Idolmaster's most recent installment is yet another bummer of an idol show. Imagine a rocket launching through the air at full thrust: suddenly it starts tilting and then, out of nowhere, its engines also begin to die. It starts to fall faster and faster, spinning and spinning out of control, until finally it hits the ground and explodes into a massive ball of fire. This is pretty well what the transition between Cinderella Girls' first and second season feels like.
That is not to say that the second season is an absolutely abysmal, unwatchable mess, but it is sure one hell of a disappointing way
to end a show with promise. Whereas the first season attempts to build towards something meaningful, to give you a reason to care for the characters, the second season takes all that away and presents you with a dull husk of a story. It wants to be dramatic, it wants to make you root for the characters in spite of their crappy situation, but it just doesn't quite understand how the structure of anime is supposed to work.
I was one of the four (maybe it was five?) fans of the first season, in spite of all its issues, because the show still carried some of the same charm and energy that the original TV series and the games had, which I have very much enjoyed spending my time with. It certainly delved into melodrama territory at times, but the conclusion of the first season still made me excited. It made me excited to see how the second season would finally develop the show's large cast of characters, and how it might deliver an emotional 'final concert' to send everything off.
The second season is like one boring, obnoxious episode stretched out to twelve. Everything is constantly bleak and depressing-- literally, since the weather is constantly either rainy or cloudy, and the animators apparently decided the show is now too cool for colour. I understand that weather can sometimes be an effective way to create atmosphere, but when it is non-stop for an entire season of anime it becomes a bit overbearing. Why can't it be sunny on a sad day or cloudy on a happy day? This may seem a silly thing to complain about, but after having seen so many anime attempt to pull off the whole 'my heart is dark and bleak like the rain' thing, I have lost some of my tolerance for it.
It might be a bit surprising, but most of the drama itself, at least in terms of its execution, is honestly pretty OK. Uzuki's voice actress, for example, does an excellent job at the end of episode 23 (or 10 if you count from the start of the season). You can feel the emotion in her voice, her sounding as if she's about to lose it and start crying at any moment, and it still manages to feel authentic--not cloying-- at the same time. There are several moments like this throughout the series; the problem, rather, is that they are out of place. We don't yet have a reason to care about these characters. They have not accomplished anything of significance as idols, and their friendship and their motives have scarcely been explored. Miku and Rina have a whole episode dedicated to their relationship with each other, and it's probably the best in the entire series. But what about all the other characters? Why could we not have more episodes like that focusing on them specifically: their motivations and the little quirks that make them tick? Take a look at Chieri, for example: her design immediately grabbed me at the start of the series, but absolutely nothing is done with her. I couldn't even tell you a single thing about her personality other than that she's shy all the time. And that's a bummer. A real, real bummer.
Contrast Cinderella Girls with Love Live, another popular idol show, and you'll see just how much of an effect strong characterisation can have. All the girls in Love Live (well, maybe excluding one or two) are developed and interesting. A few of them, like Nico or Maki, are among some of the best characters in the genre, and in Nico's case I may even argue for anime as a whole. And you know what? Nico's characterisation was largely developed in a single episode. It turned an adorable, entertaining character into one that genuinely felt human and even pushed the meaning of what being an idol is and can be. I did not feel anything even remotely similar with Cinderella Girls. They are worlds and galaxies apart. It's not just that Cinderella Girls doesn't try to do or say anything new-- it's that it does a poor job even at the generic.
The drama in Cinderella Girls is certainly not helped by the dialogue, which can at times be downright embarrassing to listen to. Most episodes end with juvenile "I'll do my best from now on!!" and "Nothing will ever stop us if we work together!!" dialogue, and will often devolve into nonsense about how they want to "shine" more. Nah, I'll pass on that stuff. Talk like actual human beings instead, OK?
I suppose the sound design can be quite nice from time to time, as the concerts sound like actual concerts with the audience roaring and clapping in the background, and the music itself sounds very much like it's coming from a microphone rather than being ripped straight from a CD like most insert songs in anime do. However, the performances can be pretty disappointing, as highlighted at the end of the first season where three of the songs are skipped over with an image of them playing (since when was this a slideshow?) and maybe five seconds of music in the background. The second season's final performance fares no better. Considering that the music in an idol anime is the single most important aspect after the characters, and when compared with other shows like Aikatsu, Love Live and even the original Idolmaster series, all of which have excellent performances and catchy tunes, Cinderella Girls fails completely at being an idol anime.
Cinderella Girls could have been far more than it is. I could not really recommend it to people on good conscience, even if they may be fans of the main Idolmaster series. It is more mediocre than it is terrible, but the label of "mediocrity" is not by any means a compliment. Maybe you'll come across a character design that interests you, but you'll inevitably find yourself disappointed when you watch the show and realise it doesn't actually give a damn about them. See, Chieri has twintails and, as far as I'm concerned, not giving twintailed goddesses the time of day is an absolute sin. There's a lot of things wrong with Cinderella Girls, but maybe that is the one that ticks me off the most. Screw you, Cinderella Girls.
Mika was a cutie, though. I'll give the show that. Her doujins are probably the one good thing this show has spawned.
At the point of completing Cinderella Girls season 2 there were no reviews so I thought I'd take up the challenge.
Please keep in mind that this is my first time writing an anime review!
The concept of Cinderella Girls 2nd season was something I was originally excited about. Challenges and conflict was quite lacking in the first season and any actual drama was weak. Since the idols were already at the top of their game, it all felt like a magic dream come true too soon, but now come season 2, this makes sense. As the title suggests, Cinderella Girls takes the classic fairy
tale of Cinderella but with idols! There’s the evil step-mother, the prince and the multiple Cinderellas – the formula was perfect, except for that they didn’t quite pull it off.
In this season, everything the girls have previously worked for falls apart and they must pick up the pieces to start again. The first half of this season was centered around the main girls bonding with idols from other departments in order to overcome the struggles they face. The problem here is that due to such a high number of characters, the development of each girl is almost non-existent. The drama feels unnecessary and forced with no real meaning behind it, other than just giving minor characters some screentime. Ultimately these episodes serve as promotion for the mobile rhythm game as you won't be familiar with these characters unless you've played it.
After following the routine of attempting to give every character an episode to themselves, the story progresses to focusing on New Generations and in particular, Uzuki. In this aspect, the creators appear to be trying to imitate the original IDOLM@STER anime but fails as it lacks the same emotional impact that the original had. I won’t spoil anything but if you are familiar with the original IDOLM@STER you’d know that I’m referring to that particular episode involving Chihaya.
The build-up to the final episodes was rather weak and resolution was decent but in no way fully satisfying. I feel that the ending to the first season was actually a lot more enjoyable than the entire second season altogether, as the first season ending actually felt as though they had achieved something together.
There’s not much to say here as the art and animation in this season were as solid as the season before. The colourful nature of every character was captured perfectly through pleasing character designs and the animation was always smooth.
An idol anime isn’t an idol anime without music and Cinderella Girls certainly excels in that aspect. Some songs may not be as memorable as those in other idol anime but they are enjoyable nevertheless. The voice acting is very strong and each voice perfectly suits the variety of characters.
An issue with this series is that a majority of characters have one-dimensional personalities and are quite easily forgettable. Many were incredibly lacking in screentime as they were constantly overshadowed by the New Generations girls (Rin, Mio and Uzuki), which is a shame since a few of the other characters were often the most entertaining whenever they got a chance to appear. I personally found Ranko in particular to be an absolute delight but her presence in this season was almost non-existent. However, this problem is understandable as with such a high cast of characters, some naturally will have the chance to have more time in the limelight than others.
A lot of aspects in this season just felt weak but despite its flaws I still got some enjoyment out of it. However, it’s incredibly hard to not compare it with the original IDOLM@STER which I find was far more superior in almost every way.
In all honesty, this series is more deserving of a 6 instead of a 7, but I'm being generous as I still found some enjoyment in it. Overall, this series isn’t terrible but it’s not too good either. I wouldn’t recommend watching it unless you’re a fan of idol anime as otherwise you’re bound to lose interest.
Thank you for reading my review and any feedback is appreciated.
It is difficult to list everything this show did wrong without giving spoilers, so this will be short.
The story is introduced with Mishiro, a manager who was displeased with the course things in the company were taking, so she proposed some huge changes. This changes lead to a series of individual episodes that tried to develop some characters.
But instead of development, they grew in annoyance or stayed the same, leaving their appearance as the only good thing about them (yeah at least they are waifu material, though not all of them). The drama was poorly executed, extremely forced with embarrassing dialogues, and it is not
an exaggeration to say that the dialogues were almost at a Mexican soap-opera level of foolishness and melodrama.
Towards the final it started to show some signs that AT LEAST it was going to have a decent final but it finished just as dull as it started
The only merits I can find: The animation that tried to build an atmosphere that could have been interesting without all the flaws I mentioned above and the background music that was sometimes actually good but went to waste combined with the shitty dialogue.
To conclude, in the end this season leaves the spectator with an “absolutely nothing happened here” feeling and questioning “that’s all there is to Im@s CG??”
This review is my personal thoughts on the show, you may agree or disagree and i dont care.
So first thing first, The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls is an original series produced by A-1 Pictures, the studio famous for Sora no Woto, Gate, SAO, Ano Hana and many more... this anime provided another look at a very interesting idol industry of Japan.
This show has good setting from the start. A producer will seek for potential idols from the street and ask them to join the project which will raise them to top idol. This refreshing start helps the viewer to get a full look at this industry
and get the story running pretty smoothly.
The charm of shows like this lye in the variety of characters and this show nailed it very well. A huge cast of colorful, likeable and charismatic girls that will surely get to the heart of the viewers. But beside that, this show has many problems.
The story progressing in season 1 is very slow and when it gets to season 2 it's very rush. I may sound like an asshole here but the relationship between the main characters- no matter how touching it is when you're watching- makes no sense. It's like a triangle love between 2 boys and 1 girl but instead of fighting for the girl, they just love the girl and the girl loves both of them. End the story.
So why is the high grade? Becoz no matter how nonsense it may seem, i get attached to the idols, i feel for them very much. And it's nice to see ppl doing their dream work.
The music of this show is amazing. Very pleasant to hear. The animation is fine to say the least. Overall, it's still a good look at the idol industry.
The iDOLM@STER is a popular franchise in Japan that has released many successful anime, games, and manga. This is part 1 of an interview of the two producers of their recent successful anime, The iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls!