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THE IDOLM@STER – 22 »« THE IDOLM@STER – 20

THE IDOLM@STER – 21

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「まるで花が咲くように」 (Maru de Hana ga Saku you ni)
“As If A Flower Were Blooming”

A follow-up to Chihaya’s subplot, a resolution to the 961 Pro/Jupiter problem, and an unexpected performance by Kotori that ties Takagi and Kuroi’s past? Suffice to say, IM@S continues to push forward with its mini drama, providing an extra dimension to the series that one wouldn’t expect. In the case of 961 Pro and Jupiter, this boils down to Touma’s resentment toward Kuroi’s methods that results in the male pop group’s departure from his agency, much to the Producer’s surprise. It was the only natural outcome to pin all the blame on Kuroi and show that Jupiter was just being used, so while that didn’t come as much of a surprise to me, the tenacity the 765 Pro girls showed in the face of Kuroi’s meddling did. From a viewer’s perspective, it’s easy to curse Kuroi for sabotaging 765 Pro’s efforts by intimidating makeup artists and audio technicians out of helping them, but it’s hard to dwell on that when the girls didn’t let it get them down. Instead, I found their positivity “emotionally inspirational”, as everyone figured it was Kuroi’s doing.

Haruka once again deserves praise for spearheading the group’s optimism, though it’s starting to look like she’s pushing herself a little too hard by shouldering that role. Her forced smile really suggested that she had doubts about Chihaya’s acapella performance being well-received, as it looked like she was on the verge of tears from a sense of relief that it was. During the performance, the expression on Haruka’s face spoke volumes to me, as I too was moved by how Chihaya insisted on singing even though she didn’t have any music. I have a real soft-spot for those who push on despite the great adversity they’re up against, especially when it I see it move others into coming around and supporting their efforts. It wasn’t quite enough to get me choked up and teary-eyed like the support everyone showed Chihaya last time, but it sure had the same emotional effect when the music started playing and Chihaya continued to sing her heart out. That’s two weeks in a row that IM@S has moved me, which I find rather remarkable since “moving” isn’t a word I thought I’d ever use to describe this series.

As for the 765 Pro assistant who doesn’t get as much attention as she probably deserves, I would have never figured she’s a former idol, let alone an idol nurtured under the guidance of Takagi and Kuroi before the falling out they had. That revelation came as a pleasant surprise, as it showcased both Kotori and Kuroi in a very different light. In Kotori’s case, her performance of “Hana” in that black dress single-handledly changed my image of her character, much like it did for everyone else. Her character’s attractiveness shot way up in my books too, as she’s older than the rest of the 765 Pro idols and exudes a different type of charm. In Kuroi’s case, the talk between him, Takagi, and Yoshizawa redeemed his character ever-so-slightly by suggesting that he wasn’t always like this. Their conversation was a good way to conclude 961 Pro’s harassment — if only temporarily — allowing the series to move on from that in the final stretch. To that end, Chihaya’s question about what it means to be an idol at the end was a nice touch, considering everything that’s happened, as was seeing everyone in good-spirits going into the Christmas episode next time.

* Full-length images: 03, 09, 12, 13, 27, 28, 29, 30, 36.

 

ED21 Sequence

THE IDOLM@STER   ED21   01 THE IDOLM@STER   ED21   02 THE IDOLM@STER   ED21   03

ED21: 「空」 (Sora) by 音無小鳥 (滝田樹里) (Otonashi Kotori (Takita Juri))
Watch the 21st ED!: Streaming ▼

Preview

THE IDOLM@STER   21   Preview 01 THE IDOLM@STER   21   Preview 02 THE IDOLM@STER   21   Preview 03
November 25, 2011 at 7:11 pm
35 comments »
  • November 25, 2011 at 8:05 pmClick

    Wow, another strong episode! The Chihaya subplot proves to be great once again, as expected. Still though, all the focus on Chihaya makes me wish that the other idols of 765 got nearly as much attention as she’s been getting. Anyways, Idolm@ster is really hitting its stride once again. I’m hoping that they can keep this up all the way to the finale.

    And oh yeah, Otonashi singing was really unexpected. I really enjoyed it.

  • November 25, 2011 at 9:29 pmpaulrenzo

    IIRC Kotori being an ex-idol is an original take on her character right?

    • November 25, 2011 at 9:35 pmDivine

      Someone else will have to confirm/deny this since I’m not familiar with the IM@S games.

      • November 25, 2011 at 10:44 pmJalexster

        No, it’s not an original take. It was hinted at heavily in iDOLM@STER SP, with Takagi mentioning that he and Kuroi used to work with an idol that used to have a few popular songs, including Hana and Sora. Both of which have been performed by Kotori on various soundtrack CDs.

  • November 25, 2011 at 9:51 pmtomoyostar

    Kotori’s mole is in a different spot..

  • November 25, 2011 at 11:24 pmThe MoonDoggie

    I knew Kotori was an ex-Idol!…. What’s with her chara songs and all from the orignal.

  • November 26, 2011 at 3:51 amGermanguy

    If this goes on Haruka’s True Self, will have a Break down. Where is the Support for the Supporter? Thats a very tough question. She helps other out, if they are in crisis. But in a time, her “Mask” will break and it’s to much for her to burden

    • November 26, 2011 at 1:43 pmSkribulous

      Haruka’s story will be the final arc, clearly.

    • November 27, 2011 at 6:10 pmKaris

      Is there a Dark Haruka?? Love to see that!

      • November 27, 2011 at 6:57 pmfragb85

        Dark Haruka is just a fanon meme. The very few times Haruka gets angry are described by Producer as “scary” but she always controls herself after a few seconds. Nowhere near the Yandere interpretation of Dark Haruka.

    • November 27, 2011 at 7:07 pmThe Moondoggie

      I want to hear her sing “I Want” again! Dark Haruka FTW!

      • November 27, 2011 at 7:16 pmfragb85

        Wish granted.

        Its funny how this is Haruka’s image song though.

      • November 29, 2011 at 11:18 pmdopenhagen

        1, 2, 3, VAI!

  • November 26, 2011 at 6:14 amKinny Riddle

    While not quite a Kotori episode, this will suffice.

    With the Chihaya, 961 and Jupiter subplots all tied up nicely, how are they gonna wrap things up with 4 more episodes to go?

    (Maybe ending the 961 and Jupiter subplot is a ploy to get fans to hate Jupiter less? lol )

    Perhaps the focus ought to come back on the “default main girl” Haruka. As Divine has noted, her endless support of Chihaya as well as being the cheerleader of the group may start to take its toil on her.

  • November 26, 2011 at 6:45 amButterbean

    Is it too much to hope for a Producer episode? I mean, this show IS called The Idolm@ster, so it would make sense to have one episode dedicated to the Producer himself.

    • November 26, 2011 at 7:01 amfragb85

      If the anime is like the iM@S2 then I’m fairly sure that the finale will involve the BROducer.
      Show Spoiler ▼

      • November 26, 2011 at 11:23 amSeishun Otoko

        That would be so sad… I can imagine all the (;_;) (T_T) (T~T) (ToT) (T^T) that we’ll be seeing already

      • November 27, 2011 at 9:02 pmWilfriback

        Well, I don’t think all of them except…
        Show Spoiler ▼

    • November 27, 2011 at 8:58 pmsenshi

      Actually no, preciously because this show is called IDOLMASTER, there shouldn’t be an episode on the Producer. That’s because in the games the Producer absolutely has no personality and background, it is created as the player’s game avatar and nothing else. He is what you want him to be and his character is defined by what choices you make, otherwise he is completely faceless, and the anime captures this angel perfectly.

  • November 26, 2011 at 7:18 amArvee

    Kotori and the BROducer rules this episode. But let’s not forget Chihaya’s ‘Nemuri Hime’ performance neither acapella or the audio.

  • November 26, 2011 at 7:18 amfragb85

    Didn’t think it was necessary for more Chihaya focus, since I thought it wrapped up nicely last episode. Jupiter jumping ship was great but I think it was too soon. At this point 765 doesn’t have a proper antagonist so I’m not sure what’s up with 961. Kotori looks nice in a dress and its nice that she was given some attention

  • November 26, 2011 at 8:46 amZhinvu

    http://randomc.net/image/THE%20IDOLM@STER/THE%20IDOLM@STER%20-%2021%20-%20Large%2025.jpg Kotori really looks so attractive in this frame. I also like the small change in the opening animation.

  • November 26, 2011 at 11:28 amSeishun Otoko

    Thanks for the very awesome full-length images this week, Divine :)
    I love that Kotori got some very well deserved screen time. Very often, we forget the support team who makes everything possible for those in the front lines

  • November 26, 2011 at 7:19 pmMyst

    Is there a stream online that I can watch this?

  • November 26, 2011 at 9:59 pmsatkaz

    Hmm, I wonder what’s going to be the final obstacle for 765 Pro. Maybe it might be the Shinkan Shoujo girls. Or Jupiter might come back to have a final showdown with them.

    Anyway, this was a great episode. Kotori looked absolutely lovely in that dress, and Chihaya singing Nemuri Hime without music was awesome.

  • November 27, 2011 at 7:46 pmWilfriback

    Divine, check the part when Kuroi anda Takagi are talking, there is a shot to a poster that says about a Idoljam, which has 765 and Jupiter on them, so I expect a tournament for the ending.

    • November 30, 2011 at 2:41 pmFencedude

      IdolJam was the event in this episode…

  • November 28, 2011 at 12:11 pmNillian

    Holy Moon Princess, Kotori’s mole MOVED as she aged…

    • November 29, 2011 at 11:58 amFlappy

      … Looks it did move… A mistake on the animators part?

  • November 29, 2011 at 11:56 amFlappy

    Just caught up with the series. Why dint I start much earlier? Really shaping up nicely in the last few episodes!

    • November 30, 2011 at 9:01 pmdopenhagen

      everybody gets idolm@stered

  • December 2, 2011 at 7:09 amtexasroper

    does anyone think Chihaya looks like futaba from green green.

  • December 4, 2011 at 3:32 pmKelfistan

    I think I’ll grow a fetish with moles

  • January 9, 2012 at 4:39 pmstarss

    Anyone notice how Takagi used to look almost like Broducer?