The Idolm@ster Movie: Beyond the Brilliant Future! is the sequel movie to the Idolm@ster anime series, which itself is based off the popular Idolm@ster series of simulation games by Namco Bandai. The movie is everything you want out of a continuation movie without many of the drawbacks.
The movie once again follows the lives of 765 Productions and its group of idols as they grapple with the popularity they have in the wake of the TV series. Much like the Idolmaster games, the central character is enforced to be the every-girl Haruka Amami and she takes the front of the stage in this movie.
This, like the anime series, is Idol Show: The Anime. Make no mistake about it.
The Idolmaster anime was one of the codifiers of the Idol genre. It prided itself on showing the hard work these girls have to put into their job to reach the top while also exploring the internal well-being of each of them mentally.
The movie continues this trend, though instead of examining the girls at large, it instead explores Haruka's ascension to official leader of the group, her decisions as one, and also on passing the torch.
It's a nice theme-ridden story that calls back some of the conflicts in the series and the character development we witnessed there.
Between the excellent production values and excellent dramatic buildup, it's difficult to point out just a few things that this movie is great at. It's the perfect ending for the person that watched the Idolmaster anime.
The soundtrack for the movie is turned up to eleven, the animation is top-notch, and the story is a perfect cap for the series. The movie brings conclusion to the series' story and the characters.
While I'm absolutely sure that 765Pro continued after this movie in the fictional world, the movie is very much structured like this is the last story of these idols. They're veterans of the business about to participate in one of the biggest concerts of their career and it shows.
Driving this home is the introduction of a new team of idols that will be backup dancers in the concert. It's structured like a passing-the-torch scenario where this new team will follow in the footsteps of 765Pro. It's a perfect book end for the series to end on.
This is strictly a movie for the person that watched the Idolmaster anime, since it relies quite explicitly on the emotional attachment you probably formed with the team. It's not entry level at all.
Besides that, the movie has some issues with the CG not quite matching up with the traditional animation. Normally it's okay, but I feel like it fell into an uncanny valley, where I just couldn't get over it because it was just almost right.
The Idolm@ster Movie: Beyond the Brilliant Future! is the perfect ending to the Idolmaster anime. It ties together the excellent soundtrack, great themes, and superb character development of the series into one package that effectively caps off the story.
The movie is all about spiritually passing the torch of 765 Production and its idols to the next generation of idols and it works. It makes excellent use of continuity and callbacks to remind the watcher why 765Pro worked well together and why that's important, all the while building up to their big concert.
That all said, it's worth mentioning that this movie is solely intended for those that watched the series itself. Without that you'll be a bit in the dark and not as invested in the story. If you have watched the series though and enjoyed it, this is almost a must-watch.
You can also get Toshi Nakamura's opinion over on Kotaku.
So can we get a real localized version?
This is part of Anime Marathon 2014, a continuation of Anime Marathon 2013 by popular demand. I'm on a mission to review every anime I can for the TAY community and anyone else that wants to read. I can never guarantee when these reviews will be posted, but I'll do my best to keep it consistent.