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Dated 1 April 2007: Idolm@ster Xenoglossia

I fully expect Iori to yell a lot.

I'm calling it: Idolmaster Xenoglossia is going to be awesome. This is not an April Fool's joke.

Dated 8 April 2007: Idolm@ster Xenoglossia


I promise you, Idolm@ster Xenoglossia is awesome. Well, awesome for a series with just one episode in the can so far.

Haruka tanks an idol audition.

The first episode begins with our main heroine, Haruka, choking at her idol audition. Fullmoon she ain't. Stunningly, she still makes the cut. Acceptance letter in hand, she tears off for Tokyo for her callback, completely unaware that the idol competition was a screening for potential mecha pilots. Oh, Sunrise.

Yayoi talks to Haruka.

Seeing her off is her very aerodynamic "always ready" friend, Yayoi with the excellent hair.

Haruka meets Yukiho
Haruka meets Yukiho.

Along the way she meets Siesta from Zero no Tsukaima, who has apparently ditched that loser Saito after he dragged her to Japan. Seriously, they're both even voiced by Yui Horie. She's a dead ringer.

Iori loses patience with Haruka. I told you she yells a lot.

Despite what you might expect, there is relatively little fan service in Idolm@aster Xenoglossia. This is the kind of show where it would be reasonable to expect fan service to be rampant. Don't get me wrong; there is fan service, but it generally comes in the form of Sunrise superlovely character design spamming rather than the usual, more obvious varieties. For example, when it is publically revealed that the penguin-obsessed Haruka is wearing penguin underpants, we see that she is mortified, but not a stitch of the offending clothing is ever shown.

Haruka and R.I.F.F.A.
R.I.F.F.A. abducts Haruka.

Speaking of Haruka's penguin obsession, it seems that's her shtick. Many characters have a defining characteristic that makes them readily memorable. For example, Yukiho is narcoleptic, Iori bitches people out a lot, and Yukana's R.I.F.F.A. character err...can defy gravity, I guess. And I don't mean she defies gravity the way Yayoi defies gravity. And how.

Dated 26 September 2007: The world is not ready for NAKED PINAFORE

With apologies to Kero-chan from Cardcaptor Sakura and Paiway from VanDread, it's time for another KARMABURN CHECK.

This installment of KARMABURN CHECK features another anime fashion staple that needs to become more popular in the real world: The PINAFORE.

Meido Tai
The Idolm@ster Xenoglossia Maid Troop revs Imber's engine.

So what is a pinafore, and how is it distinguished from an apron? Basically, a pinafore is different from an apron in that it is meant to be (more or less) a permanent part of an outfit, compared to an apron which is usually just worn while cooking or during NAKED APRON fantasies. Also, while an apron fastens with stringy ties, a pinafore has broad sections of cloth that wrap around one's back, usually tied into a bow. (Pedantic fashion mavens may argue here that pinafores are no more permanent than aprons and should really be pinned on instead of tied. Screw them.)

The best known pinafore these days is probably the one worn by Alice in the Disney movie Alice in Wonderland, although I don't recall if Alice originally had a pinafore in Lewis Carroll's books.

American McGee's Alice
American McGee's Alice.

There's also American McGee's Alice, although that Alice's pinfore is a little...different.

Dated 9 September 2008: The Idolm@ster: Live For You! Yes, you

Minase Iori either has a good sense of humor, or none at all.

My first exposure to Idolm@aster came via its fan art, most of which consists of the game's characters behaving inappropriately.

Someone else has already made an "It's all right if it's you, Imber" joke.

My second encounter with Idolm@aster was the Xenoglossia anime, a post-apocalyptic love story between a girl and her giant robot. Or maybe it was the other way around. It's so hard to tell when true love is concerned.

Chihaya, Haruka, and Miki
This is not the Miki from Idolmaster: Xenoglossia. Oh, wait...

My third experience with Idolm@ster was the Idolm@ster: Live For You! OVA. This is a one-shot anime based on the game, using game-type character designs and featuring no robots at all. It has pretty low production values, and some very squeaky voices. Chihaya is the best Live For You girl, incidentally, probably because she seems the most ordinary. Actually, none of the girls really look like idols, if you ask me; they all seem pretty normal. Hell, any one of them could be the girl next door.

Miki, Haruka, and Chihaya
This is definitely not the Xenoglossia Chihaya.

The most recent chapter in my Idolm@ster education comes in the form of myriad all-singing, all-dancing (and sometimes riding) video game clips on YouTube and NicoVideo. This is probably as close as I'm ever going to get to the games themselves, unless I acquire a Japanese XBox 360 in a game of chance or import the PSP port on a whim.


In re the game and Live For You! character designs: I'm not used to Makoto looking so feminine. Sure, she's the boku-saying tomboy character, but compared to her Xenoglossia counterpart, video game and Live For You! Makoto is positively bubbling with estrogen.

That's not estrogen.

To tell you the truth, THE iDOLM@STER game play looks oddly compelling. At the very least I'm convinced it's a lot more interesting than suffering through a season of American Idol. Speaking of which, maybe I would be inclined to watch American Idol if the studio and/or television audience had some say in determining song choices, costume changes, and choreography. Okay, that would probably be counterproductive for the front-runners, but I can see adding interactive components for the contestants who don't make a cut. What do they have to lose?

Dated 24 February 2009: Im@s Nine ~Xenoglossia~

Speaking of Not Idolm@ster Baseball, I would totally watch and/or play actual Idolm@ster Baseball. There are certainly enough girls to field a team. Here's my lineup:

  1. Batting lead-off, playing left field: Iori. She's got a small strike zone and hopefully some speed.
  2. Batting second, playing third base: Chihaya. She seems disciplined enough to be patient at the plate and hit behind the runner. I'm hoping she has a good enough arm for third. I'm not expecting her to be Brooks Robinson or anything, but I'd hope the Best Girl could handle the hot corner.
  3. Makoto bats third and plays center field. As the most masculine of the girls, I'm hoping she's the most athletic.
  4. Azusa bats cleanup and plays first base. There aren't a lot of big Idolmaster girls, so she'll have to do.
  5. Ritsuko bats fifth, catches. You need someone smart behind the plate to call the game, especially if your starting pitcher is a crybaby.
  6. Yayoi bats sixth, plays right field. I'd rather have someone with a stronger arm in right, but I don't even know if any of these girls can throw. Criminy, I've got a 13-year-old girl playing right field. That's no good.
  7. Ami bats seventh, plays second. As one of the weenie kids, I can't see her being much use outside the middle infield.
  8. Mami bats eights, plays shortstop. She and Ami are twins, so I'm trusting them to be on the same mental wavelength and hopefully be a good double-play combo.
  9. Yukiho is my starting pitcher, bats last. As a narcoleptic, I'm counting on her to be well rested.

Idolm@ster Baseball, Azusa edition
If Azusa's grip is normally this bad, maybe
I don't want her batting fourth after all.

So who do I have left? Haruka rides the pine. As the clumsy girl, I need to leave her as a pinch hitter because she'd be a defensive liability. Miki is a mid-season addition who starts out as a relief pitcher and perhaps moves into the regular rotation. Well, I say "rotation," but the 765 Idols only have one pitcher so far. Naturally, Producer is the manager, and a dead ringer for Earl Weaver besides.

Idolm@ster Baseball
There has to be an Idolm@ster version of
"Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Has to be.

Of course, this lineup is going to require some adjustments once I determine which players are left-handed or, say, incapable of hitting a curve ball. However, I think this team stands a chance against the Taisho Yakyuu Musume bunch. I'm afraid the Idols would probably get crushed by Hatsune Miku's baseball team, though. The damn Vocaloids have Kaito "The Hammer" in their lineup.

Dated 5 August 2011: Summer 2011 initial impressions

I won't buy you lipstick because you don't have any lips.

Usagi Drop surprised me by being much better than I expected. After five solid episodes to open the series, it has climbed to the top of the list. However, it is a good thing Rin is such a nice, well-mannered, and thoughtful kid. Were it Daikichi's sister's cousin's devil child twisting in the wind in episode one, I wager that brat would be on her own and the show would have to be about her bouncing from home to home in foster care or something. I heard there's a timeskip in the manga, but I also heard the anime might not make it that far. I've not read any of the manga nor learned any spoilers aside from knowing the timeskip exists, but I wonder if it has to do with how Daikichi's concern for Rin is very paternal yet Rin explicitly rejects him as a father?

Yuina and Minko
Daikon goes in here.

Hanasaku Iroha remains one of my favorite shows this season, although it really needs more Minko and Tomoe episodes. It also needs less of Ohana's spineless uncle and that wretched consultant lady he dragged to the inn—a lot less. Hopefully now that the movie fiasco is over we can move on to more Minko episodes about her unrequited love for daikon and Tohru, preferably without overdoing Tohru's guilty boners for Ohana.

Cure Beat
Cure Beat's guitar is full of mercy.

The Cure Beat arc of Suite Precure exceeds expectations, probably because it puts the Cure Muse mystery arc on hold for now. Cure Beat needs to reverse her windmill move, though, and do it Pete Townshend style. I, for one, am pretty glad Suite Precure is turning into FLCL instead of K-On! I'm also impressed by the new transformation sequences and the quality of some of the recent fight scenes.

THE ENFORCER. Well, the parking enforcer anyway.

Wait, did Tanaka Rie just join Detective Conan's menagerie of regular characters? I swear that was her.

I should probably say more about Detective Conan because Something Important happened last season. However...spoilers.

Chihaya appears to use Sony MDR-V6 headphones.

Sony MDR-V6 headphones
We're headphone buddies!

Idolm@ster needs more song and dance numbers. I presume the absence of music from the first episode was a stylistic choice designed to fit the documentary framework. The show is all right so far, but because there are purportedly many former current Gainax staff members behind the show, I'm hoping for a Gainax ending—possibly with more Bio Concerto. In related news, Chihaya by a mile. Chihaya > Miki > Ritsuko > Azusa > Makoto > Takane > Kotori > Hibiki > Yayoi > Iori > Mami > Ami > Haruka > Yukiho.

Huey's Imco lighter
The real star of Dantalian no Shoka is Huey's Imco lighter.

Imco lighter
You may recognize it from Haibane Renmei
as the lighter Reki uses.

I'm mostly watching Dantalian no Shoka out of general principle because of Gainax. Huey seems all right. I was impressed during the first episode when he revealed he wasn't another damn Potato-kun. However, I am getting pretty tired of Dalian's tsundere bitchiness. Her lack of charisma is going to wear on me, even if she does say "YES" all the time. (Bad gourds don't say "no.")

Masa stole Aoi's haircut.

Uta no Prince-sama - Maji Love 1000% was less gay than I expected, but I can't find a reason to keep watching it. This is not Miracle Train. Miracle Train was actually pretty good. Prince-sama just has Wakamoto Norio playing Wakamoto-Norio-playing-a-character as its main draw. I haven't officially dropped it yet, but I'm also in no hurry to watch the second episode.

Aoi and Haruka
Twin Angel needs more Galaxy Angel.

I only watched Kaito Tenshi Twin Angel - Kyun Kyun☆Tokimeki Paradise!! because of Asakawa Yuu. I'm sorry to say the first episode was horrible. Consider it dropped. I'm hoping it turns out to be a lot better later on. I'll start watching again it if I see a lot of people sucking up to @julia320 on Twitter praising the show. This has not happened yet.

Dated 16 August 2011: The IDOLM@STER's Best Girls

Chihaya guards luggage like an F-15.

Never missed yet.

Chihaya may be far and away the Best Girl in The IDOLM@STER, but I'm pretty sure Producer's Best Girl is Miki whether he knows it or not.

Dated 15 September 2011: Revisiting Idolmaster Baseball

Ami and Mami
Ami's hair is probably shorter due to a bad breakup.

With nearly a full cour of The IDOLM@STER TV completed, I've decided to revise my iM@S baseball lineup. The most important change is Yukiho is no longer a narcoleptic like she was in Xenoglossia, but rather a cringing, terrified girl. If you think I'm starting someone like that on the mound, you're crazy. Yukiho rides the pine and possibly pinch runs. Cowards can run fast.

No pressure, Kotori.

Thankfully, we now have Kotori on the roster. Kotori is my new pitcher, and hopefully she and Ritsuko work together well enough to form an effective battery. I also hereby reaffirm my decision to name Miki as the relief pitcher. She's made a habit of coming to the rescue in the current series, so I'm confident she can put out fires and pull the 765PROs out of trouble if Kotori gets into a jam.

Hibiki and Takane
Hibiki and Takane join the team.

I also reaffirm my decision to place Mami and Ami in the middle infield. I'm pleased they are no longer shrimpy kids. Although they aren't exactly freakish giants, they are a lot taller than I expected. I'm staying with Mami at shortstop and Ami at second base because I'm hoping Mami's side-tail will stabilize her head as she pivots while throwing to second or first. [Update1.] I've also decided that Mami > Ami because she has better hair and because she sort of holds underdog status now that Ami's popularity is ascendant as part of Ryuuguu Komachi.

Sit your ass down, Yayoi. You're dead weight.

The inclusion of Hibiki and Takane also means I no longer have to start Yayoi in right. Iori moves from left field to right field, and Hibiki takes left field while batting in Yayoi's old spot in the lineup. Takane goes into the bullpen as a relief pitcher. She'll mostly be in the set-up role with Miki as the closer, although all three will start if games are frequent enough to require a rotation.

Producer also does not look like Tommy Lasorda.

The IDOLM@STER TV has been mostly positive with regard to refining the iM@S baseball team, but there is one downside: We now know Producer looks nothing at all like Earl Weaver. No one is more disappointed than I.

[Note 1: Now that I think about it, a long sidetail on her left could easily get in Mami's field of vision as she pivots, but hopefully it won't matter under a baseball cap. If it turns out to be a problem, I may need to go with the dangerous hair-down Mami or swap her and Ami's fielding positions.]