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Visual Novel / Shining Song Starnova

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The girls of Starnova.note 

Lighting up the night sky!
Brighter than anyone else!
We're not finished yet!
We are!

The seven girls of Shining Productions have fallen on hard times. Despite being united in their desire to become idols, they are all broken in their own ways and considered unfit to work in the industry.

Enter you, Mr. Producer. With your help, the girls debut as the idol group “Starnova” and work their way up in the entertainment industry.

However, the girls soon realize the entertainment industry is nowhere as perfect as seen on television, for many dark secrets lie behind fame. The girls will have to deal with many enemies, in particular the rival idol group Quasar and its producer, CEO of Golden Calf Seiichi Kamijou, as he seeks to destroy Starnova to make Mr. Producer pay for leaving his company. This is the story of the girls' trials, laughs, and tears, as they walk the thorny path to stardom…


Shining Song Starnova is a Visual Novel created by Love In Space, the developers of the Sunrider franchise.

The game has an official website here. It was first announced in 2016, and was successfully funded via Kickstarter and Patreon in 2017. The game was officially released on July 25th 2018 via, and was subsequently released on Steam September 13th of the same year.

A spinoff Simulation Game, Shining Song Starnova: Idol Empire, was released on February 20th 2020.

No relation to Phantasy Star Nova.

Has a character page.


Shining Song Starnova contains the following tropes:

  • A-Cup Angst: Despite her schtick being the "eternal twelve year-old" — earning her the nickname "shit loli" — Aki is jealous of the other girls' larger busts, especially Nemu's. In some of the routes' epilogues she has a time-skip growth-spurt and winds up with a buxom figure, while in others she remains flat-chested.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Aki's mother, Yumiko, is nice on the surface... but she's extremely controlling of her daughter's life, pressuring her to do whatever it takes to succeed — including prostituting herself to her Producer and literally working herself to death. She's also good friends with Oda, being fully aware that he's a pervert who tried to rape her daughter when she was fourteen — and was angry that Aki didn't sleep with him to further her career.
    • Julie's father abandoned her and her mother in a foreign country, and was physically abusive as well. This leaves her with a father complex and physical abuse as a turn-on — weirding out both Sasami and Mr. Producer when they trigger this side of her.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Kamijou is a cruel producer, working his idols to exhaustion to maintain Quasar's top spot and immediately either demoting or firing any idols who show weakness. But he's at least better than Oda, because unlike Oda, at least Kamijou doesn't molest anyone.
  • Alliterative Title: Shining Song Starnova.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: In Julie's route, the producer refuses to respond to Julie's advances since good producers don't take advantage of their idols—but this actually annoys Julie, who is aware that he is in fact interested in her but just won't act on it; and as she says herself, she actually wants him to make a move on her, or he'll just end up another cog in the machine, always sacrificing what he wants like a "herbivore man". Eventually Julie gets so annoyed at the Producer not returning her advances that she tries to take revenge by attempting to seduce Kile, but Kile doesn't return her advances either, both because he thinks what she's doing is wrong—and because it turns out he's gay.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Mika chose to become an idol in order to emulate the heroine of her favorite anime. She gets to play the part of that heroine in a live-action adaptation of the anime during her route, much to her initial glee. Then it all goes downhill.
  • Attempted Rape:
    • In Aki's route, it's revealed that Oda cornered her in a changing room and molested her, threatening to ruin her career if she didn't have sex with him. She managed to run away, but when she told her mother what had happened she was berated for not letting Oda have his way with her and guaranteeing her success.
    • In the uncensored version of Sasami's route, Oda attempts to rape Sasami, while Haruka tries to force Kaori to have sex with Stella with the intent of recording it and uploading the video online.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Nemu becomes this in the bad ending to her route, hacking her stepmother to pieces off-screen, pushing Mika off a bridge to her death, and then raping Mr. Producer before setting the Shining Productions offices ablaze in a murder-suicide.
    • Reon appears as an antagonist of Mika's and Julie's routes. In the former he cyberbullies her and turns her fans against her, driving her to a Despair Event Horizon; while in the latter he straight up attempts to murder Julie after rumors of her sleeping with another idol emerge.
  • Babies Ever After: Seen in the epilogues for Mariya and Aki's routes.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • In Julie’s route, she and Mr. Producer are asked to meet with the president of Soma Music, Starnova’s record label, after pictures of Julie Going Commando during a performance end up all over the tabloids. They assume he’s going to chew them out and revoke Starnova’s contract, and go into the meeting prepared for the worst… only to be caught off-guard when he congratulates them for driving up Starnova’s CD sales with this little stunt.
    • In Natsuki’s route, she decides to kill and cook the live chicken that her parents sent her in the mail, to Mr. Producer’s horror. She pins the bird to a cutting board, raises the knife, and then the scene transitions to the other girls enjoying freshly-cooked chicken nuggets around Natsuki’s dinner table while a squeamish Mr. Producer looks on in shock. Turns out the chicken is fine: they sent it off to an animal shelter and ordered takeout instead.
  • Bastard Angst: Nemu is the illegitimate child of the heir of Amaterasu Television, and while her father’s wife Haruna adopted her into the family following her birth mother’s death, Nemu is convinced that Haruna resents her for being a constant reminder of her husband’s infidelity and only adopted her to avoid a scandal about her parentage. The fact that Haruna won’t let Nemu follow in her mother’s footsteps by becoming an idol adds further strain to their relationship.
  • Becoming the Mask:
    • Shiro plays the part of a ruthlessly ambitious ice-queen to the extent that she sacrificed everything to be consumed by that role and reduced to an empty husk of a woman. However, she is still genuinely friendly towards Mariya, and confides that she regrets what she did to achieve her goals of becoming an ideal. In Mariya's route's good ending, Kana returns and shatters the mask of callous ambition Shiro had been wearing; and in Sasami's route Shiro ends up falling in love with her and attacks Oda to protect her.
    • In the good ending of Sasami's route, Mr. Producer muses that this is likely the case for Kamijou — that the pressure of successfully living up to his father's legacy, keeping control of the Golden Calf in the face of men like Oda, and managing Quasar all drove him to hide behind the mask of a ruthless and cruel social darwinist, and that over time he lost sight of his true self.
  • Beta Bitch: Haruka is Quasar’s second most popular member and Shiro’s right-hand woman; and while Shiro is (mostly) aloof, Haruka is a deeply unpleasant, nasty individual who makes no secret of the fact that she’s gunning for Shiro’s position as Quasar’s center. Flashbacks in Mariya’s route show that Haruka led the other girls in humiliating her after she was let go from Quasar by stripping her naked and then forcing her head into a bag full of human shit; in Sasami's route she assists Oda in his attempted takeover of the company, sexually assaulting Kaori and Stella; and in Aki's route, after being fired from Quasar due to a sex-scandal, she outright tries to kill Kamijou by ramming her car into his.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: As the various routes progress, several of the girls note that Sasami can be quite cunning and ruthless when need-be, quipping that the "Lamb of Starnova" has horns. This is best seen in Sasami's own route, where Shirou tries to corrupt her and succeeds a little too well; and in the uncensored version's bonus hot-spring episode, where she mercilessly reduces Julie to a blubbering mess and mocks her over her daddy issues.
  • Big Bad: Seiichi Kamijou is the antagonist of most routes. As the CEO of Golden Calf and producer for the rival idol group Quasar, he takes it upon himself to humiliate and destroy the titular Starnova group in every conceivable way to get revenge on Mr. Producer, Mariya, Sasami, and Aki for daring to turn their backs on his company.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: In Aki's and Sasami's routes, Board Chairman Kenjiro Oda and Haruka Enokida become the antagonists, plotting to take over Golden Calf from Kamijou so Oda can be rich and powerful enough to molest girls without any consequences and Haruka can be the top idol.
  • Bittersweet Ending: On Natsuki's route, unfortunately Starnova is unable to beat Quasar, and Starnova has to disband. However, because of Natsuki's honesty and integrity, Starnova was able to have an idol career without cheating, lying, hurting anyone, or getting involved in scandals, so after Starnova disbands, all of the idols are later able to have very successful individual careers, because Natsuki ensured that their reputation remained spotless.
  • Bland-Name Product: People keep track of their social media with apps like “Chirper” (Twitter), "Ourtube" (Youtube), and "Spacebook" (Facebook). Natsuki also makes a burger run to WcDonald's in the common route. Mika also owns a Swap. Sasami and Shiro end up starring in a Lordgilla movie.
  • Broken-Window Warning: In the second half of Mika’s route, a disgruntled and violent Black Opera fan throws a rock through Mika’s window in the middle of the night, complete with an attached note telling her to kill herself. This event spurs Mr. Producer to put his talents up at a hotel for their protection.
  • Camp Gay: Kodama dresses in flamboyant, tight-fitting clothes, wears Guy Liner, is depicted as striking effeminate poses in his sprites, speaks in a falsetto, and makes the occasional pass at Mr. Producer.
  • Canis Latinicus: Mr. Producer claims that Starnova is Latin for "new star". It isn't; "new star" in Latin would be "nova stella".
  • Can't Hold Her Liquor: When Starnova takes their first vacation to a countryside inn, Mika gets completely shitfaced after a single sip of sake. It was the first time she’d ever had alcohol, to be fair, but still…
  • Capitalism Is Bad: While not a main focus of the game, Mr. Producer and Mariya frequently lament that the idol corporations are dedicated to making money at the expense of the happiness, health, and sanity of the idols who work for them; their policies are ageist to the extent that women in their late teens and early twenties are considered less attractive than girls in their early teens; and that idols who are no longer deemed profitable are callously cast aside. More than once throughout the various routes, Golden Calf is able to blatantly abuse the fact they have more wealth and influence; and even Shining Productions, which backs Starnova, is happy to screw the main characters over at a moment's notice for the sake of making more money.
  • Career-Ending Injury:
    • In Aki's route, she works herself so hard that she starts blacking out from exhaustion and stress, and is eventually hospitalized and told that if she keeps it up her career as an idol is over. She fakes a recovery to take part in the final performance, and in her bad ending dies as a result.
    • In Nemu’s route, Kaori breaks her ankle when a heavy metal shelf “accidentally” falls on top of her, leaving her unable to walk and thus unable to perform as an idol. The Good Ending subverts this by showing that Nemu’s mother paid for expensive rehabilitation therapy which allowed Kaori to resume her career two years later.
  • Career Resurrection: Several of Starnova’s members are in-universe examples.
    • Mariya Yamamoto spent almost ten years as a member of Quasar, but never achieved enough fame or popularity to move up to its prestigious front row team and was constantly overshadowed by much younger talents before finally being fired for being too old. By the time the story begins she’s become a chain-smoking alcoholic working two jobs she hates while desperately trying to find more idol work. Joining Starnova helps to resurrect her career: she experiences a popularity resurgence in any route, and in her own route she fulfils her lifelong dream of becoming Japan’s most popular idol and performing live in the Tokyo Dome.
    • Aki was a former child idol who quit Golden Calf after being molested by her producer, Oda. In her route she manages to achieve success and fame at the cost of nearly working herself to death, while several of the other routes have her become successful as an idol and gain the Buxom Is Better physique she craves.
  • Casting Couch: In Mariya’s route, the Quasars discuss a rumour which states that any girl who wants to become the group’s new center must sleep with Kamijou as a “final inspection”. Kamijou confirms that the rumour was true at one point, but he’s lost interest in taking advantage of his idols this way by the time Shiro becomes the center, and he simply throws her out of his office after she stripped naked. In other routes, Oda intends to revive the practice if he takes control of Golden Calf.
  • Catchphrase: Mariya calls people she doesn't like "shit-eaters", stemming from Haruka and her posse of girls at Quasar trying to force her to eat human feces.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: During a handshake event held to promote Mika’s upcoming Black Opera show, Mr. Producer notices a shady punk loitering near the stage without a ticket and chases him off. This punk will later turn out to be Mika’s stalker and the main antagonist of her route.
  • Chuunibyou:
    • Mika is a mix of the Subcultural and Evil Eye types, being a shut-in otaku who dresses like an Elegant Gothic Lolita and acts like she’s the main character of a dark fantasy anime/game. Her behaviour leads the other girls, particularly Aki, to derisively call her “Chuuni-chan”.
    • Mr. Producer was a chuunibyou during his high school years, and he looks back on those days with shame. His understanding of the chuunibyou mindset enables him to establish a rapport with Mika and get her to open up to the other girls.
  • Compensated Dating: Julie is shown to fleece men out of their money this way, using the allure of her exotic looks to make them do what she wants and pay for all of her expenses. Mr. Producer compares the way she charges men small fees that quickly add up to microtransactions. He’s prepared to fire her over this, since it violates the terms of her in-universe Contractual Purity, but she manages to talk him down.
  • Concert Climax: All of the routes climax on a concert of significance to Starnova's future, though what concert it is and why it matters varies.
  • Contractual Purity: Discussed in-universe during one of Mr. Producer's internal monologues, where he notes that talent agencies have morality clauses that allow them to fire an idol if she's caught dating someone in public, forcing many idols to keep their relationships (and other vices) secret. When he discovers that Julie is taking part in Compensated Dating, he’s prepared to fire her over it until she manages to talk him down.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive:
    • Quasar's Chief Executive Producer, Kamijou, is a ruthless businessman who treats his employees like shit and is willing to demote or fire them for the slightest failing or dip in popularity. He also uses his connections and clout to sabotage Starnova in various ways.
    • Kamijou's rival within Golden Calf, Oda, is an absolute slimeball of a Dirty Old Man who molests and sexually assaults several of the girls. He is the reason Aki quit being a child-idol and is so jaded, to say nothing of what he does in Sasami's route.
    • Nemu’s mother Haruna is the CEO of Amaterasu Television, a media giant, and she’s perfectly willing to hire goons to grab her daughter off the street like kidnappers in order to bring her home for a chat. Subverted in Nemu's route, where it's revealed that Haruna is nowhere near as corrupt as Nemu thought she was.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: In Sasami's route, Shiro attempts to do this to the "Lamb of Starnova", causing her to become increasingly callous and ruthless. This winds up backfiring, as when Sasami realizes that Shiro is falling in love with her, she coldly rebukes and mocks her over it by stating that she was one who was just using Shiro to get over her hangups involving sex, and that she no longer needs her.
    • Also on Mika's route the nervous otaku is showered with abuse (much of it deeply sexist) following the failure of an anime adaption she starred in, causing her to believe her artistic passions are worthless and nobody cares about her except for her body. In her bad ending this causes her to give up her dreams and go into porn. In her good ending Mr. Producer is able to reignite her passion and get her back to her true self.
  • Country Mouse: Natsuki is an energetic farm girl who came to Tokyo to make it big as an idol. While she's somewhat ignorant of the subtler aspects of city life and the seedier elements of the idol industry, her humble upbringing ensures that Starnova never gets mired in scandals during her route.
  • Crippling the Competition: In Nemu’s route, an increasingly paranoid Nemu becomes convinced that Starnova’s latest recruit, Kaori, was planted by Quasar in a scheme to destroy the group’s reputation. The fact that adding an eighth member to the team will also force Nemu to share the spotlight with somebody else does not help. All of this drives Nemu to break Kaori’s ankle by toppling a heavy metal shelf onto her while the two of them are alone. In other routes, Mariya mentions that Quasar's idol trainees would sabotage their rivals by sticking thumb tacks in their shoes.
  • Crossover: Idol Empire features several characters from Sunridernote  as recruitable DLC idols.
  • Culture Clash: Julie, who was raised in America, chaffs against the differing societal and cultural mores of Japanese society — especially the importance of obligations and putting the wellbeing of the group before that of the individual. She is also slut-shamed due to ethnic stereotypes regarding Americans.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Many of the characters' quirks — which on the surface make them fit into anime archetypes like tsundere and yandere — are the result of traumatic experiences they went through in the past.
    • Nemu's yandere tendencies are the result of a hereditary psychosis that she inherited from her mother, who suffered a breakdown and neglected her until Haruna saved her.
    • Sasami lost her job as an idol at Golden Calf shortly before the events of the visual novel by refusing to undress for a photo shoot. Her producer tried to forcibly undress her in a manner highly evocative of attempted rape, causing a young producer named Kaoru Nishiyama to punch him out. At the beginning of the story, Mariya comes across Sasami contemplating suicide and manages to talk her down, becoming highly protective of her.
    • Aki's belligerence and cynicism is the result of her mother pressuring her to do whatever it takes to be successful, even if it means prostituting herself to her Producer or literally working herself to death. Her career as a child idol came to an end when she was molested by Oda. She managed to escape, but when she told her mother what happened she was berated for not sleeping with him to advance her career.
    • Mariya was a former member of Quasar who was cast aside when she got too old, and who was subjected to severe harassment and bullying from her supposed comrades.
    • Julie actively invokes tsundere cliches as a stage persona, but finds navigating the the cultural differences between Japan and the United States to be confusing and stressful; and is revealed to have daddy issues due to her physically-abusive father walking out on her and her mother when she was a child.
  • David Versus Goliath: In one corner we have Starnova, a recently-formed, seven-woman idol group made up of washed-up has-beens and complete newbies to the business. In the other corner we have Quasar, the largest and most popular idol group in Japan, who have held that position uncontested for fifteen years. The plot revolves around the conflict between these groups. The outcome depends on which route you're playing: in some routes, Starnova, the "David", can win, but in other routes, either the outcome is inconclusive, or you have to let Quasar, the "Goliath", win, in order to prevent something even worse from happening.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Several of the girls superficially embody standard anime character archetypes, with Aki being a tsundere, Nemu being a yandere, and Julie being Foreign Fanservice. While this is played for laughs in the routes not focusing on these characters, in their individual routes each of these archetypes is deconstructed. Aki was almost raped by Oda, Nemu inherited a mental illness from her mother, and Julie was abandoned by her abusive father and feels alienated by Japanese culture.
  • Dirty Old Man: Oda is revealed to be a pedophile in Aki's route, when he molests a fourteen year-old Aki, traumatizing her to the extent that she quits. In Sasami's route he rapes her in her bad ending, and tries to do so in her regular ending before being stopped by Shiro.
  • Disappeared Dad: Julie’s father left her mother for another woman when Julie first entered high school.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Female: Shiro gets rather handsy with Kaori in Quasar's showers, and in Sasami's route she brushes aside the "Lamb of Starnova"'s protests that she's not into girls by saying that they're just practising and that kissing, groping, and (in the uncensored version) fingering don't count if it's between girls. When Shirou tries to take things further than that, however, Sasami coldly shuts her down and mocks her for trying to use her as a replacement for Kana. When Oda offers to let Shirou have her way with Sasami instead of him raping her, however, Shirou snaps and attacks him.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness:
    • Nemu’s eyes lose their sheen whenever she slips into a Yandere trance.
    • Julie briefly sports these while recovering in the hospital after a crazed fan nearly murdered her in her route.
  • Dysfunction Junction: The cast has a lot of baggage to work through. It's somewhat justified in that their issues tend to tie into their idol careers and the dark side of the idol industry, and Starnova is assembled from a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Mika is a big fan of Lolita fashion and dresses accordingly. She’s thrilled to pieces when she gets to model Gothic Lolita costumes during her route.
  • Enemy Mine: To get Aki's good ending, the producer actually has to temporarily let Starnova yield to Quasar (instead of pushing Aki to win) so that Kamijou can maintain control of Golden Calf and thus ensure Oda's punishment. Also on Sasami's ending Mr Producer and Kamijou again team up against Oda and Huraka's hostile takeover and attempted rape of Sasami, Kaori and Stella.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: For all of his social darwinism and general jerkass-ness, Kamijou sends 13 year-old Mako on a Snipe Hunt errand when he discovers Oda — who is a pedophile on top of his general sleaziness — is coming to "inspect" the talent. In some of the routes, Oda attempting to seize control of Golden Calf even forces an Enemy Mine between Kamijou and Mr. Producer, with the latter begrudgingly acknowledging the former as having some humanity.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The main character does have a name,note  but almost everyone he interacts with, from his own talent to his corporate rivals, calls him Mr. Producer. It gets to the point where he notes that he's starting to forget his name and feeling like a generic visual novel protagonist.
  • Everything's Better with Llamas: Natsuki’s parents raise alpacas on their farm, and Natsuki talks about them at length on a TV segment in her route. They send her one to keep as a pet at the end of her route. In Sasami’s route they do it again, and this time the alpaca somehow becomes a successful idol under the name Alpaca-kun.
  • Evil Counterpart: A few examples:
    • Kamijou is the manipulative, abusive and merciless producer compared to the protagonist's genuine love for the art form and deep caring for his talents.
    • Quasar is the backstabbing collection of divas willing to do anything to get ahead in opposition to the (mostly) ethical and mutually supportive Starnova.
    • Finally Reon is the creepy, spiteful and often outright violent idol "fan" who will turn on the objects of his affections just for not living up to his impossible standards compared to actual fans Kyousuke and Junpei, who are often a bit awkward but friendly and loyal, looking to support their beloved idols through thick and thin.
  • Evil Is Petty: Kamijou wants to destroy Starnova because Mr. Producer, Mariya, Aki, and Sasami all used to work for Golden Calf Productions, and he’ll be damned if he’s going to let people who couldn’t make it at his company succeed on their own.
  • Expressive Hair: Several examples.
    • Mika’s Hair Antennae stick up straight whenever she’s surprised.
    • Natsuki’s Idiot Hair occasionally forms a question mark (complete with period) when she expresses confusion or bemusement at Mariya’s histrionics.
    • Nemu’s Idiot Hair goes from a heart-shaped curl to a sharp, angular zigzag whenever she slips into a yandere trance.
  • Failure Montage: When the girls attempt to distribute promotional fliers for their upcoming live debut, we’re treated to a montage of their efforts being thwarted by bad weather and a pair of thieving cats.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Nemu’s stepmother Haruna disapproves of her desire to be an idol, as she feels it would damage the reputation of their family and corporation, and tries to make her stop. In most routes they come to an undisclosed arrangement that allows Nemu to continue being part of Starnova, but in Nemu’s route she discovers Haruna conspiring with Kamijou to ruin Starnova… or so she thinks. In reality, Haruna is scared that the stresses of trying to be a successful idol will exacerbate Nemu’s mental illness and drive her crazy, just like her birth mother Sena.
  • Farmer's Daughter: Natsuki is the daughter of a huge farming family. On her route, her farm is in trouble because of her father's debts, and Natsuki has to try to figure out how to pay off the debts.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: A Downplayed Example in Natsuki’s route: she and Mr. Producer first met years ago at a handshake event following one of his idol group’s performances. She never forgot their meeting, while he doesn’t remember until he spots an autographed picture of himself in her apartment (and even then, it takes him a day to connect the dots).
  • Former Child Star: Aki Kashiwagi has been in the entertainment business since she was a child, and even though she’s eighteen she still acts like the 12-year-old she claims to be... when the cameras are rolling, at least. Her nasty attitude while they're off earns her the nickname "shit loli", with the other girls even comparing her to a drill sergeant.
  • Gag Boobs: Nemu's massive bust is the subject of several running gags — including the "Boobie Smasher" — and earns her the nickname "Yandere Boobie-Monster" from Aki.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot:
    • Mr. Producer notes this is the impetus behind yuri-themed photo shoots, like the one between Julie and Natsuki.
    • In Sasami's route, Oda expresses this sentiment when he offers to let Shiro rape Sasami — who she's been attempting to seduce — while he watches, instead of doing so himself.
  • Golden Ending: Sasami's route can be seen as this. Not only is it only available after completing all other routes but it includes some of the resolution to each of the other girls' routes as well.
  • Gorgeous Gaijin: Julie is half-American, has blonde hair, and deliberately exploits the the Japanese perception of Americans as being reckless and wantonly promiscuous to cultivate the image of being a Good Bad Girl. This earns her the nickname "top bitch of Starnova", but winds up backfiring on her in her route when paparazzi catch her dragging Kile into a love hotel and proceed to drag her reputation through the sewer.
  • Go Seduce My Arch Nemesis: In Sasami’s route, Shiro takes it upon herself to seduce Sasami with the ultimate goal of corrupting her, breaking her heart, and eliminating her as a rival idol. She ends up falling in love with Sasami instead, though Sasami quickly deduces that she's subconsciously trying to use her as a replacement for Kana.
  • Going Commando: Near the beginning of her route, Julie “accidentally” forgets to put her panties and Modesty Shorts on before a live performance. Blurry photos of her flashing the front row quickly end up on the front page of many tabloids, to Mr. Producer’s mortification.
  • Gratuitous English: Julie peppers her spoken lines of Japanese dialogue with the occasional English curse word.
  • Hair Antennae: Mika has a pair of antennae that occasionally stick up when she gets startled.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?:
    • In Natsuki’s route, Julie loudly complains that she doesn’t “spin” that way when Mr. Producer informs her that she’ll have to kiss Natsuki for a yuri-themed gravure shoot, though her flustered reactions during the shoot and the kiss tell a different story.
    • Sasami protests that she’s not into girls when Shiro starts coming on to her during her route, though this doesn’t stop her from making out with Shiro on multiple occasions in the name of “practice”.
  • Hero of Another Story: Parodied in Sasami’s route, where the alpaca that Natsuki’s parents sent ends up becoming a successful idol off-screen, with their exploits regularly ending up in the newspapers, much to Mr. Producer’s bemusement and confusion.
  • Heroic RRoD: In Aki's route, she develops a stress-related condition that causes her to black out repeatedly, but due to the pressure exerted on her by her mother she passes it off as not being serious until she collapses from exhaustion and strain, almost literally working herself to death. In her bad ending, she pushes herself so hard that she dies during Starnova's final performance.
  • Home Porn Movie: In Aki’s route, a sex tape starring Haruka gets leaked online. The resulting scandal damages Quasar’s reputation and leads to Haruka being kicked out of the group.
  • Hopeless Suitor: In Sasami's route, Shiro of all people becomes one for Sasami, setting out to ruin her career by seducing her and breaking her heart, only to be the one who has her heart broken when Sasami takes Shiro's lessons in social darwinism to heart and reveals she was just using Shiro to gain sexual experience. After Sasami comes to her senses, she more-gently turns Shiro down a second time when the latter tries to give her Kana's old Quasar choker, recognizing that Shiro is subconsciously trying to fill the gap in her heart left by her betrayal of Kana.
  • Hot Springs Episode: In the common route, Mr. Producer books the girls a vacation at an onsen as a reward for their hard work, and hijinks ensue. Several of the girls’ routes, and the bonus chapter unlocked by beating the game, see them return to the onsen for various reasons.
  • I Call It "Vera": Nemu carries a large knife in her purse. She calls it “Gunter-kun”, and has even made up a background and personality for “him”. In the bad ending to her route, she names the meat cleaver she uses to butcher her stepmother “Strobanov”.
  • Ice Queen: Quasar's center, Shiro, is the perfect embodiment of Kamijou's ideal idol singer, a cold and manipulative woman who maintains her authority with an iron fist. The various routes reveal that she's just as troubled as the other girls, having been forced to betray the love of her life, Kana, in order to take the centre place; and keep up appearances to maintain power amidst twenty other girls ruthlessly gunning for her spot.
  • Idiot Hair:
    • Natsuki has a single curved strand of hair, and is both mischievous and somewhat oblivious to the ways of city folk. Her mother and old sister have it as well, so perhaps it runs in the family.
    • Nemu has an elaborate ahoge that curls into a shape resembling a heart, and like Natsuki she can be quite mischievous when she wishes to be. Several characters jokingly claim that it functions as an antenna which allows her to read people’s thoughts.
  • Idol Singer: Many of the game's female characters are idol singers, most notably the seven heroines who make up Starnova and their rivals in Quasar.
  • In-Series Nickname:
    • Most people refer to Mr. Producer as Mr. Producer to the extent that even he starts to forget his real name, but Mika and Natsuki call him “Black Knight” and “P-kun”, respectively.
    • Mika gets saddled with the nickname “Chuuni-chan” by Aki. In return, Mika scornfully refers to Aki as “the red imp”.
    • Natsuki usually goes by the nickname Nattan.
    • Nemu calls herself NemuNemu to seem more cutesy.
    • Aki is dubbed the "shit loli" by the other girls on account of her Drill Sergeant Nasty attitude when the cameras aren't rolling, and she even takes to calling herself that.
    • Julie acquires the nickname of "top bitch" due to her attitude and stereotypes regarding Americans being promiscuous.note 
    • Sasami is often called “the lamb of Starnova” by the other girls, on account of her positive and somewhat naïve outlook on the idol industry.
    • Kamijou is sometimes called Kami-P by the Quasar girls, though usually not to his face.
  • Innocent Innuendo:
    • Early on in the common route, Sasami invites Mr. Producer over to her house. The screen then Fades To Black, and the ensuing dialogue and music imply that they’re about to have sex. In reality, Sasami just wanted to show Mr. Producer some of her memorabilia, and her grunts and comments about “it” being so big were referring to a box that she was struggling to pull out of her tightly-packed closet.
    • While the team is vacationing at an onsen, Natsuki sneaks into Mr. Producer’s room and gives him a much-appreciated backrub. The other girls, who had gone looking for Natsuki after she gave them the slip during a conversation about who gets to be Starnova’s center, overhear Mr. Producer’s groans of pleasure and conclude that Natsuki is having sex with him, prompting a jealous Nemu to barge into the room—at which point the misunderstanding is quickly cleared up.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Aki may be blunt and abrasive when criticizing the other girls of Starnova, but she really does care about her teammates and only berates them because she wants them to become better — with many of the girls comparing her to a drill sergeant. In Mika’s route Aki is especially critical because she knows idols need to be thick-skinned in order to survive in the industry, and she’s trying to toughen Mika up.
  • Justice by Other Legal Means: In Aki's route, it looks like Oda is about to get away with molesting girls scot-free, since there's no evidence to prove it—so Kamijou instead has Oda arrested for a completely different crime, that of embezzling money from the company, which there is enough evidence to prove.
  • Kinky Spanking: In Julie's route, Mr. Producer snaps when her antics put Starnova in jeopardy and decides to administer some corporal punishment. However, this just serves to turn her on and reveals that she has a father complex.
  • Knife Nut:
    • Played for Laughs in most routes. Nemu carries a large knife (which she calls “Gunter-kun”) around in her purse, and is fond of brandishing it while cackling maniacally in a Yandere trance, but she never actually attacks anyone with it and only uses the knife for mundane things like cutting food.
    • Played for Drama in Nemu’s route: as Starnova’s situation worsens and Nemu’s sanity deteriorates, she replaces Gunter-kun with a meat cleaver (which she names Strobanov) and tries to murder her mother with it.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Barring their swimsuits, workout clothes and Starnova uniforms, the girls tend to wear the same casual clothes day in and day out. Lampshaded at one point in Mika’s route, when the girls discuss what they’re going to do after payday:
    Julie: Ugh, yeah, honestly I can’t fucking WAIT to buy some new clothes. I’ve been wearing this look for an entire year now! I can’t believe it…
    Mariya: I could use some new clothes too…
  • Loony Fan: A particularly violent and obsessive fan named Reon plays an antagonist role in two routes, and cameos in a third:
    • In Mika's route, Reon is a creepy stalker who somehow takes Mika’s role in the spectacular failure of the Black Opera adaptation as a personal insult, and starts harassing her in increasingly dangerous ways.
    • In Julie's route, Reon attempts to murder her during a handshake event because he believes she's a whore due to a false sex scandal surrounding her and Kile.
    • In Sasami's route, he shows up at a handshake event and thanks Sasami for inspiring him to turn his life around, though he's still creepy and possessive.
  • Love Confession:
    • On Julie's route, after Julie admits that her prior behavior has been wrong, she says the one thing she wasn't wrong about was that she loves the producer. However, the producer turns down her love confession so she won't have to quit Starnova. They do eventually end up together later (since this is a Julie route), but they have to go through a dramatic turn of events first.
    • On Natsuki's route, with her usual blunt honesty, Natsuki forwardly tells the producer that she actually became an idol in the first place because she developed a crush on a male idol she saw on TV, Kaoru Nishiyama—and it turns out the Producer himself is Kaoru, so Natsuki confesses her love to the Producer and is very happy she gets to work with the one who inspired her to become an idol.
  • Love Hurts:
    • It's revealed that Shiro — Quasar's center — was in a relationship with former center Kana Kihara until Kamijou's ruthless management practises pitted them against each other and Shiro broke Kana's heart to seize the center spot. While Mariya is convinced that Shiro had only been toying with Kana's emotions, Shiro genuinely loved her and in some of the routes they reconcile and get back together.
    • In Sasami's route, Shiro tries to seduce her, ostensibly with the intent of breaking her heart to ruin her career. It works too well, as Shiro genuinely develops feelings for Sasami, who takes Shiro's social darwinist advice to heart and proceeds to coldly break her heart instead. Even after Sasami decides to reject Shiro's advice, she turns Shiro's continued flirtation down not only because she's not into girls but because she sees that Shiro is trying to use her to fill the void left in her heart by her betrayal of Kana.
  • Love Redeems:
    • In Mariya's route, Hana shows up at the Quasar vs. Starnova voting event and shatters Shiro's Ice Queen mask to expose the Broken Bird buried underneath, leading to her ripping up the ticket that would have given Quasar the win and allowing Starnova to achieve victory.
    • In Sasami's route, Shiro saves Sasami from being raped by Oda, having fallen in love with her.
  • Marshmallow Hell: In their first performance, Mika trips and faceplants into Nemu's breasts, which the latter rolls with and terms the "Boobie Smasher", to the former's embarrassment. In one of the routes, during Starnova's farewell performance Nemu deliberately replicates it by hugging Mika into her chest, though Mika doesn't seem to mind this time.
  • Matricide: At the climax of Nemu’s route, she attempts to murder her adoptive mother Haruna out of the belief that Haruna is trying to destroy Starnova. In the bad ending, she succeeds.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Kile, Mika’s co-star in the Black Opera TV adaptation. His character is a Manipulative Bastard who brainwashes women into becoming his sex slaves and subjects the main heroine to horrible scenarios… and Kile is so ashamed of the things his part requires him to say and do to Mika that he breaks character and runs off the set in tears in the middle of a particularly gruelling scene.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Mr. Producer picks the name Starnova for the group because it (allegedly) means “New Star” in Latin, representing the girls’ rebirth as successful idols.
    • Golden Calf Productions is a massive corporation that specializes in the manufacturing and marketing of idols. In The Bible, the golden calf was an idol created and worshipped by the Israelites while Moses was off talking with God on Mount Sinai.
  • Missing Mom: Nemu’s birth mother died when she was very young, and she knows very little about her beyond what she looked like and the fact that she was an idol. Since her father and adoptive mother refuse to tell Nemu anything about her, she asks Mr. Producer to see what he can dig up, setting the plot of her route in motion. It turns out she’s still alive, but has spent the last eighteen years in a mental hospital following a psychotic breakdown: when Nemu learns of this and visits her, she doesn’t even remember having a daughter in the first place.
  • Multiple Endings: The game has seven routes, each of which has one or more Bad Endings and a single Good Ending. Sasami’s route is considered the True Ending, as her route cannot be played until the player has completed the other girls' routes.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: In the bad ending to Nemu’s route, a delusional Nemu throws Mika off a bridge out of the mistaken belief that Mika is trying to come between her and Mr. Producer.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Oda in Aki's route would have gotten off scot-free for his perverted tendencies, if he hadn't foolishly committed a different crime, embezzling company funds.
  • Nepotism: Subverted. While Kamijou may be the eldest son of Golden Calf’s founder, he is repeatedly shown to be a highly competent and hardworking individual entirely deserving of his position as the company’s acting CEO, not that this stops the board of directors from resenting him for the perceived nepotism.
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: Aki Kashiwagi plays up her cutesy Little Sister Heroine stage persona whenever the cameras are rolling or she thinks it will win over Mr. Producer, but her true self is a cynical and rude woman driven by ambition. This leads the other girls to dub her the team's "shit loli" and compare her to a drill sergeant once she mellows out a little and starts focusing on the group's success rather than her own.
  • Nice Guy:
    • Mr. Producer's compassion was what got him fired from Golden Calf; and while he initially laments it and wishes he was more ruthless, he feels uncomfortable with how the idol industry treats the idols as objects and products, and is often torn between his duty to make money for the company and his empathy towards the girls. While he's a bit of a Covert Pervert, he never tries to take advantage of his talent — to the irritation of the girls, who are trying to seduce him.
    • Kile, a member of a famous boy-band that shows up in some of the girls' routes. He apologizes to Mika after being forced to perfom perverted acts during a drama shooting, helps a drunken Julie with her personal problems and outs himself as gay on national television to protect Julie's career after both of them are caught in a fake sex scandal.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In Mika’s route, Mr. Producer notes that the OP of the Black Opera anime was performed by Galafinal.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Mr. Producer used to work for Golden Calf until he saw a senior producer angrily pressuring a nervous Sasami to strip for a photoshoot. He came to her defense by slugging the man, an act which got him fired on the spot.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: Julie’s route begins with an in-universe example. After blurry pictures of her Going Commando during a live performance show up in the tabloids, the resulting controversy drives sales of Starnova’s latest CD through the roof, leading the President of Soma Music to suggest that Starnova capitalize on the controversy by taking themselves in a more risqué direction. Overall the trope is zig-zagged, with scandals appearing for both Starnova and Quasar on several routes and sometimes advancing an idol's career and sometimes sinking it.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing:
    • On Aki's route, if you push Aki to work really hard during the route's climactic performance, Aki will ascend to divinity and enable Starnova to beat Quasar—but die of exhaustion in the process, leaving only the memory of her divinity behind.
    • On Julie's route, you're given a choice between either sticking with Julie during the idol event, or helping out Mika. Since Mika is usually shy and timid, you might be tempted to help her out. But as it turns out, Mika doesn't need help after all—and since you're not by Julie's side, Reon the crazed fan will kill Julie. To get Julie's good ending, you have to stick with Julie instead of helping Mika out.
    • On the uncensored version of Mika's route, if you accept Mika's offer of sex after she decides that fanservice is just part of being an idol, Mika will eventually leave Starnova and work in the adult video industry instead.
    • In Nemu's route, if you rebuke Kamijou's assertion that Nemu attacked Kaori, Nemu's psychosis will worsen until she drowns Mika in a fit of jealousy, kills her adopted mother; and then ties up Mr. Producer, rapes him, and burns him and herself to death.
    • On Natsuki's route, if you get down on your knees and beg Kamijou to let Starnova have a television spot, Kamijou will relent, but Natsuki will feel so guilty about you begging on her behalf that she'll leave Starnova, hoping to find another way to pay off her farm's debt that won't involve burdening you.
  • Omega Ending: Sasami’s route is locked off until you complete the routes of the other six girls.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Halfway through her route, Nemu experiences a sudden flashback to a seemingly repressed childhood memory of her birth mother, Sena, being hit by a car in a deliberate act of vehicular manslaughter by a spiteful Haruna. This memory turns out to be false, and she suddenly remembers what actually happened near the end of the route: Sena, who had lost her mind and was allowing Nemu to starve from neglect, tried to run over Haruna to stop her from taking Nemu away.
  • One-Hit Wonder: Starnova becomes an in-universe example in Natsuki’s route. They aren’t able to replicate the initial success of their first CD album release, and the fact that they can’t settle on an image and don’t get embroiled in scandal causes the public to gradually lose interest in them, causing their sales figures to decline as a result. Despite their best efforts, the group can’t get out of this slump and Starnova is ultimately forced to disband, though its members go on to have successful individual careers afterward.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Producer-san's real name is Kaoru Nishiyama, but everyone calls him by his title for so long that he starts to feel like a Featureless Protagonist.
  • Parental Neglect: When Nemu was very young, her birth mother suffered a breakdown and stopped taking care of her, leaving Nemu sickly and malnourished. Haruna was forced to take Nemu away and adopt her for her own safety.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: The half-Japanese, half-American Julie Watanabe has blonde hair and blue eyes, and she uses her exotic looks to take advantage of gullible men through Compensated Dating. Her epilogue reveals that her hair is bleached; its natural colour is black.
  • Phrase Catcher: Several of the girls of Starnova have responses often said to acting in character ending the sentence "As expected of..."
    • "...the lamb of Starnova." (Sasami)
    • "...the top bitch of Starnova." (Julie)
    • "...our shit loli/drill sergeant loli." (Aki)
  • Psycho Lesbian: Shiro gives off these vibes when she comes on to Kaori in the Quasar team's shower, and when she molests and seduces Sasami despite the latter being straight.
  • Rags to Riches: Shiro was born into poverty and joined the entertainment industry at a young age to keep her family from starving. Since then she has become the wealthiest idol—if not the wealthiest woman, period—in Japan, and she is widely lauded as the country’s Empress of Entertainment.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Starnova idols all have their own issues to work through and can't find work elsewhere in the industry for various reasons. Mr. Producer's job is to forge them into a popular idol group.
  • Rape as Drama:
    • In the bad end of Nemu's route, she snaps, kills Mika, and then rapes the producer before killing him and herself in a murder-suicide.
    • In Sasami's route, she is nearly raped by Oda, while Haruka and her supporters attempt to force Kaori and Stella to have sex on camera.
  • Rape Discretion Shot: In Sasami's route's bad ending, she decides she'd be more successful as a member of Quasar and goes to Golden Calf to accept Kamijou's job offering... only to find that Oda has usurped control of the company and is all too eager to enforce the rumored Sextra Credit practise.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • The visual novel doesn't shy away from the dark side of the idol industry and the physical and psychological traumas it inflicts on the girls and boys who enter into it.
    • In Mika’s route, she and Mr. Producer rally the cast and crew of the Black Opera TV adaptation to rework the series from a borderline In Name Only adaptation into something Truer to the Text. Everyone pours their heart and soul into the project and works round the clock to get it done on time. Unfortunately, these reshoots blow the show’s already meagre budget, and the sheer passion everyone has for the project blinds them to many problems, like the fact that the leads are inexperienced actors with no chemistry. The show ends up looking like complete shit as a result, and results in the fanbase lashing out online.
  • Reused Character Design: Some of the character designs are very similar to those from Love In Space’s previous series, Sunrider. Nemu Akimoto is basically Claude Trilleo with a hair antenna. Sasami Shimazaki has the same eye colour and hairstyle as a teenaged Ava Crescentia. Kamijou looks like Kayto Shields with a pair of glasses.
  • Riddle for the Ages: On Sasami's route the obsessed creepy fan Reon gives her a box with some kind of gift. Sasami wisely elects not to open it and Mr. Producer confiscates it. We are never told what it was he wanted to give her.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Stella is able to sing and dance with the same ability as the other girls, and even possesses fully-functional genitalia.
  • Ripped from the Headlines:
    • In Julie's route, the girls are attacked by a crazed fan during a handshake event, leaving the Producer, Aki, and Julie in the hospital. This incident leads to the international media and even the United Nations brutally critizing the Japanese idol industry, ruining Starnova's reputation in the process. This is based on an actual event that happened to major idol group AKB48 in 2014.
    • Also in Julie's route, following the love hotel scandal, Aki demands that Julie shave her head and film herself apologizing profusely for betraying her fans — a reference to a scandal involving one of AKB48's idols, who was caught going on a date with a member of a male idol group and wound up being demoted and doing the above as an act of penance.
  • Robot Girl: One of Quasar's idols, Stella, is a gynoid created by Kamijou to be the perfect idol.
  • Running Gag: Natsuki’s route has one where she barges into Mr. Producer’s office and demands that he help her with an emergency, which inevitably turns out to be handling whatever outlandish gift her parents sent her in the mail.
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • In Nemu's route, the stress of being Starnova's center worsens the hereditary psychosis she inherited from her mother until she snaps and tries to kill her. In her good ending she ultimately gets the help she needs to overcome her inner demons, but in her bad ending she murders Mika in a fit of jealousy before raping Mr. Producer and killing him and herself in a murder-suicide.
    • In Nemu's route it is revealed that her mother, Sena Ueda, had a psychotic breakdown after being cast aside by the idol industry for sleeping with her producer. After seeing Sena neglecting her daughter, Haruna Akimoto — the wife of the man Sena slept with — takes Nemu away, causing Sena to fly into a rage and attempt to kill her. While Sena is institutionalized with Haruna financing her treatment, her condition worsens to the extent that she forgets she had a child and still believes she's an idol. In Nemu's good ending, Sena comes to the conclusion that Nemu is impersonating her and has stolen her career, escapes the hospital, and sets out to kill her own daughter; but is talked down by Haruna.
  • The Scapegoat: Mika becomes this in the second half of her route. After the TV adaptation of Black Opera bombs, disgruntled fans and internet trolls blame her for every single thing that went wrong with the show and start spamming her social media accounts with hate mail and death threats. Some even go so far as doxing her and attempting to kidnap her.
  • Serial Escalation: In Natsuki’s route, her parents keep shipping her well-meaning but inconvenient gifts in the mail. First they send her a hundred kilos of persimmons; then they send her several dozen freshly-caught trout; and then they send her a live chicken. Reaches its zenith in her epilogue, when they send her a live alpaca to keep as a pet. In Sasami's route, the alpaca makes a return and somehow becomes a successful idol, to Mr. Producer's incredulity.
  • Sex for Services: While the idols are contractually obliged to maintain their virginity, it's noted that many unscrupulous executives abuse their positions of power in order to force their idols to have sex with them in exchange for furthering their careers. Notably, a rumor within Quasar is that each new center gives her virginity to Kamijou, who at one point took advantage of this but by the time of the visual novel's story simply uses it as a means of humiliating them.
  • Sex for Solace:
    • In the uncensored version of Julie's route, she suffers from PTSD after Reon tries to kill her, and has sex with the Producer as a means of coping with the trauma.
    • In Sasami's route, Sasami accuses Shirou of attempting this with her in order to fill the void left in her heart by her betrayal of Kana, and shuts her down.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Early in the game's story Natsuki strips and coyly acts the part of an Innocent Fanservice Girl in an effort to seduce Mr. Producer into giving her the center position. If you do make Natsuki the center and play her route, it turns out that was only part of the reason—Natsuki also has legitimate romantic feelings for the producer, as she developed a crush on him back when she saw him on TV as the male idol Kaoru Nishiyama.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Natsuki’s mother approves of her daughter’s relationship with Mr. Producer and tries to push the two of them together during an impromptu visit to the family home, suggesting that they stay in Natsuki’s old room overnight and “make the most of [their] trip”.
    • In the uncensored version's bonus Hot Springs Episode, Nemu acts as one for Aki and Mika; getting them turned on, encouraging them to have sex as an outlet for their rivalry, and showering them with flower petals to intensify the mood.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The main character's nickname may be a reference to The Idolmaster, whose nameless protagonist is also called the Producer.
    • Akihabara is chockfull of billboards, posters and merchandise of characters from the Sunrider series, as is Mika’s room. A statue of the Black Jack, a Ryder from that series, replaces the real-world Gundam statue in Odaiba.
    • Posters of the main characters of fault milestone one can be seen in several places throughout the game.
    • While the girls are trying to promote their upcoming debut, a brown cat with a red ribbon and a white cat with a blue ribbon make off with some of the fliers.
    • Mika paraphrases Bane while trying to persuade Mr. Producer to make her the center of the team:
      Mika: You all merely adopted the weeb. But this one was born in it. Molded by it!
    • There is a Companion Cube tucked away behind Mika's computer monitor.
    • Sasami's route has her and Shiro starring together in a Lordgilla movie.
    • Shiro quotes Tropic Thunder while giving Sasami advice:
      Shiro: You’re going full retard. Never go full retard.
    • One of the idols Natsuki noticed before Starnova's rise is Sayaka Maizono. Hopefully "the Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Human History" isn't in the works anytime soon.
    • Nemu gets into a car accident, but is not actually hit by the car and just passes out from shock.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: In Julie’s route, Reon the violently obsessive stalker appears for one scene, in which he attacks Julie with a knife in broad daylight during a handshake event. The attack leaves Julie hospitalized for almost a month and leaves her with lingering mental scars, while the scandal of the attack and the resulting international attention nearly gets Starnova disbanded.
  • Snipe Hunt: In Sasami’s route, Kamijou sends the twelve-year-old Mako to buy an SD card from a specific retailer on the other side of Tokyo, knowing this errand will take her several hours and cause her to miss an inspection from the unit’s upper management. He does this to protect her, as the person conducting the inspection is Oda.
  • The Social Darwinist: Kamijou was inspired by the dog-eat-dog world of the American entertainment industry, and based Golden Calf's management practises of Quasar around social darwinism.
  • Squee!: Near the start of her route, Mika reacts to the news that she’ll be starring in the leading role of a live-action adaptation of her favorite anime—as her favorite character, no less—by jumping around and squealing in sheer delight.
  • Stage Mom: Played for Drama with Aki’s mother Yumiko, who has been pushing her daughter to become a successful idol since she was ten, purely to make herself rich, and doesn’t care what Aki needs to do to reach that point. When a fourteen-year-old Aki came home crying one day because her producer had tried to molest her, Yumiko got angry at Aki for jeopardizing her career, demanded that she go back and apologize, and beat her when she refused to do so.
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • Nemu's birth mother Sena looks identical to her, with several characters referring to them as carbon copies of each other. This comes into play when a mentally-ill Sena (who had forgotten she had a daughter) suffers a major breakdown after seeing Nemu on TV, thinking that she stole her identity.
    • Natsuki looks nearly identical to her older sister and mother, with all three of them sporting the same face, Cat Smile, Idiot Hair and bright orange hair colour. The only differences between them are their clothing and the length of their hair.
  • Supergroup: Briefly on Sasami's route. Quasar loses over a quarter of their existing members after they're fired for siding with Oda and Huraka. Sasami is unwilling to take advantage of their weakness to win the Idol Grand Prix so instead Quasar and Starnova perform together, sharing the resulting trophy.
  • Sweet and Sour Grapes:
    • On the uncensored version of Mika's route, to get Mika's good ending, the player has to turn down a sex scene with Mika when she is at an emotional low, so Mika won't fall into despair. Upon reaching the post-credits epilogue, Mika will be in a much better place emotionally, so there will be a different, much more enthusiastic and romantic sex scene.
    • In Natsuki's good ending, unfortunately Starnova loses to Quasar and has to disband. This may not sound like a good ending, but not only is Nemu able to make Natsuki's farm's debt go away using her connections, Natsuki is able to keep the idols' reputation so spotless that they're able to have much happier, more successful individual careers, so everything still turns out happily after all.
  • Team Mom: As the most-experienced member of the group aside from Aki, Mariya often dispenses kernels of cynicism regarding the dark truth of the idol industry, and is protective of the other girls — especially Sasami. The Producer makes her the general manager of the group, which she stays on as even after retiring as an idol.
  • That Didn't Happen: In the uncensored version's bonus Hot Springs Episode, the girls get drunk on strong alcohol and lose their inhibitions. Aki and Mika, Natsuki and Mariya, and Sasami and Julie all wind up hooking up with each other, with Nemu acting as a Shipper on Deck and joining the middle two for a threesome. When they remember what happened the following morning, they agree to pretend that it was an alcohol-induced dream.
  • This Is Reality: "This isn't some kind of idol themed porn game", the main character of the idol themed porn game says, early on in Julie's route.
  • Token Good Teammate: Kaori is this for Quasar, frequently lamenting that she joined the villains.
  • Trojan Horse: In Nemu’s route, she overhears Kamijou and her mother discussing their plans to ruin Starnova’s reputation by exposing their newest recruit Kaori’s illicit relationship with an older man once she’s been officially accepted into the unit. Ultimately Subverted: Nemu hallucinated that entire conversation, and the plot isn't real.
  • Trope Overdosed: In addition to the various shout outs and homages to idol animes, the game leans heavily on the fourth wall and hangs lampshades on idol anime and visual novel tropes and cliches.
  • Troubled Production: The live-action TV adaptation of Black Opera which Mika stars in during her route is an in-universe example. They only have two months to shoot the show’s first five episodes before it starts airing; they have a shoestring budget; the director is so disinterested in the project and its source material that he can’t even keep the main character’s name straight; and the executives have forced them to cut all the gory action that Black Opera was known for in favor of borderline pornographic fan service scenes, which made the previous lead actress walk out in disgust and make everyone else involved deeply uncomfortable. Mika and Mr. Producer try to turn the project around by rekindling the director’s passion and reshooting scenes to be more faithful to the source material, but they only make things worse in the long run.
  • Unnamed Parent: Apart from Aki’s mother (Yumiko) and Nemu’s parents (Haruna, Kojiro, and Sena), none of the heroines’ parents are named at any point. Natsuki’s parents are the clearest example of this, as they only refer to each other as Ma and Pa, despite being important secondary characters on her route.
  • Verbal Tic: When Mika is extremely happy or embarrassed, she makes an "Unyuunyuu" sound.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Nemu’s adoptive mother Haruna hates Nemu for being her husband’s bastard, and only keeps her around as a potential asset for their family or company. She also hated Nemu’s birth mother, Sena, and had her murdered. Or so Nemu thinks. In reality, Haruna never hated Nemu or Sena, and she adopted Nemu because Sena could no longer take care of her following a psychotic breakdown.
  • Yandere: Nemu is polite and refined, but whenever someone threatens Starnova or makes eyes at Mr. Producer, she lapses into knife-waving fits of maniacal giggling. The other members of Starnova call her a yandere in-universe and are terrified whenever she slips into this state, though in most routes she never attacks anyone and never tries to interfere with Mr. Producer’s love life. In her own route, the pressure of being Starnova’s center and the frustration of Mr. Producer ignoring her romantic overtures causes Nemu to undergo Sanity Slippage, and she becomes increasingly violent toward perceived threats like Kaori, Mika, and her own mother. She deliberately cripples the former, and murders the latter two in her Bad Ending.


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