Category Archives: Idolmaster

VOY@GER

My mind is in the speed of light and the layers are peeling off, the curvature of space-time is smoothing my brain out. Please send help.

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IM@S 16, Anime Update

Seeing the VOY@GER MMXXI trailer on this past Sunday morning was something, to say the least. Goripon is back to do another project with the IM@S content that he is still purportedly a fan of is definitely a sight for sore eyes. The studio Khara link is curious, and the most important “Animas team” tease is a seriously strong dose of hopium.

What is worth also noting is that on the 15th anniversary, July 27 2020, we were not only in the depth of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we saw the Million Live anime teaser. That means in the gap of a year we saw 2 anime teasers, but the only anime since were some Cinderella Girls Gekijo stuff? I might have missed something but that is it, right? Oh, there was this.

We did get an update from WakachikoP last month with the annual Million Live Theater Days anniversary issue of Famitsu. So I can say that at least this is the minimum fans deserve–even an update that they need more time is needed for a fandom this engaged.

As an aside, even if a big project like Theater Days are run by a big team with a lot of people working on it, with planning that span years, having Hazama-san in charge feels like the product and franchise is just in a better place than KominoP as we had in the past when he took over the role during WakachikoP’s leave.

Back on topic: What is there to expect about VOY@GER MMXXI? I don’t think it’s anything more than just another extended trailer, similar to the one they released 5 years ago to celebrate the 4th year of Million Live. (By the way, I guess this is worth watching if you care about new folks doing research and not knowing about the team Anim@s connection.) If we’re lucky, it might stretch beyond the 10-minute mark, but since it has been referred to as a concept movie or promotional video, I won’t bet on it. It’s suppose to come out soon, so given the neck-breaking pace that Goripon had to deal with regarding the latest Eva movie, that only means there has been about half a year of actual production time when staff can actively create the animation, at the most. Depending on how many people are actually working on the project, of course, it could mean a variety of things, but there has been enough time past since the last time team Anim@s has done anything.

At the same time, we still don’t have a release date for the video, but the song will be out soon in mid-August. The cast has yet record for the work, if the announcement stream reactions were genuine, although they of course have already recorded the song. I don’t think it’s good to dwell too much on it, other than to celebrate the first animated anything for the 3 Shinymas characters, and the other characters who were left out of their respective anime previously.

If I were to actually speculate, VOY@GER was suppose to be a project launched along with the 15th anniversary festivities. On the music side, VOY@GER turned into the same release format as Nandodemo Waraou which seems like a logical thing they will want to do every year going forward. But IDOLM@STER Five Stars songs probably had 6-12 months of lead time, similar to a new mobile game event/content drop for MLTD or CGSS. If we take the cancelled Theater Days PSTour event as a measuring stick, it took them about 9 months to redo it as it’s scheduled for early October. There are other factors affecting these so we can only take that number with a healthy amount of salt, but +/-3 months seems reasonable.

Predicting anime production schedule during COVID seems like a foolish thing to do, so maybe guessing about staff is more productive. If you are good you can probably guess staff from the cast list, because, as MingosP mentioned on the livestream, of course Makoto is in this project because Goripon is a MakotoP. Maybe you can find the biggest Derem@s animator stans for Minami as the next one up.

In summary, it’s like what they say, it’s just more IM@S. MillionPs have been through this before, but this time we’ll have the newbies from Theater Days along for the ride. For CG folks, they know how Spin-Off is like. For the other old timers though, this is all gravy.


On Million 7th Reburn, Online Events

Since I only watched IDOLM@STER MILLION LIVE 7thLive Q@MP FLYER!!! Reburn (that is a mouthful) online, I did not actually travel to Fuji-Q Highlands Conifer Forest to participate in the audience. There is a world of difference between going to a concert live in person, versus watching it in the comfort of home (although I enjoyed the comfort of someone else’s home, not mine). As a fan of the franchise, and especially the live concert part of this franchise, I think there is enough in the remote viewing experience to count for something.

Anyways, I will save the pontification later. First, on ML 7th.

(I had wondered by what “Conifer Forest” meant but it gets clearer if you see it.)

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IDOLM@STER Pop Links: First Impression

Popmas/Popm@s, or IDOLM@STER’s Tsum Tsum game, launched Thursday in Japan on 1/21. I’m writing it on Saturday–that feels more like 48 hours in, but I really didn’t play the first 6+ hours since it was the middle of the night.

Like the Android-only Beta, the game more or less retained everything and added more features. For one, you can now buy in-game premium currency which are gems. Under gacha (“Scout” as the game calls it) the suptix/offer feature is retained, but there’s now also a money (maney) based gacha which is like the free currency gacha. There are four rare outfits for each idol which can only be obtained in the premium currency gacha (Platinum). I think it’s reasonable to expect additional banners–the UX even have space for this. Read my post on the Beta for more info I won’t rehash here, and some historic notes.

Coaching, unit management, training and work features all remains the same. I think there are more stickers, accessories, songs, idols, skills(!!), and possibly more category of things I’ve yet discover, than what the Beta had. Well, some of those they told us–like the song list currently available and the cast currently available.

There is a tournament live stream between the Popmas branch ambassadors this weekend, so that will be another source of news. If I were to speculate, Popmas will reuse core “content” deliverables from other games, such as the songs and characters.

Worth noting is that Popmas did get an original theme song which is the only other five-branch song, so it will have more original content down the road. I wouldn’t count that as its main bread or butter though.

The game itself feels more or less the same overall as the
Beta, and the combos and techniques work between the two, at least the ones I have tried. Having the full range of characters with all the character-based skills both makes the game a bit more of a handful to manage at a high level, but it’s nice that all the jobs work lol. The gameplay itself does feel a bit more restrained in terms of the way various bars charge, between now and Beta.

In terms of the state of play, Beta is a lot more hardcore. People are put into brackets of 20 when they join the game, and my bracket has only so many competitive players.

The game gives you more stamina than you can use for the first 20 or so levels, if not more. It is a bit daunting to learn the game while just grinding away and learning how to play a bit the hard way. Since most of the gameplay is about building stats (which is only earned by playing) and equipping/using the right skills, it would have been nice to have a more hand-holding tutorial given this is the “casual” entry into the franchise.

The game does let you burn 3 bags of stamina on each play for three times of certain rewards, which is how I was able to use it all up within the first 24 hours (among other games, day job and what else). I would say, treat the first 10 levels as “tutorial” and levels 11-20 as “learning how to play the meta game” and it really get started from 20 onward.

As for rolling and reset marathoning, I don’t really recommend it for this game unless you are hard after an outfit. With the launch bonus it’s pretty easy to game 2 rolls right off the bat. But given there are 4 rare outfits for everybody, the odds of getting any specific is quite small, smaller than most marathoners would like. It also is the kind of game where, well, you are mostly casual about it.

That said, there are still some mechanics which gacha affects. For one, you can rank up your skills and idols with gacha. I suspect there will be other ways to do it through future events and achievements (it would be the gold shard item that it asks for). Second, skills are kind of random. There are also rare skills. All I know is the team I started with, which I disregarded the idol attributes, didn’t fit many good skills. Maybe this is worth the rerolling if we knew which skills are available and how good they are–the real tier lists are skills and idol with certain matching attributes.

Anyways, I am way too casual about this casual game, so maybe we’ll revisit this once some months have passed and this game really gets going beyond the early stages. Assuming it stops crashing every 30 minutes, that is. Sounds like this is really an Android issue and it runs fine on iOS, but it is a battery hog on both. Also, two serious bugs in 3 days! Makes you think.


IDOLM@STER Pop Links Beta

THE IDOLM@STER POP LINKS, or Popmas, as they say, is a new game published under the IDOLM@STER brand and it is the first and only game that includes the 5 currently active brands of the …franchise. Or should I say they’re sub-franchises? Anyways, the open beta is going on and it will run for about 4 days, ending after the weekend is over.

For more about the nitty and gritty, you can read this blog article and it goes into some details. Just to repeat what it says, the open beta and a few online streams and videos are all we have, which are entirely subject to change between now and launch later in 2021.

The creator of Popmas is NHN PlayArt and they created the currently-active Disney Tsum Tsum game, which is available in English speaking countries. Give that a spin and you then have some idea what Popmas is. They have other games, mostly rebranded stuff for other IPs, but one kind-of original in #COMPASS, which is a 3v3 RTS kind of a game. On that note, also they have a lot of dead games.

I think the other noteworthy items to point out is that the lead producer on the game looks really young. Kitajima Nao (KitaP/Kitajii), as described during the title announcement stream, had the idea when she first joined the company and was later put in charge on said idea (seems to be not too much later either).

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