The Idolm@ster: Cinderella Girls – 04


“Hey guys, look what I picked up. I’m taking her home with me.”

lvlln avatarSo this was a documentary episode, somewhat reminiscent of the 1st episode of the main Idolm@ster show. Like that episode, this one used its gimmick as a device to introduce us to the individual quirks of the girls who make up the main portion of the rather large cast of the show. And while it used this technique to good effect for the most part, it also stumbled with a few things which kept it from being the great episode that it could have been and that The Idolm@ster episode 1 was.

Just a fine, fine job by A-1.

To lead off with my favorite thing about the episode: dat animation. The highlights were Miku’s morning entry and Rika and Miria jockeying for position, but I was pleased with how the rest of the episode looked as well. And how about that gratuitous Matrix spin when Kirari threw the candies up in the air to fish out Anzu? Also, I really like the decision to have this episode after 3 of focusing on the Big 3 idols. I like the decision to wind down from the somewhat climactic previous episode like this to get a better sense of those girls through a job that got them one step closer to their debut.

Unfortunately, the execution on this very good idea had some room for improvement. I want to get out of the way that the fact that this episode didn’t follow the show-within-show-contents-till-the-end method as in the original Idolm@ster (as well as another great opening episode in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) wasn’t a terrible thing. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but being constrained to on-camera shots creates some nice opportunities for unusual storytelling. Even if it had relied on impossible or improbably camera cuts like the original Idolm@ster had, I would have preferred another attempt at doing that. Admittedly there are advantages to the style choice A-1 made as well, and they were exploited at times.


Started with camcorder shots, but quickly transitioned to regular ones, to good effect at times.

I had much bigger problem with that this episode simply didn’t tell us enough about most of these girls that we didn’t already know. It did do a good job with a few of them, such as Miku’s early morning pre-catgirl mode, or Riina unable to answer when asked about a liked song. Rika’s display of copying Mika’s dance reinforced what was on display during her 1st brief interaction with her older sister. And hearing from Anya that she liked looking at stars was pretty cute (as was her speaking, which had a much more pleasantly broken cadence than in the last episode (though come on, that wasn’t much of a cheer)). Brief glimpses, but they certainly did a good job building off what we got from their short introductions 2 episodes ago.

But most of the girls’ segments felt like wasted opportunities. We saw Kanako eating cookies again, and Chieri being shy again, and Anzu being lazy again (while wanting to collect royalties), but I wished we could have dug into to why. The Idolm@ster had Producer asking the girls questions about themselves and their motivations, so we got to find out, for instance, that Iori’s driving desire was to show up her more rich and famous father and older brothers. I guess Mio, Rin, and Uzuki weren’t quite as adept at producing the introductory video as Producer (which, to be fair, they shouldn’t be expected to).

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Oh, those adorable eyes. Not enough for me to overlook her tremendous laziness. What made her think being an idol was the right path?

There was so much deeper into these girls it could have explored in the time span of an episode! What is Minami studying in college, and what’s her favorite thing about lacrosse? Or even just, how long has she been playing, and what positions does she play? How come Kirari and Anzu are so comfortable with each other to the point that this relationship between 2 girls born a day apart is looking creepily like that of a mother and child? Is there any meaning to Ranko’s chu2 ramblings, and what might they be? I’m not demanding full and thorough answers to all these questions already, but some steps in some of those directions could have made this episode many many times better.

But I guess this was satisfying enough for a 2nd pass at these idols. It looks like Rin, Mio, and Uzuki will remain the focus, with Anya and Minami getting some time in the limelight, based on Producer’s announcement at the end of this one, so with luck we’ll learn a lot to like about these 2 girls who are being paired off pretty early on. I’m definitely looking forward to when the Cinderella Project girls finally make their big debut and get their names and faces out there. Maybe we’ll be lucky enough that their coming successful paths cross with those of their competition at similarly named idol production companies.


Hope Minami’s passion for lacrosse is something we learn more about in the future. I guess I just really like student athletes.


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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2 Responses to “The Idolm@ster: Cinderella Girls – 04”

  1. Di Gi Kazune says:

    She is just checking for the presence of coconut trees. If yes, then there will be raep. If no, sent off to yurikuma.

  2. skylion says:

    I do wonder if the are trying to be overly-aware that they can only “repeat the success” of the original. It feels like they are going in different directions in the individual scripts to be different?

    As for Anzu…I guess the idols have to appeal to all audiences? So they drafted her. She’s slow moving so she won’t be getting away? No, that’s really scary…

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