THE iDOLM@STER (Xbox 360)
The Idolmaster (アイドルマスター Aidorumasutā, officially romanized as THE iDOLM@STER) is an arcade game and console music rhythm game released only in Japan by Namco (now Namco Bandai) on July 26,2005. It was released on the Xbox 360 on January 25, 2007. The game follows the career of a producer who works for the fictional 765 Production studio and has to work with a selection of ten prospective pop Japanese idols.
- Haruka Amami (天海春香 Amami Haruka)
- Age: 16
- Haruka is the all-around good girl and main heroine in The Idolm@ster. She's enjoyed singing and making sweets since she was a child, despite the fact that she seems to be quite inept as a cook in general. She's easily excited and a bit clumsy, admitting herself that she usually falls down somehow at least once a day. However, Haruka remains positive and keeps a strong resolve, always working the hardest to make the Producer happy. Also, although her character image color is red, personally, Haruka actually tends to be more partial toward the color pink (which is Iori's image color). Japanese fans have given Haruka a darker personality known as "Black Haruka". Under this persona she is much more abrasive and even wields a katana on occasion.
- Chihaya Kisaragi (如月千早 Kisaragi Chihaya)
- Age: 15
- Cool and serious, Chihaya has the greatest enthusiasm towards music (and according to the game, the greatest natural talent for it as well) out of all of the girls, earnestly believing that if she were no longer able to sing, she would rather die. She doesn't very much care for the title "idol" in fact, and prefers to refer to herself as a "vocalist" instead, somewhat shunning the non-singing parts of being an idol. During her time off, Chihaya enjoys listening to classical music, along with generally spending time by herself, giving an aura of maturity about her. Though in actuality, she's really just awkward when it comes to communicating with other people. Despite her age, she has the smallest bust out of all of the characters, which makes her the subject of many jokes in fan material.
- Yukiho Hagiwara (萩原雪歩 Hagiwara Yukiho)
- Age: 16
- A terrible crybaby, Yukiho aspires to become an idol in order to one day shed her cowardly disposition. She's afraid of dogs (even chihuahuas seem threatening to her) and doesn't do well with boys either. Having grown up in a strict, traditional Japanese household, Yukiho's drink of choice is tea; predominantly green tea. Also, among her hobbies is writing poetry, but she's usually too shy to even share her poems with anyone. Whenever she's depressed, she has a habit of running off exclaiming she'll "go dig a hole and bury herself in it", however whether this is just a saying or if she actually digs holes remains a bit of a mystery.
- Yayoi Takatsuki (高槻やよい Takatsuki Yayoi)
- Age: 13
- Yayoi is a bright and cheerful girl who cares for her family very much. Due to her father's unstable occupational status, her family is actually quite poor, as indicated by Yayoi's plain clothing, which she's actually had for a very long time. To earn extra money, Yayoi often does cleaning and other odd jobs around the 765 Production building, and continues to do so even after she debuts as an idol. She's endlessly energetic, however, and never lets the weight of the world discourage her. Yayoi is the oldest of 5 siblings and always has to be the one to look after them, but also wishes that she had an "older brother" type around to look after her.
- Ritsuko Akizuki (秋月律子 Akizuki Ritsuko)
- Age: 18
- The cool, smart-girl type, Ritsuko believes in theory more than her own inner strength. Originally an intern working at 765 Production after graduating from high school, due to a lack of girls scouted by 765 Production Ritsuko became an idol herself. Though despite being an idol, she still has one hand in the business side of her own celebrity, and is quick to chide the Producer if she thinks he isn't doing his job right. Also, Ritsuko's appearance remains conservative and business-like, as she always wears glasses and keeps her hair in two modest pigtails. No matter the costume or event in the game, she never takes her glasses off, or lets her hair down, with the exception of the pajama costume in Live For You!.
- Azusa Miura (三浦あずさ Miura Azusa)
- Age: 20
- The oldest amongst all idols in the game, Azusa's personality reflects that of a kind-hearted but ditzy "big sister" type. She has a very easy going and carefree personality, though also an incredibly terrible sense of direction, and while walking her dog will occasionally end up in strange, distant places with nary a clue of how she got there, or how to get back. Azusa also enjoys giving and reading fortunes, and has a firm belief that she'll one day fall in love with her "destined someone". One of her motivations for becoming an idol, in fact, is for her someone to one day perhaps find her first.
- Iori Minase (水瀬伊織 Minase Iori)
- Age: 14
- The daughter of one of the associates of the 765 Production president, Iori is a spoiled rich girl who flaunts her family's wealth around. Although she is quite polite and refined on stage and in public, when with the Producer and other girls she has a very sharp tongue, and is quick to berate other people's intelligence (especially the Producer's). As a result of having two older brothers, Iori has grown up with a deep complex of hating to lose, and thus rarely shows any weaknesses. She does, however, have a much softer side that she shows from time to time, making her personality that of a perfect tsundere character. The stuffed rabbit that she carries around with her constantly is named "Usa-chan".
- Makoto Kikuchi (菊地真 Kikuchi Makoto)
- Age: 16
- Makoto is popularized as the "pretty-boy idol" within 765 Production, and has accumulated more female than male fans because of this. Granted, she was already rather popular among her fellow students at the all-girls school she attends -- her current work as an idol not making the situation any easier for her. While not ungrateful of her popularity, underneath her gruff, boyish exterior Makoto is actually an honest, sensitive girl, and wishes to make herself more feminine. Therefore, unbeknownst to her father she decided to become an idol in order to find a way to a new, more feminine presence for herself and to show others that she can have a girly side as well.
- Ami and Mami Futami (双海亜美・真美 Futami Ami and Mami)
- Age: 12
- A playful pair of twin sisters who make a two-girl singing sensation. Ami and Mami both enjoy doing impressions and teasing their friends, though Mami seems to somewhat be a little more mature than Ami (even though she is technically the younger one). The only way to tell the two girls apart is through their hairstyles -- Ami tying her hair to the right, Mami to the left -- otherwise, they are completely identical. They use this fact by switching their hairstyles and both performing as idols (underneath Ami's name). The only people privy to the fact that Ami is actually a pair of twins are the insiders of 765 Production.
- Miki Hoshii (星井美希 Hoshii Miki)
- Age: 14
- Miki has rarely had to work hard for anything. It is because of this that she always approaches tasks with a very laid back attitude. She manages good grades with minimal effort, and was born with good-looks that belie her age. She even receives around 20 confessions of love per day from boys. She's grown up in a very laissez-faire family, who had no problems with her becoming an idol. While she doesn't really have cruel intentions, she believes like everything else, she can make her way to becoming top idol easily. As she appears only in the Xbox 360 version of the game, Miki is in some ways the second main character (behind Haruka) and her character is developed considerably over the game's year-long timespan. Later in the game, she cuts her hair short and no longer dyes it blonde. Originally, Miki wasn't supposed to be in the game (as seen in the promo). This could be why she does not appear in anime spin-off Idolmaster: Xenoglossia.
765 Production Staff
- The protagonist of The Idolm@ster and character through whom the game is played. He is a young, rookie producer who has been put in charge of a new set of pop idols. In the game, his name is never given, and is decided by the player. His personality is also dependent on the player's choices, and can range from sweet and protective, to very perverted. However, in the Drama CDs, he's most usually portrayed as somewhere in between.
- Junichirou Takagi (高木順一朗 Takagi Junichirou)
- The president of 765 Production. He takes the Producer under his wing and monitors his performance in charge of the girls. He is never seen as anything but a silhouette, and rarely encountered outside of the 765 building, except at the final performance in the Idolm@ster game.
- Kotori Otonashi (音無小鳥 Otonashi Kotori)
- An office clerk at 765 Production, while Kotori only appears at the end of the actual Idolm@ster game, she is a recurring character within the Drama CDs. Originally featured on the Idolm@ster arcade game webpage in the F.A.Q. section, she has accumulated enough fans to appear in other aspects of the Project IM@S franchise. Among the few things disclosed about her personality and character, we know that Kotori is a little older than Azusa (making her somewhere in her twenties), and despite not being an idol herself, loves to sing. Her last name literally means "soundless".
Xbox 360 release
The Idolm@ster has been credited with making Japan's ratio of Xbox Live sign-ups to the number consoles sold the highest in the world. Over four times as many Microsoft points were sold on the date of The Idolm@ster 360 release as on the date before it.
The Xbox 360 release includes additional songs not included in the Arcade version, as well as a 10th idol to work with.
It also has an accompanying OVA featuring the voice actresses from the game. It should be noted that it is different from the anime Idolmaster: Xenoglossia (see below) as this one follows the game closely and has Miki Hoshii finally animated for the first time. The OVA involves Haruka, Chihaya, and Miki trying to reach Tokyo in time to catch up with the rest of girls in their latest concert after the trio get lost in the middle of nowhere.
- THE IDOLM@STER WEB
- Sunrise's official website for THE iDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA
- @nifty's website for THE iDOLM@STER XENOGLOSSIA
- "WIRED" Blog Post About IDOLM@STER Arcade Gameplay
- A website featuring many fan-made music videos of The iDOLM@STER
- English forum about IDOLM@STER
- A Japanese-English website with translated communication events