For the unaware, idol anime is, as the name says, based on idols, aspiring performers, and the like. Also, the genre is an important pillar of the anime world and pop culture too. Gaining more popularity in the West, there’s a vast option of idol anime to watch. You will swoon, humming to the music as they sweep you off your feet. They even have top-notch animation. And accompanied by some of the best acoustics and aesthetics in all of anime. And then there’s those too that will make you nose bleed with their Kawai-ness. It even gets better from here with the romantic elements and compelling plots. So what are you waiting for?! Put on your dancing shoes and sing along for some of the best idol anime you will ever find! Who knows, you might even find your future waifu!
Best Idol Anime
15. Wake Up, Girls!
Wake Up, Girls! is a good choice for anyone new to the genre of idol anime. However, it is different from other series of the genre—more in the sense that it has a bit more realism. When one thinks of idols, singers, and such performers, what comes to mind is the fandom and the glamour of the star life. But as they say, all that glitters is not gold. One is seldom aware of the hardships and difficulties of the much-adored star life. This series brilliantly portrays such difficulties faced by small music bands, like the amount of hard work and competition they face and the bonds that they form. This will definitely grow on you, especially if you’re a greenhorn in this genre. Also, do watch the prequel movie before you move on to the series.
14. Idol Jihen
Have you ever thought of a world run by cute girls and idols? Ever wanted to see them in cute outfits while taking the reins of a country. Replacing the old, corrupt government forms. If so, then this may be the ideal idol anime for you. The idea itself seems to be weird and outlandish. But all plays out well with the right idols at the helm. A government-run by the corrupt with vested interests in a country plagued by seemingly unending problems. Now, it is up to various idols and bands to challenge the government. It is up to them to drive the Land of the Rising Sun towards sunnier days. Weird, whacky, and comical, and intriguing with loads of cute costumes, kawaii idols, and a unique plot.
13. Lapis Re:LiGHTs
Watching idol anime series can be quite a magical experience for many viewers, especially with all the lighting effects, animation styles, designs, and other aspects of the dazzling visuals. But in this case, Lapis Re:LiGHTs does bring magic to life as the idols are themselves, witches. Watch as kawaii girls perform magic shows and sing songs. And everything comes together in perfect musical and magical symphony. Then there’s a lot of characters to satiate your loli fantasies too. It is definitely worth the checkout, especially if you are into the idol anime series. And find yourself addicted to it, as it mesmerizes you with its magical, charming performances.
12. Re:Stage! Dream Days♪
Re:Stage! Dream Days♪ focuses on a band of six girls. As they try to save their club from disbanding, lots of challenges lie ahead. Especially as they aspire to make it to the Prism Stage national competition. And win it. Thereby becoming the top idols, winning the audience’s hearts and ours too. All in all, Re:Stage! Dream Days♪ plays into the general idol anime tropes. But, it still does a stellar performance. You’ll be lost for words between the enthralling music, the schoolgirl idols, and the elegant animation.
Can you imagine a world without music? Without the sweet melodies and symphonies, masterpieces over the ages that we love? It is as sad as it is outrageous. An atrocious crime, should music be banned. AKB0048 revolves around such a universe! An intergalactic war has left planets in ruins. People try to escape the devastated Earth in hopes of a better life. And then, an authoritarian government has deemed music to be the root of evil and termed it universally illegal. Now our hope lies with various inter-planetary pop stars to rise to the occasion and bring music back. All the while escaping the dangers of their mission as they bypass an unfair law. As the name of the series suggests, it is based on the real-life official group- AKB48. So, join these beautiful girls as they try to save the world, one song at a time!
10. Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club
Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club is an above-average idol genre anime. This installation takes the Long Live! series to newer heights. That said, fans of the series will go ahead with it anyhow. And as for the newbies, it is a good recommendation. It has got good looking girls in good costumes and good performances done just right. The slice of life genre with the idol performances has also been well executed. The story follows a few girls who want to bring back Nijigasaki High School’s disbanded idol club. Getting new members, facing new rivals, will they become the top idols that they want to be?
09. The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls
The iDOLM@STER series is one of the more popular idol anime series in Japan. And The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls certainly does not disappoint. Cinderella Girls, as the title hints, tries to fulfill the Cinderella dream of potential idol icons. Searching for diamonds in the rough, 346 Production has started the Cinderella Project. They aim to scout out talented idols and nurture their talents, shooting them to stardom. The show includes lots of challenges faced by the girls that put their dreams on rocky roads. That said, you will most definitely love the songs in this installation of The iDOLM@STER, especially the group performances. It is one of the more engaging idol anime shows with decent animation and remarkable characters, albeit with some degree of serious undertones.
08. Show By Rock!!
Join our heroine, Cyan, as she travels to an unknown world where music is everything. It is a world perfect for her hidden talents to flourish and mesmerize everyone in all its musical glory. But that is not all. There are darker forces at play. That aim to plunge the musical city into chaos with their vile schemes. Be a part of this melodious adventure as Cyan tries to be the top musical idol and keep evil at bay. This is one funny, ridiculous, and hilarious yet brilliant series that you will remember for quite a while.
07. Sound of the Sky
Sound of the Sky is set in the countryside, facing tensions as the dread of war looms over them. Yet, the peace and tranquility of the people and their spirits remain to be shaken. Our main character joins the army to fulfill her dream of mastering the bugle. Stationed in this countryside, she and her group of comrades try to protect their fortress and maintain their morale. It is much different from any idol anime you may have seen so far. Even then, it is a highly underrated series that will surely grow on you the more you watch. There is enough attention to detail, and the mix of the European setting with Japanese undertones is delightful. All in all, this is a must-watch, especially if you are into idol anime but also want something different!
06. Love Live! Sunshine!!
The story begins with an inspired Takami Chika as she wants to start her own idol club at the seaside Uranohoshi Girl’s High School. But the school president soon shoots down her idea. Still, with her spirits high, she sets on to recruit other talented girls. All to fulfill her dream of becoming the next generation top-performing school idol. This installation of Love Live! takes the successful elements of its predecessor and works on that. It is certainly one of the better idol anime series to enjoy. You may even get vested in the characters and relate to them as they work around their fears, differences, and conflicts to achieve a unified goal.
05. Senki Zesshou Symphogear
This show is an amazing example of idol music anime meets action and violence. The anime revolves around songs that power up ancient weapons called “symphogears.” These music powered weapons are needed to fight against an evil race of aliens known as ‘Noise.’ This is perfect for those who like some light-hearted action, although there may be a little blood and violence. The characters are well developed with great delivery of dialogues. The music is truly good, and the emotional aspects will keep you stuck to the series till the end. The plot may be simple overall, but it has more content and value than most other idol anime. This is a truly enjoyable series and highly recommended!
04. Zombieland Saga
Whoever said that zombies couldn’t sing or be idols?! An outlandish and weird idea executed perfectly well enough. It is something even some of the best idol anime fail to do. The story starts as Sakura, and a high school student, meets a tragic end after being hit by a van. Ten years later, she wakes up again. But now, as an undead zombie. What’s more!? 6 others have been revived as zombies as well! This is a part of the ‘Zombie Land Saga Project’ to develop and raise awareness about the Saga prefecture. Each idol belonged to a different era and has its own compelling stories and character arcs. There is enough comedic gold in the show, the music is addictive, and the animation is top-notch. What’s not there to love about this series!?
03. BanG Dream!
BanG Dream focuses on Kasumi Toyama as she finds her true dreams after across a star-shaped guitar in an old pawn shop. She aspires to become a top idol searching for the same exhilaration and excitement that she felt years ago. Now, forming a band with four other like-minded girls, they start their journey towards idoldom. They overcome many difficulties and hurdles on their way, with their bond growing ever stronger. The show gives a lot of importance to serious aspects like family issues and friendships, and others. It is one of the few idol anime shows with quite well-developed characters that you are sure to love. It gives lighthearted vibes with melodious songs and good animation. Thus, making it one of the top recommendations in the genre of idol anime.
02. The iDOLM@STER
Ranking 2nd on our list, the iDOLM@STER is, without doubt, one of the best anime in the idol genre. It has the perfect balance of drama and fun with a few dozes of seriousness. The show focuses not only on the glamour and popularity aspects of successful idols but also on the more difficult parts. It shows that all is not fun and games. The path is also rife with tears, difficulties, hardships, and struggles. Our star idols come across some difficult choices that require some sacrifices. They learn to deal with their fame and maintain their bonds with the bandmates. Each idol has its own personality, characteristics, and stories that will get you interested in them. Apart from all this, what really takes the cake is the top tier cinematography and the music. This is definitely, one that you have to watch, especially for the idol anime fans.
01. Love Live! School Idol Project
And finally, ranked number one on our list is none other than the first installation of the Long Live! series. Here, we have perhaps the most popular idol anime shows. The story begins as Otonokizaka High School student Honoka Kousaka strives to start her own school idol group, μ (pronounced as “muse”), in a bid to save her school. However, it’s not an easy task as she fights against the student council president’s persistent opposition. There’re difficulties in expanding the band and ultimately deciding to compete in the Long Live national competition. It is an uphill battle, as the contest is fast approaching, and there’s little time to gather a band and practice to reach the top. Will Honoka save her school and form the best school idol band in all of Japan? It’s a story about hard work and determination. But there’re also loads of cute girls, captivating music performances, mind-blowing animation, and deep characters. After all, ‘s said and done, no true idol anime fan can claim to be so without watching this!
And so, here we are at the end. That sure was an interesting list of shows in the genre of idol anime. Are you a fan of this genre? And did you like this collection of our top 15 recommendations? What other shows did you want to see on this list? Do let us know what other genres you are a fan of as well! Until next time.