Category Archives: Idolmaster

In Re: Tsumugi & Saki, New IDOLM@STER Million Live Cast

Basu actually captured my thoughts more or less the same. But I think it helps to take a higher perspective.

The big picture view, well, is idols are Gundam. Bandai Namco is shepherding these larger and larger IPs to create content and make money. The trend for this particular market space (otaku like myself) has long been a change from making money by making media to making money by selling an experience, thus leading to the rise of a live-oriented way to pitch your 2D idols. And idols are a natural and built-in style of content that can be used in this way.

However IDOLM@STER is probably the longest standing and actively produced 2D idol property, at least in a post-00s, 48G style kind of way. The way the series evolved over the past 11 years meant that the producers of the series had to overcome different and various challenges, and take on more that are yet to come. I think the Yukiho swap series of events is the guiding data point on any consternation regarding Taneda Risa, and I think everyone who has been through it know that having the idol take a year or two off is something the IDOLM@STER series, at least since the beginning of the mobamas era, can deal with.

The real challenge, from a personal point of view, is the reconciliation between the two aging card-based mobile games to the new, full-feature rhythm games. On a business level it makes no sense to stop the classic Deremas game. It’s money on the table, and another way to put out content for a series, that I think, is bottled up in terms of its full potential on the content level. They were able to leverage this to throw in 876 Pro stuff and still periodically add interesting content there. But what is its role outside of that? It seems not just quaint, but kind of irrelevant. The current Million Live game, too, will hit that same crossroad.

Since I think it’ll be a business decision, it seems unlikely to see the classic Greemas game go away as to leave money on the table, but with the newly introduced idols, how will Tsumugi and Saki meld into Greemas? It’s an unique situation that oddly only the 765Pro games had to face, which is adding Takane and Hibiki in SP and still not able to produce them in the arcade version. But obviously, Bannam has now the power to retcon the Million Stars, as the cost of doing so is much lower versus doing it back in the arcade days.

Which is just to say, this does feel like when Takane and Hibiki was added to 765Pro. It’s not clear to me why Takane or Hibiki was added, but if today’s trajectory of the 765Pro seiyuu is any indication, our two new Million Stars will be able to shoulder a larger share of work in the future as more and more of this generation of Million Stars move on to having babies or what have you.

Well, at least on paper. There are already 37 Million Stars. It would be weird to not able to call up, I don’t know, 6 of them, at any given time, if Bannam needed to do an event. Maybe a more ideal way to channel cute young voice actresses is to churn them in this mean, sprawling, 2D seiyuu idol machine. I have been thinking about the difference between CG and ML in this way, where our set 37 Million Stars were all auditioned and recruited from the same generation of newbies. CG on the other hand recruited from the full poll of newbies every year, so both it allows CG to get a fresh boost of new blood every so often, and allows the cast to draw from a much bigger pool, and potentially pulling in a wider fanbase (from seiota point of view). Of course the downside is that the Million Stars have a different chemistry, as result of this, than the Cinderellas, but maybe that’s not as important when you’re already at 37 people strong.

The impact on team chemistry will play out in the long term. Nunu, Haramii and Azumin are the faces of 765Pro today, in a way, because they are in a lot of the more recent events versus even Eriko and Mingos. This is possible because even Azumin has been with the franchise for over 6 years now, and as I can testify from 765ML TW, she fits right in there with the other old ladies. Looking back, the seiyuu changes and additions to 765Pro were bumps in the road, not drastic landmarks where the series turned towards a very different direction. I’m somewhat hoping this is the case for Million Live. However I think the concern over seiyuu that I have is dwarfed by my concern over the franchise as a video game IP. Perhaps the arrival of Project Fairy signaled the end of the Arcademas era and the start of the mobile gaming for the franchise, and perhaps the arrival of Saki and Tsumugi signals the end of greemas and the start of “hey we’re just gonna copy Deresute, don’t mind us.” I hope that’s all there is to it.

And to just be super honest here, I don’t want to put my money into two Million Live games. It would be really nice if they can just fold the old game into Militheater, even if that’s probably not going to happen. Realistically speaking I’m just going to spend in both, so I am my own worst poison.

IM@S 765ML First Time In Taiwan

Hooboy, where do I start? Do I begin with how I ninja’d another weekender to Asia, but it’s the first time I did Taiwan in this way. Do I talk about the fans at the show? Do I talk about the show? Or the various uchiage and stuff like that? Or Kuro’s teleporter?

I think the most important thing about 765MLTW is that it’s the first oversea solo IDOLM@STER event. The second most important thing is that they pulled out (some of) the stops, both to introduce the charm of Million Live to new fans as well as giving veteran fans some unusual, unexpected, or brand new collaborations and combos.

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What Is Million Live?

In the context of explaining to people who are not familiar with IDOLM@STER, or whose familiarity comes only in the context of Cinderella Girls Starlight Stage, I sometimes wonder what’s the best way to explain it. Then I wonder what would be the most fun way to explain it. Or the explanation I would like to read the most.

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Million Live 4th: Thank You for Smile

The Fourth Anniversary live for Million Live, for me, was something about me and less about IDOLM@STER Million Live. Kokochan said it during her final MC on day 2, that the idols are a reflection of the producers. In a way that’s why I think the show is only good as the emotional baggage you’re carrying into Budokan. If you are a die-hard ML producer then ML4th will reach stratospheric sublime territory. I thought ML 3rd was already very good, but 4th topped it in a way where only a 3-day, closely knit-together rollercoaster could. I think it was only possible because there are still a very solid group of Ps cheering them on in the usual ways.

On the technical side of things, ML4th did some stuff well, such as opening up the northeast and northwest seats, which gives people a sense of being there while not being there to see the same show the rest of the venue does. It did well with sending us the right surprise guests, in a very no-nonsense way, which is exactly what works best. You can complain about the acoustics on day 3 but day 1 and day 2 were pretty okay. Most importantly the way the stage was set up, there are very few bad seats in Budokan.

IM@S DB has the set list, and more importantly, all the performers. Day 1, day 2, day 3. For handy social media coverage (the performers and fans cover the event best), check out the matomes for day 1, day 2 and day 3.

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SideM Anime And Million Live

TL;DR: Here I quote tablody-matome blog Yaraon for the proper verbiage: アイマスサイドMが先にアニメ化され、ツイッターのミリマスP達、精神を病み始める: When SideM anime gets announced first, Million Live Ps go into nervous breakdown.

To preface the context-heavy post, in brief, getting a proper TV anime treatment has been the dream of all fans of IM@S since forever, because the franchise today is as prominent as it is despite of the missteps the managements have committed all along the way. From the TGS incident to Xenoglossia there were a lot of bad moves–and by that I mean literally bad for their bottom line and alienating fans–that the management had to recover from to get to the point that they are today. Long-time fans of 765Pro suffer it with their staff and cast to get to this point, so the feeling we cheer for during Producer Meeting is one of mutual support and as people who have been through the ups and downs over the years.

To be clear, a lot of pre-SideM Ps are interested in SideM. They might not be into the series but they are cheering it on like what producers do. Sure, there are also plenty of people, producer or not, who find it difficult to support all branches of the IP. This sentiment is more prominent and easier to see in 2017, when massive event plans roll out along with the mobile game juggernaut Deresute. When you tax your fan base to the max, straining cracks do form. Do people remember 10 years ago, when we had maybe 2-3 IM@S events a year? In 2017 it’s like, 3 events a month.

And this isn’t something limited to Million Live Producers, who are understandably a little salty–I would know since I am one–but it’s worth writing about because there’s a thick context behind it.

  1. SideM tour was announced ahead of the live–this sounds like great fuel for “the sound girls make when they’re excited” on top of the SideM anime. But no, this gets announced 2 weeks earlier? Something or someone messed up.
  2. The grapevine on Million Live anime has been that A1 is busy with all these projects for 2016-2017, as of 2015. Why 2015? That’s when ML anime was first “teased” by the trailer similar to how CG got a trailer just months before the Dereani TV series being announced. Fast forward to 2017. The word from the same grapevine has been more or less the same, but it’s a matter of time. As a separate note, SideM may or may not carry with it the Anim@s tag in terms of the production team, but Million Live both uses Anim@s illustrators for in-game art and is basically all but confirmed to be A1 or else. (This is basically the sins of Xenoglossia being repaid.) For the record, CG is an year earlier than ML, and ML is about a year earlier than SideM.
  3. Unlike SideM, Million Live is both a reboot of 765Pro and its own thing. This is why there are songs for the 765Pro all stars in Million Live, and their characters appear in ML game (in a non-cameo basis) as well as the excellent Gessan manga (which is kind of like the bible for MiliPs in terms of those who care about story and development). Oh, the Gessan manga ended. Oops
  4. ML4th Budokan is a month too far… But in terms of timing, SideM anime details won’t emerge until 3/15, so it’s really just hitching a ride on SideM 2nd. ML4th day 3 (if they were to announce ML anime then) is 3/12. Which goes up to point #1…
  5. ML anime, basically by indirect admission, is coming soon. I have separate rumor to confirm but GamiP’s behavior at least acknowledges this, for his apology only makes sense in this way.
    • Basically, during day 2 SideM 2nd, GamiP came on stage after the anime teaser to apologize to people waiting for ML anime, that SideM anime is announced first because guys walk with longer strides or some joke. The idea is the demand is higher so it got higher priority–or because they’re locked into the Anim@s crew for ML.
  6. For who reading into sakuga tea leaves are a thing, too, understands what this means when you’re stuck waiting for that same prolific crew. A lot of us are OK with Dereani but a lot of us are also weary of that production given its issues and delays. And as you can see, delays with these things do happen. A part of us want a good work that is given the time to be produced, but we also realize we can only wait so long in this war of idols.

This really doesn’t have anything to do with “fujoshit” or anything like that (and those who think this way probably should be kindly educated). It’s just that Milim@s Producers have been waiting for a while now, and in some ways, the future of our original ladies depend on it too, because surely they will also appear in the anime…

I guess the key thing is that Million Live anime is a big deal, although it’s just Milim@s Producers who are too psychologically invested, I guess. And until we know what SideM anime is actually going to be detail-wise, it’s not something we should assume in the pessimistic direction.