Game Adaptation by Yumeta Company and Graphinica
Streaming on Crunchyroll
A group of 15 wannabe voice actors join a brand new talent agency called AiRBLUE. They learn and do voice acting, and maybe some singing too. That’s it, that’s the plot.
Peter’s verdict: What if Hamlet, but lesbians
CUE! is a free-to-play mobile game with a bunch of in-game currencies and what seems like gacha as well. As such, I went into this show expecting the worst, but came out pleasantly surprised.
Episode 1 opens with a fantasy setting of two people escaping attack on some sort of hovercraft, with occasional glimpses of the person behind the microphone doing the voice acting. It’s a pretty cool sequence to cold open with before we start the show proper. We then find out that one of the voices in this sequence is our main protagonist Haruna, who then runs over to her first day at AiRBLUE; a new talent agency for voice actors with no prior experience or training (perhaps with some caveats). During this sequence, we briefly see a whole bunch of people who will likely show up later. They do.
So after the opening credits, we’re introduced to the fairly large cast of this show. We’ve got 15 aspiring VAs, plus a manager and a company owner. Some of them seem somewhat unique (we’ve got the gothic one, the one that gets lost, the tired one, etc). Pretty bold to just dump everyone in on episode 1, but that means not wasting time introducing everyone later. It feels a lot like your various iDOLM@STER anime, and considering there’s concerts in the opening credits, there’s going to be a fair bit of overlap with your various idol shows.
One thing that really sets this show apart, and I hope this is going to be a running thing throughout, are how when the characters are performing, the sound booth/studio/lesson hall fades away and we get a glimpse of the characters and world that is being portrayed in their voices. Since each character plays their roles differently, these worlds and characters are different depending on the VA.
The group get surprised by a day one lesson where they take it in turns performing the roles of Hamlet and Ophelia in a Japanese translation of Shakespere’s Hamlet (except for the one girl who performs in English lol). Since we have an all-girl cast, half of the cast have to play the role of Hamlet as manly as they can…except for our protagonist, who plays a very feminine Hamlet, and her partner, who plays a rather more masculine Ophelia. Initially, the rest of the cast were unsure, but as they go into their roles and we get the cut to the “fictional world view”, we can see that they’re into it and do a really good job. Episode 1 then hangs on a cliffhanger of them being dropped immediately into an audition (which is why the lesson needed to happen on day 1).
Overall, I really quite enjoyed episode 1. There’s a decent number of characters, who hopefully have a bit more too them than just a single trope each, and the presentation of the show by cutting to the “fictional world view” is nice. I’m going to keep watching for the time being, and we’ll see how it goes.