I was in the mood to watch a fantasy anime after watching a lot of the heavier shows out there (Evangelion, Angel Beats, stuff like that) and when I was scrolling on Netflix, Lost Song’s description was interesting to me. A magic system based on song, and a girl who wants to fulfill her dream of singing at the Starsong festival? Sounded like my type of fun, adventurous, entertainingly tropey kind of fair. What I got instead was a show that started out that way, and ended up in an entirely different direction all together. Did this show succeed in trope subversion? Or did it’s plot twists just make it fall flat.
…It fell flat. Pretty darn hard too.
For more, let’s get into the review!
The story in Lost song follows two main characters. Finis, a songstress who has the power to use songs, which work like casting magic spells in this world, who is being used to make sure one kingdom wins obligatory fantasy war. Rin, a country girl, who also has the power of song, and wants to work her way to getting to the capital so she can sing at the Starsong festival. Eventually, these two paths converge, and that’s pretty much the plot without spoiling anything major. I thought the first six episodes of the show did a good job of showing us the world Finis and Rin live in, and the problems they both had to face. The show honestly plays out like an RPG for Rin’s plot: Find new party member, learn new spell, run from soldiers, rinse repeat. What I found far more interesting was Finis’ story, and her love story with Henry and I wish we would have seen more of this throughout the first half of the show.
It turns out, that there is a reason revealed in the second half of the show, that explains why we didn’t see Rin and Finis meet sooner, and it’s honestly a pretty good plot twist that I wasn’t expecting to happen. How the show handled this after the fact however, didn’t really land at all, because to figure out why it was a good plot twist, I had to look for final episode discussions to see people explaining what the heck was going on.
The second half of the series was a confused mess of the show dropping this plot point, trying to explain it to us, trying to make sure it really really made sense and that it wasn’t a convoluted mess (spoiler, it was) and the final episode’s epilogue, while sweet to an extent, leaves more questions than answers. Plus, it leaves a ton of plot holes that I’m still trying to figure out after watching.
A good plot twist can’t drive a show. I think Lost Song was really hoping that it would work, and that making this different than the average fantasy show would make it stand out amongst its peers. This plot twist does the opposite however, and just makes Lost Song confusing and forgettable. It wasn’t a bad ride by any means, but the show left no lasting impression on me and as of now the biggest thing I can say about it is “It was fine’.”
The characters were your average fantasy tropes. The valiant knight, the sad damsel who can’t lift a finger to protect herself, the country girl with big dreams and a heart of gold…I’m fine with a story either being plot driven or character driven, and this story obviously was going for an impactful plot, but the black and white nature of the characters was a bit heavy handed at times. The bad guys were 100% evil and got theirs, the good guys won the day, and the main characters fate is…a bit murky? Honestly I can’t talk enough about how wonky the plot twist made the show. The ending for a certain set of characters is really unclear, and I highly doubt that we’ll get any content telling us how their fate ended up ending up, for lack of a better term. If the plot stuck it’s landing and was executed well this wouldn’t bother me too much, but since the second half of the series went off the rails, it just was more obvious that the characters weren’t really fleshed out.
You can pretty much tell what’s going on at any given time in the show. It’s a very what you see is what you get type of series, so other than there being sections where music is playing only and not knowing what’s happening, and one episode that has narration and visuals (but that whole episode is a confusing mess so I doubt watching it would have really helped), the show is clear to follow beginning to end. No audio description for this one, but there is an English dub that is probably the best part of the show for me. That and the music, the music is fantastic.
The best way I can describe this show is Ar Tonelico: The anime. It honestly hit a lot of the story beats as that game did, but the game spent more time fleshing out the world and characters so it worked way better. If Lost Song was a 24 episode anime, or even 18, then maybe it could have done service to the story it was trying to tell. As it stands at 12 episodes, the second half of the story feels jarring, rushed, and that our characters just had to go with it so the show could end. I won’t say it was a bad show, but it wasn’t a good one and it could have been if the plot twist wasn’t just thrown in there to make the show more interesting.
I’d give Lost Song a solid 6 out of 10, and that extra number is for how epic the music is. It’s really a 5 out of 10: I don’t feel annoyed I watched it, but it didn’t leave any lasting impression on me. If you want a nice show to pass the time with and aren’t expecting too much, then go ahead and give this one a watch. The plot twist genuinely shocked me and was a really good concept, I just wish it was executed better than it was.
Have you watched Lost Song? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments!