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:
Live For You, which was essentially the Xbox 360 version with new content but with the "management" aspect removed.
SP, a trilogy of PSP ports, each of which contained three of the nine original idols.
Dearly Stars, a Nintendo DS version about three new idols.
A proper sequel, THE iDOLM@STER 2, which introduces a brand new storyline and three-girl groups to the gameplay.
Shiny Festa, a series of rhythm games for the PSP.
One For All, a sequel with new storyline where you can produce up to all 13 original idols at the same time.
An anime, Idolmaster: Xenoglossia — from the makers of Mai-Otome — was released in 2007 and later licensed by Sentai Filmworks. Rather than being a straight Anime Of The Game, it was instead an ElseworldReal Robot show that cast the main characters as pilots (or "Masters") of Giant Robots called IDOLs (making them IDOL-Masters). A more straightforward anime adaptation (called The Idolmaster) aired in Japan during the Summer and Fall Seasons of 2011.There are also some manga telling their own stories, one of them being Puchim@s, which got its own internet anime adaptation in the Winter Season of 2013 and the Spring Season of 2014, simulcast by Funimation; it can be found on their official youtube page.The franchise has spawned three card games for phones, Cinderella Girls, SideM (for the Mobage platform) and Million Live (for the GREE platform) They feature unique idols and have spawned CDs and mangas of their own. SideM is also noteworthy for being the first game of the franchise with females as its main audience: it features solely male idols.It also has a character sheet, and a dedicated fansite called Project-iMAS which includes a wiki too. Click here for the wiki!Also, as all good successful franchises do, The iDOLM@STER managed to inspire other series to try and latch on the same crowd. Dream C Club was D3Publishes' answer to Namco Bandai's giant, with some unique elements in order to not look like they're the same thing.Tropes that are common for the franchise as a whole, please, list them on this page. For tropes specific to individual titles please go to:
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...
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 the mobile games, although changing the name of each category.
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 and Anzu Futaba are DLC rivals 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.