「約束」 (Yakusoku)

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.

* I still picture Makise Kurisu from Steins;Gate when I hear Imai Asami singing as Chihaya.
* Full-length image: 40.


ED20 Sequence

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 ▼



  1. The idolmaster is really the most surprisingly good series I’ve watched. At first I was thinking that this series would be some generic anime that tries to sell itself to the otaku crowd. Then I decided to stick to it and give it a chance. Best decision I’ve made this year!

  2. This was a hell of an episode. I was crying at the end as well.

    The buildup and execution was perfect.

    One thing I really liked (above and beyond everything you mentioned), is that they didn’t dwell on the accident. We still don’t know what happened, why it happened, or really much at all about it…and that is how it should be.

    And while it almost seems slightly crass to mention it, this episode was gold for Haruka/Chihaya shippers.

    1. Yeah, I thought they were going to dwell on the accident at first but they didn’t, and that’s a good thing. I also like the part where everyone help support Chihaya on the stage, that part really moved me to tear.

  3. Each time I rewatch the episode, the moment Chihaya regains her confidence and finally started singing, my tears would not stop flowing. Definitely one of the most tear jerking moment in an anime series for this year.

  4. Someone who managed not to tear up when everyone joined Chihaya on stage is certainly a rock. I may not even have to be a Chihaya fan to love her so much after this episode. When was the last time I cried for a single episode? SO MUCH LOVE FOR CHIHAYA!!! (and Imai Asami definitely has the best voice ever. Kurisu~~~)

  5. So finally the build-up for several episodes has finally payed off. Good thing this episode was great, because I found all the previous foreshadowing annoying and unnecessarily long.

    One thing I like is how they basically said that her loss of voice is psychological trauma. The game was just “Lol, Doctors can’t explain her voice problems! But she just healed herself miraculously!”

    Chihaya was always too serious for my taste, but having the rest of 765 pitch in to help her was just a great way to show iM@S theme of unity. The whole part where they sang with her was just “AWWWWW!” worthy. Proof that cheesy cliches can be great when done properly.

  6. “prepares to put the “flames” out”

    Honestly i was unmoved by this episode, the drama didn’t hit me, sure it was a “nice” finale, albeit predictable, and since im not a Chihaya fan, I didn’t feel anything for her…

  7. While I did think that this was an excellent episode and do see why everyone feels so sad, I actually wasn’t really emotionally devastated at all. I do believe that it was great finish, but to be honest I was just tad a bit depressed at the ending.

    Oh, and Yakusoku is pretty damn fantastic.

  8. I will probably never get tired of saying this “A-1 Pictures just keeps setting the bar higher and higher.”

    So underhanded and shameless was Kuroi’s smear campaign that even the naive Touma is starting to realize what a scum his boss is. Took you long enough, dumbass.

    My yuri goggles tell me I should be disappointed that Yakusoku wasn’t performed as a duet between Chihaya and her True Love/BFF Haruka supporting her all the way, but it was still satisfying to see everyone in 765 Pro show a sense of solidarity in difficult times like these. (Much like the previous idol athletic meet episode, when they all came out in support of Yayoi. )

    Kinny Riddle
    1. Though I don’t like Jupiters (or actually just Touma) much, they’re just honest group with competitive mind. I wish Touma give President Kuroi a good punch by the end of the series…

      1. It would be nice if Jupiter ended up quitting on Kuroi and dismantling all he built up. That would be a fate worse than death for someone like him; ending up at the bottom or even BELOW the food chain that he looks down on so haughtily all the time. Add in him never getting his “vengeance” while his “enemy” rises up to the top and that would be a fitting end for him.

  9. I really can’t stop listening to 約束. I just keep replaying it why can’t the full version come out sooner =[. But anyways I’m glad that Jupiter realizes what their president is doing to 765 Pro. I don’t hate Jupiter at all I just don’t like their president who has to use mudslinging and underhanded tactics to prevent 765 Pro from becoming more famous.

  10. I officially bawled at the end.
    If you’re not in love with Chihaya, everyone else, and this show in general after watching that episode, you’re doing it wrong.
    As someone who loves her little brother a lot, Chihaya’s story and the emotions portrayed hit me a bit harder than I’d expected. I had hoped the anime would do iM@S justice, and it exceeded every expectation I have.
    The scene where Chihaya regained her voice was absolutely chilling and one of the most memorable scenes that I’ve seen in a long time. Everything was beautifully animated, beautifully done, and this is a perfect example of an extraordinary anime to inspire you.

  11. I thought it was just me, honestly, but I felt every single emotion exactly the same and even started crying at the same points ;~; I thought I could hold up but when she remembered her younger self and Yuu, I lost it completely.
    When the rest of the girls helped her sing I lost it, and then Chihaya’s comeback and powerful voice gave me goosebumps and more tears just swelled.
    I never imaged IM@S would be a show to put on my ‘never forget’ list, but this episode shot it up there like nobody’s business.
    And I’m relieved to see that I wasn’t the only person who watched the ending scene more than 5 times over because I felt like I was being more weird and obsessed than usual.
    Amazing episode.

  12. I shed manly tears on this episode

    This is so far the best episode for Im@s

    PS: That voice of chihaya when she say “arukou” is so powerful that I felt some goosebumps :/
    It surpass one of my fave heart of marionette

  13. After this episode I think everyone can agree with me that:

    Being Chihaya, is suffering.

    Since I heard the Heart of Marionette without interruption (hear it on Youtube) I decided to it together with Yakusoku as my current favorites.

    Now, we seriously need Kyun! Vampire Girl and OVERMASTER and the series will reach new levels of epicness.

  14. After seeing this episode, the back of my mind is telling me to go and buy the ps3 game right now. I was Almost moved to tears, but deep down I was crying inside.

    REALLY hope that the soundtracks will come out soon, I want those songs on my playlist!

  15. It’s kind of amazing that out of all series this year, idolmaster has made me tear up the most. It’s unexpected and makes me appreciate the wonderful series even more!

    Chihaya has sky rocketed to the top of my fave idol list, sharing the same spot with Miki and Takane <— I just LOVE hearing Takane's voice… 😀

  16. Top episode right now (In IM@s).

    Haruka approached the wrong way at first; sometimes you need to low your profile and join the mood instead of bombarding it with positive attitude (not here as it will lead Haruka out of character, in RF I mean) that most people do not want to hear, at least not myself (nor I do that if I encounter someone feeling down).

    Imai Asami did a great job as she can get the feelings just right, and yes I hear Kurisu even though I watched IM@s first.

    Kuroi used some serious underhanded tactics here and I can´t tell how he is going to pay for it.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Lectro Volpi
  17. While he didn’t get shown doing a whole lot compared to Haruka, I also gotta give props to Producer for his belief in Chihaya as well by insisting that, even when Ritsuko thought about it otherwise, they keep Chihaya on the concert schedule until the very last second. Hell, knowing him by the end, if Chihaya didn’t show up on time, he’d probably just keep trying to buy time by bumping her song down the list until she did arrive. =)

  18. This was a very great episode, and it was very touching to see Chihaya sing once again. But the episode was more of Haruka not giving up on Chihaya, and everyone else pitching in for Chihaya.

  19. just watched the episode. Best episode so far. Especially the song at the end. Imai Asami’s voice is very powerful. I already thought so when i listened to her song back in episode 4.

  20. Huruka must be pissed off at Miki for stealing e the first hug from Chihaya 😛
    I’ve had “Yakusoku” on endless repeat for three straight days now. Anime song of the year, anyone? Say yes!

    Seishun Otoko
  21. This is definitely the latest anime episode to have moved me emotionally since Clannad After Story and Show Spoiler ▼

    to name a few. During my constant looping of the Yakusoku scene(and it may be just me) but I noticed that when Chihaya took over, she held her mic a little farther. The impression I got was at that moment when she opened her mouth to sing, she must have let out so many years of burden that she could honestly sing in a voice so loud and with so much confidence and relief that she hardly needed a mic to convey all that she was feeling. Kudos to everybody at 765 Pro who lent their much appreciated support.

  22. Had I the emotional capacity to, this would have definitely had me in tears.

    I’m a big Chihaya fan, so that last scene with her regaining her voice struck me especially so. I simply wish that it would have been a little longer. I would liken it to the climatic scene of a good movie.

    But in all honesty- that fucking Kuroi, man (not like the industry isn’t packed full of people like him)- but that smear campaign was incredibly low and cowardly. I thought I was angry with him for what he did to Hibiki- but now I find myself wishing that he was a real dude just so I could have the satisfaction of sending him to Hell personally.

    Although the drama did feel a little out of place, considering the tone the rest of the series has adopted.

    Anyways. I hope we’ll get to see some Project Fairy before the series ends. They showed enough shots of those three together to indicate as such.

  23. That this series would be my tearjerker of the season…man, what a great ep. I haven’t been the least bit emotionally invested in Chihaya, but Haruka sticking with it and everyone supporting her on stage leading up to her voice coming back along with the beautiful song…just couldn’t hold the waterworks back.

    Well met IM@S, glad I didn’t give you the drop early on like I was considering.

  24. After listening to another one of Asami Imai’s songs from Corpse Party, I just became a major fan of her voice from here on out.

    I don’t think the last six episodes will ever top this one.

  25. It was wise of A-1 to preserve the serious mood at the beginning by not cutting away to the usual energetic OP. I remember feeling some of the more serious eps of Clannad After Story were ruined because they played Torch as usual at the end, after all the drama buildup.

  26. When I watched this episode I was a somewhat stressed so I couldn’t really let the drama come close to me.

    On a different note I’d like to mention that both Chihaya and Haruka have an excellent sense of fashion. I just love their everyday outfits and I’m glad that in this show no one is walking around in school uniforms.


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