There are some anime series where, after you watch, it makes you want to pick up certain hobbies like playing mahjong, archery, swordsmanship, martial arts, a space pirate, or even becoming a mangaka. After watching The iDOLM@STER, it certainly leaves that ‘I want to be an idol too!’ feeling. Bonding with your production mates, rigorous hard work, and lightstick saturated live concerts is what it’s all about.
The iDOLM@STER is about a group of new inexperienced idols under a company called 765 Pro. With the help of a new producer, the idols learn what it’s really like to be a popular idol and move ahead in the profession, while also triumphantly facing their own personal issues head on. They enter a world of rival companies willing to use underhanded tactics to undermine their progress, experience how dangerous the paparazzi can be if they aren’t careful, and realize the rewards of hard work through the enjoyment of their screaming fans.
THE iDOLM@STER was originally an arcade and console simulation game by Namco, now Namco Bandi Games. It is interesting to note that the voice actors that did the characters in the games reprise their role for the anime. iDOLM@STER: The Animation was adapted by the animation studio A-1 Pictures that some might know from their other works like Working!, Kannagi, Kuroshitsuji, Aoi no Exorcist, and Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. With such an establish anime studio, it’s expected that the animation quality would be top-notch. No one wants to watch the idols of 765 Pro singing and dancing in crappy animation. The colors are simple and bright, which collaborates well with the animations to enhance certain things like their choreography and concert effects.
The story progresses from a new group with small jobs to becoming hugely popular and doing massive live concerts. It didn’t feel like there was any real filler in the entire series since each episode focused on certain individual character issues or the idol group developing as a whole. With 13 idols and other support characters, there’s plenty of space for character development in the 25 episodes run of the series. Being an idol themed anime, it’s only natural that music takes center stage. In the down times of episodes, or when they would sing, it would transition to music video-like production with song information, such as composer and arranger, displayed on the bottom of the screen at the beginning of each song. Almost every ending and insert song of each episode is unique to that episode, either a character song to whom the episode emphasized or a group song. The series had two openings, ‘Change!!’ and ‘READY!!!’ by 765PRO Allstars, both of which are catchy and use great choreography. Most of these songs they actually perform within the series.
If you’re looking for an anime with humor, good character development, and entertainment, THE iDOLM@STER should be one to check out. It has natural comic relief from the multiple character personalities clashing together with a lot of tsukkomi and boke moments. Each character is humanized through deep moments or personal issues, but nothing serious enough that good family and friends can’t fix. The series endears you to these characters not because they are idols focused on entertaining and getting famous, but it portrays them as regular people struggling to make it in a cutthroat industry. In short, this series will make a fan out of you. So who is your favorite 765 Pro idol?
The READY!! & CHANGE!! OP song performance at the 765 Pro 2nd Live