(Spoilers ahead, you have been warned)
So, if there’s any entry on my list I would expect to get a bit of hate from, this would be the pinnacle. Despite hearing a significant amount of negative feedback about the Cinderella Girls and a lot of people hating it compared to the original iDOLM@STER anime, I absolutely adored Cinderella Girls. I fell in love with the cast and especially the show’s main character, Uzuki Shimamura. I’ve talked a bit before about my opinions on the Cinderella Girls anime and how I grew to love the series over its run in my In Defense of Cinderella write-up, covering several of the points I’ll gloss over in this write-up. While Cinderella Girls is definitely the entry in my Top 5 that I have the least personal connection to overall, it was a series that I absolutely loved from start to finish and I could sing its praises for a long time.
So, there’s a lot of things I absolutely loved about Cinderella Girls. The first and most obvious point I have to talk about would be its protagonist, Uzuki Shimamura. Uzuki struck me from the get-go with her overflowing positivity and, of course, her signature “Ganbarimasu!”. Uzuki caught my eye very early and the growth and development of her character, especially over the latter half of the second season as we see what happens when her happiness and cheerful exterior breaks (much to my own tears ;~;) The Producer was also a very bright spot, as seeing his growth from the awkward Producer who never seems to know which way he’s going into the backbone for the Cinderella Project is amazing. The animation is of the quality you would expect from the iDOLM@STER and the music is all super-catchy, but the show just touched me on a more deep emotional level. Uzuki became one of my personal favorite characters and her arc in the latter half of the second season resonated with me on a personal leve.
Favorite Episode: Episode 24, “Barefoot Girl”
I had to pick this episode for a reason I’ve mentioned before in my previously mentioned “In Defense of Cinderella”. This episode brings the Uzuki arc that was the prominent feature of the end of the second season to the climax. It also contains one of my absolute favorite performances in the series in S(mile)ing and my absolute favorite scene from the series. As Uzuki’s confidence is still shaky upon wanting to re-roll, Producer brings her to a venue where she had once performed. With Uzuki’s confidence in herself still shaken, Producer brings about one of my favorite scenes as he hears Uzuki’s fears about herself. Encouraging her to believe in herself and to believe in possibilities, we also get one of the absolute cutest moments in the series with Uzuki and Producer. This scene touched me on a personal level more than maybe any other scene in the entire series. Having dealt with this same kind of thing with a close friend, I was able to empathize with Producer and the scene was really special for me. It’s definitely the crowning moment of why I absolutely adore Cinderella Girls.
I love Cinderella Girls. Despite all the hate the show gets from a large part of the fandom and the seeming animosity towards it from part of the community, it won me over quickly with a cast I couldn’t help but like and a main character that stole my heart and stands as one of my favorite characters of all time. The music of the show has worked its way into some of my favorite songs of all time and I’ve just fallen in love with the whole franchise. It was an absolute surprise to me when I first watched it and to this day, I don’t regret moving Madoka down to #4 for how much this series resonated with me and how much enjoyment I’ve gotten out of it.