Anime of Tomorrow
The iDOLM@STER (review)
Final impression – above average is really the best that can be said (6/10)
Summer 2011 to autumn 2011 (25 episodes) (title synonym – The Idolmaster)
The innocent Yayoi, Ami and Mami the twin combo, Hibiki the animal lover, soft and timid Yukiho, Miki the flirt, Makoto the tomboy, serious Chihaya, Iori from a wealthy family, Azusa the plucky boob, Takane the foreign flavor and Haruka the stable pillar are the team of aspiring idols working for the studio 765 Pro. In order to manage the human resources of the growing, young company, the president hires a producer to get the girls in top shape to start their careers. They each have special traits that need the careful attention of their new supervisor to properly highlight their strengths. But as they start to get noticed and their popularity begins to rise, the president’s old partner turned rival isn’t about to let 765 Pro attain success without resorting to dirty tactics. These young women, guided by the leadership of their producer, will face this challenge with the strength of their convictions and a terrific display of talent. As individuals they shine brightly, but together they begin to sparkle even brighter and nothing is going to get in the way of their path to stardom.
I’m not sure how to really categorize The iDOLM@STER. It’s not a harem anime, as its major themes are nearly devoid of romance of any kind. It has some music elements as a recurring theme, but it also touches on other topics such as TV, acting and photography. With so many girls on this cast, you’d think there would be a lot of temptation to sneak in some fan service from time to time. But The iDOLM@STER scoffs at the notion of doing anything risqué. So given a lot of compounding factors, this anime could have been a really lowbrow feature that just melted into the background without finding any identity for itself. So it manages to avoid a destiny of mediocrity, but in my opinion just barely. The huge cast is well managed and everyone gets a chance to have some time in the spotlight. The characters all have clearly defined goals and personalities, but for all it does right I just can’t call The iDOLM@STER a good anime. It’s just so underwhelmingly mediocre. Everything is so feel-good there’s never a chance for something to really grip the heartstrings and move you. And when it does finally start to develop and mature into something meaningful, it’s over too quickly and we’re back to sugary happiness. All in all, The iDOLM@STER’s best moments are too few and far between to be impactful in a 25 episode series. It succeeds in setting itself apart with some original character composition and storytelling as well as the occasional catchy beat, but there’s nothing to make it truly memorable.