Idolm@ster – anime review

posted in: Anime Review, Featured | 20


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.


The Idols


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.

My favorite characters were Haruka, Iori, Makoto and Azusa. Haruka the main heroine who is also the heart of the 765pro , I liked her since the first second she appeared on Idolm@ster.

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.

2DT had more refined descriptions about all the Idolm@ster girls in part 123 on his blog.

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.

technical aspects

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.





 Final Words

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.


20 Responses

  1. exilehero

    I had a lot of fun watching this over my winter vacation. I was expecting not to like a couple episodes because I wasn’t as interested in the girl that it focused on, but I ended liking pretty much all of them. The episode with Azusa in the wedding dress was way more awesome than I expected!

    My favorite girls are Takane and Miki by the way :p.

    • wieselhead

      @exilehero, I also expected that I would dislike certain characters in the show, but I couldn’t help myself and was cheering for every single girl ^^

      That certain episode was really awesome XD

  2. Duqs

    Despite watching the show in a very “skippy” manner (i just keep skipping through scenes), I’ve enjoyed seeing Haruka, Miki and especially Chihaya’s story come out. My only complaint was that there were too little stage-dancing segments like in ep13 and 25.

    Will watch this show properly when i have the time to =D

    • wieselhead

      @Duqs, Oh I see, well skipping is not the best way to follow this show. Make sure you can watch it entirely when you have the time to do so.

  3. Aya

    I like the concept of this Anime as I like Idolm@ster since the beggining,the way the story-telling for each characters also great and suprisingly we almost have the exact same favorite characters maybe just change Azusa with miki but I like them all in general

    • wieselhead

      @Aya, I really liked the storytelling here.
      Even though most of idolmaster were character centered episodes everything felt very well connected.

      All are somewhat likeable and kawaii ^-^

  4. tanohsimini

    A very nice detailed review.

    I really enjoyed this series! I first checked it out when 7 or so episodes have aired already and just wanted to see what it was like. At first I really didn’t expect anything, well maybe just to be disappointed^^” I thought the series would have no story and be practically pointless but I was wrong. I came to love the show in the end for the comedy, slice of life feel and how they all strived very hard to become idols. As I thought, 25eps? isn’t that a bit too long for such a series like this. i thought the typical 12 eps would be enough as I thought this show would really have no story. But I was wrong again^^” It turned out great and I want more>< I really did felt that it was kind of sad as the characters slowly split up as they were going their own paths.

    I like Azusa too and of course Chihaya!

    Great review as always and Makoto is a guy!

    • wieselhead

      @tanohsimini, thx at first I thought I couldn’t finish it on time, I had a writing blockade ^^

      I first I didn’t really know what to expect from it.
      After the first few episodes I started to like it a lot. It was good that they used the budget for a long run, lately I felt a bit dissapointed by short shows, these are good for killing time, but sometimes they feel incomplete.

      Yeah that gave me a heartache as well. Haruka’s breakdown made me cry.
      I would like to see more Idolmaster.

      Thank you for saying this, I felt a bit uneasy about certain sentences =)

  5. Kai

    Ohh great, another anime I missed out last year D; A bit hard to fit in watching this anime into my schedule already but one of these days, I’ll just have to do eeeeeeet.

    • wieselhead

      @Kai, That can be a problem when there are too many good shows in a year ^^
      Maybe just save it for later, it’s definetely worth a watch.

  6. Nopy

    I didn’t follow Idolmaster, but so many people like it that I actually know the names of some of the characters. It doesn’t sound like a bad series, but I’d rather just watch them dance in all those music videos on youtube.

    Oh, and my favourite is Miki.

    • wieselhead

      Well, I could also imagine that you would like the anime, the characters have good personalities and are more than mere dancers 😉
      It seems Miki was appealing to many people aside from me haha. ^^

  7. Otakumouse

    I was really not that sure about idolmasters but because of your review, I’ll give it a try tonight. Love their opening theme 😀

  8. Miette-chan

    Ah, I been curious about the franchise for ages. Always had an interested in playing the original games. The closest I got was by reading a manga of the DS spinoff game.

    Having both you and exilehero vouch for the show really makes me want to give it a go.

    I do wonder though, with how many favorites I will end with by the end.

    • wieselhead

      Ah I see, the XBox Game might be interesting
      Then you should really try it, I thought exilhero had conviinced you earlier :p
      Im curious about that ^^

  9. Persocom

    I was also curious about the games for the longest time. I don’t own the right systems as far as I know, so when this came out I had to pick it up. I quite enjoyed it, took a few episodes to get me hooked but by the end I wished it wasn’t over. I might have to review this one as well one of these days.

    • wieselhead

      @Persocom, Im not sure on which platforms aside from XBox these title was also published.
      It took five episodes to convince me, at first the group was very amateur like, that was some good development afterwards. I would have liked to see a few more episodes ^-^

      Would be interesting to read your opinion.

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