THE IDOLM@STER – 19
「雲間に隠れる月の如く」 (Kumoma ni Kakureru Tsuki no Gotoku)
“Like a Moon Concealed in the Clouds”
For Takane’s episode, it’s kind of a shame that she’s also subject to more of 961 Pro’s ongoing defamatory attempts, but luckily she handles herself pretty well against a paparazzi named Shibusawa (Matsumoto Dai). It also led to some really adorable moments care of Hibiki and Yukiho when they thought Takane was going to transfer agencies and join Elder Records. That, along with Takane sensing that someone’s been tailing her, actually made the episode not too aggravating to watch. The last thing I would’ve wanted to see is a repeat of Kuroi getting his way and 765 Pro just taking it for the most part, much like we saw in Hibiki’s episode.
Compared to the alternative, this was definitely a better way of going about it, and even injected a little inadvertent drama when Takane didn’t want to worry the others about it and they suddenly became suspicious of her behavior. It was more enjoyable watching everyone hound Takane out of fear that she might actually leave 765 Pro, rather than getting frustrated about Kuroi’s persistence, so hats off to our silver-haired princess for directing their concerns elsewhere. Takane may have felt bad about doing so, but I was grateful for it as the viewer. Incidentally, the best thing to take away from 961 Pro’s latest attempt is that Jupiter finally caught wind of their president’s underhanded tactics. While Touma may not be able to do anything about it, the fact that he’s aware of it should help clear up the misunderstanding he has about 765 Pro. Hopefully he’ll also learn that 765 Pro hasn’t been trying to defame Jupiter in any way and that it all stemmed from Kuroi.
As for the best thing to take away from this episode as a whole, it had to be Takane’s perceptiveness on everything that goes around her — and I don’t just mean the pun she made about how the fundamentals of their job are reporting, contacting, and consultation (hourensou 「報連相」), and the key to their victory is spinach (hourensou 「菠薐草」), even though that was a clever play on the Producer’s words. She’s one of the oldest idols, second to only Azusa, and arguably one of the smartest of the bunch, so it’s rather befitting that she’s the first person to pick up on how something’s been bothering Chihaya. That something’s been hinted at for three episodes now, and it’s finally confirmed here that it’s the death of her younger brother that caused a rift in her family, including the divorce of her parents. It’s clearly a traumatic experience for Chihaya, as she feels responsible for letting go of her brother’s hand and allowing him to get into a car accident (judging from the flashback in episode sixteen), so I’m really looking forward to seeing how she overcomes it (and Kuroi using it against her). The preview is the most serious and sentimental one to date, so the the next episode will likely provide a new element of depth not seen in IM@S yet. I’m looking forward to it.
* That off-the-shoulder look! I can’t get over Miki’s speech either, e.g. “Miki-teki ni wa”, which translates to “Miki-ly”.
* I like Hara Yumi’s deeper singing voice. It’s a nice change-up from the cutesy voices heard in a lot of the other characters’ ending themes.
* Full-length images: 04, 25, 34.
ED19: 「風花」 (Kazehana) by 四条貴音 (原由実) (Shijou Takane (Hara Yumi))
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