「THE IDOLM@STER Prologue SideM -Episode of Jupiter-」
Jupiter finds new start with a new agency.
This will be an interesting review, because, for all my anime experience, including a great deal in the time when the original iDOLM@STER was airing, I’ve never seen any of the previous series. They’re on my list, I’ve been meaning to watch them! (And probably will now, since it’s suddenly become urgent.) But I haven’t seen them as of this writing, which means you’re getting an old anime hand’s analysis on a series he surprisingly missed.
If I were to give a quick appraisal of this prologue, it would be to agree with something Passerby said in the preview: it’s without cynicism. Oh, there are cynical characters, but the main characters—both the idols of Jupiter, Amagase Touma (Terashima Takuma), Ijuuin Hokuto (Kanbara Daichi), and Mitarai Shouta (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu), as well as the super gung-ho president of 315 Productions, Saitou Takashi (Tachiki Fumihiko)—are free of cynicism, as is the story itself. Oh sure, maybe the calculus that led to this series is cynical, I can’t fault them for wanting to cash in on the new wave, but it’s been kept admirably free of the narrative itself. This episode features idols struggling against cynicism, and cynical money-first business practices are painted as evil. Perhaps that’s a self-serving lie, but it’s a pretty one, and it makes for good television.
This prologue features characters who (I gather) appeared in the original iDOLM@STER, who since left their original agency to strike out on their own. I can sympathize with their having to deal with everything on their own, and the difficulties that entails. The lack of new songs, the not being able to go out and talk to their fans (crowd control reasons, I guess?), and them not wanting to be forced to (again) do what they don’t want to do are all things anyone can get behind in a second. It’s far scarier to trust your future to someone else who could screw you over for the money. It was clear that the story was trying to paint all the other agencies as cynical, to pace the way for the eventual appearance of Saitou Takashi, but . . . well, it worked. I spent a while thinking that someone from 765 Productions (I knew that much about the original) would come to recruit them, and that they would join that agency, but having the original girls set up as rivals is a better set up. Speaking of, as someone who hasn’t seen the originals, it was only when their 765 rival showed up that I felt a little lost. This was a pretty approachable episode for a first-time watcher, even if I was conscious of the fact that I was missing references with idols the 765 girls obviously interacted with. The story still worked though.
Honestly, my impression of this episode is that it was rock solid. It makes me want to go back and watch the originals even more. My only concern is the one Passerby mentioned in the previews: there are too many damn idols. This episode let us spend a good amount of time with Jupiter, which I really appreciated, but more boys showed up at the end, and I can taste the beginnings of the overwhelm that will surely descend when the horde of idols crashes upon our shores. Until then, I’m kind of hyped. It may be goofy for a guy like me to start with the boy idol show, but it’s good! I enjoyed it! I don’t see why anyone who likes idols wouldn’t either. Gender doesn’t matter with idols, as long as they can dance and sing, and these boys can do both. Should be a fun show.
- In all seriousness though, stalking is bad. Don’t stalk idols. Bad Saitou Takashi, no!
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