Friday, July 17, 2015

A brief history of THE IDOLM@STER


2015 marks the 10th anniversary of THE IDOLM@STER series since the arcades went off the stands on 26th of July, 2005, and expanded to multiple franchises from console games, mobile games, animated series, music CDs, and numerous merchandising rights. As everyone in Japan is prepping up for the big 10th anniversary of the ever-favorite idol-raising game that won every otakus' hearts, time now for a quick history lesson about everyone's favorite idol-raising game.

THE IDOLM@STER (Arcade, 2005) - This is how it started it all. Launched in July 26th, 2005, the IDOLM@STER arcade game works in numerous ways. As the producer of 765 PRODUCTION, you have to produce one of the nine idols and raise your producer rank to the highest as nurture your idol to become famous on-stage.  First and foremost, you can't send your idol into the audition process without lessons that will boost one of the three stats; Visual, Vocal, and Dance. This arcade game runs in two cards; the producer card that will keep track of your idols and a unit card  which shows the last idol you've used, the last song she performed live, and the number of fans garnered. The more fans earned, the higher the rank. Simple.

THE IDOLM@STER (XBOX 360, 2007) - With the success of the iM@S arcades, the producers decided to bring the same iM@S experience at the comfort of their home with this XBOX 360 game. It features the same stuff they love from the arcade but now with added contents and with the addition of Miki Hoshii.

IDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA (TV series, 2007) - For some unknown reasons we don't understand, the stars from IDOLM@STER games featured in a mecha anime series made by the same folks behind the Gundam animes with an all-original storyline that feels somewhat average for some iM@S fans many, although some would call it a witchcraft. 107 years ago, the moon was destroyed in a cataclysm that shattered Earth's former satellite into a numerous pieces but the Earth survived from the massive disaster but no one knows what happened. It starts with a girl named Haruka Amami who was auditioning for something called the IDOLM@STER Project, but instead, she winded up to a top secret academy run by the Mondenkind Agency, alongside other girls chosen to pilot a powerful robot designed to intercept falling chunks of moon rock. As the story progresses, the conspiracies against Mondenkind lurkens and how will the fate of the world rests in Haruka's decisions.

THE IDOLM@STER Live For You! (XBOX 360, 2008) - This installment has a new twist to the iM@S formula fans love because in IM@S L4U, you can enjoy your favorite idols' live shows just the way you want. Select your favorite idols, choose a song, select a costume, and achieve the highest results. You can even challenge your friends at the online rankings or purchase additional content on the XBOX Live Marketplace.

THE IDOLM@STER SP (PSP, 2009) - IM@S goes portable with the PSP game called THE IDOLM@STER SP. This installment splits into three different versions; Wandering Star (allows you to produce Ami and Mami Futami, Yukiho Hagiwara, and Iori Minase), Perfect Sun (allows you to produce Makoto Kikuchi, Yayoi Takatsuki, and Haruka Amami), and Missing Moon (allows you to produce Azusa Miura, Ritsuko Akizuki, and Chihaya Kisaragi). Whichever version players choose, you will still be greeted by the same iM@S formula we all love; raising your underdog into a top-class celebrity. As you work your way to the game, you'll be face off against idols from Project Fairy consisting of Takane Shijou, Miki Hoshii, and Hibiki Ganaha. Producers surely need their own "A game" to outsmart 961 Pro's finest.

THE IDOLM@STER Dearly Stars (Nintendo DS, 2009) - A spinoff to the hit franchise, Dearly Stars takes you in charge as the producer of the 876 Productions' trio of hopefuls; Ai Hidaka, Eri Mizutani, and Ryo Akizuki.

THE IDOLM@STER Mobile (Mobile Phone, 2010) - In preparation for the upcoming IM@S 2, there was a mobile browser game of THE IDOLM@STER where surprises await in different locations across Japan and score numerous items for your 765 PRO idol of your choosing.

THE IDOLM@STER 2 (XBOX 360/PS3, 2011) - Launched in February 2011, THE IDOLM@STER 2 follows the same chemistry of its predecessors, combining the elements of a dating sim game and some Dance Dance Revolution-style button-mashing action at the same time. Every rehearsals, every concerts, every dates, everything you need to know as a producer is the key to achieve higher rankings and every idol's happiness. Once more, personalization can be a notable feature. Every idol's style can affect the outcome of the game and how you personalize your idols is up to you. As the producer, you are taking responsibility to the idols of your own choice; from Haruka, Hibiki, Miki, Makoto, Chihaya, Takane, Yukiho, Mami, and Yayoi. You can even stand a chance against Ryugu Komachi consisting of Ami, Iori, Azusa, and the person in charge; Ritsuko.

For the first time, a PS3 version was offered in late October 2011 and much to the annoyance of those who owned the XBOX 360 version, additional storyline and PS3-exclusive outfits such as Dressy Alice, Rainy Suzuran, Random Color Beauty, Digital Spacecraft, Cutie Insect, Weeping Wisteria, Burning Performer, Stratos Butterfly, Full bloom Yukata Dress, Starlight Agent, My Baby's Breath, Corduroy Country, Circuit Architect, Prima Concerto♪, Cardigan Schooler, Traditional Maid, Bright Eaglet, and Exotic China. Sadly, the Punkish Gothic as seen of the XBOX 360 version, never seen the light of day on the PS3 version.

THE IDOLM@STER (TV Series, 2011) - Fans of the franchise got their wishes come true as the full-fledged IDOLM@STER anime series aired in the Summer of 2011 on TBS for 25 episodes. The anime series features the life and times of the 765 PRODUCTION idols, their secret origins, and how a young producer steps up to send his aspiring idols to the top of the summit even when faced with obstacles.

THE IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls (Mobile Game, 2011) - With over a 190 idols to collect, raise, and idolize, no other mobile game does better than THE IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls. Originally launched as a browser game for Mobage in late 2011, it later became an app game available on App Store and Google Play.

Puchimas! Petit Idolm@ster (Web Series, 2012) - This spinoff of short animated skits features super-deformed versions of their favorite 765 PRO idols as they encounter one hilarious misadventures after another, much to the case of spilling water of Harukasan's head. This web series ran for two seasons and a total of 138 episodes.

THE IDOLM@STER Mobile i (App Store, 2012) - The same goodness from the iM@S mobile is now offered for iPhone users as Mobile i offers the same surprises waiting in numerous locations across Japan, there's even a feature where you can take a pic of your 765 PRO at a very desirable location of your choosing. You can even share it in most social networking sites as well!

THE IDOLM@STER Shiny Festa (PSP, 2012/App Store, 2013) - Launched in late October 2012, Shiny Festa consists of three versions; Honey Sound (with Haruka Amami, Chihaya Kisaragi, Azusa Miura, and Ritsuko Akizuki), Groovy Tune (with Miki Hoshi, Takane Shijou, Makoto Kikuchi, and Yukiho Hagiwara), and FUNKY NOTE (with Ami and Mami Futami, Hibiki Ganaha, Yayoi Takatsuki, and Iori Minase). About Shiny Festa, this game is becoming a "rhythm action" game, much like the Hatsune Miku Project Diva video games before. So what you gonna do is simple, you gonna need a lot of concentration and timing to push the buttons right while listening to your favorite IDOLM@STER songs. A year later after these PSP versions were launched, they're made available on the App Store for outrageous prices as well as the hefty load of data needed to download.

THE IDOLM@STER MILLION LIVE (Mobile Game, 2013) - Social media network GREE decides to have a shot at it. With the help of game maker, Bandai Namco, GREE launched a new iDOLM@STER social game that will rival mobage's Cinderella Girls. Just like Mobage's iM@S Cinderella Girls, you have different choice idols for you to produce but just like Cinderella Girls, this is nothing more of a collectible card game. Each idol is categorized into three types such as VOCAL, DANCE, and VISUAL, and if a producer seized its opportunity against the odds, with the right training and the right idols, they will progress further to become a TOP IDOL. Well, this is much more like the Cinderella Girls game to be honest. There were NORMAL, RARE, SUPER RARE, and others. There's so many variations of each idol and each variation comes with different stats.

IM@S CHANNEL (PS3, 2013) - As a free-to-play destination to all things iDOLM@STER, iM@S Channel offers fans to play a PS3 version of Shiny Festa called SHINY TV and take pics of their favorite 765 Pro idols in Gravure For You. There are numerous DLC available on the PlayStation Store. It even served as the destination for the digital version of the PS3-exclusive iM@S OFA as well.

THE IDOLM@STER MOVIE 輝きの向こう側へ!(Movie, 2014) - THE iDOLM@STER franchise, started from video games to the anime franchise, spawned its much awaited film under the title of THE IDOLM@STER MOVIE 輝きの向こう側へ! (To The Other Side of the Sparkle!) In this movie based on the hit video game franchise, the idols of 765 Productions continue their quest for fame and friendship as they take on their first arena concert. The producer of the 765 Productions happy to announce the girls that there will be some new ones joining the ranks as back-up dancers and in a amusing-but-mind-shattering kind of way, the girls as seen from the Million Live social game such as Minako Satake (voiced by Eri Ōzeki), Kana Yabuki (Ibuki Kido), Yuriko Nanao (Miku Itō), Seriko Hakozaki (Momo Asakura), Anna Mochizuki (Shiina Natsukawa), Shiho Kitazawa (Sora Amamiya), and Nao Yokoyama (Yui Watanabe) were the ones showed up as special guests of the film itself.

THE IDOLM@STER ONE FOR ALL (PS3, 2014) - Although not very pleasing for iM@S purists about why did they made OFA a PS3-exclusive game, One For All is by no means the best iM@S game ever made because for the first time, producers are now in charge to produce all 13 idols from 765 Productions from Haruka to Ritsuko. There's even a new storyline where you can get to know more about your favorite idols. There are special guests from Cinderella Girls and Million Live via DLC as well as additional songs, costumes, and more, to keep the ante on iM@S OFA.

THE IDOLM@STER SIDE M (Mobile Game, 2014) - The girls had their fun, now it's time for the males to take the spotlight. Side M is a rather unusual mobile game in the franchise where male idols are now the center of attraction. Although, it's all about the big boys singing your hearts out while overcoming their past jobs, it's still a card game much like Cinderella Girls and Million Live. As the producer of 315 Production, you are tasked to find the best male idols and group them to become the best. Apart from the new male idols made specifically from this mobile game, you can even produce the members of the fearsome boyband Jupiter as well! Ah, our old enemies...

THE IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS (TV Series, 2015) When the producers of the iM@S anime series announced that they'll be making a anime series based on the Cinderella Girls mobile game, the world rejoiced, and when the year 2015 began, the fun begins when the iM@S CG anime aired for 13 episodes and with another more coming this weekend! In this anime adaptation, teenage girls Uzuki Shimamura, Rin Shibuya, and Mio Honda are on a wonderful journey at 346 Production to become aspiring idols. Throughout the series, we witness how 346 Production's finest tackle everyday obstacles in their life and on the mid-season finale, we witness how far the Cinderella Project girls pushed their way to the summit despite all odds. Look forward to the second half of the Cinderella Girls anime this weekend as we can expect more from the Cinderella Project and what new challenges will face on the road to stardom.

THE IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS Starlight Stage (App Store/Google Play, COMING SOON) - Coming soon on the App Store and Google Play is a brand new rhythm game based on THE IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS and like any other rhythm games, you need the right timing and the right coordination to tap to the right spot and score as many combos as possible.

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