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