Thanks for the MEMORIES, Cinderella Girls Episode 6!

Posted by DiGiKerot in Cinderella Girls at February 13, 2015 on 11:18 pm

I have to admit, this weeks episode of Cinderella Girls didn’t pan out in exactly the way I was expecting. I mean, it was pretty obvious that Mio was setting herself up to some kind of fall throughout the entire episode, but the usual conclusion to this kind of thing tends to be something disastrous happening during the performance itself – stagefright, dance accident, forgotten lyrics or what have you – rather than things technically going without a hitch.

Although I suppose what’s being reflected here is the effect of our main heroines perhaps moving a little too quickly in some ways. I think the presumption earlier in the series when the Producer was asked if it was really a good idea to let the girls on stage with Mika was that it was because of how immature their talents were at that point, rather than the implications of what it could do for their mentality. Mika is the big leagues, and appearing with her set unrealistic expectations. The danger of working at a huge, well-established idol agency, as opposed to an operation so unsuccessful their office sign is made of duct tape, whilst being surrounded by established megastars, is that you are naturally going to the wrong idea about some things unless you are being reigned in.

I don’t particularly think that Producer really did anything wrong apart from not realising quite how insecure Mio actually is. She does too good a job of not coming across that way with her attitude, being rather a chatterbox who makes a good job of talking herself up something rotten, but you go back a few episodes to when they first appeared on stage, and it was Mio who was very much the most nervous looking of the trio. I’m not necessarily sure that she isn’t being earnest, or that she is trying to hide, or talk herself out of, something, but she seems like the kind of character who doesn’t take well to things not going as she expects.

Until we learn more next week (no doubt invalidating all my thoughts here in the process), I can but wonder if, whilst certainly not meeting the expectations she’d set for herself, Mio is actually more upset thinking she’s lost face with her friends, having oversold them on the event, then any kind of actual dissatisfaction with the actual quality of performance or anything. I’m sure there was nothing wrong with how the girls handled themselves on stage, and Mio’s school chums probably aren’t thinking anything like what she’s assuming they are, but the moment you get other people involved is the moment you can’t just laugh something off when it doesn’t quite go how you were expecting it to.

Of course, whilst he didn’t really say anything wrong – of course the audience isn’t going to get hyped about a debut idol group with a song too new to likely been heard, let alone have calls yet – Producers rather blunt, if entirely truthful, response probably wasn’t the best way to go about talking to a young girl who had already just had her ego completely shattered. I suppose it does ultimately stem from his inability to pick up certain signs and readjust expectations accordingly, much like Producer in aniM@S failing to pick-up on certain things Miki was saying early in that series, which much the same actual conclusion in them both quitting (and there’s your aniM@S comparison for the week).

Whilst the way they juxtaposed New Generations against Love Laika by splicing short segments of the formers entire stage experience into the laters dance number was likely at least partially informed by both the need to save time by only having one insert song and the commercial need to spread their CD releases out, it did produce a pretty effective contrast between the two. Anya and Minami haven’t had any ego-boosting experiences, and even if they had, the pair have always been portrayed as the two grounded members of the Cinderella Project, even if it does mean that Minami tends to come across as somewhat boring. They’re just happy with the realistic slow-but-steady progress in their careers they’re making, not expecting fantastic immediate results.

Also, Minami looks way better without her hair tied back.

This is one of these scenes which looks fantastic in motion, but is hard to get really great-looking stills from…

This week was another episode in which one fellow took charge of many of the senior animation production roles, in this case it being Nagamachi Hideki. Whilst he didn’t have a super-significant role in the original aniM@S as far as I can tell (just some key animation on one episode), he’s another of those guys who did an awful lot of work on Magi for A-1 Pictures. Having not seen Magi, I can’t really comment on his work there – the most significant thing he’s worked on which I’ve actually seen are the two Nanoha movies, which are beautifully made, but given he was just one of many animation directors on each, I’d actually have to do the work required to figure out which segment he was in charge of in order to draw anything from it, which is far too much effort for a Friday evening.

That said, the animation production this week is certainly solid, and not just in comparison to last weeks clearly time-strapped production. The concert scene that I’ve already mentioned was really both the highlight in animation production and just general clever direction, but there are a few neat unusual shots elsewhere in the episode, and I’m pretty sure that Rika and Miria’s brief appearance is simply confirming an already apparent staff bias somewhere in the production process.

Also, this was a pretty fantastic dirty look Rin was giving Producer. Good job, whoever was Key Animator here!

Chihiro rather casually drops another (what I presume is a) Stamina Drink on the Producer in this episode. It’s a little weird in how casually they just drop these little game references without any pomp or ceremony about them – it’s not even so much a joke, as it is just portrayed as a naturalistic action of no real significance. It’s kind of difficult to not make comparisons to KanColle given their similar origins and the fact that they’re both presently airing, but it’s things like this which show the fundamental difference in how the shows are going about adapting and embracing their source. When KanColle references a game mechanic, like they did with the instant construction flamethrower in this weeks episode, they do make a big deal out of it – they make a concerted effort to somehow contextualise it as a gag that has a substantial meaning if you are “in” on it – but the need to acknowledge the basis in a videogame is something that Cinderella Girls doesn’t really concern itself with.

I suppose the relatively understood nature of the genre of “idol cartoons” doesn’t quite lend itself to that kind of joke in the same way as it does for anthropomorphised battleships, unless your idol cartoon happens to be PriPara or Aikatsu, though.

(Also, whilst on the subject of shipgirls, a reminder that Minami shares the same VA as the entire Akatsuki class from Wednesdays KanColle. That’s some impressive range, going from crazy shipgirls to boring idol!)

Also, also, they wouldn’t need a Giant Robot for Rika and Miria to ride with Kirari around.

Finally, Love Laika’s debut CD, featuring Memories, the song they performed in this episode, is out on the 18th of March (2015, obviously), should you be the sort who likes to pre-order these things.

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