I mentioned in Part 1 that I’d talk about an exception to my general lack of interest in real world idols, so let’s cover that briefly before we get to my own idol setting. And that exception is the actual voice actresses behind the girls in my favourite shows. It’s common practice for the voice actresses—who not only voice characters, but almost always sing their songs, too—to put on live events for fans.
For example, this video is Numakura Manami, voice actress for Idolm@ster’s Hibiki (my favourite original IM@S character, incidentally; I’m a whore for big ponytails and energetic girls), performing the song Next Life. This is a six minute trance-style song with extended periods where there’s no singing, meaning the choreography takes centre stage.
Notice how the crowd only calls out at certain points of the song? You probably noticed it in one of the previous videos as well. That’s a part of being an idol fan. Every song, at least in the Idolm@ster pantheon, has specific points where the crowd responds, otherwise they stay silent and enjoy the music and performance. Few things are more embarrassing than calling out a ‘yeah!’ at the wrong time and having everyone glare at you as if you just ran over their cat or something.
Some people mistakenly think being a voice actor is a pretty easy job. In reality it’s incredibly hard work. Not only do you have the issue of voice strain to consider (a scene where a character is screaming can actually be damaging to the actor’s voice), but the same actors often sing the opening and/or closing songs for whatever show they’re working on.
But more than that, a lot of voice actors go on to roles such as characters in idol anime like Idolm@ster. And as you can see in the above video, that entails not just learning the songs that the character sings in-universe (and there can be 5+ songs per character in these shows!), but also real-world choreography in order to perform in front of a live crowd at events like this. It ain’t no walk in the park, that’s for sure.
Which leads us neatly into one of the aspects I love most about idols…
The Pursuit of Perfection
Every single day an idol needs to do her stretches, run many miles, improve her stamina, and practice both choreography and singing. It’s gruelling, but also immensely fun and satisfying to watch a group of rookies go from knowing nothing about the idol life and stumbling over the most basic of basics, to being top idols with huge fan bases and star status.
And that’s where my own work comes in. After writing 3 and a bit pages comprising several thousand words, it should be pretty clear how much I love idols and idol culture, haha. But more than even that, there’s the fact I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words of fiction involving them.
Since I also enjoy sci-fi genres above pretty much all else, what I did was combine my love of both things into a single unified setting known as Aida. This is the name of the main planet where most of the story itself is set.
Set in the year 2176, humanity has discovered hyperspace and colonised half a dozen Earth-like (and one or two very much not like Earth) worlds. Idols are a phenomenon across most of those worlds, and have been for close to two centuries, utterly dominating as the main form of entertainment for the vast majority of people.
As I said near the start, my own setting kind of straddles the line between grounded and magical idols. The sci-fi setting leans towards magical in that there’s fantastical technologies in use (anti-gravity, hyperspace, spacecraft, etc), but I keep the whole thing grounded in reasonably realistic science.
Similarly, there’s some serious drama and conflict planned (with a gradual build-up), but the world is largely peaceful, positive, and low-conflict. As time goes by and the girls find bigger goals and start doing more serious idol activities with real consequences, things will get more dramatic.
If you’d like to get a feel for the setting itself, I have a stripped down and spoiler-free setting file you can read. It gives you some background information on the world, how idols work—idol agencies vs academies for example, something that will result in a bit of tension between certain characters who attend the two types of idol institute—and a few other interesting titbits.
Patreon supporters get the full versions of my setting files as an exclusive perk, incidentally, so if you’re a lore nerd like me, and if you want chapters of my work as they’re completed, that might be something to check out.
The series itself, titled An Idol Romance, is split into sets of 5 novellas, each around 30-50k words, and comprising a major arc and various smaller ones for individual characters. Once a set of five has been completed, they’re compiled into a series collection and will be released on Amazon. The first collection, Volumes 1-5, titled Dreaming of the Stars, is already up for pre-order and will be releasing on October 1st!
Want it for free? The whole 200,000 word monster? That’s pretty close to 3 full novels. For a limited time (I.E. until October 1st) you can get the Series 1 Collection for free by signing up to my mailing list. You’ll receive a link to the book in PDF format shortly after doing so.
If you enjoy the book, I’d appreciate it if you could leave a review on release. Reviews sell books, it’s that simple, and if I want to continue writing new content for this and other works, I need to be earning money from it.
I’m aiming for 10+ reviews on launch, and you can help me achieve that goal! Just think of me as a rookie idol; I’ve not reached the lofty heights of stardom yet, but you can help me get a foot on the first rung of the ladder 🙂 I’ll send an email to my mailing list just before release as a reminder.
And hey, if you can spare the princely 99c (or regional equivalent) to actually pre-order it, every sale helps push the book higher on Amazon’s charts, and higher ranking means more visibility, which leads to more sales, and more sales means I get to keep writing you new content. The price will also be going up shortly after official release, this is a special pre-order price, so don’t hang around 🙂
Alternatively, if you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription, the book will be going into KU when the price goes up (around the 2nd or 3rd), so you could always wait and borrow it instead. The page reads seriously help.
And we’re done! For now. As I said in a previous part, feel free to email with questions or to tell me you’d like more of my ramblings on idols, or if you’d like help on where to start in the event I’ve piqued your interest enough to check out some idol shows.
There’ll be another introduction to follow this one coming soon. That one will be an intro to magical girls, since I also write those, albeit under a different name 😉
I’ll leave you with an AMV someone put together for Youtube which features my favourite idol song of all time, using footage from Aikatsu Stars, the first season of which is also my favourite of all the seasons currently aired or airing. This one video encapsulates everything I love about idols more succinctly than I ever could in words. Enjoy.