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The series focuses on the rise of Tamura Eriko (14 years old) from an unknown entity, to young idol star. Don't expect the journey to be all rosy though, Eriko does not have anything come easy to her.
Eriko is the daughter of Tamura Yusuke, a powerful producer in charge of Tamura Pro. Eriko and her father and mother are very close. In episode one, however, Eriko's happy family life comes to a quick end. While her father is driving with her mother, they get into a serious car accident. Eriko's father is immediately killed and her mother is left in a coma.
Since Eriko' mother is in no condition to run the company, the control of Tamura Pro goes to Eriko's uncle, Kosuke. Kosuke is an evil man who is obsessed with his new found power. He treats Eriko (and everyone else) terribly, and shows no concern whatsoever for Eriko's well-being. When Eriko attempts to be an idol singer, Kosuke tries to sabotage her career at every opportunity.
Eriko has her friends though, that go out of their way to help her. There is Asami, Eriko's best friend that gives Eriko her inspirational support. Nakata (Eriko calls her Nakata-sempai in the series), who is older than Eriko, and constantly bails her out of trouble. Finally, there is Kazuki (or Ka-chan, as he is referred to by Eriko) who loves Eriko, but keeps his feelings well hidden. These friends and others, help Eriko get through the roughest moments of her rise to fame.
Also, there are two other major characters that have an effect on Eriko's career, Shogo and Rei.
Shogo is a very well established singer and has legions of fans following him at every turn. Asami and Eriko are big fans of his as well. While Shogo has an implied relationship with Rei (who is much closer to his age), he has a strange attraction to Eriko, where he sees a lot of talent in her singing, and wants to help her out as best as he can.
Rei, also a well established star who loves Shogo, does not like him helping Eriko at all. She dislikes Eriko (at least at first) due to this jealousy, and also, she idolized Yusuke to no end while he was alive and still has not gotten over his death. She somehow resents Eriko, due to her being Yusuke's daughter (being able to have spent more time with him while he was alive than she was able to). Even though she has many reasons to dislike Eriko, Rei helps Eriko out when she can (although she would probably argue that she would do this for anyone, not just Eriko). There just seems to be some kind of bond between them that she just can't seem to break, no matter how hard she tries.
The series was made in 1989 and the animation is not quite up to today's standards, but it is still relatively good. The art, however, is very detailed and excellent throughout.
The series sports excellent character design. From Eriko, who looks believable as the cute idol singer, to Kosuke, whose evil looking face could scare away anyone and anything! My favorite designs in the show though, are those of Asami -- just gorgeous!
Since this is an idol show it better deliver on the songs -- AND IT DOES, BIG TIME!!! Tamura Eriko is a real singer (the series was created to promote her debut) and she sings Eriko's songs in the series. She has a great singing voice and the lyrics are superb as well. My only gripe here (and it is a minuscule one at best) is that the voice actor for Eriko in the series (a different person) has a much higher voice than Tamura Eriko. Due to this, you know a different person is doing the singing. As for my personal favorite songs in the series -- Rei wins hands down. The singer of her songs has MEGA talent and the voice actor (even though she is a different person) sounds the same as the singer, increasing believability.
SUPERB!!! Certainly one of the best available. From start to finish, the drama moves at a brisk pace a la Marmalade Boy (just how I like it). You never can take your eyes off of the screen. I was hooked immediately, and my enthusiasm held steady throughout the 50 episodes to the series. I loved the storyline, and so will you, if you give this series a chance.
Legendary Idol Eriko is a unbelievable show in all areas. It is extremely well rounded, with no identifiable deficiencies. I really hope that anyone reading this review will get in touch with their favorite fan subber (Techno-Girls hint, hint) and BEG them to sub this. In the meantime, copies are readily available off of LD source in raw Japanese form, from KASHA -- GET THEM!!!!