#1: "Kira! Mankai Smile (キラッ！満開スマイル)" by THE IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS LITTLE STARS! (eps 1-4) #2: "Etude wa Ikkyoku dake (エチュードは1曲だけ)" by THE IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS LITTLE STARS! (eps 5-9) #3: "SUNFLOWER" by THE IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS LITTLE STARS! (eps 10-13)
Cinderella Girls Gekijou is essentially the Puchimas vers. to it's original series.
Cinderella Girls Gekijou is an anime short compromised of 2 minutes episodes of the Cinderella Girls MASTERS Idols going about their daily lives while also paying homage to it's original source material (it's mobage game) through giving us certain scenes that is from their cards just given more context to the situation to Starlight Stage (the mobile phone game) with it's new songs being brought out in the ending credits and newer idols getting voices being highlights (such as Yuuki Otokura, Shin Sato, Shizuku Oikawa, Sanae Katagiri and Yuko Hori) through this anime short.
terms of comedy, the comedy is extremely snappy with it's skit-based format (mainly due to it's runtime of 2 minutes each) however those entrenched in Cinderella Girls like LA is will know many of the references the comedy has, those who are a casual fan will be left in the dust. Though the only upside to this is we do see a more comedic side to the Cinderella Girls because of it.
In terms of animation by Studio Gathering (who also did Puchimas series), the animation for the majority is expected moe chibified format but with this art style allows the comedic moments to come in more easily, plus it's animation does change into full detail (again paying homage to the mobage cards) and those times, it's animation is pretty good for Studio Gathering.
Cinderella Girls Gekijou is one of LA's somewhat guilty pleasure anime shorts for Spring 2017 with obvious reasons (being a fan of im@s series even extending to Cinderella Girls), but even for those just getting into the Cinderella Girls, this is a good place to start off with, bringing us characters that we didn't know (due to Cinderella Girls HUGE ensemble cast outside of MASTER idols) and showing us their daily lives with a hint of comedy to them. LA enjoyed Cinderella Girls Gekoijou without a doubt and is also one of the better anime shorts to come out of Spring 2017.
The people at Studio Gathering have tasked themselves in making another chibi style Idolmaster anime under the name ‘Cinderella Girls Gekijou’. While I have no knowledge on how good the other ones are, this one doesn’t convince me to find out.
‘Cinderella Girls Gekijou’ is a three minute per episode anime but that doesn’t let it get away from the grasp of criticism as other anime has shown that they can still be enjoyable and competent with such a small amount of air time (Plastic Neesan is a good example).
So what’s so bad?
The art style of the anime is the same style to what
you see in the Idolmaster Cinderella game. During loading screens there would be a small one picture comic of idols in a particular scenario. These are fine as they are, simple quick jokes that don’t require much though and just made to indulge you while you wait. When putting this into an anime it just doesn’t work. Not only is the art style an eye sore to look at when animated, but the animation it self is extremely poor (Even still images are amateurish). With such a simple art style you would think that they could make fluid animation (producing more key frames for the sacrifice of less detail) but that isn’t the case. The animation is choppy and feels cheap, something you shouldn’t expect from a popular franchise. They even reuse animation (All the idols in one of the ending dances share the same animation).
The jokes on the other hand aren’t that bad, paired with the original Voice actresses and the punchlines being well timed, only a few jokes missed the mark. However none of them are ground breaking, none of them made me physically laugh and they barely made me chuckle just like the loading screen images. Any proper structure to the anime is just joke after joke with different idols every time. If you have very little knowledge of a certain idol the joke will probably fly over your head.
“It’s better than nothing”
More idolmaster should be a great thing, especially when its focus is on the everyday life of these idols, things you don’t see while playing the game, and anime should be a great window of opportunity when presenting this. However this anime doesn’t tell you more about the idols themselves, the jokes are made from the already existing persona that a fan of the franchise would already know. So all we have is an anime in which these comic style jokes have no benefit in being animated.
So who is this made for then?
It’s clear that no knowledge of the idols will just make the experience confusing, so the anime is made for fans of the franchise, but seeing your favourite idols in such a poor display only leaves disappointment. The ending songs are upcoming (of time of this review) idol songs which is pretty cool but they are also poorly animated so it kinda ruins it.
The only real positive thing about this anime is the voice actresses pulling off a fantastic job (as always) when portraying these idols, but that’s pretty much it.
Cinderella Girls Gekijou is enjoyable for fans of the iDOLM@STER series who want a short fun extension of the series. The five minute episodes are split into three scenes, that are generally allotted to one or two characters at most. Scenes typically follow the 4-koma panel joke set up of setting, build up, punchline and tsukkomi.
Plot is minimal and serves purely as fan-service, (not sexual), which is why it is hard to enjoy without being an iDOLM@STER fan. While the recent iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls anime features several girls in Gekijou's cast, there are also several cast members from the game series included.
Art and sound are
minimalistic, ocassionally becoming more pronounced during close-up scenes or fan-service moments. On the other hand, ending themes are pleasing 30 second excerpts of their full version songs. Since series focuses on character fanservice, it is more enjoyable if you like iDOLM@STER's cast. However, fans of the original iDOLM@STER cast will rarely see representation for its characters.
As said before, Cinderall Girls Gekijou is a short and fun experience for fans who enjoy the ambiance and cast from the iDOLM@STER series. However, viewers looking for a plot heavy or serious show will be left disappointed.
Obviously shorts series like this usually aren't up to much since their very nature means they don't have any time for a real plot or much characterization, but they usually manage to get a few jokes in and be somewhat enjoyable. Not so with this series. Part of the problem is that the episodes are even shorter than usual, at about 2:30 once you take out the OP and ED, and they're then divided into three shorter segments! So you're looking at segments of under a minute each, which isn't much time to do anything. But even at that, the stories (such as they are)
just don't offer anything of value at all. No jokes, no nothing. Worse, they're apparently based on the game, rather than the anime, which does mean that we get to see some of the characters who didn't make it into the anime, but also means that rather than our buddy P-kun, we have these teenage girls trying to seduce the producer character, which is just gross.
I will say the first episode isn't bad - it covers Miku bribing Anzu to work using candy, and Takumi (my girl!) crushing on Chieri - but the rest are pretty hopeless. Just dull.