Imagine you can have control of an up-and-coming Idol Singer. You have to guide her to stardom by deciding what outfits she wears, picking what songs she sings, and helping her deal with the pitfalls of growing up in the spotlight.That's The iDOLM@STER [sic]. It's a Simulation Game where you play as a producer for the "765 Production" (pronounced "na-mu-ko") studio, and you have nine (technically ten) girls to choose as the company's next big singer.Incorporating elements from rhythm games, Dating Sims and competitive online battling, as well as an All-Star Cast and a generous helping of Moe, this game from Namco was an incredible hit in the arcades of Japan and created a whole franchise of sequels and spinoffs:
Ascended Meme - Fans noticed that Ritsuko's outfit resembled the uniform of Lawson's convenience stores, and it became a meme. Bamco and Lawson's noticed the meme, and started a cross-promotion campaign that is still ongoing; you can apparently buy raffle tickets for Idolm@ster goods at Lawson's.
The Faceless - The Player Character. Also, Mr. Takagi. Actually, aside from Kotori and the Jupiter trio, every other character you come across, including the satellite characters on the girls' routes, are all faceless.
Fun with Acronyms - The MASTER ARTIST CD series has one hidden. If you look at the covers of the CD jackets of each album, every girl is saying something, most of them in English. If you put them in the correct order, they spell...
No Export for You - While the console games at least require the Japan region consoles, THE iDOLM@STER Mobile i takes it to the next level. Unless you have your iPhone "modified", you have to live in Japan in order to play it.
Finally averted with the Puchim@s anime and the Shiny Festa games. The former was simulcast by Funimation and the latter received translated ports on the iOS App Store.
The 765 in 765 Studios is pronounced "na-mu-ko", from "nana" (7), "mu" (6, for counters), and "go" (5, where "go" and "ko" are the same character, mostly). If you still don't get it, this is how Namco is pronounced in Japan. This reference can also be found in other works by Namco, the Ridge Racer and Ace Combat series being good examples.
Also, the DS game's 876 Production is read as "ban-na-mu", with "ban" (8) and then the "na-mu" part as above. "Bannamu" is a portmanteau of "Bandai Namco", and is indeed a common short form for it.
Limited Wardrobe - A rare case where both apply. With the amount of DLC out there's almost no end to the clothes the girls can wear. But in the in-game communications they are always using the same set, the only diference being that it changes between Summer and Winter.
Trauma-Induced Amnesia - In the alternate Miki route, after she knows that the unit will be disbanded, she is surprised. Days later, she shows up having forgotten the memories between her and the Producer.
The i DOLM@STER DS
Beach Episode: Ryo's story features a chapter at the beach, where the 876 idols have a photoshoot.
It does lead to a Hot Springs Episode when Ryo needs a break from posing in the feminine swimsuit.
Stacy's Mom - Ai becomes a victim of this. Her mother, an ex-idol herself, becomes nostalgic for the glory days when Ai makes it big and decides to make a comeback. Ai is shortly overshadowed in the public eye by her still incredibly hot mom.
Blonde, Brunette, Redhead - While very possible to do by yourself, it's also probably one of the reasons why 961 has the three idols it has - in fact, it's an odd case where the "redhead" of the trio is actually blonde, considering Takane's silver locks. Unless, of course, you count Miki's hairstyle from after she stops dying it, which is probably closer to being red....
Color-Coded for Your Convenience - The Perfect Sun girls (Makoto, Haruka, Yayoi and Hibiki) are red, the Wandering Star girls (Takane, Ami, Mami, Iori and Yukiho) are yellow, and the Missing Moon girls (Azusa, Chihaya, Miki and Ritsuko) are blue. This color code was also used in Cinderella Girls.
Fan Translation - As of November 2012, The Idolm@ster SP Perfect Sun is fully playable in English. Chihaya's route from Missing Moon is also released with Iori and Yukiho from Wandering Star. The people at TLWiki are continuing to work on the other two PSP game routes.
Lover Tug of War - The Producer is the victim of this in Azusa's ending, with her and Miki on each side.
The i DOLM@STER One For All
Ascended Extra - Most of the opponents that you run into during rank-up festivals are cameo characters, some with models (Ai, Eri and Ryo from Dearly Stars and Touma, Hokuto and Shouta from The iDOLM@STER 2), others in name only (Cineria, Yumekonote She's actually named something different, "Dreamy Girl", which is close to the meaning of Yumeko in English, "dream child" and riola also from Dearly Stars, and Hikari, Tsubomi and Nozomi from episode 10 of the anime).
Ranko Kanzaki is a DLC rival from the Cinderella Girls mobile game, and Serika Hakozaki from Million Live is confirmed to be DLC, too.
Everyone Has A Special Move - Each of the idols gets a unique burst skill of her own which triggers either during or after a burst appeal is performed.