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Anime / Aikatsu Stars!

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"I'll one day become the top idol! Yume Nijino, Aikatsu is starting!"
Yume Nijino

Aikatsu Stars! is a Spinoff of the Aikatsu! series by Bandai Namco Pictures. It tells the story of a middle school student named Yume Nijino who joins Four Stars Academy with her friend Koharu Nanakura to become an idol and become a part of S4, a group of the top four idols who attend the academy. Along the way, she becomes friends with Rola Sakuraba, a girl who also aims to become an S4 member.

The second season covers Yume and friends against a new threat— ruthless and competitive idol Elza Forte, leader and founder of the idol school and talent pool Venus Ark. With her quest to maintain her "perfect" image and her need to obtain the elusive Sun Dress, our heroines need to put their all into their idol activities to have a shot at cutting Elza down to size.

The series aired its last episode on March 29th, 2018 and was replaced by Aikatsu Friends! in April 2018.

This series contains examples of:

  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: The Headmaster often pulls these out of his sleeve whenever Yume is involved, threatening to expel her from the school should she fail at any time. In episode 36 it's explained the headmaster did it all to protect Yume (and earlier, Hime) from the consequences of rainbow aura overuse.
  • Absurdly Youthful Mother: Yume's mom could pass as an 18 year-old with her looks.
  • The Ace: All S4 members are at the top of their respective classes, with Hime being notable for excelling at pretty much everything. Additionally, Rola, Ako, and Mahiru are at the tops of their classes for the first-years at the start of the series. Rola is dropped out of this once Yume starts becoming more capable of performing with her own true skill, though Rola's still quite competent.
  • All Love Is Unrequited:
    • Ako has a huge crush on Subaru, but unfortunately for her, he doesnít have any interest in her.
    • Subaru started developing a crush on Yume at the end of episode 37, but she isn't aware of it or interested in romance in general, and the lack of interaction between the two after season 1 definitely didnít help.
    • And of course thereís Asahiís unrequited crush on Koharu.
  • Art Shift: The first ending deviates from the standard Aikatsu ending formula by featuring the S4 girls in the style they're typically drawn in. The following endings after halfway through Season 1 return to the super chibi-style look of the endings from the original series.
  • Big Eater: Yume is guilty of this, and normally gets criticism or teased over it. The one time Yume didn't have an appetite, everyone immediately noticed something is wrong with her.
  • Boy Band: The big one to watch out for in this series is the M4, who each have a counterpart in the main female cast and are their all boys' division's Spear Counterpart to the S4.
  • Bookends: The series ended with the song Start Line! as it did for the beginning.
  • Break Up Song: A platonic one, but "Summer Tears Diary" tells the story of two people who became fast friends over the summer, but by fall they've grown distant. The singer tries to encourage her friend to break it off with no regrets.
  • Call-Back:
    • During the first Halloween episode, Subaru comments that Yume should have been an octopus for the occasion. Come the 2017 Halloween special, and Yume is wearing a full octopus costume.
    • In the finale, Rola has a scene of her in a blue dress carrying her suitcase across the beach, a scene originally in the "Bon Bon Voyage!" ED animation.
  • Character Shilling: Everyone on and off the Venus Ark, including some of the main characters, are in awe of Elza and her abilities as an idol.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Yozora gives Koharu her perfume as a parting gift when the latter leaves Four Star. During Yume, Rola, Mahiru, and Ako's first trip to Venus Ark, Mahiru states that she can smell her sister's scent.
  • Childhood Friends: Yume and Koharu.
  • Chocolate of Romance: The Valentines' Day episode had Yume call out Subaru to give him what he thinks to be this or platonic chocolate. It's neither; she's declaring him as a rival idol.
  • Christmas Episode: One every year, with each one has at least one Ship Tease, the first has one for Yume/Subaru, and the second has a bigger one for Ako/Kanata.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The training outfit colors that the idols wear indicates their idol type - pink for Cute, blue for Cool, purple for Sexy, yellow (or green from Venus Ark) for Pop.
  • Color-Coded Characters: According to their Shine Stars! unit coords, Yume is pink, Rola is blue, Ako is lime green, Mahiru is rose pink, Lily is rouen green (viridian), Hime is light blue, Yozora is violet, Yuzu is orange, and Tsubasa is red (though she also wears midnight blue fairly often). Koharu is purple.
    • From Venus Ark, Elza flip-flops between red and gold, Rei with sky blue and silver, Kirara has pastel purple, and Aria has soft pink and green.
  • Cool Ship: The second season's Venus Ark is this, being a top of the line luxury cruise ship that also happens to be an idol school.
  • Costume Porn: Just like the original series.
  • Crossover: Various characters from the original series (namely Soleil, Luminas, and Tristar) are brought into the Stars! continuity for a two-episode special, in honor of the franchise's fifth anniversary . They are also noticeably drawn in the same style as the first anime series. The first episode focuses more on Akari's generation, while the second focuses more on Ichigo's.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Yume is shown to be lacking in most idol skills, yet can occasionally pull out a legendary idol aura if the stakes are high enough. After episode 36, she doesn't need the rainbow aura any more.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Elza soundly whoops Rola to get the Sun Dress coord in episode 86.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Ako, sometimes.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Yume, Hime and the headmaster's sister, Hotaru have the power to amplify their voice, aura and overall abilities. This comes at a price of losing one's voice if they overuse it. Moroboshi's older sister, Hotaru, lost her singing abilities after she overused the rainbow power and was forced to retire early from show business.
  • Darker and Edgier: Has hints of this throughout the series, with the headmaster's serious demeanor regarding idol talent and the greater determination among many of the idols aiming to become part of S4. Whenever it does get over the top however, the series has a habit of bringing it back down to Sugar Bowl territory.
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: The legendary aura is basically a giant quadruple rainbow. There are serious consequences for using it though...
    • All revealed auras so far resemble rainbows to some degree, with many largely consisting of two perpendicularly-crossing arcs.
  • Mr. Exposition: Koharu fills this role, explaining the background behind many events/auditions.
  • Fashion Designer: By virtue of the Dress Make System, idols double as this, being able to customize their dresses with Glitter. However, the Glitter gimmick was dropped after Season 1.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Rola and Yume.
  • Gag Censor: Episode 37 had Mahiru struggle breaking her tiles, so she "violently" starts breaking them apart piece by piece behind a scene of a boat on a lake...
  • Gray-and-Grey Morality: While the series is still largely a Sugar Bowl, much of the little-known backstory and the ongoing Myth Arc is surprisingly dark, with an idol being forced into early and initially unhappy retirement, the current idols are meaner and more competitive, Headmaster Hikaru Moroboshi is a man with good intentions who uses questionable methods to get his desired results (and will personally throw out any student who fail to live up to his high expectations), and there are many secrets in regards to Yume's special abilities that both Hime and Morohoshi know much about but refuse to speak much about it.
  • High-Class Fan: Tamagorō Miwa, the teacher of the Moon Beauty Class, is an elegant and fashionable man who is almost always seen carrying a paper fan in his hand.
  • Idol Singer: The show's main theme.
  • Improbable Age: The busy schedule of the best idols, particularly S4, has some Truth in Television in that real Japanese idols actually can have schedules that hectic. Even with this in mind though, the S4 members are often cooking food for their underclassmen/backstage helpers, giving advice to adults, leading their brand's concepts, and waking up at 4AM to jog before going on their work schedule. Hime's practically super-human with how busy she is. And these aren't even high-school aged girls, as the middle school ranges in age from 12 to 14, yet this age group is touted for being at the top of the idol world.
    • Then season 2 introduces middle-school aged Elza, who runs an idol academy on a cruise ship and is apparently infamous for coaxing idols into enrolling at Venus Ark.
  • Improbably Female Cast: Despite the academy having a male division, the only male idols seen are the M4 members. And even then, the male division is only 30 boys in total.
  • Informed Flaw: The first few episodes pointedly note that Yume lacks presence and talent, even though the only real difference between her performances and others' is her smaller aura. This tones down drastically after Yume activates the rainbow aura a second time.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The headmaster. He is stern and has questionable methods while training his students but he does care about them. Everything he did up to now was to protect Yume from the consequences of rainbow power overuse and from suffering as his sister did.
  • Meaningful Name: Many of the revealed characters have names matching their theme, usually color based or related to their aura. Yume Nijino's name for example contains "rainbow", alluding to her aura which consists of many rainbows, while pink-haired Rola Sakuraba's contains "sakura", a shade of pink.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Season 2 reveals the S4 are these in the grand scheme of things. After Season 1 builds them up to be a powerful force in the school and in the idol world, and after Yume, Mahiru, and Ako get to become one of them, the Venus Ark shows up and all attention is blown away from them. This leads Yume to come aboard and learn what makes the Ark and its idols so much more impressive than the top of Four Star Academy.
  • Only One Female Mold: The female idols all have the same thin, petite body type with the S4 girls being slightly taller due to a 3-year age difference.
  • Only Six Faces: Unlike the original series, Stars makes a good effort to keep idol faces individualized, even if it's a relatively minor difference like an extra eyelash between two characters with Tsurime Eyes, though still suffers from this as all idols have the same basic facial structure. Recurring adult background characters however all have a greater variety of face types.
  • Out of Focus: The Dance Class in general, with Yuzu getting the least amount of attention of S4, no first-year Dance Class main characters, and a lack of dance-related events.
    • Yuzu, of all the new S4, is hardly explored in Season 2, with Rola pretty much taking her place despite being only an admin.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Season 2 introduces Star Premium Rare Coords said to be given to those that the Aikatsu System chooses.
  • Playing Card Motifs: The idol types are represented in this manner - Heart for Cute, Diamond for Cool, Spade for Sexy, Club for Pop.
  • Power Glows: Idols each have their own aura, with bigger auras indicating stronger talent.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Koharu, who got sent to Italy for the latter half of season 1.
    • At the conclusion of season 1 and very early into season 2, Yozora heads off to study fashion in Paris and Hime decides to go on a journey after watching Elza perform. Tsubasa decides to leave for Hollywood to become a professional actress.
    • The M4 all leave Yotsuboshi to solo debut in their chosen fields, after Kanata tells Ako the news. Subaru and Nozomu leave the country for modeling and acting.
  • Recycled Premise: Season 2 is rather blatant about trying to redo Season 2 from the original Aikatsu series with the main school gaining a new rival school that appears out nowhere and a new set of dresses with some kind of space theme (constellations for the original series and stars for Aikatsu Stars).
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Ako gets spotted on the Venus Ark, she gets caught by a sailor man with a suspicious resemblance to Popeye.
    • One episode has the main Yotsuboshi girls do a parody of Sakanaction's "Shin Takarajima" music video.
    • In the episode "Halloween Magic", there's a girl dressed as Cirno.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Rola Sakuraba's name was thought to be 'Laura' and even 'Lola' before the series began. Even after the given romanization of 'Rola' was given, most fans have stuck with 'Laura'.
    • Similarly, Headmaster Hikaru Moroboshi's surname was thought to be "Morohoshi," but the actual name is spoken as "Moroboshi." This is not helped that both "hoshi" and "boshi" share the same kanji.
  • Spinoff: From the original Aikatsu! series. While none of the previous characters and settings make a return, it uses the same general concept, events, and character archetypes from the previous series.
  • Spinoff Sendoff: Near the end of the series, the Aikatsu! franchise held a "baton-passing" event with a clip showing Ichigo, Akari, and Yume introducing the heroines of Aikatsu Friends!, Aine and Mio.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: In general, the Song Class gets the most attention when compared to the other classes with nearly half of the main characters being in it. This is partly justified due to Hime's immense popularity.
  • Stellar Name: A lot of the plot of Season 2 revolves the characters gaining around planet themed wings. Elza also works hard in order to be able to obtain the Sun Dress, and as the series later shows a Moon Dress also exists.
  • Theme Naming: The classes at Four Stars Academy follow the theme of Kachou Fuugetsu (花鳥風月), which is appropriate, seeing how the Aikatsu series emphasizes girls to learn about and better themselves as individuals. Respectively, these classes are the Flower's Song (singing), Bird's Theater (acting), Wind's Dance (dancing), and Moon's Beauty (modeling).
    • The Kasumi siblings Yozora, Asahi, and Mahiru's names mean "night sky", "morning sun", and "midday" (noon) respectively. As younger children, they also called each other by nicknames; Dinner, Morning, and Lunch.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After a whole season of being metaphorically kicked in the teeth by Elza, Rola ends the series an accomplished and very popular pop-rock idol, on an international stage.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The impact of Rola's devastating loss to Elza and Elza being the only one to use the Sun Dress Coord is lost on the audience, given that advertisements for the game show that the whole main cast gets Sun Dress coords, showing that there can exist multiple copies at a time, and Hime has the truly unique Moon Dress, as you see obvious silhouettes of them in the outfit.
  • Training from Hell: Hime's training routine involves assuming a sitting position while drinking tea and smiling...without actually sitting on a chair. Another training had the idols wear thick winter coats in the middle of the summer with weights inside of them weighing 30kg total, which they had to run a marathon in.
  • Urban Fantasy: The setting is fairly mundane, aside from the existence of chambers that get fed with cards with clothes on them to allow idols to perform on holographically generated stages that real and virtual audiences can watch from. These make up the Aikatsu System, which seems to have enough of a mind of its own that it grants certain girls a Dangerous Forbidden Technique in season 1 and distributes out disconnected wing accessories to girls deemed worthy in season 2.
  • Valentine's Day Episodes: Episode 43 served as this.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 30. A major character leaves Four Star Academy, a performance goes completely awry, breaks down in tears over said departure... This episode is a helluva shocker.
    • Episode 36: Yume is still too scared to perform live in fear she'll collapse again and the reveal that Rainbow Aura might destroy her singing voice forever makes it even worse for her. Fortunately, after a talk with Hotaru( Hikaru's older sister who did lose her voice and was forced to retire from showbusiness after using the rainbow aura one time too many ) and after seeing how many people believe in her and support her, she overcomes her fear of performing and gives a spectacular performance without using Rainbow Power. The headmaster (who is revealed as actually being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold but with VERY poor communication skills) states that Yume doesn't have to worry about losing her voice any more as she won't need the rainbow aura ever again.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After obtaining the Sun Dress, Elza halts production on Venus Ark and kicks all of her students out of the school, deeming them useless now that she's achieved her goal. Luckily, Rei and the others convince her not to let go of it, and she doesn't... but the name Venus Ark is effectively dead.

Alternative Title(s): Aikatsu Stars