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THE IDOLM@STER – 02 »

THE IDOLM@STER – 01

「これからが彼女たちのはじまり」 (Kore kara ga Kanajo-tachi no Hajimari)
“It’s the Beginning of These Girls from Here On”

Fans of the IDOLM@STER franchise should be happy about this incredibly faithful adaptation, as it felt like I was watching someone play the Xbox 360 game it’s based on before my very eyes. The twelve aspiring female idols (and one producer) constantly broke the fourth wall to communicate with the nameless cameraman (soon to be producer), whose unvoiced lines were subtitled for most of the episode. After only a few minutes in, I had already started wondering if the entire anime was going to be like this. Part of me could see the rationale behind it, making the producer remain nameless and turning this into A-1 Pictures’ anime version of the game, whereas another part of me was bewildered by the approach and left wondering if they were really going to do this for 25 episodes.

Well, I got my answer at the very end, when the voiceless cameraman was introduced by 765 Production’s faceless president, Takagi Junjirou (Ootsuka Houchuu, Jiraiya in Naruto), as the new producer who will be guiding the girls toward their idol dreams. He doesn’t seem to have a name yet, being only credited as “cameraman” this episode, but he does have a face and a voice actor to play him too, namely Akabane Kenji. His introduction brought him in front of the camera lens (instead of behind it or off to the side) and finally made this feel like an anime and not a producer simulation game. At the same time, it made this premiere episode seem that much cooler from a ridiculously faithful standpoint. Had they not revealed the cameraman as the producer at the very end, I probably would’ve remembered this as one hell of a fake-out episode rather than simply a cool parody of the flow of the game. I didn’t mind having to read Japanese subtitles, but I would find it strange to watch an entire series filled with one-sided conversations. Looking back, I kind of wish they did drag it off for a few more episodes, just to see what the viewer reaction would’ve been.

In execution, the game-like approach worked well in introducing the female characters and their various personalities under the guise of a documentary-type recording. It also put names to all their faces for those completely new to the franchise, while refreshing the memories of those who are somewhat familiar with the characters from watching Sunrise’s 2007 alternate reality adaptation, Xenoglossia (such as myself). Surprisingly, the character nuances came across quite quickly as a result, which piqued my interest in some of the girls. I already have the tomboy Kikuchi Makoto (Hirata Hiromi), the carefree and voluptuous Hoshii Miki (Hasegawa Akiko), the spunky Ganaha Hibiki (Numakura Manami), the slightly ditzy Amami Haruka (Nakamura Eriko), the timid Hagiwara Yukiho (Asakura Azumi), and the diligent Kisaragi Chihaya (Imai Asami) under my radar from this first episode alone. Miki and Chihaya stood out particularly, with the latter reminding me of Makise Kurisu from Steins;Gate because Imai Asami uses the same voice in both roles. I’m pretty indifferent about Takatsuki Yayoi (Nigo Mayako), Miura Azusa (Takahashi Chiaki), and Shijou Takane (Hara Yumi) so far, but I can do with less of the energetic twins Futami Ami/Mami (Shimoda Asami) and Minase Iori (Kugimiya Rie), the latter of which is simply because it’s KugiRie in another haughty ojou-sama role. However, it’s not all about idols, as we have 765 Pro’s secretary, Otonashi Kotori (Takita Juri), to complete the main cast.

Incidentally, the introduction of the nameless producer means that former idol and fellow producer Akizuki Ritsuko (Wakabayashi Naomi) isn’t flying solo as some people originally speculated, and that there’s a male presence among the abundance of female adolescence that can be leveraged for any fan-service aspects if need be, just like in the game itself. I would say the latter is unlikely given the straight-laced impression I got from the yet to be named producer, but that doesn’t mean the fan-service can’t inadvertently stem from the girls’ side. Whatever the case, we have a male character who’s surrounded by aspiring female idols. Things are bound to happen. At the moment, I’m not entirely set on following this series and watching the girls pursue their dreams, but I do like what I see on the production side of things care of A-1 Pictures. I’ll check out a few more episodes to see if anything else grabs my attention.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「The world is all one!!」 by 765PRO ALLSTARS
Watch the ED!: Streaming ▼

Preview

July 8, 2011 at 4:05 am
44 comments »
  • July 8, 2011 at 4:19 amProoof

    one-sided voice dialogue — it feels awkward in games and more so in anime; characters look cute but that seems to be the only thing going for it

    • July 8, 2011 at 7:46 amroflwaflz

      While I would find it awkward if it continued throughout the series, I personally found the whole style of everything to be a great way to handle an introduction episode.

    • July 9, 2011 at 1:35 amwolfi

      Was even more annoying than awkward. And tiresome, as in my version the cameraman was subbed at the bottom of the screen while the girls were at the top. After 10 minutes i diceded not to watch a third episode if that continued. Gladly, that is probably off the table.

  • July 8, 2011 at 4:23 amOni

    male lead √
    lot of cute girls √
    decent animation quality √
    harem potential √

    looks like i will be following this one

    • July 8, 2011 at 3:55 pmpaulrenzo

      I’m just weird I guess, but for some reason, I wouldn’t be following this if it didn’t have a male character there somewhere.

      • July 10, 2011 at 8:01 amOni

        nope your not i feel the same if this series went koi hime i would not be watching this

  • July 8, 2011 at 4:31 amIronicTales

    I wonder what the achievements for the game would be…..
    I’m going to start watching it now, it looks interesting enough

  • July 8, 2011 at 4:47 amRyuuzaki21

    when i was watching it, i said to myself “what the heck I’m watching?” :)

  • July 8, 2011 at 4:56 amClick

    I’ve actually been waiting for this for quite a while. And actually like it. Hell, I almost peed myself when they showed the producer. I mean, I’m not expected an amazing drama or comedy or any of that, but I’m gonna stick it out for the whole 25 episode run.

    Plus, OMFG THEY MADE HIBIKI A FANG CHARACTER JDA;SJDKJFA;KDSJFA;DKJFAKDF

    • July 8, 2011 at 8:41 amShirt

      LoL! She instantly became my favorite because of that! XDD

    • July 9, 2011 at 12:02 amKinny Riddle

      For some reason, Hibiki reminded me a lot of Kyoko in Madoka Magica, due to their ponytail and their spunky attitude.

      • July 9, 2011 at 8:34 amIncognito

        Never mind that Hibiki Ganaha’s first appearance in the IDOLM@STER games predates Madoka Magica… Nonetheless, I don’t mind seeing cosplay fan art of Hibiki as Kyoko. :D

        And to think I got interested in this series thanks to those DLC ita-planes from Ace Combat 6! Dayum!

  • July 8, 2011 at 4:59 amGekokujou

    I don’t suppose the panty-shots are in are they?

    • July 8, 2011 at 9:36 amjingoi

      If you haven’t you should check out Idolmaster Xenoglossia, that probably has fanservice.

  • July 8, 2011 at 5:25 amSpoilerMaker

    Weird show. I wonder what it is going to turn out later, because it is hard to draw any conclusions from the first introductory episode.

  • July 8, 2011 at 5:45 amRintarou

    SOMEONE HAS TO BLOG THIS

  • July 8, 2011 at 5:56 amCroos

    over intro in the beginning didn’t like it :>. Since its still in the first episode i just let it go.

  • July 8, 2011 at 6:11 amKGFJ

    Like that Hibiki girl already!! I love girls who are good with animals!!! :D

  • July 8, 2011 at 6:44 amcutemi2

    Blog this…that anime is Xbox 360

  • July 8, 2011 at 8:06 amleefan

    in the game you could basically decide how perverted the producer was based on your choices, causing quite a few interesting (?) moments:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ClTxoNusns

  • July 8, 2011 at 8:22 amLuxorcist

    I wasn’t really going to watch this, but the art looks fantastic. x.x

  • July 8, 2011 at 8:40 amShirt

    ^ Of course the art is fantasmal. Same successful artist behind K-ON and Sora no Woto. (So many lookalikes because of it too..)

    As a Xbox 360 owner, I’ve been in the Japanese Marketplace a few times and noticed a lot of advertising for the game. I never played it though. If I can find a demo, I’ll give it a go. (That’s anime for ya, lol)

    Man, with all those characters, I’d a thought at least one would be voiced by Kobayashi Yuu.. D’:

  • July 8, 2011 at 8:57 amKurofaise

    It was weird and awkward at times when the dialogue was subtitled, but other than that I enjoyed it… I think?

    I really hope it wont stay in that format and it doesn’t seem like it will. :)

  • July 8, 2011 at 9:39 ampuyo

    BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO on the male lead!!!

  • July 8, 2011 at 9:55 amSaya

    The girls are all so cute and it doesn’t seem to be loaded with fan service. Hope they keep that up. And even though its not a plot driven somehow I’m still pretty excited to for the next episode. Have no idea what’s in the game so I wonder what direction it will take.

    Also somewhat excited for the ost/s.

    • September 23, 2011 at 12:35 amRuvell

      It’s great to read something that’s both enjoyable and provides pragmatisdc soutlinos.

  • July 8, 2011 at 12:59 pmRuu27

    OMG! Kouji Kabuto the cameraman! XD

  • July 8, 2011 at 1:09 pmHiyono

    Surprisingly good first episode. The whole documentary bit was pretty cool actually, and the animation quality was a lot higher than I’d expected for a show like this.

  • July 8, 2011 at 2:25 pmargus88

    That was an interesting way of introducing the characters. Still, the one-sided dialogue felt a bit odd at first, but I gradually got used to it and I guess that was only really for the 1st episode. Overall though, a decent first episode.

  • July 8, 2011 at 6:36 pmAgility

    I was hoping that the producer would get a voice and a face, since it was getting pretty awkward at first. I liked how they introduced it with the documentary-style episode; I thought it was an interesting way to introduce all the characters and what they do.

    Probably a little bit more than biased here though, since I’ve liked idolm@ster even before this. Looking foward to this.

    (hibiki + miki, woo)

  • July 8, 2011 at 8:28 pmTenshi_

    Is this worth watching btw?? looks interesting though, I think I would get bored quarter way through… and plus, I think this one is pretty much animated for dedicated idolm@ster fans, not for regular anime fans… IMO

  • July 8, 2011 at 9:01 pmfragb85

    So how does a crappy Production office with only four employees able to contract TWELVE IDOLS!? Was the boss really good at convincing parents? Considering the ruckus they create it must be a handful too. Talk about suspension of disbelief.

    Seriously though, it was a nice way to introduce all of the girls, my only worry now is how exactly are they going to handle such a large cast of cute girls. It feels like someone is going to be shafted regardless..

    • July 8, 2011 at 11:54 pmKinny Riddle

      From what I hear, budding idols in Japan are paid peanuts commission until they make it big, after which the production company milk their worth and use them to expand as well.

      So contracting 12 unknown idols could spell huge dividends for 765 if our nameless producer succeeds with his Midas touch on the 12 girls. If he does succeed, then it just goes to show President Takagi as a very shrewd businessman. lol

  • July 8, 2011 at 11:11 pmThe M0on DOgg

    They finally put a face on that stupid producer… Oh wait! In the game, that’s us….

    • July 9, 2011 at 7:46 amCroos

      yeah i was curios of what the producers face looks like

  • July 8, 2011 at 11:40 pmKinny Riddle

    Never had an XBox360, so I could only hear how cute this game was.

    For some reason, I just couldn’t be arsed with the Xenoglossia sci-fi like adaptation, it just felt so… wrong.

    So I’m glad a more faithful “idol raising” story adaptation is being done instead, even more so at knowing this adaptation is in safe hands with A-1 Pictures. My impression of them have increased tenfold since their excellent work with Working, AnoHana and Kuroshitusji.

    The game-like 4th-wall breaking way of introducing the girls sure is fun to watch, though it’d be pretty awkward if we had to go through this for all 12 episodes. lol

  • July 9, 2011 at 5:28 amKGFJ

    And please tell me this one doesn’t have robots like in xenoglossia? Because I didn’t enjoy those robots at all. I mean, that was the anime about, yet I couldn’t enjoy it

    • July 9, 2011 at 8:38 amIncognito

      Nope, no mecha here. If anything, its more similar to the OAV which came with the Live For You game.

      Hell, it’s about damn time a more faithful adaptation was made…

  • July 9, 2011 at 5:37 pmKevin

    I usually like watching harem type anime, but this was boring. I enjoyed watching the ending more than the actual episode LOL. I was going to drop this, but the reveal of the producer will keep me for another episode…

  • July 9, 2011 at 7:37 pmrussel

    ^ ^
    Same as Kevin here. I guess that means a lot of us are in the same boat. Unless they really expected to pull another K-On without any males around, they really need some males to nucleate the fun.

    • July 10, 2011 at 12:33 amThe M0on DOgg

      Too bad though: It isn’t and will not pull a K-On. It isn’t a harem either, not in the strictest sense. It will be a slice-of-life, IMO. Something like the cross of Bakuman+Doujin Work with the seriousness of RL showbiz.

      So if you expect the producer getting all lovey-dovey with the girls, be dissapointed.Well not totally devoid of romance: Mikki, for one thing in the game, likes the producer(calling him “darling” and having him drive her to school to show him off). If this show will duly follow the character’s personality from the game, there will be that.

      So I guess this show has some potential afterall: rating for the first episode is an average ordinary 7/10.

    • July 11, 2011 at 4:14 amMrTerrorist

      Don’t worry cause in later episodes…Show Spoiler ▼

  • July 10, 2011 at 9:51 pmKelfistan

    Most epic reveal at the end, period

  • July 12, 2011 at 1:00 amnagi

    Not sure what to expect with this series but will continue until I get bored anyway…

    BTW, Makise Kurisu singing FTW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!