Folks, you know me as many, many things, most of them unsavoury in nature, I would presume. However, what you probably did not know was that once upon a not-so-long time ago, I was a full-fledged wota. Well, you might be familiar with all-girl idol groups such as AKB48 or SNSD, but back when I still preferred 3D females over their two-dimensional counterparts, Morning Musume meant everything to me.
While I may have shifted priorities ever since, they still hold a special place in my heart for a number of reasons, one of them being mai first ever (and still only) 3D waifu. One thing that really made them stand out among the other all-girl acts back in the day was how the producers could churn out such an insane amount of non-performance programming that would have taken up too much precious airtime slots on standard variety shows. Really, what other group can boast hour long specials just to find out who the biggest idiot among them is? This site is a testament to everything Morning Musume was about outside them being idols and because these specials were mostly impromptu and unscripted, it really brought out the distinctiveness of each girl at their most natural state. In addition to being a way of connecting to the fans, this sort of helped mold their respective archetypes - the very archetypes which would make up the characters in THE iDOLM@STER.
Two years ago, I had the pleasure of trying out an iDOLM@STER game after having heard about it for so long, due to my refusal in purchasing a self-immolating apparatus. It was exactly how I had imagined it would be like, and even though it has taken them this long, I am glad to finally see a proper adaptation. Because I already have some pre-conceived notions as to how the show should turn out, it would certainly be interesting to see how A1 tackle some of the technicalities brought about by the game mechanics. You see, when you break it down to its core, THE iDOLM@STER is essentially a breeder-style visual novel with a rhythm minigame tacked onto it. The pilot episode would suggest that they are capable allocating just the right amount attention for the huge cast, though this could translate to it ending up as K-ON! Idol Edition, which I am perfectly fine with.
That said, the inclusion of the Producer has definitely opened up more possibilities; Had A1 kept him faceless or omitted entirely, they could have just stuck with the aforementioned "cute girls doing cute things" format and have them interact amongst themselves. However, by making Producer-san an actual character, this could mean they plan on fleshing out the story a lot more, which is great, because the visual novel component is really well done, believe it or not. Sadly, as much as I hope it to be, an omnibus format would probably not be feasible given the number of characters and episode constraint. In short, this is likely to end up as Working!! With Idols, which is still okay, but will do little justice to some of the more complex characters like Chihaya, who does more than just brood and wallow in self pity ww
As I brace myself for disappointment resulting from my overly optimistic expectations, I can seek consolation in the fact that I finally get to see my favourite idol in all her 2D-animated glory; Takatsuki Yayoi, the working class idol for the working class fan. I always had a penchant for poverty-stricken characters, as it was easier to identify with them than others, and Yayoi is the epitome of the poor moe character - earnest and down-to-earth while she makes ends meet to support herself and her family, yet she is somehow the most cheerful of the bunch; And she so happens to be a loli!
As part of the holy trinity that make up Nico Nico Douga, and the raison d'être of the author of Berserk, THE iDOLM@STER certainly has quite a bit to live up. It is still too early to tell what direction this will take of course, and I really want to proceed with cautious optimism, but who am I kidding? I am frothing in the mouth in excitement over the this show as it is the iDOLM@STER anime we have waited for and truly deserve, and in a post-Xenoglossia era, this can do no wrong in my eyes. It is pity though, that the trap, hikkikomori and the result of a unplanned teenage pregnancy are not going to make their debut. Maybe next time.