As the other girls moves forward, it is apparent that poor Uzuki is falling further behind.
From the look of the last episode, it’s clear that Uzuki has been out of it. It seems that Rin and Mio are so busy doing their own things that she is getting left out. It’s not so surprising since she worked so hard to create New Generations. In fact, she was the one that convinced Rin to become an idol and helped the producer to bring back Mio after what happened after their first live concert. In other words, Uzuki has nothing now since Mishiro ripped the effort she put into New Generations away from her.
In short, Uzuki decided to bottle up her feelings and start from the beginning like she was never an idol before. However, this eventually becomes detrimental to the whole group as she spends her time training while she starts losing her smile. Sure, she tries to cover it up, but the Producer and eventually Rin and Mio starts to notice, especially when Uzuki becomes unsure on whether or not she wants to do a Christmas Live Concert for New Generations. At one point, Rin became worried about Uzuki’s well being that she starts to forget her lyrics during the practice session. With that, she knows that she and Mio has to intervene before Uzuki’s absence starts to affect everyone.
I liked how Rin and Mio pulled Uzuki out of the training room so that they can finally talk about why is she acting strange. This was a good idea since Uzuki can no longer run away from her feelings and pretend to say that things are fine when they are not. Eventually, she admits that she wanted to shine like everyone else, but afraid that the only thing she is good at is smiling. She said that anyone could do that while she cries.
I doubt that since everyone smiles differently and that her smile influenced Rin and Mio to create a unit together with her. Uzuki is just underestimating herself since she already believes that she is too ordinary when her smile and determination is what drives the Cinderella Project. The Producer said so when he disagreed with Mishiro’s attempt to try to sack Uzuki. He said that Uzuki is important to the project because of her smile and that she will surely come back, which she does in the end.
While it’s cruel for Mishiro to even consider sacking her since she would be shooting herself in the foot. Anastasia and Rin will surely quit Project Krone if that happened with more people openly protesting her polices as they try to have her sacked. Yep, it won’t help her efforts considering that she is disliked by the whole organization already.
Still, I have a feeling that once New Generations gets back together during their Christmas live and perform their song that the members of Krone who watched their performance will be moved by it and decide to quit and join the Cinderella Project instead. This is a good possibility since they aren’t receiving the emotional support like the Cinderella Project. It’s already apparent since the Producer genuinely cares about the girls’ feelings while Mishiro don’t when she said that idols are like stars that fade away. It’s just the matter of the Producer doing his part to help bring Uzuki back and make the ball a success by bringing the glass slipper. We’ll find out in two weeks.
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10 Comments… read them or add your own.
Well, great review. I have to say that while it wasn’t Fumika, my theory that Mishiro will attempt to give someone the boot sort of happened in this episode. So, I have to wonder, what now? Uzuki may have been coaxed to return (or not), but the ending of the episode makes it look to me like Uzuki is currently standing on that threshold, and is still uncertain as to whether she should cross it or return back to the seclusion she was in during this episode. I don’t know though, if New Generations performing together again is a permanent fix to the problem or simply a band-aid solution. Even if Uzuki agrees to perform with Mio and Rin, what happens after that? If they then go back to doing their own separate things and not any New Generations business in the long run, then it solves nothing at all. Will the three girls continue to do New Generations activities on a regular basis? It’s like Episode 21, where Rin apparently made up with Uzuki and Mio, but it did not actually resolve the underlying issues of New Generations being split up and the Cinderella Project being potentially threatened because not all members were there to perform at the concert.
I may not be an expert in Japanese labor law, but I’m pretty sure the company has a duty of care to support an employee when they are going through a situation like Uzuki’s, and not resort to firing them when it hasn’t actually taken steps to try and help the employee. Look what Mishiro tried to do. If any of the Cinderella Project idols heard that, well, it’s a quick way to unravel her since then it can spread like wildfire she tried to give one of their dear friends the boot. However, it doesn’t look like anyone but the Producer heard it, and I doubt he’ll tell anyone else. That leads me to the conclusion that no matter what, Mishiro still gets away without personal consequences. It also shows Mishiro doesn’t think before doing well, anything. If Uzuki was fired, that would piss off Rin and further mess up her performance and possibly cause a ripple effect through Project Krone. Either way, if Mishiro fires Uzuki, she can pretty much kiss Triad Primus as she knows it goodbye.
I can’t help but criticize Rin for calling Uzuki “unbelievable”, as if it’s Uzuki’s fault that Rin’s performance got messed up. It’s like Rin is playing the victim, when it was her joining Triad Primus that caused this mess in the first place. If anyone, Uzuki is the real victim here.
So what happens next? I have a feeling that unless Mio and Rin actively take steps to spend more time with Uzuki and become more attentive of her emotional state, this nonsense is gonna happen all over again sooner or later. What about Mishiro? There’s no sold indication yet that Uzuki wants to perform again, and it looks like Mishiro now views Uzuki as a liability to the company. Even if Uzuki does perform, will Mishiro continue to press for the girl to be fired? If she does, it’s an easy way to paint her as a more outright villain. I think there are 2 distinct ways this can go down. 1) Mishiro can step back, as per the conditions of the agreement she made with the Producer, and continue to let him do his own thing regarding Uzuki, and hope he screws up somewhere along the way. Note that she already violated her agreement when she snatched Rin and Anastasia for her own project. 2) Try to get Uzuki fired again, or barring that, drop Rin from Project Krone since Uzuki’s emotional state is tied to Rin’s performance. Heck, it’s also possible that she might try to make Rin decide between New Generations and Triad Primus.
Anyway, we have 2 episodes left, and I can’t help but feel any sort of resolution to this problem would be rushed and contrived. I think the anime wasted a bit too much time with trying to give more spotlight to idols outside the Cinderella Project when their main cast is already so big. It would have been better if this Triad Primus/Uzuki breakdown drama happened earlier in the season, so there’s more time to resolve the issues and it would feel more organic. For the record though, I think it might be interesting if Rin goes back to the Cinderella Project full time, takes Karen and Nao with her and New Generations and Triad Primus gets amalgamated into a single five person unit. That to me, would be an interesting compromise, though both units have clashing images, and I highly doubt it’ll happen. It’s nice to think about though.
This is probably one of the things I did not think about, the repercussions and of course, violating a contract. Mishiro already went back on her words for snatching Rin and Anya, but of course, firing Uzuki will of course cause a lot of damage to the company and the employees trust towards her as she would be violating the terms the Producer agreed on. Don’t forget that they don’t have complete control over the girls’ talent (which can be said otherwise since in real life, there are dating ban clause on the contracts, which is unrelated). They don’t have to continue to work for Mishiro. They can simply quit and join a different department. We have seen it in earlier episodes and I predict it will happen again.
In regards to reviving New Generations with the live performance, I think that Rin and Mio will change their mines once they perform. They will probably realize how much work they put into and the memories they made together that they will most likely give up their endeavors outside the group and focus more on their own unit. Either way, it will be interesting to see the outcome and I highly doubt that this live performance will simply be a band aid for Uzuki’s problem and they go back to doing their side projects exclusively. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be doing this performance in the first place.
As sad as it might be, I do agree that Mishiro will get away Scott free like Lady Tremaine. Probably the worst that can happen is the girls quitting Project Krone over Mishiro not letting them participate at the ball or that they are touched by New Generation’s performance that they want to change sides. That or they end up getting absorbed into Cinderella Project. The sad thing is that Mishiro will most likely not get any severe punishment like being fired or demoted for mismanaging the company by doing things “my way or the highway” or trying to fire Uzuki and cause turmoil. Having the Krone members quit and going to the other side feels like she is getting off easy. Then again, Kuroi didn’t get any sort of punishment for his attempts to sabotage 765 Pro, so it’s likely that Mishiro won’t either.
Well, if there’s one thing I noticed, it’s that until now, Mishiro had a certain degree of common sense in that if an idol refused to join her side, she would not threaten their career or try anything to pressure them, just simply just move on to the next one who fits her requirements. This makes sense, obviously, since at the very least, even if the idol is not dancing to Mishiro’s tune, she is still working for the company and earning them profit. Attempting to force the issue might lead to the idol quitting the company and joining a rival talent agency, and if you are Mishiro, that’s plainly shooting yourself in the foot, since your competition wins and you lose, especially if the idol is a high profile one like Kaede or Natsuki. So this was a very defined line that Mishiro skirted around (for instance by scouting Rin and Anastasia and planting that seed of doubt in their mind over whether they are satisfied with where they are now), but did not cross. In my opinion, she finally crossed that line by trying to fire Uzuki, and common sense tells you that if Uzuki is fired, do you honestly think Rin in all good consciousness will continue to work for Mishiro, knowing that the woman fired her friend? I doubt it. That right there is probably one of the stupidest things Mishiro could have done. And yes, as you said, firing Uzuki is also a violation of her agreement not to interfere with the Producer’s attempt to prove himself, just like snatching Rin and Anastasia was as well.
Well, this is Idolmaster, a franchise which places a great amount of importance on teamwork and unity. I think it’s a foregone conclusion that somehow, New Generations will come back stronger than ever. Mind you, I actually do want that to happen. If the end of the OP showing the 14 girls performing together is a spoiler, then we can probably assume that all of them will come back together for a group performance at the end of the series. The same thing happened in the first season’s OP, which was a spoiler for the Cinderella Project’s “GOIN’!!!” performance in Episode 13. It seems easy to visualize how New Generations might come back together, they perform that concert and realize that they liked performing with each other and lost sight of that recently with their solo activities, and that could be a catalyst for them to reunite permanently. I also hope Love Laika comes back together, but I don’t know how they’d do that without it looking contrived or suddenly making Mishiro look very ugly and unappealing to the idols. After all, Minami was perfectly fine with Anastasia going to Project Krone and there are no hard feelings at all, unlike with New Generations. At the moment, Anastasia is pretty much with Project Krone full-time, but we must somehow assume she will come back to Cinderella Project since the second OP showed her performing with everyone else, unless the writers throw us a curveball. We as viewers are probably aware that Mishiro is not the best person to be managing anyone, let alone Anastasia, so I’m interested to see what sort of epiphany Anastasia has that would prompt her to go back to Cinderella Project, if she does at all.
In the end, I guess it depends on your interpretation of the whole thing, because some people are of the thought that Mio and Rin decided to do the New Generations thing to throw Uzuki a bone. I guess those people believe that Mio and Rin did not want Uzuki’s breakdown weighing on their consciousness, and just want to clear their minds of such “guilt”. From a certain perspective, Rin seemed much more invested in Triad Primus, since she said that she was so busy she barely got to see Uzuki, which sort of rubbed a lot of people off the wrong way. You honestly can’t carve out five minutes to talk to a friend that helped you get to where you were? I guess because of this, some people just came to believe Mio and Rin did not care all that much about New Generations. What I’m saying overall is that some people did not think Mio and Rin were genuine about wanting to perform with Uzuki and only did it because the Producer asked them to. But all those scenes are open to interpretation. In my mind, I do think Rin should have done more to bring Uzuki back into the fold.
Yeah, Mishiro will probably get away with everything she’s done, despite the fact that there is a direct higher power over her that could have reined her in (her father). There’s no one to do that for Kuroi (except maybe the police), which means him getting away scot-free was easier to accept. The question I would wonder is, even if the Producer wins, what is stopping Mishiro later on from trying to cause trouble for him all over again? I guess on a personal level, I want to see some decisive sign at the end of the anime, that Mishiro is in no position to mess with him anymore. Although, you could say the same for Kuroi, as despite all that has happened in the original Idolmaster anime, there is no indication that Kuroi won’t stop trying to make life hard for Takagi and his idols. That’s just how things are for a villain who gets away with his crimes, I guess.
I’m also curious about how Rin will resolve the matter with Triad Primus. Mio is easy since she could simply quit or reduce her participation in the acting school to rejoin New Generations. Rin is in a more complicated position, since she’s in two units that are vying for her time and energy. Trying to divide her time equitably between both is, as we have seen, unworkable in the long run, since the end of Episode 22 showed that Triad Primus ate up all her time. Also, do you expect Rin to learn all the songs and choreography for two units with different images and be able to pull it off? I doubt it, and trying to do that will probably be bad for her health anyway. So, being in two units is not a good solution, but neither is Rin going to one of them permanently, since it leaves the other unit in the dust. You mentioned the possibility of one unit just continuing without Rin, but I highly doubt that’ll happen, and it’ll probably piss off the fans anyway. It also violates the Idolmaster franchise’s idea of unity. This sort of thing does happen in real life, but it’s probably unthinkable in Idolmaster. That’s why I thought merging New Generations and Triad Primus into one five person unit is the best solution. No one in either unit gets left out or left behind and it solves Rin’s issue of having to be in two units at the same time (and learning their songs and choreography). The only issue I see is both units having different images and songs, but that’s not a big deal, since if enough compromise can be reached to even enact such a merge, then everything else is minor is comparison, and if the units merge, they can then work towards an image that fits everyone. Anyway, in hindsight, although the delays are annoying, a month still isn’t all that long to wait for a conclusion to the anime, and hopefully, things work out the way the viewers want, even if it may be rushed.
I do see what you are trying to say. At one point, the Cinderella Project is going to reunite in the end if you go by what happens in the opening themes. Sure, doing two groups at the same time is not going to work out because of course, they would have to do twice the work and it would be difficult for Rin to do two groups.
While merging the two groups will be a good compromise, we’ll find out the fate of Project Krone this Friday and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.
I still don’t know what is gonna happen after this, particularly for Project Krone. Considering it was actually a success last time, I just think that they might just stay alive. But I really want the project to be dead for good. Some drama and stuff might happen to cause a breakdown between Mishiro and the Project Krone members next week? Maybe.
The bonds between New Generations will definitely be stronger this time, and I do believe the 3 of them will succeed somehow on being on of the top idol just for that unit.
Really wish the series could have been a bit longer, it would have been a lot better if it is. I don’t see how they won’t rush this one out for the next two episode. I just hope we get the ending that we wanted.
Since this franchise has a lot of characters, it’s hard not to feel that some of the development will feel a bit rushed. However, given how Mishiro treats the girls, I do see the girls changing sides while possibly maintaining their units. Of course, there is a good possibility that Rin will quit Triad Primus so that she can focus more of her time with New Generations, that have been neglected. Other possibilities are Triad Primus being absorbed by New Generations, creating a 5 member unit or becoming a duo unit without Rin. There is a lot of possibilities, but we’ll find out in two weeks (and I highly doubt the upcoming special will give any hints).
I forgot to write this in my other reply above, but essentially what I would like to say is this. While it is not wrong to hope that Rin returns to New Generations, heck, the anime’s writers might even want us to hope that, I don’t think it’s totally right to hope that Rin leaves Karen and Nao in the dust to do just that. Do note that while they may have somewhat pressured Rin to join Traid Primus, they were in my mind, innocent victims caught up in the crossfire between the Producer and Mishiro. Their CD debut was cancelled, and joining Triad Primus with Rin was probably the only way Mishiro would even give them the time of day to debut. If Rin declined Mishiro’s offer, then Mishiro might have just simply ignored Karen and Nao from then on and not spared them a second glance. If their debut is at stake, what were Karen and Nao to do otherwise? So as I have said, perhaps Rin performs with New Generations and remembers what it was like to perform with them, and wants to go back, that’s fine. But perhaps she also recognizes the value in performing with Karen and Nao and doesn’t want to leave them behind, so maybe she talks things over with everyone and the five of them all wind up together on the same side. It would certainly help to redeem Rin after all the hate she got from viewers who hold her responsible for breaking up New Generations and causing Uzuki’s emotional problems.
This is probably more of a mixed opinion on my end but I honestly hope Uzuki’s conflict is resolved by herself and not relying on NG magically being together more again. I dunno, I don’t like the idea that Uzuki apparently won’t have any potential to try newer things out for herself without having such a half baked desire about it. Even if NG does successfully get closer together again, as long as Uzuki’s own insecurities remain, all she’s doing is delaying the inevitable.
I don’t see how this problem is NG centric as much as it is Uzuki centric. Even if she wasn’t a part of NG (i.e. in the situation she’s part of Love Laika), while Minami would still have zero hard feelings about Anya going for Krone and just move on to trying something else out, Uzuki would still have just bottled her feelings up with a fake smile. Bottom line is Uzuki doesn’t know “exactly” what she wants to do as an idol. Since episode 1, she’s looked at the career from a rosy glass view but never put into consideration what those feelings meant and instead relied on everyone else.
I want to see Uzuki sort this out by herself. I don’t think Mio and Rin were just throwing her a bone to relieve guilt. I believe it’s gotten to a point where the two of them and producer realize that only Uzuki can fix this by herself (with some encouragement like at the end of ep 23). They can pamper, comfort and baby Uzuki all they want / make promises about NG or whatever how many times as they weant to but if she herself can’t come to terms with her own anxieties or doubts about what her job means or what others want to do, then it delays solving the root of the problem no matter how one looks at it.
My speculation is that NG’s Christmas Concert becomes successful but it leaves Uzuki more refreshed than ever and she has a clearer idea as to what she wants out of being an idol rather than just relying on other people. That being said, I hope she apologizes to Miho and tries to make amends for the crap she put their frail, new unit through because I can’t imagine that unit 100% disbanding when so much money has been put into it.
In addition, yeah, Exec Mishiro’s a jerk and she does use snake like tactics (not as brutal as Kuroi though) but I can’t really disagree with her either. Yes, firing her would leave a horrid blemish to her already controversial reputation with the other departments but she isn’t completely lying either. Uzuki’s selfish naivety’s causing trouble for so much people including the Producer himself especially during a time period where the Winter Ball is approaching.
Well, all things considered, there are 2 more episodes left in the anime, so I don’t think there’s enough time or space for Uzuki to resolve her emotional baggage on her own in a convincing and timely manner, which is why I maintain that this drama, if it had to happen, should have occurred earlier in the season. It seems more likely at this juncture that the writers will take the “easy way out” and solve the problem by reuniting New Generations and Uzuki having her “epiphany” that way. Compared to Haruka, Uzuki is “flatter” as a character, so I can’t see her fixing her problems by herself convincingly, but that’s a flaw due to how many episodes are left. I’m of the thought that Uzuki’s insecurities will be solved by her friends still wanting to perform with her and be with her, since her breakdown is due to fears of her being left alone and in the dust while Mio and Rin advance their careers outside New Generations.
I think it’s more New Generations centric because unlike Love Laika, New Generations actually has some issues with communication and being forward with each other. Note that Minami and Anastasia are very open with each other. I’m of the thought that were Uzuki in Love Laika, Minami and Anastasia would probe her deeper about Anastasia joining Project Krone and actually make sure she is ok with such a transition before actually doing it. And if Uzuki is not, I’m willing to bet Minami would pick up on it very quickly and be more able to deal with it. It’s New Generations’ inability to communicate in such a forthright manner that exacerbated Uzuki’s problems, whereas someone like Minami likely could nip it in the bud.
It does seem to some people that Uzuki was being thrown a bone, since the announcement for that concert came out of nowhere, and the Producer suddenly called Mio and Rin in and told them to find Uzuki and rope her into it. Not to mention that it came on the heels of Uzuki’s breakdown moment at the end of Episode 22. To some people it seemed almost like they were saying “Oops, we forgot about Uzuki lately, so how do we fix this? I know! Just quickly cobble together a concert and get her to participate! Problem solved!” Whether or not that is the intent is up to personal interpretation, but it undoubtedly has some basis. In any case, it seems set in stone that Uzuki will be the baby of New Generations and the insecure one (which is ironic, since she is the oldest). I think therefore, she needs to be reassured (give that she seems to have difficulty in perceiving her value to others), otherwise her sense of self-worth would crumble.
The bottom line is that Uzuki’s unit with Miho likely won’t go anywhere. It was cobbled together by the Producer to give Uzuki something to do after Mio and Rin went to do other stuff outside of New Generations, and it didn’t look like Uzuki even had her hear tin it anyway. I doubt Uzuki has any real chemistry with Miho, so it seems that this unit is doomed to fail anyway. It’s a pity since it’s a waste of money and everyone else’s time (especially Miho’s), but that seems to be the way things are. We don’t even get a name or song from that unit, so I think even the writers just conceived it as a way to meander and waste time before the real issues about Uzuki surfaced, which they did in Episode 23. That unit shouldn’t have even existed, in my mind. Uzuki apologizing and trying to make amends is fine, but I don’t think the unit is sustainable, since continuing it still seems like forcing her to do something her heart isn’t set on doing, and that’s still a recipe for failure in the long run.
The problem with Mishiro is that because she doesn’t care about the bonds idols have with fans, the producers, and each other, she lacks the ability to see the greater picture, which is a horrible flaw to have in her position. You can’t use a heavy handed approach to solve this problem, as given how much trouble Uzuki is apparently causing people, do you think firing her would magically make everything better? Anyone with an iota of common sense can see that Uzuki has friends in the other idols and you think firing her won’t make them mad at you? Not to mention that one of Uzuki’s closest friends is the keystone of the Triad Primus unit. You think firing Uzuki will make Rin obey you and improve her performance? Anyone who has a passing understanding of what friendship is about will obviously say that will not be the case. Bottom line is that firing Uzuki will cause even more trouble to even more people than what is currently happening.
Anyway, if we try to predict what happens next, we can only assume logically that Episode 25 (the final episode) is the Winter Ball, which likely leaves Episode 24 as New Generations’ concert (assuming it is a separate even from the Winter Ball). That leaves the writers one episode (or probably less) to fix Uzuki’s problems completely, since I doubt they will have her go into the Winter Ball with that emotional baggage, given that the Winter Ball is the “be all and end all” concert for the anime. Logically speaking, everyone’s issues should be solved before the Winter Ball happens, so it’ll be a real crunch, and I can’t see it being pulled off without it being rushed. The anime really should have had at least one more episode, but in the end, we get what we get.
Let’s don’t forget that Uzuki is as ordinary as you get… but still, I think she shouldn’t go resolve this on her own. After all, idol work requires teamwork and of course there are other girls that will help each other to find something new. Still, considering that there is only two episodes, I do expect that it’s going to get resolved rather quickly. Not to mention, the problem was made worse with Rin telling Mio and Uzuki at the last minute, with no time to prepare, so it’s expected that it would be very difficult to adjust. After all, you can’t really compare a trio group to a duo group since it’s probably easier to communicate about the situation with each other than with two other members.