The first time I heard Nakamura Shuugo do the アイマスですよ！アイマス！ call at SideM 1st, it almost brought me to tears. As I mentioned before, in its earliest days, SideM Ps had a lot of existential crises going on, like, is this thing even real? And of course, the big question with the introduction male idols was always going to be: Is this really Idolmaster?
This isn’t exactly a new question. With Ryo, the answer was easy: sure, since he walks, talks, and quacks like a girl, it’s not a problem. With Jupiter, things were not quite as rosy, but in time, everyone’s come to accept that they also belong to imas. But SideM gives us the most direct confrontation with that question. The response to the initial announcement at M@STERS OF IDOL WORLD!! 2014 is kind of fuzzy now that we’re so removed from it, but I seem to recall a lot of puzzlement and confusion, which is probably better than outright rejection. Luckily, that all changed once everyone got to see 1st. But if that wasn’t enough, that’s okay, because we had the imas series producers hammering over our heads that SideM is imas over the past year. For me, the most gratifying development in this vein was finally letting SideM in on the cross-series niconamas.
A lot of the other joint series promotions are pretty easy to segregate from one another. At worst, you’ve got Haruka, Uzuki, Mirai, and Teru all on one poster, but the goods for each series are all their own thing, or they run events separately, or whatever. That’s fine, everyone wants to focus on their on producing, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But in light of that, things like joint niconamas are one of the few things short of another M@STERS OF IDOL WORLD live that you can get to having a shared experience across the entire imas fanbase. It’s always been fun to see the 765, CG, and ML seiyuu sit around and shoot the shit and fuck around for an hour, so why not also have the SideM guys on?
To be honest, it’s been a worry of mine that the producers would decide to keep the guys and girls part of imas separate despite a large chunk of male Ps getting into imas. Luckily, that all ended with SideM joining the new year’s niconama and we’ve had a few more pan-imas niconamas since then. Now, the only thing that’s really left to complete the circle is to see everyone at the next M@STERS OF IDOL WORLD!!