FAQ/Strategy Guide Xbox 360

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.