The [email protected]: Cinderella Girls – 03

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Dat hair.

lvlln avatarWow, that was easily the best episode of The [email protected]: Cinderella Girls yet. In chronicling the journey of our 3 main newbies to their 1st ever performance, it showed something that the original series couldn’t do with all its idols already being 6-month veterans at the start of the series. Plus, we got more meaningful glimpses at the other Cinderella Project idols introduced in the previous episode, building on the brief gimmick appearances they had there. Not to mention, the first actual dance performance of the show, which was fantastic.

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Uzuki is clearly dumbstruck by the poster for her 1st concert.

So when Mika made the suggestion at the end of the last episode, I hadn’t expected them to get all the way to the concert itself within one episode. It was nice to get that immediate payoff, but that snappy pacing was also a curse as well, making the training arc feel a little too short and easy. I mean, we’re talking about turning 3 rookie-to-amateur dancers into professional backup dancers, which is no easy task, even for just one song. I would have liked to see more of the difficulties the girls had to go through. Or at least a sense of the timeline – were we talking days or weeks? Certainly not months… right?

The biggest issue they ran into seemed to be the nerves that struck the girls right before their performance, which seemed both artificial and too easily solved. Artificial, because for some reason no one thought to give them training on coming out of the elevators on the stage or to have them do a dress rehearsal or to keep them company and provide psychological support while they waited. Producer, isn’t it your job to take care of that stuff? And too easily solved, because, Fried Chicken, really? How about a pep talk reminding them of all the training they did and how much confidence they legitimately should have because of it? That would have been a lot more meaningful than the whole “loosen yourself up with a funny cheer” bit.

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Appreciate the shots of the girls practicing individually.

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These costumes were just way too sexy. (Click for stitches)

But it was easy to look past that one weak part when the rest of the episode was so darn good, including the actual concert performance. The animation was superb – as we’ve come to expect from this franchise – as was the choreography, which I thought showed a lot more dancer-to-dancer interaction than what we saw in the main series. I would have liked to see at least one extended shot showing a single long segment of the dancing, but I can’t say its absence was a critical flaw. The scene was more about conveying the fun and joy of the 3 backup dancers in their first ever performance in front of a huge audience than anything else, and it did its job just fine.

I also really liked seeing the side characters get some focus in this episode. The dance trainer‘s intense no-nonsense personality was a great contrast to Producer’s stoic one. That said, Producer was more emotional than ever before in this episode, showing signs of nervousness, relief, and pride at times. And the glimpse of his relationship with assistant Chihiro was interesting, with his denial of anything bothering him immediately met with her correctly guessing exactly what actually was. That’s a dynamic we didn’t really see between Kotori and either Producer or Ritsuko at 765 Pro. 765 also didn’t have the benefit of a veteran idol like Mika Jougasaki to guide the newbies. I’m finding Mika extremely likable, maybe a bit too much so. She filled that supportive senpai role perfectly this episode, but I hope we can see her act a bit more like a prima donna or be more of a hardass to the less experienced idols.

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Love seeing how the 3 girls are slightly off from each other in their choreography.

Then there are the main girls’ peers, the other Cinderella Project girls, of whom Miku got the most attention. As I feared, her catgirl gimmick has gotten tiresome very quickly. I can see how it could be a good point for her among her fans, but they don’t have to listen to her incessant nya’s and cat paws when she’s saying or doing literally anything with anyone. But her stubborn and competitive spirit was a joy to watch. I like seeing that firey passion! On the flipside, there was the supremely supportive and shy Anya, who was absolutely adorable. I just wish her Japanese had been more consistently and obviously broken. Early on, the way she stutter stepped her words was fine, but when she was congratulating the girls, her speech felt too smooth. Mix in more poor pacing and incorrect syllable emphasis, please; that’s a potential major moe point for her!

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Jesus Christ, dat Anya.

Looking ahead, it looks as if Rin may continue getting the most attention out of all the idols, with the episode ending on a shot of her wondering face. With the next-episode-previews being put online some time after each episode, that’s the best guess I can muster, anyway. Rin is giving me major Chihaya vibes with her detached and cool personality, as well as her apparent singing talent (though I personally didn’t find her singing voice – or Chihaya’s, for that matter – particularly impressive). Let’s just hope her back story doesn’t involve a dead relative.

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And a little bonus, a translation of 346 Pro’s credo, from this scene, courtesy of @YashaFox.

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A math/science geek and a self-dubbed cynical optimist. I don't care if it's deep, if it can make me feel something or laugh, it's fine in my book. @lvlln
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14 Responses to “The [email protected]: Cinderella Girls – 03”

  1. Highway says:

    Having just watched the first series, but not the movies, I found this to be the best episode of [email protected] that I’ve seen. It easily surpassed anything in the first series, in tone, dramatic prowess, and animation. The dance performance here was far better than anything they showed in the first series, both in terms of the performance itself, which had a coherent flow to the dancing, good interaction between the performers, and a not-bad song, and the technical presentation of the anime, which in the first series was always super chopped up, limited shots to avoid difficult animation, and felt like they just took unrelated position shots and put them together, with the girls teleporting around off screen to get in the positions they showed.

    And they really nailed the tension of the preparation and the performance. I think that was helped by getting it all done in one episode of the show. These girls are supposed to have been prospective idols, at least Mio and Uzuki, so they should pick up a dance routine better than random girl on the street. And I think that was kind of the point with Rin, that she has the innate talent. The part I found a little unbelievable was that they were able to increase their stamina in just a few days from gasping for breath at the end of one dance to making it seem easy. And they did very well at conveying the wonder and trepidation that surrounded the girls at their first performance, meeting idol after idol, rushing through practice, and then that wait until their own performance where they start thinking about things, like how fast they got to this point.

    Really, I liked this better than the whole first series. I even think that not knowing the characters very well helped us feel more of that tension from them, even though we knew they wouldn’t mess it all up (because come on, it’s [email protected] and things always turn out well in the performances).

    • lvlln says:

      Can’t say I agree. I still consider ep 1 of Animas the best from that series and probably in the top 5 of episodes from any anime ever. 2nd would be ep 15, i.e. Are We Live?, and then the pair of Miki-focused episodes. I do agree about the concert, though. I wished there had been a flyby shot like they did a few times in Animas, but otherwise, what we got here was better than anything from that series.

      • Highway says:

        I agree Are We Live!? was probably the best episode of the series, but I have a hard time comparing the two episodes. That was comedy and this more drama, so I think that the mood one is in is going to have more effect on which is better than their relative quality. This one was much better from a dramatic perspective, tho, and keeping that atmosphere of uncertainty, I thought.

        I didn’t really care for that first episode of the first series. Maybe I’d like it more if I went and rewatched it, knowing what the series is about, but when I watched it, it was so far away from what I was expecting from the series that it was more just confusing. Plus, from the beginning I didn’t care for Iori, Ami, Mami, or Yayoi, so there’s that.

  2. Rathje says:

    I’m fine with a BIT of suspension of disbelief – as long as they don’t ask for too much. I think the episode was fine in that respect. So I enjoyed it.

    • lvlln says:

      [email protected] has always required a heavy dose of suspension of disbelief, showing the idol industry as a happy-go-lucky easy fun place where if you have some pep and some hard work and guts, you can make it. (Also, where are these girls’ parents? Like, wouldn’t they be the 1st ones lined up to see their daughters perform, and the 1st ones backstage after the concert congratulating them?) So yeah, I can’t hold the timeline against the show too much. I just felt there was a lot of room for improvement in the training sequence.

  3. Foshizzel says:

    Dat Anya indeed! Wow she was a lot of fun <3

    Not a bad episode I loved the dancing and of course the animation was on point during all of that, but slowly we are getting familiar with the main three girls! I just hope we get some side episodes dedicated to the other girls because they have a lot of unique idols.

    • lvlln says:

      I wonder if the other girls will be treated like Miku & Anya in this episode, i.e. having major appearances around the main 3 girls to show us their personalities, or if they’ll get to be stars of episodes themselves like in Animas. The current trajectory seems to be the former, which I wouldn’t mind, though it certainly would be interesting to dive into the minds of some of them, like the chu2 Ranko, the lazy Anzu, or the elitist Riina.

      • Foshizzel says:

        though it certainly would be interesting to dive into the minds of some of them, like the chu2 Ranko, the lazy Anzu, or the elitist Riina.

        YES those girls need to have more screen time even though I know the focus is on the main three getting into the roles of idols.

  4. skylion says:

    Fine comments by everyone, cannot duplicate. But, do you think they are saying the cat-ear thing from Miku is over and done since they went with all that trouble to damage them?

    • Rathje says:

      If we want to talk annoying mannerisms, I suspect the tall girl is going to wind up being the most annoying to me. Which is too bad – I thought throwing in a tall girl was a cool idea. I was kind of hoping for at least a bit of a Lovely Complex kind of exploration of how a girl can be both tall and cute in Japan (it’s rather hard actually).

      But that’s probably asking too much from this kind of show. As it is, she is by far the most annoying character I’ve seen so far in the show.

      • lvlln says:

        Well, her continual cat smile :3 annoys the hell out of me, but I’m willing to overlook that as a physical feature she can’t control, unlike Miku’s dropping Nya’s in everything she says.

        • Rathje says:

          Well, there’s that… but I didn’t mind it on Rin in Love Live that much…

          Nah… it’s just something about the way she talks is slowly pissing me off…

  5. Overcooled says:

    I think I needed a sick concert scene this soon to really seal the 3-episode test deal for me since I’m a big newbie to this franchise lol. I liked it so much I might go and watch the first season now. But not right now, or else I won’t remember all the idols…Maybe after Cinderella Girls has finished airing.

    Miku is getting on my nerves too and Anya truly is adorable. She’s got the moe charm down but I wonder how they’re going to manage events/interviews when she can barely speak the language.

    • lvlln says:

      I can’t recommend the main [email protected] series enough. I actually watched it slightly out of order, seeing episode 1, then episode 15 much much later on, then the rest in order. It worked just fine. Even if you want to watch it after Cinderella Girls, you can watch just episode 1 by itself before then and then continue from 2 afterwards.

      Anya’s Japanese seemed all too good, actually. I mean, we haven’t heard her talk too much, but the things she said were pretty much correct and intelligible. I wonder if her getting better at Japanese over time will be a plot point, like Yukiho’s fear of men in the main series.

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