I finally found the spare cycles to pick up and (Te)blow through all of The Idolm@ster, and it is quite the show. But I’ll let my usual style of mockery and clever writing do the talking for me.
Adapted from the 360 game “The iDOLM@STER 2”, the show follows the chronicles of 13 girls as they try to make it to the top of idol stardom. Haruka, Ami, Mami, Hibiki, Yukiho, Miki, Makoto, Chihaya, Iori, Azusa, Takane, and Yayoi work for a small company, 765 Pro, headed by “The Chief” and led by producer Akizuki Ritsuko, a former idol, they started out only getting a few jobs here and there, until they hired another producer to help bring in more work. Throughout the series, as they gain more and more notoriety and stardom, their individual characters, reasons for being idols, friendships, and even their professional carrier come under fire in a tough-as-nails world of being a star.
I’m usually hesitant to pick up shows like this for two reasons. One is, the VA cast. It’s laden with actual idols, pop stars, or popular anime VAs. I don’t really know anything about the world of Japanese music, or popular artists. Frankly, to be honest, aside from a few VAs, I don’t even have a general interest in Japanese OR English VAs. I generally like to distance myself from those sorts of things, because it adds another layer to this fandom that I never wanted to delve into. The second is, due to the first, the series has a lot of musical accompaniment. I don’t mind music in my anime, but being a show that rests its heels on popular musical artists inside the show and out, it’s like watching a Disney film, you expect it to burst out into a song in the next ten minutes.
However, I am a fair man, and I went into this with the basic expectation of that this is a show that will, at the very least, deliver the same energy that K-ON! delivered, cute girls doing cute things. I’m surprised to say I got a little more than I banged out for, and that alone makes it worth the watch. The show is by no means the SOTY (sorry frustra) but I can see why a number of twitterbros were into it during it’s run last summer. I can also see where this is going to tip the balance of power in this year’s Saimoe Tournament, in the same way Saki tipped 2009/2010. I expecially liked the “documentary feel” to the first episode, and I honestly kind of thought that it would be interesting if they kept that throughout the show, but it would have probably crimped it somewhat.
As for “the best girl”? Ehh. I’m by no means an expert at this show, but if I had to spin up an official Delta PowerRanking, it would be:
Makoto > Chihaya = Takane > Yayoi > Miki > Hibiki > Azusa > Ami = Mami > Haruka > Iori > Yukiho
Yeah, yeah, Makoto. It was close though.
Title: The Idolm@ster
Sub Group I Watched: Chibiki
Rating (1-10): 8
Favorite Character: Kikuchi Makoto
Least Favorite Character: Hagiwara Yukiho
What about Xenoglossia? It seems to be what this series was based on, but in a different telling, where the former was a mecha or something. I’m actually considering watching it just to see what it’s about.
Y U NO X GIRL: There are too many girls to choose from, but ultimately Makoto, Chihaya, and Takane proved to be sustainable favorites where the others didn’t gel with me by the end, and not just because they had episodes and stories to themselves.
Couldn’t they give Producer a name? I mean come on, everyone else had a name, even the bastard at the other company. Guess it was like being DOC in Red vs. Blue. It just sticks. Dufrane. I know though, he was the eyes in the games, so it makes sense. Still.
Any suggestions for more completed shows from previous seasons I need to watch? If you’re not sure what I have or haven’t seen, check MAL