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THE iDOLM@STER: SideM is the third mobile game spinoff for the ever-popular The iDOLM@STER series. First released to the mobile game platform Mobage on February 7, 2014, the game had some technical difficulties and had to be temporarily shut down. It was put back up on July 17, 2014, then later released in April 2015 to Android phones and May to iOS.
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What sets this game apart is its surprising subject matter — rather than the cute girls and beautiful ladies of the previous installments, SideM focuses entirely on producing male idols. A playable total of 37 idols was initially included in the game, along with the noteworthy return of previous male idols Jupiter of The iDOLM@STER 2 and Ryo Akizuki of Dearly Stars. Like its sister series Cinderella Girls, the game follows a digital card game format with idols and events taking the form of trainable cards.

The series also has several spinoff titles in manga form; in addition to several comic anthologies, they have Dramatic Stage, focusing on DRAMATIC STARS and High×Joker; Struggle Heart, focusing on Beit and THE Kogado; and Wake Atte Mini!, which is a chibi Yonkoma.

In October 2017, the series received its own adaptation to air in the Fall 2017 anime season, and an adaptation of Wakeatte Mini! in 2018. Within the same timeframe as the former, it got a Rhythm Game spinoff of its own: THE iDOLM@STER: SideM: Live on St@ge!, featuring all idols present to date in the game and debuting Jupiter's new outfits.

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SideM provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc:
    • The Super Live Fes event and its corresponding popularity pollnote  is all but extinct after Live Fes 2016. They do have the outfit return, albeit for the Tales of Asteria collaboration.
    • The Idol Discovery Project members haven't been seen since their initial event, and heard of since Legenders' ST@RTING LINE CD. Will they ever be accepted into 315? Will they take up another agency? And are they even still trying? The world may never know.
  • Adaptational Villainy: "The Legend of King Arthur from Another World" has Percival (one of the more loyal Knights of the Round) and Galahad (canonically the purest of the Knights) turn into antagonistic figures selfishly competing for the Holy Grail. Merlin also turns out to be the Big Bad of the movie, tricking Arthur into doing the heavy lifting so he can grab at the Grail himself. However, it should be noted that their attitudes are a result of the world and its story being distorted.
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  • Adaptation Expansion: The Cybernetics Wars and Beast Chronicles events eventually got their own Drama CDs, along with a special theme done by all of the idols who participated in it.
  • All There in the Manual: Comes in the form of Magazines, short publications that come with an idol's cards. They're comics that often reveal part of an idol's backstory, what they were doing during an event, and how they mesh with their group.
  • April Fools' Day:
    • Kaerre (Pierre's frog mascot) was given a spinoff movie announcement for 2016's festivities. In 2018 they repeated the joke, this time making the movie a live action affair.
    • The 2017 celebration temporarily turned the game into Side: Muscle, a special event where Seiji tries to put on a musical about the virtues of muscle building.
    • For 2018, President Saito blows off the 315 building, and asks the player and the idols to help rebuild it however they want.
    • For 2019, Producers could play the fantasy RPG spoof 315 Quest for a limited time.
  • Aerith and Bob: A lot of foreign set productions feature characters like this. For example, the "Phantom Thieves Chat Noir" event is a mixed bag for their characters' names; from kind of normal (Leonard Fitzgerald, Albert Hawkwind) to downright ridiculous (Rabita Queenfield, Michael Kerovale).
  • Art Evolution: The card art, and especially the Magazines, went through a lot of growing pains before finally reaching the streamlined style the art has officially.
  • The Bus Came Back: After being absent for years, Jupiter and Ryou take on more active roles here.
  • The Cameo: Ai and Eri, Ryo's old group mates from Dearly Stars, appear on his Day Off set of cards. Yumeko gets a passing mention, as she's still doing concerts.
  • invokedCasting Gag: There are quite a few of their film roles that make reference to some aspect of them:
    • Minori in "The Budding Flower of Virtue" is a high ranking yakuza, which fits as he was a delinquent in his youth.
    • Amehiko's casting as Abe-no-Seimei is one in and out of universe; he comes from a family of exorcists (albeit he's on the cleaning side of it), and he is already based off of Abe-no-Seimei as part of his group's historical figures motif.
    • The King Arthur production they put on casts Pierre as the star role, appropriately highlighting Pierre's own royal heritage.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Only natural for a male idol game. They fall all over the spectrum of attractiveness, from cute like the Mofumofuen boys and Saki, to boyish like Teru and Hayato, to beautiful like Shouma and Rui, to handsome like Seiji and Michiru.
  • Cast Herd: Unlike the other games, this series has always had distinct idol units from the beginning; each idol is part of one of fifteen units of various compositions, typically with a distinct theme.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Each idol is categorized under one of three attributes: Red for Physical, Blue for Intelligent, and Yellow for Mental.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Ryo's initial SR card has him walk past a poster of himself during his days as a female idol. One of his listed talents is even disguise.
    • Another Ryo card has him dress in an outfit eerily similar to Soichi Takeda's from his home game (both have a black suit, sunglasses, and a patterned red shirt with a popped collar).
    • The whole reason why Chris became interested in becoming an idol was because of the "Blue Aquarium Live" event.
    • The hobby shop Touma frequents now has a poster referencing the Sentai event Dramatic Stars performed in.
    • Kyousuke once mentions that he'd like to be able to work with Kirio in a live. He does get his wish a little later that year, where both of them are not only in the same Lighting Ceremony live event, but they're both the SR options.
    • In the "The Legend of Arthur from Another World" event, Natsuki mentions Jun's role in Cybernetic Wars ZERO and their own work in the movie/event Paranormal Academy.
    • The "Detective Aaron Case Files" event has Touma make President Kuroi's infamous pointing pose in his Rare Card. From the same event, Shouta os shown holding the same file Kanon has from the "Dark Green Gymnasium" event.
  • Crossover:
    • Beit and HighXJoker participated in one with Taiko Drum Master. On the rhythm game's side, "Drive A Live" became a playable song for the series.
    • One with Granblue Fantasy in 2015. Teru, Tsubasa, and Kaoru were transported onto the Grancypher (with Elemental Powers to boot), and Pierre was a summon that could send out hordes of tiny frogs. In SideM, Pierre got a special card that dressed him up as Sierokarte, while Lancelot made a guest appearance. The event reran in 2018.
    • With Tales of Asteria during 2017. While Shiki and Touma ended up in the Tales universe as optional bosses and cards, Yuri Lowell and Luke von Fabre got special edition cards for SideM. Yuusuke and Minori got to wear the guest stars' clothes for a card, while Kyousuke and the rest of Beit got to wear some of the clothes from the other participants on Asteria's side.
    • Sanrio collaborated with the series for a set of merchandise.
    • In 2018, the game Nemo Tomo included some SideM assets as part of a greater iDOLM@STER collaboration.
  • Fanservice: You'll get some events here and there that will focus on the boys' attractive bodies.
    • "Heat Up! Summer Live" is unabashedly servicey, having the very muscular FRAME and Kougadou boys on the beach in swim trunks and serving ramen in fitted t-shirts.
  • Fun with Acronyms: In Cybernetics Wars, the main human force is the K.G.D. However, the acronym looks similar to how "Kogadou" is pronounced in syllables, referencing THE Kogadou, who originated the K.G.D. roles.
  • Japanese Delinquent: You get to see the boys acting like this in some events, such as the "WILD BOYS" event. Some of the boys have delinquent backgrounds, too; Suzaku and Genbu were both teen troubemakers before idolhood, and Minori also used to be a delinquent in his youth, which makes it doubly funny to see him play a gang member in the "Barren Flower of Virtue" event.
  • Jidai Geki: Occasionally the boys will get some events putting them into famous Japanese events of old. Sai and Jupiter reenacted the Genpei War for one movie, while a Shinsengumi reenactment happened with Dramatic Stars.
  • Magical Girl: Well, Magical Boy, rather, but the concept is still the same for Mofumofuen and S.E.M's "Miracle Magic Nozomira Melody" event.
  • Man Versus Machine: Cybernetics Wars and all relevant installments definitely play up the human/machine rivalry with the K.G.D. and a band of rebelling military androids.
  • Meaningful Name: 315 Production can be read as "Saikou Production", which can mean "Best" or "Ultimate" Production. Aside from being a pun on President Saitou's name, it fits in neatly with the themes of passion that its idols exhibit. By titling themselves as the best, it gives the company a goal to put in enough effort to live up to that name.
  • Mythology Gag: The commemorative 2ND ST@GE cards have all involved wear the same stage outfits their seiyuu wore for the live concerts.
  • Phantom Thief:
    • The aptly named "Phantom Thieves Chat Noir" event places Mofumofuen and Beit into the roles of thieves for one event.
    • DRAMATIC STARS' "Moon Night no Sei ni Shite" is about a phantom thief who becomes the subject of a woman's love.
    • LoS has a Valentine's event which features Teru, Kamiya, Seiji, and Shiro as chocolate thieves for the 2019 celebration.
  • The Real Spoofbusters: Ghost Snipers and its corresponding Drama CD are very much based off the lovable ghost hunting crew.
  • Series Mascot:
    • Jupiter and Dramatic Stars take the role for this series.
    • The SideM Twitter uses Kaerre, the frog mascot from the amusement park Pierre used to work at.
  • Show Within a Show: As idols, all of them have to do some acting work at some point or another. Many of the game events feature their preparing for the performances, as well as give a glimpse into the show they're doing. You can catch them for a limited time in theater315.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Meta example, Yuko Sanpei as Ryo is the only female seiyuu involved in the series, so she is this during the live shows. Interestingly, the role she plays in the live shows is sort of an inversion of the role Ryo played in Dearly Stars.
  • Tagline: Wake atte, idol! note 
  • Those Two Guys: As shown in the Magazines, Pierre has two bodyguards that often follow him around. They look after him like he was their kid, amusingly.
  • Trapped in Another World: Pierre's character in the King Arthur event, Arthur Cameleon, was apparently an Ordinary High-School Student who was transferred into the fantasy world the plot takes place in.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Shiro Tachibana sounds much older than his age and appearance.
  • Weddings in Japan: Like its sister series, SideM does a June wedding event every year. The style of wedding differs slightly; while it's mostly western style, THE Kogado participated with a Shinto styled wedding.
  • Yakuza: "Barren Flower of Virtue" is a Mafia vs. Yakuza story. Daigo is also a Yakuza heir.

Live on St@ge! provides examples of:

  • April Fools' Day: All of the idols' heads were replaced by Ken's SideMini chibi's head. This includes the models, but this can be remedied by playing lives.
  • Continuity Nod: The "Universal Treasures" event has a poster from the movie filmed during the original game's "Best Game" event.
  • Costume Porn: Unlike the girls' mobile rhythm games, where the default outfit is uniform with only minor differences, the default outfits in this game are the ones each respective idol uses in their unit, so there's a lot of outfit variety from the get-go.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Units that you might reasonably expect to see playing instruments, such as HighxJoker and Altessimo, have their songs involve dancing on stage.
  • Obvious Beta: Live on St@ge! is usually accused of this, with 3D models that look cheap (especially compared to the more detailed models found in Cinderella Girls Starlight Stage and Million Live! Theater Days) and glitch out occasionally, and a rhythm system that's way less advanced than the other games. There's also a huge lack of voice acting compared to the other mobile games.
  • Parrot Pet Position: Suzaku's pet cat Nyako and Asselin BB II's Satan plushie are effectively glued on their respective owners' right shoulders whenever they're on stage.
  • The Theme Park Version: The "WORLD TRE@SURE" series has a group of idols represent a given country, usually stripping down to just one or two traits for it (e.g. Spain is primarily dancing and bullfighting, France has a The Three Musketeers theme, America is adventure and exploration, etc.)
  • Vocal Dissonance: Just like the other mobile rhythm games, the vocalist and their position are locked per song, which can result in this depending on what idol is placed where. This can get especially glaring with Welcome Happykira Park! since all its singers are kids and sound like it, while many of the other idols are at least in their older teens.
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