The story follows Kanade Amamiya, a second year in high school who has suddenly been scouted by Haruto Mikami, a legendary idol from D-Four Productions. Despite his initial reservations, he decides to audition and ends up being accepted into D-Four's Rookie Idol division, where everyone has the same goal: to make their CD debut by winning the agency's competition Dream Festival! Of course, he can't do it alone. Only a strong unit will be able to win DreamFes! and Kanade is hoping to find friends among his fellow rookie idols.
The anime received a second season in 2017, titled Dream Festival! R. This season introduces the three man idol group ACE as an older group to the lineup, and follows both DearDream and KUROFUNE as they rise in stardom.
Following the ending of R, both the arcade and mobile video games ended by May 2018, with in-game transactions ending in March. The two groups DearDream and KUROFUNE held their final live concert "ALL FOR TOMORROW!!!!!!!" at Nippon Budokan in late October 2018. However, the characters themselves won't be dying just yet; they still hold 3D concerts despite the franchise winding down.
A character page is under construction, both this and that need need some love.
Not to be confused with the "Dream Festival" event from Ensemble Stars!.
This franchise contains examples of:
- A Day in the Limelight: All of the members of DearDream get an episode that focuses on why they want to become an idol during season one, while Kurofune gets a couple in Season 2. The mobile game's stories (most notably, "Onward! Backstage") also do this.
- Affectionate Nickname: Chizuru gives all of the DearDream members one.
- Ascended Fanboy: After seeing Mikami's performance and having caught the bracelet he flung out into the crowd, Junya is determined to become an idol that will "go beyond the ultimate" like Mikami. After passing the audition to get into D-Four Productions, he does his best to become a well-rounded idol, but he still fanboys about Mikami despite seeing the legendary idol around often.
- Be Yourself: Kanade had a lot of trouble trying to make himself appeal to the female audience in Episode 5, and when confronted with an almost impossible joke scenario he could do nothing but freeze up in confusion. Junya saves him by giving him an opportunity to show off Kanade's natural helpful attitude and positive demeanor, which ended up endearing the audience to him, thankfully.
- Book-Ends: The final song performed at DreamFes is "PLEASURE FLAG", the same song used as the anime's first opening.
- The Cameo: The Rookie Class characters from the game appear as background characters and participants in DreFes in the anime.
- Cast Full of Pretty Boys: A given considering it's about male idols.
- Character Blog: Each member of DearDream and KUROFUNE have their own official Twitter. The game characters also have one.
- Character Customization: The games eventually came with the option of making a personal idol wholesale to put on stage.
- Chromatic Arrangement: Kanade (red), Shin (blue) and Junya (yellow). The name for their unit "Traffic Signal" is taken from the fact that their hair colors match the colors on a traffic light.
- Sankishi shares an RGB color pattern.
- Conspicuous CG: All the dance sequences use this in the anime and the last episode of R cycled through most of the performances. Both the mobile and arcade game use a different CG engine compared to the anime's motion capture.
- Crossover: The game announced one with Tokimeki Restaurant in late 2017. The crossover was implemented in both games in early 2018.
- Darker and Edgier: While not terribly darker than the last season, R does seem to give more time to establish more dramatic conflicts than the first season did.
- Early-Bird Cameo: The other two members of Mikami's old idol group, Makoto and Ichika, are seen in the first OP and in some flashbacks to the Night of One Million Cheers. They don't actually become relevant and get speaking roles until R.
- Excited Show Title!: One for each main character. On the rare occasions when the series will have titles with 7 exclamation points, you know KUROFUNE is involved.
- Fanservice: Happens quite a few times in the story. Junya will get some nude or sexy scenes every once in a while, and even Hikami models in a swimsuit during R.
- Fun with Acronyms: The in-game group ANSwer and the anime group ACE have their names based on the members in it.
- Idol Singer: A male example and the premise of the show.
- In the Local Tongue: Junya and Kanade are disappointed when Shin informs them that their unit name "Traffic Signal" means, well, a traffic signal.
- The Leader: Junya Sasaki. He earns the position after gaining the respect of both Shin and Kanade for his actions on a variety show.
- Meaningful Echo: When Junya is first told that Kanade will train with him, he says it's impossible and Kanade replies with "I can totally do it!"Japanese . This is repeated throughout the episode, to the point that Chizuru says it's become a reflex. When Kanade, Junya and Shin are about to go onstage for Kanade's audition, Junya turns around and tells Kanade that he can do it.
- This grew to a whole new level when at DearDream 1st LIVE Real Dream the fans shouted "Ikerussho!" instead of a concert's traditional "Encore!".
- Mistaken for Romance: After "2032" was put out in the public, one of the common interpretations of the song was that it was about a bad breakup and cited a girl Shin was walking with as the subject of the song. They were right, sort of; the song was actually about the falling out of Keigo and Shin as children, not of a particular romance.
- Mutual Envy: Itsuki had always admired Junya's ability to perform, and is jealous of how hardworking the boy is compared to himself. Junya eventually reveals that he has his inferiorities too concerning Itsuki.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: R Episode 6 has a brief appearance from the President of the United States, looking slightly like Donald Trump. The show at least takes a small dig at him, with Chizuru saying he looks like a bulldog.
- Non-Uniform Uniform: The outfits all of the boys wear at D Four Productions usually just boil down to the standard white company blazer. Everything else is up to them, and some characters go wild with it.
- Previously On: Each episode begins with a recap of the previous, usually narrated by Kanade (season 1).
- Rainbow Pimp Gear: This can happen when playing the mobile game, since you get randomized clothes everytime you try your luck in the clothing lottery, and you won't get full sets of matching clothes unless you play the event songs enough or get really lucky.
- Refusal of the Call: Kanade walks away from Mikami's initial offer to become an idol. It is only because Mikami slipped his cell phone into Kanade's jacket and Junya's disbelief that Kanade returns to D-Four Productions and decides to audition as an idol.
- Running Gag: In the anime, whenever Yuzuru appears he gives Chizuru an extra spicy pudding to eat, save for the night before Dream Festival, when it's sweet instead. Chizuru often can't handle it and spews out fire.
- Second Year Protagonist: Kanade, Shin and Junya (if he hadn't dropped out of school) are all second years. The game adds at least 4 more second years to the cast.
- Singer Namedrop: "Real Dream" has the lyrics slip in the names of the DearDream members as a wordplay joke. The first verse features the characters' names while the second verse features the voice actors' names.
- Spear Counterpart: Unofficially considered one to Bandai/Namco's own Aikatsu!. Both have magic idols as a theme, utilize a card system to coordinate outfits, and both their games and arcade cabinets operate under similar protocol.
- Spoiler Opening: The opening gives away the members of DearDream even though the unit isn't formed until the end of episode seven.
- Justified. DearDream's debut single was released on March 16th 2016, long before the first episode of the anime. The group's various live events in Japan such as a mall tour and fan greetings make this more of a Late-Arrival Spoiler.
- The first opening animation also spoils where the boys get the idea to write "PLEASURE FLAG" from, given that the lyrics show up with their corresponding inspirational moments.
- Title Drop: The name of the competition rookie idols have to win in order to get a CD debut is called Dream Festival! (or DreamFes! for short).
- Training from Hell: Junya subjects Shin and Kanade to this in episode four, taking the training regimen from a magazine article about Mikami. It isn't until near the end of the episode that the training regimen was revealed to be nothing more than a fabrication for the magazine.
- Transformation Sequence: Whenever an idol catches a Dream Card (Dorica for short), they will undergo one in order to wear the outfit on the Dorica.
- True Companions: The DearDream members are always looking out for each other, and fill in where the others fail. However, this also comes with a set of problems all on its own; because they're always close, they don't actually know how to stand on their own merits.
- Twin Switch: This ends up being the reason why Yuzuru is so resentful of Chizuru. When they were children, Chizuru offered to go to D Four in Yuzuru's stead, which landed him the audition.
- Variety Show: In Episode 5, the boys work a game show appearance where they compete to make the audience swoon. All of their segments are first person scenarios where they flirt with the camera and spout off cheesy lines and confessions, which someone like Kanade had no experience with.
- Wall Pin of Love: During Junya's segment on Heart-Throbbing Prince, he traps the viewer in one. Evidently, we see he's gotten the cameraman too.
- Worthy Opponent: DearDream and KUROFUNE consider each other this.