I’m frightened by this show.
If you were to take the experience of a visual novel and turn it into an anime, it would be The iDOLM@STER. Boasting a surprisingly natural first person perspective, the viewer is thrust into a cavalcade of Japan’s finest moe symbols. The senses are overloaded. Twelve, vastly different in personality, virtual idols talk to you and act out before you as if there was no distinction between their world and yours; of 2D and 3D.
The medium of animation never ceases to amaze me. Rather, the vocal talents of Japan are far beyond what I would call ordinary. It’s simple enough to draw an overly cute girl with large sparkling eyes and the largest set of hooters that a man can dream of, but to put a voice to this over-the-top character is quite the task. I have to commend the 24 year old voice actress that has to somehow contort her body to speak like a child half her age. Being a North American, I have not had the fortune to play an iDOLM@STER arcade cabinet myself. From what I know, which isn’t much, you play as a faceless producer of the fictional 765 Production studio. The many characters assail you with banter and dancing and singing. Whether they’re sexy or cute, you’ll never be able to bed them but it’s nice to bask in their glow. Or in the glow of the cabinet.
The anime adaptation startled me when it followed the same first person perspective. It felt as if I were playing a VN but without the playing aspect. There is close to no music, only their voices. Your persona asks questions and they reply as befits their character. You are drowned in their auras. There are so many conflicting and powerful personalities. It’s… strangely organic. Had I not been so exposed to the culture, I may have been turned off.
This isn’t to say that The iDOLM@STER is a bad anime, go ahead and disregard whatever cynicism I may have exuded. It’s fairly enjoyable which is something I never would have expected. My more favourite genre is the slice-of-life genre and this is a different take. The animation quality is smooth and despite the lack of ambience, things don’t feel out of place. One thing that may distress fans is that the producer is given a face. I hope that this is seen to as it breaks the immersion completely. Otherwise I’d watch it if only because it’s a tad queer.
Oh, the opening and ending themes are also original; by 765PRO ALLSTARS. A bit squeaky for my tastes but a nice touch.