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The iDOLM@STER is the second TV series based on the video game series of the same name. It was produced by A-1 Pictures and aired through the summer and Fall of 2011.

The anime follows the exploits of an unnamed rookie Producer starting work at 765 Productions, a struggling talent company that manages Idol Singers. He immediately gets thrown in at the deep end by being assigned twelve aspiring idols, each with their own particular talents, personalities and ambitions. It will be a long and tough road to stardom, but by spending time with his charges and bonding with them, the Producer stands the best chance of learning what makes each girl tick and where their strengths truly lie.

The series wrapped up in 2013 with a movie, Beyond the Brilliant Future!, which covers them gearing up for their largest performance yet while dealing with newbie backup dancers. A novel was written to bridge the time between the show and the movie.


In 2017, a prequel manga set in the anime's continuity started seeing serialization. Ayasake no Koganeiro: THE iDOLM@STER takes a much needed look into the backstories of President Takagi, Kuroi, and Kotori back when she was an aspiring idol. The manga is ongoing and runs in Comic REX.

For a time, the entire series was legally available to watch on Crunchyroll until 2021.

For the history of the original game and the franchise, see The iDOLM@STER.

For the first anime, an Elseworld Real Robot story largely unrelated to the source material, see Idolmaster: Xenoglossia.

For other anime set in the same universe, see THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls and THE iDOLM@STER: SideM.


The anime provides examples of:

  • Accidental Discovery: Of all the plans Kuroi enacted to discredit 765 Productions, the one that actually worked was the one he didn't know about at all. The papparazzi he hires to make a scandal out of Takane accidentally discovers Chihaya visiting her brother's grave and encountering her mother, and only takes a picture to have around. While the Takane situation was quickly diffused, this picture gets doubled down on after Kuroi asks about it, resulting in a smear campaign painting Chihaya as a walking remorseless jinx who was solely responsible for Yuu's death, which makes her so traumatized she loses her ability to sing.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The anime combines story elements from all of the game routes, and Miki, Takane, and Hibiki are already part of 765 Pro from the start instead of eventually defecting from 961 Pro.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: Some events in the anime series make a lot more sense if you've played through the game and unlocked the backstories for the idols.
  • Adults Are Useless: Averted. While the Producer isn't always able to help, he always goes out of his way to do what he can, from dropping everything in the middle of the night to help look for Yayoi's brother, to taking a potentially fatal fall for Haruka. Most issues are resolved with the assistance of his advice, and when Haruka's attempt to voice her concerns gets interrupted, the Producer does not let her get away with pretending it was nothing. Even the eccentric President manages to use his influence to help with things from time to time, and his journalist friend is invaluable in getting their name out there. Kotori isn't focused on too much, but she runs the office by herself a lot and is clearly important to the team.
  • All Part of the Show: While Makoto and one of the groom's bodyguards duke it out, a crowd forms around them, fully convinced that they're actors shooting for a movie. This only happens once, though; the shop keepers around each fight are aware of the very real danger these people are putting their shops in, and they won't let the Producer off the hook for it.
  • All There in the Manual: Some events in the anime series make a lot more sense if you've played through the game and unlocked the backstories for the idols.
  • Alternate Continuity: The anime is based mostly on The iDOLM@STER 2, but it tweaks it a lot and uses several elements of the other games too.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • In the seventh episode, a Nonowa doll can be seen on the floor next to Yayoi's little sister's leg.
    • As of episode 15, Robo-Chihaya (guest starring Black Haruka) is now a reality. Or at least a movie.
    • Mujin Gattai Kisaragi can be taken as an Ascended Meme as a whole. In there we have Black Haruka, The Washboard on Kisaragi, and Yukiho's hole-digging antics are referred to in Takane's (Yukidrill's pilot) catchphrase.
  • A Friend in Need: Central part of the plot for the whole show, more visible during some characters' Heroic BSODs:
    • Episode 20 has Haruka support Chihaya through her magazine scandal, eventually singing with her when she freezes up during her cmeback solo.
    • Chihaya returns the favor in episode 24, when Haruka breaks down after the stress of everyone's careers drifting them away from each other gets to her. Chihaya is the one who starts gathering everybody together, and eventually they all come to support Haruka.
  • An Aesop: Each episode gives a lesson to at least one character.
    • The second episode teaches Ami, Mami, Yayoi, and Iori about individuality.
    • In Episode 6, the Producer learns to trust his idols' abilities.
    • The seventh deals with running away, although it's not any of the idols who runs awaynote 
  • And the Adventure Continues: The characters keep stressing that even though 765 Pro is a huge success, this is only the beginning for them. Plus, they're financially back at square zero after getting scammed by Kuroi, who looks like he'll continue to be petty going by his maniacal laughter in his last scene. The ending sequence of Episode 25 also teases the ongoing stories of the 876 idols and Jupiter, showing that there's more idols around who have stories to share. Jupiter especially will get their spotlight, albeit half a decade after this anime.
  • Animation Bump: The majority of the dance numbers flow quite nicely, especially in Episode 13. And when Chihaya regains her voice.
  • An Odd Place to Sleep: Miki can sleep most anywhere. This includes the trunk of a van, two or three foldable chairs, and even while Haruka is piggybacking her in episode 26.
  • Aren't You Forgetting Someone?: The Producer repeated this word-by-word when the girls forgot him buried in a sand castle.
  • Art Shift: Whenever Kotori gets into an Imagine Spot, this happens. Thus far, the art sometimes shifted into Shoujo style, or JoJo's Bizarre Adventure style. Then it's back with a vengeance in episode 26.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Hibiki stops in the middle of her swimming race with Makoto in Episode 5 to catch a fish.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The second half of episode 5 opens up with 765 turning into their hotel for the night, lingering on a lavish, brightly lit Western style hotel for a few seconds...before panning over to the smaller and more modest Japanese style hotel they're actually staying at.
  • Beach Episode: To beat the heat in Episode 5, 765 takes a trip to the beach. It's a rather low budget affair, considering their budget and reputation at the time. They even get to combine it with a Hot Springs Episode in the second half.
  • *Beat*: Episode 25 gives us this exchange:
    Miki: No, no! I'll not give Honey up, even to you, Haruka!
    Haruka: Eehhh?!
  • Bears Are Bad News: Subverted and discussed by the girls in episode 15, when Hibiki is shown being in front of a "Beware of the Bears" sign.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • In the first episode, we see Makoto trying to read a LaLaLa magazine.
    • Miki has "Somy" headphones and the idol track meet has an "Aniprex" banner. Which is weird, since A-1 Pictures and Aniplex are both Sony subsidiaries, meaning they made a Bland Name Product for their own company.
    • Chihaya lives near a Burger Queen.
    • The camera Yoshizawa uses is a Qanon.
    • The billboard announces a Tricster.
    • There's a PSB in the office in episode 17.
    • The "Ramen Nijuurou" featured in Episode 14 is a bland-name twin of the (in)famous Ramen Jirol.
    • Makoto has an advertisement for a Pocari Sweat knockoff, Porari Sweat.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • The Producer. Not a very strong example, especially considering how straight it's played for his P-headed counterpart in Petit iDOLM@STER, but still the focus of a good part of the laughs, and implied to be more so off screen.
    • Referenced in-universe when, as part of a scavenger hunt, Makoto and Iori need to find the one made fun of at the office the most, and they grab the Producer.
  • Call-Back:
    • Hibiki shooting out Gerogero Kitchen's Share Phrase ("tatto-kero!") when she catches a fish in episode 5 references the episode prior, where she was featured on the show.
    • During Miki's trek around town in episode 12, she finds a magazine with the 765 marriage shoot photos from episode 8.
    • The Producer recalls Haruka's support when he was struggling in episode 7, when giving her a pep talk in episode 20.
    • The girls referencing the Beach Episode (ep 5) on the Christmas Episode (22).
    • The climax of Episode 24 has the Haruka apparition give Haruka a caramel, just as Haruka gave the Producer some sweets to help him think and calm down in Episode 6.
    • Episode 25 features the camcorder the Producer used to interview the 765 idols in Episode 1, and the wallet Haruka intended to give to him during Christmas (but is evidentally made into a recovery gift). Haruka also brings up th concept of an "idol" again, now that she's found what that means to her.
  • Camera Abuse: Ami and Mami literally grab a hold of the camera demanding to be filmed in the first episode.
  • Cat Smile:
    • The Futami twins do this sometimes. More prominent during their introduction on the first episode.
    • Makoto has this when the Producer tells her there's comments about how "sexy" she's becoming.
  • The Cameo:
    • 876Pro's Ai, Eri, and Ryo show up for The Big Talent Agency Sports Competition in episode 10. They also are shown in one of the shots of episode 18's ending, and on episode 25 during an interview with Yoshizawa. The last moment also features Manami, Ai and Ryo's manager.
    • The movie's credits give cameos to New Generations members Uzuki, Rin, and Mio.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: While the first half of the series was very lighthearted, the second half progressively began to take on darker tones, culminating in 765 Pro's rivalry with 961, Chihaya's dead little brother plot, and the Producer getting into a life threatening accident and Haruka's subsequent breakdown.
  • Character Focus: By the final two episodes, every idol has had their spotlight:
    • Episode 3: Yukiho
    • Episode 7: Iori and Yayoi
    • Episode 8: Azusa
    • Episode 9: Ami and Mami
    • Episode 12: Miki
    • Episode 16: Hibiki
    • Episode 17: Makoto
    • Episode 19: Takane
    • Episode 20: Chihaya
    • Episode 24: Haruka
  • Cherry Blossoms: Prominent in the final minutes of the final episode when everyone on the 765 Agency goes Cherry Blossom viewing.
  • Christmas Episode: Combined with Birthday Episode for good measure. Yukiho's is on Christmas Eve, so the Christmas party in episode 22 doubles as her birthday party.
  • Clark Kenting: Haruka literally puts on glasses (and a hat) to avoid being recognized in public in the second half of the series.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Takane in Episode 2.
    Chihaya: Haruka? What's wrong?
    Haruka: I think my heart is going to leap out of my chest.
    Takane: That's terrible. *gets up* We need to call a doctor.
  • Cooking Duel: A light hearted Iron Chef-esque version, called Gerogero Kitchen, is the subject of one of the girls' gigs in episode four. It was Haruka and Chihaya versus Hibiki and Takane; the latter team won.
  • Darker and Edgier: Unlike their first few in-universe productions, The movie trailer in the standalone episode 26. It's for a mafia-esque flick in which almost all of the characters the idols are playing die except four (Iori, Haruka, Azusa, and Ritsuko's).
  • Date Peepers: Miki, Takane, Makoto, and Yukiho each spy on the others in their date with the Producer.
  • A Day in the Limelight: As shown in Character Focus, each of the idols have their own focus episodes, but some of the side characters get their own episodes too. Episode 18 covers Ritsuko, while the tail end of Episode 21 covers the long suffering Kotori. The Producer gets focus in Episode 6 for the first season.
  • Drama Bomb: The story of Chihaya's dead brother going public, and later the producer's life-threatening accident mark the anime's turn into drama territory.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Jupiter makes small appearances in episodes 2 and 10, but they don't become proper antagonists until the second cour.
  • Empathic Environment: In Episode 16, the weather goes from sunny to rainy after Hibiki falls down a cliff and can't get help. The weather goes back to its previous blue skies when her animals find her.
  • Enforced Method Acting: In-universe. When schedules get more and more tight for the girls and they can't be as close as they used to anymore, Haruka starts to have doubts about herself and why she came into the industry in the first place. She unconsciously starts pouring these feelings into her audition for the beaten-down lead in a musical and ends up getting the part.
  • Epic Fail: Episode 15, Makoto tried to wear a cute Magical Girl-style dress and 'cutefy' herself (call herself 'Mako-rin' and make up cute sounds). The audience is not amused...At least until Yukiho fixes her to a more boyish outfit, and the audience instead Squees like crazy.
  • Everyone Has Standards: While Touma may look down on the idols of 765, he was clearly disgusted by Kuroi's underhanded tactics of sending a Paparazzi at Takane. Later, all of the Jupiter boys become even more disgusted when they learn Kuroi uncovering Chihaya's tragic past and slandering her in a magazine. They finally called it quits once they learn that Kuroi is trying to sabotage the 765 Pro again. To be fair, the only reason Touma acted the way he did in the first place was because of Kuroi deceiving him and the other two members of Jupiter into thinking that 765 was using underhanded tactics to achieve their popularity, while remaining oblivious to those used by his boss.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Makoto is not only popular with teenage girls, but housewives as well!
  • Evidence Scavenger Hunt:
    • It's played with when the Futami twins are trying to discover who stole Iori's pudding from the fridge. Complete with summation in the end.
    • The Futami twins are shooting a drama episode where this happens to the three sisters that are played by the three girls from Ryuugu Komachi.
  • Evolving Credits:
    • The ending credits always change depending on which idol was the focus of the episode.
    • Following episode 21 Chihaya's singing scene in the opening changes, having brighter lighting and Chihaya smiling.
  • Executive Meddling: An in-universe example occurs when the variety show "Are We Live?", which stars a number of the idols as hosts, is canceled despite good ratings. The main reason for the cancellation is to free up the Sunday timeslots for other shows.
  • Festival Episode:
    • The girls make their first stage as a group on Ep 3 during a festival. Episode 19 shows the girls visiting one, and Chihaya remembers her dead brother when they were both at a festival.
    • In Episode 25, 765 goes out to a Flower Viewing to celebrate the Producer's dischage from the hospital.
  • Finale Movie: The film THE iDOLM@STER: To the Other Side of the Light wraps up the series by having the cast finally become successful female idols.
  • Foreshadowing: "Aoi Tori", used as the fourth episode's ending song, basically calls to Chihaya's backstory. Lines such as "I won't forget you" and "we can't go back to the way we were", as well as the sad imagery, hint at this; it all heavily implies that the song is addressed to her late brother.
  • Framing Device: Episode 26 uses Kotori looking though old videos as a reason to show a series of unrelated shorts, which they return to at the end.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In episode 11, Haruka and Chihaya have a sleepover in an apartment building named "Mber". Haruka, Chihaya, and Imber were in a robomantic love triangle in Xenoglossia.
  • French Maid Outfit: The outfit Hibiki and Takane use during the Ribbit Ribbit Kitchen episode. Complete with Zettai Ryouiki.
  • Funny Background Event: During the gangster movie trailer in episode 26, there's a scene of a public protest. One protestor is holding a sign reading "I want a girlfriend".
  • Game-Breaking Injury:
    • Narrowly averted in Episode 10. Makoto's fall during the three-legged borrowing race sprains her knee and puts her at risk of skipping the final relay race. She ultimately does participate, but she's noted to be in pain from the injury.
    • Azusa gets the mumps a few days before a RGKM secret live in episode 18. Ritsuko is forced to come out of idol retirement to take her place.
  • Generation Xerox: When Haruka takes a walk around her hometown, she discovers a group of elementary school children trying to sing in the park. Haruka eventually sees them all as miniature versions of her 765 companions, even sharing similar dynamics.
  • Gullible Lemmings: Touma believes in Kuroi's lies that 765Pro are cheats and cowards, but is unaware that Kuroi regularly uses these tactics. Later, they started to get aware and Touma was clearly pissed, but Kuroi still shut him down until he called it quits.
  • Happily Arranged Marriage: Episode 8's bride and groom end up with this, all things considered. At first, the bride didn't want to do it at all and ran off. After losing the groom's ring she, by coincidence, runs into her groom-to-be for the first time; she takes one look at him and agrees immediately.
  • Head Pet: Hamzou enjoys being on Hibiki's shoulder or head.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The Producer in two instances. Taking a punch from a thug who was aiming for Makoto in episode 17, and saving Haruka from falling in the stage pit on episode 23 only to fall himself.
  • He's Back: Chihaya tries to invoke this on her own, but fails miserably... until the rest of 765PRO come onstage and sing with her, giving her the final push for her comeback. In the next episode, she starts singing in a capella while the audience looks in disbelief.
  • Hidden Depths: Episode 21 shows that Kotori isn't just a simple Sexy Secretary. She has the skills and the voice talent to rival any of the current idols. She was in fact an idol herself in her younger days, under the tutelage of Takagi and Kuroi before the falling-out of the two executives.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": The groom from episode 8 is the son of an Arab Oil Sheikh, and likewise is referred to as "Oil Salesman". It would appear that this is his actual name, as he addresses himself as such when he propositions his arranged bride.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Ritsuko tells the girls to overcome the heat with their minds... while she's with both her feet in a bucket of iced water. Also a shoutout to a near-identical scene in You're Under Arrest!.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: President Kuroi convinces the audio technician from the Idol Jam to conveniently forget where he put the CD with the 765PRO idols songs. This comes back to bite him in the rear, when Chihaya starts to sing "Nemuri Hime" in a cappella, making the tech (and the crowd) be so moved by the scene that he restarts the audio in the next chorus, effectively creating a greater effect on the public than it would be if she had just started singing normally. Also, this little stunt was the last straw for his own group of idols who didn't want to keep up with his crap anymore, and quit his company before "Nemuri Hime" even ended.
  • Idol Singer: Quite obviously a whole bunch of them, not only the girls on 765PRO.
  • I Have This Friend...: When going to get advice from the Producer, Chihaya dresses up her main concern (that 765PRO was drifting apart and the one person who tried to keep them all together was suffering in silence) as a problem about a family she's come to know.
  • Indecisive Medium: Part of the Red Herring on the first episode, with the Producer's lines not spoken but subtitled, as in the game.
  • In-Series Nickname: Ami and Mami have one for almost everyone in the main cast.
    • Nii-chan/Honeynote  - Producer
    • Harurun - Haruka
    • Mikimiki - Miki
    • Yayoichi - Yayoi
    • Piyo-chan - Kotori
    • Himechin - Takane
    • Hibikin - Hibiki
    • Yukipyon - Yuikiho
    • Makochin - Makoto
    • Iorin - Iori
    • Ricchan - Ritsuko
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Shinkan Shoujo is a group made up of jerks who just want to show everyone up, but their leader Hikari is right about Yayoi being the weakest physical link of 765. In both of the events she's featured in she under-performed greatly, falling in dead last during the relay race.
  • Kick the Dog: Kuroi kicked hard when he sent Paparazzi to slander Chihaya about her Dark and Troubled Past, traumatizing her for life and showing zero regret for it. Even the Jupiter trio do not approve. This is seen as a Moral Event Horizon both in-universe (especially for Jupiter) and out, since the previous iterations of Kuroi were at best high-class Jerkasses and never tried emotional warfare like this.
  • Limited Social Circle: The girls aren't shown to have many friends outside their 765PRO ones. The only one with a named friend is Azusa, and even then, Tomomi is never shown (or voiced for that matter). To be fair, at least Haruka was shown in episode 11 eating lunch with her classmates in the ending sequence, but they never appear in the main show.
  • Magic Skirt: Despite all the dance routines, there's not a single Panty Shot during the whole show. Maybe justified since the stage outfits are stage outfits and therefore made to be this way. The only time this is almost averted is with Azusa in episode 15 when she's wearing the same clothes as the workers from the daycare center they're filming at.
  • Male Gaze: In-universe. The cameraman on Ribbit Ribbit Kitchen always films at the foot of where Haruka falls. "Where is he aiming?" indeed. Chihaya is the one person to speak up about it, but her outburst is quickly brushed aside and the cameramen double down on the service shots.
  • Marilyn Maneuver: One of Azusa's old promo pics has her doing this, complete with the white dress.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: In-universe examples:
    • Sweet and kind Haruka plays the Big Bad of a movie according to the trailers. She apparently was enjoying it.
    • Happens in the yakuza style movie with the Futami twins who are the most violent characters in it.
  • Mockumentary: Episode 1 is framed like this, with each girl getting their own segment talking about the hardships of being a small time idol. However, the documentary was only a framing device both in and out of universe; the making of was actually meant to get the Producer acquainted with the girls who will be under his wing, as he pretends to be a cameraman when recording each segment.
  • Mood Whiplash: Episode 19 ends with quite a predicament for Chihaya, but the ending theme sung by Takane is strangely cheerful. Only justified in that this episode, the character focus was Takane, but even then...
  • Murder Mystery: Beautiful Sister Detectives from episode 9 is one of these. The story appears to be about three sisters who uncover a plot involving a stolen treasure, and their plan to catch the person responsible.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • During the Sleep Cute shot in episode 13, Hibiki, Miki, and Takane are seen sleeping next to each other. In SP (which takes place in the 1ST VISION timeline), they were the members of 961's rival unit Project Fairy. The second OP even lines them up with the "donna rival datte" lyrics of "CHANGE!!".
    • Mujin Gattai Kisaragi. The idols piloting giant robots — where have we heard that before?
    • In episode 26, Ami and Mami remark about how the Producer has gone to America. He shows up shortly after, although he actually does go to America in the Good or True endings of The iDOLM@STER 2. The Producer actually decides to study in America in the movie.
    • The "Chihaya vs. the Karaoke Machine" scene is a reference to an incident in the production of the game. When Asami Imai was recording "Ohayou! Asagohan", she sang it in a more natural/classical style, which the staff didn't think matched the mood of the song. They kept telling her to make it more staccato, and the result led to the Robo-Chihaya meme. Cue this scene, with the machine standing in for the staff.
    • Iori and Makoto tell Yukiho to shut up in episode 10 the same way Haruka and Iori do it on the song "Danketsu".
    • Episode 12: "Your visual stat increased!"
    • "Mako-mako-rin" originated from the drama track of the MASTER LIVE 02 CD.
    • Episode 14 gives a nod to the iM@S spin-off series Petit iDOLM@STER, with Chihyah, Haruka-san, Makochii, and Yayo trinkets.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Chihaya's younger brother, previously unnamed in the games, is now given the name "Yuu".
  • No Romantic Resolution: Considering that the anime's base game throws tons of Ship Tease from the idols to the Producer, some of which is replicated here, it's a wonder that the series escaped romance between the idols at all. Miki even ends the series still pining after the Producer and calling him "honey".
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Makoto will NEVER get out of her fame as The Prince. When she tried 'cutefying' herself, she ends up making an Epic Fail instead.
  • Once per Episode: The frontal shot of the 765 Pro office building, with the exception of the 13th episode. They're doing their first large-scale concert and were nowhere near their office.
  • One-Man Army: Makoto beat the relay race practically by herself, since (no thanks to Yayoi) Iori passed the baton to her in second-to-last place. And with an injured knee.
  • One Steve Limit: Played almost too close for comfort with Ami and Mami, and lampshaded in the introduction of the movie Majin Gattai Kisaragi. Ami plus Mami equals Amami. (Granted their written names are sufficiently different). And in the game we have Ai and her mother Mai.
  • Opening Shout-Out: The penultimate episode has Haruka in her civilian clothes rushing to meet up with the rest of 765 outside their office, just like in the second opening.
  • Opposing Sports Team: For Episode 10's sports event, we have Namase Productions' Shinkan Shoujo— a trio of talented, mega popular, but downright cruel girls who aim to take 765 down a peg and come out on top. Even their Producer is pretty sleazy, trying to convince 765's Producer to throw the final event for Shinkan Shoujo.
  • Paparazzi: An unnamed one is hired by Kuroi to dig up dirt about the 765PRO Idols. He manages to successfully put out an article on Chihaya's accident, which sends her into a depression for the last few episodes of the show.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Even more than Haruka's Clark Kenting, Makoto dressing up as a boy so she wouldn't be recognized.
  • Plot Parallel: The drama Ryuuguu Komachi recorded in episode 10—concerning a mystery surrounding a stolen treasure—gets mirrored in the episode's main plot of Ami and Mami trying to find out who ate all of the pudding in the refrigerator.
  • Plot Tumor: Chihaya's issues concerning her dead little brother keep popping up in various episodes, even when the focus isn't on her, and are constantly foreshadowed throughout the series, before it eventually blows open in episode 20 when the series does focus on her.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The Producer to Miki in episode 6 setting the chain of events that almost made her quit for good in episode 12. To elaborate, the only reason why she put any effort into her idol work is because he had offhandedly said she could join Ryuugu Komachi if she kept up with everyone; so when Miki went to Ritsuko and inevitably found out she wouldn't join, she gets mad and walks out. To be fair, he was in the middle of what seemed to be an important phone call, and the fact that Miki kept talking to him despite it, probably didn't help.
  • The Power of Friendship: A major theme throughout the show. Best exemplified through Chihaya losing her voice after the Paparazzi incident; with a lot of convincing, Haruka's no-holds-barred support, and the rest of 765 singing with her to maker feel less guilt, Chihaya is able to find her voice again and move forward from her dark past. She even states in a later episode that this incident helped her realize how much she considered 765 family.
  • Product Placement: A particularly odd example at the idol track meet. It has sponsorship signage from "Namco", the games' developers, yet uses the Bland-Name Product "Aniprex" for A-1 Pictures's own parent company.
  • invokedReality Subtext: The dramatic and heartrending performance that lands Haruka the leading role in a musical was brought on by her building stress over 765's increasingly busy schedules, the time they have together being cut short by business, their lack of synergy for their upcoming second major concert, and the Producer being hospitalized by taking a fall that would have injured her. The lines she's given to practice with are nearly beat for beat her thoughts during this tumultuous time.
  • Red Herring: The Producer's lines in the first episode aren't voiced, leading us to believe that the adaptation of the game would be a literal adaptation.
  • Refusal of the Call: Ritsuko really doesn't want to be a pinchhitter for Azusa when she gets the mumps. The thing is, she doesn't have a choice.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Hamzou. Arguably also a Hypercompetent Sidekick, especially since said critter can understand a TV show on cable.
  • Runaway Bride: Episode 8's subplot features a bride denying an Arranged Marriage because she doesn't know the man she's supposed to marry. Her accidentally dropping the man's ring when she ran off is the catalyst for the rest of the episode's events.
  • Series Fauxnale: Episode 25 would be the last episode in any other story—the girls' major concert goes off without a hitch, the Producer is there to see his idols take off, call-backs abound pepper the speeches of the girls, and important recurring characters get their last cameos in befre the end. It wraps up all remaining plot threads from the previous episodes too, but regardless, one more episode came afterwards, followed by a movie and eventually SideM for how Jupiter turned out.
  • School Festival: While it's not school, Episode 10 features an industry-wide sports meet for idols modeled off of this. 765 is lucky to have been invited due to Ryuugu Komachi gaining popularity, and even luckier to take the gold at the end.
  • Ship Tease: A good portion of the second half of the anime has this with several of the girls, particularly when the girl is the focus of the episode. Also, Haruka and Touma have a little bit after the former's animosity towards 765 gives way.
  • Shout-Out:
    • There's probably some staff from Sound of the Sky working on the series, given Sister Yumina's appearance as a minor background character (the photographer's assistant) in episode 2. Wait, why does Chihaya in the anime look like Rio?
    • The poses that both Haruka and Makoto do in episode 3 are base on the transformation poses of Kamen Rider Ichigo and Nigo.
    • Episode 5 gives us Azunyan (see Stealth Pun below).
    • In episode 6, Miki is wearing a color-swapped Mr. Driller T-shirt in one scene.
    • The Oil Baron's henchmen who fought in the epic kung-fu fight with Makoto atop the ladder in episode 8 looks very much like one of the Bakusa brothers from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Hint: both shows share the same character designer!
    • In episode 10, a possible reference to Perfume is made with the "three member technopop unit Barium." One of the members is even named Necchi.
    • In episode 12, there is a Taiko no Tatsujin arcade booth, the Mr. Driller logo is seen briefly, the House of the Dead 4 game, curiously in a Time Crisis 4 cabinet, and The Xbox 360 makes at least two appearances. Curiously enough, a PS3 makes an appearance too, with a Bland-Name Product label.
    • Episode 15 also had an incident where Haruka was hit by a box with Chihaya beside her. Funny on its own, hilarious when you find out that Haruka's seiyuu Eriko Nakamura and Chihaya's seiyuu Asami Imai were in that same position back in 2004.
  • Show Within a Show:
    • Ribbit Ribbit Kitchen from episode 4 is a frog-themed cooking show on Frog TV.
    • Episode 9 showed the filming of Beautiful Sisters Detectives, mentioned above in Murder Mystery.
    • Episode 15's "Live?! On Sundays" is a variety show hosted by all of 765's idols. Inside that show, we get Mujin Gattai Kisaragi.
    • Episode 26 brought back "Live?! On Sundays", plus a trailer for a mafia flick (a homage to Battles Without Honor and Humanity, of all things).
    • There's another one from episode 26, a romantic movie about a girl finally getting married that starred Azusa. It ended with a happy but tearjerking end, but ironically used "Tonari ni" as the main theme. A handful of fans argued further that this is a shout-out to a semi-famous fanmade video, 3A07, based on some stylistic similarities.
  • Silent Credits: While even the most serious of episodes usually gets a theme sung by the 765 idols, Episode 23's are completely black and only have a somber melody playing, to not take away from the tragedy of the Producer being hospitalized.
  • Slice of Life: This show is basically a Slice of Life with an Idol twist.
  • Spoiler Opening: This probably isn't going to be a spoiler to anyone who played the first-generation games, but the opening credits depict Ritsuko as one of the idols, foreshadowing episode 18.
  • Staring Kid:
    • Episode 5, the kids are amazed by Yukiho digging a hole on the sand... for the sake of digging a hole in the sand.
    • The kids in episode 24 get interrupted from their playing to stare at Haruka, once they're able to recognize her a their favorite idol.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • In episode 5, there's a scene where Azusa and The Producer are drinking, while Ritsuko is there too but doesn't drink. As The Producer and Ritsuko converse, one can hear the tipsy Azusa going "Neko neko nyan nyan~ Neko nyan nyan~" in the background. Doesn't that make her Azunyan?
    • It seems to be a song that Azusa likes personally. In the Puchimasu subseries, she can be heard humming the same thing while going for work. "Kitty kitty meow meow~"
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: The antagonists of Episode 10, the idol group Shinkan Shoujo, has one of its members (Nozomi) fall head over heels for Makoto even though they want to take 765 out of the running for first place.
  • Sudden Soundtrack Stop: The BGM, alredady tense, at the end of Episode 23 cuts off the instant the Producer hits the ground after falling in the stage pit, signifying that whatever happened ust be dire.
  • Tabloid Melodrama: Kuroi and Episode 19's shady connection try to catch Takane in compromising circumstances to stir up trouble for 765. Luckily for them they catch Takane having lunch with an older man, who turns out to be the president of the established music publisher Elder Records. Kuroi planned to spin the encounter into a rumor that Takane had plans to leave 765 for Elder—a rumor that even the 765 girls consider, due to how secretive Takane is most of the time.
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: When Azusa comes down with the mumps days before a Ryuugu Komachi conert, Ritsuko is pulled in to take her place. After gaining a reputation as a demon of a dance instructor from Iori and Mami, Ritsuko gets put through their strict training regimen and can't stand it, much to the other two girls' delight.
  • Tears of Joy: Several throughout the anime.
    • Episode 10 - Yayoi holding the trophy they won during the competition at the end.
    • Episode 13 - When the girls manage to buy enough time for RGKM to get to the concert hall.
    • Episode 20 - Chihaya coming to terms with her past, and Ritsuko on the moment she hears Chihaya's singing again.
    • Episode 22 - Yukiho upon receiving "Happy Birthday" wishes from the other girls.
  • 10-Minute Retirement:
    • Miki stops showing up when she finds out she's not going to get into Ryuuguu Komachi. The Producer does make sure to get her back, though.
    • Later, Chihaya stops coming after her tragic past is revealed by Kuroi, causing her to lose her voice. It takes the whole crew at 765 Pro to finally help her out.
    • Then later still, Haruka taking several days off as a result of her Heroic BSoD after the producer gets injured saving her life. Like Chihaya, the rest of 765 Pro help her out, however she also gets "help" from her subconsious self.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: The relay race in episode 10 with "L.O.B.M." playing. A few of the events of the race played exactly timed with the changes in the song rhythm to added effect, such as Hibiki's initial burst, Iori encouraging Yayoi to keep running, Makoto's overtakes and Yayoi cheering/begging Makoto to win. Interesting enough is that L.O.B.M. means Love Organized Boost Music.
  • There Are No Therapists: Let alone a family one which Chihaya and her parents really needed after Chihaya's brother's death. It would have probably saved her parents' divorce and her breakdown when it's made public.
  • Title-Only Opening: Episodes 1, 13, 20 and 24 do this to avoid undermining the seriousness of the episodes.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: A few episodes in the anime showcase Movies Within A Show the idols star in. All of them reveal the overall plot and major spoilers.
  • Training Montage: Several, with the first one going along the credits of the very first episode.
    • Episode 11 features one while the girls practice their routines for their first big live performance, set to "Smile".
  • Vignette Episode: Episode 26 is a series of short scenes, with the Framing Device of Kotori putting a bunch of old recordings together for one compilation video.
  • We Need a Distraction: When Rryuugu Komachi is stuck in a typhoon on the day of the big 765 concert, the rest of the girls are told to extend their set until they arrive. It takes quite a bit of last-minute revisions to do, but ultimately they pull it off.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 19, which marks the point at which the show stops subtly flirting with drama and decides to go for the kill. The preview for episode 20 makes it very clear that the tone of the story has changed completely.
    • Episode 23 shows the Producer getting in an accident trying to save Haruka. To make matters worse, there is no character ending theme. Nothing. Just a sad piano playing during the credits. There's even a shot of Miki, Kotori, Ritsuko, and the president at the hospital. This entire sequence makes it the darkest moment in the entire show. The preview to the next episode is even more unsettling. Fortunately, despite Haruka falling into a Heroic BSoD in episode 24, the whole situation eventually gets resolved within the episode in a two-pronged way: the power of True Companions when the rest of the 765 girls realize what Haruka was feeling, and Haruka's subconsious younger self getting her back on her feet.
  • Wraparound Background: Happens at times, but very noticeable in episode 12 when the Producer is chasing down Miki. If you look closely while the background moves, you can see the same mob characters cycling throughout the sequence.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: Chihaya, an idol who loves to sing and makes a career out of it, gets a sixty from a karaoke machine while singing her own songs! What makes this even more funny is that she is clearly the best singer out of the whole group, both in universe and in the games.


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