Passing it Off Series: The iDOLM@STER Part 2

Light becomes darkness.

The darkness turns back to light,

And with new light comes success.

With success the light turns a new dark.

A dark I only know by three numbers.

961.

What up, everyone? Liked my poetic skillz? It’s me again with another installment of Passing it Off fresh from the oven! After some feels-inducing, laugh-enticing movie watching at the rest house with my extended family as we watched an epic movie called 3 Idiots, I immediately went on to skip dinner just to continue the hype I left off yesterday. Let me take this time, though, to thank my good friend and neighbor Larcs for a copy of the said movie. Why have I only watched it now!? That’s a Passed Off movie!! It was just thaaaaaaaaaaaaaat great. It was so touching, man! And it was set in the Imperial College of Engineering. Wow. Timely??

Anyway, I might post this in non-consecutive days, but I assure you I’ve slaved my way for two straight midnights to get this series off my backlog. And trust me, it’s worth the effort.

Last post got you wondering just about my character descriptions, more of just who my favorite iM@S girl turns out to be. It was still close to say I didn’t have any by then. I tried to virtually rank them in my hand, and I’m pretty sure I can safely say right now that I have a winner.

Obviously, with just the character (well, mostly the girls) descriptions, my post wouldn’t be enough to cover everything, so I’ve decided to set up the plotlines as of Episode 16 for this post! My ad-lib poem should have given you a heads-up with what I’m about to bring down.

Level 1 Disguise Kit

I did write a plotline last post, so I’ll just rewrite it here. The story is about an amateur company 765 (NaMuKo) PRO’s road to making idols of the top caliber. Legendary enough to be named Top Idol! I was right about this, well, until the first half ended. May I talk about escalators here as all of a sudden? 765 PRO All Stars just got their first album after an epic performance from their thank-you live show. After that, you’d suddenly see Haruka disguise herself. That idol is a Spy!

From the gesture alone, you’d suddenly just got WTF as 765 PRO’s idols’ popularity just sky-rocketed like your best Science project. It was unbelievable how such an influential journalist can take you to such high places. Maybe I should befriend journalists now, huh? hahaha

And to think /this/ started it all.

Anyway, the events of the first half had some dark parts on it. Blue is a dark color, ain’t it? That color just matches that feeling of dark I mentioned. There were obviously sad parts to it, like cuts due to budget (that’s sad, ain’t it?), suddenly losing interest to idol-dom, a feeling of separation within the company (to some extent, yeah?), and for God’s sake trash talk from fellow idols in the industry. Sure, those parts were solved quite easily through the power of friendship and whatnot, but I think this is the main reason why my buddies say it’s waaaaaaay better than Love Live! I’m not saying I agree with them, but here’s the thing. The iDOLM@STER shows the reality of an idol company and an idol’s life. After all, if it didn’t, the anime wouldn’t be as popular as it is now. Does this mean Love Live fails as an anime? Totally not! Remember that the full title of LL is Love Live! School Idol Project. You can never ever ever compare one with the other because the realities of each other do not coincide. Nuff said.

Episode 13’s ending theme thankfully summarized the whole of the first half of the series, so I might as well state them here in pictures along with summaries.

Episode 1

Of course, we first have the introduction of Producer-san. That took up a damn whole episode, man. We learn of the girls and the Chief that make up the company 765 PRO.

Episode 2

Next we had Iori and her gang and “individualism”. It’s not simply standing out. It’s standing out by being your comfortable natural self.

Episode 3

Next we learn of Producer-san’s trauma with dogs, similar with Yukiho, which we also learned in the same episode. Sadly, we still don’t know the cause of Yukiho’s androphobia. Will we even? Anyway, this episode is where Producer-san tries to get Yukiho confident enough to perform with Makoto and Haruka for a mini-live.

Episode 4

Next. Ugh, I don’t really want to say it, but I always get the feeling that Chihaya is try-harding to be an idol. “If we’re not singing, we’re not performing our idol duties.” kind of vibe. Here we also learn of Chihaya’s extreme relationship trouble with her family as she lives alone and no one at the office knows why. We also learn that she cannot cook, but at least is trying her best to. To add as well, we learn of Takane’s strange affinity for the frog head.

Episode 5

Next is a beach episode~~ I wanted to stop here, actually, but I instead moved to the upper bunk of the double decker here to continue. Fan-service awaited me, and I can’t have that hinder my watching of anime. In case you wondered, I was watching in front of everyone in the rest house, so that meant my entire extended family, so you could say I hid myself from the danger that was about to come. Anyway, we learn of Iori’s fun nature, and that’s the act of scaring her friends, more specifically Makoto and Yukiho. We learn of Takane’s growing fondness and sort of addiction with ramen. There’s still the feeling of Chihaya and idol try-harding as she refuses to enjoy herself on a company outing because she wants lessons. One would say she had her own fun, but she’s the saddest person in the group during that time. Also, we learn of Chihaya’s “Tch.” Looks like someone’s jealous. It’s not your fault you were born that way, girl. Also, I think Miki’s been in a lot of pick-up attempts that she just knows her way around free stuff while not being forced to go with the pick-upper. First one to race to the other side of the shore is the winner. Ready, go! Amazing.

Episode 6

Next. Ryuugu Komachi. 765 PRO’s first sub-group. But why so early in the series??? I want to say that adding a sub-group like this is poorly-timed, but as the episodes progressed, it was actually spot-on. Though, I can’t help but feel that this cut some screen time and dialog from the three girls involved, namely Azusa, Ami, and Iori. But at the same time, I think it feels nice to have a group represent the company and become a source of emulation for a lot of idol groups, more importantly, for the remaining 765 PRO idols themselves. This pushes Producer-san to get the other idols more jobs. That was too much heat to handle for this rookie, as he double-booked. Fortunately, Miki saves the day with her stint of memorizing the whole choreography in one go. Awesome!!! Also, cue the Miki “I can be part of the sub-group too, right?” plot device.

Episode 7

Next, the hand-to-mouth-ish life of Yayoi. Would it be insulting to call it that? Cue my grade-school declamation piece. The Rich Man and the Poor Man. /bows. I don’t really see any close relationships between people, with one being super mega ultra rich and someone who is poor. Yeah, it happens in real life, but I just have never seen one. Like, ever. That is, of course, where they both keep their standing. An imouto/younger sibling plot device to cue up when needed. Yayoi claims to never fight with her 5 other siblings except for little things, unlike Hibiki and Iori’s own big brother(s) who just laugh at their idol ambition. Chousuke, the eldest son and second eldest child at the Takatsuki household takes refuge in an unlikely ally in Iori, who tells him to show some pride in front of her sister. We also learn of Iori being able to handle little kids quite well.

Episode 8

Next is the most magical episode of iM@S, ever. A simple wedding shoot turns chaotic as men in black kidnap Azusa, drop her off somewhere when they made a mistake, putting Azusa in a place she barely even knows and has the whole district mesmerized. Not everyday would you see a girl in her wedding dress frolicking around town doing random stuff from helping an old lady travel to where her son will meet her, help two lost kids find their mom, and man a fortune-telling station, all while keeping her goal of returning the ring a bride left after they bumped into each other. It’s all crazy. And don’t get me started on Makoto and her (omg I wrote his ahahaha) endeavors to bring her bride back, so to say. She fought the men in black for visual effects. Nothing more. hahahah

Episode 9? IDRK

Next would be crazy detective work from Ami and Mami, inspired by Ryuugu Komachi’s latest series appearance as sisters in a detective series. The case: Iori’s special pudding was eaten. Yukiho fainted, mentions hibi (apparently means crack, like a crack in the wall) but leads the duo to think of their other friend Hibiki as the main suspect. Leads keep on happening, but they gain nothing. They did catch Miki confess to the whole ordeal, but that’s out of revenge for someone eating her jelly, which turned out to be the fault of the twins. We dealt with separation between twins this ep.

Episode 10

Next, the Idol Industry Office Face-off Super Sports Meet. 765 PRO around dead last the first events, being brought up by Hibiki and Makoto to at least keep them in contest. They may not be winning much, but they’re grabbing the audience’s attention more, which I think is more important. Then we have Bullet Speed Girls being simply bitches! The blue-haired devil threw Yayoi off for a guilt trip, being dead weight and stuff! What the hell, man?? Office politics over here as the producer of these bitches would go personally to Producer-san to convince him to let those bitches win the whole thing! Hell no, mate! With Makoto’s heroics despite an injured leg from her Borrowing Three-Legged Race with Iori (and ever since the pilot, those two never get along, ever), 765 PRO wins it. Oh, Iori nudged the bitches’ producer a little to not pursue his dirty tactic by reminding the dude who their major stockholder is. That would be the Minase family. Sounds familiar? Oh, and I would like to add that one non-bitch member of Bullet Speed Girls fell in love with Makoto!!! Holy sweet mother of Joseph. What the hell, man!? AHAHAHAHAHHA XD

Inappopriate Episode 11, but what the hey.

Next, the thank-you Live Show! Practice, practice, practice. Exams, exams, exams. Here we learn that Iori is only ever actually nice to Yayoi. Amazing, don’t you think? This is truly an unlikely pair. Everyone is having difficulties with the practices, more specifically Yukiho, Yayoi, and Haruka for the dance, and Mami and Haruka for the song. Chihaya helps with the song bit, but leaves Haruka to miss the last train to home, forcing her to spend that night at Chihaya’s. I was right about Chihaya’s parents getting divorced, but more importantly, we learn why Chihaya lives alone. Anyway, enough of that part, and after everything, cue back to Miki’s “I wanna be in Ryuugu Komachi.” dilemma. She can’t, calling Producer-san a liar and ditches practices.

Episode 12? IDRK

In the next one, we deal with Miki. She even thought of quitting. She just wants to do whatever she wants to. That’s what her parents tell her. She just wants to do something that makes her heart race and excites her. Producer-san pinky-swears with her that he’ll make her sparkle. He’ll make her heart race and excite her. She’ll become the shiniest idol the world will ever see. Man, remove the word “idol”, and you can see Producer-san looked like he confessed to Miki. Anyway, we also learn of how Miki goes about to spend her day. “Wherever the wind takes her.” At the end, another case of Chihaya’s idol try-harding. Everyone’s so worried about Miki, but she suggests that there’s nothing they can do, so they should just continue practicing. She even looked like she was gonna scold Miki for her truancy. Man, Chihaya, you’ve got to loosen up. I’ve gotta know what’s wrong with you!!

Episode 13

And this marks the 13th episode. Everyone’s so frantic because the main event group, Ryuugu Komachi is nowhere in sight because of a well-placed typhoon. 765 PRO stalled as long as they can. With a double-performance from Miki and her own honesty of the group’s whereabouts, she sparked the audience, giving them just enough leeway to get Ryuugu Komachi on stage with a pumped-up crowd. Did she sparkle, she asks? Yeah, she did!

Afu. That’s a lot. But anyway, with all that craziness of the first half done and dusted, popularity of 765 rose just with that, and the 2nd half of iM@S deals with a successful company with a bitter adversary. President Kuroi of 961 PRO (KuRoI PRO, OH MAN, another witty wordplay, gosh), with his idol group Jupiter, is out to throw 765 PRO off their game and eradicate them from the face of idol-dom.

Chief Takagi sets the mood by talking about Kuroi. They met as friendly rivals in the idol industry, and they once worked together as friends. When they argued about how to raise idols, they went their separate ways. In all obviousness, Kuroi manages his idols with a mindset that “Every other idol group is a hindrance for our claim to fame. They are using dirty cheap tactics to gain the upper hand against us. We must stop them!”

May I first note how Jupiter appeared in Episode 2 or 3 when Haruka bumped the red-haired dude. The dude was obviously very rude. Why he even got lines confused me enough. Apparently, he’s gonna play a major role in the second half. Wow. Such intro of characters. Wow.

Jupiter.

Anyway, from the events of Episode 16, I say there’s a TVTrope for this certain kind of antagonist. Jupiter isn’t really an evil idol group. It’s Kuroi’s influence that’s making them evil! If you free them from his clutches, I’m pretty sure that solves the problem quite nicely. Well, until Jupiter’s still under Kuroi’s rule, the evil still lurks around, and Hibiki was the first to get the first taste of this evil, alone that is. Seriously? A war between idol groups?

Oh, and may I just add a poor plot device introduced in Episode 16? We learned of Chihaya’s burdens with her family through a dream sequence, but none of that mattered in the episode because it was Hibiki’s episode.

And so far, I like the first Opening Theme more than this new one. I’m still not feeling the change.

The only time we saw Chihaya laugh??????

Also so far, a lot of crazy fun things are happening over the start of the 2nd half, albeit Kuroi’s evil. Fruity photo-shoots are always fun! Miki started calling Producer-san “honey” just because “Producer is special.” Stop thinking it’s a romance anime, Percy. Stop thinking it’s a romance anime, Percy. Stop thinking it’s a romance anime, Percy. Stop thinking it’s a romance anime, Percy. Stop thinking it’s a romance anime, Percy. Stop thinking it’s a romance anime, Percy. Stop thinking it’s a romance anime, Percy. Stop thinking it’s a romance anime, Percy.

Producer-san wants NONE of it.

I do wonder if it will eventually lead 765 PRO into trouble when Miki does actually say “Honey” on-context, accidentally or otherwise. When she did during Are We Live?, a Sunday Show run by everyone at 765 PRO, it was so close. A save for save, from Haruka and Miki. My head is really still saying there’s a hint of romance here. But I’ll stop here. I don’t wanna say anything more that might count as unnecessary.

So, please tune in next time as I give my final view of the series, a rating, perhaps, girl ranking, too, probably, and all that. With that, as usual, may the fun and the luck be afu. Peace!

You can count on me from now on! XD

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