YMMV / Ensemble Stars!

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Fan-artists who played the game had their own interpretation of Anzu, but mostly for her appearance. And they either made her personality similar to how she canonically interacts with some additions of her being a Deadpan Snarker, or make their own personality for her. Most of the time, the Shrinking Violet aspect of her is thrown out the window as many thought that Anzu was a Silent Protagonist at first. In addition, many players are not very familiar with the game's sister series Ensemble Girls!, where most of Anzu's backstory comes from during the early days of the game's release and drops off most of her canon personality.
    • Eichi: was he truly someone who cared about the school, but had to take desperate measures to do so, even willing to be seen as a tyrant, or merely ruthless to those whom he considers an enemy? The light novel's afterword showed him to be a Guile Hero of some sorts.
    • Yuzuru, after the "Mine Lady" chapter (and some foreshadowing from the infamous chainsaw scene). Is he someone, while duplicitous, who honestly loves Tori and makes every decision he does because he's looking out for him but he's disoriented about what to do with his life now that Tori is acting more mature? Or is he a Green-Eyed Monster Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who is obsessed with being the closest to Tori and will humilliate anyone he even thinks Tori likes more than him? And are his motivations born out of loyalty, or something more? Considering that Yuzuru saw Anzu as Birds of a Feather and was one of the few characters who was nice to her from the beginning, was he jealous of her instead?
    • Kanata's extreme and quirky personality. Is that just how he naturally acts, or is it a form of escapism for his terrible home life?
  • Americans Hate Tingle:
    • Izumi/Makoto is a very popular ship in Japan and it's one of the Fan Preferred Couples in the Ho Yay section, but while it is still a fan favorite ship, it is received much less warmly in the west because many fans who don't like this coupling perceive it as very abusive and unhealthy.
      • Related to the above, Izumi is received less warmly in the west due to his obsession with Makoto, being a Base-Breaking Character. In Japan however, he is fairly popular.
    • Related to Trickstar winning the MV poll, a group of fans from the west started hating Trickstar simply because their favorite units didn't get to win the poll and reasons told in the Broken Base entry. Though, this is an opinion that is far from universal in the west fan community, making them Base Breaking Characters. Fans outside the west along with those not part of this group are okay with it in comparison.
  • Awesome Art: The CGs are bright, colorful, and downright pleasing to look at.
  • Awesome Music: Bound to have a lot of this, as the game revolves around idol groups (even if it isn't a Rhythm Game).
    • After the third event, all events get their own Leitmotifs, and they're all fitting to the events theme. The other BGM's are no slouch either.
    • Melody in the Dark, by UNDEAD, was a big hit with the fans as soon as it was released.
    • Bewitching Theater by Valkyrie made such an impression on the fans, to the point that Valkyrie's unit CD outsold every other unit's (including popular units UNDEAD and Ryuseitai) CD except for Knights'.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Shared with Broken Base here.
  • Broken Base: Now with its own page.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Eichi. He can be sympathetic and does show remorse for his actions, but that's ignoring the plethora of crap he's poured onto the other characters, during and after the "War".
  • Enjoy the Story, Skip the Game: The story is generally agreed to be more interesting than the game system.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • If there's a unit popularity poll going on any website (from either eastern on western fandom), you can expect either UNDEAD or Knights, or even both to be at least in the top 3. As a direct consequence, events focused on these two units are also widely considered a battlefield that newbies and free-to-play players should really think twice before trying to get ranking prizes out of it.
      • There was recently a poll in the Chinese version to determine the most popular unit, and UNDEAD straight out demolished the other competitors. Even Knights, the runner up, still lost by a big margin.
    • Subaru's pet dog, Daikichi. Heck, even Koga's pet dog, Leon is popular enough along with Rei's own.
    • Leo immediately rose to popularity after his introduction as Knights's leader, even before he actually appeared in the game. While it was certainly helped by the fact that he was one of the first boys to be introduced in the "new batch" of characters (which certified him of getting the spotlight), his popularity is still going strong to this day, despite his currently base breaking position.
    • In a particularly interesting case, Shu's doll Mademoiselle. No, really. Her voice and personality are basically a creation of Shu, but because she is a lot friendlier and softer than Shu himself (despite the fact that Mademoiselle is hinted sometimes to be a way of him to express what he actually feels, or at the very least a manner of him to convey some of his thoughts without worrying about interacting directly with people), the fans quickly took a liking to her.
    • Related to the above: if it took a long time for Shu to become tolerated among some groups of fans, Mika was a dear in the same circles from the very start.
    • It seems to be a "Valkyrie minus Shu" thing: Nazuna (who was also a part of that unit), despite not getting quite to Rei Sakuma or Leo Tsukinaga levels of popularity, also immediately rose as the most popular of Ra*bits after the Marionette's Memories event.
    • Ryuuseitai is quite popular and well loved enough by fans to become the third most popular unit. It's saying something when the chart of the first week sales of their unit song album actually beat UNDEAD and Knights's. And as of December 2016, they join Knights and UNDEAD as the three big Ensemble Darkhorse units.
  • Epileptic Trees: Any discussion of the "war" before the start of the game will bring up a lot of theories, especially in regards to how some characters were before Ensemble Stars.
    • In Japan, Chiaki being the previous member of fine due to the fact that Eichi calls Chiaki by his first name and coincidentally, Chiaki is of the same height as Yuzuru. It was to the point that fanart of Chiaki in fine's uniform started growing. This gets debunked when Supernova came by. And even more so when Magician Assembles came by, revealing that it was Tsumugi who was a former member of fine along with another two members, Hiyori who moved to Yumenosaki's rival school, and the yet to be revealed Nagisa. Plus the fact that fine was and currently, a four member-ed unit.
    • When the fourth novel was teased by Akira that there will be a meeting of Valkyrie with a certain someone in the side story, many fans thought it was Leo's sister, Ruka. Ignoring that at that time, Ruka is a third year in middle school which brought theories that it's more likely to be Anzu's friends. Which is slightly confirmed with the hint that the narrator of that side story is Yakumo Chizuru.
  • Fandom Rivalry: As a male idol game, EnStars has very heavy competition with Idolish 7 due to being on the same platforms as well. And just as a mobile game, with A3!.
  • Fanon: Given Anzu's revealed backstory and family, some people decided to work out when the game happens between it and Ensemble Girls!. The current order is: Anzu gets kicked out of Kimisaki note -> EnStarsnote  -> EnGirlsnote  -> EnGirls Memoriesnote 
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • The one who comes the closest to being a Implied Love Interest for Anzu is Hokuto (it's even supported by Word of God, with the main story, sub-events and the light novel implying some Ship Tease between them). Naturally, the majority of fans prefer Anzu to be with the Knights members. Especially Izumi, Tsukasa and Leo. At least in Japan.
    • As for the Ho Yay preferred ships, there is Ritsu/Mao, Rei/Koga, Tsukasa/Leo, Chiaki/Midori, and Kanata/Kaoru. Izumi/Leo also rose in popularity after the Monochrome Checkmate event.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Several Knights and cast members have commented that Arashi may be gay due to touchy-feely actions to them (while many fans, particularly those in the West, believe Arashi is a trans girl due to Arashi's use of feminine language, occasional reactions when gender is brought up, and a Japanese term used around Arashi that is a slur for effeminate men or trans women). This all gets doubled as Harsher in Hindsight when the Starlight Festival event reveals that a student from Yumenosaki Academy whom Arashi used to be close with expressed that he loved Arashi, but then committed suicide. A death that had likely affected Arashi deeply, changing the jerk that Izumi mentioned Arashi used to be into the Arashi today.
    • Considering how the Ensemble Girls! protagonist doesn't like talking about his sister, it's no wonder considering she's Anzu. The Girls! characters constantly compare him to her, and given that we see just how influential she is in this game, it's not without some reason he feels he's stuck in her shadow. But the constant comparison is more than enough for one sibling to not like talking about the other. It goes into a bit of Harsher in Hindsight when the game he stars in ends up falling victim to the same trope amongst players comparing it to Stars!, and the game itself ended up being retired before he even got a proper name, so the closest thing to a name he can be referred to (aside from "Transfer-kun") is "Anzu's Brother".
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • Eichi is a very popular character in China. He does share the same appeal to Japanese and Western fans, but not to the extent China has for him.
    • In a similar vein, Trickstar and fine are much more popular in China than they are in Japan or in the west.
    • Tetora is beloved by the Korean fandom. Given that a majority of the outraged reactions of the Memetic Mutation of "Where is Nagumo Tetora?" are from Korean fans.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Natsume, in his side story mentioned Anzu helping Trickstar mostly out of pity and tell her to run away while she still could. For those who played Ensemble Girls!, it can be seen as this as Anzu lost too many due to her and her friends's rebellion against Kimisaki's strict rules failing and eventually ran away, moving to Yumenosaki as a result. This doubled as a Player Punch to some, given that several players would have thought the same as Anzu at first with them only sympathizing Trickstar's plight and liking a different unit altogether.
    • Anzu's fear of Eichi, while a bit justified, gets a harsh hindsight because in Ensemble Girls!, one of the people who got Anzu to leave was Reika, the student council president during Anzu's time as a first year in her old school and Sakura, a middle school acquaintance of hers, whom she thought as a friend at first, sold her out to the student council. It doesn't help that Eichi resembles Reika in many ways.
      • In a lesser extent, Anzu running a way from Keito as well. Since Keito's position reminded her of Sakura, who sold her out to Reika.
    • Arashi's Starlight Festival Event CG. Many comment on the beauty but then it is revealed in the event story that Arashi is actually praying over a cenotaph for the Yumenosaki students who were Driven to Suicide due to having their dreams crushed once in the past. While it's unknown if some of those students are those whose dreams were crushed by Eichi during his actions of the "War", it still made the context of Arashi's unbloomed card really murky. This gets worse when later chapters of the event reveals that one of the students who committed suicide was a close friend of Arashi.
      • To drive the knife even further, this is also a case of Truth in Television because Japan is a country with a high suicide rate.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
    • Anzu's frequent attempts to befriend and help Mika, despite his (rather poor) attempts to drive her away, gets justified when you realize that Mika is a Distaff Counterpart of Suzu Kuromori from Ensemble Girls!. She was Anzu's best friend before she moved to Yumenosaki academy and just like Mika, she was a Shrinking Violet with a Freakiness Shame concerning her heterochromia and revered their best friend like a god (Shu for Mika, Anzu for Suzu).
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • THE iDOLM@STER: Side M, another mobile game starring male idols, has another set of orange-haired teenage twins with the surname of Aoi in a two-sibling unit, just like Yuta and Hinata. What's more, Yusuke and Yuta even have their names start out the same, forming a "Double-Yu" together, while Yusuke and Kyousuke have "W" as their unit name.
    • "Dream Festival" as an idol based event? Now, why does that sound familiar?
    • Remember the early jokes where Hokuto and Subaru are mistaken as Kageyama and Hinata and joked that they become idols? Now that the actual voice actors of Kageyama and Hinata (Ishikawa Kaito and Murase Ayumu respectively) joined the game as different characters in Ensemble Stars note , both Kageyama and Hinata literally did become idols!
    • There were many Pixiv fanfictions about Anzu getting a part-time job as a maid and working for the rich idols (Tsukasa and Eichi being the most frequent targets). Then "Mine Lady" happened, with Anzu getting a part-time job as a servant....working for Tori.
      • It's hinted that "Mine Lady" is a Take That! to the sheer ammount of these fanfics. Instead of a shipping moment, we have Tori's sister (and Yuzuru) pulling pranks and making Anzu take the fall for them all.
    • In "Doggy Park Picnic", Yuzuru compares Anzu to a maid, but backs off believing he's dispespecting her. In "Mine Lady" Anzu does work as a maid. Worse, it was Yuzuru's idea.
    • Remember all those Mom jokes about Madara? "Purple Wisterias of May" reveals his nickname is Mama.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient:
    • Almost no one expected Tsumugi to be an ex-member of fine. Leading to this reaction by a majority of the fandom.
    • The fans had this reaction when Nazuna was revealed to be an ex-member of Valkyrie.
    • Or that Madara Mikejima was the former Ryusei Blue of Ryuseitai......and Anzu's childhood friend, no less.
    • The Starlight Festival revelations. We've heard about darker elements in the story before, but suicide?
    • And let's not forget Setsubun Festival, where it's implied that Hinata would have thrown himself off the school roof had Yuuta not interrupted him in time, among other things.
  • Ho Yay: Now with its own page.
  • Internet Backdraft:
    • Discussion about Arashi's gender will bring up long debates and Flame War on the many sides of those referring Arashi as transgender, a teen boy who's really just Bisexual, or both. It's so bad that there was an editing war at The Other Wiki. We will leave it at that. While it isn't as big an issue for fan communities outside the West, as many Western fans believe that Arashi being trans is canon, it can be landmine of a topic. Canon doesn't confirm it, though it's not out of bounds as a headcanon—aside from Arashi's own musings, language, and flippant reactions over gender, the writers themselves call Arashi the feminine-sounding "Arashi-chan," and in Japan effeminate gay/bisexual men and trans women can often be conflated, as seen in the history of the derogatory term okama, which Arashi is called by at least one character.
    • In general, fans in the west tend to cause drama and cause a Flame War, intentionally or unintentionally. Calling the west fan community divisive is just an Understatement. Given that many cases in the Broken Base section came from the west due to Language Barrier and Values Dissonance.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Anzu has been shipped with everyone of the cast (Sans the teachers due to the age difference). With the addition of Continuity Nod (Mentioned in the main page), she is also shipped with the third years from Ensemble Girls!.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Hinata and Kageyama quit volleyball to become idols" was an early meme (as in, right after the game was released and the characters were introduced) that caught on thanks to the strong physical resemblance and somewhat similar dynamic Subaru and Hokuto bear to the aforementioned sport manga characters.
    • Six fingersnote 
    • 5 star Kaorunote 
      • A Leo version came out a day after the Thief Vs. Detective event had started.
      • Now it became a meme for artist to draw fan-made 5 star cards. Seeing that both Leo and Kaoru now received new 5 star cards.
    • It's quiet common to see many photoshop-ed renders of the cards in hilarious situations in the Japanese fandom. Especially twitter.
    • "Event name" is a bloodbath.note 
    • Enstars is not a BL Game.note 
    • Jokes about Tsumugi secretly being Midorima started flying around as soon as the new unit Switch was revealed. note 
    • Subaru recently had been so Out of Focus from events with close to no A Day in the Limelight moments in events that some joked about him being missing and not remembering who he is. Though this is now a Discredited Meme as Subaru has recently returned in the Night Sky's Rockin' Star event.
    • Subaru-samanote 
    • Angst Christmas/ Angst festivitiesnote 
    • Tsumugi is making some fucking noise in Miaminote 
    • WHERE IS NAGUMO TETORA/AOBA TSUMUGI?note 
    • It didn't take long for western fans to joke Mikejima Madara's unit with the mom joke because that's how his unit MaM is pronounced as in Japanese note .
  • Misblamed: Anzu is usually cited by fans of Knights (especially by hardcore ones) as the reason Knights will break up in the future after Leo decided to teach her to compose in the end of the Moonlight Opera event. In reality, Leo mentioned long back that he had planned on retiring from being an idol in the 2015 Halloween event, since he's joining the remaining third years for graduation, along with Izumi. That would give him little time left to support Knights, and he trusts Anzu enough to take care of the rest. And said group also ignored that without Anzu, Leo wouldn't have been found in the first place nor would Knights be a tight-knit unit since she is one of the driving forces that helps bring Knights together besides Tsukasa. Said scene is now Retcon'ed by Happy Elements for consistency with stories that come after that event, but well...
  • More Popular Spin-off: The game is a male counterpart and spinoff to Happy Elements' Ensemble Girls! mobile game, and shares some connections to it through Leo and Anzu in her backstory, but besides that many fans of Stars! can go their entire playthroughs without ever hearing of Girls!. It's to the point some people who played Stars! accused Mai, a character from Girls!, to be a copycat of Mao (who is actually stated to be her Gender Flipped design) even though Girls! came out first.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Some fans don't see and/or refuse to see Tori as anything but a spoiled Bratty Half-Pint.
    • Shu is seen by some fans as cruel and abusive after reading what he does in Marionette to Nazuna, and refuses to see him as anything else even when he is shown to deeply regret his actions in Marionette and is trying to change for the better, and that despite what he did to Nazuna, he does truly care for him, going as far as participating in a dreamfes to please Eichi so he can protect Nazuna and avoids Nazuna in fear that he will say words that will hurt Nazuna.
  • Periphery Demographic: Despite the claim from Word of God that Ensemble Stars is not an Otome Game or a BL game, and it's more of a story with Shonen elements which focused on the boys's growth, it managed to attract fans of both sides due to the Ship Tease that is thrown all the way between Anzu and the boys, and between the boys themselves.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: What most critics complained about the game's system is that, regardless of the stories and characters, the game play is too simple and stays the same, which made it boring and mundane overtime. But the simplicity is what makes it very popular, especially to teenagers. Since it's not exactly a rhythm game and they can sneak playing it at school.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Hoo boy, yes. There are fans who fight over each others ships be it a Heterosexual or Ho Yay ship. Many of them are for rather... petty reasons, as is wont to do. Oddly enough, it's worse with fans in the west while this was more or less tame for fans in Asia. Values Dissonance is likely in play.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Idols aren't gods or dolls that you worship. They cry and show emotions as much as people do. These idols are also, for what is worth, high school students. Children that are still learning about life and the meaning of growing up to be adults. This is often forgotten by fans but it still stands, however.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Eichi's methods in gaining control of the idol system in Yumenosaki Academy may be very questionable, but Nazuna in the Marionette's Memories event mentions that the students in the Idol course aren't even motivated to actually improve themselves as idols. With this in mind, Eichi taking control of the school's idol system may be a good thing, because if the current idol units don't improve themselves, then it'll cause the unit to fall apart and later, the school itself. With the recent reveal of the rival school, Reimei Academy, Eichi might have been trying to prepare for the inevitable encounter in the future.
  • Sympathy for the Devil:
    • While Ra*Bits fans and Nazuna fans are not very happy with Shu, they do agree that what Eichi did to him during the Marionette's memories event story was cruel, some even sympathizing with him for it.
    • Eichi too has gained some sympathy from fans.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • fine in general was not a very popular unit in the fandom due to their role as antagonists in the main story (arguably due to the very light gray morality), but the future characterization and development of fine members saved them from being actual scrappies to the fandom.
    • Shu was initially hated by Ra*bits fans, because of his Bad Boss behavior towards Nazuna (being like this towards Mika didn't exactly help as well, even if the latter doesn't particularly minds it) but his complex characterization as well as Character Development eventually redeemed in the eyes of most Ra*bits fans.
  • Unnecessary Makeover: Inverted case. Fans of Makoto generally agree that he looks better without his glasses on and wish he would have more artwork without them. It's a sentiment that Izumi and Subaru agree with in-universe, with Subaru being more lenient with it. This is ignoring the fact that Makoto with glasses on and him with them off look virtually the same, and he has plenty of good-looking or flattering cards where his glasses are still on.
  • Vanilla Protagonist: Trickstar, the protagonist unit, has a much less defined motif than any other in the game. All units have obvious themes going on for them, tied to their image styles and the type of music they produce: UNDEAD uses dark and rock-like imagery (with two of their members even claiming to be creatures of darkness, namely vampire and werewolf); Ra*bits is formed by cute and/or small boys and their songs are notably bubbly; Akatsuki is all about Japanese tradition; Knights uses of Chess Motifs and is the unit that sounds closer to a refined real boy-band; Ryuseitai is inspired by heroes and Sentai shows; fine invokes angelic (such as feathers and light clothes) and royal imagery which fits their status as the best unit in school, and so it goes. Trickstar is recognizable mainly for their enthusiasm and the fact that they are newbies with the goal of destroying fine's absolute reign... which some other units were already trying to do anyway (they were the first ones to actually succeed, however).
    • While Trickstar's theme isn't as defining as say, Ryuseitai, they actually do have one, and it's...well, stars/astronomy. Knowing Japanese makes it a bit more obvious, as the boys are either explicitly named after constellations or stars, a la Subaru or Hokuto, or discreetly reference them, such as Mao's full name (see the Constellation motif under General in Trickstar's character page). The contrast between a "starry" (implied nighttime) image versus their bright/"sunny" image as a group might be part of the trouble in making them seem less defined; even their classic preforming outfits are a typical "bright" idol look, with, of course, stars bands looped in their belts.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • While Arashi being a trans girl is a popular fanon in the West due to Arashi's fondness for feminine language and occasional implication of wanting to be referred to with such, many players outside of it (and sometimes in it) don't view Arashi's gender in the same light, often seeing the character as effeminate and/or bisexual. Japan's tricky history with trans women, effeminate behavior in men, and gay/bisexual men all being conflated together complicates this further (see the background of the derogatory term okama).
    • Anzu's characterization was met with much debate in the west due to many west players having a different opinion on what makes a strong heroine which makes her an even more Base-Breaking Character there than outside of the west.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The Starlight Festival episode brought the mention of the graves of Yumenosaki academy students whose dreams had been crushed that they were Driven to Suicide. Sure there had been darker moments in the story of Ensemble Stars as a whole but this really takes the cake with the mention of deaths of past students.
    • The card preview for Baton Pass! Repayment Festival of Tears and Bonds shows all members but Kanata crying with seemingly Midori and Tetora getting into a fight and Shinobu asking for help over it all.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Word of God says that this story is of a Shounen genre. But mentions of suicide in the Starlight Festival chapter and some cast having really dark backstories makes one think that it shouldn't really be something for young players. Some players also think that the game's story rivals Arisa in terms of how dark the stories can get. (Though, arguably, Arisa lacks the Lighter and Softer twist that Ensemble Stars had)
  • The Woobie:
    • Midori. You've got to admit that he really needs a hug, given all the things he's wound up getting into without meaning to.
    • The second years and third years could apply. Shu is a Jerkass Woobie who is broken for being bullied of his love of dolls, and broken further by Eichi. Nazuna, due to his stuttering, has grown to be mute and impassive for the sake of his former unit's perfect performance. Subaru for being alienated by his peers simply because he wanted to have fun and be happy despite the grim situation of the "War". And the list goes on.
    • Tsumugi. Dear god, Tsumugi. He, perhaps is the only one who had a much more troubled past than the rest of the cast.
    • For those who played Ensemble Girls!, Anzu can be considered as one. Ensemble Girls! reveals the full story to how Anzu was transferred to Yumenosaki academy, she runs a rebellion campaign against the school's strict rules that values only academics than the students own enjoyment of their school life. Anzu happened to be the president of her old school's tea club and used it as a base for her La Résistance team. Sakura, Anzu's acquaintance and middle school classmate however, didn't like what Anzu plans to do, being part of the student council herself and so requested Reika, the student council president at the time to have Anzu abdicate the position as club president with the teacher's aid. But the teachers see it as a chance to get Anzu out of the school due to her actions that have her marked as a troublemaker and encouraged the other students to bully her. Eventually causing Anzu to have enough and leave. No wonder she was so sullen and quiet by the time she was enrolled to Yumenosaki academy.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/EnsembleStars