Ok, i'm going to join in on this shameless HPT ripoff :p But i like the idea to see this from more people.
This is probably going to be quite long... Some of the questions i have answered in other posts, so i'll copy paste from there.1. How did you first learn about “The iDOLM@STER”? What were your first impressions?
Honestly i'm not quite sure, but i think it was on Kotaku when they wrote something about Live 4 You. I looked at some videos on Youtube and liked the artstyle and especially the amazing animations for that time. I also liked some of the songs i saw there, the top 3 were relations, shiny smile and go my way.
Btw: At that time the character that appealed to me most was Iori, since i only had their looks as a reference, but the bunny always disturbed me. That changed quickly though when i found out about her personality and she went to rock bottom in my ranking of the 765 pro girls.2. Have you played any of the idolm@ster games? If so, which is your favorite?
Yes, in the order i played them:
The Idolm@ster 2
SP (the fan translation)
One For All
My favorite is One For All, you can produce all the idols for as long as you want and the story aspect is also pretty deep for many of the characters, especially with the EX episodes. It also improved on a lot of the little gameplay problems Im@s 2 had, like adding the counter to easily time the last burst. I also really like the idea of the skill board, it really makes you feel like the idols are getting better and better.3. Which idol is your favorite and why?
Yukiho, no question about that. Yukiho is my favorite character over all games i have played, every anime/movie i have seen and every book i have read.
I think what Takagi-shachou says when you select Yukiho in OfA puts it really well. He describes her as 可憐な子 (karen na ko), which roughly means "touchingly lovely girl". She tries to help where she can and while she usually can't do much, she soothes the mind of other people.
At the beginning of the story (whether in im@s 2, the anime or OfA) she is always extremely shy, to be honest, it's to a point where it annoys me, but her desire to overcome this shyness and her efforts always lead to an incredible character development, more than any other of the 765 pro idols. I goes to a point where Yukiho is the only one in the OfA EX Episodes who isn't thought anything by Leon, because she already got over her problems by herself in the story of the main game. Leon is really intrigued by Yukiho and tries to find out more about her, and the other way around. In the end they come to the conclusion that Leon enthralls the audience by overwhelming power, and Yukiho by sheer kindness.
And i've always been the type to like shy girls. But more than any other case, Yukiho makes me to want to support her, not so much protect, since i don't feel like she needs protection. She just needs a little push on the back from time to time.4. What is your favorite idolm@ster song and why?
This is really hard to answer. So i'll list 2 different categories.
1) The song i like most just as a song without any of the meanings behind them attached is eDEN. I can't say why, but it just blew me away when i first heard it.
2) The song that means most to me is first step. For those who don't know about it: At the end of the im@s 2 storyline Yukiho composes a song and she sings the first half of it for the producer before he leaves to America, promising him to sing the rest when he comes back. If you achieve the good end (and thus the producer does come back), first step is being played everywhere. Takagi-shachou (i think) heard her humming the song at some point and pestered her until she released it, even though she wanted to wait for the producer to come back. Nevertheless, Yukiho then sings the second half of the song for the producer. The lyrics are about her meeting the producer for the first time, being supported by him and growing due to that. To top it all off, Azumin, Yukiho's then new voice actress, wrote the song by herself for Yukiho.5. What’s your favorite aspect of the idolm@ster series?
The characters. Last time i answered the question with "the games and the music", but since then i realized this isn't true. Most of the 765 pro characters really have grown to me.
And since going to 10th i also have to add "the fandom". More on that later.6. When and how did you become a “Producer”? That is, when did you consider yourself an idolm@ster fan?
As i mentioned above, i found out about im@s at the time of Live 4 You. I was interested in trying the game, but i didn't have a japanese XBox back then. Since the games were also available on the XBox live market place i tried a lot to trick the region lock. I don't remember how many hours i spent on buying money on the japanese market place, hooking up my laptop with a japanese VPN and routing the XBox internet connection through my laptop to fake a japanese IP. I think i managed to actually buy the game this way, but it couldn't install it due to the hardware region lock (i got past the IP region look iirc). So i reluctantly put that project to rest, but my interest for im@s was there to stay.
When i found out about Dearly Stars being released and being a DS game it didn't have region lock (i didn't have a PSP back then so i didn't buy SP which was released half a year earlier) i went on play asia and placed a pre-order for it on 31th of August 2009, about 2 weeks before the games release. I think i started with Eri as idol, but quickly switched to Ai. But unfortunately, unlike most other im@s games, Dearly Stars doesn't offer you much if you don't speak Japanese, which i hardly didn't back then. So i put it away after a bunch of hours, but i definitely was hooked on im@s now, i think from this point on i was a fan.
Another 2 years later there was an announcement of im@s 2 on the PS3, which was the final reason that made me buy a PS3, and of course i ordered the limited edition of the game as soon as possible (the one that came with G4U vol 1 and the first anime BluRay, unfortunately CD japan screwed up and forgot to add the film strip to my order
Towards the end of my 10th playthrough (Yukiho normal end, a deliberate Yayoi bad end, hyper mode and 7 good ends) and over 100 hours i wanted to actually understand what was going on in the story. More than just the very very basics i understood with my Japanese knowledge back then. This was the final reason why i took up formal Japanese lessons (in class/with private teacher) again, after a break of 13 years and several failed attempts of self studying. I wanted to have something to force me to keep at it, since i always kept saying "i'll do it tomorrow" when i tried to self study, and having a weekly class was something i couldn't just push off to another day. So at that point i definitely was a serious im@s fan.7. Have you ever been to an idolm@ster live concert? Please share your experience or any particularly special memories if so.
Yes, to 10th, and i'm so glad i did it. I wanted to go to one for years, but always thought that it's over the top to go to Japan just for an im@s concert.
And then 10th was announced, and i decided to finally go if i could get my hands on tickets, it was 10th after all.
Through animagic4u i was invited to HPT (Houkago P Time), and there i learned a whole other level of im@s fandom (calls, pen lights, UOs, producer cards and more), and i was inevitably drawn into it. Going to 10th really has been on of the best experiences in my life by being able to go all out about im@s and sharing all this with other im@s fans. So far i never met another fan and i don't know if there are any others in Switzerland at all. So meeting up with the people from HPT and spend time with them in Akiba, game centers, for meals, in line for buppan and at the concert itself was a real blast, especially animagic4u and her boyfriend, Leo, Menchi, Mizuki, Mahouko and Azu were fun to hang out with.
Apart from the people there was the im@s theme cafe which itself is kind of a mini live and the im@s songs only karaoke which were also a lot of fun.
And there was buppan, the sales of 10th anniversary concert goods on Friday before the concert. I got up at 04:15, got on the train on 05:02, arrived at Seibu Dome around 6, and then lined up and waited. There were already about 2000 people before me in the line and sales started at 10. But the waiting wasn't so bad, since there were a lot of people around to talk with and who also had to kill time. At 12:15 it was finally my time to buy stuff, and i spent over 70'000 Yen. The only regret i have is that i forgot to buy a 10th commemorative towel. But first an foremost, i got my hands on the 765pro 10th penlights:
And then i lined up at the other line (alone this time) and waited for another 2 hours to buy the 3 special CDs. There i had another really interesting encounter. I was asked by other HPT members to buy them CDs too, so of the 3 CDs i should have bought 4, 2 and 2, but you were only allowed to buy 3 of each. So when it was almost my turn i asked the random Japanese guy behind me in the line how many CDs he's going to buy and if he could buy me one since i need 4. He agreed, but in return asked me if i could lend him "some" money (12'000 JPY), since he just found out you could only buy the CDs by cash, and not with a credit or debit card and he didn't have enough. I gave him the money, he bought the CDs, we went to a nearby ATM together and since then i've often been talking to him on Line.
And of course there was the concert itself... And it blasted me away. The depiction in the game or the anime with the people boasting penlights and UOs (ultra oranges, glow sticks you "break" and then they glow brightly for about 2 minutes and then start to fade off quickly) and doing calls (those "hey, hey, hey" and so on shouts) are not an exaggeration, in contrary, they are much more prominent at an actual concert. You are not simply watching an im@s concert, you are part of it, and it is amazing.
And then there were also the really emotional moments that moved me to tears and still do when i think about them. Starting with Haruka's seiyuu shouting "Producer, domu desu yo! Domu!", to Azumin (Yukiho's seiyuu) shouting "Yaaaaaay!!!!" before starting to sing Alright* (just like in the anime episode), Iori's seiyuu's voice caving in and starting to cry during matane and the whole dome shouting "gambare!", immediately followed by Azumin (Yukiho) performing first step (which is a really special song to begin with since it appears in Yukiho's story in im@s 2, being written by Yukiho in game, and by Azumin herself for Yukiho in reality) and almost starting to cry as well, the announcment of the original cast still being in the PS4 game, up to the talk between the seiyuus of Haruka, Chihaya, Iori, Azusa, Ami/Mami and Makoto about how they started off 10 years ago and how they never expected to stand in a dome in front of 40'000 people when they auditioned for the arcade game.
Going to 10th made me an even more hardcore im@s fan, and if i can i'll go to 11th as well, i don't care about the cost.
If you are an im@s fan, i really really suggest you try to go to one of these concerts.8. Do you play any of the mobile game series such as Cinderella Girls and Million Live?
Yes, i played Million Live for a bit, but since it doesn't have pretty much any gameplay at all and it was just tapping the screen and doesn't have a realy story either, i stopped quickly.9. Have you watched the 2011 series or Cinderella Girls anime? If so, what are your thoughts?
Yes i did. I think the 2011 anime is good, it has one major flaw though: The balance on the characters. Haruka, Chihaya and Miki get a lot of spotlight, while others are really shunned. I'm especially annoyed about the way they treated Yukiho. Her episode was really early, and it stressed the annoying parts of her character a lot, and exaggerated them. And from that point on she is hardly shown at all in the series and if you don't already about it from the games, it's hard to see her incredible growth.
I'm also watching CG as it airs, but if it wasn't im@s i probably would have stopped watching it after 4 or 5 episodes. It's gotten better in course 2, but it still isn't on par with anim@s. It makes the same mistakes as anim@s, but also suffers from characters which are not nearly as fleshed out as the 765 pro girls since the come from a card mobile game with a ton of characters and define themselves with a single aspect, many of them feel like one trick ponies, and the anime isn't going into most of the characters enough to make them more than that.10. Do you have any favorite seiyuu related to the idolm@ster series?
Honestly i'm not that much into the seiyuu, but i'd say it's Azumin, Yukiho's seiyuu. What i really found interesting at 10th was the way she could look... Sometimes on stage she put up such lewd looks, which really contrasts with the character she voices.11. Shout out your love about the idolm@ster series, say anything you’d like!アイマス最高！
And i hope i'll find another im@s fan in Switzerland some day... If you know any, let me know.