Welcome, all, again. I have mentioned several times already the abundance of quality shows available this viewing season, and Action Heroine Cheer Fruits continues that trend! Imagine taking the very best elements of Sakura Quest, Locodol, and Magica Wars, and finding a way to combine them almost seamlessly. You’d have something unique yet recognizable, compelling but comfortable–you’d have Action Heroine Cheer Fruits, in which a group of high school students come together to create a hero show in their hometown of Hinano City. But each girl’s reasons for joining the effort are her own, and half the fun is watching as they try to establish and then settle into their individual roles. Not only are there too many cooks for just one pot of soup, they’re not even working from the same recipe!
Student council president Misaki Shirogane is the granddaughter of the deceased former prefectural governor (I think, although he might have been the city mayor), whose political and personal reputation has been sullied by the legacy of debt he left the city. Misaki is desperate to restore her grandfather’s honor and is constantly scouring the city for ideas for its revitalization. (It seems that, in addition to massive debt, Hinano City is also suffering from a dwindling population.) Chasing inspiration, Misaki stumbles upon fellow schoolmates An Akagi and Mikan Kise as they practice a routine from the popular children’s character Kamidaio, with which they hope to entertain Mikan’s younger sister Yuzuka. They do just that, but Misaki secretly films them and uploads the video to the web, then uses the popularity of the clip to entice the two into becoming Hinano City’s new local heroines. (Remind anyone else of the sneaky way in which Nanako’s uncle recruited her in Locodol?)
As in Locodol, we see a group of girls slowly gain members and build into a cohesive unit, becoming more assured and practiced in the entertainment they offer. And as in Sakura Quest, these girls take their individual reasons for participating and direct them towards fulfilling a common need and goal: offsetting the city’s debt and shrinking revenue while also restoring civic pride. Also like the characters in Sakura Quest, these seem to operate with a great deal of autonomy and freedom. And if you’re wondering about the Magica Wars reference, that comes from the competitiveness between heroines representing different regions.
Of course, our protagonists are not allowed an easy road, and the challenges they face are many and diverse. But from the personal vendettas of petty rivalries to the legal repercussions of alleged copyright infringement, our team maintains their drive and continues pushing forward (even if forward seems to strongly resemble a brick wall!). In fact, the question of copyright infringement leads to the watershed decision to morph into an identifiably local group, the Cheer Fruits, performing original material called “Hina Nectar” shows. These changes then inspire the recruitment of additional members, in turn expanding the group’s creative capabilities even further! And the story continues to develop along these lines. Scenarios and focus change from episode to episode, but the show itself maintains a cohesively positive storyline. This is a fun series that’s well-worth an investment of your time. (It simulcasts on hidive.com every Saturday at 8AM.)