Review: BanG Dream! FILM LIVE 2nd Stage

BanG Dream! FILM LIVE 2nd Stage is the second concert film in the BanG Dream! multimedia franchise and features all seven in-universe bands rocking out on an animated stage. The first film live premiered in 2019, while 2nd Stage is currently available for streaming in the US and Canada on Eventive

Anime Trending’s usual trio of BanG Dream! enthusiasts are back once again to share their thoughts on this unique viewing experience. 

Congratulations, boys — we’re now in the concert-reviewing business.

Hooray, a concert! I remember when I could go to those.  

I think this is the first time I’ve seen an animated concert. It’s a pretty cool concept.

Same here. I didn’t even realize that’s what I was in for.

I thought the marketing was crystal clear about that. In fact, James, you covered news about this film…

Calm down, Mehdi. Even if we can write, some of us just can’t read.

Illiteracy aside, it was nice to see my favorite band get some screen time. Maybe I’m not following the right media, but there just doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of Morfonica content.

Bro, they’re the newest band.

Yes, but RAISE A SUILEN is also new-ish, and they get more stuff!

Hey, we RAS fans did our waiting, so now it’s your turn to be the new kids on the block.

Afterglow… 😭

Now that you mention it, this film is a great opportunity to experience a concert with the BanG Dream! bands that don’t typically perform live.

Oh, hey you’re right! Maybe I should be more grateful that I stan a live band.

Well, I still had a lot of fun even though my favorite band isn’t a live band and sang along with parts I knew like I was at a real concert. I absolutely yelled “Happy! Lucky! Smile! Yay!” during “I need you!” and drew weird looks from my brothers who didn’t realize what I was watching.

Ping-ponging the performances to each side of the hall was so cool. It really caught me off guard the first time.

Yeah, the use of the space was fantastic, as should be the case with 3D animation. That big empty space in the middle of the crowd drew my eye from the start, and I was not let down in the end.

Still, the camerawork was a bit too fast at times. I know that it’s important to keep things hyped up, but some of the panning movements were so fast I couldn’t focus. It’s like the editor was worried viewers would get bored or something.

I can totally see that. 

I think the camera worked best when it told a story, like “Sasanqua.” That song has a cute backstory between Ran and Moca, and the camera switched according to who was singing, which I appreciated.

I liked that the visuals never bored me, but I will concede that some shots at the end were downright dizzying. That minor grievance aside, this was a marked improvement from last year’s FILM LIVE in every way. The most impactful change would have to be the use of live concert audio instead of the usual studio recordings.

I didn’t watch the first film live, so I can’t comment on that. All I got was an authentic stage show sound.

What were your top highlights of the show, anyway? I always love RAS the most, of course, but I could easily write a paragraph on every band.

As per my contract, I am obliged to say Morfonica was my favorite performance, especially since their intro was the first time we saw the second stage. It was a big surprise.

As per my contract, I am obligated to say Afterglow. And throw in a “Hey, hey, hoh!” too, for good measure.

That’s right! Each of our favorite bands performed on the same side of the concert hall, and I think that’s awfully neat.

As a whole, though, this was a really nice sampler of every band’s music. A musical charcuterie board, if you will.

I got absolutely hyped when we cut right into Roselia jamming out to “R.” Fans who know the music will immediately recognize that spicy bassline and the high-energy song it leads into.

“Initial” rocks, by the way. Probably my second favorite song of the show and a great way to start the concert.

It’s my favorite Poppin’Party song, too!

It’s fantastic, but my favorite of theirs is still “Straight Through Our Dreams!” which I was happy to hear through the end credits, even if it wasn’t live audio.

Here, I’ll throw you a RAS bone. I loved LAYER’s little cover of “Sasanqua,” and I can totally see that happening completely unscripted in person. I would love a (hopefully, live!) full version of that one day.

Absolutely. All of the stage conversations felt authentic, and it was a great way to let every character show off a bit of personality.

The audience noise also added a lot of that concert ambiance that all of us are in desperate need of. Plus, the songs with call-and-response moments, like “Unite! From A to Z” and “R,” just felt more electrifying than before because of that pseudo-audience participation.

This really did have all the trappings of a big arena show, especially the stage effects and the on-stage banter. Thank goodness it was subbed so I could understand what was going on.

Not to mention, the inclusion of official English lyrics in the subtitles is a welcome benefit you wouldn’t normally get at a live concert.

Plus, we got a lot of cool opportunities to see characters who don’t usually interact with each other actually interact with each other, like high-energy drummers Masuki and Tomoe yelling together or guitarists Hina and Toko high-fiving.

Speaking of those character interactions, the encore scene with Poppin’Party, Pastel*Palettes, and Morfonica was very fun. It was just the studio recording of “Kizunairo no Ensemble,” but that’s understandable for a brand new song released just for this film.

There are actually two other versions of the encore ending, the next of which will be available starting October 10.

But if you want to hear encore #1, then you’d best watch it before it goes away on October 9.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to check out the Afterglow x Roselia version, too.

It would’ve been nice to have the option to choose the version from the get-go, but I can’t complain too much. If anything, this encore song really grew on me as a result.

So, does this concert make us feel like devoting ourselves—

Not this again.

—to Roselia?

No.

Okay, okay!

Like real-life concerts, this anime concert is aimed at an audience who already knows the music and characters. Still, you’ll have people listening to this type of music for the first time at a concert — like James — who become a fan of the other bands and songs.

This was a novel and fun experience for me. If you are interested in learning more about the bands of the BanG Dream! series, I would recommend watching it.

Bushiroad describes BanG Dream! FILM LIVE 2nd Stage as:

This time, 2 new bands will be joining “Poppin’Party”, “Afterglow”, “Pastel✽Palettes”, “Roselia”, and “Hello, Happy World!” on stage!

“Morfonica”, a symphonic band with a fantastic world view, and “RAISE A SUILEN”, a rock band declaring to be the best!

What will the 7 bands aim for on the “2nd Stage”?

BanG Dream! FILM LIVE 2nd Stage is available for streaming on Eventive. If you want to read our thoughts on more BanG Dream! content, check out our reviews of the Roselia-focused films, Promise and Song I am.


Disclaimer: Anime Trending received a free screening to BanG Dream! FILM LIVE 2nd Stage, courtesy of Bushiroad.

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