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.
- 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
- 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 iDOLM@STER) 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.
This page talks about the 765 Pro games. For the rest of the franchise, see the Franchise page.
- 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.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: On one of Chihaya's rank up promotions, she delivers the bad news about her parents getting divorced, she cries, and you have to wipe her tears. ...All while the cheery music that plays in all other Rank Up events plays in the background. This also applies to SP as well since the promotions are the same as the console version. It really needs to be seen to be believed.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.