2016 was another eventful year for The iDOLM@STER franchise. The 765 Pro girls took their time as they expanded their wings to the rest of the world, while the Cinderellas and Millions have grown up enough to start running ahead in their own paths. The SideM boys may not go on the exact same path, but they’ve started their drive. 876 may have been dormant for a while, but now they’re acting as the bridge between the franchises. Finally, a small but real shining star has also been born in the form of THE iDOLM@STER Kr.
Let’s take this time to look back at 2016.
The biggest event for 765 Pro this year has to be the release of Platinum Stars in July, the franchise’s first entry to Playstation 4. Similar to the previous console games, you meet with the 765 girls for the first time again in this game, although instead of the production office, they’re all in a training camp now. The game was not just released in Japanese, but also in Chinese and Korean, marking the first console The IDOLM@STER game to be released in other languages.
The release of Platinum Stars meant new songs, and the 765 Pro girls got 4 Platinum Stars related CDs released this past year (along with the Finale for the MASTER ARTIST 3 series: Destiny). Including radio themes, 765 Pro released 10 (+1 Leon) songs this year.
During Choukaigi, the three mothers: Wakabayashi Naomi, Nigo Mayako and Hasegawa Akiko made their comeback after a period of absence. An event with the 12 seiyuu, titled THE IDOLM@STER Producer Meeting 2017 is slated to be held on 28 and 29 January 2017. Akky also made an appearance at the MONACA Fes, a festival celebrating the music of MONACA alongside Asapon, Nu, Harami.
The IDOLM@STER manga that expanded the story of the anime finally ended this year, but Mana will be doing another The IDOLM@STER manga next year!
In April next year the 765 girls will also be going to Taiwan alongside the 765 Theater girls for their first The IDOLM@STER only live event overseas! Eriko and Mayachan are also slated to make an appearance at C3 Hong Kong along with Koroazu, Yuiton and Mikku in February.
The explosive popularity of Starlight Stage took Cinderella Girls to new heights in 2016. Not only did they manage to build castles in Kobe and Saitama during the 4th tour, they hijacked the Shinjuku Station area for a whole week to celebrate the first anniversary of the game.
6 Cinderella Girls gained voices this year: Asuka, Kyoko, Miyu, Nono, Shin and Yoshino. Not only that, Otokura Yuuki will also be getting voiced sometime in the near future! Last but not least, with the release of Wild Wind Girl, also comes a new voiced Producer!
92 existing idols were added to Starlight Stage this year, with only 3 idols waiting to be added (in addition to the 3 exclusive girls from the Korean version of Cinderella Girls).
CD sales for Cinderella Girls was massive, with Hi-Fi Days breaking records for The IDOLM@STER CD sales at 107,700 copies sold! In 2016 alone, 676 thousand copies of Cinderella Girls CDs were sold. New songs created for Starlight Stage were released on the Starlight Master series that also featured a second solo song for the girls who already have their own solos.
Each release of the Starlight Master CDs had an accompanying niconama stream that has the cast of the 5 girls featured in the CD come up with ideas of room items for the game, and the winner will have their idea implemented in-game!
With the release of PSVR, Cinderella Girls also took a dive into the VR world with Viewing Revolution, a game that lets you experience lives set in Maihama Amphitheater through the PSVR headset.
Dereraji A’s ended with the anime, and in its place was Dereraji☆, a radio show with different weekly personalities.
In terms of events, Cinderella Girls had their first tour, with the 4th live being held in Kobe and Saitama. The Kobe live also acted as a celebration for Cinderella Stage, while the live at Saitama Super Arena was split into two completely different days, featuring newer members on the first day, and a Cinderella Project focused day on the second day, complete with their own unique individual outfits!
In August, the CG girls also had the honor to be the closing artist for the first day of Anisama, an honour usually reserved for artists at the level of Mizuki Nana, JAM Project and GRANRODEO. Anisama was not the only festival the CG girls appeared in this year as they also went to Taiwan for the first Lisani Live Taiwan event!
Cinderella Girls celebrated their 5th anniversary with a big bang, holding a special party with 1,555 producers invited and streaming it live on Nicovideo!
Next year, Cinderella Girls is getting new anime based on the in-game Gekijou shorts. A tour across Japan is also slated for May onwards. This time around, they will be stopping in 7 cities!
The theater girls went across Japan this year, starting from Nagoya in January, followed by Sendai, Osaka, Fukuoka and ending with a storm in Makuhari. With different performers and leaders for each venue, all 37 Millionstars were able to shine bright throughout the tour!
In 2016, 10 Million Live related CDs were released, including the THE@TER ACTIVITIES CDs, a series of concept drama CDs where Producers voted for idols to act in 3 different in-universe movies: a sword & sorcery fantasy movie, a yakuza movie and a school horror movie.
Kotoha managed to win the main character role for the school horror movie CD, however due to Tanechan’s illness, the runner up: Kana ended up taking her place in the movie.
3 new original songs also came out from Monji Yuki’s Million Live manga that also ended this year: Tsubasa’s Airu (written by Julia and Makabe in-universe) in vol 3, Crescendo Blue’s Flooding in the 4th volume and Mirai, Shizuka and Tsubasa’s Kimi to no Asu wo Negau Kara in the 5th an final volume.
In 2016, Million Radio gained a new theme song, titled Turn on Time. A new program titled Maenori Miliradi also started, with 3 cast members rotating in a 30 minute show before Miliradi starts.
Next year, the Millionstars will perform in Budokan in March, the Budokan that appeared in the lyrics to Thank You! In April, they’ll also be joining their 765 Pro senpais in Taiwan for 765 Million Taiwan!
If 2015 was the Starting Line for he SideM boys, then 2016 was the preparation and set up as 20 idols got voiced this year, giving voices to all the idols of 315 Pro. 19 of the voices were new, while Sanpei Yuko continued to act as Ryo’s voice.
The SideM boys also made their first appearance at the yearly Choukaigi, and not only did they get their own stage, Dramatic Stars and S.E.M actually appeared at the music festival, marking their first appearance at a festival-type event!
Although it was not a SideM event, Terashi performed Touma’s character song from his Jupiter days: Bang x Bang during his solo live.
9 Starting Line CDs were released this year for Sai, FRAME, Shinsoku Ikkon, Cafe Parade, Altessimo, THE KOGADO, Mofumofuen, F-LAGS and Legenders. In addition, Anniversary Discs featuring Drasta x Hijo, S.E.M x Beit and W x Jupiter were also released. Despite starting with unit songs first, the SideM boys have started getting solo songs through the ORIGIN@L PIECES series of CD.
Next year, the SideMs will hold their 2nd live at Makuhari Event hall in February!
Despite being in 315 Production, Ryo is still a part of 876 Pro. This year, Ai, Eri, Ryo and Hidaka Mai (Ai’s mother) made an appearance in a collaboration event with Cinderella Girls with more slated to come in the near future!
Real Girls Project – The IDOLM@STER KR
Probably the biggest The IDOLM@STER related surprise of 2016, The IDOLM@STER KR is the franchise’s first entry to a live action series, and its even set in South Korea! The auditions were open to anyone, as long as they had the ability to speak Korean, and among the 10 finalists, Teramoto Yukika is a Japanese Seiyuu, and Mint is from Thailand.
The series will start airing in 2017!
On 1 February 2016, the General Director of The IDOLM@STER Dire1 (Ishihara Akihiro) announced his retirement from Bandai Namco Entertainment (only to reveal himself to be working with horsegirls at the Cygames event later this year).
Last but not least, let’s talk about some numbers. In 2016, there were 107 new songs across all the series. In total there were 63 events across all the series, and Meshiya made an appearance in 11 of those events, followed by Hego, Fuurin, Ruuri, Pyonkichi and Machico at 10 events. The franchise also made around 1.7 billion JPY in CD sales, and Cinderella Girls contributed around 1 billion!
2017 will start with the Producer Meeting, followed by SideM 2nd Live, Million @ Budokan, 765ML Taiwan and Cinderella Girls All Japan Tour. To those going or trying to go for those, good luck! There’s also the Cinderella Gekijou anime to look forward to!
Lastly, special thanks to Huurai for singlehandedly compiling all kinds of stats and letting us use them!