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Video Game / The iDOLM@STER

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Imagine you can have control of an up-and-coming Idol Singer. You have to guide her to stardom by deciding what outfits she wears, picking what songs she sings, and helping her deal with the pitfalls of growing up in the spotlight.

That's The iDOLM@STER by Namco (now Bandai Namco Entertainment). It's a Simulation Game where you play as a producer for the "765 Production" (pronounced "na-mu-ko") studio, and you have nine (technically ten) girls to choose as the company's next big singer.

Incorporating elements from rhythm games, Dating Sims and competitive online battling, as well as an All-Star Cast and a generous helping of Moe, this game from Namco was an incredible hit in the Japanese arcades and created a whole franchise of sequels and spinoffs:

  • An Updated Re-release for the Xbox 360, which included one new idol.
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  • Live For You, which was essentially the Xbox 360 version with new content but with the "management" aspect removed.
  • SP, a trilogy of PSP ports, each of which contained three of the nine original idols.
  • Dearly Stars, a Nintendo DS spin-off focusing on solely three new idols.
  • A proper sequel, THE iDOLM@STER 2, which introduces a brand new storyline and three-girl groups to the gameplay.
  • Shiny Festa, a series of rhythm games for the PSP. Brought officially overseas as iOS apps, marking the first time an iM@S product is licensed outside Japan.
  • Gravure 4 You!, a set of PS3 games bundled with the limited edition of the anime (later rereleased through the iM@S CHANNEL) that allow the player to photograph the girls in a series of different outfits and poses.
  • iM@S CHANNEL, a free-to-download app for PS3 that contains SHINY TV, a PS3 remake of Shiny Festa but with enhanced graphics and new songs and stories and support for Gravure 4 You! and One For All
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  • One For All, a sequel with new storyline where you can produce up to all 13 original idols at the same time.
  • MUST SONGS, a rhythm game for PlayStation Vita with Taiko no Tatsujin-style gameplay.
  • Platinum Stars, a sequel on PS4 set in a training camp with more rhythm focused gameplay than previous main titles.
  • Stella Stage, a sequel on PS4 building on the gameplay of Platinum Stars, with a new storyline.

An anime, Idolmaster: Xenoglossia — from the makers of Mai-Otome — was released in 2007 and later licensed by Sentai Filmworks. Rather than being a straight Anime Of The Game, it was instead an Elseworld Real Robot show that cast the main characters as pilots (or "Masters") of Giant Robots called IDOLs (making them IDOL-Masters). A more straightforward anime adaptation (called The Idolmaster) aired in Japan during the Summer and Fall Seasons of 2011.

There are also some manga telling their own stories, one of them being Puchim@s, which got its own internet anime adaptation in the Winter Season of 2013 and the Spring Season of 2014, simulcast by Funimation; it can be found on their official youtube page.

The franchise 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.

It also has a character sheet, and a dedicated fansite called Project-iMAS which includes a wiki too. Click here for the wiki!

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, please go to:


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  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the original arcade version, some idols had different hair and eye colors that were changed for the Xbox 360 version and have been kept in all subsequent games. For instance, Haruka and Yayoi originally had brown eyes, and Azusa and Chihaya originally had black hair.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Depending on the costume set.
  • Beat: From the song "Danketsu 2010":
    TAKANE: My name is Takane Shijou. [Beat] [Beat] [Beat] I'm afraid everything else is a secret.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: "I Want", one of sweet, dorky Haruka's image songs, carries strong dominatrix overtones. Also, have a listen to Yukiho's version of "Overmaster"!
  • Blush Sticker
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: The downloadable content.
  • Call-and-Response Song: There are a few of these, most notably "Kouhaku Ouen V", in which the audience responses from Producer Meeting 2017 were incorporated into the official recording.
  • Cast Herd: Each series and spinoff has three characters who are often paired together as their game's primary trio. Some contain secondary cast herds as well.
    • From the foundation series: Haruka, Chihaya and Miki
    • 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)
    • From Shiny Colors: Mano, Hiori and Meguru, members of the Illumination Stars group.
  • Cat Girl: You can dress up your idols to look like catgirls in the main series games, and in Cinderella Girls, Miku Maekawa's stage act is based on this, while Kirio Nekoyanagi in SideM puts on a catboy act.
  • 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 but universal through the franchise - birthdays might be referred to from time to time, but with the exception of The iDOLM@STER 2 and other entries set in "Second Vision" nobody gets to age. Even then the idols only aged up one year.
  • Cosplay: Containing many a Shout-Out.
  • Costume Porn: A wide range of costumes are available for the idols to wear.
  • Crossover: The cell phone Cinderella Girls and Side:M 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.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: A few of the costumes.
  • Endless Game: One For All and Platnium Stars still track weeks and seasons, but neither have the 52-week time limit to win that was present in previous games.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Happen often in the main games.
    • In the Updated Re-release for the Xbox 360, Miki cuts her hair shorter and stops dying it in her alternate route.
    • Azusa cut her hair short on The Idolm@ster 2. Going by the anime, it was when she was scouted as part of the Ryugu Komachi. She keeps this hairstyle in future games.
    • Makoto grew out her hair slightly in 2 to look more feminine. This has also stuck.
    • Ritsuko trades in her braided pigtails for a messy bun in 2 to look more professional as a producer. She keeps this appearance in One For All but changes her hair again to a side braid in Platinum Stars.
  • 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.
  • Fanservice
  • First Person Snapshooter: The sole premise in The iDOLM@STER Gravure for You
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: This has happened in two dramas within the franchise. The first was the bonus track from the Masterpiece 05 CD, where all the idols switch with each other just before an interview recording. The second was a DLC scenario for SP where Chihaya switches with the Producer.
  • Freudian Slip: From the song "Danketsu 2010":
    YUKIHO: I'm Hagiwara Yukiho, 17 years old. I'm REALLY fond of boys. Ah, wait, I meant to say tea!
  • Fun with Acronyms: The first MASTER ARTIST CD series has one hidden. If you look at the covers of the CD jackets of each album, every girl is saying something, most of them in English. If you put them in the correct order, they spell...
    To be (CD Finale)
    Happy and (CD Finale)
    Exciting! (CD Finale)
    I Love you (Iori CD 8)
    Dododo (Makoto CD 4)
    Oui! (Chihaya CD 5)
    Lucky! (Haruka CD 1)
    Music! (Azusa CD 7)
    @! (Ritsuko CD 10)
    Surprise (Miki CD 3)
    Twin! (Ami/Mami CD 6)
    Eat! (Yayoi CD 2)
    Really!? (Yukiho CD 9)
  • Fur Bikini: A costume or two.
  • Girlish Pigtails
  • Going Through the Motions
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: There's over 150 idols on the mobile game THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls.
  • Gratuitous English: Quite a few of the songs. Geetah Solo, come on!
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Your character is always referred to as "Producer" and its variants, except for Ami and Mami, who always call him "Nii-chan".
    • 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 girl has at least one song just for her.
  • Intercourse with You: "Agent Yoru wo Yuku" was introduced in the arcade version and deals with male prostitution, as was "I Want", the song of a sadist.
    • In general, the game versions of songs that can be inferred to be of a sexual nature are much vaguer about the topic than their extended, album-only full versions.
  • 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, and Sachiko Koshimizu from Cinderella Girls.
  • Kick the Dog: Kuroi in the anime continuity kicked a hard one when he sent Paparazzi to slander Chihaya with her Dark and Troubled Past, traumatizing her for life and showing zero regret for it. Even the Jupiter trio do not approve. To some (and probably the Jupiter trio), this becomes a Moral Event Horizon, since the previous iterations of Kuroi were at best high-class Jerkasses and never tried traumatizing people for life.
  • 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.
  • Morale Mechanic: Tension. At high tension the idol will perform better in auditions, gaining more points per appeal and being more likely to select a Good memory during a memory appeal; the opposite occurs at low tension. In addition, at low tension the idol has a chance to skip a week completely. Tension's equivalent in 2 is the Unit Status.
  • Multiple Endings
  • No-Damage Run: Some of the games provide a score bonus or other reward on completing a song with a full combo, though the amount of that bonus depends on the game itself.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Played straight until THE iDOLM@STER 2, in which everyone is one year older. None of the idols have aged since then, however. This is a side-effect of Comic-Book Time being used throughout the series.
  • Obligatory Bondage Song: "I Want". The narrator of the song is a sadist, known in how they treat the person the song is directed to in the lyrics.
  • Off-Model: In the Live For You! OVA, near the beginning when all the idols walk away, there are two Mamis instead of an Ami and a Mami.
  • 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).
  • Only Six Faces: All the girls are distinguishable only through their hair, eyes and body types. The face template for all of them is the same.
  • Palette Swap: Though an Unlimited Wardrobe might be available, many of the items in that wardrobe are the same outfit with a different color scheme. This sometimes gets combined with Colour Coded Characters, with a singular outfit or accessory having a different color depending on the idol wearing it.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: All the costumes with any kind of skirt would count.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Some of the outfits are pink. Iori's image color is pink, and she is shown to nearly always wear dresses and act very princess-like.
  • Pigeonholed Voice Actor: Rie Kugimiya as Iori, though since the role dates from 2005 it may be more accurate to say it was one of the roles that led to her being pigeonholed.
  • Poor Communication Kills: In this case, kill your chances of getting a Perfect Communication during jobs.
  • Power Trio: A major selling point of the game is the ability to mix and match any combination of three idols and decide who sings what lines, customizing the track to your liking.
    • Haruka, Miki, and Chihaya are frequently put together in non-canonical works, such as drama CDs and the OVA.
    • Miki, Takane, and Hibiki, each specializing in a certain stat. Interestingly, in the PSP games, they form rival company 961Pro's unit "Project Fairy".
  • Pretty in Mink: A few of the outfits have fur trim.
  • 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.
    • Also, the DS game'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.
    • Applies to the spinoffs' 346 Production ("mi-shi-ro", meaning "beautiful castle"), 315 Production ("sa-i-ko", meaning "ultimate") and 283 Production ("tsu-ba-sa", meaning "wing") as well.
  • Relationship Values: The Affection and Intimacy values in 2, which show your relationship with the unit and the unit members' relationship with each other respectively. Starlight Stage also has an Affection value for each card, and this needs to be maxed in order to convert it into its + form. Memories could also count as this.
  • Rule of Cute: How can the girls have blushes on cue during the stage performances? Who cares!
  • Sexy Santa Dress: In Live For You.
  • Sound Effects Bleep: From the song "Danketsu 2010":
    AMI: I'm a little sister character! So my popularity with lo*wakawaka* is guaranteed!
  • 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.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe
    • Limited Wardrobe: A rare case where both apply. With the amount of DLC out there's almost no end to the clothes the girls can wear on stage. But in the in-game communications they are always using the same set, the only difference being that it changes between Summer and Winter.
  • Video Game Caring Potential
  • Virtual Paper Doll
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: From the song "Danketsu 2010":
    RITSUKO: Eh? You want me to be an idol? I guess... if I could just be your very own idol, then... Wait, why do I have to say such embarrassing lines?!
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Of the original 765PRO ALLSTARS, Chihaya. The mobile games have quite a number of exotic hair colours.
  • You Lose at Zero Trust: In some games, having a low amount of memories can make the difficulty of lives, auditions and especially festivals range from simply hard to nigh-Unwinnable.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: A few of the costumes.

    The i DOLM@STER
  • Alternate Reality Game: Touched on this in the arcade version: if you enter your cellphone number into your account, your idol will periodically send you text messages.
    • Averted in the 360 game where your idol sends you texts to an in-game cellphone.
  • Dye Hard: Miki is an In-Universe example. Her hair color is actually brown, and it's only revealed in her alternate route. Also see Important Haircut below.
  • Endless Game: It's impossible to "win" in the arcade game, per se... the goal is to keep your idol's career alive for as long as possible. In the Xbox version, you "win" if you last a year.
  • Important Haircut: During one path of her character storyline, Miki cuts her hair and stops dying it blonde.
  • Intercourse with You: "Agent Yoru wo Yuku", dealing with male prostitution.
  • Panty Shot: Having low dancing skill may cause your idol to trip herself during the show. Combine it with costumes with skirts to get this trope.
  • Scoring Points: The number of fans your idol has.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: In the alternate Miki route, after she knows that the unit will be disbanded, she is surprised. Days later, she shows up having forgotten the memories between her and the Producer.

    The i DOLM@STER SP
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: While very possible to do by yourself, it's also probably one of the reasons why 961 has the three idols it has - in fact, it's an odd case where the "redhead" of the trio is actually blonde, considering Takane's silver locks. Unless, of course, you count Miki's hairstyle from after she stops dying it, which is probably closer to being red....
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The Perfect Sun girls (Makoto, Haruka, Yayoi and Hibiki) are red, the Wandering Star girls (Takane, Ami, Mami, Iori and Yukiho) are yellow, and the Missing Moon girls (Azusa, Chihaya, Miki and Ritsuko) are blue. This color code was also used in the mobile games, although changing the name of each category.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Why did Miki switch from 765 Pro to 961 Pro? Because President Takagi ate her onigiri.
  • Lover Tug-of-War: The Producer is the victim of this in Azusa's ending, with her and Miki on each side.
  • Noodle Incident: Kuroi mentions an "underwear incident" in Wandering Star.

    The i DOLM@STER One For All 
  • Ascended Extra: Most of the opponents that you run into during rank-up festivals are cameo characters, some with models (Ai, Eri and Ryo from Dearly Stars and Touma, Hokuto and Shouta from The iDOLM@STER 2), others in name only (Cineria, Yumekonote  and riola also from Dearly Stars, and Hikari, Tsubomi and Nozomi from episode 10 of the anime).
    • The New Generation trio (Uzuki Shimamura, Rin Shibuya and Mio Honda), Kaede Takagaki, Ranko Kanzaki and Anzu Futaba are DLC rivals from the Cinderella Girls mobile game and Shizuka Mogami, Tsubasa Ibuki, Mirai Kasuga, Nao Yokoyama and Serika Hakozaki from Million Live were released as DLC rivals.
  • Everyone Has a Special Move: Each of the idols gets a unique burst skill of her own which triggers either during or after a burst appeal is performed.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: This game introduced a skill board for each producible idol, with differing stats and distributions for each idol, but all of them get access to trio memory appeals and trio burst appeals, and each idol has her own unique burst skill.
  • Slice of Life: When compared to its direct predecessor, the game has a higher emphasis on the girls' day-to-day life and how they interact with each other.

    The i DOLM@STER Platinum Stars 
  • Meta Multiplayer: Leaderboards are maintained for the highest scores on each song.
  • Rhythm Game: Though the entire series has had rhythm-game-styled elements about it, Platinum Stars more closely resembles other rhythm games, with a setup that involves button patterns flying to a central, fixed point on-screen.
  • Uncanny Valley Makeup: Getting a low score on the cosmetics lesson results in the idol who took it wearing makeup that looks... almost stenciled on.

    The i DOLM@STER Stella Stage 
  • Mythology Gag: There are six major titles the player can compete for. Of those, four appeared in previous games (Idol Ultimate from SP, Idol Academy from 2, Star of Festa from Shiny Festa, Idol Extreme from Platinum Stars).
  • Rhythm Game: The live gameplay is carried over from Platinum Stars.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: The Coaching board, which contains both idol skill bonuses as well as costume and song unlocks.


Example of: