Despite my general apathy towards community circlejerks, I’m quite fond of the idea set forth by 2DTeleidoscope’s recent series of posts pairing up the characters from The iDOLM@STER with individuals in the anime blogosphere and twitterverse. The notion that shipping can transcend barriers between the two-dimensional and three-dimensional world is something not entirely new, as the adoption of waifus and husbandos are almost the same thing (i.e., I ship myself with such-and-such).
While I certainly have my own reservations regarding who my favourite idol is on the show, it certainly isn’t the same as the notion of which girl theoretically meshes best with me in regards to actual relationship dynamics. As silly as the idea of dating-as-a-thought-experiment is, I’ve pondered unnecessarily about this on twitter, and am compelled to write an editorial about it. So have at thee, Flomu. This post is going to be utterly self-gratifying and ridiculous, yet people will probably read it anyway.
That said, you guys are really weird for reading this, yet I’m even weirder for writing this. For the sake of this post, I’m going to pretend that all of the girls fulfill the “half my age plus seven” rule of age compatibility. Let’s get started.
Haruka is as Mario as it gets when it comes to main characters. As much as she tries to stand out with particular qualities such as clumsiness and a bright personality, she’s pretty much as straightforward and average a girl as it gets when it comes to this particular group of girls. The thing is, it works for her. She has no particular fatal flaws that would otherwise inhibit her success. And it works for me. I don’t consider myself to have any definitive qualities that stand out from the whole. I’m just another writer who likes to write about writing.
So I decide to take this average girl out to an average date: a movie, then a bite at a family restaurant. I try not to make a point out of the fact that she is an idol, but her overall positive outlook on life makes me forgive her supposed missteps throughout the date: dropping her drink at the theatre, and falling down while on her way to the ladies’ room. We end up talking about our hopes and dreams. We might not come anywhere close to achieving them, but knowing that there are others left in the world who don’t think in absolute negatives, we end the night even more motivated to succeed.
I probably wouldn’t go on a date with Haruka Amami again. When you put one average person with another, fireworks aren’t exactly bound to go off, but you’re guaranteed to not have an utterly terrible time either.
Compatibility rating: 3.5/5
Chihaya, to quote the Simpsons, is “a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a vest,” though in this case, the vest is probably tailored in a way to reveal navel, appeasing the eyes of fanboys and fangirls alike. She’s mature, and very serious about her music (at least the vocalist parts of it, anyway). I don’t think I’m capable of cracking that mysterious outer shell, but I can’t see myself being unable to have a good time with her either way, since we both have a similar interest in music.
Thus, our date consists of dinner at her apartment, followed by a concert with the Tokyo Philharmonic. She provides the place settings and candlelight, and I bring over a pot of my Apple Curry. Dinner starts off as normal, but when I notice a picture of her and her brother, her normal demeanour sinks a bit when she bluntly closes the avenue of conversation. It gets awkwardly silent, but when Beethoven’s Pathetique starts playing on her PA system, I immediately get her to start gushing about music. The Philharmonic goes wonderfully as well, and luckily, I get to spend the rest of the night talking about the performance itself, rather than trying to get Chihaya to talk about herself.
I definitely won’t go on a date with Chihaya again. I’m not the kind of person who enjoys trying to figure a girl out, and knowing the history that she has, it takes a bit too much energy for me to get to her good side. Any person who can get her to open up will be rewarded. That person won’t be me, unfortunately.
Compatibility rating: 2.5/5
Yukiho is a rare genus of wallflower, and not so much a genius in her abilities as an idol. She’s not the most talented, but Madoka bless her for trying to improve, and trying to break out of her cowardly shell. As unstable as she is when exposed to foreign elements, she is a master of her own domain, which includes poetry and other traditional Japanese arts. I like to consider myself as a forward person at times, though not too forward to overpower a girl like Miki. Yukiho is probably more appropriate for my level, which probably makes for a good match.
As such, my date with Yukiho consists of a trip to the beach in the afternoon, followed by a nice picnic at a Japanese garden while we watch the sun set. The beach is a difficult affair to arrange to begin with, but I assure her that we don’t even need to go swimming and have her dress up in something risque. To Yukiho, just a one-piece with an inflatable tube is more than embarassing for her when bared to another guy. So I let her come in whatever clothes she likes. We just hang out and let in the salty breeze. She tries to dig a hole, which is fine by me. I let her dig all the holes she wants, since we’re at the beach.
The nearby garden provides a wonderful vista for a tea ceremony that she surprisingly is willing to show me. We talk about writing, and in an attempt to hear more about her poetry, I show her a page from my manuscript for a story about a girl who tries to break out of her shell as a magical girl. She obliges happily with a haiku about the sunset that she makes up on the spot.
I’m actually very interested in seeing Yukiho again. I really don’t like the way she’s portrayed in the anime, but after getting to know her a bit more, I’m surprised that she really suits me quite well. She’s somewhat high-maintenance, but not in the way that saps the life out of me. And I enjoy that.
Compatibility rating: 4/5
Yayoi is a remarkably cheerful girl who is all about family-first. She has absolutely nothing to hide, since she’s too busy worrying about taking care of her siblings to take issue with anything else in her life. Coming from a large family myself, I can truly relate with such values. Her naivety is not an issue for me, since I am probably even more naive than her in more ways than one.
I’d take her out to an amusement park, but since she needs to take care of her siblings, I invite them along as well, at my expense. It’s not so much about getting to know her directly, but through the people she cares for. We take in a sentai hero show, and to Yayoi’s dismay, she gets kidnapped by the evil monsters. Her younger brother tries to play tough and doesn’t believe that she’s actually being kidnapped, but you can see the look in his eyes that he’s actually concerned. I don’t call him out on it, but instead I start cheering at the top of my lungs for the heros to fight and win. He joins in too, more spirited than anyone else in the audience. Just as planned.
Back at home, Yayoi puts the kids to sleep, and I have a nice chat with her in the dining room over some tea. She opens up about how much she loves her siblings, and how much she works just to help make ends meet. She asks about my family, and I tell her about how big mine is as well. I take a risk and try talk about my grandmother, but the comfort in Yayoi’s voice is enough to keep me calm and collected throughout. I truly appreciate it, and I’m sure she does too.
When you date Yayoi, you date her entire family. She’s not high on my list of favourite idols in the show, but there’s an emotional connection there that I can’t really get with anyone else. I’d definitely go long-term here, and hopefully that she’d be able to find time in her busy schedule to meet my family. She’d really get along with everyone, at least, to the extent that a 2-dimensional girl could.
Whew, had to remind myself that Yayoi isn’t real. Compatibility rating: 5/5
Azusa is mature, albeit a bit scatterbrained at times. She really enjoys living life at her own pace, and gets caught in her own thoughts, particularly about romance and finding “the one.” I don’t think that I could be that “one,” but I am certainly up to the challenge of presenting myself as a potential candidate. I certainly enjoy the idea of romance, having fallen in love before and going through the motions associated with it. It’s certainly not out of the question that I could be the one for her. But is she the one for me?
For our date, I take her out for a ballroom dancing lesson, followed by a candlelit dinner at home. To Azusa’s surprise, I’m not entirely out of my element with ballroom dance. I know more than a few basic steps to the waltz, but I really take control with the argentine tango. She picks up the instructor’s choreography quickly, as is her talent, but I am comfortable enough to lead her, especially when she zones out right in the middle of the cha-cha.
Dinner is warm and fuzzy, and we start talking about romance movies and novels. I tell her that my favourite movie is Millennium Actress, and her having not seen it, I oblige her to watch it. I pop in the DVD and we cozy up by the couch. She tears up madly at the ending, and becomes a crying wreck for a small bit of it. I assure her that she hasn’t lost face during the date, and that it’s an endearing trait of hers. I cheer for her to fight on and to keep searching for that someone.
I would like to see Azusa again, if only just to see what lies beyond her romantic idealism. A relationship with her would be one of exploration and self-discovery, and many a lovely date to warm my heart that has long since been hardened by seclusion. There’s a chance that she could be the one, and I for one don’t mind taking it.
Compatibility rating: 4/5
Iori is refined beyond my most reasonable definitions of the word. She lives the high life, and expects to be pampered like a princess, and will not accept anything less. As such, she is both capable of being the most proper and polite of the girls in 765 Pro, she’s also the most capable of mouthing off at the first sign of incompetence and stupidity. She’s a natural tsundere, and knowing my history with such characters, I already know this date won’t go well at all.
My plan for Iori’s date is a late dinner at Shiba Tofu-ya Ukai, with a glowing Tokyo Tower just behind it, followed by a trip up the tower to the observation deck. Dinner alone sets me back over JPY25,000, which is enough for me to skip the next two weeks worth of eating out by myself. Only the best for Iori, I suppose. I try to act prim and proper, but accidentally splash some soy sauce on the dinner table after dropping the tofu from my chopsticks. I don’t hear the end of it from Iori, and she berates me for the rest of the night.
But oh my god. I fucking love it. Being treated like the scummiest of scum is something I’ve never even fathomed experiencing. I purposely let out a tiny burp, just loud enough to set Iori off for good. She lets me have it on the elevator up Tokyo Tower, pulling my ear down to her when she catches me gazing dreamingly at her. More, Iori-sama. Please, more. I don’t want this elevator ride to end!
I would date Iori again, if only just to let her beat the living crap out of me. But alas, I can’t afford her. It’s like having to pay 300 dollars to test-drive an Aston-Martin, yet knowing you’ll never be able to buy one. Such is life, I suppose.
Compatibility rating: 3/5
Stay tuned for Part 2, in which I try my hand at romancing Hibiki, Miki, Takane, and Makoto. Not at the same time, mind you. I have more class than that. At least as much class one would have while dating fictional characters.