「たくさんの、いっぱい」 (Takusan no, Ippai)
“Lots of, Lots”

Ritsuko fans will likely be both pleased and disappointed with this episode, as we got to see her stand in for a mumps-ridden Azusa with some of the shoddiest artwork to date. The quality has always fluctuated with some shortcuts taken when possible, but wow, this week was a doozy since it looked like the animators finished the episode in their sleep. There was a pretty huge variance going from scene to scene, as the close-up shots that they spent some time on looked as good as always. The prevalent use of a three-quarters top-down view was somewhat dubious though, because it really didn’t look like they tried all that hard.

The surprising thing? I didn’t really mind the obvious dip in quality. It’s become quite apparent over the past four months that A-1 Pictures is cutting corners within reason wherever they can; however, the poor artwork hardly detracts from the viewing experience when watched in motion (e.g. during the dance animations), so I never felt the need to make a point of it. This episode clearly wasn’t one of their better efforts, but the animation itself was still pretty fluid, so I chalked it up as a one-off and found the production quality rather amusing as a result. Realistically speaking, I’m impressed by how “lively” the characters are animated in this adaptation, so I figured it was only a matter of time before we saw some evidence on how taxing it is on a studio to produce this kind of work on a regular basis. I may be too forgiving in some people’s eyes, but unless this drop in quality becomes the norm, I don’t think it’s worth fretting just yet.

Regardless of the inconsistent artwork, this episode was surprisingly enjoyable. For one, it was a lot of fun to see Iori and Ami get some payback on their “demon dictator” and work her to the bone in return. We also got a glimpse of Ritsuko’s idol days, which she got to relive a bit of thanks to the secret invitation sent out to her fan club, plus a follow-up to Miki’s new outlook on being an idol, showing how she’s no longer interested in becoming a member of Ryuuguu Komachi. I have to admit I reveled a bit in Ritsuko realization of how inconsiderate she was being by asking Miki for help. It wasn’t so much because of Miki’s unnatural politeness (i.e. “Ritsuko… san”), but because Ritsuko was going to have to fill in for Azusa whether she wanted to or not. It was Ritsuko’s reluctance that ultimately made this episode as entertaining as it was, and the bit with Miki pretty much cemented her resolve to get through the secret live somehow. I wasn’t much of a fan of her “Ippai Ippai” song, but I did love the sentimental touch that Iori and Ami provided with their consideration and appreciation toward their producer. Very sweet.

* They continue to build up Chihaya’s subplot, so I’m starting to wonder if it will be used for the series finale.

 

ED18 Sequence

ED18: 「魔法をかけて!」 (Mahou wo Kakete!) by 秋月律子 (若林直美) (Akizuki Ritsuko (Wakabayashi Naomi))
Watch the 18th ED!: Streaming ▼

Preview

30 Comments

  1. Not a huge Ritsuko fan either, but really good episode in general.

    Personally I find making a big deal about “QUALITY” misses the point, because as you said, much of the time, it doesn’t really matter in motion. Its just when you go looking at stills and stuff that it really leaps out. Of course, if the entire show is like that, thats another issue entirely. But its very clear that A-1 knows how to allocate its non-infinite budget, putting the money where it is most important.

    Another note, the costumes Ryuuguu Komachi were wearing, and the song they were practicing (Nanairo Button) are both new in the PS3 version of The iDOLM@STER2, which just came out this week. A nice nod to the ~65,000 people who bought it (which by the way wipes the floor with the sales of the original 360 version of iM@S2)

    As for Chihaya, as much of a big deal they are making out of her…whatever it is, they are arguably making an even bigger deal out of Haruka noticing. Very curious to see where they end up going with that plotline.

    Fencedude
  2. I find it funny how there were so many inserts for Nanairo Button throughout the episode. Its like they keep trying to push the new PS3 song they just released.

    You know I think this my have been the first time I’ve seen Ritsuko with her hair down. Its always tied up in the games. Never did like her voice though, but I liked the sentimentality the episode gave when showing Ritsuko’s fanclub. Secret concert my ass!

    On the other hand, the buildup with Chihaya is getting annoying. To quote Monty Python: “Get on with it!”

    P.S. Divine, I think you missed the cameo of 865 during the credits. Poor Ryo is being dragged by the girls again.

    fragb85
    1. If you followed the episode you’d know it was indeed secret. The Ritsuko fanclub didn’t simply crash the party, they were there because Iori and Ami invited them. You can see it in two scenes, the first one where P-san is on the phone with them, and they ask how many seats they can get for some people they invited. You can clearly see they were with some other people at that restaurant by the number of glasses and plates. The second time is at the concert where Iori says it was a good idea to have invited Ritsuko’s fanclub.

      Kamui04
  3. Wasn’t much of a Ritsuko fan and her song didn’t really appeal to me, but it was a nice episode either way; plus the ending song did hit a good chord with me at least though.

    And with this last preview I think that covers nearly every idol getting their own episode with Takane getting her spot to shine next week.

    Syaoran
  4. they even had a unique character design for ritsuko’s no.1 fan, mister petite bellpepper.
    this episode sure has a lot of weird facial expressions than norm.
    next episode will be takane’s story, seems like president kuroi has a role in it again. will they follow the story route in the game?

    saka
  5. I just have this love-hate relationships with characters/persons like Ritsuko as I can’t say love; can’t say hate.

    Maybe it’s because of my carefree, no serious personality (that can’t be imposed due to being self-imposed) that clashes with No-nonsense serious business (that is/tend to be imposed on others due to it being dominant) people. However they aren’t like that the 100% of the time (look at One Piece Rayleigh, he was just serious business but loosen up as being stern all the time is a waste of life) and that is why I can’t make a proper “I dislike you/like you” judgement. I just avoid them but when you have to work with them… ah, hell breaks lose.

    Lectro Volpi
  6. Pretty good episode for me. Considering that I don’t have a preference for Ritsuko (I find her character to be the most contrived in the whole cast), that says a lot. Can’t wait to see what the next episode will bring 🙂

    x
  7. http://randomc.net/image/THE%20IDOLM@STER/THE%20IDOLM@STER%20-%20ED18%20-%20Large%2002.jpg

    876 trio spotted.

    While Ritsuko isn’t high on my list of IM@S favourites, I don’t dislike her at all unlike some of the posters here. (In fact, with the exception of the nasty folks from 961, who’s there to dislike in this series?)

    Gotta love her twin pigtails when she was a younger idol. With her asking Producer to help her out should she consider returning to the front-line of showbiz, I get the feeling we’ll be seeing her dancing with the rest of 765 Pro by the end of the series.

    Kinny Riddle
  8. Haha I liked this episode ^^ Glad we got to see Ricchan being an idol :3

    On a side note, poor Chihaya :'< I know her episode will be sad, but I still can't wait for it! She is my favorite character.

    Kiria

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