THE iDOLM@STER is an Idol Singer franchise by Bandai Namco Entertainment. Part Raising Sim, part Rhythm Game, the series revolves around the player becoming the producer for an idol or several, helping her train, preparing her for concerts, and boosting her popularity. It began with a self-titled arcade game which was ported to Xbox 360, with a group of trainable rookies from the fictional company 765 Production. In between choosing songs and outfits to perform in, scheduling events, and bettering your relationships with the girls, the game became a surprise hit and helped introduce a wider audience to the world of idol management. Several spinoff games would follow until the releases of Dearly Stars and THE iDOLM@STER 2 started their own Continuity Reboot, titled 2nd VISION. An anime based off of the 2nd VISION continuity would later air in the summer and fall of 2011, whose popularity helped to lay much of the groundwork for later idol Music Stories: the day-to-day life of idols, problems with work, emotional moments between group members and their producer/manager, and especially the focus on rivals. Along with other early '10s idol anime like Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream, it would grow to be one of the frontrunners in the budding Idol Genre, and stick around for many of its years.
The success of the 765 Production games has spawned four subseries, Cinderella Girls, Million Live!, SideM, and Shiny Colors. First released as Mobile/Browser Card Games, they feature unique idols and have spawned numerous CD releases and Anime/Manga adaptations of their own. SideM is also noteworthy for being the first game of the franchise with females as its main audience: it features solely male idols. Cinderella Girls spawned a big enough fandom to gain an anime that premiered on the Winter 2015 Anime season. It has also received a Rhythm Game for smartphones named THE iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls: Starlight Stage (with gameplay similar to fellow rhythm phone games such as Love Live! School Idol Festival but using 3D models), its own Gravure 4 You! series, and a VR live "game" called THE IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls: Viewing Revolution. Million Live! has its own Rhythm Game similar to Cinderella Girls Starlight Stage named THE iDOLM@STER Million Live!: Theater Days. SideM followed soon after with the announcement of not only a Starlight Stage-like game of their own (THE iDOLM@STER SideM: Live on St@ge!), but an animated adaptation within the same year during the Fall 2017 Anime season.
Also, as all good successful franchises do, The iDOLM@STER managed to inspire other series to try and latch on the same crowd. Dream C Club was D3Publisher's answer to Bandai Namco's giant, with some unique elements in order to not look like they're the same thing.
Tropes that are common for the franchise as a whole, please, list them on this page. For tropes specific to individual titles, see the franchise list below.
- The iDOLM@STER - A page for all the main series games. Includes the arcade and Xbox 360 game, SP, One for All, and Stella Stage.
- THE iDOLM@STER - The original arcade and Xbox 360 game
- THE iDOLM@STER: Live for You!
- THE iDOLM@STER SP
- THE iDOLM@STER LIVE IN SLOT!
- THE iDOLM@STER: Dearly Stars - the first spinoff game to take place in a different agency. Includes tropes from the three manga adaptations as well.
- The iDOLM@STER 2 - Despite the name, it's actually part of the 2ND VISION reboot.
- THE iDOLM@STER: Gravure for You!
- THE iDOLM@STER Shiny Festa
- THE iDOLM@STER One for All
- THE iDOLM@STER Stella Stage
- THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls - Page for the mobile game as well as Starlight Stage.
- THE iDOLM@STER: Million Live! - Page for the mobile game as well as Theater Days.
- THE iDOLM@STER: SideM - Page for the mobile game as well as Live on St@ge!.
- The Idolmaster Shiny Colors
- THE iDOLM@STER: Dearly Stars manga - Manga series adapting Dearly Stars' three routes.
- THE iDOLM@STER: Splash Red for Dearly Stars
- THE iDOLM@STER: Innocent Blue for Dearly Stars
- THE iDOLM@STER: Neue Green for Dearly Stars
- The iDOLM@STER - The animated adaptation based on The iDOLM@STER 2, as well as its manga sequel.
- THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls - The animated adaptation based on Cinderella Girls.
- The Idolmaster Cinderella Girls Theater - The yonkoma series of Cinderella Girls and its animated adaptation.
- THE iDOLM@STER: SideM - The animated adaptation based on SideM.
- The Idolmaster Side M Wake Atte Mini: The chibi spinoff of SideM as well as its anime adaptation.
- THE iDOLM@STER Million Live! - The manga adaptation of Million Live!
- THE iDOLM@STER: Nemurihime
- The iDOLM@STER 2: The World Is All One!! - A manga that was also based off the second game, but with more liberties and development for its main characters.
- D@YS OF JUPITER: THE iDOLM@STER - Another manga based on the second game, focusing on the rival group Jupiter.
- Ayasake no Koganeiro: THE iDOLM@STER - A backstory focused on secretary Kotori Otonashi from the main series, during her teenage years. Takes place in the anime continuity.
- Cinderella Girls Spinoffs:
- THE iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls U149
- THE iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls After20
- THE iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls Wild Wind Girl
- Million Live! Spinoffs:
- THE iDOLM@STER Milion Live! Back Stage
- THE iDOLM@STER Million Live! Blooming Clover
- SideM Spinoffs: Unlike most spinoffs, these take place in the same continuity.
- THE iDOLM@STER SideM: Dramatic Stage
- THE iDOLM@STER SideM: Struggle Heart
- Idolmaster: Xenoglossia
- Petit iDOLM@STER - A bizarre manga featuring the 765 girls living with chibi doppelgangers of themselves.
- The IDOLM@STER.KR - A South Korean TV drama series produced under the direction of Bandai Namco and Korean-based Interactive Media Mix (IMX).
- Alternate Continuity:
- Akihiro Ishihara, Bandai Namco's director, said that iM@S SP and iM@S2 are parallel worlds, as in iM@S2, Hibiki and Takane are 765Pro's idols from the beginning.
- Million Live! does take a lot of reference from the 1ST VISION titles, even if they're mostly in the 2ND VISION continuity.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: Although that is largely the point with this game.
- Ascended Meme: Fans noticed that Ritsuko's outfit resembled the uniform of Lawson convenience stores, and it became a meme. Bamco and Lawson noticed the meme, and started a cross-promotion campaign that is still ongoing; you can apparently buy raffle tickets for Idolm@ster goods at Lawson.
- Bribing Your Way to Victory: The downloadable content.
- Cast Herd: For the mobile games, the cast is easily separated into each of the idol groups featured rather than in out-of-job pairs. SideM and Shiny Colors are especially guilty of this.
- Cat Girl: You can dress up your idols to look like catgirls in the main series games. In Cinderella Girls, Miku Maekawa's stage act is based on this, while Kirio Nekoyanagi in SideM puts on a catboy act.
- Character Title: The Idolmaster in the title refers to you, the Producer. One who can manage more than a handful of idols and catapult them to stardom deserves to be called no less than that.
- The Chosen Many: Zig-zagged in adaptations. While the classic series' adaptations showed different Producers handling different groups, Cinderella Girls had hundreds of idols thanks to their multimedia giant status, and therefore implied there were multiple producers to attend to them all. SideM averts it, since all the manga adaptations and the anime show it really is the one Producer helping them all.
- Colour Coded Characters: All of the idols have associated colors. The colors for 11 of them can be seen here.
- Comic-Book Time: This is more obvious in One For All and especially Platinum Stars and the mobile games but universal throughout the franchise - birthdays might be referred to from time to time, as are various events happening through the year, but with the exception of 2 and other entries set in 2ND VISION nobody gets to age. Even then, the idols only aged up one year.
- Costume Porn: There's quite a bit of outfits to go around in the series, especially in the mobile games with their events. The main games at least give the player the ability to dress their idols up.
- Crossover: The cell phone Cinderella Girls and SideM each have their own separate events with the cell phone RPG Granblue Fantasy, while Million Live! and the two aforementioned games got one with Tales of Asteria.
- Downloadable Content: New songs, costumes and accessories are regular fixtures as DLC. Some games include extra stories or additional rival units as well.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Your character is always referred to as "Producer" and its variants, except for certain idols who refuse to refer to you as such.
- Everything's Better with Sparkles
- The Faceless: The Player Character. Also, Mr. Takagi. Actually, aside from Kotori and the Jupiter trio, every other character you come across, including the satellite characters on the girls' routes, are all faceless.
- First Person Snapshooter: The sole premise in The iDOLM@STER Gravure for You.
- Gratuitous English: Quite a few of the songs. Geetah Solo, come on!
- As you go further into some of the girls' routes, a few of them change the way they refer to the producer, such as Miki calling him Hanii (Honey) or Takane's Anata-sama (Dear).
- Image Song: Each idol has at least one song just for them.
- Joshikousei: Most installments have a few. SideM puts in a couple of danshikousei for their spin on the trope.
- Kawaiiko: Some characters from the series work hard at being cute or deliberately play up their cuteness, such as Iori Minase from the original games, Sachiko Koshimizu from Cinderella Girls, or Mofumofuen from SideM.
- Level-Up at Intimacy 5: Idols can draw on pleasant memories to boost their performance during the Audition stage.
- Lucky Charms Title: A @ is used in place of the "a" in the "master" part of the name.
- Minigame Game: The lessons used to increase the idols' stats take the form of minigames.
- One Steve Limit: Averted trope. Within the mobile game spinoffs, many idols between them share first names. Notably, Cinderella Girls, Million Live and SideM all have a character named "Nao" (Nao Kamiya, Nao Yokoyama and Nao Okamura in order, though only the first two share Japanese characters also), and the latter two games both have a "Tsubasa" in their respective game's main Power Trio (Tsubasa Ibuki and Tsubasa Kashiwagi, same character).
- Power Trio: Trios are always a focus component in this series, and the main idol group will often be a trio.
- From the foundation series: Haruka, Chihaya and Miki. Project Fairy (Hibiki, Miki, and Takaane) as well, in 1ST VISION.
- From Cinderella Girls: Uzuki, Rin and Mio
- From Million Live: Mirai, Shizuka and Tsubasa
- From SideM: Teru, Kaoru and Tsubasa (not to be confused with Million Live's), the members of DRAMATIC STARS. Technically Jupiter is also treated this way as well.
- From Shiny Colors: Mano, Hiori and Meguru, members of the Illumination Stars group.
- Dearly Stars has, of course, the titular group made up of Ai, Eri, and Ryo.
- Punny Name / Goroawase Number:
- President Kuroi of 961 Production ("961" can be read as ku-ro-i).
- The 765 in 765 Studios is pronounced "na-mu-ko", from "nana" (7), "mu" (6, for counters), and "go" (5, where "go" and "ko" are the same character, mostly). If you still don't get it, this is how Namco is pronounced in Japan. This reference can also be found in other works by Namco, the Ridge Racer and Ace Combat series being good examples.
- Dearly Stars's 876 Production is read as "ban-na-mu", with "ban" (8) and then the "na-mu" part as above. "Bannamu" is a portmanteau of "Bandai Namco", and is indeed a common short form for it.
- Cinderella Girls 346 Production ("mi-shi-ro", meaning "beautiful castle"), SideM's 315 Production ("sa-i-ko", meaning "ultimate") and Shiny Colors's 283 Production ("tsu-ba-sa", meaning "wing") apply for this trope as well.
- Rule of Cute: How can the girls have blushes on cue during the stage performances? Who cares!
- Super Title 64 Advance: Dearly Stars is for the Nintendo DS, and Platinum Stars is for the Playstation 4.
- Title Drop: The highest Producer Rank in the original game (as well as in Starlight Stage). Later games added ranks above this such as True Idolmaster. In the true ending of SP after the player character proclaims he'll stay a Producer rather than become the new president he says he'd also like to be known as the Idolmaster.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Of the original 765PRO ALLSTARS, Chihaya. The mobile games have quite a number of exotic hair colours.