Ya Boy Kongming (2022, PA Works)
The famous tactician Zhuge Kongming (Koumei, Japanese transliteration) dies on the battlefield but finds himself transported 1800 years to modern day Japan, Shibuya. Seeing everyone dressed up for Halloween, he thinks he's been sent to Hell and decides to let the servants drag him around. When he arrives at a club, he meets Eiko Tsukimi and is captivated by her singing.
Fortunately for Kongming, Eiko's boss is a fanatic of the Three Kingdoms history and so he is allowed to work at the same club despite his "role playing". Kongming adapts quickly to the modern world and soon learns Eiko's dream was to debut as a professional singer to move people the same way she was during her most depressed point of life. However, when Kongming learns she wasn't doing too great, he decides to help her out. And so, begins their fresh new approach to reach stardom.
Saw an episode of this on TV and it seemed like a fun comedy show. It kicks off with your familiar reverse-isekai with Kongming being amazed by the modern world but the interactions are cute and fun. And like Shinkai himself says, let the characters make your audience laugh so they care about them. Obviously they took that into consideration and made Eiko small with lots of cute innocent reactions. heart-shaped mouth for happy faces too.
Being a "nobody" in the music industry, Eiko doesn't get much attention and it's up to Kongming to figure out a way to turn that to their advantage and fend off the rivals who only mean our naive newbie singer harm. Of course, they dramatise and over-exaggerate all the strategies Kongming used like most fictional depictions of the Romance of Three Kingdoms. Characters are drawn parallel to historical figures from Three Kingdoms like Eiko as Liu Bei...
It's got a very small cast of characters too and it's quite wholesome watching our aspiring artists grow and gain confidence with a little push from Kongming. It doesn't take long before he's already propelled Eiko up the ladder but fair enough considering it's only 12 episodes.
Outside of Kongming's strategies and Eiko's fun reactions, the show is fairly much familiar territory with a group of characters struggling for their dreams. The last few episodes get kind of gloomy but it's mostly a fun comedy.
It's not without fan service such as your familiar steamy shower and bath scenes. For the odd scene when Kongming returns to his self of old we get the odd brutal scene of war including severed heads but they're brief.
DJ Koo makes a guest appearance during a rap battle near the end of the season which was interesting... Only recognised his character and voice because of his "Koko Doko" show.
For a show about music there's obviously plenty of high tempo tracks which means most of it isn't great for listening to if you're looking for an ambient soundtrack to work to. Even though there are rap battles involved, it's good to see it's not all "hard" rap full of profanity and crime.
It's got a great OP featuring a cover of the Hungarian song, Bulikirály by Jolly & Suzy too but with its own Japanese lyrics of course as "Chiki Chiki Ban Ban". Plenty of catchy JPOP dance music. The OP animation changes giving a short briefing of Kongming's antics during the war but it's really the catchy song and little dance that's fun to watch.
The ending itself is also a cover of popular JPOP songs like, "Kibun Jou Jou" by mihimaru GT but all sung by Eiko (alias "96 Neko"), Kongming and co. The animation might look the same but it changes as the show progresses, another fun part of the show.
That said, I don't see why they chose to write a love song as the means to cheer up and encourage our struggling artists really. Wrap-up felt a bit forced but overall a good fun comedy show.
All's well ends well.