Since Cinderella Girls resumes airing next week and I want to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Idolmaster, it’s time to review the feature-length movie that showed last year.
The movie resumes where the anime left off as the 765 Productions idols gained more popularity shortly after the New Years Live with all of the girls leading successful careers. The Producer decides to take the next step and plans to have an “Arena Live,” but this time, seven rookie idols (Kana, Minako, Nao, Yuriko, Shiho, Anna and Serika) from Million Live will be participating as backup dancers, which the 765 Productions idols meet at the training camp. Haruka was chosen as the leader.
At first, things looked good as the rookies got to know the idols from 765 Productions more. At one point, Kana, who is one of the backup dancers, asked Haruka for an autograph since she is a big fan of hers. However, things went south afterwards when the Producer announced that he would be going to America for a year in order to become a better producer after the Arena Live performance.
Then, things suddenly got worse at the mini live with the backup dancers falling apart during the performance. This caused a tabloid magazine to write a scathing article highlighting their mistakes. To make matters worse, Shiho became distrustful and blaming Kana before the mini live performance and Haruka witnessed it. These turn of events eventually caused Kana to quit being an idol. As a result, Haruka starts questioning her position as a leader with Miki leaving for Hollywood and Chihaya going abroad for her international debut. Will she be able convince Kana to come back and resolve the backup dancers’ problems in time to make the biggest live performance a success?
First off, I have to admit that the movie had a lot of enjoyable moments. Besides the music, there are some fun moments such as Azusa getting lost again with the Futami twins, Iori getting mad at the producer for seeing her with a wet t-shirt and calling him a pervert and the pillow fight with Ritsuko joining in. Of course, the main draw is the seven girls from Million Live. It makes sense since all the girls from the franchise might eventually become a part of 765 in the sequel as the original 13 already plays a main role in that mobile game.
Thankfully, they weren’t thrown in as a way for Namco to cash in on Million Live since the whole group grows their bonds with each other throughout the movie. While Serika, which I have some interest in since she looked innocent, cute and plays the violin didn’t get much development along with the rest of the girls, Kana definitely got the most since she shows a lot enthusiasm for becoming an idol and of course, she is the one that tries to bring the whole group together.
Unlike Honda Mio from Cinderella Girls who decided to quit initially because she expected a bigger audience, I don’t feel the same way about Kana since she is not self-centered at all. Besides the group not working like a team, especially when Shiho tries to lay the blame on her, the tabloid article and the botched performance was her breaking point. It seems that Kana could not take the stress any longer and reluctantly decides to quit, even if she does not want to give up. The only thing that helps her relieve the pain from all of this is of course eating lots sweets, which in turn caused her to gain a lot of weight and made self-esteem drop even further. Because of this, it is very easy to feel sympathetic towards her because being an idol is not easy since there is the pressure to give a good performance and of course, the public spotlight. With that, I have to admit that I kind of like Kana given the difficulties she faced and her personality is enjoyable.
Meanwhile, Haruka managed to be a strong leader even though things took a turn to the worse. I think the reason she had an easy time convincing Kana to come back is because the experiences and challenges she faced while being an idol. Sure, Kana felt that she could no longer be an idol because of her weight and the problems she caused to her colleagues. At the same time, she finally realized that everyone is there to help her. After all, everyone is in it together and it shows with the performance being a huge success.
Overall, I enjoyed The Idolmaster Movie a lot. The drama was well executed as it highlighted the difficulties the rookies experienced for the first time when they enter the public eye. Moreover, the performances looked great, especially the Arena Live with the smooth animation. With that, this movie pretty much sets the stage for Million Live cast potentially being added to 765 in Idolmaster 3 considering that the original 13 plays a big role in bringing up their careers. I will not be surprised if the Million Live also gets an anime adaption in the near future with the original 13 playing the supporting role. Although I felt that the main trio (Haruka, Chihaya and Miki) plus Iori overshadowed everyone else, the movie was still very enjoyable to watch. If you enjoyed the Anime adaptation, you will most likely find this movie entertaining.
Overall Rating: 9.0/10, A-, Very Good
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