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This is a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and "How To" guide for THE IDOLM@STER, a simulation game for the Xbox 360. This is my first FAQ, so please be gentle with me. Contents are copyright 2007 Alex Lau, and republication or redistribution without permission is strictly prohibited. The most recent version can be found at gamefaqs.com. Version 0.1: 02/08/07, First draft, information added to Sections 1-3 and Section 9 Version 0.11: 02/08/07, Revisions to sections 1-3 and 9, information added to Section 4 Version 0.2: 02/08/07, Revisions to sections 1-4 and 9, information added to sections 5-7 Section 0: Table of contents Section 1: General FAQ Section 2: Starting the game Section 3: Stats, levels, and ranks Section 4: Tension Section 5: Songs Section 6: Lessons Section 7: Auditions Section 8: Retirement Section 9: Other tips Section 1: General FAQ Q: What is THE IDOLM@STER? A: It is a simulation game for the Xbox 360. As the game begins, you play a producer hired by the 765 Production Company to guide the career of a young girl who hopes to be the top idol in Japan. From here on out, this document will refer to it as "the game". Q: What are the details of the game? A: It is based on an arcade game in Japan. It's produced by Bandai Namco Games. It was released on January 25, 2007. The regular edition has a list price of 7140 yen, and the special limited edition has a list price of 20.790 yen (tax included). Q: It was an arcade game? A: Yes. The arcade version was released on July 26, 2005 in Japan only. In the arcade game, you would need one credit per turn of gameplay, usually one week of in-game time. The cost per credit varies from arcade to arcade, but nowadays it's usually 6 credits for 500 yen. There are various other differences between the arcade version and the Xbox 360 version, but I'm only dealing with the Xbox 360 version here. Q: What came with the limited edition? A: People who pre-ordered, regular or limited edition, got a DVD with footage of the performance by the actresses at the Tokyo Game Show, 2006. The limited edition also came with a special faceplate, a Visual Book, a Special DVD with the songs that were added to the Xbox 360 version from the Arcade version, 11 figures (one for each of the 11 girls (there's one set of twins)), and a stage on which to place the figures. There is also a limited edition faceplate that was only available for a short time at the official website, and that is different from the faceplate you get from the game's limited edition package. Q: Can I play this game on a non-Japanese Xbox 360? A: The game is region-protected to play on "NTSC-J" systems only. Systems sold in the Asia and Japan regions can play the game. There is no known way to get around this region protection. Q: Is Xbox Live supported? A: Yes. With Xbox Live, downloadable content is supported, and you can purchase various items with Microsoft Points. Also, with an Xbox Live Gold account, you can participate in auditions against other online opponents. (Please note that Microsoft Points are not transferrable between regions, so only Points purchased in the Asia/Japan region can be used with the game. Xbox Live Gold memberships are region-free, so you can use a valid membership purchased anywhere.) Q: Do I need to know Japanese to play? A: It's not required to play, but it will be exceedingly difficult to succeed if you can't understand either written or spoken Japanese. The rest of this FAQ will assume at least a beginner-level (roughly 6 months of college-level study) understanding of Japanese, and the ability to recognize the difference between kanji, katakana, and hiragana. Q: What are the achievements? A: There are 10 achievements, each worth 100 points. All but two are cumulative, i.e. they don't have to be with the same idol unit. They are: 100 Memories - Gain 100 Memories when communicating with your idol(s). Best Ending - Get an A rank and succeed at the Farewell Concert at the Dome. 10 Idols - Produce all 10 girls. 16 Songs - Produce all 16 songs. 4 Seasons - Win the special auditions for Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter, and succeed at the special performances. Super Idol - Win the Super Idol special audition. 100 Auditions - Win 100 auditions. 100 Communications - Get 100 "Good" or "Perfect" Communications. 100 Lessons - Get 100 "Good" or "Perfect" Lessons Secret Achievement - True Idolmaster. Achieve the Producer Rank of Idolmaster. Section 2: Starting the game Q: What do I need to start the game? A: You need a copy of the game, a working, compatible Xbox 360 console, and some kind of storage for saved game data (and downloadable content). A hard disk is recommended, and pretty much required if you are going to be playing online; the initial downloadable content for the game is 191 MB. Q: Who are the girls I can choose to produce? A: Here's a brief rundown of each girl. Names are given Japanese-style, family name first. Personality summaries are based on either experience or translations from Japanese websites. Amami Haruka. Personality summary: Main heroine. Clumsy, likes singing and making sweets. Age: 16 Image color: Red. Height/weight: 158cm/45kg Bust/waist/hip: 83-56-80 Birthday: April 3 Blood type: 0 Voice Actress: Nakamura Eriko Kisaragi Chihaya Personality summary: Cool and serious, she lives and dies for singing. Age: 15 Image color: blue Height/weight: 162cm/41kg Bust/waist/hip: 71-55-78 Birthday: February 25 Blood type: A Voice Actress: Imai Asami Hagiwara Yukiho Personality summary: A crybaby, she is afraid of boys. Age: 16 Image color: white Height/weight: 154cm/40kg Bust/waist/hip: 80-55-81 Birthday: December 24 Blood type: A Voice Actress: Ochiai Yurika Takatsuki Yayoi Age: 13 Personality summary: A bright, cheerful girl, she likes her family very much. Image color: orange Height/weight: 145cm/37kg Bust/waist/hip: 72-54-77 Birthday: March 25 Voice Actress: Nigo Mayako Akizuki Ritsuko Age: 18 Personality summary: Cool and smart, she believes in theory more than the inner strength Image color: green Height/weight: 156cm/43kg Bust/waist/hip: 85-57-85 Birthday: June 23 Blood type: A Voice Actress: Wakabayashi Naomi Miura Azusa Age: 20 Personality summary: Kind-hearted but ditzy, she's the "older sister" type. Image color: purple Height/weight: 168cm/48kg Bust/waist/hip: 91-59-86 Birthday: July 19 Blood type: O Voice Actress: Takahashi Chiaki Minase Iori Age: 14 Personality summary: The selfish princess, she comes from a wealthy family and lets you know it. Image color: pink Height/weight: 150cm/39kg Bust/waist/hip: 77-54-79 Birthday: May 5 Blood type: AB Voice Actress: Kugimiya Rie Kikuchi Makoto Age: 16 Personality summary: Outwardly a tomboy, she is really sensitive and girlish inside. Image color: black (dark grey in lineups) Height/weight: 157cm/42kg Bust/waist/hip: 73-56-76 Birthday: August 29 Blood type: O Voice Actress: Hirata Hiromi Futami Ami/Mami Age: 12 Personality summary: Twins playing the role of a single idol, they are playful and mischievous. Image color: yellow Height/weight: 149cm/39kg Bust/waist/hip: 74-53-77 Birthday: May 22 Blood type: B Voice Actress: Shimoda Asami Hoshii Miki Age: 14 Personality summary: Easy-going but ditzy, she prefers taking it easy to working hard. Image color: light blue Height/weight: 159cm/44kg Bust/waist/hip: 84-55-82 Birthday: November 23 Blood type B Voice Actress: Hasegawa Akiko Q: Which girl should I choose first? A: There are two philosophies for this. 1: Choose a girl you'd want to work with, you'll enjoy the game more that way. 2: Choose a girl that's easy to work with, it's easier to learn the game that way. I chose the first path, but I don't fault anyone for choosing the second path. If you're asking which girls are best for beginners, then probably Haruka, Yayoi, Azusa, Ritsuko, and Makoto, (in that order) because of their starting stats, and that you don't have to worry as much about tension management. I'll cover stats and tension management later in the FAQ. Q: Why should I choose a particular month to start? A: As far as I can tell, the only advantage for starting in a particular month is the special 4 Seasons auditions. If you start in January or February, for example, your idol will just be starting out for the Spring and Summer special auditions, but she will be nearing full strength for the Fall and Winter ones. See Auditions for details. Q: OK, I chose a girl. Which costume/song should I choose? A: The costume, you can change at pretty much any time, so don't worry about that too much. The first song doesn't matter that much either, but later song choices will become more important. Q: Help! I don't know what to say to the girl when the conversation choices come up! A: This is one area where there's no substitute for being able to read Japanese. I'm not going to list all the "best" responses, there's just too many, and many of them (such as the greeting in the morning) are purely random and depend on which girl you're talking to. If you are having trouble with communication during promotion events, then there is a (spoiler-laden, and Japanese-only) website that has almost all the "best" responses. I've listed it at the end of the FAQ. Q: Can I produce more than one girl at a time? A: Not when you're just starting out! Until you complete a 52-week tour with one girl, you will not be able to produce anyone else. Section 3: Stats, Levels, and Ranks Q: What stats are displayed on the screen? A: Usually on the upper right of your screen, there is a stat graph, that looks like a 3-piece pie chart. That shows your idol's Dance, Vocal, and Visual stats. When you start off, these are very low. To the left of that, there is a bar graph displaying Tension (basically a combination of mood, energy level, and how much your idol likes you). Finally, there is a heart meter displaying how many Memories you have. Q: What are the Dance, Vocal, and Visual stats? A: These are the basic stats that describe how good your idol is at dancing, singing, and looking good, respectively. The stats determine many things, including the Image Level, and potentially the outcome of auditions. Q: Why are there light and dark parts to the Dance, Vocal, and Visual stats graph? What do those mean? A: The inside, dark part of the graph is the basic stats that your idol has. The light part displays stat bonuses, which are given by song choices, costumes, items, and winning auditions. Q: How do I raise the stats? A: Lessons increase the dark part of the stat graph. See the section on Lessons for details. I'll describe song choices, costume and accessory choices here. You can also get a stat boost from winning auditions; please see the Auditions section for details. Q: How does the song choice affect a stat? A: Each song has a genre, Dance, Vocal, or Visual, and that genre is associated with the stat of the same name. Each girl is also attached with a genre, so some girls will do better with certain songs than others. Q: What stats are important to boost? A: This will depend on what's popular at the time. Every week, the company president tells you which stats are popular, and this will change from day to day. If your top stat matches the most popular stat, that will help your Image Level and sometimes your idol's tension level as well as give you a better chance to win auditions. Q: What are items good for? A: Most items are used for accessories, and when worn, can boost specific stats. You can choose which accessories to wear by hitting the Y button and choosing Accessories when deciding on the costume. Some items boost stats more than others; if you have a set of items, such as the cat set or the angel set, then wearing more than one item in that set will give an additive boost. If you have a full 4-item set, your boost will be quite big, more than twice the boost of 2 items out of a set. Also, you can receive a fan letter that may boost your idol's Tension (mood). This does not affect stats in any way. Q: How do I get more items? A: You mainly get more items by playing the game and receiving items from fans. This happens at random. You can also purchase some special items from the 765 Shop using Microsoft Points. Q: Any other stat boosts? A: At random, an entertainment reporter will show up at an audition; if you win that audtion, you will get a boost in stats for about 3 in-game weeks. (If you lose that audition, you will get a stat decrease, so be careful!) The "reporter boost" is indicated by the stat gauge (pie chart) blinking green. If you have purchased your idol's phone mail address using Microsoft Points, you may receive a special mail that, after you read it, will boost your stats for about 3 in-game weeks. The "mail boost" may be indicated by your idol sparkling pink, even in the morning meetings. The "reporter boost" and the "mail boost" stack (i.e. they can both be effective at the same time). During the boost, your idol's stats increase, her Image Level goes up 1 or 2, and her Tension goes up to High and does not fall. When the boost ends, stats and the Image Level go back to the way they were before the boost became active, but the Tension stays at High. Q: How do I read the Tension graph? A: In the Xbox 360 version of the game, there are 4 color levels of Tension: High (red), Medium (yellow), Low (light blue), and None (black). Tension will go up and down depending on various factors, including responses to communication situations, costume, accessory, and song choices, and winning (or losing) auditions. Q: What is an Idol Rank? A: The Idol Rank is an indication of how popular your idol has. The requirements for each rank goes as follows: Rank F: 1000 fans Rank E: 10000 fans Rank D: 100000 fans Rank C: 500000 fans Rank B: 700000 fans + 3 special "doujou" auditions Rank A: 1000000 fans + 3 special "master" auditions Rank S: 1500000 fans + special "Super Idol" audition Q: What are the Image Levels? A: The Image Levels are an indication of general popularity, independent of the number of fans. This is mainly based on stats, but also based on how well the stats match the popularity rankings. Some auditions are limited to certain levels. You can raise (or lower) your levels by raising (or lowering) your stats. A quick translation of the levels: Lvl 1: Amateur level Lvl 2: Half-of-an-idol Lvl 3: No-name idol Lvl 4: Idol popular in a niche group Lvl 5: Idol getting noticed Lvl 6: Idol getting attention Lvl 7: Idol getting buzz on the street Lvl 8: Idol about to break out Lvl 9: Breakout idol Lvl 10: Popular idol Lvl 11: Very popular idol Lvl 12: Super idol Lvl 13: Charisma idol Lvl 14: National idol Lvl 15: Historic idol Lvl 16: God of idols Q: What is the Producer Rank? A: The Producer Rank is basically your rating as a player. Your rank will only go up after you take an idol through to retirement. If your rank goes up, you get more capabilities. Here's a quick translation of the producer rank levels, and what capabilities you get at each level: Lvl 1: Producer in training - can produce one solo idol. Lvl 2: Dashing out producer - can produce 2 people, can produce duo units Lvl 3: Newbie producer - can produce 3 people, can decide who sings what lines in songs Lvl 4: Regular producer - can produce 4 people Lvl 5: Mainstay producer - can produce 5 people, can produce trio units Lvl 6: Able producer - can produce 6 people Lvl 7: Salesman producer - can produce 7 people Lvl 8: Rainmaker producer - can produce 8 people Lvl 9: Idolmaster - can produce 9 people Section 4: Tension Q: What is Tension, and why is it so important? A: Tension is from the Japanese word "tenshon" which probably translates better to "spirits". It is the primary indication of your idol's mood, how much she likes you, her energy level, and her perception of her status. If your idol's Tension is high, then she's in a good mood and she will more readily listen to what you say. If her Tension is low, then it will be more difficult to get good results. Q: Why does the Tension bar go down every day? A: This is called "Tension decay" and it just happens, so deal with it. It's a way of indicating that your idol wants your attention. Some girls lose Tension faster than others. In general: Slow decay: Haruka, Yayoi, Azusa Regular decay: Ritsuko, Makoto, Ami/Mami, Miki Fast decay: Chihaya, Yukiho, Iori Q: Why does the Tension bar go down (or up) when I talk to my idol? A: This is pretty random. Some responses work better with some girls, but even the best usual response can "fail" about 25% of the time. And some girls deal with communication failures better than others, too. In general: Tension drops a little: Haruka, Yayoi, Azusa, Ami/Mami, Makoto Tension drops a fair amount: Ritsuko, Iori Tension drops a lot: Chihaya, Yukiho Random communication chances happen at the beginning of each day, and once or twice per audition. Q: Tension dropped during a lesson! What's going on? A: If you do poorly in a lesson (get E rank or lower), your idol's Tension will drop. Some girls will even drop Tension if you "only" get a Normal Lesson instead of Good or Perfect. See above for who drops more than others. Q: I can't seem to raise Tension from yellow to red! What's going on? A: As I mentioned before, there are 4 color levels of Tension: High (red), Medium (yellow), Low (light blue), and None (black). If you lose all the red in the graph due to poor responses, poor lessons, or losing auditions, then you will be stuck at the Medium level. If you then lose all the yellow in the graph, then you'll be stuck at the Low level. Even getting a Perfect Communication during a Promotion cannot jump you from Low to Medium, or Medium to High. As far as I can tell, the only way to jump a level is to win an audition, or to get a "reporter boost" or "mail boost". Q: What is the best way to manage Tension in a Duo or Trio? Does it matter if one girl's Tension is much higher or lower than the other's? A: Yes, it matters during auditions; see Auditions for details. It also makes some difference for your producer rank score at the end. You get more points for a better relationship with each girl. Section 5: Songs Q: Who's best at what songs? Why should I take heed? A: Here's a list of who "owns" which songs: Taiyou no Jealousy: Amami Haruka Aoi Tori: Kisaragi Chihaya First Stage: Hagiwara Yukiho Ohayou!! Asagohan: Takatsuki Yayoi 9:02 PM: Miura Azusa Agent Yoru wo Yuku: Kikuchi Makoto Here we go!!: Minase Iori Mahou wo Kakete!: Akizuki Ritsuko Positive!: Futami Ami/Mami THE IDOLM@STER: everyone relations: Hoshii Miki GO MY WAY!!: Takatsuki Yayoi, Futami Ami/Mami Watashi ha Idol(heart): Amami Haruka, Minase Iori Omoide wo Arigatou: Kisaragi Chihaya, Hoshii Miki My Best Friend: Akizuki Ritsuko, Hagiwara Yukiho Massugu: Miura Azusa, Kikuchi Makoto This is helpful for stat boosts and for the Farewell Concert. Q: How often should I change songs, and why? A: In general, every 10 weeks is a good rule of thumb. After 9 weeks, the stat boost for a song starts decaying. After 11 weeks, your idol starts complaining that the song is getting old. Q: Any other tips for songs? A: I've heard that picking the same genre song twice in a row decays the stat boost; I haven't seen Section 6: Lessons Q: What are the lesson types, and what stats do they boost? A: From top to bottom, they are: Voice (boosts both Vocal and Dance a bit), Posing (boosts both Visual and Dance a bit), Lyrics (boosts Vocal the most), Dance (boosts Dance the most), and Expressions (boost Visual the most). These are essentially minigames, and they are important to help your idol gain confidence and succeed in Auditions and TV Performances. Q: Any tips for a successful Voice Lesson? A: The best results come when you press the button when the moving bar hits the note dead center. It takes practice. Q: Any tips for a successful Posing Lesson? A: It helps me to say out loud the directions in order, such as, "Left, Left, Up, Right", then repeat them again in order before the lesson starts. Q: Any tips for a successful Lyrics Lesson? A: The absolute best way is to memorize the lyrics to the song, so that you don't have to check the model to see what mistakes need fixing. Q: Any tips for a successful Dance Lesson? A: Practice! There is a rhythm to how the steps light up, so once you get used to that it gets better. Q: Any tips for a successful Expressions Lesson? A: I find it useful to wait until the emotional markers move before I start moving the cursor. Unlike Pac-Man, the markers move at random, so pattern recognition doesn't help. Q: If I have a Duo or Trio unit, does it matter how I break up the lessons? A: If you break them up unevenly, the girl who gets shortshrifted will lose Tension, and the girl who gets more lessons may (or may not!) gain Tension. Section 7: Auditions Q: What's an Audition, and why does it matter? A: An Audition is a competition against other idols to appeal to judges and get a shot to appear on TV. Winning an audition is the best way to gain fans and raise Tension, and a great way to boost stats as well. On the flip side, losing an audition can lose you fans and Tension. Q: How do I choose which audition to enter? A: After choosing "Audition" from your daily planner, you can see the list of auditions available. When you are just starting out, you can only enter Rookie auditions; as you progress, you can move up to Local and National auditions. Special auditions have varying conditions for entry, but you probably won't start looking at those until you're at least rank D. Q: What should I tell my idol to say to the judge? A: This appears to be totally random, so don't stress too much over it. Giving a "wrong" answer will drop your idol's tension, though. Q: What should I tell my idol before the audition? A: This also appears to be totally random, although I believe the higher the tension the greater the chance of success. Even at full tension there's a random chance of failure though. Q: How does a regular audition work? A: There are three judging round. In each judging round, you get 9 appeals. You do an appeal by pressing the button corresponding to the color of the genre. You will then receive points based on your stats in that genre and how well you timed the appeal according to the beat of the song (there should be a pulsing indicator with the beat of the song on the lower half of your screen). If you timed it right, you will hear a ringing sound, and you will get extra points. At the end of each judging round, the points are added up, and the top 3 point totals in each genre receive stars. The lowest in each genre lose a star. The idol unit with the most stars at the end of 3 rounds wins! Q: What's a Memory Appeal? A: If you have accumulated Memories in your Promotion events (and if you haven't, you should!) then you can use those Memories in the auditions. In place of a Genre Appeal, you can use a Memory Appeal by pressing the A button instead of one of the genre-colored buttons. You will then get the Memory Roulette. If you then press the A button when a Good Memory is showing, then you will get a Good Appeal, and points for all genres. If you get a Bad Memory, then the appeal fails and you lose points for all genres. Therefore the best time to do a Memory Appeal is at the beginning of a judging round, because you have no points to lose. Q: What does genre popularity have to do with auditions? A: For most auditions, the most popular genre is worth 5 stars, the second-most popular is worth 3, and the least popular is worth 2 stars. So it's usually worth it to spend more appeals for the more-popular Q: Why did one of the judges leave? A: You can't concentrate too much on just one judge! There is (usually) a gauge on the left side of the screen that shows the interest level of each judge. If, say, everyone appeals primarily to the most-popular judge, that judge's interest level will drop. If the interest level drops to zero, then the judge leaves. When a judge leaves, all stars gained from that judge are gone too, so be careful. The only way to raise a judge's interest level is a successful Memory Appeal. Q: Why are there so few Good Memories showing up in my Memory Roulette? A: This is related to your idol's Tension. The higher the Tension, the more Good Memories show up. If you have a Duo or Trio, all of their Tensions matter. Q: Is there a template for appeals? A: Why yes! The most-used template for appeals is (from most popular to least) 4-3-2. For example, if Dance is the most popular, Vocal second, and Visual third, then appeal to Dance 4 times, to Vocal 3 times, and to Visual twice. Another is 3-3-2 + Memory or 4-2-2 + Memory. Q: What's the best way to win an audition? A: Enter a winnable audition. See who's already entered the audition, if anyone; if their Image Level and/or Rank is higher than yours, you may not want to enter. If you're surrounded by people of a higher rank or level, then you may want to use a lot of memory appeals, or a "special technique". Be sure to train with lessons so that your stats and Image Level are respectable compared to your Idol Rank. And make sure your costume and accessories are matching what's popular. Q: What's a Dual (or Triple) Appeal? A: When you're producing a Duo (or Trio) unit, you can have each member appeal to a different judge. This is done by pressing two buttons at a time, or one button right after another. Multiple appeals can only cross genres, you cannot appeal to a genre and also do a Memory Appeal at the same time. Note that this does not change point values; a Dual Appeal will be worth half the normal value of a regular Genre Appeal. Q: What "special techniques" are available in auditions? A: One is to stick with the templates, and use one Memory Appeal per round. Opponents, both computer- and human-controlled, rarely use Memory Appeals in the first round, so you may pick up some stars that way. Another is called "Genocide," and that's to attack the most popular judge with repeated appeals, so that judge leaves. (I've seen "Double Genocide"too, where two judges leave.) There are also techniques that require friends to join the same audition online, but I'll let you figure that out yourself. Q: What are the Special Auditions? A: Special Auditions are auditions under the Special 1, Special 2, and Special 3 headings, with different entry requirements and rules than regular auditions. There are some that are required for rank changes, and some that are requirements for achievements; I'll list those here. Bidoujou (Dojo of beauty) Worth 20,000 fans How many pass: 1 Conditions: Image lvl 8 and up, has not passed this audition yet Special rules: Popularity rankings are always Visual -> Vocal -> Dance Requirement for: B rank Shows up in: Special 2 Kadoujou (Dojo of song) Worth 20,000 fans How many pass: 1 Conditions: Image lvl 8 and up, has not passed this audition yet Special rules: Popularity rankings are always Vocal -> Dance -> Visual Requirement for: B rank Shows up in: Special 2 Maidoujou (Dojo of dance) Worth 20,000 fans How many pass: 1 Conditions: Image lvl 8 and up, has not passed this audition yet Special rules: Popularity rankings are always Dance -> Visual -> Vocal Requirement for: B rank Shows up in: Special 2 Visual Master Worth 50,000 fans How many pass: 1 Conditions: Image lvl 8 and up, has not passed this audition yet Special rules: Popularity rankings are always Visual -> Vocal -> Dance Requirement for: A rank Shows up in: Special 1 Vocal Master Worth 50,000 fans How many pass: 1 Conditions: Image lvl 8 and up, has not passed this audition yet Special rules: Popularity rankings are always Vocal -> Dance -> Visual Requirement for: A rank Shows up in: Special 1 Dance Master Worth 50,000 fans How many pass: 1 Conditions: Image lvl 8 and up, has not passed this audition yet Special rules: Popularity rankings are always Dance -> Visual -> Vocal Requirement for: A rank Shows up in: Special 1 Super Idol Worth 120,000 fans How many pass: 1 Conditions: Image lvl 13 and up, all the Doujou auditions Special rules: Popularity rankings are always Dance -> Visual -> Vocal Requirement for: S rank, Super Idol Achievement Shows up in: Special 2 Harumatsuri Idol Festival Worth 70,000 fans How many pass: 1 Conditions: Anyone can join this audition Special rules: Only one judging round, interest levels are not visible Requirement for: 4 Seasons Achievement Shows up in: Special 2, March weeks 1-4 only Summer Festival Worth 80,000 fans How many pass: 1 Conditions: Anyone can join this audition Special rules: Only one judging round, interest levels are not visible Requirement for: 4 Seasons Achievement Shows up in: Special 2, June weeks 1-4 only Aki no Daikansha Matsuri Special Worth 75,000 fans How many pass: 1 Conditions: Anyone can join this audition Special rules: Only one judging round, interest levels are not visible Requirement for: 4 Seasons Achievement Shows up in: Special 2, September weeks 1-4 only Kagayake Idol Master Gran Prix Worth 75,000 fans How many pass: 1 Conditions: Anyone can join this audition Special rules: Only one judging round, interest levels are not visible Requirement for: 4 Seasons Achievement Shows up in: Special 2, December weeks 1-4 only Q: I can't get access to the Special 3 auditions! A: Special 3 auditions are online-only auditions. Only players with active Xbox Live Gold accounts can participate in online auditions. So if your Xbox Live account is Silver, or if you're not online, you can't get access to those auditions. Sorry! If your Xbox Live account is Gold and you still can't get access to online auditions, make sure you haven't turned that off. There's a setting in the Options screen (from the main menu when you start the game) for whether you want online or offline auditions; default is on if you have an Xbox Live Gold account. If you don't have Xbox Live Gold, the setting is greyed out and you can't change it from offline-only. Section 8: Retirement Section 9: Other questions and tips Q: What's "Fair Play"? A: Some players consider it "fair play" if you never reset and go back to saved data after failing an audition or making a mistake in communication or a lesson. Me personally, I've done it both ways, and I think it's more fun to succeed. :) Q: I looked at the online rankings, someone got more than 3 million fans! Is that even possible? A: The short answer is, yes. I'm still looking into how that's done, when I find out I'll let you know. Q: Any helpful websites? A: If your Japanese reading is pretty good, check out these sites: http://icomu-master.info/ for info on how to get "Perfect Communication" in almost all situations. Lots of spoilers, in case that matters to you. http://imas.orz.hm/ for a really detailed FAQ on the game's mechanics The Japanese wikipedia entries for the Xbox 360 version (http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/THE_IDOLM%40STER_%28Xbox_360%29) and the arcade version (http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/IDOLM%40STER) have a lot of helpful information. There are also active discussion boards on the Xbox Forums, 2chan, mixi, and various other Japanese-language sites. I've used information from all of these sources in this FAQ. Q: Can you help me with (a particular game situation)? A: You can ask me on the gamefaqs message boards, or you can send an email to alex-sifu(at)hotmail.com. I don't guarantee a quick response, because I can't always get to my personal email due to work.