Idolm@ster is a 25 episode long anime which aired from July to December 2011 it was produced by A1 Pictures and Aniplex. Idolm@ster is an anime adaption of the popular XBox console game with the same title, I never played any of these games, but I was interested in watching the show.
At first I wasn’t sure if a 25 episode long anime show could do justice to the background and personality of each of the 12 (13) idols. But I must say that it worked surprisingly well.
The anime starts with short introductions of all the aspiring Idols of the Idol agency 765pro through the lens of a cameraman. 765pro appears like a small, family like agency, where the idols and the staff are hanging out and having fun, unfortunately they don’t have many appointments, so they read magazines and do other nonsense. Later the cameraman turned out as the new producer, called Producer-san who should help the Idols to become more successive.
An interesting aspect of Idolm@ster are of course the Idols, all the girls are quite unique characters with different personality’s, while sharing the same dream of becoming an idol, everyone of them has different motivations and reasons to take a step into the Idolbusiness.
Despite the number of characters, every girl has a good recognition value. The Idols are Haruka, Ami, Mami, Hibiki, Yukiho, Miki, Makoto, Chihaya, Iori, Azusa, Takane, Yayoi and Ritsuko, who is mainly working as producer at 765pro and only acts as Idol in case 765pro is short on people.
All of the characters can be considered as main characters, but there are certain persons who get more screentime than others. Haruka for example is very present during the whole show.
Iori, well I have a weak spot for petite anime girls who are voiced by Kagumiya Rie. With her rich girl tsundere attitude Iori is rather enchanting and her even brown hair is just beautiful.
Makoto is cool and athletic, I was able to see her feminine side despite her more tomboyish style.
With her 21 years Azusa is one of the older Idols at 765pro, she has a very pretty appearance, is extremely kind and has a bad sense of direction, she is somehow the motherly and caring type.
All the characters are quite likeable, even though I had a few problems with Miki in the last part.
I also would like to know which were your favorite Idols, so feel free to tell me at the end of this post.
At first Producer-san seems to be quite overextended with taking care of these lively and happy characters and the jobs he gets for them are quite lame, but soon things slowly start to improve, but as they start being successive, a villain appears, the boss of the Idol agency 961 Production, who sabotages the appointments of 765pro by using his influence in the industry.
The main story follows 765pro and the Idols on their journey to success. Most episodes consists of episodic stories which concentrate on a certain Idol dealing with her weaknesses or problems and mentally growing during this process, these episodes still feel connected with the main story because the main goal of becoming an Idol is always present. The relationships between the group of Idols are very well fleshed out what is also noticeable in the character centered episodes, there are always Idols who are supporting the main character of the episode when it is needed.
The anime consists of character centered episodes and episodes where everybody at 765pro plays a role. Idolm@ster feels diversified in regard of storytelling, the personality of each girl is very well reflected in the character centered episodes as well as in the group centered episodes. Even when you don’t like a certain girl you can at least see where they are coming from.
Idolm@ster is mainly light hearted, slice of life comedy, but also makes good use of drama elements. At the beginning of this anime there is a lot of hilarious slapstick comedy, but as the story progresses there is less comedy, especially near the end, the anime gets a darker tone.
I guess I already told you in an older post that Im no fan of the real Idol industry, while I like cute girls and a little Jpop, I don’t like how some of these girls are or have to sell themselves.
The presentation of the Idol industry in Idolm@ster is a bit romantically idealized, but the show at least scratches a bit on the downsides of it, like being exploited in questionable entertainment shows or receiving bad gossip from the media. In episode 4 a few of the Idols appear in a bad game show where the cameramen were trying to peek under the skirts of girls all the time.
The visual presentation of Idolm@ster is very appealing and shows a high quality, the backgrounds are very detailed and the animations, even during the concerts seem very fluid and are very well choreographed. In some episodes they made use of nice lights and shadows which gives certain scenes a cineastic look. Overall the quality leaves a very positive impression.
The idols are voiced by very good voice actors since a few of the idols are younger and there’s quite a number of high-pitched voices. There is a lot of Jpop music inside this anime and the always different ending songs are either performed by one or more of the 765pro Idols. I only liked a few of these ending songs, for me they don’t had the same impact as the opening songs.
Idolm@ster delivers a lot of entertainment over the entire 25 episodes. The anime combines cute girls, slice of life, comedy and character development placed inside an Idol business setting. What first appeared as a mere comedy show about a bunch of weird Idols, quickly developed into a very likeable show about all the 13 aspiring Idols of 765pro aiming for their success in the industry.
The miscellaneous kinds of episodes range from lighthearted, slightly cheesy stories to very well executed drama. The very nice character interactions overshadow the one or another not so good part in the storytelling. The character centered episodes are very well interwoven with the main story and every Idol is equipped with an proper amount of screentime. Only Takane seems to received the short end of the stick, she was a rather undeveloped character during the show.
For me Idolm@ster was a highly enjoyable show which I liked to follow in the second half of 2011,
I had a lot of fun with all these likeable characters and the technical presentation of this anime.
My favorite episodes were 7, 12, 15, 17, 18, 20 was very good, 24 and 25.