Puchimas: Petit iDOLM@STER
From the popular game "THE IDOLM@STER", comes a cute and soothing 4-koma! The setting is the same 765 Production from the games. One day, 765 Pro idols Ami and Mami bring in the mysterious Puchidols "Afuu" and "Yukipo"!? More and more Puchidols gather at the offices where everyone works. Leisurely enjoy their daily lives full of laughs and happenings.
What is a Puchidol? It is a good question and there are two answers that will help you understand what you are getting yourself into when you watch this series. First, they are essentially a small SD version of a recognised character from the iDOLM@STER franchise with a personality and quirks that parody or simply add additional amusement on top of the original characters personality and quirks – usually with an odd ability or magical power thrown in for good measure. The second answer to what a Puchidol is that they are the gosh-darned cutest things to ever be animated, little balls of tightly woven moe that leave me as giddy as a fan-girl who has just heard their favourite series is getting a new season after a eight hour coffee binge. To sum it up, Puchidols are love.
But seriously, Puchimas is a triumph of intention. With only two minutes per episode, the writers and the animators were severely limited in what they could accomplish in that space of time but they not only use the time well, they also use its limited nature to their advantage. The worst thing a comedy can do is over stay its welcome and while that point is awfully subjective (comedy itself being a particularly subjective genre in general) Puchimas never ever comes close to that point. As a full length, season long product Puchimas might have got old very quickly, an oversaturation of cuteness, but the short format allows for a joke, some soul-soothing antics and then you are on your way without making yourself sick – each episode like a square of chocolate that is only sweeter because you aren't being forced to scoff down a whole bar.
That all said, Puchimas is not the first short comedy series I have watched, far from it, but this show is a cut above the rest because of more than just its runtime. One reason is that it keeps it simple. All the characters, from the humans to the Puchidols, are completely shallow and none of them are ever explored but they work because their personalities bridge that precarious gap of being both easy to recognise and understand while avoiding the most eye-rolling clichés. Most of their traits and attributes are solely around for the sake of jokes but the writers understood that most of these traits were only good for one joke and left it at that. For example, one of the Puchidols hates big breasts and attacks those that have them – that is that particular Puchidol's introduction. Further appearances of that Puchidol are not used to rehash the same joke but explore different traits such as the episode where that Puchidol gets distracted by a large dog while trying to deliver a script to her idol equivalent. Even when the series does make jokes using the same traits as before the writers have clever ways of re-framing the traits to make new jokes. The fact that the Puchidol Yukipo likes to dig holes when threatened is used as a punch line a couple of times but one of the show’s funniest moments is one of the later examples where Ami and Mami scare Yukipo as she is sleeping.
Something that separates Puchimas from most of the other short ONA shows is that art and animation are not a weak point for this show at all. For one thing the art is perfect for what it wants to be. I was not kidding when I praised how utterly adorable the Puchidols are; it is one of the show's main appeals. Even if the show wasn't funny I would still watch Puchimas because of them. Their big shimmering eyes, cute little movements and the silly sounds they make all come together to make something so moe that it makes me happy to sacrifice my credibility as a serious reviewer on their charming little altars. Considering the animation, it isn't brilliant but these kinds of shows never are particular good in that respect. Where it beats most of its peers is that it does manage to marry the animation style to the aesthetic of the show. The way it is done gives the show a sort of pop-up picture book quality without being too static. The animation is used economically but it is used well.
So yeah, my gushing string of positives is over. The main criticism I can level at this show is that it is what it is and nothing more. It's a show of two minute comedy segments and that is it, no more and no less. Overall, I recommend Puchimas. It certainly isn't going to change your life or invoke deep or complex feelings but the show manages to deliver perfectly what it intended to deliver - gentle laughs and bucket loads of cuteness.
My inner snob tells me that I shouldn't be giving five stars to a silly wee series that is more about cuteness than character or cleverness but I've got to admire a show that gives me exactly what I want from it. Drop a star or two if you don't find the Puchidols to be one of the cutest things to have ever graced your screen. — Aiden Foote
Recommended Audience: Essentially this show is fine for most people unless you are offended by cuteness. There is some fanservice in the swimsuit episodes (as in they wear swimsuits) and there are one or two mentions of breasts for the purposes of humour.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital source, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (64/64)
Puchimas: Petit iDOLM@STER © 2013 Namco Bandai Games Inc. / PROJECT iM@S, petit
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