Whether or not you consider yourself an idol fan, you’ve probably heard of iDOLM@STER. If you haven’t, we’re surprised! With all the different games, anime, and CDs out there, you’ve probably seen some of the characters at some point. iDOLM@STER at its roots is a game where you play as a producer and help aspiring idols gain success. You do everything from choose places to perform, clothes for your idol to wear, and who to perform with.
iDOLM@STER started over ten years ago as an arcade game. Because of the popularity of the gameplay and the lovable characters, iDOLM@STER became a huge phenomenon spanning multiple platforms, from the XBOX 360 to mobile apps. Let’s take a look at the newest incarnation of iDOLM@STER, SideM! While Side M started off as a mobage or mobile game, we’re going to be focusing on the anime adaptation.
Initial Announcement of Side M released 02/12/17:
What is Side M?
The most different aspect of SideM compared to the first iDOLM@STER anime or its sequel Cinderella Girls, is all of the hopeful idols are male! While, previously, all the idols you could produce had been mostly high school-aged young girls, Side M is quite the diverse spin. Not only are they all male, but they have a huge age range, from high school boys to working men! Youth is seen as a time for potential and change, but Side M proves anyone regardless of gender or age can see their dreams come true.
Like the iDOLM@STER anime before it, Side M’s strong appeal comes from its focus on achieving dreams, being idols, and a diverse cast. You see people in different stages of being an idol; being scouted, preparing to debut, and retaining popularity. Side M focuses on the journey of beginners Teru, Kaoru, and Tsubasa as they become Dramatic Stars. However, the other idols of 315 Productions play huge roles in the show and they often work together and interact with each other which allows us to see different sides of our main characters.
The ‘stars’ of SideM: Teru Tendo, Kaoru Sakuraba, and Tsubasa Kashiwagi
Teru is the leader of Dramatic Stars. Previously a lawyer, he has a strong sense of justice and wants to protect everyone’s smile.
Kaoru is often cold towards others and focused on himself and simply desires to be the best idol. His training as a doctor comes out when someone is hurt and Kaoru’s demeanor changes to concerned and caring.
Tsubasa is the peacekeeper of Dramatic Stars, and as Kaoru says, “Dramatic Stars would break up in seconds if [Tsubasa] left.” Formerly a pilot, he desires to see the best view from the stage.
The part-time princes: Kyoji Takajo, Pierre, and Minori Watanabe
Kyoji is a confident though rather stoic boy who wants to use his own power rather than his family’s. Despite his strained relationship with his family, he adores his friends and fellow Beit members and would do anything for them.
Pierre always has secret guards looking out for him as he is a prince from another country, but he hardly even notices them as he happily goes about doing what he wants. Due to his cuteness, he can compel his guards and even others to comply with his whims.
Minori is indulgent of Pierre’s eccentricity and watchful of Kyoji’s silent worries. A literal flower-boy, Minori actually works at a flower shop on top of being very handsome.
The Teaching Team: Michio Hazama, Rui Maita, and Jiro Yamashita
Hazama is the backbone of S.E.M and makes up the M for math. Because his students are so important to him, Hazama wanted to become an idol to inspire them to work hard. He also keeps his fellow members on track by keeping Yamashita diligent and Maita focused.
Maita energetically makes up the E for English. As a former English teacher, he continues to use English words in nearly every sentence he speaks.
Yamashita, the slob, makes up the S for science. He doesn’t seem to care about things like teaching, his appearance, or even idol work, but follows the example Hazama sets for him.
High school band turned pro: Shiki Iseya, Hayato Akiyama, Haruna Wakazato, Jun Fuyumi, and Natsuki Sakaki
Shiki is the super energetic and outspoken member whose flashy appearance and emphatic way of speaking set him apart.
Hayato is a true leader with a passion for success and the sense of responsibility to keep everyone happy and motivated.
Haruna is the oldest member but loves playing around with Hayato and Shiki.
Jun may not be the leader, but he often has to put his foot down on the others’ more outlandish ideas and keep them focused.
Natsuki’s true potential comes out when it's for Jun's sake and despite his reserved nature, he's a treasured member of HighxJoker.
The dream team: Kyosuke Aoi and Yusuke Aoi
Kyosuke is the younger yet slightly more mature twin. He fusses over his older brother but loves teaming up with him either on the field or on the stage.
Yusuke is the older twin whose knee injury forced him to give up professional soccer. Convinced they can do anything together, switching careers to be idols wasn’t too hard for Yusuke knowing his brother would be by his side.
Out-of-this-world idols: Touma Amagase, Hokuto Ijuuin and Shouta Mitarai
Touma is Jupiter’s leader and can be seemingly stuck up at times but he will never shirk from hard work. He is friendly rivals with Teru and no matter how well he does, Touma is always pushing himself.
Hokuto is the playboy of the group and refers to Jupiter’s fans as angels. He has a flirty nature with strangers and friends regardless of their gender but is still very professional.
Shouta enjoys picking on his serious leader and to his fans is the sweet little brother type.
While many of the songs from SideM have already been released from the mobile game, special CDs were released to commemorate the anime. Several include instrumental versions as well so you can sing along with your favorite idols. A few Animation Project CDs announced do not have a title or song list, but you can see the release dates below:
- THE IDOLM@STER SideM ANIMATION PROJECT 01 "Reason!!" Released 11/15/17 Vocal CD "Jupiter's Trajectory" Released 11/22/17
- THE IDOLM@STER SideM ANIMATION PROJECT 02 "TOMORROW DIAMOND" Release Date 12/13/17
- THE IDOLM@STER SideM ANIMATION PROJECT 03 "From Teacher To Future!" Release Date 12/13/17
- THE IDOLM@STER SideM ANIMATION PROJECT 04 "AFTER THE RAIN" Release Date 12/13/17
- Special CD: 315 St＠rry Collaboration 01 ～DRAMATIC STARS&Beit～ Release Date 12/27/17
- THE IDOLM@STER SideM ANIMATION PROJECT 05 "Over AGAIN" Release Date 1/17/18
- THE IDOLM@STER SideM ANIMATION PROJECT 06 “Sunset★Colors” Release Date 1/17/18
- THE IDOLM@STER SideM ANIMATION PROJECT 07 Release Date 1/17/18
- THE IDOLM@STER SideM ANIMATION PROJECT 08 Release Date 1/31/18
Tsubasa’s hang-ups about his past failures at his job are something even adults can empathize with; and certainly, the same can be said about the musings of Yamashita, who feels he’s too old to chase dreams. And younger fans can definitely understand the unbridled zeal of HighxJoker’s determination to carry their high school dreams and friendships into the future.
Many people can relate to the various familial relationships shown in SideM, be it the loving and supportive bond shared by twins or the cold and callous families that only care about results and appearances. Sometimes family is a source of strength as it is with W, and sometimes it must be found with friends as it is with Beit. With so many different personal twists, everyone is brought together with a love of music and the desire to bring smiles to those they care about.