THE IDOLM@STER – 04
「自分を変えるということ」 (Jibun wo Kaeru to Iu Koto)
“What It Means To Change Oneself”
It was no Iron Chef — one of my favorite cooking shows — but the 765 Pro girls were surprisingly good at cooking. I was pretty much expecting our idols to embarrass themselves in Gero Gero Kitchen, given how girls and bad cooking seem to go hand-in-hand in anime these days. Judging from their personalities, Haruka and Hibiki would’ve been the usual suspects, not Chihaya, yet here we have the exact opposite. What’s with IM@S twisting my image of anime?
As much as I would’ve liked to consider this a Chihaya and Takane-centered episode, the latter only really made a mark with her unusual interest in the frog costume. Not that I minded though, seeing as this was all about Chihaya’s love for singing and the Producer’s failure to get her any music-related gigs. At least he realized it right away and redeemed himself a bit in that regard. I was just as entranced by her a cappella as he was, and felt kind of bad for her, having to put up with something she clearly had no interest in doing.
Amidst all the sillier antics, including the cameraman going for upskirt shots at every opportunity, I actually like how Chihaya spoke up to the host and killed the idiotic mood. If it were me in that situation, I probably would’ve walked off the set and never come back. It looked like Chihaya had done that, and part of me wishes that she really did, but I guess toughing it out with stuff you don’t want to do is what it’s like for an idol starting out. This is why I’m just going to pin the blame on the Producer for not getting her on a more relevant program. Hats off to Chihaya for sticking with it after getting some encouragement from the others, but when put into perspective with her “Blue Bird” ending theme, I still can’t help but feel bad for her.
In addition to hearing Imai Asami’s singing, which always comes with an image of Makise Kurisu from Steins;Gate, I love the seriousness in Chihaya’s character. While more carefree girls like Miki and Hibiki are always fun to watch, I can relate to people like Chihaya so much easier. There’s very little doubt in my mind that her character type is targeted towards people like me, but I’m still impressed by how well this formula of presenting a bunch of different personalities works. As far as anime adaptations go, this is one of the few occasions where I felt a character’s “charm points” came across right away, and having the other girls around to contrast Chihaya’s personality had a large part in why it did.
I realize this is the main reason for featuring multiple heroines in the IM@S games and romantic simulation games, but I never play them. If you had asked me fifteen years ago, the “completist” in me would’ve had the patience to explore all the routes in these type of games. The same can’t be said about now though. Anyway, it looks like we’re getting into a beach episode already next time. The added bonus is Chihaya’s bashfulness, so you can be sure I’ll be looking forward to that.
* P.S. I’m not a big fan of durian either, even though it doesn’t taste that bad. The smell makes it too unappetizing.
ED4: 「蒼い鳥（TV ARRANGE）」 (Aoi Tori) by 今井麻美 (Imai Asami)
Watch the 4th ED!: Streaming ▼