LA will be honest here, this is LA's first foray into the male idol anime.
LA has been an extremely dedicated fan to the iDOLM@STER series for a very long time, probably ever since LA watched the ORIGINAL iDOLM@STER series, LA has been up to date for the most on on many of the iDOLM@STER spinoffs. So LA decided to watch what SideM would had to offer for LA and this anime is something of a first taste as to what the male idol genre will give to LA.
Well it had something...
First and foremost about SideM is that it's something of a look at male idol industry through the 315 agency with Jupiter (from the original series) having some spotlight about them and getting scouted into the 315 agency. Second is that the producer is a male in similar respects to Cinderella Girls as well as original. Lastly is that we have over 20+ male idols to get to know all in which they get a "group unit" dedicated episode to themselves.
LA for the most part of SideM is looking into how they units tick and getting to know them and that is a good step for these kind of idol anime and LA actually likes SideM because they did this simple feat with this huge of a cast. Yes, the major problem even if SideM gave some good amount of development to the majority of the cast is that due to the size of the cast, they are BOUND TO HAVE blended together at some point and LA kinda forgotten their names or the units they were in at some points...NOW LA gets why people thought this way about Cinderella Girls.
Here's the thing for LA, as much as LA does see SideM as something of an improvement to the controversial Cinderella Girls anime and how that was handled, LA is some of the VERY few that still thought Cinderella Girls was good in a ways, LA still sees that Cinderella Girls is still better than SideM even with SideM essentially solving the mistakes of Cinderella Girls. Why?, because one of the biggest problems LA had with SideM is that even though it tried to solve many mistakes from Cinderella Girls, on trying to make it less dramatic and controversial, to this end, it made SideM play it WAAAAY to safe, and that leads itself to being boring. LA nearly fell asleep during some of the character development episodes (like with HighxJoker), W's episode was just plain calculated and though it was one of the more seriously dramatic character development episodes, LA thought by the end of when it was gonna end already.
Now this may have been LA's bias in enjoyed and/or knowing more of the girl idol animes than looking at the male idols, however in an iDOLM@STER standpoint however, LA just saw SideM has playing safe thus it took no risks at all (and when it tried to during the last 3 episodes of the anime with Kaoru Sakuraba, THAT was quickly resolved). At the very least Cinderella Girls stirred intrigue into the franchise with how controversial and how intensely dramatic it turned, people TALKED about the Cinderella Girls anime...LA doesn't think many talked about the SideM anime because of how lethargic and typical of the idol genre it was. SideM was just a boring and cliche attempt in the idol genre about being the best and whatnot that LA has seen time and again just with male idols.
Well with LA's biggest complaint out of the way, LA will say some good things about SideM. For one, the animation done by A1-Pictures was well handled, from the good traditional animation and CGI used together with the concerts scenes. The character designs was all great with LA being able to distinguish the majority of the cast. SideM also does the tradition Cinderella Girls has done by quietly adding cameos in very episodes of the other male idols which was good so we get a bit from the people who liked those idols in particular. If anything, for a male idol anime, the animation was great and consistent.
In terms of voice acting, the majority fo the cast was diverse enough, though there are some squeakers here and there with the "genkiness" they display, from Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Shouta to the W twins Yoshitaka Yamaya and Takeru Kikuchi. However like what LA talked about characters blending together, this kinda happened the same about the voice actors thus, LA really thought the voice cast was underwhelming...though it was a good cast of seiyuu's nonetheless.
SideM for LA at least tried to fix the mistakes of Cinderella Girls but in it's place made it's own ones in the process.
LA REALLY didn't outright hate SideM to be honest here, it definitely tried to be it's own thing and it succeeded in that front, but being a person who has watched lots of idol animes, LA just found SideM being too safe with itself to the point of boredom. SideM isn't the worst idol anime LA has seen neither do LA think it's the worst male idol anime ever considering this was LA's first ever looking at one, but if any anime gets LA bored multiple times and it itself not taking risks, then the chances of LA ever being invested into this huge cast of characters is gonna be slim if any.
SideM in the iDOLM@STER franchise point of view for LA is probably the shy younger brother to the tough older sister of Cinderella Girls, both looking up to it's parent of the original series.
Do you know would be great for the iDOLM@STER anime series though?
Anyone want iDOLM@STER MILLION LIVE: The Animation?