As the Producer recovers at the hospital following the unfortunate accident, Haruka still feels devastated from the continual distancing of everyone.
Before we dive into the drama, there have been some rather interesting discussions about Episode 23. This was mostly fixated on Haruka’s inability to bring everyone together to practice and her growing depression. It appears that everyone have moved on with their separate careers that they began to forget about their friendship that started everything. If you are familiar with The Idolm@ster 2 game (which I have yet to play), unity (団結) is one of the important themes. It’s basically the power of friendship, but a lot deeper. This relationship is more like a family of some sort where everyone gets along as a team and help to resolve each other’s problems. Although some can argue that the accident that happened to the Producer was unnecessary, it had to occur since it’s the only way for everyone to notice. Otherwise, this trend would have continued and further deepens Haruka’s depression until it becomes impossible to reunite.
Despite the rivalry in the last episode, it’s not surprising for Haruka to receive the leading role because she pushed for it shortly after. In a way, she used her role as a way to let out her emotions and escape reality. It appears as if she was on autopilot mode or something. To make matters worse, she reads through the text messages from the girls. Eventually, she sees one from the Producer, which causes her to break down even further. This eventually pushes her to request a break from her jobs.
In this one scene with her, Ritsuko and Miki, it brought one of the memorable scenes from the whole episode. Haruka basically asks for time off from her solo career so she can focus on practicing for the show. She felt this way since it might become the last one together. Although Miki said that her request was selfish at first, it’s surprising that she noticed when she starts to question about Haruka’s feelings of becoming an idol. From there, she breaks down in tears shortly after and given some time alone. Even though this scene was very emotional, it convinces Miki to turn down a solo job offer for the sake of keeping everyone together later on.
During Haruka’s time off, she goes soul-searching and meets some people. One of them is of course Jupiter and surprisingly, they were sympathetic compared to the last episodes. I liked how they reinforced the unity theme I have previously mentioned and now working as a team. In another instance, she met some elementary school kids that resembled all the idols of 765 Productions. They were so adorable, especially when they sung Myself Rest@rt. Just like Chihaya, Haruka subconsciously come in contact with her younger self that brought her back to the concert hall and renewed her faith of becoming an idol. In short, she resolved everything on her own and it was very heartwarming.
In the end, I liked how Chihaya repaid Haruka for her kindness when she was down. She was able to bring everyone back together. From there, she shared the feelings that Haruka had about the distancing since she is a best friend of hers. Afterwards, all the girls came on television to lend her support. It was a great ending to her cheerful return, which only leaves us the last episode, the live performance. It’s sad that Idolm@ster is about to end since I love this show. Thankfully, it’s not over yet since I still have the Let’s Play of the actual game.