Fall 2017 Season Wrap: The iDOLM@STER Side M, Code:Realize, & Yuki Yuna: Hero Chapter

At long last, we’re finally here with my last three shows of the fall season:

*Rating system:

  • 0 dango – average and forgettable.
  • 1 dango – very good in its category.
  • 2 dango – excellent show that is worth a try.
  • 3 dango – exceptional show one must watch.


It’s not often we get an idol show as genuine as The iDOLM@STER SideM, where the characters feel like people as normal as you or I. Where the previous two series in the franchise focused on girls whose hopes and dreams typically centered on the idol industry from the beginning, SideM gives us young men from different areas of life. Many of them had full blown careers in fields like medicine and law. Others were athletes. Some of them are still in school, their move to professional music a natural extension of their hobbies. Almost all of them were scouted into the company as novices in the idol industry. This is why SideM appeals to me more than usual; their stories take viewers along with them from the bottom to the top. Also note that this is a show that can appeal to anyone, not just female viewers. Do not be put off by the all-male cast.

SideM started on the right foot with a pre-pilot episode featuring an already-established idol group, Jupiter. This tied together the original series and this new season, as well as laid a foundation of nostalgia for SideM to build upon. Once Episode 1 came out, I was surprised at the shift in attention to an entirely new setting with unknown characters. Instead of Jupiter, we followed a young lawyer from job dissatisfaction to a night of drinking. This was obviously not where I expected to go. When Teru gets scouted and forms a three-man group with a doctor and a teacher, I realized that I was in for an unexpected treat. But then we moved on to the next group, and then the next. I know I should have expected the large cast and multiple story lines, but I couldn’t help but find some groups more interesting than others. Dramatic Stars, Jupiter, and HighxJoker took front stage, while all others fell to the side.

Even if I did not fall in love with the characters of SideM like I did with 765Pro, these men still made me see them as more than just performers. They had hobbies and dreams outside of the idol world. They struggled to come together by overcoming differences in history, lifestyles, and aspirations. SideM is definitely a show anyone who enjoys idol anime should try, no matter your age or gender.

Rating: 1 dango

Code:Realize: Sousei no Himegimi

It’s been so long since I’ve seen an otome adaptation actually worth recommending, that I’m still uncertain about whether my impression stems less from quality and more from the lack of quantity in the genre. I’ll trust my instinct, though, and say that Code:Realize gives us not only a delightful array of love interests, it also includes a passable plot. Then there’s the heroine, who stands out among the usual otome protagonists. Cardia may suffer memory loss and possess the telltale soft voice, but it doesn’t take long for her to reveal a more substantial personality. Like with any good series of the genre, it’s fun seeing how she interacts with different guys. I quickly found a favorite in Impey the engineer with his playful flirting and energy.

Even more shocking in Code:Realize is the fact that there’s an actual couple by the end of the series. There’s no room for alternative paths, nor are we left with an open ending to the romance. Their relationship builds naturally with the progression of the story, which begins with Cardia’s strange affliction and ends with a battle for human survival. What better time for love than in a time of war?

There’s plenty more for me to like, such as the steampunk aesthetic, and the inclusion of notable figures of history and fiction. Obviously, Queen Victoria is a must for the era. Then there are fantastic characters like Arsene Lupin, Van Helsing, and even Captain Nemo and his Nautilus. Hopefully you’ll have just as much fun as I did seeing the show’s interpretations of these literary figures.

Rating: 1 dango

Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru: Yuusha no Shou

Now that Hero Chapter is over, I can happily recommend the entire Yuki Yuna series to fans of the style. This past season—the seven-episode Washio Sumi Chapter and the six-episode Hero Chapter—did much to improve my opinion of the story as a whole. Instead of seeing the original season as a poor man’s Madoka, I now consider Yuki Yuna a worthwhile work on its own. Some of my favorite aspects include the consistently pretty visuals, the unique narrative style, and the hopeful, but definitive, ending.

I have to give props to the Hero Chapter for turning my opinion around after my mixed feelings on the prequel. As much as I enjoyed seeing Togo’s first experience with the Hero System, knowing the outcome spoiled much of the intended emotional impact. Our return to the present with Yuna and the others brings us back to a state of unknown. I feel the uncertainty at Togo’s absence, the fear of what has been forgotten in exchange for good physical health. This tension is what I missed in the prequel chapter, and what I needed to feel invested in the major fight to come.

Yuki Yuna’s take on magical girls and the sacrifices they make for their powers covers generations of heroes and their caretakers. Their gravestones, including Gin’s, set the background for Yuna’s “marriage” to Shinju. What follows is a wonderfully crafted battle for both the survival of mankind and the life of Yuki Yuna. I really loved the way the series ended by dropping the keys into human hands. The future they grasp looks a lot like our own, devoid of divine presence and its protections, but also full of the possibilities only humanity can create.

Rating: 1 dango

3 thoughts on “Fall 2017 Season Wrap: The iDOLM@STER Side M, Code:Realize, & Yuki Yuna: Hero Chapter

  1. I kinda shied away from all of these. Perhaps I’ll go back and watch them, especially Code:Realize. I like otome shows a lot more than they usually deserve to be liked (some of the absolute worst shows I’ve finished have been otome shows – Brothers Conflict, Kiniro no Corda: Blue Sky). I didn’t really realize it was even an otome show, because it sounds like a shounen battle title… which from a certain perspective it might be. 😉

    I’m still not convinced that I want to see Yuuki Yuuna. Maybe eventually I will, but probably not soon.

    So is this the part where we recommend shows you didn’t write about? Because one conspicuous missing show from your list is Imouto Sae Ireba Ii. I really liked this show, and only just realized today that it was directed by Shin Oonuma (after watching some episodes of Anne Happy recently and wondering “I wonder why Oonuma hasn’t done anything recently… oops). I can understand someone turning it off in the first 4 minutes, because it has a completely trashy and out of character start, but once they get past that (which actually is characterization for one of the main characters) it really settles down to be a great show about young adult relationships. Yeah, there’s a lot of silly covered up nudity, and silly jokes about nudity and sex, but it’s about young 20s year-olds. But what Oonuma does the best is take characters that aren’t necessarily ‘winners’ in life and make you love them and root for them, even as they continue to try hard against the ‘losses’ that everyone could tally. All of the characters are well-realized and compelling, and I’d definitely recommend it.

    I’d also recommend Just Because! even if it’s not the most even of productions. It’s a more typical teen romance polygon, but works out very well because the characters are all kept very grounded. Would probably be even better as a show you could just watch in a row.


    • It seems fitting, then, that I saved these for last because I knew right away that there would be little to no reaction to them here or on my Twitter TL.

      The reason I did not include Imouto Sae Ireba Ii is because I was so repulsed by the first episode that I immediately dropped it without pushing for the three-episode rule. Even disregarding that horrific opening segment, I was still completely turned off by the rest of the episode. With your endorsement, however, Imouto may get a second chance with me some day. Some day…

      The response to Just Because really surprised me after I also dropped that show after the first episode. I’ve been ruthless lately with dropping series, and I almost regretted my decision on Just Because once I saw some discourse on it. I will likely watch this sooner rather than later.

      Also, funny you should name drop Blue Sky. I was so disappointed with it after falling in love with Primo Passo. I realized I still have it on hold on MAL and should probably remedy that to dropped.


      • It’s kind of surprising how truly terrible a lot of the otome adaptations are. Another really bad one was Arcana Famiglia. And that’s without getting into the ones with REALLY sketchy content like Amnesia and Diabolik Lovers. Sometimes I just don’t get why there’s any audience for the plot…

        ImoSae really lays it on thick in the first episode, and it’s true that a lot of the characters are somewhat broken, but I found it to be a case where there are people who are broken or who have hangups, and they still have to get through the day, and that’s what these characters do, without the show endorsing their choices. Itsuki’s imouto fetish isn’t celebrated by the show, it’s mocked and made an example of. And the other characters have their own hangups that are things that I think you learn they’re working through. So overall I think it works, even if it opens really poorly.

        Liked by 1 person

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