OP: 「READY!!」 by 765PRO ALLSTARS
Watch the OP!: Streaming ▼
「”準備”をはじめた少女たち」 (“Junbi” wo Hajimeta Shoujo-tachi)
“The Girls who Began ‘Preparations'”
It turns out I was pretty spot on when I said I can do with less of the Futami twins and Iori last time, as this second episode quickly lumped them together on the more idiotic side of 765 Pro. I was pretty indifferent about Yayoi, so despite her getting caught up in Ami, Mami, and Iori’s pace, I actually took a liking to her this time around. She pretty much won me over with her comment about being poor but not dirty. I got a good chuckle out of that and her sparkling-eyed reaction at the thought of steak. Yayoi’s clearly not the brightest of the bunch, but her child-like innocence makes her a lot of fun to watch. I’m with president Takagi on her original composite shot — it’s money!
So lo and behold, the IM@S girls are a bunch of failures from the get-go, unable to pass any auditions in the past month because of their goofy profile pics. Not the least bit surprising of course, since they’re just starting out as idols and things wouldn’t be very interesting if they made it big right away. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that when we as the viewer have a clear bias toward them, being the heroines of the franchise and everything. However! I was not wrong to take immediate interest in Miki, whose stylish looks and carefree personality stood out right away. She’s definitely my favorite at the moment, which surprises even me since blondes generally aren’t my first pick. When a character can look as good as she does in plaid, it really doesn’t matter what hair color she has. What really sold me on her character is how she carries herself, both in terms of her natural ability to get right into a photo shoot and her third-person speech that’s reminiscent of Mine Riko in last season’s Hidan no Aria. She sure makes the job look easy with her playful and promiscuous personality, much like the aforementioned armed detective did. (Hmm, maybe I like blondes more than I realize.)
None of the other idols that I took an immediate interest stood out too much in this second episode, but Hibiki and Chihaya were probably the next runners up. It’s kind of funny how individuality was being stressed in the show, when the characters themselves were already created with that in mind. They all have distinct nuances in their manner of speech and conduct, which has already been put on full display to help promote them. Much like the game, it’s almost like the anime is trying to help us viewers discover our favorite characters in these early episodes and keep us watching by following their growth as future idols. Well if my earlier blurb on Miki was an indication, it’s probably safe to say that it’s worked on me. This series is a lot more fun to watch when it’s the characters themselves that you’re watching for. The fact that A-1 Pictures looks like they’re going the extra mile on the production side of things makes it all the more appealing. Quite honestly, I’ve been quite impressed with the animation quality thus far, particularly in the opening sequence with the revolving camera. Faces generally get distorted during those type of transitions due to the use of CG, but they look pretty spot on here. Admittedly, one of the main reasons why I want to continue covering IM@S is because of how good it looks from a production standpoint.
Anyway, it looks like our nameless producer will remain nameless — only going by “Producer” — even though he now has a face and voice attached to him. Regardless, I’m glad they decided to make him an actual character who interacts with the girls on the other side of the lens, simply because it’s a lot more natural to watch. If you’re still undecided about watching this series, just know that it progresses very much like your typical slice-of-life anime, except it uses the whole idol bit as the setup for all the lighthearted character interactions. It’s surprisingly enjoyable as well, considering that I went from not even planning to watch this series to pretty set on following it all the way through — all in a mere two episodes. All you need to do is give the girls a chance and find a favorite. Hands off Miki though. She’s mine!
* In case anyone’s wondering, the male idol who bumped into Haruka is Amagase Touma (Terashima Takuma). He’s part of the male idol group Project Jupiter and is affiliated with Studio 961, a rival company.
* Judging from the new ending sequence and theme, I’m guessing they plan to feature new idol combinations every episode. Ugh, more encoding overhead.
ED2: 「ポジティブ！」 (Positive!) by 釘宮理恵, 仁後真耶子 (Kugimiya Rie, Nigo Mayako)
Watch the 2nd ED!: Streaming ▼