Well folks, buckle up and keep your hands and feet inside the ride! We’re going to take a look at the first few shows of the season (no turkeys so far) and their prospects.
After that, a quick look at my near term schedule, how I expect the fall season to shake out, and some goals for next season.
Hit the jump and let’s dive in!
iDOLM@STER: Side M – Episode of Jupiter.
More of an OVA than a proper episode 0 I think, Episode of Jupiter brings us back to the original iDOLM@STER universe of six years ago. Jupiter is basically where we saw them in later episodes of the original series – newly independent and struggling to make a go of it. Though they were a pre-fab band, they’ve come together as a team sharing a united goal to make their fans smile. (Yeah, yeah, that’s a common trope in idol anime.)
Most of the episode revolves are two things… First, that Jupiter can’t quite do it all on their own. They don’t have money, contacts, or much in the way of a support system. Second, Jupiter being courted by any number of production agencies, almost all of which seem bent on exploiting them and their former fame for profit. The one exception is the over eager President of the newly founded 315Pro who speaks their language of passion and drive. Even so, after their bad experiences with 961Pro they’re wary.
In the end they realize that they can’t do it on their own, and join up with 315Pro.
Overall, pretty enjoyable and it felt a lot more like the original series than the overly slick and massively corporate world of 346Pro as depicted in Cinderella Girls. I would have preferred a story about an independent band working on their own, but that doesn’t really fit into how iDOLM@STER does things. By the nature of the original material (the player is the Producer), it revolves around a production company.
And that’s my biggest reservation going forward. iDOLM@STER handled the large staff of a production company very well (one of the best ever). Cinderella Girls was a massive flop on that front. And we know there’s a larger cast coming down the Side M pike…
But there’s also positives. The screenshot is from a conversation among the members of Jupiter near the end of the episode… And the conversation was of several character moments like those the original series handled so well. The whole episode flowed very nicely.
Is iDOLM@STER back? I sure hope so!
Verdict: Keeper with reservations.
Love is Like a Cocktail.
I’m… not at all sure how to describe this show. (Wakako-zake, but with booze?) I’m not even sure what it’s about for that matter. But it’s a short, and it’s kinda cute, so what the heck.
Verdict: Provisional keeper.
Yuzu, who has lived in the country with only her guardian all her life comes to the city to work at a well established and well-regarded inn. Sounds simple enough, right? But, Ooohh… how cute. There’s also hints of a more serious core that give Konohana more weight than you might think.
From the descriptions in the publicity material Konohana seems to be meant as iyashikei and slice-of-life. But in execution, there’s quite a bit more. There’s some deftly done (if a bit tropish) workplace comedy. There’s hint of workplace drama (some Hanasaku Iroha vibes). There’s a few CGDCT (think Non Non Byori) type of moments, but not as many as you might expect from a main cast composed pretty much of CGDCT stereotypes. There’s some friction among the cast, but also a sense of togetherness and comfortable-ness among the workers that Yuzu is joining.
In short, it’s a decently well executed show that I’m finding really hard to pin down succinctly. But also a show that leaves me intrigued and wanting to know more.
You read it here first folks – there’s a lot of promise here, this is a show to keep an eye on.
The only thing I don’t really care much for is some excessively fan-service-y bits when the girls take their evening baths. It’s pretty obvious their inclusion was no accident. There isn’t quite enough to really detract from the show, but enough to be mildly annoying because it’s out-of-place with the rest of the tone.
Oh, and the backgrounds and details are gorgeous. I had to double-check that this wasn’t a KyoAni or P.A. Works production.
Verdict: Count me in, can’t wait for next week!
WingKing, this wasn’t on your anticipation list but I have a strong feeling it’s right up your alley.
OK, all that being said… This week is a bit of a mess between trying to get last season’s reviews done and getting the new season underway. And I will get the season reviews done this season. It irks me that I haven’t managed to do so in previous seasons. I feel like I’m letting you down. I feel like I’m letting me down.
So, I wanted to get this short set of reviews out there so I can concentrate on season reviews before getting slammed with new shows on Friday and Saturday. I want the decks as clear as possible because those two days have a number of important premieres. To that end, I’m slipping this week’s Worth Reading into next week. It was a bit thin anyhow, what with everyone else stuck in the same double workload I am.
Looking forward, I’ve updated my schedule page and it looks like the best day for posting is going to be in the Tuesday-Thursday timeframe. I’ve tried Monday before, and it just doesn’t work… Too many post weekend chores, and the weekend is ‘our’ time so I don’t want to spend it writing. Once I’ve settled on a posting day for my episodic reviews (which takes priority over all other content), then I see where Worth Reading fits and resume regular posting.
I hope to get more feature content out this season too… But I also have to strike a balance (and I have household chores!). Puzzle Pirates recently came out with a new version and I’ve been enjoying that in the evening. I’ve also spent months working out how I want my next game of Kerbal Space Program to run, and I want to get back to that. Not to mention time with my wife, time to experiment in the kitchen, work on my backlog of photographs to edit, etc…
Man, I can get wordy sometimes!
Anyhow, drop me a comment on the premieres you’ve seen so far and what you think!