[Translation] To everyone who has supported The IDOLM@STER

This is a translation of Ishihara Akihiro’s post regarding his retirement from Bandai Namco. Thanks to Puchi7TL for the editing.

I would also like to thank Dire1 for everything he’s done for The iDOLM@STER. ディレ1さん、お疲れ様でした!

My dear Producers,

I have been working as the General Director of The iDOLM@STER under the name Dire1.
It’s a sudden announcement, but as of 31 January 2016, I have left Bandai Namco Entertainment.

It’s been 10 years since the release of the arcade version of The IDOLM@STER, and by constantly exploring new things and looking forward, The iDOLM@STER has grown large. In that process I have experienced a variety of things, and have also caused troubles to related parties, and especially to all you Producers, but at the same time, it was also a lot of fun.

To all producers, thank you very much for supporting both The iDOLM@STER and I, Ishihara. I don’t have the position to thank you all as the general director of The iDOLM@STER so I’m borrowing this space to thank you all one more time.

Before explaining the current situation, I would like to clarify something. This resignation was not due to punishment, fighting nor scandals, neither did I get pushed out, nor lose my place to belong. It’s also not because I was cornered, nor due to sickness or other health reasons. This resignation is one of my own will, something that I reported to and was approved of by the company. When a game director resigns, there are usually baseless rumours floating around online, and I would like to make sure that this does not happen.

Going back to the story, when I reported this to the related parties, at the start I was asked “Then why are you quitting?”
There is no one single reason, but a particularly large reason is “Because I want to see the shape of my ideal IP”

In The iDOLM@STER anime mook and other places in the past, “The iDOLM@STER that can continue even without Ishihara” is an example of a strong IP figure that I can think of. (This is not something that has to be specific to “Ishihara” but ultimately it’s something that can go on no matter what happened to any member of the staff)

Productions are birthed by ‘people’ with ideas.
All kinds of production are given birth by something that ‘people’ think of. I feel that a production is not just a representation of a single person’s will. The instance a large amount of people’s will started working together, that work stopped belonging to any particular person, but takes a life of its own.

Whether The iDOLM@STER that has only reached 10 years old has reached that territory, I don’t know. However I feel that it’ll be okay after talking to the actors and the staff who love The iDOLM@STER. Instead of having new possibilities be blocked by me being around, I quit the general director position without hesitation. I kinda left the company on an impulse (laugh).

I honestly feel really happy after having iM@S make it this big. It’s only the beginning of 2016, but The iDOLM@STER had The iDOLM@STER Platinum Stars announced for the PS4, and the running stance it has now is not stopping anytime soon. The first venue of The iDOLM@STER Million Live 3rd tour in Nagoya also finished without any problems on 31 January 2016.
The Million members I watched from the side of the stage looked directly at the audience before them.
Next week onwards, the good relations built between them and the producers will keep getting stronger.
The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls Starlight Stage also had its new song released from the 31st onwards, and more and more people are playing it.
This is the start of a restart of 10 years of The IDOLM@STER, and please keep giving your love filled criticism to The IDOLM@STER.
That is my last message as the general director of The iDOLM@STER.

It has been a really fun 10 years.
As the general director I feel that it’s a blessing for me if iM@S has been able to change your life by adding just a little bit of happiness. After this retirement, I will change from a director that has been working under the guidance of producers into a producer that supports iM@S.
Fellow producers, I’ll be in your care.
Let’s hype up imas more from now on!

If this thing gets upped into news compilation sites, please don’t make it sensational and just put “good work!” (laugh)

Dire1, Ishihara Akihiro.


Ishihara-kun! Thanks for your hard work!

Hello, I’m Sakagami the general producer.

I’m sure you are all surprised by this sudden news. When I first heard about it I also felt quite sad. My carefree self actually let out a massive sigh. All kinds of things started spinning around in my head: What’s going to happen now? Why? Did something happen? What about this thing? Were some of the stuff I thought about. But the thing that I felt most was “It’s gonna be lonely…” I mean we’ve been together for 10 years, of course it’s gonna get lonely.

My first time meeting Ishihara-kun was during a meeting with Koyama Producer around the time Ishihara was doing the location test for The iDOLM@STER arcade. I remember him scribbling on the whiteboard saying I wanna do this and that.

During the announcement of the Xbox 360 The iDOLM@STER in Tokyo Game Show, I was supposed to show up, but there was an accident during the rehearsal day and Ishihara suddenly had to appear. (Laugh)
There was also that time where the flight couldn’t leave during the Fukuoka live and the two of us got left behind…
If I keep remembering and talking about it, the stories are endless. We’ve been all over the place (laugh).

I’ve spent nearly 10 years together with Ishihara on The iDOLM@STER. Because it’s a company, despite being a subordinate structurally, and at times even separated, Ishihara is the one who has coordinated everything as the general director of The iDOLM@STER.

So you may be thinking, “Why didn’t you stop him?” because a creator with this kind of talent shouldn’t be held up in a single company. Gotta send your cute kids on a journey after all. I feel that it’s this kind of moment.

All that said, it’s still sad. I finally understand Haruka’s pain in The iDOLM@STER movie scene where she was in the veranda with the Producer after he told everyone he was going to Hollywood. It feels like I should, but “I cannot stop him.”

Because of that I’ve decided to send him off with a smile.
Ishihara-kun, thank you for your hard work!
The general director position will be eternally blank (laugh)

One thing I’d like to tell producers is,
In these 10 years, the people related to The iDOLM@STER have been training their successors, and these people will be pulling The iDOLM@STER from now on, so please don’t worry.
A while back, The IDOLM@STER Platinum Stars was announced, and it feels like destiny with a new start for the 765 Pro members.
Lots of things will happen from now on, but please keep watching us warmly.

Please keep supporting The iDOLM@STER from now on.

1 February 2016
Bandai Namco Entertainment
The iDOLM@STER General Producer
Sakagami Youzo

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