Sarcasm warning, fans beware!!
To be frank, EP9 and 10 of Idol M@ster provide little excitement and are bent on cliches. I mean, when you see two consecutive episodes in a standard-length anime each devoted to trivial detective comedy and certain dubious sports event, “filler” warning shall sound immediately…
Well, at least we can expect some non-filler episodes in the future, just look on the bright side.
The entire EP9 revolves around a certain case of pudding murder. The case gains its significance from the fact that the puddings in question are some outrageously delicious, fruit-laden ice cream pudding that are grossly over-priced. As a matter of fact, they are so grossly over-priced that only Iori (in case you forget, she is the most, if not the only, materially affluent person in 765 production) could afford a couple of them nice puddings. Since the puddings have disappeared from public fridge (all you office peons know about public fridges) under mysterious circumstances, detective enthusiasts from 765 (namely Ami and Mami) decide to take matters into their own hands and start an investigation while far more efficient options such as bugging Iori for some replacement desserts exist. WICKED.
Honestly speaking, the only thing that qualifies as highlight in EP9 is the pudding itself. I’ve just got myself some ice cream mixed with soda drink by the way, hmmmmm (apologize for my urge to troll here, sincerely).
Another filler episode, EP10 is slightly more content-rich since it introduces several peers of 765 pros including a hostile idol group (named Shinkan Girls, how questionable is that?), a friendly idol group (their agency is called 865 or something, shouldn’t it be Bandai?) and a pop boy band with apparently high popularity. It is not clear at all though whether these characters will continue to appear in future episodes.
The idea of a “national sports convention” for idols is so dubious it practically breaks the entire episode. Despite full knowledge that it is not to be taken seriously, the narration at the start explaining the event is still a huge “wth” moment. We all know how out of boundary Japanese variety shows can go, but a sports convention attended by popular idol groups doing batsu-game (punishment game) like competitions is still a magnificent outlier. And oh the agencies all take it so seriously, as if winning the event will guarantee popularity for the rest of the year. Also, I can’t help but wonder whether 765 gets paid an appearance fee, or the agency is paying a “publicity cover” to secure a place in the convention? Likely the latter. WICKED… not.
Character wise, EP10 mainly shows the “baka-ple” style conflicts between Makoto and Iori, which is not terribly interesting with all the more than predictable developments. Also, there is the discouraged Yayoi who is practically decimated by mean comments from rival Shinkan Girls. I still cannot work out why Yayoi has to be such a frail member whose weakness seems to be entirely caused by poverty… According to drama convention, shouldn’t people gain spiritual integrity under poverty instead of losing it? Yayoi’s poverty-linked inferiority contrasts especially with Iori, who mostly does the right thing at the right time. Life you’re scary.
Lucky for 765, despite a day of internal tension and external hostility from rivals, they won the first place in the sports event. And that proves 765 tops all other agencies… in terms of talents’ state of fitness? I guess due to widespread overstress from working, Japan finally realizes the true cost of a “health deficit” and start taking measures, such as organizing sports events for businesses. The convention for idols is nothing but a start…
The ending song for EP10 is Go My Way, which was featured in the main trailer for the original Idol M@ster game. I still recall seeing the trailer back in 2007 on gametrailers.com. Obviously the image of cute 3D cartoon girls dancing and singing were too shocking for Western gamers, that most of the comments were along the lines of “wtf did I just see?”, etc. Talking about cultural shock.