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Video Game / Ensemble Stars!

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Ensemble Stars! is a touch-and-go, CCG game created by Happy Elements of Merc Storia fame, and the younger brother series to Happy Elements' earlier idol mobile game, Ensemble Girls!. Its main attraction is a Cast Full of Pretty Boys performing various idol activities and semi Otome-Game like features, and also a story involved as background to many of the cast.

The player, a new female student (called Anzu as default, but the player can input their own name as well) in the second year transfers to Yumenosaki academy which used to be an all-boys school famous for creating popular performing units until her transfer to start studying in the producer course. Facing the fact that the school is not what it seems to be, she decided to help a group unit who wanted to rebel against the school's Unit system.


Ensemble Stars! is currently only available in the Japanese App store for Apple products while for Android, it is available with the help of the Qoo app to bypass the region lock.

A Manga adaptation had been running since August under ARIA magazine with 4-koma shorts at their Pixiv account, updated weekly. An anime was set to come by 2017, but after a two year delay with no updates the project was finally revealed to be premiering in 2019, spearheaded by David Production. The franchise also boasts a novelization of the main story and a stage play series: Ensemble Stars! On Stage, with sequels Take Your Marks!, Judge of Knights, and To the Shining Future. A new Manga adaptation, "Ensemble Stars! Ready for Star" is also released, adapting the game's event stories and following the game faithfully, it can be read in the Japanese app, Mangaone.


In 2019, Happy Elements announced a new direction for the mobile portion of the franchise: it would be retitled to Ensemble Stars!! and consist of two coincentric games. Along with the classic training game (retitled Ensemble Stars!! Basic in 2020), an additional rhythm spinoff/sequel titled Ensemble Stars!! Music launched, featuring the boys signed to different talent agencies.

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IMPORTANT NOTE: As the game is currently unavailable outside of Japan sans Android users with the help of the app above, please mark spoilers accordingly.

This game provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Divided School: Enforced by the Absurdly Powerful Student Council during the war, as they scapegoated any other students they were unable to control (especially the 'five oddballs') and rewarded those who helped them. This created a massive power disparity as it was basically impossible for any idol unit not favoured by the student council to achieve top ranks in competitions, impacting not only their popularity at school but their later career prospects. Those who were attacked by the student council banded together, and ultimately with their help Trickstar was able to disrupt the system and massively curtail the student council's power. While during the War the atmosphere at school had been very hostile between different groups, this eased that tension hugely, and afterwards most characters are happy to make friends across old enemy lines.
  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: A big part of the plot as the members of Student Council are set as main antagonists, even if not necessarily villains. The Student Council is powerful enough to interrupt and close any DreamFes not organized by the school, and are actually responsible for the problematic idol hierarchy going on Yumenosaki Academy in the beginning of the main story. Their authority is such that the idol events are pretty much rigged so that the units they're a part of will win.
  • Actor Allusion: When Ogami is fighting with Kuro in the first episode of the anime, a "DORARARA" can be heard.
  • Adam and/or Eve: The rival schools introduce Eden, a unit divided into two groups to pit against Yumenosaki; Eve, made of Hiyori Tomoe and Jun Sazanami, and Adam, consisting of Nagisa Ran and Ibara Saegusa. Both of them came from Reimei and Shuetsu respectively.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The light novel gives expansion to what Anzu is thinking and also more about the character herself. It also gives more insight to characters such as Eichi.
    • The 4-Komas themselves also expand on the characters.
    • The Audio dramas which you can unlock by purchasing unit CDs also gives some highlights about the characters themselves.
    • The Anime itself is this along with Adaptation Distillation, while it does not include every single event story in the game, it does, however, elaborate a few scenes in the game.
  • Adapted Out: Anzu doesn't appear in the manga to fulfill the In the Hood rule that Happy Elements had set up for her appearance. Hence making the Manga running differently from the game in terms of story line. The anime and the new manga adaptation Ready for Star, however, follows the game and included Anzu, averting the In the Hood trope.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • On April Fools Day 2016, the adults, Akiomi Kunugi and Jin Sagami, temporarily took over the game. The title screen only had the two of them and the title was changed to "Ensemble Stardust". The main room was also changed to either both of them. They even had their backstory revealed in the mini event (which was fully voiced!), had their own cards and had their own outfits unlockable (although the cards cannot be used when producing).
    • At the same note, events and gacha will also focus on a certain character and/or unit.
  • Allegedly Free Game: Sure, it is a free game, but unless you actually buy diamonds, good luck getting the cards you actually want from the gacha. Getting event cards that are gained by ranking is also nearly impossible if you aren't willing to pay for more diamonds, especially when the ranking card's character is from one of the more popular units like Knights or UNDEAD. Event cards that are point rewarded are obtainable for free... but only if one has strong enough teams, which might take a long time if you don't scout in the gatcha, making this come full circle.
  • Always in Class One: Roughly half of the cast are in Class A of their respective years, while the other half resides in Class B. There are no exceptions.
  • Always Identical Twins: Yuta and Hinata from 2wink, who are only distinguishable by the color of their headphones.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: You can unlock special costumes of a character as you collect the cards. You can also unlock voice clips of characters if you continue rising the "Affection rank".
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The course's events in the event producer course in the Marionette's memories event aren't from Anzu's point of view (As she has yet to transfer to Yumenosaki). Instead, they are from the point of view of different characters involved in that reminiscence event. This has become a recurring pattern starting from the Marionette's memories event. Events where Anzu is not completely involved of in producing or helping will have it from the point of view from the participating characters while those that had Anzu involved will have the courses played in Anzu's point of view.
  • Another Side, Another Story: Starting after the 2016 White day event, comes the loop events featuring the back story of the characters involving the one year before Anzu moved to Yumenosaki and the mostly mentioned "War" between Eichi and the five oddballs. Like the events before, they took place after the main story, as hinted in the Marionette's memories events's story epilogue where Nazuna calls Anzu "Transfer student" and regards her experience as still being a newbie in being a producer.
  • April Fools' Day:
    • In 2016, Kunugi and Sagami temporarily replaced the game by showing their days as teenage Yumenosaki students. The gag was later repeated in 2017, only this time showing their idol years.
    • In 2018, the game brought up a Ryuusetai Shoot 'em Up sentai arcade game complete with fully voice acted cutscenes.
    • 2019 pitted Trickstar and the Four Weirdos against the boys of STARISH and Quartet Night in a fake "Dream Star Live".
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!:
    • Subaru is attracted to money, not for wealth, but the metal used for the coins because he likes things that shines bright. So when Eichi revealed the idea of bribing Subaru with money, not metal, but actual money in his plan to bring Trickstar to disband, it became a Berserk Button.
    • Mitsuru gets distracted easily.
  • Author Avatar: Anzu by default, since she represents the players as an Audience Surrogate. But there are those who have a hard time seeing her as their own avatar given that Anzu has her own backstory and characterization.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: Within quite a few groups:
    • Souma probably takes the cake despite being a second year: in both his unit and his club he is the only non third year. Within the Marine Bio Club it isn't really that obvious, but considering that Kuro and Keito compare him at one point to their child, he definitely fits this for Akatsuki.
    • Sora is the only first-year in Switch and is an important mediating force between the very difficult relationship between Natsume and Tsumugi.
    • Tori is the only first year of fine, and very much does try to take advantage of his resulting childish position, though he also does worry at times about being far less experienced than his seniors and concludes by the end of the year that he wants to be able to stand beside Eichi as an equal, not just a kid.
    • Tsukasa is the only 1st year in both Knights and the Archery Club. Regarding the former, this actually motivates him to try harder and prove himself, but in the Archery Club it's noted that Keito is pretty soft on him due to being a junior.
    • Mitsuru is this for the Track and Field club, looking up to his seniors as older brothers (and sister), while they happily dote on him. He even seems to see himself as this in Ra*bits, too, despite being the same age as Tomoya and Hajime, as he says in one story that he sees them as like older siblings, too.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Some seniors have this sense to the younger ones. To note a few:
    • Kuro to the Player/Anzu. It helps that he has a little sister himself, though it also gives him a bit of a sister complex. To an extent, he also cares for Tetora as a junior as he suggested Tetora to Chiaki after he was rejected by Keito to join Akatsuki.
    • Chiaki to the first years in Ryuuseitai, and the younger basketball club members plus the Player/Anzu. But most of them find his way to show it smothering.
    • Nito to Ra*Bits and the protagonist, to the point that it's almost Invoked since he wants others to see him as a big brother and to call him such.
    • Madara to anyone he deems to be his " children " but particularly Leo, going as far as threatening to punch Eichi should he ever hurt Leo again. Though he sees himself as more of a Team Mom than an older brother figure.
  • Bishounen: All of them, including the first years, are this. Even those who are actually cute-looking.
  • Bland-Name Product: There are a few examples but one of them is the sports drink Sweat Star which is likely one for Pocari Sweat.
  • Blithe Spirit: Anzu. At first most of the boys in Yumenosaki don't like or care about her but over time she eventually gains the respect and affection of each of them one by one, with her hard work and constant reaching. Even with all the boys she encounters, she treats them equally, seeing herself as only their producer.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory : Diamonds are one of the currencies in the game, and you can use it to refill LP used to participate in lives, to refill AP used to do lessons, to enter revival events, or to be used to roll the gacha boxes. You can get it for free as rewards from the event and from completing lesson objectives, daily logins, and reading the stories from event rewards and gacha cards, but like it or not, you have to eventually buy some if you want to do well in ranking or getting the gacha cards you want if you're unlucky enough to not get them from rolling with the free diamonds you saved. Moreover,like mentioned above, getting the 1.1 million points card is manageable without buying diamonds only if you have strong teams...which requires you to scout a lot in the gacha.
  • Butt-Monkey:
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • How Tsukasa views Leo. He admired Leo for leading Knights, so to say that he is disappointed when he finally met Leo in person is an Understatement. Though it makes sense that the "War" left Leo quite broken.
    • Tomoya once admired Wataru for his acting, like Tsukasa, to say that he is irritated at Wataru is an Understatement.
    • Koga used to admire Rei a lot back when he wasn't broken, and even copied his speaking style because of it. Needless to say, he became dissapointed when Rei began to act like an old man after he was broken, and started to treat him the way he does now.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Explained more thoroughly on their character sections, but the five Oddballs fit as a group of this. They are all certified Cloudcuckoolanders who go at their own pace and have strange tics and personalities, as their nicknames imply. Still, they are all considered extremely talented. Even Eichi admits it.
  • Call-Back: The gacha scout stories are going to be related in one way or another. For example:
    • Ritsu's desert entry in the sweets gacha scout story will later get a mention in Undead Tea House and Dark Night Halloween events respectively.
    • The Hero Show gacha scout and Supernova event are both related to each other. Supernova continues what is left from Hero Show and the fate of the Hero Show plan mentioned in Supernova.
    • The event courses will have things that will be mentioned as trivial but will be called back. It also doubles as Call-Forward sometimes. In Ritsu's Band Ensemble course for example, Ritsu's special course event has the choice of having Anzu sing a lullaby to him. This same choice was first brought up in Ritsu's Halloween course's special event (Which, event wise, chronologically occurred before Band Ensemble) where he ask Anzu to sing a lullaby for him.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Characterization Marches On: In cases of the Jerkass characters and those who didn't have much to say in the main story. For example, Koga who soon becomes Jerk with a Heart of Gold over the course of the main story and Tori, who begins to mellow to the rest of the students over time. This adds up the courses, events, and gacha's.
    • Also, some characters come across differently in the main story in a way that isn't so easily put down to deliberate Character Development: Mao is presented as The Ditherer, unsure who to favour between the Student Council and Trickstar, while in most later events Hokuto is treated as the disloyal one (admittedly Hokuto earned this treatment too, but it was emphasized far more with Mao in the main story despite rarely being brought up afterwards), Nazuna comes across as far more irritable and hot-tempered, and Hokuto describes Souma as 'never drawing attention to himself', which contradicts... basically anything he has ever done, even within the main story.
  • Character Development: All of the cast goes through this via event and gacha stories. By Ensemble Stars!!, the original cast all retained the Character Development they had back in the original story and events during the start of Ensemble Stars!!'s main scenario.
  • Childhood Friend: Quite a few examples.
    • Mao, Ritsu and Rei are neighbors, though Mao is actually closer to Ritsu than to the older brother, Rei.
    • Eichi and Keito have known each other due to close relationships with their family.
    • Yuzuru and Tori is a bit of an odd example that they have a "Master and Slave" relationship (in Tori's point of view). Yuzuru's actually his butler.
    • Shu and Kuro had known each other since they were kids due to being in the same school.
    • Madara is childhood friends with both Kanata and Anzu, although Anzu doesn't remember her past with him.
  • Circus Episode: This is the point of the fittingly-named event Circus, which involves fine and 2wink working together with a local circus to put on a concert. This allows the Aoi twins to show off their street-performing skills, and Eichi to monologue to an escaped lion about how difficult it is to be the king.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • The "Three oddballs" (Rei, Kanata, and Wataru), all third years, are basically an acknowledged group of these. Later events reveals that they used to be five. Shu is confirmed to be inactive from Idol activities at least until now. Natsume created a new unit, switch that soon debuted after the main story.
    • Leo also qualifies, as explained in his character entry, although he isn't an oddball. This caused confusion with several fans.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The card types, which are divided into three: Performance (yellow), Dance (red), and Vocal (blue).
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The mention of Leo's little sister Ruka is a likely nod to Ensemble Girls!, the earlier Distaff Counterpart that Happy Elements put out.
    • Likewise, the mention of the player/Anzu's little brother who is the protagonist of Ensemble Girls!. Kaoru Hakase of Girls! was also mentioned to have an unseen best friend named "Angie", which was revealed to be an old nickname of Anzu's. It was all but confirmed that both games take place in the same universe. It's just that Stars! and Ensemble Girls! are about a year apart. In Girls!, Leo was mentioned to have already been in college.
    • The nod is strong enough that most of Anzu's backstory can be traced back to events in Ensemble Girls!, down to the very school she went to before she transferred to Yumenosaki.
    • Leo's greeting is implied to have been borrowed after meeting Girls' Ruri Amamiya, as the 2016 Opera event has him saying that it's actually "Daiuchuu", which is Ruri's catchphrase.
  • Cosmic Motifs:
    • Trickstar is based on, naturally, stars - their outfits often feature star shapes, and one of its members has a strong love for anything that glitters.
    • Ryuuseitai literally means 'Meteor Team' and naturally takes its inspiration from meteors. Due to the Japanese term also meaning something similar to 'shooting star', this leads to them also using a lot of star motifs. They also have a generally sci-fi aesthetic, being based on a Sentai team, meaning their outfits often have a Captain Space, Defender of Earth! feel - in the 2018 April Fool's event they were outright Space Opera protagonists.
    • Akatsuki means 'Scarlet Moon'. On a basic level, this represents the unit's Japanese, Autumnal theme, but it also has symbolic meaning: Akatsuki was created simply to reflect the power of fine, which has a heavenly theme and is sometimes associated with the sun. However, in Quarrel Fest they finally overcome this and begin to challenge fine outright, with Keito declaring that Akatsuki now represents a new dawn (as 'Akatsuki' literally can mean dawn in Japanese).
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Well, they don't date, but Makoto is having this reaction to any guy getting close to the player/Anzu. Often Played for Laughs.
  • Crossover:
    • One with Welcome to the Ballroom as a promotion for its anime in 2017.
    • They also have frequent crossovers with Yume 100: 100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams, and received one with fellow Happy Elements game Merc Storia.
    • 2017 also saw to a crossover with fictional comedian Blouson Chiemi, with both the game and the On Stage cast.
    • In 2018, they have a crossover with Last Period, a fellow Happy Elements game.
    • Sanrio Puroland hosted the cast for a crossover event in 2018.
    • In 2019, TRICKSTAR and fine collaborated with Uta No Prince-sama Shining Live's STARISH and QUARTET NIGHT.
    • A Yowamushi Pedal crossover had Onoda Sakamichi appear as an idol in the game.
    • In 2019, the game has a crossover with King of Prism Shiny Seven Stars.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: UNDEAD may have a dark theme, but none of them are bad people. In fact, in the main story, they are on the protagonist side.
  • Darker and Edgier/Lighter and Softer: The stories in the events and gacha tend to switch between this lines in order to balance out the tones. Usually when there is a filler event, the gacha story will have a more serious tone, and vice versa for more serious events and light hearted gacha. As of December 2016, the darkest story had been Starlight Festival due to it having a Wham Line right at the very first chapter.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
  • Depending on the Writer:
    • Anzu's personality depends on which of the two scenario writer's, Yuki and Akira, wrote the Event/Gacha story. Anzu is akin to a gentle girl if the story is written by Yuki (This gets downplayed in future events/gacha story), while if written by Akira, she will have a stronger personality. It's later explained that Anzu is genuinely snarky, but she became more quiet and meek as a result of the trauma of the failed rebellion at her old school.
    • Similarly, Akira's written Event/Gacha stories have more drama and stronger plots, while the ones written by Yuki are Lighter and Softer. Though Yuki is also shown to be capable of writing a stronger plot as evident in the recent "Flutter! Chick and Emperor's triumphant return" event.
  • Difficulty Spike: Starting from the 2016 Tanabata event, a new encore function is added and event points had become harder to achieve. To explain, the encore function provides additional points but relies on RNG. And the previous point awards are now lowered for the system to work.
    • This is now averted that from the many complaints, Happy Elements had Nerf it down.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": Narukami uses the feminine pronoun " atashi " and feminine sentences while talking as well as talks about having the 'heart of a woman', all while wanting the player/Anzu and the members of Knights (Especially the younger ones) to refer to Arashi as a sister instead of a brother. Despite this,he still refers to himself as a boy at times and his gender is canonly stated to be " male ".
  • Dysfunction Junction: Wouldn't you believe it. As the story goes on, you'd learn that some of the cast are subjected to Dark and Troubled Past's in varying ways (Either from having Abusive Parents, facing the harsh reality of the modeling industry as a young child, etc.) and that's not counting the psychological trauma that some of the 2nd and 3rd years suffer from the "War" added onto that. Even Anzu, if you count the Continuity Nod, is not excluded from this. The few well-adjusted ones can be counted by one hand.
  • Early Game Hell: Two instances:
    • In the original Ensemble Stars! and Basic version of Ensemble Stars!!, newer players are unable to gain as many scores or clear as many lives that come their way unless they gain stronger cards.
    • In the Music version of Ensemble Stars!!, you can't get higher scores unless you properly level up your cards and the skills that comes with them.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Initial cards of Nazuna's mostly feature him looking angry, presumably because it was expected that his irritation at being treated like a kid would be a major part of his personality. However, even in his first appearance in the main story he establishes himself as a genuinely capable older brother figure to Ra*bits, and it's this reliability which ended up becoming his most notable trait (both in terms of his how he cares for his juniors and in his common role as an Only Sane Man) so very few of his later cards have him looking so hostile, instead favouring happy and calm expressions.
  • Engrish: Averted with Tsukasa who is capable of speaking fluent English, to the point that the fact that his pronunciation is so smooth makes it hard for others to understand it. Played straight with Wataru who shouts his Catchphrase "Amazing!!" most of the time.
  • Ensemble Cast: Outside of the main story where Trickstar are the protagonists, the events tend to focus on a different group of characters and units as well as their development and there is no set main character. The gacha stories are similar due to a different character being the primary focus everytime a new gacha is introduced, however due to the limited amount of story, only one character ( The 5* ) receives the primary focus in the story. making the gachas have more of a Rotating Protagonist feel.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The player/Anzu is called "Transfer Student" by many of the students at first until the fourth event where most of them started to call her by name. The only exception had been Tori who calls the player/Anzu by their first name sometime after their first official meeting in his side-story, Leo, who joined to the game months after the game's release, Tsumugi who immediately called her by name, and Mika who is introduced much later but calls Anzu by her name mainly out of being comfortable with girls. Though other characters are noted to call the player/Anzu by a nickname. Tsukasa calls her Onee-sama, Kuro calls her Little miss, Shu calls her Little girl and Natsume calls her Little kitten (Koneko-chan in game). By Ensemble Stars!!, most of the cast refer to her as "Producer".
  • Failed a Spot Check: When Eichi plans to disband Trickstar to keep the unit system hierarchy in tact, he failed to account Anzu/The Player who had been in the producer course, helping Trickstar to get into shape and made them capable of standing at the same level as Akatsuki, and later, fine in the main story. Hence unwittingly brought his defeat under the hands of Trickstar.
  • Fanservice: Some cards are quite pleasing to the eyes of the players.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • For those who joined the game on a later date, players will know, from playing the events, that Trickstar will defeat fine and come out victorious. Not that it stops them from reading the story.
    • Those playing the events centering the past of Yumenosaki academy one year before Anzu's transfer will also know that the five oddballs lost the "War" with Eichi, turning the unit system of Yumenosaki academy to the way it is today. And Leo leaves tired of the "War".
  • Foreshadowing:
    • During the 2015 Christmas event, it was mentioned that the Christmas stage was originally a stage for two but the original performers cancelled performing due to the bad weather and one of them complaining about the crowd, making Ryuuseitai with addition of 2Wink to perform instead. The description fits the recently announced unit Valkyrie who happened to be a duo.
    • Kanata mentions the oddballs at the Supernova event, and includes a 'Magician-san' along with the other oddballs' name. Months later, the game reveals Switch, and their leader is Natsume, the last oddball who does sorcery.
  • Friendly Enemy: Quite a few in the main story.
    • Kuro of Akatsuki. He's cordial to the protagonist and had a soft spot for the player/Anzu (Out of Big Brother Instinct).
    • Eichi, despite the rule he placed at the academy's unit system (possibly, see A Lighter Shade of Gray), is quite friendly.
  • Gatling Good: During the "Setsubun Festival" event, Ritsu uses a "Fukumame Gatling Gun" to spray Rei with. He then mentions that the staff only said the beans only had to hit the target, not how they should hit them.
  • Genre Deconstruction: Plot wise, despite being firmly a part of the Idol Singer genre, the game deconstructs the images of people's imaginations of teen idols by having the story focused on their individual growths as teenagers and the thought that for all that is worth, idols are humans. This one line from Anzu in the novel says it clear.
    Anzu: But I didn’t know. That these idols I met in Yumenosaki Academy, are no doll-like figures to be stood up prettily and worshiped… but real boys living their youth, who can cry and laugh and get angry like everyone else. Neither did I know just how much tears they must shed in order for them to grant their dreams—-
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The player's default name in the story is Anzu, but it can be interchangeable.
  • Hero of Another Story: The new main scenario in Ensemble Stars!! heavily focuses on ALKALOID and Crazy B's story and struggles as the original Ensemble Stars! cast are delegated as Supporting Protagonist.
  • Heroic Mime: The player/Anzu, most of the time, most likely so that fans can interpret her however.
  • Hidden Depths: Quite a lot, since everything about a character's background aren't completely revealed in the main story. One would need to depend on playing the events, courses, or getting gacha cards to find out more about the characters.
  • Ill Boy: Eichi. So bad that he can't completely perform in activities together with the rest of fine. Even worse, the quarrel festival event reveals that it's a hereditary trait to the males in his family.
    • The Sakuma brothers are apparently this as well. Ritsu suffers from low blood pressure, and since the "War" is constantly tired and has on occasion been found unconscious by Leo.
  • Inconsistent Dub: Several parts in the story and events are voiced. This is also included in gameplay. In story, the characters sans Anzu/The Player and the teachers will have a fully voiced scene depending on the CG. This isn't included in the events, however.
  • In the Blood: Hokuto's father is an idol with his mother being an actress. A 4-koma also reveals that Subaru's father had also been an idol in the past. A fact later confirmed in the April Fool's content that both Hokuto and Subaru's father attended Yumenosaki academy with Sagami and Kunugi.
  • In the Hood: The player/Anzu's face and hair color is always hidden, even if one CG has her drawn in, as seen here. Happy Elements had made it a rule to only have the player/Anzu's visual to be shown at least until her shoulder's though hints of her canon appearance can be found in some of the cg's and a little bit of Continuity Nod. As of the Anime's airing, this has been averted.
  • In Name Only: In-universe example with Wataru's (and surprisingly Anzu's) play adaptation of Cinderella, which is more like a reimagination of the tale than an adaptation at all. It features two princes who are supposed to fight for Cinderella (interpreted by Tomoya), the not-so-evil stepmom being also the spirit helper, who doesn't do much other than deliver a dress so Cinderella can go to the ball (which Cinderella forgets on her way there anyway), and the sisters being actually supportive of Cinderella. Before you ask, no, there isn't even any shoe. In the end one of the princes (played by Hokuto) gets so shy upon the prospect of meeting Cinderella he runs away, pursued by her while she's being cheered on by the rest of cast (including the other prince played by Kuro, who was supposed to be in love with her as well). Despite all of this and of the... peculiar acting of everyone involved as well as the fact that Wataru changed the script without telling Tomoya, the play ends up being a success.
  • In-Series Nickname: Very prominent as the cast has several nicknamers, but the most obvious one is the Five/Three Oddballs,note  and it's revealed in the Magicians Assemble story that Eichi was the one who gave them this nickname. He also purposely made the "five oddballs" (gokijin) sound like cockroach, (gokiburi), to give off the image of them being inhuman, and have them lose respect in the school.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Over the events (Which are said to be set after the main story), the initially Jerkass characters shows this light.
  • Leitmotif:
    • The event BGM's. Also, the unit songs. For example, Akatsuki has the usage of Japanese instruments while 2Wink had EDM beats.
    • The units themselves had a motif for their unit's image. UNDEAD, for example, is based on the myths of demons and beast like Vampires and werewolves, Knights's have a Chess Motif, Ryuuseitai are based on tokusatsu's, etc.
  • Light Is Not Good: The top unit, fine, has a theme centering of angels and light. Majority of them are part of the student council, whom the protagonist are against of, but subverted that none of them are actually evil.
  • A Lighter Shade of Gray:
    • While the student council seems to be the set up antagonist, at first, as most of the members are part of the top unit fine, when the player meet the members of fine in person through the story, you find that they are ''completely'' different from what their reputation suggest them to be: Wataru is a Cloudcuckoolander with no sense of animosity towards anyone, but loyal to Eichi, Tori is a Spoiled Brat who admires Eichi, but is starting to mellow to other students in time, Yuzuru is polite and kind to anyone and a bit pushed over by Tori (although he does push Tori back quite a bit), since he's his butler. And the president of the student council, Eichi, who happens to be fine's leader, is actually quite friendly, interacting with the protagonist in Friendly Enemy levels, despite the rule he might have placed at the school's unit system.
    • With this now common knowledge to those way ahead in the game, many are starting to think that there may not be an actual antagonist in the story in the first place.
  • Lethal Chef:
    • Ritsu's a subversion. His food's appearance scares most of the tasters, but is stated to be tasty according to Anzu (as long as you don't look at it, anyway).
    • Played straight with Ryuuseitai's Tetora. He thinks that he cooks good food, but it's actually pretty bad.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters:
    • Over thirty characters, what do you expect? And they may add more characters in the future...
    • To illustrate the cast's growth in quantity: this page's image is the opening screen for the game when it was launched (the teachers Sagami and Akiomi being the only characters absent, despite being in the cast from the start). This is the opening screen used as of September 2017, added in celebration of Ensemble Stars' 2nd Anniversary, after the inclusion of at least three new units, and at least one (Eden) isn't pictured. That's also not counting the new characters introduced in Ensemble Stars!!.
  • Luck-Based Mission : Almost everything in the game is luck based, from getting the cards you actually want from the gacha (which is very hard if luck is not on your side, especially if you want the 5* card, which have 1.25% chance of appearing), getting a specific jewel to drop even with equipping cards that has the ability to boost it, to the bouquet that randomly appears when playing the roulette minigame (which also appears randomly as well).
  • Martial Arts for Mundane Purposes: In one story, Souma uses his sword skills to quickly slice up an apple.
  • Meaningful Name: Most of the cast has these; their pages on the wikia have more insight to each.
  • Mr. Exposition: Lots of characters take on this part to explain the Yumenosaki Academy's mechanics to the player/Anzu, but Hokuto is the most obvious example, especially in the earlier chapters of the main story, where he'd outright interrupt conversations between other characters to explain what they're talking about.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Happy Elements uploaded some video's of the cast confessing to the player/Anzu at their youtube, making it seem that the game would have Dating Sim elements, but when the game was finally out, the Dating Sim elements were non-existent (asides the Ship Tease between the Player/Anzu with the cast and the game's interface, at least). The only exception had been Leo who joined halfway after the game's release. Members of the unit, Valkyrie, Switch and MaM are also excluded due to being newer units.
  • The Nicknamer:
    • Subaru nicknames all those whom he is close to (Sarii for Mao, Hokke for Hokuto, Shinonon for Shino) except for the player/Anzu. Ironically, he seems to dislike the one nickname he has ("Baru-kun", from Natsume).
    • Ritsu also nicknames those he knew of. (Suchan for Tsukasa, Secchan for Izumi, Nakkun (Now Nacchan) for Narukami), but like Subaru, the exception is the player/Anzu.
    • Izumi nicknames those in Knights and members of the tennis club which he is part of. Except for Leo and Anzu.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • In short, details regarding the "War" that takes place before the start of the game. We might find out more about it, but recent events only give vague information, except that it's one of the reasons why Leo skipped in his early days as a third year, and possibly why Yumenosaki academy's unit system is the way it is today. Until the player/Anzu comes along to abolish it together with Trickstar.
    • Whatever Rei did in the past that made Ritsu hate him. It's implied during the 2015 Halloween event that it had to do with Rei leaving to study abroad.
    • Rei and Keito's relationship. All we got is that they used to be friends and were in the same unit once, but that's it.
    • Apparently Leo, Madara and Keito used to cause trouble together back in the day but it has yet to be explained what that implies. Also, Madara had helped Keito out in the past, leaving Keito to feel obligated to return the favor which he does by allowing Madara to form the solo unit ' MaM '. Its explained in the Monochrome Checkmate event that in return of delinquents breaking Leo's arm in a scrap over a cat that'd been hurting, Madara and Keito played Robin Hood, running wild in the academy and " purging " it of evil with Leo watching over them to make sure they wouldn't take things too far.
    • Madara being a former member a Ryuuseitai also counts as subtle hints as to why the original Ryuuseitai broke up are dropped but never fully explained.
    • In addition to the above, there's a lot about Madara that has yet to be explained, the darker aspects and all though hints are dropped in nearly every event he's in, implying that there will be tie-in event(s?) that explain all eventually. The Revolutionary Live Which Heralds The Dawn does give a bit of insight on his character and motivations, however.
  • Not a Date: Anzu ends up taking Kaoru out to the aquarium since she got tickets from Shinkai, and keeps insisting that she's not taking him on a date. He doesn't mind either way.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: While initially played straight during the initial years the game is running to fill in things that happened throughout the year and before, this becomes an Averted Trope with the release of "Chorus★Operetta of Beginnings" where the previously 2nd year and 1st year students have become third year and second year students respectively. Ensemble Stars!! main scenario also explicitly mention that the original third year students have graduated.
  • One-Gender School: Not strictly the school, but the Producer course, of which Anzu is the first female student.
  • Out of Focus: Thanks to having many, many characters, a few characters got hit by this:
    • Valkyrie hasn't been a focus until recently. It was said that they were inactive during the start of the main story.
    • Kaoru is this when it comes to event cards: his last 5* event card was when the butler event happened, which was in June 2015. Finally averted with the addition of his Aquarium event 5* in 2017.
    • Subaru, despite being the main character and icon of the game, only got one event in which he is the 5*, and that was the very first one. The only other time where he is the 5* card since then was when the New Year gacha happened. Finally averted as of the Rock Festival event, as Subaru is one of the 5* cards along with Koga.
    • Also Leo after the loop happened because time wise, he does not return to Yumenosaki until The King's Horseback Ride Event. He's so out of focus that he didn't get any new card in either the gacha or the event for four entire months.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Should you not participate in an event or a special promo or collaboration you will not be able to claim the cards exclusive to them, which will leave your album of a character blank. Nor are you able to obtain the story related to them in the same matter. It's finally averted for the event cards after they implemented revival events in the game, where you can replay previous events, but with some of the rewards placed at a higher point requirement than before, but the collaboration and promo cards are still lost forever (with the exception of the Yume100 collaboration cards as they are available to be scouted and is the event Gacha during the time of Principle event). Mostly averted with the Gacha cards as they are available to be scouted much later.
  • Power Equals Rarity : The cards in the game has levels according to their strength, numbered from 1-stars (weakest) to 5-stars (strongest). Naturally, while the 1 to 3 star cards are rather weak and very easy to find in the gacha, the 4-star and 5-star cards are strong, but very rare and requires a lot of luck to find, especially the 5-star cards, with 1.25% chance of appearing from the gacha.
  • Prequel: With all of the connections to Ensemble Girls! with Leo and Anzu's backstory, Stars! serves as one to the former game, seeing that Leo's in college by the time the events of Girls! happens and its protagonist is in a completely different school.
  • Reality Ensues: Implied in the story, but this is more apparent in the novels where Anzu, who had been completely new and had no knowledge or skill of singing and dancing, is forced to perform like an idol, having her realize that being an idol isn't all sunshine and rainbows and you don't become one overnight. This is also coincidentally Truth in Television as several idol industries in Japan had a strict regiment for idol trainees before they can get to officially debut in the entertainment world.
    Anzu: That said, my dancing is unpresentable if compared to all the professional idols in here. Of course, it’s impossible for me to sing while I dance. I can’t catch the breath for that. How do idols manage that like it’s normal? — I know it must be because they take lessons and work hard, but still. I realize anew how amazing they actually are. Aah, being an idol is… Making people smile and happy is such a hard work. I feel my body getting smashed as I dance and my singing voice refusing to come out of my throat. I can slice my soul and smash the life in me and it won’t be enough. Idols aren’t toys that move when you stream electricity to them. They’re human beings with flesh; children who are the same age as me. And they’re doing this very harsh job. While I spend my mediocre daily life in indifference, they’re straining their desperate effort and fighting in the same world, same reality as I am. I’ve just been forced to realize that. I’m ashamed of myself, for not noticing such simple truth. All the people in this Yumenosaki Academy are superhuman doing things you can’t even normally think of — they’re all heroes, chosen, or perhaps ones who have fought and emerged victorious to attain that title — like characters from a shounen manga. Romance and other fun, happy things that people their age abide by so naturally… they’ve cast, shaken them away, sold them off as they all now offer the entirety of their youth to hard work. They shed and exhaust their blood and sweat and tears until those all crystalize into sparkling jewels.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Madara delivers a rather scathing one to Subaru and Hokuto, as well as Trickstar as a unit, in the event " The Revolutionary Live Which Heralds the Dawn ".
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Sakuma brothers, though they are not evil. However, it might allude to their status as "vampires".
  • Remember the New Guy?: Happens with nearly every new character introduced that wasn't in the game from the start, though it helps that Anzu, our primary POV, is a transfer student and so wouldn't know them anyway. They still get this treatment from the rest of the cast: Leo, for example, was the leader of Knights, but hadn't been attending school since before Anzu's arrival. Up to Eleven with Natsume, who was Anzu's classmate all during the time before he was introduced, but apparently she never met him because he skips a lot of classes.
  • Retcon: A scene in the Moonlight Opera event, where Leo mentions wanting to teach Anzu all that he knows of composing to her in order to have her be capable of supporting Knights when he graduates, was deleted in favor of consistency with stories coming after that event.
  • Sentai: The unit, Ryuuseitai.
  • Shared Family Quirks:
    • Aside from their Strong Family Resemblance, siblings Rei and Ritsu have a fair share of similarities. Both are weak to sunlight, had to repeat a grade (Rei studied abroad for a year, Ritsu had to repeat the year due to tardiness and doozing off) and seem to have a somewhat fragile health. Also, if the Halloween event is anything to go by, Ritsu likes messing with Koga just as much as his older brother.
    • The final chapter of Ensemble Girls implies that Suzu and Mika are long lost twins. Aside their Mismatched Eyes (whom they're ashamed of), both like Victorian clothing, are awkwardly shy with strangers and seem to have an unhealthy devotion to their best friend ( Anzu for Suzu, Shu for Mika), to almost Living Emotional Crutch levels.
  • Ship Tease: Hoo boy, there are lots of them. If the interface didn't fool you, the dialogues will give enough that you'll mistake this for a Dating Sim at some point, if not, a BL game with the hints extending to the boys's interaction with each other as well.
    • The dialogues in events don't help the matters. Especially when a character is speaking to the player. Even some of the cards CG's that had Anzu in shows hints of ship tease.
  • Shrinking Violet:
    • Shino from Ra*Bits. Partly due to anxiety.
    • The player/Anzu is canonically this by one of the game's main scenario writer's, Akira, of Sasami-san@Ganbaranai fame. In part of having a gloomy school life in her previous school which was expanded in the game's novelization currently only available in the AGF event and now up and available through pre-orders, she gets better over the course of the story. This also confirms the fact that Anzu is Angie, who had been mentioned in Ensemble Girls!, see more in Continuity Nod.
  • Sleepy Head: Sakuma Rei and his brother, Ritsu. They always like to sleep during daytime. It was coincidentally this very reason that Ritsu, who is a year older than the rest of the second year students, forced to retake his whole second year again due to scheduling reasons. The 2015 Halloween event reveals that both are quite weak to sunlight.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Some of the characters, but Koga is one of the examples for using the arrogant self-honorific, Ore-Sama (Which is considered prouder than the usual "Ore").
  • The Smurfette Principle: In-universe, the player/Anzu is the only girl among the cast.
  • Sock Slide Rink: In the Biblio story, Hajime amuses himself on a rainy day by sliding through the school hallways in his socks, explaining to Midori that since his family is poor he's used to looking for easy ways to have fun.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Everyone thought fine is pronounced as it is in English (As in "I'm fine"), but it's actually pronounced as "fee-nay". Wataru actually makes a joke out of this in one of the events.
  • Spoiled Brat:
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • The Player/Anzu's transfer in the main story. Her decision to become Trickstar's producer, and also her initial transfer is what brought the harsh unit system at Yumenosaki academy to an end.
    • In the manga, Trickstar's themselves are one to the student council and fine since Anzu is Adapted Out.
  • Tastes Better Than It Looks: This is Ritsu's specialty: all of his cooking ends up looking very strange and incredibly unappetising, but anyone who eats it admits that the taste is pretty good. One suggests that if people could eat it without opening their eyes his cooking would be really popular.
  • True Companions: The units are close-knit with each other, no matter how dysfunctional. Trickstar is the best example as they share a close friendship with each other despite adversaries or positions. It was also a main charm for their own unit.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • All the Three Oddballs are examples of this. Kanata speaks in Hiragana, never in Katakana or Kanji. As for Rei and Wataru, Rei speaks in a manner similar to an old man while Wataru speaks in dramatics.
    • Shinobu from Ryuuseitai speaks in an older form of Japanese.
    • Leo greets hello by saying "Uchuu~" which means space in Japanese. Implied to have taken this phrase from meeting Ruri sometime after skipping his 2nd year. See Continuity Nod.
    • Madara has a tendency of speaking in four-character compound idioms, as reflected in his flavor text.
  • Wall Crawl: If the novel is to be believed, Rei is..apparently capable of this, and does it when Koga tries to chase him around the music room.
    Anzu: Seeing me act pleased instead, Hokuto-kun sends a puzzled look my way, before he throws his gaze to the ceiling. There, Rei-san is attaching himself to the ceiling like a spider to escape from the ball of violence that is Kouga-kun.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Chiaki and Eichi were friends as children, but totally forgot about this until it came up again in Saga pt. 2. However, though Chiaki disapproves of Eichi's actions during the war, allying himself with Kanata, he is still something of a fan of fine, and in Saga refers to Eichi as a friend. (Eichi himself defers.)
  • White-and-Grey Morality: While many of the characters have done questionable things in the past, and some even do over the course of the story, all are ultimately treated as sympathetic, helped by the Rotating Protagonist structure ensuring that everyone gets to give their point of view eventually. Even the main story, which does focus on a specific four protagonists and has a more typical protagonists vs antagonists story structure, exudes this: while the destruction of the student council's grip over the other students is treated as straightforwardly good, it's made clear that Eichi truly believed that he was doing the right thing at first, and genuinely underestimated how badly his actions would affect others (particularly the Oddballs), and after he is defeated admits that he's starting to feel genuine friendship for the protagonists.
  • White Sheep:
    • Mao is one to the Student Council. Especially as the only other member not in fine (Akatsuki's Keito), is actually loyal to Eichi's cause. Until the end of the main story anyway.
    • Kuro, for being the first member that acted cordial and friendly to the protagonist and Trickstar who came from Akatsuki can also count in the early parts of the story.
  • Yakuza: Madara's mother is stated to be someone who formerly " went against society " but is retired now, speculated to be an ex-yakuza princess by Kaoru and subtly confirmed by Madara himself. This would explain where Madara gets his unconventional notion of justice from.
  • Yandere: A downplayed version by Sena to Makoto as Sena is more of a Yangire than an actual Yandere. However, when speaking directly to Makoto, he is certainly a lot more dere than with, well, pretty much everybody else. He seemed to drop it out ever since Leo returned... but still acting the same to Makoto nonetheless.

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