Bang Dream Band Profile: Poppin’ Party

Poppin’ Party could be considered the “main” band of Bang Dream. They’re the first band you meet, they’ve got the most story, and really they’re the reason the game even exists (Kasumi’s voice actor was already doing music for the company, so they decided to make a game about girls’ bands.) As such, they’re probably the least-defined band out of the bunch. Musically, it’s all over the place: they’ve got some rockin’ stuff, but also some really sugary pop stuff. If you’ve ever listened to K-On’s music, HTT is a good match for Poppin’ Party (PP) (it wouldn’t surprise me if the characters are a good match too; the two bands have a lot in common…).

To tell the story of PP would be to tell the story of the game, so I’ll quickly summarize. Kasumi follows a trail of stickers into Arisa’s house (yes, into her house), which doubles as a pawn shop. Inside the shop’s storage there’s a Random Star guitar; Kasumi, who’s obsessed with stars (the stickers were star stickers), must have this. And what’s the point of having a guitar if there’s no band? So Kasumi, despite never having played before, strongarms a few weaker-willed individuals (like Arisa) into her band. Of course they aren’t any good at first, but they have passion, and that’s what counts in anime. They eventually become a sort of “mascot” band for their neighborhood, and the local concert venue.

And now for the girls:

Kasumi Toyama

Kasumi, the leader and founder of Poppin’ Party, is, to put it simply, a complete idiot. She’s the girl version of a typical shounen manga protagonist: bad at school, headstrong, loud, brash, stubborn, friendly to a fault, full to overflowing with energy, rushes into things without thinking, and comes up with all sorts of silly ideas. Being an idiot, she often doesn’t realize how difficult things will be, until she’s hit some point of discouragement, where she falls apart. But being simple, she’s easy to put back together too, and gets right back up to try something else. She’s also got an almost irresistible force of will, which helps her get her way more often than not, when she can’t give good reason for a thing.

Kasumi is both the vocalist and rhythm guitarist for PP. She’s the only one who had no experience whatsoever with her instrument, so she’s the one that had the furthest to come. However, if nothing else, she has determination, and she puts in the effort to get to an acceptable level. She is also the main lyricist, which explains why the songs are so all over the place musically – she basically goes with her whims.

Arisa Ichigaya

Arisa is about the exact opposite of Kasumi. Where Kasumi is the Fool, Arisa is the Straight Man, in traditional manzai comedy fashion. Arisa is incredibly smart, top of her class, despite rarely coming to school (because she had no friends, so why bother?). Arisa pretty much just wants a normal, quiet life, but then she always gets caught up with a bunch of weirdos and antics. She tries to keep her feelings to herself, but she’s as easy to read as Kasumi, and often ends up blushing when caught trying to act cool. Sche puts on airs of being a proper young lady, demure and polite; despite that, she doesn’t suffer fools well, and often has outbursts when crazy stuff happens – usually aimed at Kasumi, the likely cause of such crazy stuff.

Arisa is the keyboardist for the band. She learned how to play piano as a child, but she hasn’t kept up with it. She’s the type that always likes to be extremely prepared and in control, so her lack of skill is always nervewracking, on top of her usual shyness. She also acts somewhat as the manager for the band: Kasumi is always half-planning stuff, and Arisa likes to be sure in every detail, so she takes care of those things. (Also doesn’t hurt that her basement is the home base for the band.) While she doesn’t like to admit it, she really cares for the band, and goes the extra mile for them.

Rimi Ushigome

Rimi is just one giant ball of anxiety in a small frame. She’s extremely shy, quite nervous, and takes a long time to make decisions for herself. So naturally, she got swept up in Kasumi’s tornadic energy. She’s also kinda dumb, which doesn’t help matters (though not anywhere near Kasumi’s level). However, she likes what she likes, and is very willing to let everyone know: chocolate coronets, horror movies, and music.

Rimi is the bassist for the band. Her older sister is the bassist for another band (Glitter Green), who taught her the basics on how to play. Even so, she’s not too skilled at the start, and much like Arisa, gets incredibly nervous during performances. Even so, she was the first one to say yes when Kasumi wanted to form a band, and is always excited for both practice and performances.

Tae Hanazono

Tae can be summed up in one phrase: space cadet. She’s never really all there. Sometimes she seems like a complete idiot, while others she’s the wisest one in the room. Usually the former, though. She’s always ready to go along with Kasumi’s ideas, often confusing the situation even more (much to Arisa’s consternation). If ever there was a non-sequitur that didn’t need to be said, she’s there to say it – usually about rabbits.

Tae is the lead guitarist for PP. She’s the only band member who’s particularly skilled with their instrument, having played guitar since she was a child. However, she never joined a band before PP – she preferred to watch; in fact, at the start of the game she’s working for a concert hall. She joins PP after tutoring Kasumi for a while, convinced that there was something special with her, some special feeling with the band.

That’s not what the fanfics say…
Saya Yamabuki

Saya is the Normal One. While Arisa tries to be normal, Saya actually is. In fact, she’s so normal, I don’t have much to say about her. She’s not dumb or smart. She’s grounded and centered. But she doesn’t really perform any role in the dynamic of PP. She’s just kinda there being pretty. Her parents run a local bakery, which means she’s often left taking care of her younger siblings. In fact, this makes her the last member of PP to join up – she felt her family responsibilities would interfere with the band.

Saya is the drummer. She was actually a drummer for another band in the past, but she quit after a family incident (which, again, made her extremely hesitant to join with PP). Her role in the band mostly seems to be getting treats for parties and practices. It’s funny, she basically gets an event that’s all about her, and yet she still doesn’t make much of an impression to me.