too impactful, rarely pop up, and honestly don’t matter much when almost everything else seeps with comedy. Liszt not even receiving a specialized episode for herself when almost everyone else gets one argues for this statement well enough. Nevertheless, these slight departures keep the variety going while trying for something new that the anime never had to.
The remaining important characters are not ClassicaLoids but humans: Kanae, Sousuke, Mitsuru, and Kyougo.
Kanae is the technical main protagonist of this tale, but, understandably, the composers overshadow her presence. She oversees the mansion, “collects” rent, and yells at her tenants to go away on more than one occasion. Strict and unforgiving, she berates the others for their continual stress-inducing lifestyles. While she has a couple of asides about her deceased grandmother, and she rags on her dad for his irresponsible behavior, her main role is mostly to provide some semblance of sanity within this wild group of Musik-making crazies.
Similarly, Sousuke is the non-ClassicaLoid music guy in the party. Unfortunately, he isn’t the best musician, and he usually finds himself with the short end of the stick. He’s Kanae’s childhood friend, he hangs out at the mansion because why not, and he’s more or less a pretty all right dude. He nearly kills everyone with his horrendous, self-made composition, but he at least got a few fans (even if they seemed to be laughing at, not with, him). Plus, he (alongside Kanae) helps to save the world from the alien invasion. So, even though Sousuke isn’t the most noteworthy character in the show, he manages to make a name for himself nonetheless.
As for Mitsuru and Kyougo, they were the scientists who created the ClassicaLoids, sparking this whole story to begin with. Mitsuru views Bach as a deity, erroneously going out of her way to bring his plans to fruition. Kyougo is Kanae’s dad and means well, but he only does what he wants to do, traveling everywhere and appearing at the most convenient of times. Sadly, she’s a rather boring “villain,” and he’s hardly around enough to remain relevant to both the comedy and the story at large.
That’s a lot of comedy-based characters in a show. If they were completely on their own, it wouldn’t quite work because their schticks can only be carried so far. In this big group, though, the anime can pick and choose among a variety of simultaneous craziness, leading to inevitable funnies that keep the spirit and the Musik of the show alive.
MUSIC & SOUND
ClassicaLoid’s opening track does not get replaced despite such an occurrence being so common for anime spanning multiple seasons. A wise decision on the show’s part, for this OP stands as one of its strongest features. The guitarist rocks out, fretting with finesse and creating one slick lick after another. Loud, rousing notes stomp down in dominance. Classical inspiration can clearly be heard in its harpsichord and its violins, and the lack of lyrics calls back to that time when only the instrumentals truly mattered. It’s catchy. It’s dynamic. It’s fun. An all-around superb piece.
In a similar vein, ClassicaLoid goes above and beyond with its choice musical pieces. Known as “Musik,” the anime modernizes classical compositions that befit the characters and their zany situations. Techno, rock ‘n’ roll, avant-garde. At about one new modernization per episode, the anime contains too many to list out in full. Suffice it to say, they maintain a huge amount of diversity while staying true to their originals, justifying the anime’s formal name for this collection of creations.
In fact, the anime is so confident in its Musik that it reuses them for each of its ending tracks. That’s not a fault against the anime but rather a positive. Getting to hear these songs once again with the conclusion of every episode makes for a tiny treat that satiates the ear’s palate.
Once again, like the story and the art, the anime has put its eggs all in one basket. Because, ironically enough, the rest of the original soundtrack, what comprises most of the music heard throughout the season, fails to live up to its lauded brethren.
Lackluster and almost forgettable, it feels as if the Musik (understandably) stole all the attention to the point that these tracks miss out on any appeal. They don’t feel like preludes to the Musik so much as they seem like one-off opening acts at a concert where people only showed up to listen to the main, magical gigs that arrive on stage afterwards.
And, while the voice acting performances do not reach incredible status, many of them bring what they can to the piano bench. Specifically, Tomokazu Sugita as Beethes pursues life with a determined, manly voice, Mikako Komatsu as Kanae berates her guests with chiding tones, and Aya Endou as Tchaiko squabbles with rage.
After finishing this show, it made me think about something that I don’t always keep in mind.
When it comes to anime, films, and books, stories exist out there that unfortunately get lost along the way. That’s almost impossible to avoid in these mediums given how there are so many to choose. Of course, some will be semi-popular, some will stick out in the minds of critics and fans alike, and some will earn an infamous reputation that keeps future viewers away.
The majority of these stories, though, fall somewhere in the middle. They don’t do anything particularly egregious, but they don’t do anything particularly noteworthy either. Maybe they have an aspect or two that seems interesting, or maybe the project has a clear vision. Regardless, the show doesn’t hook its audience, and it slowly drifts off from the minds of those in its respective community.
That’s what I feel happened here with this one. The anime no doubt has passion behind it: all the variations in the music, a wacky premise, twenty-five whole episodes with an entire second season to follow. Yet, be it because of the niche classical motif or the reliance on too random of comedy, however, the anime sadly misses the cut.
To clarify, I’m not saying that the anime couldn’t improve in certain areas. It is often repetitive with its jokes and its setups. It tries to be extra loud rather than extra intriguing. It does not create more defined relationships between the cast members. But, if it tweaked the execution here and tried for something different there, I could see this one being more prominent in the eyes of the community rather than barely talked about in almost any capacity.
As for myself, while I cannot say the anime entertained me throughout the whole season, I did have fun on occasion. Kanae’s “the pain…” karaoke song in episode eight probably went on for a tad too long, but it still had me smiling. The second half of episode eleven, with Beethes “confession” and the pink “puke,” had me laughing quite a bit. And Schubert’s diss track was, as the kids say, “fire.”
All in all, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I’m sad to see these characters go. However, after being with them for a big chunk of time, and realizing that this writing of mine may very well be the last instance where I ever think about this show (save for my top-anime-from-Winter-2017 list in the coming weeks), I’m left feeling slightly saddened. Saddened by the fact that some anime simply do not stay around for long – and then it’s on to the next story.
ClassicaLoid does not earn a standing ovation, but it gives an above average performance nonetheless. Lots of ridiculous comedy, creative visual scenes, weird characters, and diverse Musik. It rises and falls throughout, ending up somewhere in-between (on multiple figarotive levels).
Story: Fine, random, crazy comedy pushes everything along, the classical premise is used and contrasted to an appreciable degree, and the uncommon dramatic subplots mean very little in the long run
Art & Animation: Good, nifty character designs and interesting Musik spectacles stave off the generally lackluster artistry and actual movement
Characters: Good, Beethes, Motes, and the other reincarnated musical geniuses are goofy and fun, Kanae and Sousuke round out this circus troupe, but everyone requires the whole group to be effective
Music & Sound: Good, an awesome OP and a large set of creative “Musik” covers outperform a forgettable OST and the handful of notable VA performances
Enjoyment: Fine, while yet another show that will fade from the memories of most in this ever-growing medium, enough fun moments can be found to make the experience worthwhile in one way or another
Final Score: 6/10
Thanks for taking the time to read my review. If you want, take part in the discussion below! :3