The iDOLM@STER 2 is the fourth game in the The Idolmaster Franchise, the second in the 2nd Vision line of the franchise, and the most well known worldwide, not because it has an English version (like the others products of the franchise, it's only sold in Japan) but since it was ported for the PS3, allowed for more easy access, because, contrary to the Xbox360, the PS3 version isn't region locked to Japan and Asian consoles.The game features updated graphics, new music, costumes and accessories, aside from bringing back several of the ones from the other games.The premise is a little different from the first game, and in fact, doesn't happen in the same timeline as the other games (except for The iDOLM@STER Dearly Stars, to which it's a Prequel). In this game, the Idols debuted around six months before the game starts but aren't faring very well, until Ritsuko got approval from the 765 Pro Office to produce her own Idol Unit, the Ryuugu Komachi. Seeing as the new unit began to increase in popularity and success more than the other Idols alone, the President Takagi decided to hire another producer to create another Idol Unit. This is where the Player Character enters.Moreover, all of the girls backstories and some of their visuals were changed, in some cases radically. To name a few, Takane and Hibiki never worked for 961 Pro, and were part of the 765 Pro office from the beginning. Mami, like in the first game, used to be a Tag Team Twin but isn't anymore, and let her hair grow to differentiate herself even more from her sister. Miki's natural hair color is blonde, not dyed. Yukiho's voice actress changed, among other changes revealed in their storylines.On top of that, since Ritsuko created the Ryuugu Komachi, Iori, Ami, Azusa and herself are not available for normal production, like the other girls. They are set up as your first rival in the game.The gameplay also gets several changes. Instead of trying to build up one Idol's career, you focus on building an impressive team of three. This places much greater emphasis on teamwork and unit cohesion. The old tension of an individual idol doesn't play much of a part anymore, but the mood of the Unit as a whole has to be taken care of. There's only three types of lessons now, one for each stat, instead of five. The stage performance mechanics are also changed. There are no more stars to be aware of, instead there are the appeals multipliers.The Anime of the GameThe Idolmaster was mostly based around The iDOLM@STER 2 but it tweaked a lot the backstories and storylines, so who watched the anime, isn't spoiled (mostly) to the story of the game, and vice-versa. Several manga were also based on the game; Coloful Days, which is set before the game, and The World Is All One, which explores a possible game scenario if Haruka, Hibiki, and Yukiho were a unit together.For the history of the franchise and the other games, go to The Idolmaster. For Tropes that are common to all the games, please put it in the main page.
This game provides examples of:
Action Girl - Makoto's the most obvious one, but Takane also uses a Judo grapple during her True End and, throughout her route, can sense when someone is stalking/looking at her.
A Friend in Need - When Haruka disappears on week 53, everyone in the 765 Pro office start to search for her.
Air Voyance - The girls trying to guess which is the producer's plane in the end.
Always Close - How the guests appear for special Quintet performances. After the third time this happens the Producer should know better by then, instead of having his idols almost freak out every single time.
Changing Clothes Is a Free Action - It doesn't matter if you sit on the clothes screen all day, or enter it and leave it instantly, the idols will react the same way regardless, as they'll be instantly wearing the outfit, even if it seems rather improbable, or downright impossible, to put them on in less than an hour.
Cloudcuckoolander - All the girls can come across as this during several of their communications, but Miki and Mami take the cake and run away with it.
Combo - The Burst Appeals during Festivals. Once you start one, your rival can't do anything meanwhile.
Commonplace Rare - Kotori's headset is the second most expensive accessory in the game.
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard - You can only use 5 Memory Appeals MAX during festivals, but the CPU controlled idols in the Festival (specially the Utahime ones and the VESPERIA Festival) seems to have at least a dozen when you play on Hyper.
This is also averted during festivals. Each song's appeals ends at a different time, but the computer stops appealing when your song ends, not when its song end. Being that way you can tackle a Burst Appeal at the end and keep going but the computer doesn't do that.
Cool Boat - Two of the stages. Also, the IA Nomination Ceremony happens on one.
Cool Big Sis - Yayoi is this to her siblings and Azusa is this to Miki, Ami, and Mami.
Cool Train - One of the live stages has a model train circling the stage area.
Cry Cute - Several, most of them during the endings.
Cutscene Drop - After the Burst Appeals and Combo Memory Appeals the girls seemingly teleport from the place they where posing at the end of the appeal to the place they should be during the dance routine.
Debut Queue - The first three weeks. In the first you choose the leader and do the first job and vocal lesson with only her, in the second you choose the other two members, and in the third you meet your first rival.
Disc One Nuke - Everything you buy and all of your money carry over from playthroughs. Considering that some amulets and costumes/acessories are completely broken, you can get your first single at least on the Top 20 by week 8, unlocking all the high level auditions and jobs early.
Disproportionate Retribution - Every now and then, you can play janken with your idol. Losing to them makes them happy. Winning... can make them angry and make them skip practice for a week (if you had already spammed autocommands before and their mood was already close to fatigue.)
Distant Finale - All the routes' True End take place a year later, except for Miki's, which happens a few hours after, when the Producer lands in America.
The Dragon - Touma is this to President Kuroi. Until he learns what a bastard the guy is.
Emoticon - The smileys that show fan awareness in each region.
Expository Hairstyle Change - For some of the idols in The iDOLM@STER 2. in particular Mami (who can now be differentiated from her sister Ami), Makoto (her hair now cover her ears), Azusa (cut it short) and Miki (hair over her shoulder instead of all in the back).
First Person Snapshooter - You can take pictures of the girls during the stage performances after the Auditions or during the encore during Lives and Festivals.
Fixed Camera - In stage performances and auditions, during the gameplay, the camera keeps bouncing from side to side, but doesn't change its distance nor height. Only when you use a Memory or Burst Appeal is that the camera changes.
Forced to Watch - While you can skip the encore of the winner if you lose in a Festival, In-Universe, the girls have to sit through the whole thing.
Forced Tutorial - The first three weeks are always the same sequence of events.
Game-Breaking Bug - Sometimes after a Festival (the Utahime ones or the storyline ones) the game freezes at the end of it. It's not clear what triggers the freeze.
Chihaya's route. She's losing her voice due to an incurable chronic disease, but that doesn't affect her at all during actual gameplay. Worst of all, if the unit have high enough Vocal stat, she can come in the next week asking for more vocal lessons.
You can use the same song and same clothes/acessories as the RK against them during the two mandatory story festivals against them as soon as the second playthrough.
Gratuitous English - During the IA Award, if you win the Grand Prix and Mami is the second member of the Unit, she says "Unbiilibaabo (unbelievable)." What's interesting it's not the Gratuitous English itself (since there's tons of it in the game starting with the name), but it's that it's rendered in text in Hiragana script instead of Katakana which would normally be used. Even during her own route, Mami says several words that should appear in the text box in katakana, in Hiragana, such as "Bai Bai" (Bye Bye) and "Haariudo (Hollywood)".
Guide Dang It - How to get a SUPERBREAK. To this day, it's still not entirely clear how it happens, only that you need to successfully perform a Quintet Live on the release week.
Hannibal Lecture - President Kuroi seems to be psychologically incapable of entering and leaving a scene without delivering one of these first.
Hopeless Boss Fight - Your first stage Festival agaisnt the Ryuugu Komachi and the first Festival agaisnt Touma. The first is a forced loss and the second is a forced Draw.
Hurricane of Puns - During the shooting of one of Chihaya's CM's the director asks for her to tell a joke, or to smile more. The solution the producer comes up with is a rapid sucession of puns.
Idiots Cannot Catch Colds - Invoked in Haruka's route. She gets a cold before a Festival against Jupiter, but doesn't say anything about it, and insists that she's ok. When the producer calls her on her coughing, she says it's nothing, and that she's too dumb to catch a cold.
Informed Equipment - The amulets are not visible anywhere, except when you're selecting the outfits.
Incorruptible Pure Pureness - Yayoi. She's so naive that during communications, if you touch her chest (intentionally or otherwise) she immediatelly assumes you're talking about her heart. That doesn't mean that she's any softer when negotiating deals for the 765 Pro girls during her True End.
Intercourse with You - Honey Heartbeat may indeed count as this as well. Assuming it is indeed about having sex in the back of a car.
I Will Wait for You - If you get a True End, after the Idol Academy Grand Final, the girls will say that they'll continue forth with the Unit waiting for the Producer to come back a year later to resume his work as their producer. This, of course, happens before the leader's True End, which depending on the girl, is somewhat different from what actually happens.
Takane's True ending takes this Up to Eleven. She visited the airport every single day during the Producer's studying in Hollywood.
Jail Bait Wait - Some of the routes end up having this feel after the producer goes to Hollywood and comes back a year later.
Jiggle Physics - Takane and Azusa bounce quite a lot in the promo videos for 2. Somewhat frustratingly, the girls' hair is still animated far less realistically.
Chihaya, the flattest girl in the series, also bounces around now.
Really, nearly all the girls have it if you pay close attention to it.
Joke Item - A few of the accessories. The pacifier, carrot...
Kirk Summation - The Producer during the final confrontation with Jupiter delivers this, wich in turn...
Shut Up, Kirk! - forces President Kuroi to spill the beans to his real reasons as to why he wants to beat the 765 Pro Agency. This ends up being the point where Touma decides to end his contract with 961 Pro.
Level-Locked Loot - A few costumes/acessories can only be obtained after the first playthrough.
Let's Fight Like Gentlemen - Before the confrontation with Jupiter, when Touma finally knows about President Kuroi's dirty tricks, he states that Jupiter will compete fair and square with the player's unit, much to Kuroi's chargrin.
Let The Girls Win - It's in your best interest that they win when you play Janken with them.
Almost all the scenes that Iori appears, the first shot is of her hips.
During Hibiki's True End, she tells the producer that she has become more sexy over the course of the year he's been in America. Cue the camera zooming on her chest and hips.
Manipulative Bastard - President Kuroi. Also the Producer in some of the girls communications can come across as this.
Mind Screw - Chihaya's route. She's suffering from an incurable chronic disease that is making her gradually lose her voice. After the Producer declares to a Swallow, who was her brother reincarnated (or something to that effect), that he'll protect Chihaya, her disease miraculously disappears. She becomes so cheerful that would give even Yayoi a run for her money.
Mistaken for Cheating - The Producer and idol aren't actually going out, mind you. However, in Makoto's true ending, she witnessed the Producer getting hugged by a woman in gratitude of helping her finding a luggage. She then rushed into him in anger and kicked him so hard he was knocked out.
More Friends, More Benefits - The more you use the idols on each playthrough, the higher their smiley will be when you are selecting the guests for special quintet performances. If you get them to pink (the highest level) they will never fail to show up when you call them.
Motor Mouth - Mami before the final confrontation with Jupiter on her route. She goes through almost all her preset movements and facial expressions in one single phrase while telling the boys why her unit won't lose to them in the Festival.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero - A bit of Fridge Logic and exposition to understand this. One of the requirements to get a Rank S when playing on Hyper is to have a Single on the top of the DoTopTV music chart at least one time. During the Extra Episode, the producer suggests that the RK change their song and outfit before they enter the Idol Ultimate competition. Each week on the Extra Episode equals ten weeks on the normal storyline (judging by the girls increase on Image Level from week to week). The Extra Episode starts at week 25, when the RK is beaten by Touma (on the normal storyline). Now fastforward to week 45 (week 3 on the Extra Episode). Guess what is the song that starts rapidly gaining terrain on the chart until it tops it? Yep. If you didn't get to the first place before then, the only way to top the chart after week 45 is getting a Break on the latest release or a Revival of the second-to-last single, and even then, might be hard to top it. All because the Producer decided to be a nice guy and helped Ritsuko revamp the Ryuugu Komachi.
Not Allowed to Grow Up - Played straight during the game, most notably in Miki's route, where in the introduction, she says she's 15 and during the last communication, where she tells everybody else about her relationship with the producer, Ritsuko says she's still 15... 53 weeks later.
Also, birthdays are never mentioned in none of the routes with the possible exception of Yukiho's, where there's an offhand comment about it.
Oh Crap - The face the girls do when the producer announces to them that if they win the IA Award he'll go to Hollywood as his prize for producing the winning unit.
Palette Swap - All Floral, Luxury, and Starry costumes have the same design inside their set, only the colors are different.
Plot-Relevant Age-Up: All the girls are one year older than they were in the first game, even though technically the game is set 6 months from the previous game and is in a different timeline... You know what? Just go with it.
The Power of Love - The Memory Appeals are represented by hearts. Depending on which girl's route you're in, there some implications right there.
Pre Meeting - In the start of the game, you meet all of the girls you can produce (one at each restart), before you are officially introduced to them.
Rainbow Pimp Gear - Some of the acessories don't go well with anything. The drill is the most jarring example.
A more complete example. The best possible gear to get the most on the Dance stat consists of Aloha Costume, Kotori's Headset, Star Brooch, Boxing Gloves and Rain Boots. It's interesting to say the least, horrid to say the worst.
Reality Subtext - One of the possible reasons Ryuuguu Komachi girls cannot be produced is that the seiyuus were too busy and could not record the full routes.
To elaborate, Naomi Wakabayashi (Ritsuko) and Asami Shimoda (Ami/Mami) were available, but Rie Kugimiya (Iori) and Chiaki Takahashi (Azusa) were already with their schedules packed by the time the game was in production, so as to not outright cut their character from the game (and receive a huge backlash from the fandom) they used this to create the Ryuugu Komachi. That is the reason Ami and Mami are not Tag Team Twins by iM@S2, and only Mami has a route, otherwise it would double the workload (read paycheck) of their voice actress. Comparatively, Ritsuko interacts much more in practically all the other girls routes, compared to Iori and Asuza.
It's worth noting though that in the PS3 version, they managed to remedy this a little by giving the Ryuugu Komachi girls an extra route, available after you finish the main game once.
RPG Elements - Stats and Image Levels can be increased by lessons, costumes and acessories.
Save Scumming - Rather easy to do it too. Didn't get a question in the morning that raises all the girls Danketsu? Quit and Reload. Failed an audition/live/festival? Quit and Reload. Some go as far as reload because of a failed evening communication.
Schrödinger's Player Character - Averted. The idols you didn't choose for your unit can be called for special quintet performances and can appear as rivals on festivals.
Scripted Battle - The Odyssey Festival agaisnt Touma. It gets rained out halfway through and subsequently cancelled.
Score Screen - Two different ones, interconnected. The Stage Performance score screen (with Total, Chain and Burst points), the Job screen (with the number of Fans and money you gain). Three if you consider the evaluation at the end as one.
Set Bonus - If you use a full set of acessories (doesn't matter wich), the chances of getting a Break, Revival or Keep are exponentially increased.
Shipper on Deck - Miki's route. Let's see. Starts with the two other girls in the Unit, then Azusa, giving her blessing, and Ritsuko playing the overprotective father.
So What Do We Do Now? - In Miki route, after your unit defeats Ryugu Komachi, Miki no longer has the goal to become an idol and wants to quit. Fortunately, the Producer manages to change her mind.
Spinventory - A variant. You can only see the item in the 3D model before you buy it. After it's already on the clothes screen, you can only see them on the girls, not by themselves.
Story Overwrite - Played straight and then subverted. It doesn't matter the amount of Danketsu your unit has; at the end of week 10 it plummets by the storyline loss in the festival against Ryuuguu Komachi. Then subverted in that if the danketsu was high enough the next week they'll come as if nothing happened.
Sweet Tooth - Haruka. On the end if she's on the group but isn't the leader, she'll even ask the Producer to bring sweets from America for her.
Tag Team Twins - Ami tries to invoke this during Mami's route, but doesn't realize the Producer is right there watching the conversation.
Taking the Bullet - In Makoto's story, when Hokuto insults the Producer, Makoto is angered and throws a punch. This is one of your possible responses. Doing this is correct.
Take a Third Option - During one of Yukiho's communications you have the option to touch her somewhere or literally shove her to snap her out of her reverie. The right answer in this case, to get a perfect communication, is to let the timer run out.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill - You are on the receiving end of this during the first storyline festival against the Ryuugu Komachi. On Hyper, the RK girls can get almost 100.000 points easily while you get stuck watching Iori's burst appeal again and again and again and again...
Throwing the Fight - During Hibiki's route, Touma tries to convince the Producer to make Hibiki quit the bussiness because it would be too hard on her, and so she could go back home. The producer led him to believe he would do just that, but in fact supports Hibiki even more after what Touma said, which leads to some of the most hilarious dialogue between him and the Producer in the entire game.
Training from Hell - The 765 Special Training. If you lose to the RK on week 21 or the Jupiter on week 54 the game goes back a week and your idols are forced to enter this special training. Also happens if you don't have enough fans by week 40 and is forced to participate on the Idol Academy audition.
Too Dumb to Live - Haruka's route. She gets a cold before a Festival against Jupiter, but instead of treating it right away, she continue going to lessons and working, until it backfires on her in the middle of the stage performance.
Twin Switch - Ami pulls this on the producer during Mami's route. How she managed to grow her hair is anyone's guess.
Villain with Good Publicity - President Kuroi seems to be this, otherwise it would be impossible for him to pull some of the things he does, like subverting the Idol Academy rules so the Jupiter trio can be nominated for the award.
Visual Pun - All 9 playthrough trophies/achievements are like this. 1 is ichigo (strawberry), 2 is ninjin (carrot), 3 is sandē (Sundae), etc.
Worthy Opponent - The Jupiter Trio. All the girls acknowledge this after the Festival on week 54.