About Shiny Colors…

Posted by DiGiKerot in idolmaster at February 7, 2018 on 6:31 pm

So, they announced a new fork of the iDOLM@STER franchise today.

Shiny Colors is a new mobile production game with new mechanics and a new cast, in which the player is a new Producer for the 283Pro (“Tsubasa Productions”) Production company. Well, simply categorising these things as being just one thing is a little disingenuous at this point, given that it’ll ultimately end up spawning CDs, manga, radio shows and, inevitably, Lives, amongst other things, but the new game was the primary point of announcement today.

It’s a slightly weird thing. Discounting Dearly Stars as something they never really followed up on, it’s the fifth active stream of the larger franchise at this point after OG 765Pro, Cinderella Girls, Million Live and SideM. It’s also going to effectively be the sixth continuing gatcha-style game going, joining Cinderella Girls, Starlight Stage, Theatre Days and the two SideM games, and the third mobile game launched within less than a year.

For someone who has been into iM@S for the long haul, or the more causal audience looking in, it may seem like this is a lot to be keeping up with at this point. This is mainly because, well, it is a lot to be keeping up with – Cinderella Girls alone theoretically has over 100 unique characters. It’s intimidating.

Going to be needing a 2018 edition – this thing is already waaaaay out of date…

As counterintuitive as it may seem, though, this is actually one of the positives of launching a new franchise instalment with divorced of at least some of the carried-over baggage. It may be adding to the overall massiveness of the property which is iM@S in general, but it’s always nice to have a new on-boarding point. Bear in mind that the original iM@S is some 12 years old at this point, Cinderella Girls some 7 years old, and even Million Live has been around the best part of 5 years at this point. Particularly when you start taking the real-life elements of these sub-brands into account, it’s hard to necessarily point to one thing which would give a clear indication of where each of the specific incarnation stands in 2018, at least in anything like a concise fashion. The 2011 iM@S TV anime is probably still the closest there is at this point, but it’s not really going to help with years of injokes, obtuse seiyuu nicknames, or a lot of the other stuff you need to know to keep up with the conversation or the larger fandom surrounding it. Cinderella Girls is a good couple of years out from the TV show being the relevant thing for it at this point, though, and Million Live is its own mess of things.

Still, given that the major inflection point for a lot of, particularly Western, fandom was the 2011 TV anime, it’s probably not that big a surprise that I’ve ended up knowing an awful lot of people who are most into specifically Million Live these days. Launching a couple of years afterwards, with a cast of predominantly relatively new voice talent, it was a chance for newer fans to get into something from the very start and follow not only the characters from the beginning, as what they are gets increasingly codified, but also the personalities which are playing them as they grow, which is kind of what a large part of the appeal of these 2.5D idol franchises is. That Million Live was something they could follow from the beginning, something which grew with their fandom as opposed to something ongoing that had largely already plateaued, in a sense, was a large part of its appeal.

Which is, ultimately, why I’m pretty OK with Shiny Colors being a thing. I can ignore it personally if I don’t have the brain-space for it – I’m pretty much out of the mobile game space these days and feeling better for it, though I’m curious to dabble in the game just to see the mechanics of it, and it’s not like I’m not already in a position where I’m embarrassed that I had to look up why folks were freaking out about Kotoha suddenly popping up in Theatre Days earlier today – but it’s entirely fine to have a new gateway for people that doesn’t have an overwhelming amount of stuff that needs to be consumed to follow it. It’s something that’s part of an existing property in a way that a new IP isn’t, but it’s also still digestible.

Still, watch there be a Shiny Colors TV anime before Million Live.

As for Shiny Colors as an actual thing, well, there’s not really enough information to be going on in order to form a proper opinion of it at the moment, honestly. The debut song, Spread The Wings!!, does sound an awful lot more like a marquee Love Live number than maybe a traditional iM@S promotional song would, but it’s not like I don’t listen to plenty of that stuff as well anyway. The members of Illumination Stars look like the fairly standard character personality archetype trifecta that all these things go with these days as well, but I guess we’ll see if there’s anything particularly interesting about them later, and it’s not like they don’t have a ton of additional characters still to announce. I do like that there’s a bunch of tiny things about the game that look like callbacks to the original iM@S game, though – things like the return of the three audition judges grading you on Dance, Visual and Vocals. Maybe that t-shirt I bought, like, eight years ago will be relevant again now…

(From a weirdness point of view, it probably didn’t really help that this announcement came pretty shortly after both the children’s idol anime, Aikatsu and PriPara, declared their upcoming reboots. Lots of idols going around at the moment, but that’s just the last four years of the anime industry, really)
(Also, I should jokingly say that maybe I should go to the first major Shiny Colors live, but then people might actually start thinking I might actually go to Japan, and we can’t be having that lol)

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