With all the build-up toward Chihaya’s episode, this truly had the makings of a series finale and could have easily passed as one. The drama felt very real and the support that Haruka and the rest of 765 Pro showed Chihaya was incredibly moving, so much so that I couldn’t help but shed some tears by the end of the episode. This is easily the biggest tearjerker I’ve watched in the past while, and really showed that IM@S is much more than a slice-of-life series with an idol twist. The lasting impression didn’t dwindle in the numerous times I rewatched their live performance either, as I still get goosebumps when I hear Chihaya regain her singing voice. The lyrics to the song and Imai Asami’s powerful voice really brought out all the emotions behind that final scene. I was even tempted to write a PV-type post about it, just to draw some well-deserved attention to both the song and the series as a whole.
Kuroi is without a doubt the scum of the Earth for using such a traumatic experience against Chihaya, but the drama that resulted and the sight of Chihaya overcoming the guilt from her brother Yuu’s death provided a roller coaster of emotions unlike anything this series has shown before. It definitely provided another dimension to IM@S like I had hoped, while highlighting how invaluable Haruka’s optimism is for the group. She was unquestionably the star of this episode, doing whatever she can to convince Chihaya not to give up singing. Because of that, it was nice to see Chihaya acknowledge that she said some horrible things to Haruka and even shed some tears from knowing that she has a wonderful friend who won’t give up on her.
Emotionally, I managed to hold up pretty well for most of the episode — even as Chihaya read Haruka’s letter and I saw how everyone helped write the song with her in mind — but once I saw Chihaya tear up, I couldn’t help but feel choked up as well. It was as if a switch had been flicked at that point, because I could feel the emotions swelling up when everyone joined Chihaya on the stage to help her sing again. As soon as Chihaya remembered her younger self and Yuu, there was simply no turning back. I got swept up in the bittersweetness of it all and am now trying to get everyone to watch IM@S (or at the very least, this episode). It’s been a while since an anime has been able to open my emotion “flood gate” that much. All the ones that have tend to be very memorable, and it looks like IDOLM@STER just joined that list.
…And now back to watching the performance of “Promise” on endless repeat.
ED20: 「約束」 (Yakusoku) by 如月千早, 天海春香, 星井美希, 高槻やよい, 萩原雪歩, 菊地真, 双海亜美＆真美, 水瀬伊織, 三浦あずさ, 四条貴音, 我那覇響 (Kisaragi Chihaya, Amami Haruka, Hoshii Miki, Takatsuki Yayoi, Hagiwara Yukiho, Kikuchi Makoto, Futami Ami & Mami, Minase Iori, Miura Azusa, Shijou Takane, Ganaha Hibiki)
Watch the 20th ED!: Streaming ▼