by Victoria Erica | staff writer
When you have a franchise that revolves around a dozen cute Japanese idols, the fun never stops. Idolm@ster has been a popular franchise in Japan. It has inspired a series of video games, manga one shots, three anime series, and an endless amount of collectible merchandise. Earlier in the year, a new short series debuted, Puchimas! Petite Idolm@ster. This is a super cute series with super-deformed versions of 765Pro’s idol team interacting with the idols.
Idolm@ster is a long running franchise in Japan. Based on a Sim-type video game, the goal is to produce a successful set of girls into idols. Dance, singing, photoshoots, etc…. every activity must be met to become Japan’s next top idol. Idolm@ster has spawned sequel games, spinoff games, two animated series, and tons and tons of merchandising. The most coveted PVC figures can run up to triple digits. The show has mass appeal; while there is a huge moe factor to Idolm@ster, girls enjoy it for the girl power, dance routines, endless amount of music, and the ongoing list of costume choices.
Based on the Puchimas manga series, Funimation began streaming the episodes with English subtitles on their YouTube and Funimation Channels. The shows are simulcasted on their same release date as Japan. The episodes are short – less than 3 minutes long. It’s more of a mad cap comedy series than its predecessors. You could say it takes place in an alternate universe from the second series animation; Producer-san literally has the letter “P” for a head.
The characters are very entertaining. Ritsuko calls the shots in the 765Pro office and often calls out Producer-san on his shenanigans. However, the biggest draw is the petite version of the idols themselves. Each of the idols finds a mini version of themselves while on vacation and they take them back home and to the office. Each mini idol has a special quirk. Haruka’s petite self, for instance, multiplies when you give it water. While there is no real plot to the series, it’s just happy-fun-time for the idols and their mini versions.
The animation is simple. The main idols’ character designs are slightly different from the previous anime. Expressions are bigger and personality quirks are amplified. Ritsuko’s breakdowns and Makoto’s despair are just funny to watch. The music fits the whimsical nature of the show; “La La Wonderland” is sung by the series’ idols and the opening animation is fun to watch. Like Hetalia and Digicharat, hearing and watching the opening and closing bits may get a bit annoying considering this original net animation (ONA) is less than three minutes per episode.
So far, there are 30-plus mini-episodes of Puchimasu. The series is still ongoing and the episodes can be streamed from the Funimation website. You don’t have to be entirely invested in the previous Idolm@ster series to appreciate the cute madness. This series is very standalone and can be easily marathoned. If you enjoy Idolm@ster, this is a really nice delight. Because the episodes are short, you can keep going through them again and again. If you are new to the Idolm@ster franchise, Puchimasu is a great way to step into the world of 765 Productions.
[NOTE: The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the SPJA.]