Monday, September 21, 2015

The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls Episode #23 Review

I'll keep trying my best!

What They Say:
The idols from 346 Production's "Cinderella Project" are back, and this time they have more work than ever! Following the success of the summer idol festival, the girls have gained an incredible boost in popularity. Their first group album has even launched. There's just one problem though -- the new executive at 346 Pro, Mishiro. This mysterious new boss is now planning on dismantling all of the company's idol-projects. ALL OF THEM. What could possibly be in store for our beloved Cinderella girls now?!

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)

Uzuki Shimamura is one of the few idols in the Cinderella Project that, frankly, I've never really cared about. However, I didn't let that blind me coming into this week's episode (Which I was hoping would be similar to the final Haruka arc in The iDOLM@STER 1.0). Unfortunately for all of us, it wasn't. But I can't ridicule an episode of a show purely for not making my hopes and dreams come true. No, I need to do other things for that -- like: find flaws, make fun of flaws, find more flaws, etc. The thing is, I wasn't really able to do that either. So what does that mean for episode #23?

At the end of last week's episode, we witnessed Shimamu have a minor mental breakdown while participating in a photo-shoot with Miho. Obviously, this episode picks up right after that with Uzuki deciding that she would rather start up her lessons again than perform with New Generations -- at least for now. Seemingly heartbroken by this decision, Rin and Mio do all they can to try and get Uzuki to open up to them. However, this is to no avail seeing as Uzuki is trying to shut herself away from all the girls until she comes to term with who she "really is". And what better way to do that than by practicing the same dance move in a dimly lit training room for weeks? I mean, that's what I always do whenever I'm going through a rough patch. (I feel you, Shimamu)

Predictably enough, Mishiro catches on to how Uzuki is affecting Triad Primus and the other units and tells Producer-san to release her. Rin and Mio, still totally oblivious to this, barge into Uzuki's training/coping session and give her a stern lecture about how she needs to get her act together. Uzuki spews her whole "I'll do my best!" thing over and over again, the same way she always does, until Rin drags her to the park bench where the two once had a heart-to-heart the would ultimately end with Rin becoming an idol.

It's at this point where the episode becomes something. Uzuki comes to terms with and admits that she isn't special the same way the other girls are. It's something that has been haunting her for quite some time, and just the release of that is enough to send all three members of New-Gen into hysterics. Mio serves as a shoulder for Uzuki to cry on, while Rin is the one doing the lecturing. The conversation becomes less about idols, and more about their friendship, which has been depreciating over the course of late. After they get their respective tears in, we go back to the Producer/Mishiro conversation about Uzuki, which ends with Producer saying that she is an essential part of the Cinderella Project and cannot be let go. Hooray, everyone wins.

Best/Favorite Part:
The only part of this episode that really stood out for me was the park scene at the end. Even though it was relatively predictable, it was still nice to witness some raw emotion from the girls of New Generations. It was also nice seeing Uzuki act like a human and not like a happiness-robot for once. It's about time she finally developed as a character.

In Summary:
Episode #23 was good, but it wasn't nearly what I was expecting -- or even wanting. I've mentioned it before, but I think that Cinderella Girls takes the easy way out too often. Instead of dragging problems out and making know, actual problems...they just end within twenty minutes or so. There's barely enough time for you to even formulate an opinion on these matters. It's enjoyable to watch, don't get me wrong, but it isn't as enjoyable as it should be.

Grade: B

Streamed By: Daisuki/Hulu

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