I find it very easy to like this show. The story of a man who takes it upon himself to look after his late grandfathers illegitimate daughter – and therefore his aunt – despite being wildly unprepared for any such undertaking, this first episode oozes charm from every orifice, from the characters, to the dialogue, to the art style.
Right from the beginning, the art style demands your attention as it is so strikingly appealing. You can see above that all the backgrounds appear to be hand painted, and it looks incredible. It’s a good thing the first few minutes didn’t really have anything happening in them, as I used that time just admiring the art.
Once you get into the meat of the story, however, it becomes clear there is more to this than just a pretty face. The subject matter for this first episode is uncharacteristically heavy, with the task at hand of preparing the grandfathers body for his funeral taking a back seat to deciding what to do with this child who has bought shame upon their family.
I won’t go into too much detail, but I will say that this was a very heartwarming first episode. If they can make me feel this invested from the get go, I look forward to seeing where they take it, as well as more on how the two main characters interact. They are very likable, and I have very high hopes for Usagi Drop and its makeshift family.
Admittedly, I’ve never played extremely popular (to someone) iDOLM@STER games for the Xbox 360. It’s something that’s just scrolled past as I browsed the Xbox Live Marketplace, and the only thought I gave it was “That’s a weird name for a game”. I am interested to see what all the fuss is about though, but as buying a Japanese Xbox isn’t really an option for someone on part time wages (recession y’all), this will have to do for now.
With my confession out of the way, you can take it however you will that I don’t really get this show. For the first episode at least, it’s essentially set up like a documentary, with the producer asking questions about their Idol lifestyle, and the girls answering candidly. This is by no means a bad idea, as it’s an interesting way to tackle the problem of transferring the game to a series. The problem I have is that the questions aren’t voiced; they’re spelled out at the bottom of the screen. I don’t really have a valid explanation for it, but this coupled with the video lens effect on the screen makes me feel really voyeuristic and creepy. I think I’d feel embarrassed if someone saw me watching this show, and that can’t be a good thing.
The characters are all your typical anime stereotypes, the hyper one, the lazy one, the early developer, the tomboy, etc. The characters all interact with each other in a believable way, and despite the large number of them on screen at any one time, it never feels like any of them are just standing there with nothing to do, which has to be some kind of miracle. The thing is, in trying to introduce each character within the confines of a 23 minute show, none of them really get much screen time, leaving them all largely forgettable and me largely bamboozled.
While I may have complained a bit about The iDOLM@STER, the caveat to this is that these are all issues that could disappear beyond the first episode. It’s difficult to know exactly what this show is at this stage. I thought it was going to be a show similar to Azumanga Daioh to begin with (throw a bunch of characters together, watch the fireworks), but the introduction of a male lead at the end of the episode means this could just as easily be a standard harem show. There are way too many variables, which is largely why I’m willing to give this show a second and third chance.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m only working a part time job at the moment, so I’m going to try and do some of this once a week. It is my first time doing something like this though, so if you have any opinions, corrections or feedback (positive or negative), please let me know. I really would be happy to know how you think I’m doing!