OP: 「微熱S.O.S!!」 (Binetsu S.O.S!!) by 橋本みゆき (Hashimoto Miyuki)
Watch the OP! Mirror 1, Mirror 2
The OP’s not bad, but I don’t think it’s one of Hashimoto Miyuki’s better songs. Still, I like it a lot more than the ED.
With the Nubilum pulling on the Imber and with Haruka not knowing what she’s doing in the cockpit, the Imber crashes down onto the ground. As the Nubilum grabs it in a hold, Haruka starts screaming, and the Imber comes to life on its own. It manages to free itself from the Nubilum and knocks the opposing iDOL away before falling down to the water. It is at this point that the Nebula, piloted by Makoto, joins the fight against the Nubilum. Outnumbered and with the girl R.I.F.F.A insisting that they go home, Chihaya starts to fly away. The Nebula tries to pursue, but Chihaya kicks it back down as she makes her escape. During all this, Haruka has fainted and now has a dream about flying on a penguin’s back. She eventually wakes up to the sound of her cell phone because her friend Yayoi is calling. Yayoi is quite concerned about her, but Haruka doesn’t even know where she is right now. Before their conversation can go on any further, a female doctor hangs up Haruka’s phone because they’re actually in the medical office where cell phones are prohibited. After getting a physical examination, Haruka is brought to have tea with Joseph Shingetsu, the chief of the Mondenkind Japan Idolmaster division. He explains to her that the mecha are called iDOLs and their pilots are Idolmasters. Thus, her original audition was not to be a normal idol, but rather for this, and Joseph offers to let her to save the world with the Imber.
When Haruka tells Yayoi about it, Yayoi feels that it’s all a fraud by a dishonest businessman. She gets Haruka to lead her to the location, which turns out to be a school. After Yayoi goes running in, Haruka is met by Iori just inside the school gate. Iori makes it clear that she doesn’t think that it’s possible for Haruka to pilot the Imber, and then stomps off, leaving Haruka with a confused look on her face. Meanwhile, at a seaside home, Chihaya is recalling a scene from her past where the Imber had been standing in a ruined city that was up in flames. This is the same home where there lives an old woman that Chihaya, R.I.F.F.A, and a boy named Karasu all refer to as mother. Back at the school, Yayoi and Haruka find that there’s no one around, and Yayoi soon gets a phone call that forces her to leave. She instructs Haruka to wait for her at her apartment, but Haruka realizes only after Yayoi leaves that she doesn’t know where Yayoi’s apartment is. Fortunately for her, she runs into Yukiho and Ritsuko outside the school, and they take her back to the dorm. Ritsuko confirms everything Joseph said about being a pilot, but what surprises Haruka is that Yukiho wants to try it. Ritsuko then points out that Haruka has already ridden in one and suggests that the Imber likes her. Haruka thinks it’s just a robot, but Ritsuko claims that it has a heart – at least, that’s how she feels.
Later that night, Haruka returns to the school alone and is surprised when the gates open for her. She heads to a classroom that automatically unlocks for her, and inside, the alarms suddenly start blaring and the room sinks down into the ground like an elevator. Haruka emerges from the elevator into the hanger where the Imber stands, and waiting for her there is a woman named Miura Azusa, the person in charge of the Idol team. She explains that the Imber emerged back then just to meet Haruka, and shows that Haruka’s Eye – the gold key-like object – is glowing. The Imber starts moving in response, and it then shines a light onto Haruka, which Azusa interprets as a greeting. The next morning, Yayoi shows up at the dorm looking for Haruka. She is very surprised when Haruka comes downstairs wearing her new school uniform and is even more surprised when Haruka says that her audition was actually an entrance exam for this school. Leaving Yayoi behind with Ritsuko, Haruka walks to school with Yukiho. Although she still isn’t sure about the Idolmaster stuff, Haruka feels that it’s okay.
I feel better about this show now that I’ve seen the second episode. It had a lot more action (R.I.F.F.A against Azusa was an interesting fight) and introduction to the environment that I had felt was a little lacking in the first episode. We get a glimpse of a new character who appears to be a bad guy, voiced by Ishida Akira (hopefully won’t be Nagi all over again). I think the humor showed a little more too, particularly all the penguin stuff that’s hard not to notice since Yayoi parades around in that costume all episode. On a related note though, I really do enjoy Koshimizu Ami’s voicing of Yayoi.
I admit that since seeing episode one over two weeks ago, I’ve lowered my expectations considerably for this show and for new anime in general. Sunrise still has a ways to go to make XENOGLOSSIA better, but I think this episode was encouraging enough so that I can say that I’ll continue blogging this.