Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

Dated 14 February 2018: iDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA is a classic story about a teenage girl and her giant robot finding true love together

Haruka and Imber
Shameless flirting.

I was a stranger to the iDOLM@STER franchise the first time I watched iDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA. I mentioned this before, but perhaps I should have noted I was also mystified by the amount of hostility displayed by some fans of the original games (arcade and Japanese Xbox 360 exclusive) toward Xenoglossia when the anime came out in 2007. Although I understood in principle the objections fans would have concerning the different character designs and replaced voices, I was not personally invested in any of the characters, so some of the more venomous attacks seemed excessive. Moreover, the character designs looked fine to me, at least relative to other anime of the period and Sunrise shows in particular. I finally watched my DVDs over the past few months, and actually enjoyed Xenoglossia a lot more on re-watch than I did during its initial broadcast, despite having a better understanding now of THE iDOLM@STER as a whole. Or maybe I like Xenoglossia more because I've watched several cours of bona fide iDOLM@STER anime now, not "despite" watching them.

Yukarin Iori with purple hair is good too.

Still, I'm not quite sure how I would characterize iDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA. It's not really much of a giant robot show for a show about giant robots, and it's not an idol anime despite having (regular-type) idols and iDOLs in it. It's not a "cute girls doing cute things" show, nor is it an early example of the more recent phenomenon where anime girls band together to be really excited about some typically male-dominated activity, like Bakuon!! or Two Car or GIRLS und PANZER. Honestly, it really is a love story about a teenage girl and her much older robot boyfriend. Notably, the affection Haruka develops for Imber is not at all unusual, as all of the other pilots also develop complex feelings toward their robots as well. In fact, jealousy plays a huge role in the plot, as do the inevitable love triangles.

Also, Xenoglossia Azusa > regular Azusa.

IDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA does not take itself too seriously, but does not devolve into camp either. I buy into the HARUKA X IMBER pairing enough to believe there should be real questions raised about the ED once its setting becomes clear. I also enjoy the romance enough that I think I like the Xenoglossia Haruka more than I like the regular Haruka. Not that there's anything wrong with the regular Haruka necessarily, but I like the Xenoglossia Haruka's attitude better. Perhaps it's because she comes across as more of a main character in her own show, while the "real" Haruka necessarily seems more like a token default protagonist in a franchise with an ensemble cast, must the way I regard Miyafuji in Strike Witches or ol' Bucky in the Kantai Collection anime. I don't know if true fans of THE iDOLM@STER will ever regard Xenoglossia as positively as I do—the different voices must be especially jarring for them—but perhaps they'll come to appreciate the series if they think of it as one of those in-universe television programs the iM@S characters themselves occasionally feature in as actresses.

Dated 4 June 2015: Girls-with-guns trilogy re-watching project complete, or, Bee Train be the bee trainiest

Noir discs and merchandise
Noir DVDs and Blu-rays. Also pictured: Some random
swag that RightStuf was trying to unload.

I fuckin' love Noir. You'll know this if you've read some of my old ass blog posts on the series—ones I've been meaning to import into WordPress for like, years. You'll also know this if you follow me on The Twitter, as I recently completed my Bee Train girls-with-guns trilogy re-watching project. This was inspired by my acquisition of Noir Blu-rays which, conveniently, are a Hell of a bargain. I also had Madlax and El Cazador de la Bruja DVDs which I had previously purchased but never got around to watching. As you can see from the picture above, I already had the Noir DVD box set (which came with a Kirika t-shirt), but the Blu-rays are still a great deal even for fans who already have the DVDs.

Madlax and El Cazador de la Bruja DVDs
I probably should have used a picture of Elenore here instead.

I've already re-watched Noir at least twice in the past 12 years or so, but this was my first time re-watching Madlax and El Cazador de la Bruja. Noir holds up if you're already okay with the incredible feats they pull off. For example, basically every shot Kirika ever fires results in an instant kill. She's shooting .380 ACP ball ammo for crying out loud. Of course, considering some of the feats she accomplishes during the course of the show, I'm reasonably certain Kirika could find a way to instantaneously kill a room full of Soldats flunkies using a package of Q-Tips. Neither Madlax nor El Cazador de la Bruja are quite as good as I remember though, and I didn't think they were that great to begin with. Madlax at least benefits from one of best anime maids of all time, but El Cazador is sort of dreadful to marathon.

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 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 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 5 April 2006: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha

When it first started airing, I dismissed Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha as being a horrible ripoff of Cardcaptor Sakura. Yeah, it turns out I was way wrong. Both it and its sequel Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A's are actually kinda awesome, to tell you the truth.



Fate and Nanoha
Fate > Nanoha.

Fate and Nanoha
(Fate has a cape with a giant collar AND had a terrible life. This contest was a boat race.)

Standing in circles magic? Check. People shouting out the names of their attacks before unleashing them? Check. Battle costumes? Check. MAGIKAL GIRLS KICKING THE SHIT OUT OF EACH OTHER? Checkmate.

In other news, both Shakugan no Shana and the end of Mai-Otome were also great.