IDOLM@STER.KR (known as Idolm@ster KR Dream in South Korea) is a 2017 live-action television series based on The Idolmaster franchise. It's a joint Japanese-South Korean production under the auspices of Bandai Namco Entertainment and Interactive Media Mix, Inc. It aired 24 episodes, with the first episode airing on SBS in South Korea via SBS Plus, SBS funE, and SBS MTV on April 28, 2017 and ended on October 6, 2017. Amazon aired it overseas via Prime Video, depending if said country/territory has access to the service or not.
The show deals with the South Korean entertainment industry and how the idols try to survive in the business while trying to get along with the others, including the management and at the same time, maintain their public reputation. According to the production crew, characters from previous iDOLM@STER games/manga/anime series will not appear in any capacity in the show.
The show takes place in South Korea where a tragic accident occurs after Suah Lee, the well-known leader of a Girl Group named Red Queen, dies from major injuries sustained in a car crash. This devastates RQ so badly that they decide to take a break from the industry while her manager, Kang Shin-hyuk, decides to resign after the media accused him of being indirectly responsible for her death due to rumors that they were last seen fighting publicly in a hotel. Meanwhile, a strange person named Shim Min-chul saves Pure Entertainment from bankruptcy after the CEO was forced to go hide due to debt.
The show's official website can be found here.
The show provides examples of:
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: Some of the K-Pop songs featured as background music or used during the first mission were replaced with music by Real Girls Project and Red Queen when the show aired on Amazon.
- Apathetic Citizens: When Suji collapses in grief while jogging, no one stops to help her. In fact, the other joggers outright ignore her.
- As Himself: All of the characters belonging to 825 Entertainment share their actors' names. The only exceptions to the rule are Shin-hyuk (played by Sung Hoon), Shim Min-chul (played by Park Chul-min), and Dan-oh Kim (played by Seulki Bae).
- Bilingual Bonus: Mint's mother and Shin Hyuk debate in (heavily accented) English before the mom drags her daughter out of the room. Coco also speaks fluently while introducing her online broadcast.
- Condescending Compassion: In an intentional case of this trope, Chae brags that she gave a vote to the Debut team in their first performance because Suji outshone them all.
- The Cover Changes the Gender: For the second mission, Youngjoo advises the Debut Team take their designated male idol song and just flip the lyrics to make it about girlfriends instead of boyfriends.
- Darker and Edgier: It's not too bad as far as KDramas go, but it certainly has a darker take on some of the themes the original im@s series has:
- Suji and Suah feel like a more somber version of the "twin angst" plots in the 765 and 315 branches. Instead of merely wanting to stand out from their siblings or not being able to do something their twin can do, Suji has to live up to her sister's humongous legacy instead, as Suah was a famous idol and Suji was just a runner out of the limelight. They're not part of the same branch and company, and Suji doesn't have her sister to reassure her of her insecurities because the latter is dead to begin with.
- Jiseul, being the token poor character, cannot actively balance her life between her family-supporting jobs and her idol work, unlike other similar characters who'd fallen on hard times. It gets so bad that she sleeps through practice and is constantly at odds with the token rich person because of their vastly different lifestyles and outlooks on life.
- Taeri, unfortunately, gets the short end of the stick. Where most iM@S properties would have The Load of the team be encouraged to pick up the slack (which the idol will always inevitably do), Taeri on the other hand can't handle it and straight up quits Real Girls Project.
- Driving Question:
- What happened between Suah and Shin-hyuk prior to the former's death?
- What was the incident that Min-chul was involved in that he decided to help the Pure Entertainment trainees make their debut?
- Eating the Eye Candy: In an unusual twist for the franchise, the Producer is clearly depicted as eye candy to the idols. Every girl gets a reaction shot to the Producer's toned body when he is introduced and during their work out sessions.
- Exposed to the Elements: During Real Girls Project's debut concert, the girls continue to wear their stage costumes despite rain pouring onstage.
- Fictional Counterpart: SBC News is a stand-in for SBS News.
- Flashback: Used rather frequently for certain characters to give them more depth and backstory.
- Youngjoo's plight as a trainee and past bullying in school are told entirely through flashbacks.
- Suji's story includes her playing with her twin as children, talks with Suah as her sister rose to stardom, and the events after Suah's death (such as her feeling lonely).
- Yeeun often gets these when referring to her audition to become an idol with help from Jeewon and her subsequent betrayal.
- Jeewon has a few flashbacks retelling the events of creating lyrics with Yeeun, her eventual betrayal, and regarding what happened to the Rookie Team's costumes.
- Foil: The Pure entertainment group and the new recruits are worlds away from each other. Where the Pure girls are more professionally minded due to their previous experience, the rookies aren't coordinated but are more raw in their performances. You can definitely see in in their first mission dances; the Pure girls are coordinated beforehand, seamlessly blend the three songs they chose to perform and wear sexy outfits, where the new recruits wear non-identical, but color coordinated outfits, and put on a cute performance.
- Hard-Work Montage: There's a lot of them in the show. The girls of 825 clean their new studio in the first episode, and both the new hires and Pure Entertainment's girls go through separate rehearsals in episode 2.
- The Host: Coco acts as this for an online broadcast show "Coco TV" that covers the Real Girls Project missions.
- Idol Singer: The theme of the show, following the iDOLM@STER franchise. Most of them are idols or idol trainees.
- Joshikousei: Several of Real Girls Project's stage costumes are fashionable schoolgirl uniforms or Sailor Fuku based.
- Just Here for Godzilla: The only reason the Real Girls Project drums up any excitement at all is because of Suji, due to her being Suah's identical sister. Notice how nearly all of the comments during the teams' first broadcast performances are directed at wanting to see Suji, and just Suji. This is why Kang advises them all to work harder and get better at their idol activities; since everyone is looking at Suji superficially, they need to prove that the rest of the team has talent worth looking at as well.
- Loony Fan: Yukika gains one who stalks her and the other members for several episodes.
- Market-Based Title: The show is known as iDOLM@STER KR Dream in South Korea.
- Multinational Team: The 825 Entertainment idols are mostly Koreans. That being said, Yukika is from Japan and Mint is from Thailand.
- Product Placement: You'll see Korean cars such as Hyundai and Kias.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Some of the comments from the first missions were actually written by viewers of the show online.
- The Rival: Red Queen serves as this to all of the 825 girls. Debut Team and the Rookie Team were pitted against each other as well for the first six months before the Real Girls Project and B-Side were established.
- Scoring Points: The mission system works by having the two teams face off. The winning team receives points based on their performance, while the other receives nothing. The girls with the top 5 scores will be allowed to debut.
- Series Mascot: The monkey mascot suit that Suji wears before she becomes an idol appears in the background scenery throughout the show. It even received some real life merchandise to promote the drama.
- Surprisingly Good English: The song "Lost In The Summer" was sung entirely in English by Jane and Joungjoo.
- Translated Cover Version: "THE IDOLM@STER", "The world is all one!" and "Ai MUST GO!" were translated into Korean for this series.
- Voiceover Letter: Joungjoo's text communication is done in this manner, as she is unable to speak.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Both the Debut Team and Rookie Team have some fairly dramatic meltdowns due to infighting between members.
- Wham Episode:
- Hyejong Seo told Suji that Suah was in the W Hotel to see a man in a room with Shin-hyuk in the 8th episode.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: To promote "PINGPONG GAME", Yukika and Yeeun dyed the tips of their hair blue. Jeewon also dyed her hair pink.