“The nine of us will become the saviors of the city. We will! Maybe!”
(Shirogane Misake, “Explosion Angel Hatsuri-chan”)
If you’re watching Action Heroine Cheer Fruits this season, chances are you’re enjoying the theatrics as much as I am. The odds for success are high given the almost guaranteed popularity of idol and superhero shows, but Cheer Fruits has more than a winning formula to help it–the show also addresses Japan’s established concern of shrinking rural communities, as well as displays solid writing that paces itself well over the course of its episodes. From practice to performance, the Cheer Fruits are the local heroines who will capture your applause and heart.
“Holy Fruit Warriors Hina-Nectar!”
Superheroes have probably been around as long as humans have been telling stories, and their screen adaptations are enjoying a golden age, the end of which has yet to be seen. The same can be said of anime, where shows like My Hero Academia and One Punch Man please audience members of all ages. The parameters for these heroes’ existence usually involve a world full of villains, as well as supernatural powers that go beyond the capability of standard law enforcement. Both of the aforementioned shows do include publicity, with some heroes taking advantage of their screen time to advertise themselves, whether that product be an ideal like with MHA’s All Might, or fashion and beauty products like Uwabami. The heroes of Cheer Fruits also exist to protect their communities. Instead of bad guys, they combat decreasing populations. In place of genuine street fights and terrorism, they provide entertainment geared at pleasing their citizens as well as inviting outsiders to partake in local specialties.
Another fun twist to the heroines of Cheer Fruits is their similarity to anime idol groups like μ’s and Wake Up, Girls. While singing and dancing are not the main focus of their performances, our fruit warriors do incorporate a bit in between their acts. The songs create a more rounded experience for audience members, as well as promotes the group with simple, yet catchy, melodies. Once you’ve seen them and heard the music, it’s hard to not sing along and mimic the moves whenever they come up live in a future performance or on television. The group also has the benefit of national ranking among other local heroes. Once brand new and unknown, they are able to jump up into the top 100 with physical skill and careful marketing.
Their climb to public awareness came with its fair share of hard work and much trial and error. While at first they were motivated by copying a popular hero from another district, they run the risk of copyright infringement, as well as a lack of any real draw to their hometown. Kamidaio, the hero who first inspired our girls, has a distinct appearance and attitude that represents her historical home of Kamiari City. Acting out her popular scenes does not tell outsiders anything about Hinano City. The girls could be as talented and active as they liked, but they would still be a mere imitation of the real thing. Using local fruits instead as models for the group’s identity, they not only pay respect to their home’s livelihood, but also appeal to tourists and the food industry alike.
Action Heroine Cheer Fruits encourages us to not only look for our own local gems, but to also do what we can to preserve and invigorate them. I love that light-hearted series like this can touch on these types of concerns, particularly since I’m only now starting to care more about my own community events. It’s good to start paying attention to these kinds of issues early on to foster regular participation. Hopefully the Cheer Fruits can gather a following not only outside of their hometown, but also among their own citizens from children to the elderly. This includes us viewers, of course!
“Explosion Angel Hatsuri-chan.” Action Heroine Cheer Fruits, written by Arakawa Naruhisa, directed by Kusakawa Keizou, HiDive, 18 Aug 2017.