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In 2007, Sunrise adapted popular video game The iDOLM@STER into an anime. This being Sunrise, they didn't exactly take the expected path, deciding to transplant the characters into an Elseworld Real Robot series.
In the world of Xenoglossia, the moon was destroyed over a century ago by an event known as "Lost Artemis". Because of this, fragments of the moon occasionally fall to Earth and must be destroyed before they can cause serious damage. While most countries use missiles to deal with these "Drops", Japan is bound by the Three Non-Nuclear Principles and must instead resort to empathetic Humongous Mecha codenamed "iDOLs".
Haruka Amami is an aspiring Idol Singer who moves to Tokyo following a successful audition, only to end up Falling Into the Cockpit of one of these iDOLs. She then discovers that the audition was a front for a secret task force called Mondenkind, who were searching for compatible iDOL pilots: an iDOL-Master, per say.
While it may seem like the standard fare mecha series at first, it's intertwined with drama from the relationships between the pilots and the mecha.
This series provides examples of:
- Adaptation Dye Job: A few of the girls.
- Adaptation Decay: Compare the original iDOLM@STER game to the anime.
- Angsty Surviving Twin: Ami, when Haruka first meets her.
- Beach Episode: Episode eight.
- Bland-Name Product
- Bond Creatures
- Bridge Bunnies
- Clingy Jealous Girl -- Chihaya, Imber's old pilot, wants to be "one" with him.
- Death From Above -- There is the ever-present threat of falling space rocks.
- Empathic Weapon -- The iDoLs themselves sync with a pilot (or two, in the case of Nebula), and their performance depends on how "compatible" they are with each other. However, the pilot has to maintain a relationship with the mecha. Should the pilot treat the iDoL irresponsibly, the iDoL will drop in performance, its trust in the pilot diminished. The iDoLs are even capable of rejecting an irresponsible or untrustworthy pilot.
- The iDoLs are even capable of acting on their own, from small movements to punching another mech in the face to even an old debt.
- Everything's Better with Penguins -- There's a whole penguin motif running through the show, and of course, Yayoi's giant penguin suit.
- Expy: Of
- Exty Years From Now -- Averted in the case of "Lost Artemis", the moon's destruction 107 years before the series.
- Honor Before Reason -- In order to deal with the threat of falling rocks from the sky, every other country in the world had equipped themselves with tactical missiles. However, Japan, in order to honor the post-war agreement, decided not to use said missiles, and instead sends girls in giant robots to go up into orbit and punch the rocks into dust.
- Heroic Sacrifice Imber, in the final episode
- Hey, It's That Voice! -- Karasu is Akira Ishida.
- Humongous Mecha
- Idol Singer -- Sort of. Musical terminology is used in conjunction with the mecha to remind viewers of the roots of the series.
- Not to mention Yayoi is an idol before the series even starts (as well as Ami Futami, though she isn't introduced until later on in the series), and Haruka eventually becomes one due to trying to cheer Imber up and actually being scouted in the process. She still has this job at the end of the series.
- Improbably-Female Cast
- In Name Only -- The show has very, very little in common with the videogame it is based off of.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Mecha -- Considering the source games have nothing to do with mecha.
- Mars Needs Women -- Who says girls and giant mecha can't fall in love?
- Not Quite Dead -- Mami was alive, held in Tempestas the whole time.
- One Dialogue, Two Conversations -- Haruka discusses her new job with Yayoi, and her "classmate" who she spends a lot of time with. Yayoi, not knowing said classmate is actually a giant robot, is surprised when Haruka says that her boyfriend let her "ride him".
- The Other Darrin -- Nearly everyone is replaced.
- Posthumous Character -- In this show, Mami is dead.
- Recycled IN SPACE!
- Stanley Steamer Spaceship -- Giant robots, in this case.
- Tyke Bomb -- Riffa
- Theme Naming: The iDOLs are named after lunar maria.