#1 A misguided idol
Miss Monochrome is an android girl that defies all scientific limitations. She is an entirely sentient AI who seemingly predates all of human history. She is also incredibly naive. One day she decides, seemingly on a whim, that she wants to become an idol. A newfound ambition that quickly ends up getting her defrauded, bankrupted, and evicted.
Things look pretty grim for Miss Monochrome, until a chance meeting with a “manager” gives her a second chance at becoming an idol. So long as she doesn’t mind starting out at as a part-time help at the local supermarket first.
Even after this rocky start, Miss Monochrome makes no efforts whatsoever to adjust her expectations. She has a single-minded fascination with becoming an idol, but doesn’t seem to actually know what that would entail. Many episodes are just about her making assumptions about what idols do and demanding that her manager arrange something similar for her. Its imitation that ignores all context.
Not helping matters at all is that Miss Monochrome has a habit of stubbornly overdoing things. Even the easiest jobs turn chaotic as she tries to steal the spotlight. Or bombs fantastic opportunities for reasons that are bafflingly incomprehensible. You start to feel really sorry for her manager, even though it’s incredibly funny to watch the trainwreck go.
#2 Yui Horie and other cameos
In real-life, Miss Monochrome is a 3D avatar and virtual idol created and voiced by Yui Horie. Herself a massively popular idol and voice actress, whose career stretches back decades at this point. Horie also voices the character in this anime adaptation and performs the many songs from across the series.
Her voice is distorted so as to sound incredibly robotic, but that has a charm to it that grew on me as the series continued. Especially during the performances, the robotized voice gave the songs a unique feel that suited them well. It’s not exactly vocaloid, but it comes close.
Confusingly, Yui Horie also appears as an actual character in the story. She and her friends form an idol group of their own, who help Miss Monochrome out as rookie backup dancers. Every member of this group is a cameo of a famous voice actress, who of course voice these characters as well. It’s blatant fanservice, but I appreciated that.
Miss Monochrome is not a complicated series itself, but it has some insane lore. I understand that during the original tour, she was meant to act as something of a villain. An idol that wants to render the world colorless. This backstory was replaced for the anime to make her more of a good guy, though not with anything remotely sensible.
Without getting into too many spoilers, Miss Monochrome is somehow thousands of years old. Having lived through the end of humanity at the hands of aliens, who wiped us all out on a lark. Her best friend died before her eyes, but Miss Monochrome believes that she has now reincarnated as the idol Kikuko. Hence her determination to enter the idol business herself.
That is already plenty odd, but many of the episodes casually scoop more absurdity on top. It is a bizarre storyline for what is supposed to be just an idol anime. I never knew what to expect from it and frequently had to laugh at how thoroughly it managed to surprise me.
More like this…
Seiyu’s Life: Cameos of voice actors playing as themselves.
Zombie Land Saga: Absurd idol anime.
Chobits: Robot girl with a remarkable level of sentience.