Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

13 August 2015: Too many idols, not enough mics

Uzuki, Mio, Rin, Kirari, and Ranko
Pages and pages of idols.

There are entirely too many Cinderella Girls. It wasn't a problem during the first cour when it appeared the show was content with keeping the story on the 14 main idols; that worked for its two-cour predecessor. However, the current season of THE iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls seems intent on cramming more and more of the game's enormous battery of idols into the anime, presumably attempting to placate ardent fans of niche characters with cameos. Unfortunately, this practice dilutes the show as a whole, making this half of the Cinderella Girls anime somewhat underwhelming.

I didn't see you taking any notes at this meeting, Mika.

Thankfully, episode 17 focused on three characters we already knew from the show's first half, making it the strongest episode of the second cour thus far. It also helped that the episode related to the overarching conflict between the Cinderella Girls and their "evil stepmother" heading the department.

Rika has a poster of her sister's butt.

At heart, 17-year-old Jougasaki Mika wants to maintain her established image highlighting her youthful sex appeal, but she grudgingly capitulates to corporate forces that wish to pursue a more conservative and elegant look. In contrast, her 12-year-old sister Jougasaki Rika is in a hurry to grow up so she can be like Mika. Rika is mortified her new project has her playing a kindergarten student, but, like Mika, she relents in order to do her part supporting her fellow 346 idols who are at risk of being disbanded altogether.

Miria, bummed out.

Tying the sisters' arcs together is 11-year-old Akagi Miria, the youngest of the Cinderella Girls (among the anime's first 14, anyway), but the oldest child in her family. Miria clearly misses her mother's attention which a new baby now consumes, but I'm impressed at how patiently she accepted the change in spite of her obvious disappointment. Also surprising is how well Mika and Miria related to each other and commiserated despite their sizable age difference.

Mika and Miria
Mika hangs out with Miria.

Learning that the 11-year-old actually has her shit together and seeing how she helps the Jougasaki sisters deal with their respective dilemmas did a lot more for the show than watching brand new characters I don't know panic about possibly getting canned. I'm sure there are disappointed Harada Miyo fans who just want five freaking minutes watching her gap spark plugs, and Yorita Yoshino apostles who want a subplot about her talking to strangers, but neither of these scenarios is likely to do much for the Cinderella Girls anime as a whole. How about spending more time with the ostensible lead trio in New Generations? How about that?

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