Idolm@ster – Shipping Haruka X Chihaya

Dat subtext

Dat subtext

Note: Major spoilers in this post. Episode 4, 11 and 20 will be heavily referenced.

Idolmaster is an anime I desperately needed a rewatch of. I watched it at a time when I’m still not as opened up to the idol genre as I had now, and because of that, I wasn’t able to invest much in the drama, story, characters or even music. Finally done myself a favor of rewatching it recently however, I discovered a great ship – Haruka X Chihaya.

[Coalgirls]_The_Idolmaster_04_(1280x720_Blu-ray_FLAC)_[7F7FA07B].mkv_snapshot_16.02_[2016.04.09_11.20.33]

Let’s have a look at the characters within the ship. We are shown Haruka has a supportive demeanor, but in contrast, Chihaya has a serious, reserved, even gloomy personality, a far cry from all the brightness and brilliance of idols we’re accustomed too. Because of that, Chihaya is one in the group who probably needed that support the most, and this dynamic was shown as early as episode 4 in the Gero-Gero Kitchen scene.

Notice the disconnect between Chihaya and Haruka's expressions, and the dialogue.

Notice the disconnect between Chihaya and Haruka’s expressions, and the dialogue.

Haruka herself is quite a good character. She’s generally optimistic, and her optimism has been a saving grace for the 765 Pros on several occasions. But while she supports them with her optimism, she isn’t exactly the best herself either. Her skills in both dancing and singing are just subpar at best, which was evidenced in episode 11 just two episodes prior to their first, major live. After all, it may be easy to feel optimistic when you have talent, but it’s another thing to be optimistic while being aware you’re not all that good. Haruka has to continually practice to polish her skills, and more importantly, to fuel her optimism; which is a facade Chihaya noticed, and stayed behind to help Haruka with her practice, unbeknownst of the rest of the 756 idols.

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Another interesting dynamic they have is their motives to be idols. Haruka’s is expected-it has been her dream since childhood, to shine on the grandest stage of them all surrounded by thunderous claps and roaring cheers. Haruka’s aspiration to be an idol is pretty much a standard bearer. In comparison, Chihaya’s motive was a little different. Undergoing an accident which caused the death of her little brother, singing becomes her escapism, solace and also obligation.

[Coalgirls]_The_Idolmaster_20_(1280x720_Blu-ray_FLAC)_[EBE6B48F].mkv_snapshot_20.33_[2016.04.09_12.20.27]

Escape is temporary however, and this is why when her past was brought up again in a scandal, the psychological trauma caused her sudden inability to sing. Unsurprisingly, Haruka was the one whose the most supportive during this period of time, frequently visiting her home and she was the one who even pitched the idea of writing an original song just for her. Again unsurprisingly, Haruka was the first one to rush to the stage to support her first live since the scandal, ultimately leading to my favorite performance of my favorite song in idolmaster ever-“Yakusoku”.

After that ordeal, Chihaya truly opened up, not just to Haruka but to the rest of the 765 Pro too. Remembering the feelings she once had before her brother’s accident, she sang, finally not just for anyone but for herself – because she loves to sing, and she doesn’t need to feel obligated to sing.

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On that note, Haruka and Chihaya have great chemistry. Their dynamics gave off an impression of genuine friendship-of friends who always look out for each other. Every little mannerism, subtlety and interaction just seems to spur this particular supportive dynamic of theirs.

Haruka is optimistic, Chihaya is pessimistic, but Haruka needed to build up her confidence and as a result her optimism to hide her weak, clumsy self, just like Chihaya’s in actual fact, positive aspirations beneath her somber, negative facade; Haruka and Chihaya are pretty much two sides of the same coin. The best thing about this-not just us viewers, but both of them are also aware of each others’ dualities.

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Rarely do I see two characters whose story and personality intertwine with each other so seamlessly. They didn’t need (blatant) subtext or tropes, this is one of the very few ships I came across which feel so natural, but also probably due to the fact that Haruka X Chihaya isn’t necessarily romantic, but platonic-and it makes their friendship comes off the screen that much more genuine.

To that end, I have now become a proud shipper of Haruka X Chihaya, because this ship is just so damn good. All hail me.

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This entry was posted by Kai.

13 thoughts on “Idolm@ster – Shipping Haruka X Chihaya

  1. One of the few legit ships in the original Idolm@ster anime I noticed. I had a lot of “maybe” floating in my head when I watched them but…yeah. You’re right.

    • I was about to say that about Miki so yeah. I honestly don’t really like the romantic subtext between Producer and some of the characters. Though it doesn’t delve any deeper than that, luckily.

      • Yeah.That’s the reason why I lost interest in the show after watching the premiere episode all those years back. Took me a while before I got back to it but as you know I did.

        The reason I was skeptical about HaruChiha was because Haruka a bit too much interest in Producer but in the end we were shown that her true soul mate was Chihaya.

      • Don’t ever play the games xD It’s way way worse.

        Personally, outside Miki, Kotori, and Ritsuko, I didn’t really see much in the way of subtext with the Producer. The anime he’s basically just a producer. They’re close to him yeah, but nothing really romantic.

        • It’s one of the things transitioned from the games for sure, but luckily toned down. And yeah, hence “some of the characters”. I would add Makoto to the list though, there’s “that” episode after all :\

          • I believe in Yukiho! She’ll get what she wants after enough persistence! As a side note, those two get shipped so hard. Especially by Kotori, but Yukiho says a lot to cement what she wants too. Have you ever listened to the dramas? Though, I guess you would need to know Japanese xD There might be translations of them somewhere out there though? So much good shipping content. Sadly, the CG dramas (so far) are very devoid of things like that. While the OG Imas dramas are full of interactions between the characters. There actually aren’t a lot of “Marry me P-kun” sort of dramas. The character interaction ones outweigh those by a good deal. Even Million Live is doing better on that end! I really wish that’d get an actual anime…less characters to work with, so they could spread the focus better.

            I was so relived, like you wouldn’t even know, when I saw that they handled the producer the way they did. Could have easily made him super SI man. But they gave him his own personality and struggles. A huge difference from the games.

            • Hmm, I guess I don’t really care that ship all that much since I don’t really care Yukiho as an individual character all that much either :p And no, I never listen to the dramas, I’ll see if they are available on youtube or somewhere though. I never play Million Live (honestly imas has too much games for me to keep up with, and I think I can’t get the games on my phone anyway).

              Again, I never play the games, but yeah, I assume he’s mostly a “blank character” where players are the one making the choices and defining his personality or something. Speaking of producers, and I said this before, I always find it interesting how the way how OG and CG producers operate in complete polar opposites.

              • The dramas would probably raise your opinions of most of the characters. they’re really fun in them! I never played Million Live either. I mean, I learned my lesson from CG. The new IM@s game seems like it’s actually going with a lot less “SI-kun” than previous games though. Well, in terms of the characters interacting with each other and stuff. So I’m cautiously optimistic about that.

  2. It’s have been a while since I watched the original Idolmaster anime, but it’s easy to see why Haruka has an easy time getting along with Chihaya. Yep, she is considered to be the ordinary, normal girl that is cheerful and hard working that help bring the whole group together and helping others out aside from Chihaya of course. The funny thing is that Uzuki which is almost like Haruka, but take it up to ten on the ordinary factor.

    • Yup. On the subject of imas CG though, I can’t help but feel some of the characters are pretty much carbon copies of their counterparts in original imas. Some of their stories in imas CG are a little bit more poorly written too compared to original imas-another thing I caught after my rewatch, lol.

  3. Reblogged this on The Yuri Nation and commented:
    A great article on why Haruka X Chihaya is a legit pairing in Im@s OG. He even helped me open my eyes to their legitimacy despite some minor bumps regarding a certain dude.

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