Yuri Level of the Day!

Today's yuri level is:

2, until I find out otherwise

The iDOLM@STER vs. Idolmaster Xenoglossia, or Why You Should Watch The iDOLM@STER and Not Xenoglossia


This post is biased! But I wanted to write it anyway. Just so's you know.
Also, this post is about the 2011 iDOLM@STER anime vs. the Xenoglossia incarnation, not the actual game(s) itself.

Since they announced the iDOLM@STER anime, I've been eagerly waiting for July. Now, for those of you who don't know what iDOLM@STER/iDOLMASTER is, it's a game by Namco (and Bandai?) for (at least) the XBox. You play a producer of an idol company and you have to train different idols to become #1 in Japan. What makes the game interesting (at least for me, I can't speak for everyone else) is that each idol actually sings. Songs made especially for the game!  And original dances! With real singers! (Not that there's anything wrong with Vocaloid...) And the character designs are AWESOME. In other words, it's like a visual novel where you actually do something (and without sex, mentioned or otherwise)! But the biggest thing is how the fans could manipulate the videos. In fact, there's a whole site dedicated to iDOLM@STER videos. So there were a lot of fans who, in playing the game, grew to love the characters, voices, and graphics.

When an iDOLM@STER anime was announced in 2007, I was indeed one of the excited fans. Finally, we could see our favorite characters come to life in a different way than the choose-your-own-adventure type game. It was even being produced by Sunrise, special in my heart for Gundam Wing and Mai-Hime, and it was named Idolmaster: Xenoglossia. But then...

Help! I've fallen and I can't get out of this genre!

It was horrible. Terrible! What happened to idols? Appeals? What's with the mecha??? It was like Xebec's Negima all over again, instead this time instead of ruining the ending, they ruined everything. In hindsight, a mecha turn was probably really obvious. I mean, it's Sunrise. What does Sunrise do? Giant robots. And it usually works for them. But not in this instance. Oh no, iDOLM@STER fans everywhere got angry. I'm sure some stopped watching or even wrote disparaging letters. I mean, come on! We want to see HarukaxAny-Other-Idol, not HarukaxGiantRobot! Even the small OVA they made couldn't appease us (although I loved it). Then, a couple months ago, they announced another iDOLM@STER anime. There were a lot of skeptics. I, for one, wasn't even going to watch it if it was like Xenoglossia. But then previews came out and fans rejoiced, for here it was! An iDOLM@STER anime actually about the iDOLM@STER game! The first episode just came out yesterday/the day before (so SO excited) and it followed the game really well. It was all I wanted and more.

But then, I decided to go forum-hopping for the iM@S anime. And let me tell you, you don't know how limited a view you have until someone says something completely out of left field. (Or right, I'm not picky.) There were people who actually liked and wanted to re-watch Xenoglossia. It was like a completely different animal! But, as I read it, I began to think about why, exactly, iDOLM@STER fans disliked Xenoglossia so much. I mean, taken from an outside/newbie perspective, it apparently wasn't that bad. (I'm not about to go re-watch it to try and see it from another perspective, so don't expect a review about that.) The way I see it, there are two reasons: Expectations and Eagerness.

Something like this would've been a perfectly all right adaptation.

Expectation was probably by far the worst thing about Xenoglossia. When it was announced, fans expected an anime about the game. They expected lots of singing and dancing and hours and hours of practice. What they expected... Was not what they got. So basically, the weight of failed expectations fell squarely (and heavily) on Sunrise. Personally, I have no idea what Sunrise thought they were doing. The mecha weren't even that good. (Because they also failed that test with me.) There's also the fact that the cast list was COMPLETELY different from the game seiyuu. I kind of get why they did that; the original seiyuu were not that well known, and famous seiyuu are a way to get new fans in. And that brings me to my next point.

When you like something, you want to show it off, right? So another aspect of the anime was a way to reach out to people who don't have Xboxes, who don't live in Japan or speak Japanese, who haven't yet been drawn in. What Xenoglossia did completely ruined all of those efforts. Think about it. If I told you, "Hey, there's this really cool game about idols called iDOLM@STER and there's an anime coming out about it!" and I showed you Xenoglossia, you'd look at me like I was dumb. Because Xenoglossia is definitely not about idols. I mean, idols are involved. Sort of. If I remember right. The characters are also different from game and anime. For example: 

If only today was actually her birthday, that would be SO AWESOME.

This is my favorite idol, Kisaragi Chihaya. In the game, she's kinda stoic, serious. Singing is her hobby and her only hobby is singing. But, when you achieve more perfect communications, you get a girl who is calm, but sometimes gets upset at things you wouldn't think with her personality. In Xenoglossia...

Evil Psychotic Lesbian, yup.

You get this. There are no words to describe just how they perverted Chihaya's character. Out of all of them, I think this change in personality was the worst, and not only because original Chihaya was my favorite. While the others had a reboot that at least had one little similarity with the original, Chihaya... Nope. Not even body type. It was, in effect, a completely different character that had the same name. It was the greatest disappointment in my life. I mean, don't get me wrong, Evil Psychotic Lesbians are hilarious. But not when it's supposed to be someone else. I don't want to say "This is my favorite character" and have people look at the Xenoglossia incarnation.

But anyway. That's my thoughts on iDOLM@STER. The last thing I'll say is please watch the real anime! (Or any one of the game videos.) Later!

Another awesome if-only incarnation.

1 comment:

  1. I just watched the first episode of Xenoglossia. Aside from the fact that the robots are unnecessary, doing the job a well-aimed nuke could accomplish more effortlessly, the whole concept is even more hairbrained than that Saturday morning cartoon that turned the Three Stooges into cyborgs. Even Cheech & Chong could’ve created a better Idolm@ster anime concept than this. Haruka Amami would honestly look far more credible with a bong up to her lips than in the cockpit of a mecha.

    As for Chihaya, I see what you mean … all too clearly. Chihaya Kisaragi is that loveable stringbean who listens to classical music and wishes she had bigger boobs. That nutjob scowling all the way through the first episode, holding a glowing coping saw to Azusa’s throat? I just can’t accept that psycho as Chihaya.