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The Spring 2023 Anime Preview Guide
The [email protected] Cinderella Girls U149

How would you rate episode 1 of
The [email protected] Cinderella Girls U149 ?
Community score: 3.9

How would you rate episode 2 of
The [email protected] Cinderella Girls U149 ?
Community score: 3.9

What is this?


The manga centers around girls under 149 centimeters tall (under about 4-feet, 11-inches) who aspire to be idols despite not having a producer or gigs. However, maybe with a marvelous dress, a marvelous stage, and a marvelous prince ... The new Cinderella story follows these small idols and their small rookie producer.

The [email protected] Cinderella Girls U149 is based on Kyowno's The [email protected] Cinderella Girls U149 manga and streams on Crunchyroll on Wednesdays.

How was the first episode?

Richard Eisenbeis

Nowadays, anime about young girls going from idol newbies to pop stars are dime a dozen. We get a few each anime season at the very least. However, it might not have turned out that way if it weren't for the runaway success of The [email protected] game series and its various anime adaptations. This entry twists the formula by having our new producer manage a group of new talent all under the height of 149 cm (4'11”)—or to put it another way, elementary school girls of varying ages.

On one hand, this looks to be just another idol anime in general and this first episode doesn't make me suspect there will be any major changes to the usual formula going forward. On the other, the focus on Tachibana and her unique circumstances makes this premiere better than the vast majority of the other idol anime I've seen while doing the preview guide in the past few years.

Tachibana is one of those kids who is mature for her age. With busy parents, she has learned to be self-sufficient, which makes her reluctant to ask for help even when needed. She sees those her own age as kids and would prefer serious adult figures in her life if possible. Meanwhile, the Producer is anything but. In fact, he was chosen for the job because of this. He looks younger and acts younger than his actual age. This unfortunately means he is passionate but irresponsible—making him the exact kind of adult that Tachibana hates. It doesn't help that he was pretty much tricked into this job, having no idea that he would be managing literal grade schoolers until the moment he walked through the door.

This first episode is basically our introduction to the cast and centers around their first meeting. The focus is narrowed down to Tachibana and the Producer, but everyone gets a few lines to set up their general personality. If idol anime are your thing, this one is likely a must-watch—but you already knew that since it's part of The [email protected] franchise.

Nicholas Dupree

I'll say upfront that I was never going to want to watch more of this show, and it's for entirely personal reasons: I cannot stand hearing adult voice actresses do squeaky little girl voices. In some cases, the characters are written in a way that I can tolerate, or the performance is grounded enough not to be ear-poison, but that's a rare occurrence. I get it; it's probably best not to make actual child actors play the child idols, considering these franchises also involve strenuous stage and recording work that we shouldn't make actual kids do. However, it means that a good half of this show's cast actively irritated me, like the Kidz Bop cover of nails on a chalkboard.

On the plus side, this premiere is very easy on the eyes, if not my ears. There's a ton of lively, impressive character animation complemented by evocative and often cinematic direction. The gaggle of elementary schoolers that make up our cast move with a natural, childlike energy that's hard to capture in animation. Several stylized segments look fantastic, an obvious flex for the production to assure you they'll probably look spectacular whenever these ankle-biters start performing. The opening animation even features traditionally animated group dancing, a rarity in any idol series. Whatever my complaints about the show, the visuals aren't one of them.

Unfortunately, the actual story and characters leave a lot to be desired. By the end of the premiere, I didn't feel like I knew anything about these characters besides their names, and not even that much about the short king Producer. Presumably, existing franchise fans are just expected to know and care about these pint-sized idols already, but as a newcomer, it was pretty difficult to discern much about this daycare classroom of aspiring singers. Frankly, I'm not interested in following a story about kids in the entertainment industry. Arisu has the most development, showcasing the strained relationship with her parents, who are seemingly always working, and her desire to be seen as more mature than her years. That's a fine starting point, but not enough to carry the episode – nor is the short(heh)lived conflict of Producer-san not realizing he'd been placed in charge of the cast of Toddlers In Tiaras.

Outside of my personal audio peccadillo, that's the biggest problem here. I don't know these characters well, and what little I know doesn't give me a reason to follow them. There's nothing to the gimmick of elementary schoolers singing and dancing that makes me want to watch more. If these particular characters are your favorite from the larger franchise, it's almost certainly a nice treat to see them rendered with great animation. Still, for the non-initiated, this just isn't a compelling introduction.

Disclosure: Bandai Namco Filmworks Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Bandai Namco Holdings Inc., is a non-controlling, minority shareholder in Anime News Network Inc.

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