After another HTML-related hiatus (I can't wait until the site is revamped and I can relax again), I finally got around to watching ep03 of The Idolmaster. This episode being about Yukiho (a character I realize that I dislike), I wasn't really that entertained.

Wild tears and erratic running. The start of a terrible episode.

The background story of this episode was that the girls had landed that role of performing a concert at a Summer Festival in a certain area (which turned out to be pretty village-like), while the foreground story was Yukiho attempting to get over her fear of men (and dogs, as it turned out). While she didn't really do either by the end of the episode, she did seem to understand how to work around them instead of freaking out, and also perhaps fell in love with Producer. I now think this might be some kind of harem-game.

That's supposed to only be a turn of phrase!

The segment before the OP played set up both of the stories. Producer ad Ritsuko pitched the newest job for the idols to an unknown man (it's not the President, since he seems decidedly younger...), with the praises they received interrupted by the crying of Yukiho and the protests of Haruka and Makoto. It turned out that the lesson that day was circumvented since the instructor was a man and Yukiho had freaked out. I wonder if she actually digs the holes that she speaks of, or if it's just for comedic relief on-screen. It's a little weird to be able to a dig a hole while inside a building on the 2nd or 3rd floor, but I'm probably just over-thinking it.

Is this a bus? I've never seen a van this big.

After the OP, Producer gave the girls a pep talk (although I don't think people really paid attention to him), and then the girls all gathered to set off to their concert destination in the wee hours of the morning. Throughout the entire episode, Miki was really acting strange. However, not having seen much of her up until now, I have no reason to believe that it's not her character. How much does she sleep? And why does she always fall asleep in such weird places in such weird positions, as if she's not already enough of a jail-bait? I also disliked her segment during the concert; it didn't seem as though the villagers should have been amused by her act.

She's surprisingly and suspiciously good at it.

After driving all morning, the girls got to the venue only to realize that it really was a village, wherein the equipment was old and there wasn't enough people to help out. Being a go-getter, Producer wasn't fazed, and the entire team did what they could to help best as they could. It's a little strange that Takane had to tell Chihaya that it wasn't the equipment that made a song, since Chihaya seemed so deeply connected with singing. It's also highly ironic that Iori was one of the ones that was truly helping, considering she's seemed like a spoiled rich brat in the past. Miki just continued sleeping, and Yukiho fell apart at every near-encounter with a man.

Damn. The men seem pretty pro.

During the rehearsal, Yukiho was unable to truly perform because, somewhere during the course of the day, she had begun to see men as evil demons. I didn't really sympathize with her at any point in the episode, mostly because the cause of her androphobia wasn't explored. I would have taken it if there had even been a mention of her being interested in finding out, in order to truly begin the healing process. But, anyway, as the concert began, Yukiho still didn't show any signs of getting better, which worried Haruka and Makoto (who were to be on stage with her). They gave her a pep talk, however, about how they were all nervous, and Yukiho seemed to have gotten the motivation she needed to face her fear of men...until she looked at the audience and saw a dog.

She puts Dr. Dolittle to shame.

In order to still be the central male character, Producer ran off after Yukiho in order to comfort her. In his usual fumbling and bumbling way, he didn't really say anything much, but Yukiho still took solace in his words and found the strength to carry on. In fact, such was her newfound vigour that she ran into the dressing room and put on the previously-neglected costumes. (They had been deemed too raunchy for such a small town.) While this wasn't especially explained, I can understand why she needed to get behind her "idol persona" in order to perform; it's an oft-used tactic in entertainment. (Such as the many personalities Eminem utilizes in his albums and songs, or Beyonce's now-retired Sasha Fierce.)

What was energetic and exciting about their screaming?!

Now, I have to dedicate a special portion to the so-called concert. The girls, understandably, had become very demotivated upon seeing the venue, but somehow had found the drive to give it their all. (There was no help from Producer, although he tried; I think his pep talks are just awful.) The concert was about showcasing the various girls' various talents. It was a little weird, because Hibiki rode a bull and Miki gave a weird stand-up routine. Concerts come in all kinds, though, so it didn't bother me so much. What I didn't understand was why Yukiho running onto the stage and suddenly yelling was enough to get the audience pumped up. She seemed fearful and out-of-place, but still her awkward "yay" was enough to get the audience excited and yelling. I just didn't understand...

That's a pretty lame representation of a dog, honestly.

The concert was a success (despite my severe questions about it), which was a huge boost to the girls' morale, and the ride back home was pretty uneventful (except for Ami and Mami drawing patterns on Producer's face as he slept). As if Yukiho's private conversation with him as the van was getting packed up wasn't enough to hammer the idea home, Yukiho also left Producer a bag with some pickled plums and a thank-you note that pretty much confirmed her feelings of adoration for him. I don't know if it's love or not, but I think the underlying concept is pretty much there (as with Iori in the previous episode). The ED was sung by Yukiho (along with most of the insert song), neither of which I liked.

This will surely be an awesome performance.

I can't tell if the next episode will be about Takane or not; I'm hopeful that it may be, because she seems like a very interesting character, but the preview for ep03 was done by Yayoi whereas the episode turned out to be about Yukiho. We'll see. I'll reserve my judgement of the characters until they get their specific episodes. So far, it's a "so-so" for Iori and a firm "no" for Yukiho. I really hope this series ends with at least one character that I like.