A Tale of Two Wifus: Makoto’s Meteoric Rise

Let’s get it straight: I don’t have such a thing. Call me old fashion, but I have a top 1o list. This 2D substitute-functionality has never changed, but I never really feel like I got anything out of the de-ghetto-ization through public acknowledgement for such things. I certainly don’t mind that if you do, or don’t.

Anyway, I ran across the birthday of Makoto Kikuchi the other day and I figured to compare just her pixiv entries with Kobayakawa’s celebration on pixiv, whose birthday was on the 17th, a couple weeks back. Makoto is on the 28th. More relevantly, Makoto came into existence to the public some time in 2005, where as Rinko Kobayakawa debuted with the hit DS wife game, Love Plus, in 2009.

Between 2005 to 2009, the Idol Master (iM@S for short and sanity) franchise has not gone very far. It saw moderate successes as an arcade game and for the Xbox. There was a hardcore contingent spending money steadily, but it did not grow. What mixed marketing efforts turn up mostly to be failures. Under a new plan, the second iteration of iM@S, which debuted with the DS and PSP games, and iM@S2 for the Xbox 360, marked a much better run, that probably capped ultimately with the iM@S2 PS3 and anime releases. Safe to say, its popularity is at an all-time high right now.

Here is the pixiv tag for Makoto’s birthday. Keep paging back to see the old stuff, dated to 2008. If it was easy to grab dates, I would post you a chart, and it would probably look parabolic.

I can’t even find one for Rinko’s birthday in 2012. Or in 2011 or 2010. However, this is how many pages back, in 2010, and you can see for yourself.

Taking a step back, this pixiv fight doesn’t really say much. On one hand, iM@S fandom is cultivated with blood and tears and countless money for DLCs. It’s been brewing for a while now. Seven long years! Love Plus, on the other, is half as old and just gone through a rough patch with the 3DS release, enduring delays and bugs.

Still, very few franchises truck on like Bamco and Columbia’s lovechild. I think this picture sums it up.

6 Responses to “A Tale of Two Wifus: Makoto’s Meteoric Rise”

  • Praestlin

    I wouldn’t call seven years exactly “meteoric” given natural nerd time compression, more like, as you said, Mako-chin’s time has been a long time coming. In 2012, they’re all ready, and we’re all lady.

    • omo

      Probably I should drop Love Plus’s sales figure in there somewhere, as that game sold more copies than anything iM@S. The two franchises’ popularity floats differently.

  • DiGiKerot

    Hmmm, iM@S SP (the PSP game) and Dearly Stars were still very much iM@S1 iterations. “2nd Vision”, as it were, didn’t really kick off until iM@S2 on 360.

    • omo

      it just all came back to back, really. there was a big gap of nothing before that.

    • DiGiKerot

      Hmmm, well, there was two years between iM@S Arcade and the 360 version, but Live for You came almost exactly a year after iM@S 360, then SP almost a year after than, then DS that same year. The most significant gap between major game releases once they started doing home games was between iM@S DS and iM@S2.

      Saying that, it’s not like there wasn’t a steady stream of content being produced between the games, though (at least looking at the series timeline in the iM@S For You book they put out with the PS3 game).

      Honestly, I think the initial major spike of interest was around the time of the 360 game and, more significantly, L4U (because it really, really fed into the growing NND iM@S PV culture of the time), and then there was a pretty significant dip in general interest in the series around the time of DS (that coming out at the height of Love Plus Mania didn’t really help it). It’s probably more the anime than the PS3 game which spiked the current upsurge of interest. I do find it strangely curious (though I’m not sure if it’s necessarily telling) that the Pachislot game is harking back to the original game rather than the 2nd Vision stuff.

      All of this, of course, discounts this whole Cinderella Girls thing…

      None of this really discounts any of what you’re saying about the slow and steady build of iM@S fandom, though, so I’m not sure why I’m typing it ^^;

    • omo

      I think L4U for the ‘box is a big deal to promote the game on NND, but I don’t know if it added to the core fandom in a way that we can measure. Maybe it got to be more like touhou but that didn’t mean much when we’re talking about a locked down IP. Maybe it helped the PSP and DS games sell, but I don’t know.

      To me, the Dearly Stars game and the PSP games are really what lead into the iM@S2 launch, along with anticipation for the new anime. It might not look that way (as I’m sure there’s always something coming out, important or notable or not), but it seems each step since the arcade game they tried to widen things up. The anime obviously fanned the fire like nothing else, but it also doesn’t mean anything if nobody bought the games. Thankfully lots of people bought the games (enough for a budget re-release within a year, which is something you don’t see that often).

      I guess it fits that the pachislot game is liken to the original, which would see fit right along side it I suppose…

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