Initially launched as an arcade game in 2005, The Idolm@ster has spent the last 18 years growing to encompass an array of media, including printed materials, audio dramas, and an anime that is now available to stream on Crunchyroll. The Idolm@ster franchise involves the central theme of training potential pop idols on their way to stardom. Meanwhile, the anime follows three quirky characters as they follow their dreams and step into the adventure of becoming a Japanese idol.
A new entry in the long-running The Idolm@ster franchise is coming to Crunchyroll, The Idolm@ster Million Live!.
The central plot of The Idolm@ster franchise revolves around the journey of aspiring pop idols on their path to stardom. The primary talent agency featured in the series is 765 Production (765 Pro), a small and rising studio where idols are groomed for greatness. These idols embark on a challenging and competitive journey to achieve their dreams of becoming superstars.
One of the recurring themes in the series is the struggle idols face in their quest for fame. This struggle is illustrated through the “tension meter,” a pivotal aspect of the story that reflects the pressure and competition faced by these aspiring stars. The relationships between idols and their producers, as well as the rivalries between different production studios, also play a significant role in the narrative.
As for The Idolm@ster anime on Crunchyroll, The Idolm@ster Million Live!, the story follows Mirai Kasuga, whose aspirations remain just out of reach, Shizuka Mogami’s unwavering dedication to idolhood knows no bounds, and Tsubasa Ibuki, who is a stranger to logic. The anime unfolds as the three potential pop idols join a vibrant ensemble of idols and step into a world that could make their dreams come true.
The Idolm@ster franchise has seen several anime adaptations that breathe life into its vibrant world. One such series is Idolmaster: Xenoglossia, an alternate universe where idols become fighter pilots of mecha. This version of the adaptation has no relation to the video games aside from featuring the same characters.
The Idolm@ster franchise has been running since 2005, spanning multiple video games and anime series.
A faithful anime adaptation of the core games was produced by A-1 Pictures and aired in 2011, comprising 25 episodes. It delves into the lives and journeys of the 765 Pro idols, immersing viewers in the trials and triumphs of these budding stars. Additional OVA episodes and an anime film titled The Idolm@ster Movie: Beyond the Brilliant Future! continue to expand the series.
Spin-offs like Puchimas! Petit Idolmaster, The Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls, and The Idolm@ster SideM have also received anime adaptations. These series explore various facets of the franchise, introducing audiences to a diverse range of characters and idol experiences.
In the main series of The Idolm@ster video games, players assume the role of a producer responsible for nurturing and guiding one or more idols. As a producer, you are tasked with managing the daily schedules of these idols, including training sessions, auditions, and performances. The choices you make in the schedule profoundly impact the idols’ development and success.
The Idolm@ster franchise has enjoyed both commercial success and critical acclaim. Each installment of the series has garnered its share of devoted fans and enthusiastic players. The Xbox 360 port of the original The Idolm@ster received recognition at the Japan Game Awards for its unique take on raising simulation games.
The franchise’s influence extends beyond gaming, as anime DVD and Blu-ray releases earned over ¥2.2 billion in Japan by 2012, with music CD and concert sales grossing ¥10 billion. Home media sales have been a significant source of revenue, amounting to approximately ¥37.7 billion by 2018. The Idolm@ster Movie: Beyond the Brilliant Future! was a cinematic hit, grossing $7.84 million in East Asian theaters.
The Idolm@ster Million Live! is one of the 10 series in the franchise.
Critical reception has been largely positive, with reviewers praising the simplicity of the raising simulation system and the addictiveness of the mini-games. The introduction of rivals and the emotional depth of the story have also been well-received. While early iterations of The Idolm@ster series faced criticism for presenting a narrow view of the idol world, later entries improved realism in the idols’ expressions and mannerisms.
The Idolm@ster is a captivating and enduring franchise that has left an unforgettable mark on both the gaming and anime worlds. Its rich history, compelling characters, and engaging gameplay have made it a beloved part of Japanese pop culture. Now that The Idolm@ster Million Live! is available to stream on Crunchyroll, the series is likely to remain a source of inspiration and entertainment for fans around the world, offering a glimpse into the dazzling world of idols and their million dreams.