Strategem & Stardom (Paripi Koumei)

A lot of genres seem to eventually get into a groove of sorts. Writers figure out what works and what doesn’t and they adjust their stories to fit the mold. That’s fine and will create many amazing stories. If I’m completely honest with you, that’s for sure what I’m doing with my own story, Hesitant Hero, that’s being posted here weekly (shameless plug activated). Of course everyone gives their spin to it, myself included, but there’s safety in following the norms.
But when all is said and done and all cards are on the table sometimes all you need to do is flip the table, yell at everyone else in the room and leave to go do your own thing. Who needs certainty and a working formula when you can instead have an utterly ridiculous setup and execute on it brilliantly.

I love her, she’s the best!

Ladies, gentlemen and others, I am of course talking about the recently finished Paripi Koumei (Ya Boy Kongming). Zhuge Liang (Kongming) is a famous tactician from the three kingdoms era. After living his life advising his lord he is about to die. His only wish is for his next life to be a more peaceful one. A moment passes and Kongming suddenly finds himself in a completely unfamiliar place surrounded by all sorts of strangeness. It turns out his wishes have been heard and he was transported, as a younger version of himself, to modern day Shinjuku. That’s right, our esteemed tactician finds himself in the party center of Tokyo with no idea what’s going on. Luckily his wit is quick and he manages to fit in almost immediately.

This scene somehow reminded me of Carole & Tuesday. The quiet musical moments are the best ones.

Making fast friends with the local drunks and quickly figuring out this is the future, he finds himself in a local club where he hears the bar staff, Eiko, perform a song live. Kongming is enthralled by her music and vows to help her conquer the world. And of course the manager of this club is a massive history nerd, because why wouldn’t he be. The two hit it off and Kongming makes quick friends with Eiko. Together they set off to perform on bigger and bigger stages with the goal of world peace.

This show has to be the easiest to take screenshots from, just the opening more or less suffices.

To do this they must first get some recognition. Kongming is an expert strategist when it comes to war, but do these skills also translate to managing a singer? Well, Eiko is talented but she’s far from done with her career. There’s some things they’re going to need and Kongming is on the job. Each episode gives us a little bit of three kingdoms lore, which is a neat addition. Kongming is a quirky person that is just a joy to see on screen every single time. Eiko’s design is gorgeous and I like her singing a lot although she does keep singing the same song over and over again. One thing that a different musical anime; Carole & Tuesday, did really well is add in new songs regularly. I understand that this would take a lot more effort,  but I feel like it would have enhanced the show.

Nanami Kuon is one of many amazing supporting characters and has an amazing voice.

The second half introduces several fun characters and a competition to get a ticket to a big stage. I won’t talk about it much more than that because of spoilers. The animation and art are fine, nothing to write home about but some of the dance scenes are pretty decent. Idol shows do it better, but this isn’t a show you watch for the crazy animation quality so I’ll allow it.
What really, really stands out, and is the main reason I picked up this show in the first place (and I’m sure I’m not the only one) is the opening song. The song “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” by Queendom is an entrancing eurobeat inspired song that just makes you happy. I’ve linked the song here because unfortunately I’m not a talented enough writer to put into words how amazing this song is. It’s accompanied by beautiful animation and just steals the show. The ending is amazing too and it just wrap this show up in a blanket of musical awesomeness.

We can’t forget about the history lessons put here and there to supplement the story.

If Spy x Family wasn’t airing this season, Ya Boy Kongming would have been my pick for anime of the season without a doubt, so I’ll give it an honorary anime of the season award instead. Easily an 8 or 9 out of 10 show for me, and if you haven’t seen it yet I hope this review has convinced you to go watch it. This isn’t a show you’ll forget about, but one you’ll keep thinking back to years after you’ve seen it. Thanks for reading!

3 thoughts on “Strategem & Stardom (Paripi Koumei)

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