So, what happens when the clock strikes midnight?
I wasn’t actually intending to write an end post about THE IDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls, mostly because it hasn’t, er, ended yet (I’m pleased that it will be a split cour show), but after going on and on about Kantai Collection – KanColle the other other day, I thought we needed a positive example. I’m not convinced that KanColle needed to turn out as… well, bad, as it did; after all, THE IDOLM@STER is an adaptation of an insidiously similar type of game—a lot less boats, slightly more dancing—and it at least managed to end up coherent, which is something to note, nay, celebrate. The task is not trivial; the Cinderella Girls game also had a heavy cast and not much of a narrative. If you were writing an anime, what would you do with material like this?
When I previewed this show I noted how Cinderalla Girls seemed to want to juggle its diverse cast, and it did seem to manage fairly aptly. Yes, there were still faces popping in now and then that I will not recognise at all, and it was fairly obvious when someone was showing up as part of a play-or-pay contract or something, but at least it was always clear what their actual role in the story is. To be precise, their role in the story was often completely unimportant and I felt relieved that I didn’t worry about them much. Not that their appearances were useless—they were usually in-universe celebrities or roommates or a senior colleague—but that they were allowed to be forgettable because their role didn’t need me to know anything about them to understand. It also helped that the continual focus remained firmly on the primary trio, Uzuki, Rin and Mio. Look, I actually remember three names, and I’m awful with names. Even within the Cinderalla Project that they were part of, it was obvious they were the main characters and played that role consistently, even during other characters’ arcs. So even if I forget everyone else (full disclosure: I only remember three names) I feel assured that if I keep track of them I’ll still be able to follow the overarching plot.
Cinderalla Girls appears to have two main lines in its narrative. There’s the standard ‘show off all the girls and their quirks’ episodes, which is standard fare, and there’s also the ‘breaking into the industry’ plot, most evident in episode 07 and 08 and focused on our main characters. It was still a bit of a bumpy pace—mainly because the light character episodes contrasted with the heavier drama quite starkly, but two lines of narrative are still far tighter than a dozen thrown ad hoc onto each other. And the stark contast, is I suppose, part of the point, at least for the first round involving Mio’s sudden disillusionment in episode 07. When I introduced episode 01, I ribbed about how the whole ‘Cinderalla’ metaphor was used in an incredibly hopeful and idealistic way, and to Cinderella Girls‘ credit they eventually played off that. Unlike the original run of THE IDOLM@STER, Cinderella Girls zooms in on the nitty gritty of the industry. In the original, our girls were practicing idols at an unestablished production house, whereas in Cinderalla Girls they are unbaptised idols in a well-established production house. Whereas the original cast were already used to the travails of showbiz, the new one is not. Juxtaposing the idol dream with the unflattering work needed to reach it was simple, obvious, and effective. I should emphasise simple, because it shows that one doesn’t need convoluted plots to create compelling drama.
Much of the effectiveness of episode 07, to me, comes from the use of the Producer as an actual character. From what I understand he doesn’t exist in the game—that’s the player’s role—but in a story with a Cinderella metaphor about turning girls intro princesses, a fairy godmother is required. Sure, you could have kept him behind the camera as an asinine gimmick (the first episode of the original series played with this), but that would have reduced him as a character. I would argue that in our tale the fairy godmother is just as important as the Cinderellas, if not more. So credit to the staff for writing one from scratch. Remember, it doesn’t matter that he doesn’t exist in the original source. Adaptations are not transliterations. Your game is about some guy who needs to raise idols? Well, here is an anime about the very same, and a Producer who actually has character, who actually has a conflict, and who plays an active part in the narrative is required. If there’s only one thing that I would hold Cinderalla Girls above Kantai Collection about, it would be the Producer versus the Admiral. The Admiral is a vapid, distracting nonentity, whereas the Producer is by far the most developed character in his show and helps greatly in driving the plot. The latter is far more useful, and makes for a far better story, than the former.
Look, Cinderella Girls doesn’t do everything perfectly, and it doesn’t even pretend to have ended yet so I’m not equipped to pass final judgment, but at least so far it has shown that it understands what the general shapes of an anime adaptation of a plot-thin game should look like. It doesn’t just feel as if someone amateurishly threw everything they could think of about the game into a pot and boiled until it bubbled over. I’m not looking for genius, just competence, because a very competent show can make for a perfectly palatable watch. Unlike the alternative. Before going crazy with the ingredients, make sure you know how to cook.
Here here! I didn’t know anything about IDOLM@STER coming into this series, but even without that knowledge I have found Cinderella Girls to be a pretty decent watch so far. Like you said, it’s a competent adaptation, and a competent adaptation is one that can draw in non-fans like me.
Also, ironically, Producer-san is best girl.
He’s high-quality, Kaiki-level husbando material.
I hate to be that guy, but you spelt it Cinderella as Cinderalla in the last paragraph. It only stuck out cause it is in italics.
Otherwise Passerby, you pretty much explains why shows like these get the fans adoration. It also is how all adaptions should be done, really. Taje it and do it right!
And because I went and was that guy, I goof up myself. Figures.
It be fixed!
Yeah, the Producer actually getting a face, individual personality, and own obstacles to overcome is one of the biggest things that sets both Idolm@ster series’ above something like KanColle.
With the Admiral the way he was, you either had a lot of questions that would never truly be answered and/or just didn’t care when something involved him. Like you wonder what it is about him that Kongou and other ship girls love about him so much that they show such affection for him beyond being just their commanding officer, and when he disappeared, and was possibly dead, after the Naval District attack, you just didn’t care that he was gone and that made it much more difficult to empathize with the ship girls’ sadness over it (and happiness over his return) because you don’t know him and were never given any reason to care.
But if something were to happen to the Producer in either Idolm@ster series, you would be able to empathize with the idols’ feelings over it since the Producer actually had an individual personality and important role that was conveyed both to the idols in-universe and to us viewers, so we got to grow to like and care about the character as much as the idols did. You just can’t get that with a faceless and voiceless shadow, and if they had done that with the Producers in the Idolm@ster series’, much of the feelings of their various situations involving the Producers would’ve had no real impact.
Even the Puchimas! series had “P”, which was still awesome, lol.
Anastasia best girl.
Horosho! Very good!
Now if only someone drew crossover fanart of Anastasia and Love Live‘s Eli Ayase already…
In all honesty I find Cinderella Girls to have been average at best. It is possibly due to the original Idolmaster series surprising everyone and actually turning out to be one of the top shows of 2011, possibly of the last 5 years, due to an excellent bland of fun characters, a light-hearted tone for the most part, and great story arcs. Thus far the only arcs I’ve really enjoyed was Ranko’s debut and Anzu showing her stuff at the game show. I cannot emphasize enough how much the voice acting for that tall girl really annoys me, and the oversexualism of the two younger characters is somewhat disturbing. It was one of the things which the original series did well – making their characters memorable without having to dive into fanservice.
That said, I agree that Cinderella Girls is still a decent anime as far as game adaptations go. Kancolle felt like the poor-man’s Strike Witches without the fun. Dropped it back in episode 4, but judging by reviews of it, there really isn’t much point in picking it back up again.
I also find the tall girl’s va-ing unbearable.
another issue I have is with how some of these girls even make sense. by that I mean
– Anzu? she’s so against working, doesn’t even seem like she’d go out if she could so a) she wouldn’t have auditioned or anything b) less likely to be scouted (how anyways?)
– Anastasia can’t even speak Japanese perfectly fluently…yet sings fluently? >_>
– that episode where they kicked up a fuss for not being roles yet and barricaded themselves…sure they’re kids but this is professional work…
– again, they’re kids but that’s some dam hard disillusionment w/ Mio
A lot of the ‘which girls you like’ thing is largely subjective, though I do agree with most of your points and personally haven’t found the CG cast as endearing as the original’s so far, though the latter had the advantage of more episodes. That said, I don’t think I’ll ever get to like the tall girl either, because her verbal tic is quite grating for me as well. What kind of accent is that supposed to be?
Let’s argue about some specifics, just because we can.
1. Sexualising young girls: for my part, the objectification of young girls is the creepiness that runs through the entire idol industry, which was part of the reason I was sceptical going into the original series. That said, it seems that for at least one of the Cinderella Girls eagerness to be sexualised is their Quirky Character Trait. Make of that what you will.
2. Anzu must have a stage parent or something. When she’s working she seems pretty into it, but they don’t really show why the Producer would have picked her up, with such a difficult work ethic. Oh, right, her smile. Whatever.
3. For a brief moment I was in a choir, and sometimes we had to sing in French or something (it’s all Greek to me), and of course none of us knew any bloody French. But you just had to make the sounds. Bards of ages past have a reputation for learning all kinds of songs they come across, even foreign ones, and they’re usually completely illiterate so they do it completely by ear. Humans are parrots that way.
4. About that episode where some girls took to the barricades: funnily enough (well, I found it funny), even adults do this. Especially in some parts of Europe, they take their strikes very seriously. People don’t even bat an eye anymore when workers kidnap their boss and stage a siege these days.
5. On Mio: as someone who once had theatre aspirations, I completely understood Mio’s position (though she was acting like a child about it. Since she’s a child). Usually getting to go on stage at all is a small miracle, but many wide-eyed newbies don’t appreciate that. And many is the story of performers and artists of all stripes being an initial big breakout, and then come crashing down when future efforts can’t seem to produce that high of their first success. Thus the main CG theme: they all dream of being magically transformed into princesses, but one must not neglect the hard work that must always be done. It’s dreams vs reality.
About Anastasia- there are a great number of artists that can sing in languages other than their own. You just have to learn the sounds.
If they do it enough, they eventually pick up the language itself- but for songs, they can essentially parrot it.
I agree it is not about which character you like more as that is subjective. Rather, I just don’t think that the foundation was laid in terms of characters. I know there are a number of people who dislike the first episode of the original series, but I felt it was brilliant and brave directing. We were introduced to each character, and slowly learn of their personalities and traits.
For CG, we were only introduced to Rin and Uzuki in the first episode. When we were finally introduced to the rest of the cast, it was a quick “my name is…, my name is…blah blah blah, and Anzu is sleeping in the corner”. We never really get to know them as characters until late in the second half of the season, and I couldn’t care less for most of them for the first half. One example is Miku, the girl with the cat ears. I just dismissed her as a character that was trying too hard, and scenes featuring her were difficult to watch to be honest. It was only in the latest episode when we finally see more of her character that she starts to be likable. For a show that is driven by characters rather than plot, you would think that the characters had to be nailed down properly right from the start.
The sexualism of young girls is what creeps me out about Japan’s idol industry. As I mentioned, I don’t remember the original series having much of this apart from a beach episode. It is kind of hypocrisy that I’m fine with the latter but not with the former, but there is a difference in my eyes between dressing for the occasion (e.g. swimsuits at a beach) vs trying to flaunt it in public (e.g. young girls wearing revealing outfits while walking the streets of Harajuku). It is Rika’s personality to want to have more sex appeal because she wants to be more like Mika, but that the youngest and most innocent minded character (Miria) was subject to the same treatment was what ticked me off. It is kind of funny that a lot of fanservice anime doesn’t seem to phase me as much as these characters did…
I think CG and the original simply differ in formula. The original started with a broad view of the cast and then eventually narrowed down onto drama involving only a few character (Miki in the first half, Chihaya and Haruka in the second), while CG has more focus on its core three all the way out, diverging here and there to flesh out its supporting cast. They’re not too different though; for example, episode 04 of CG has roughly the same form of function of episode 01 of the original, it just comes a bit later. So the main difference is a matter of structure and pacing.
On my part, I didn’t immediately warm up to the original cast. After the episode 01 introduction I had already decided that I was simply not going to care as much for certain characters because 1. there hasn’t been enough time to like anyone except off gut reaction, and more importantly 2. my mind can’t process that much information at once anyway. It took a long time for some of those characters to grow on me, and I’ve accepted that it’s going to be the same way for CG as well (and yes, episode 12 did redeem Cat Ears for me significantly).
I actually greatly appreciated CG only introducing Uzuki, Rin, and most importantly, the Producer in the first episode, because if they had introduced everybody at once like in the original there was no way I was going to like everybody, especially since I’ll have that ‘but you aren’t my girls!’ reaction, having gotten comfortable with the original’s cast and being bad with change. It flagged that Uzuki, Rin and the Producer (and eventually Mio) will be the ‘main’ players and so when the rest of the cast was introduced and I didn’t immediately warm up to them, I was fine with that because I understood that they had more of a supporting role. In the original series I initially subconsciously picked some characters and decided ‘these were the ones I cared about’ anyway; CG just makes the process more deliberate.
With this approach, I would argue that CG ends up being more plot driven than the original, and this plot is centred on the growth of the Producer and New Generations. It’s certainly going to be different from the original, but I’m going to save my judgment about whether it’s superior until the show ends.
I would agree if the direction of CG was to be more plot driven and more focused on the first three girls. However, I felt there hasn’t been any major plot thus far apart from the debut arc, and that the three main girls really haven’t had much of a presence since. One could also argue that really, the only three characters properly introduced during the first half of this season were Uzuki, Rin, and the producer. Mio herself hasn’t yet received a decent introduction to her character, which is probably the reason why a number of people did not really like the debut arc. We didn’t really know what to expect from her character, or what her idea of being an idol is, and hence her delusion felt forced.
Episode 4 did try to introduce the characters more, but it did not really accomplish anything that the short introductions in Episode 2 didn’t, except for clarifying that (i) Rikka wants to flaunt her sexuality, and (ii) Ranko is a chuunibyou. Its only in the second half of the season that their characteristics are fleshed out properly. To me, there is some plot with regards to the producer, but for the most part this series is driven by the girls rather than plot. Because of that, I felt the series failed in this regard, at least for the first half of the season. It is of no surprise to me that my favourite episodes are the ones where we learn more of the side characters.
I would complement CG however in the fact that most of the cast has had a time to shine in the latter half of the first season. Now that the characters are established, it would be interesting to see where they go to from here for the second cour.
Some thoughts of my own.
The thing with the admiral is he was cut off from being an actual character in the anime probably as an attempt to draw in the same sort of appeal Love Live brought about (all female cast, yuri elements, no male admiral or potential self insert character). Franchises with a mostly all-girl cast tend to drawn in the shoujo demographic / yuri crowd and Kancolle seemed like material for it. Heck, Love Live during the early / PV / pre-anime years had so much het/self-insert pandering with self-insert drama CDs with characters talking to the listener, the fact one PV is from the POV of some faceless self insert receiving chocolates from μ’s, etc. Then the manga and anime came out and it started leaning more towards a yuri / shoujo path. Love Live has a huge female demographic in its fanbase which is acknowledged by companies (ie a while back Love Live related women’s merch like fashion label colaborations or shoes started being sold). The admiral is left ambiguous in the anime and he/she is never mentioned by gender despite sub translations. For all we know the admiral could be a girl or an old man/woman. We don’t know but it was left ambiguous for that purpose I guess.
II. Producers (2011 and CG)
Besides the point of the admiral, I like CG’s producer much more than 2011’s producer if only because he doesn’t feel like a harem protagonist people immediately fawn over. 2011’s producer was okay but he felt like a harem protag archetype ie well meaning goofball who does his best in his job but oh gee he’s surrounded by these idols who have mini crushes on him or whatever. On the other hand, we have the CG Producer who’s this hulking Terminator like figure who takes his professional expertise seriously yet that also serves as his one major flaw: his lack of proper communication skills. He’s a double edged sword: on one hand he’s much more professional and efficient than 2011’s producer in terms of work and he holds good intentions towards serving as the guide who would turn these rookies into Cinderellas and on the other hand, he’s overly straightforward, bad at expressing his own intents or emotions towards the girls under his wing and consequences do result from those. As a result of those consequences, the producer eventually reflects and adapts to the situation and reevaluates his own approach which serves as a guide to his own development.
2011 anime producer felt more like a goofball who was more sociable with the girls but he lacked some professionalism and this is lampshaded in the movie where he decides train abroad in order to become a better producer. These flaws aren’t made so event in the 2011 anime as the only major obstacle against 765 Pro was Kuroi and Project Jupiter, the former being a CEO who often shook things up for their opposition including a media exposure that set off Chihaya’s arc in the 2nd cour.
The only sense of conflict that involved the producer in the 2011 series was basically him getting into a nasty accident and mind you this was Haruka’s character arc. It gave us this skewed perception of what we were supposed to be mainly worried about. Haruka’s breakdown and the fact everybody was worried for her or the fact everybody else is worrying over the producer.
What I like about CG’s producer as well is that he actually has to take effort to earn the trust of the girls he promises success to as a man doing his job. It creates this sort of character dynamic between him and the girls that doesn’t entirely equivalent to self-insert fantasy. Rin tells Producer to get his act together and Uzuki’s gratitude towards him in ep 7 are two elements that push him forward even further. He wants to see the girls under his wing succeed and shine but he realized that his previous over prioritization of professionalism over an emotional approach was his own bane.
III. The idols themselves
The girls are a mixed bag mostly for the anime-only viewers who aren’t familiar with their characters from the original mobage. They’re either boring to some or they just prefer 765 Pro over them. One could argue that the recent successes of Love Live’s solid character development and dynamic have created this massive “tough act to follow” effect for CG as the first Idolmaster TV anime in 3-4 years. The thing is: the CG cast in the mobage is huge and I mean really huge. 190+ idols with 34 of them having their own character song CDs in the Master Collection. In most cases, these girls are usually one note characters (ie Ranko’s chuuni, Anya’s quirks, Anzu’s laziness, etc, etc). Supplementary material outside of the mobage and anime like the different CG mangas, CG comic anthology books, the Cinderella Theater Comics, drama CDs, radio dramas, etc try fleshing them out more but with a cast of 190+, it’s easier said than done. On the other hand, 765 Pro had like what, 10-12 girls to work with + having had previous character development in the games and other media mediums so some would find that the 2011 anime had better focus in the development department.
For those familiar with CG prior to the anime, the main complaint is more different; something along the lines of “Why did X character get picked into the core group over Z character” or “They should have put Z character into the core group”. The main 14 in the Cinderella Project are fan favorites. They’re Master Collection CD characters in CG and they were pretty popular prior to the anime. The problem is because of the vast cast, they can’t ultimately make everybody happy in the end. So what A-1 did is they picked a core group consisting of fan favorites and they use the other top fan favorite CG idols in a position where they’re the upperclassmen or seniors to the core cast (Mika, Mayu, Kaede, Nana, Miho, Mizuki, etc). Of course this didn’t sit well with everybody, some preferring one character in the core group over another and so on. Another main complaint from those familiar with CG was the amount of focus NG (New Generations) had in the first 7 episodes…although to me the first 7 episodes felt more like a set up to cour 1’s 2nd half if anything.
In the end of the day, CG’s anime has garnered mixed reception but for what it is, I’m enjoying it. It could definitely do much better but I wouldn’t call it stale, soulless or bland either. Though this is probably partially because I’ve indulged myself into the supplementary material for CG aside the anime (the mangas, Cinderella Theaters, etc) and a bit of personal bias but that’s besides the main points I wanted to present but whatever.
In terms of the idols, there’s the fact that several of the ones in the core group were also among the earliest ones to appear in the game (and thus most recognizable).
Woah, it’s like you wrote more than me. Some thoughts:
So the Admiral may have supposed to been me, but he damn well isn’t. I’m not the one giving suspect orders, I’m not made aware of the Admiral going into hiding, and I’m not motivated by an urge to make Fubuki my waifu. In fact, trying to force him onto me makes him (/her/it) even more intolerable.
II. & III. Producers and Idols
I think it’s unfortunately inevitable that the CG cast will not be as well rounded as the original’s, simply because of there isn’t enough time to make them more than one-note characters (it’s not like the original cast were all complete and nuanced characters either; there were still a lot of them).
With that in mind, I think both the 2011 and CG Producers worked fine in their respective roles. The original cast was arguably stronger, so that Producer settled into an enabling role, but in CG the Producer has to carry the show more. And really, it’s his story as much as the girls. That said, I come into the anime with no knowledge of the greater franchise, so I’m not open to being disappointed about Favourite Character X being shortchanged. I’m obviously in favour of telling a good story with a focus on a few rather than trying to use all of them equally and creating a mess.
Yeah. Rin’s also presently among the top most popular idols in CG along with Uzuki. In addition: Rin, Anzu, Kanako, Rika and Kaede were the first five CG idols to get their own Master Collection CDs so they’re pretty recognizable. They could have easily put Kaede into the core group too but I guess A-1 saw her better as a “senior” to the Cinderella Project like Mika and the others. Then again her VA is pretty expensive so that could be a key factor or they’re saving her for the final two episodes of this cour with a upperclassman role to the girls before their first big concert, mentioned in ep 11. Who knows. Of all the seniors in Mishiro Pro, Mika’s had the most appearances by far but that probably attributes from her and Rika being sisters and…
Show Spoiler ▼
In addition, Miku and Anastasia were among the first “boss” characters in the mobage. So the former mentioned’s competitive nature during the first 6 eps against NG about them getting a debut first and the latter mentioned’s unit, Love Laika, outshining NG in ep 6 are arguably allusions or shout outs to those elements.
Thank you very much for the reply.
I don’t think he or she was intended to be an actual self-insert. It’s more like the audience sometimes sees things from the admiral’s POV and that Kongou has some big crush on him/her but in the end that means nothing. He/she has very little role in the show aside orders, Fubiki’s development and the end game development of the 1st season. He/she can’t even quantify as a self-insert because we know little to nothing about him/her and neither do they interact much with the Fleet Girls either. Yeah, the whole thing with Fubuki and admiral felt really out of nowhere and out of place especially.
II. and III. Idols and Producers
This is further lampshaded by the fact not all the characters get their own independent episodes. For example, Anzu/Chieri/Kanako shared theirs and Kirari/Miria/Rika had theirs together in a unit. Even NG, who are arguably the anime’s main protagonist trio dont get individual episodes. Rin had her drama coupled in with Mio’s fallout episode too but that was so that she could tell the producer to get his act together. This leads me to believe that the senior CG idols outside of the core group are going to have more of a role / bearing in screentime during cour 2 since after this huge concert planned for cour 1’s finale, it can be assumed that they’re much more famous, busier and prominent to the point they’ll be able to stand side by side their role models. I imagine that episodes will still focus on the core group but mixed in more with the popular seniors with new CD singles.
Ever since ep 6, we’ve been getting CD singles from the Cinderella Project Units so I imagine this will be the same case with cour 2. After all, the anime is like one giant infomercial for the CG mobage or other related merch. I once saw a photo of a CG CD Section inside a story in Japan with all of its Mika CDs sold out after ep 3 aired.
“it’s not like the original cast were all complete and nuanced characters either; there were still a lot of them”
The girls in 2011’s anime did get their own individual episodes and had more individual focus than CG but the problem is some of them fell really short. There were some good ones like Yayoi’s focusing on her life and her family relations. Another one involved Miki’s own personal doubts in the episodes before the 765 Pro All Stars Concert and we saw her beyond the usual sleepy carefree archetype she usually exhibited prior to that. Afterwards, Miki became more passionate about her work and this is especially shown during the 765 Pro All Stars concert and during Haruka’s character arc. Ritsuko’s episode had good focus on her role as a producer and temporarily returning to her position as an idol to fill in for Chihaya. Others fell flat in comparison. Yukiho’s focused on her one note quirk of being terrifyingly shy and trying to get over her stage fright in ep 3 but in the end that quirk of hers is still prevalent although less nuanced and she’s portrayed as more confident in future episodes. Hibiki’s episode was okay but a lot of it was overshadowed by Kuroi stirring up the drama in the episode. The same can be said with Takane’s episode where it was mixed in with Kuroi trying to stir a scandal against 765 Pro’s idols alongside foreshadowing of Chihaya’s character arc. Makoto’s episode more or less focused on her trying to find her own feminine side but it amounted to nothing as she continued sticking to the image she had advertised towards others as an idol. There was really little development in Azusa’s episode and it was more or less just one big gigantic goose-chase, even though I found it really fun to watch at the time.
The CG idols’ huge cast makes it harder for there to be any individual episodes / development but one thing I’ll give points to the anime for is that it didn’t introduce any major external opposition like Kuroi or Project Jupiter. The closest thing the Cinderella Project have to rivals are the seniors in Mishiro Pro but even then they’re more like role models if anything. A lot of the conflicts we’ve seen so far feel more internal, whether or not they’re serious or trivial (Producer trying to get through Ranko’s chuuni talk and the latter mentioned trying to express herself better, Miku and Riina putting their differences aside, Anzu growing to put effort when it’s needed for the sake of her unit) and it has potential to create new developments for character building. As childish as I thought Mio’s drama was, in the end it did push Producer to reevaluate his approach and see things from a more emotional point of view. While I wouldn’t call this master tier or supremely in depth development, it’s still something.
“I’m obviously in favour of telling a good story with a focus on a few rather than trying to use all of them equally and creating a mess.”
One of the CG mangas is like this actually. I wouldn’t call it a mess but I don’t think its premise would fit well in a 2 cour anime. It’s named IM@S CG Ensemble, a 4koma manga that’s serialized nearly 60 chapters by far in Gangan Online (most chapters being 3 pages long and some being 10) with 2 physical tankobon volumes out. It basically sandwiches and squeezes in most of the popular CG idols in numbers wa larger than the core cast in the anime in 4koma slice of life segments. For example, Mio and Kirari share one chapter or one chapter will be dedicated to Fumika, etc, etc. There’s no actual storyline and it’s more or less just a stream of SoL or comedic gag elements. The Producer is faceless in this one as well and has only been mentioned in name by characters on a frequent basis. However, prominent characters like NG, Sachiko, Kaede or Anzu or Kirari still have multiple or reoccurring appearances from time to time in the manga. Truth to be told, I expected the CG anime to be more like this before it came out if only because of the cast’s sheer massive size but then ep 1 introduced a new Producer and I found out the anime was focusing on a core group with the other popular idols acting as their role models.
@Kamen Rider Chevalier
Thank you for noting the other material out there. It’s always interesting to see what else they’ve done with the source, if only for comparison.
All said, I think I prefer what they’ve done with the anime, perhaps because I like the Producer they’ve created for it a lot. I’m fine with a story that’s mostly about him.
@Kamen Rider Chevalier
The director said in one of the interviews that he intended the viewers to be the Admiral.
I agree about the Admiral comparison, but I must respectfully disagree with the producer comparison. Considering the status of their companies, I think the original producer did a better job. My biggest gripe with Cinderella Girls is that I think the Producer is under performing. I could even understand cat girls frustration. Not enough gigs is better than no gigs.
I meant that the CG idol had to carry the show in terms of being a larger part of the story. As far as management goes, I think it was explained earlier in the anime why the CG Producer is more hands off and more procedural than his predecessor. And remember than in the original series, all the idols had already debuted; Cinderalla Girls begins from an even earlier, and arguably even more sensitive, stage.
Thanks for answering. I have to respectfully disagree with you as well. In what way is the producer underperforming in a professional spectrum? In terms of social interaction and emotional understanding, I’m more than willing to agree that he underperformed in that area prior to episode 7.
However, there’s no way I can agree with him underperforming professionally. A few things ::
— The Cinderella Project Producer has been remarked in-universe to be a skilled business man at his field. When he does his job, he doesn’t screw around. He’ll go all out in terms of helping the “Cinderellas” reach the ball. He handled Mio’s case horribly in episode 6 in terms of emotional communication/understanding but the General manager commented that he had secured what was considered a great spot for a debut in terms of business and strategy. Furthermore, the general manager himself commented in ep 7 that where his greatest strength lies in doing things in a straightforward fashion in the professional field, he admits that it can go wrong when he doesn’t have a good emotional grasp. Underperforming in terms of emotional understanding prior to ep 7? I’ll more than agree with that. Underperforming in terms of professionalism? I don’t think so. Although I won’t lie his tactics with Rin in terms of recruiting her were supremely sketchy but this attributes more to emotional understanding.
— Mishiro Pro is a really, really huge company. Moreso than what 765 ever was. They have over dozens if not hundreds of idols under their label. Granted, they have different producers but they all don’t have a full say or 100% control as to when or how the girls do debut. Remember, things like CD recordings, advertising, securing locations for performances, online publicity or promotion, photography, events, etc, etc all cost TIME and MONEY. I could understand Miku’s frustration from episode 5 but overall she’s still young. I understand she didn’t want her work or efforts to be for naught but the fact doesn’t change: these things take time and money. If Producer and the company could, they’d all get their CD debuts at the same time. It isn’t a matter of just saying “Alright, you can debut” or Producer supposedly “underperforming” or holding back the debuts.
— Secondly, the comparison to 765 Pro in the 2011 is hardly any fair. Like Passerby mentioned, the girls had already debuted at that point. The anime uses the Idolm@ster 2 (allusions to the 1st game are made in the anime like Ritsuko’s idol career prior to being a producer) timeline and character designs. The girls have already been at it for a while with debuts albeit with little or lukewarm success until Producer showed up to help out in getting more gigs. Furthermore, 765 Pro is a much smaller company so it means much more things were at stake for them so they had nothing to loose in that 765 Pro All Stars concert. Mishiro Pro has many more idols to manage. Even if they do have different producers, it doesn’t change the fact the company budget/funds are allocated in a way that these things still take time and strategy. CG Producer may be a producer but it doesn’t mean he has 100% control over the budget. There are still people like the general manager who are above him.
Funny that you mentioned…err…linked the post for episode 01 of the original iM@S, wherein Prooof commented:
“One-sided voice dialogue—it feels awkward in games and more so in anime.”
KanColle‘s approach regarding the Admiral proved that statement quite nicely.
Anyway, I had fears that the original iDOLM@STER series will be (as Kamen Rider Chevalier already said) a tough act to follow for Cinderella Girls. But I’m glad those fears would turn out to be unfounded, as I’m pleased with how the show turned out so far. Sure, there are a few characters that I found annoying (Miku the catgirl comes to mind), but fortunately, there’s plenty of other likeable characters to choose from (Mika–the older Jougasaki sister, Ranko–a.k.a.: “The Second Coming of Rikka“, and Anastasia the half-Russian girl).
And I did like how you pointed out the contrasts between 765’s Producer and 346’s Producer, though their goal is still basically the same–help their young idols succeed.