「先に進むという選択」 (Saki ni Susumu to Iu Sentaku)
“The Decision to Continue Forward”

It’s kind of hard to believe that I was going to let this series go unwatched let alone uncovered a month and a half ago. Good thing I took the plunge after A-1 Pictures’ visuals caught my eye, because IM@S is already busting out fully hand-drawn idol performances only six episodes in. Compare that to the second season of K-ON, where Kyoto Animation held out until the twentieth episode.

Suffice to say, all my concerns about the effects of segregating the group were quickly laid to rest. That was actually before I even knew about Ryuuguu Komachi’s performance at the very end too. While their game-like performance did pretty much seal the deal — plus renewed my interest in the series before it even dwindled — the division of 765 Pro turned out much more interesting than I imagined. As twisted as it may sound, I liked the way Iori, Azusa, and Ami’s big debut put a real damper on those left behind. The reason being, Ritsuko’s success with her newly formed unit put our Producer behind the eight ball and really drove him to do everything he can for the others. It was nice to see him try to get them some more relevant work as a result, particularly for Chihaya after the Gero Gero Kitchen stint. His desperation was somewhat touching to see too, even though the girls didn’t seem to mind the lack of work. The exception of course was Miki, whom I felt bad for when she came up to him asking why she didn’t make the cut for Ryuuguu Komachi. Come on Producer, Miki can go solo anytime!

On that note, it was pretty awesome to see Miki bail the Producer out when he accidentally double-booked Hibiki. If she wasn’t so nonchalant, Miki would probably be a full-fledged idol already. Memorizing a dance after only seeing it once? That’s inhumanly befitting of a star. It’s just too bad we didn’t get to see her and Makoto’s performance because that would’ve really made my day. Still, the latter half of this episode was largely about Miki so I can’t really complain. As far as Ryuuguu Komachi goes, Miki looked like she was touched by their performance and could see why Ritsuko formed the unit with Iori, Azusa, and Ami. Chihaya on the other hand looked a little envious and dying to get an opportunity of her own, whereas Makoto was surprised how seriously Iori took her work. Everyone reacted a little differently to 765 Pro’s first big step into showbiz, but the one sentiment they all seemed to share is being genuinely happy for the new trio. That had me looking forward to the next unit that’s formed, which will hopefully have another live performance to go with it.

* See here for Azusa’s short haircut in all its glory.
* See here if you want to know Haruka’s three sizes. Makoto’s are revealed in that scene too.


INS5: 「SMOKY THRILL」 by 竜宮小町 (水瀬伊織, 三浦あずさ, 双海亜美) (Ryuuguu Komachi (Minase Iori, Miura Azusa, Futami Ami))
Watch the 5th INS!: Streaming ▼

ED6 Sequence

Watch the 6th ED!: Streaming ▼



  1. You have more restraint than me. I would’ve grabbed screencaps for practically the entire performance. A-1 has really got some stellar animation going on here- let’s hope that level is maintained for the series’ run.

  2. Booooo! Ryuugu-w/e-machi.
    Yeaaa! Miki!

    Hope this show doesn’t end with Mr.P having a brain strain.
    He’s producing 9 girls at once. Better then what I’ve seen in game.

  3. Was glad that Miki was a little miffed about not being chosen for Ryuuguu Komachi, this show just needed a little more conflict since it’s hard to see this many girls in the same “profession” without any of them having even a glint of resentment/envy/jealousy what have you for others.

    I also wanted to see Miki & Makoto’s performance too… Curses.. Damn time limitations!

    1. i wouldn’t expect too much.

      the games weren’t really about human conflict and the struggles to be an idol were pretty sanitized.
      that’s not to bash the games (cause i loved them actually), it’s just a fact that the anime will probably be more like K-on and just being a feel good setting that happens to use the idol business as the specific backdrop as opposed to trying to have any sort of realistic depiction of the business and the people in it.

  4. The power of Gainax and KyoAni combined. No seriously. these had a Gainax animator and an Ex-KyoAni key animator. Though my guess is just as good as the others about how their involvement with this episode is.

    Loved that performance.

  5. SO true, they finally have a performance which is amazing. I’m liking this anime a lot. It’s a bit of slice of life and it’s music which works out really well for me like K-on’s first season.

    Sora no Kaze
  6. Oddly enough, Miki (and Producer) got the most character development, despite the debut of Ryuuguu Komachi. It’s nice that anime dealt with different perspectives of other characters.

    Speaking of Ryuuguu Komachi it’s actually surprising that the entire dance sequence was animated. Kudos to A-1 for that.

  7. Damn it really happened what I feared it would. Azusa cuts her hair -.- Sure she still is damn hot but long hair suit her far better.
    I just hope that Miki wont do the change she made in the game since that would make her really ugly.

      1. Never said that short hair cant be awesome, but for Azusa long hair works a lot better.

        No Miki looks really horrendous with her short brown hair. Not even a quintillionth as good as she looks now.

    1. Miki does look loads better with her long blonde hair, but the short brown cut doesn’t make her the least bit ugly.

      It just makes you sound incredibly shallow. It’s still the same girl.

  8. Good lord. How unlimited is A-1’s Idolm@ster budget? That concert scene was beyond beautiful and incredibly smooth. If that concert didn’t impress you, you’re damn liar. Plus, Miki’s scenes were pretty cool too I guess.

    And about the Producer. He’s overworked. He has like 10 projects going on at the same time right now, and it must be crazy hard to make time for himself. Plus it’s amazing that he can he just continue on without really complaining at all. I’m honestly surprised that he’s still standing.

      1. lol, I was wondering if anyone would pick that up. Honestly though, the producer’s problem isn’t so much that he has too much work. It’s that he is using the wrong approach. Divine otoh has it under control 🙂

  9. It’s IdolM@ster, they have an arcade game, two xbox360 games, a psp game, a ds game, a ps3 game coming up. Note also that A1 is part of Aniplex is part of Sony. Get the picture? XD

    This made my day. This producer still has not learn his lesson about getting to know his idols better after so many mistakes he made in the past. The idols really need to corner him and give him a good lecture. I guess he will be like that until the latter part of the show at least. Annoying.

    @Flytaggart @fragb85 Long hair, short hair, that’s just your personal preference (heavily influenced by your pass acquaintances). Personally, I like both. Though I have preference for long, short is nice as well.

    This was probably the best executed dance sequence in this anime so far. Love the ED sequence, that would make a great poster ad. Miki wasn’t the only one giving off a hint of jealousy (Haruka, Chihaya and a few others did as well). Though Miki was the most noticeable (after the producer that is).

    1. It seem like you play them game, was wondering if there is something like Ryuuguu Komachi group inside. I mean I know you can choose whatever girl you want but is there a specific combination that will earn you a title group like this? Or just something they made up.

      1. Nah, I don’t play the game. Only started to read up on it when this anime started. It’s amazing what information you can find online posted mostly by fans of the franchise. Supposedly, there is a Ryuuguu Komachi group in the second xbox game, and you don’t get to manage it (like in the anime Ritsuko does). Some specifics may differ, but the anime seem to stay pretty close to the game overall I think. Then again, each incarnation of the game in the franchise do have different (sometimes conflicting) stories. Though the anime is closest to the second xbox game (and probably the up coming ps3 game), with some details from the first xbox game (and maybe the arcade game).

    1. I’d rather we’d have gotten a scene of the camera panning up Hibiki’s body when we first find out she was scheduled to be in two places at once. Then used that for a full-length image.

  10. Man, Makoto and Miki really looked good in those outfits. Also can’t wait for Takane and Chihaya to get their slots too. (Takane in those doll photos = lol. Just -_- flat-looking and all, lol, like she’s plotting Producer’s silent death XD

  11. “Come on Producer, Miki can go solo anytime!”

    Exactly. She needs to be exploited! she is your Lv3 X-factored Dark Phoenix/Mango Sentinel ready to give you the cheap victory you deserve! *snif* Just beautiful! She was berated for touching a hat? nonsense!

    Takane didn´t like the doll pictures? Weird, I thought she was into those things.

    There is no girl I dislike, they just keep getting points every episode… Damn.

    Lectro Volpi
    1. There are some songs from the game included here. The ending was the song “THE IDOLM@STER” from the game, and there was also Chihaya’s “Aoi Tori” in a former episode, though it was a different arrange. Smoky Thrill is from the second IDOLM@STER game. I’m not sure about “The world is all one!”, but I think it’s from a game as well because I saw an authentic looking video. I also heard “Go my way!” as a bgm in this episode.

      Smoky Thrill:


      The world is all one!:

      Aoi Tori:

  12. Does this anime have any substantial merit to it besides moe/perversion? Is there anything deeper at play here (character development, plot, drama, romance)?

    Just to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with moe/perversion; it’s just not my taste in anime. Hence my line of questioning.

    George Collins
    1. What perversion? XD I don’t see any perversion anywhere! 😛

      There is character development from the girls I would expect, subtle ones. I’ve pretty much given up on producer-san. Don’t expect too much out of an anime based on a series of arcade/console game about raising a group of wannabe idols to top idol stardom. Specially when this one seems to want to stay true to the games.

      There will be drama but I wouldn’t expect much for romance. Probably hints here and there at most. The most explicit stuff will probably be from Kotori’s shoujo manga fantasies XP

  13. Urrgh,

    lkaze level: over the limit
    Status: currently going through Youtube and seeing all the recording of idolm@ster dance and song.

    To think that before I start this anime I don’t even know what is idolm@ster, but now I seem not able to get enough of it. So I’m asking everyone: does Xenoglossia anime worth watching?

    Please bear in mind there are only 24hour per day.

    1. Xenoglossia is very….divisive. Its just Idolmaster with idols who pilot giant robots. It basically has nothing like Idolmaster other than the same girls are there. Suffice to say long-time Idolmaster fans HATED it for being unfaithful to the source material. I personally though it was strictly okay but I didn’t know anything about Idolmaster back when I saw it, so I was less biased.

    2. Let’s just say that the first adaptation… wasn’t very faithful. You don’t need to watch Xenoglossia to understand this. However, I thought Xenoglossia was pretty good. The first half is… well, slow. But the second half is in my opinion a reward for loyalty, filled with twists and turns. Animation is pretty solid too.

    1. It’s just something that you can see.

      Take a look at a Disney movie and then compare it to the likes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force or Archer- or the 3-D stuff.

      There’s just something about the way they move.

    2. It’s the natural motion in front of the camera. They could do expensive high detail mo-caps and tweak it till they get it right for the camera angles they use, but it probably would end up a lot more expensive than having a group of good animation artist draw it. The artist might even be using real dancers and even cheap low detail mo-cap data as a reference and it still would be cheaper I would think.

    3. That animation sequence for the live performance is something of a lost art in my opinion especially among Disney animators as a lot of animators move towards 3D CG and digital art.

      I miss seeing hand drawn animations on that level. You can definitely tell by the fluidity of the movements, the general “roughness” of the characters as cel-shaded 3D models still do not come close to hand drawn animation cels. Look at the 3D models used in some sequences in Strike Witches 2. Even if cel shaded 3D models, you can immediately tell that they are 3D CG.

      The performance of Ami, Azusa, and Iori was definitely hand drawn even if set upon a 3D background. It takes very talented animators and artists to do that because you have to draw the characters from different angles and “follow” the camera movement. If you have ever watched Whisper of the Heart, a Studio Ghibli film, you will definitely see a difference between hand drawn animation and a lot of the animations done today. It is definitely, to me, a lost art or a dying art to see vast backgrounds hand drawn and animated, characters drawn and animated fluidly from different angle without the use of digital tools.

      As for the episode itself… I’m falling more and more in love with Miki. She’s a really fun (and attractive) character to watch. I felt bad for her for a large part because I can tell she really wanted to be a part of something like that trio. It was a darn shame they didn’t animate her performance with Hibiki but damn she is good if she can memorize dance moves that fast in such a short amount of time.

      Hopefully Miki gets her chance in the not too far future!

      1. I would also have guessed that the dance sequence in this episode was handdrawn. However, I also found the dancing sequences in the ED’s of Heartcatch and particularly of Suite Precure pretty realistic and fluid. I always thought these were made by CGI, but I am not sure anymore. Does anyone know if they were handdrawn or CGI?

  14. ahhhh!!! mah beloved azusa is still lovely as ever <<<<333 with her shorter hair, she's looking more mature!! <<<.>

    I’m liking this more than k-on for some reason. ==)))


    *gets back being depressed at homerun’s loss at saimoe*


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *