Giant Robots Aren’t So Bad

I used to think that any anime with giant robots would be better off without them. This is no longer the case.

But Baka-Raptor, why would you ever bother watching The iDOLM@STER?

It all started back in 2006 when a reader called Genius Sage submitted the following idolm@sterpiece to my challenge. Like all respectable artwork, it was drawn in MS Paint, and it didn’t require interpretation.

Although I approved of it artistically, I didn’t know anything about Makoto or T– Idolm—er, so I sent Genius Sage the following reply:

Just out of curiosity, is this an original character? I don’t recognize her, and googling Makoto didn’t turn up anything relevant. Googling “Idol Makoto” got me nothing but porn.

Genius Sage replied:

Ah, it’s Makoto Kikuchi from the game/ upcoming anime (Produced by Sunrise), IDOLM@STER.

Sorry that the text wasn’t illegible enough.

I was further inspired to watch it when I learned that Genius Sage, who also goes by the name Giant Shrimp, apparently did something badass enough to get permanently banned from deviantArt. Is there any better way to prove you have great taste?

Idolm@ster Xenoglossia was actually ok, despite the robots with feelings. Take them away and things could only get better, right? Unfortunately, I underestimated how much non-boringness the robots brought to the franchise.

The idols do concerts and TV shows and stuff. Those parts tend to be pretty good. Then there’s the personal drama, which tends to be childish and sappy. Then there’s the industry drama, which tends to be catty and obnoxious. Let’s just put it this way: my favorite episode was the one with Azusa getting lost and helping random people around town. Yeah. That’s as good as this show gets.

Takane Shijou is my favorite idol. She has that rare balance of not looking like she’s five years old, not acting like she’s five years old, and not singing like she’s five years old. Plus she reminds me of Shizuru: elegant and refined, yet constantly trolling the world around her.

Ramen is culture. Ramen is progress. Ramen is possibility.

I don’t get the whole Ryuuguu Komachi thing. Let me take that back. I don’t get two-thirds of the Ryuuguu Komachi thing. The selection of Azusa is very understandable, by why Ami and Iori? There’s no point in having twins if you’re going to treat them as individuals. And why is Iori good enough to be in there? She spent all of the second episode trying to figure out what her appeal is (a worthy endeavor, as I couldn’t find it either). Then all of a sudden she’s one of the best idols the studio has to offer? Please.

Quick reviews of the other idols:

  • Haruka: Bland for the lead. Spent more time talking about being clumsy than actually being clumsy.
  • Chihaya: Excellet singer, but the drama…oh god, the drama…
  • Hibiki: She likes animals…yawn
  • Yayoi: She’s poor…yawn
  • Miki: Slutty (good) and talks in the third person (bad)
  • Yukiho: Afraid of men, animals, and being a good character. Much better in Xenoglossia.
  • Makoto: Gimmicky, but a worthy gimmick in inadvertently seducing other women
  • Ritsuko: Not sure what her role in the games is, but I like the business/idol mix
  • Ami & Mami: Expected to be extremely pedophilic. Turned out to be merely very pedophilic. To their credit, actually kind of amusing at times.

Final Grade: ~

32 originalists insist the games are 100x better

  1. Ahhhh the addictive fun of Idolm@ster! I don’t really remember much from Xenoglossia besides all the those mechs will feelings…that really was strange wasn’t it? I remember they had a random beach episode with Haruna and her giant robot lol.

    As for the singing version of IdolM@ster there are some really crazy fans out there, but I can see why! Honestly when you find your favorite character you stick to them through every random concert and of course THE DIE-O-RAMA! I agree about Chihaya’s drama…oh…god…that girl has so much crap to deal with.

    My favorite was easily Haruna because I am sort of like her in terms of happiness levels and I can usually cheer anyone up most of the time, but yeah we all have our massive lists of favorite idols and lists of idols we don’t like at all! Yeah the twins can amusing at times.

    • If any one thing about that series was unforgettable, it would have to be Haruka stripping for her robot.

      I don’t know much about the games aside from a few stage performances I recently watched on YouTube. Can’t say I see the appeal, but if a plumber jumping on turtles can be fun, what can’t?

      All the idols, except Chihaya, are so cheerful compared to real people that I’m unable to see cheerfulness as being a distinguishing feature between them.

  2. “Makoto: Gimmicky, but a worthy gimmick in inadvertently seducing other women”

    Exactly. She had me in just one episode.

  3. Not much to say, but different strokes for different folks I suppose as some people would prefer the other show produced in 2007. The reason it was highly criticized is that it didn’t follow the original game. i don’t care much for robots, so I will never watch the first series. Aside from that, I liked this anime, but as they say, reviews are subjective.

    I wonder, have you taken a look at AKB0048. Although I didn’t like it because I don’t like the AKB48, but you might like it since it has idol singers fighting and robots.

  4. I find that shows with giant robots often would be better without giant robots, while shows lacking giant robots often would be better with giant robots. It’s sad that anime studios have not realized this yet.

  5. Being what I am, I watched Idolmaster, and enjoyed it, as I enjoy all shows regardless of their quality. I can understand your gravitation towards Takane because she seems to be one of the few characters of age in the show, though if I had to pick favorites I’d probably end up leaning more towards Ritsuko, it might just be because of her choice of clothing (the pantsuit to be precise) and that I am a sucker for Christmas Cakes. As for the show, it’s a fun if pointless romp in it’s own interpretation of idol life. I can roll with the lack of depth because I went into it with specific expectations anyway.

    • The show actually exceeded my expectations. I didn’t expect it to be any good based on the OVA from a few years back.

      Looking at Ritsuko as a character rather than an idol, she’s one of my favorites as well. Plus she went to Caltech.

      Her rank as an idol would have to be somewhere in the mid/bottom tier simply because she’s not working at it full-time like the others.

  6. Now I’m curious if you have a rationalized flowchart system designed to separate “extremely pedophilic” from “very pedophilic” tiers…

  7. Yeah, in retrospect this show was pretty forgettable. I ain’t even mad tho. Mikimiki being a bitch to the other idols was pretty fun to watch.

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