Passing it Off Series: The iDOLM@STER Part 1

What up? It’s your resident hype-feeder sending an energetic review post to you all the way from the coast of the West Philippine Sea. No kidding!

Before I start, of course, I’d like to say how poor my first post of Passing it Off came to be. I should not do a per-episode basis of posting if I don’t update often, so now I’d try the three-part approach. Let the hype begin!

So, immediately after getting a good dose of swimming in my system (which I haven’t done much my previous summer), I jump up to Kurocchi, my laptop, and head on to start on a series everyone in the NOHK just “forces” me to touch. If the title didn’t say enough, it would be The iDOLM@STER. 3 or 4 accounts from the people here rate it waaaaaaaaaaaay much better than Love Live! I have yet to give my say, but for now, I have to say I don’t really like comparing one with the other.

Let’s head on with first impressions!

Please note that this three-part approach would include 8 episodes per post, so this post would take opinions based solely on how far I’ve watched. Thus far, I’ve gone 8 episodes in.

By far, I have to give this series amazing credit for introducing 15(?) characters in the most interesting way possible. This interview bit, making it look like it’s part of a documentary series about idols, truly captured my attention.

Interview bois

But what captured my attention the best is the sudden introduction of one of the series’ focal characters in the story, and that’s in the wake of our facepalmingly unnamed Producer-san, who was our cameraman all Episode 1, and we didn’t even get to hear his voice until the last bit. Props to those who never got surprised at this bit. It’s people like you who I think never ever ever uses walkthroughs to finish a game and/or collect/unlock all collectibles/unlockables.

So, as far as my understanding takes me (and I hope I’m not that too dumb), the story of this series revolves around 765 PRO (a genius wordplay/numberplay by Namco to self-insert themselves into their own project) (and please correct me if I’m wrong, but I remember Bandai Namco or something similar to that in the introductory words flashed during Episode 1) (7 = Na, 6 = Mu, by counting objects muutsu, 5 = Ko, go, whatever, they’re virtually the same in Japanese = NaMuKo, or simply NAMCO), a starting idol company founded(?) by the masked Chief Takagi which is starting its claim to fame of producing idols of the highest caliber, high enough to be crowned the Top Idol. The company is undermanned, until the Chief unveiled a surprise for the company by hiring the unnamed Producer-san, and such starts their road to idol-dom.

Because 765.

For a minute, that summary sounds a bit less idol-centric and more business-centric. One would say that the whole “road to idol-dom” is the only thing idol-centric I mentioned.

And this is what ruo precedently told me before I ever touched the series. Non-verbatim, “The girls might look the same, but their personalities make them all look individualistic.”

Which is a point shown in the 2nd episode! Boy, we’re skipping lots.

Anyway, the series, for me, at least the first 8, has a positive vibe hiding a small negative one. As the episodes went down, I thought this series would become like Love Live! S2 the first few episodes. How so?

The succeeding 7 or 8 episodes of LLS2 after the pilot had focuses on each of the μ’s members’ problems. I had the feeling it was gonna go down that road, which it did until around Episode 6 when a sudden first sub-group appeared.

Does this face look like it has no troubles?

Wait, let’s stop with the technical stuff and just head on to my views on the characters in the series. Being vague with the series feels slightly off, as I haven’t even talked about my first impressions of the idols showcased in this remarkably interesting series. I’ll write the girls as they’re introduced in the pilot.

Haruka Amami

Haruka Amami: A klutz, yet a cheerful, energetic person who works hard to be an idol. For her, being an idol is a childhood dream, and she’s willing to work hard for it. I’m trying to hold back my LL comparisons here… She knows how to cook, if that’s one thing, and she occasionally bakes sweets for her co-workers from time to time. Her character feels a bit like a stereotype, so it feels that there’s not much more to say about her apart from the initial description. I have yet to see her shine over the course of this series, as with many of the other girls.

Makoto Kikuchi

Makoto Kikuchi: And to think I would never meet a reverse trap juuuuuuuuuust like her. The only other I know thus far is Yui Goidou of TWGOK, but Yui became such by choice and by after-effects of Keima’s conquests. Makoto, on the other hand, has to deal with it. She’s obviously a girl at heart and mind. She mentioned in the pilot that it’s her father’s fault why she’s like that. I’d like to assume that this would be a burden to her if push comes to shove in the later episodes. I’d also like to assume that her father gave her such a name. It’s for boys, I’m sure of that! I could call her case like a “Hideyoshi effect”. Simply put, “I’m a girl, but people always force that I should be a guy!” And yeah, I just coined that term. To add, I get the feeling and vibe of Len Kagamine from her. Just saying. XD

Ritsuko Akizuki

Ritsuko Akizuki: A former idol now turned Producer for 765 PRO. She’s doing all she can for the best of her idols. Her glasses initially give off a mother-like vibe, but I think that’s just my bias and stereotype. By the 1/3 of the series, she’s like a boss-slash-sister to all the idols currently at the company. With her dancing in the Opening Theme, I have the slightest hints we would see her perform alongside her own idols.

Ami Futami Mami Futami

Ami & Mami Futami: Oh, boy, this should be fun. Twins. If I remember correctly, this would be but my second time seeing twins in an anime series, the first one being from Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu. It took me around 6 episodes to try to differentiate the two by looks first. For twins, they feel like the have virtually the same interests. And as far as I know twins, they should have defining factors that differentiate them from each other, get-up aside. Ami ties her hair to her right in a short, kinda tomboyish way, while Mami ties her hair to her left in a ponytail-like manner. I need more differentiating factors to really get their individualistic side more visible. It’s no question that they only have one voice actress, so until I see them more as separate beings (even with the wake of the new sub-group), I’ll consider them as one and the same. Hell, they even call Producer-san the same way.

Hibiki Ganaha

Hibiki Ganaha: Country-girl vibe. Her incredible hamster Hamuzou is usually what makes her so interesting. Because apparently, hamsters can talk. They even have their own personal favorite TV show. It’s no exaggeration that she loves animals so much that she can get along with them so well even if she’s just taken care of them for 10 minutes. Hell, the animals can get really attached with her, as seen with that cow she even gave a name for despite being owned by someone else. She’s also a playful energetic type who likes to move around a lot, and she consumes just equal amounts to the energy she spends while playing around.

Yukiho Hagiwara

Yukiho Hagiwara: Androphobe. The only other man-fearing cutie I know of is Mahiru Inami of WORKING!! (one role of Miku’s voice actress, Saki Fujita). Would it be safe to immediately say that the androphobe would fall in love with the guy who cured her of her androphobia, or is at least trying his best to? But, Persons (man, calling me that is so weird. Is Percy even weirder? HAHAHAHHA), this show isn’t the romance-type at all! With no disclosure from any part of the WORKING!! manga I read, plus the fact that WORKING!! doesn’t even have a romance tag on it, you could make a sound argument. But I say, I trust my gut(?). I just hate it when character songs just talk about love, and the only recipient of that love is the only opposite-sex character of the same age group as the singer. It leads for unnecessary ambiguity. I mentioned this because of her character song in Episode 3. Her voice is cute and all, but her personality and singing voice do not coincide. The “I should just dig a hole and bury myself in it!” running gag. Never gets old. As Ami said, it’s Yukiho’s Invincible Shovel! I was super shocked when I saw a random shovel popping out. TF2 Soldier feels. XD

Yayoi Takatsuki

Yayoi Takatsuki: The girl I was looking out for. ruo made a description of her waaaay before I ever touched the series. She’s but a poor girl from a poor family. Of 8 people, too! Being the eldest of 6 children (2 girls and 4 boys), she takes responsibilities in the house by taking care of her siblings while she goes out making money for her family on the day-to-day basis while her parents are out late nights also working. At least she’s not debt-ridden like Hayate Ayasaki was. Because if she was, that would be a total sob story. I try not to add preposed information into this, but as I remember correctly from ruo’s descriptions, she wears basically the same clothes everyday and couldn’t afford to buy new ones. The swimsuit the she uses during outings is actually her school swimsuit. I don’t know if this would happen or not, but people in 765 would buy her new clothes when push comes to shove in the later episodes. She’s a really responsible elder sister. Easily a bargain-hunter and quality shopper and value-seeker. This corporeal trait obviously comes from her trips to the grocery store everyday to supply ingredients to make dinner for her siblings. I’m a sucker for sibling stories, and her story further proves that no sibling relationship is as perfect as any of her two close friends think it did, before the 7th episode’s events happened. Believe me. My relationship with my little sister? Okay and not okay, from time to time.

Iori Minase

Iori Minase: Tsundere aleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeert! She obviously gives that vibe off whenever she talks to or about Producer-san. As an adept when it comes to detecting tsunderes, one can clearly see her deep care for everything Producer-san is doing for the company and especially her during her soft smiles in dead air pauses during her conversations with Producer-san, which she never forgets to hide after she shows it off. To her friends, though, she is a pretty nice girl. Such unfair treatment is given to the guys who cross her path. Though, I cannot blame her, for her father and older brothers laugh at her ambition of being an idol, saying she won’t be able to do it. She demands respect. Hell, if that isn’t tsundere enough, I don’t know what is! And please, may I add the fact that she hails from a freakin’ rich family!!!!? No, not again with the comparison attempts to LL!! Stop it, Percy… Though, her good points would aim at her fun nature when she’s with her friends, ability to tell scary stories, and take care of kids. Something as a tsundere you’d probably hide to a dude. But to be fair, Producer-san, by the 1/3’s of the series, knows but little of his idols. Oh, and don’t get me started on Charles Donatello the 18th. That’s a fancy rabbit, mate, named similarly to my stuffed dog Charlie. HAHAHAHAHA

Chihaya Kisaragi

Chihaya Kisaragi: A non-techie? A business-only person? “I just want to sing.” That’s it? And do not get me started on that LL comparison again. She resembles her waaaaaaaaaay too much so far. I really think, knowing little to nothing about her currently, is that she just wants to sing. A person who just wants to get through the day working and not having fun, because she derives her fun from work, kinda. She lives alone due to the extreme(?) circumstances of her parents. Divorce?? They went missing and never bothered to show up to her? In any circumstance, I’d like to believe that at the time push comes to shove, she’ll reveal her reason for being an idol, and the reason why is that so she can reach out to her parents. Only the famous ones get shown internationally, so singing her heart out in hopes of going big-time just to reach out to her parents seems like a pretty good reason hiding behind that smileless face of hers. Haruka would be the one who usually reaches out to her, just like those LL characters I try to just. Not. Compare them to!!!

Azusa Miura

Azusa Miura: A girl who thinks that idol-dom can find her the man of her dreams. A reality that idol otakus never ever ever want to face. Their fave idol getting married! As Hanayo Koizumi from LL said, it is “taboo” to be ever seen out with even a boyfriend! This shatters the stereotype “pure” image of idols. But, hey, since when did a girl thinking about getting married become “unpure”? Her unbelievably bad sense of direction and tendency to get easily distracted by the people around her causing her to help them out of her natural kindness sets her apart from everyone at 765 PRO. Hell, she’s even older than her producer Ritsuko! The events of Episode 8 blew my mind completely. She’s like a princess of happiness spreading joy to everyone she meets along her way, being lost and all. The wedding dress she sported when she got lost further solidified her image as a princess. That has to be the most charming episode of the series I’ve seen yet. Not to mention Makoto’s epic roleplay as a groom who’s literally fighting for his bride who was kidnapped by very nice guys in black.

Takane Shijou

Takane Shijou: She’s pretty, elegant, and pretty elegant. That’s a line I would actually use for my short story. Her higher-vocabulary riddle-like manner of speaking and even thinking added by her just plain odd interests as shown with her affinity with the frog head and ramen just boggle my mind as to what she really is as a person. How do I define such an elegant woman with a lovely build yet a head-scratching mind?

Miki Hoshii

Miki Hoshii: A 9th grader with a big chest, as she says so herself. I just straight up laughed from her intro. No girl alive would say that intro if it was an interview for a wholesome video! Or am I wrong? Is it not obvious she likes to sleep? I should be sleeping now, actually, but the hype just builds up as the night does. She can sleep anywhere at anytime. When she’s not sleeping, though, she becomes a girl everyone would idolize. From her amazing feat of memorizing choreography in one go without prior practice to her simple remark to Iori that she “doesn’t look good in that outfit” which got the girls from the Episode 2 blunder really think about what “individualism” truly is about, “children who sleep, grow”, not only in body, but in mind as well. She speaks not too much but often enough and speaks in a sleep-talk-like manner. Her capabilities, though, I must say, exceed even her world of dreams that she usually dwells in. She’s very laid back with things other than her idol work.

You can't, Kotori!

Kotori Otonashi: The employee at 765 PRO who isn’t either a producer or an idol. She can count as 765 PRO’s secretary to some extent, as 765 PRO doesn’t have any other positions other than producer or idol, Chief even. It does say she is but an office worker at 765 PRO. She’s Ritsuko’s double in the case the producer isn’t able to go to an event. Now, with the introduction of the unnamed Producer-san, she’s always seen manning the desk. She’s obviously into manga, as she daydreams into “Roman mode” (and by Roman, I mean Roman Saotome(?) from SKET Dance), seeing things as though it was in a manga, and the running gag of her running away going like “No, Kotori. You can’t!~” Classic.

Oh man, that took a while! Describing a lot of girls takes a lot out of you! Well, so far, I’m enjoying the watch, even though the first episodes had some negative vibes on it. I think as the story progresses, those negative vibes could just be shaken off, like shaking your legs before a live show. Top Idol candidate yet, folks?

So, with that, I will see you with in my next installment of Passing it Off! May the fun and the luck just stay with you already, man!!

As always, thanks to the pic providers! If only it was possible to name you all…

You can count on me from now on! XD

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