Legitimising Micro-Transactions with Cinderella Girls Episode 2

Posted by DiGiKerot in Cinderella Girls at January 22, 2015 on 1:05 am

This week in Cinderella Girls, we meet the Energy Drink, the trademark-infringement-free way to restore your idols pep anytime, anywhere.

This is, of course, a concept lifted from the original mobile game – it’s one of the many items which can be used on your idols to provide a beneficial effect. That said, whilst I call it “legitimising micro-transactions”, I’m mostly joking, because it’s one of those things that is a little difficult to to properly place a significance on without actually being a player of the game. It’s probably for another post, but the bath scene in last weeks KanColle rather puts that into focus, as I’m sure that came across completely differently to those in the thick of the war against the Abyssal Fleet than it did to those who aren’t (by which I mean, buckets are common as muck without paying for them). Mostly, though, it’s just a small, if a little weird, acknowledgement of actual game mechanics in the show, something that the previous iDOLM@STER show never really got into.

I suppose there’s the OP to talk about this week. It’s cute – I mean, I don’t think the song is as good as READY!! or anything, but I guess Kousaki Satoru is still on break due to illness?

There’s two main things of interest to me to mention about it, though. Firstly, I really like the number of shots in the opening which emphasise how short Anzu is. In reality, she’s only supposed to be, according to the official stat sheets, a single centimetre shorter than Miria (who gets on her tip-toes to stay in shot), but she’s also supposed to be six years older than her. That’s one of the secret goofy jokes about Anzu – she’s actually seventeen years old. Whilst that actually slaps her right in the middle of the Cinderella Project girls age-wise – only a day younger than the comparatively monstrously tall Kirari (who they keep putting next to her as if to bring attention to the size difference) – she’s older than the likes of Rin.

The other particularly interesting thing about the opening is exactly how closely it hues to the form of the first OP of the original iDOLM@STER anime. I mean, it’s not exactly slavish, but watch the two back-to-back and you’ll likely see what I mean in that they both utilise the same kind of scenes, and even some of the same kind of gestures, in the same order. I’m not exactly sure what kind of message they are trying to transmit here – are they trying to emphasise the differences between the two, or that you are in safe hands?

(What exactly Anzu did to seemingly get to be the center in the logo shot, however, I do not know)

I do somewhat wonder if the shots of the girls first walking into the Cinderella Project is supposed to be the same kind of thing – it’s very much go a similar layout (both in terms of the actual shot and the office it portrays) to the many entry into the 765Pro office scenes, but obviously the caliber of office decor is significantly higher.

The other interesting thing about the episode, from the comparison to the original point of view, is the fact that they essentially run through the entire plot line of the prior shows second episode in about ten minutes. They go to a photo shoot! They try to be something they aren’t! They learn the value of being themselves! The lack of explicit moralising about it is somewhat deft, but, again, I do wonder if this was supposed to be an intentional statement of intent or not.

Although everything I’m writing about here does make me feel somewhat weird in that I’m spending a lot of time comparing it to the older show, but as much as the first episode of Cinderella Girls successfully managed to make itself it’s own thing whilst making entirely off-hand references to the core franchise, the second episode seems to go about explicitly calling it into reference. It’ll be interesting to see how the show handles itself going forward, though.

The only other thing I have to say about the episode is that i do somewhat agree with Rin here – the first half of the episode is somewhat of an idol overload. I’m sure this is what watching the first episode of KanColle was like for those who don’t play the game – it’s amusing as a checklist for those who’ve been indulging in the product for a while, but it’s something of a confusing ride for those who don’t. I mean, people complained about this with the first episode of the previous iM@S TV show, and that only introduced thirteen girls across a whole 24 minute episode. Whilst I’m sure we’re only actually going to have to remember the few who are given namecards, they do only spend about five minutes introducing them.

But, hey, at least I know the ones who were given character CDs in the first two sets already!

(And, no, I don’t know why Mio got off the elevator on floor 22 either)
(Also, there’s a bit of an animation consistency issue in the locker room scene in that the numbers on the lockers suddenly appear part way through. Is there any significant to Uzuki having locker 45? I have no idea…)

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