The SS is the annual year-end Idol Festival sponsored by Yumenosaki Private Academy. Even if the majority of participants are young idols, there is no age limit for participants to compete as long as they meet the requirements.
It is known as a festival for young idols, and older participants are rare.
SS Competition Story
The SS Competition is part of the main story for both Ensemble Stars! and Ensemble Stars!! era. In Ensemble Stars!, it was called Kiseki Series and began in July, 2017, spanning until January, 2018. In Ensemble Stars!!, it was called SS Arc and began in April, 2021, and will span until January, 2022.
You can read more about them in the stories below.
As a National Music Program, the SS debuted a few years after World War II in Japan. It started as a program where famous artists and musicians would split into two groups and compete against each other in a group battle, rather than an individual one. To satisfy the audience's needs for more exciting performances, the SS has continued to evolve since.
Around 30 years ago Godfather, the first super idol, turned the SS into a festival where idols would compete to find the next super idol. A super idol was a solo idol of exceptional fame who would pose as a role model to all idols, and become the face of the idol industry itself for a particular era.
Through several decades, rules and system have changed a lot depending on the SS Administration Committee, mostly filled by sponsors and selected staff or idols. Yumenosaki Academy has been the main sponsor of SS for as long as it has existed, as the school itself was built to raise idols who will compete in SS.
During the previous year (Ensemble Stars!), Cosmic Production and its partners were the most influential force in the SS Administration Committee. They attempted to change the SS system again by renaming the SS into "Winter Live", connecting it to a series of seasonal live events sponsored by Cosmic Production such as Summer Live and Autumn Live which were held all over the country.
During the current year (Ensemble Stars!!), with the help of P-Association and Ensemble Square, the SS has gone through another massive change. With Cosmic Production being part of Ensemble Square, they adopted the concept used by Cosmic Production during the previous year and developed the SS into a country-wide festival that lasts for more than a month and set in major cities in Japan, with its final stage being held at the end of the year.
SS Administration Committee
The SS Administration Committee is the committee in charge of producing and managing the SS. It's made up of the people who have authority within the industry. During the previous year, Eichi Tenshouin joined the SS Administration Committee as the representative of Yumenosaki Academy. Seiya Hidaka and his wife were also part of the Committee thanks to their influence on the industry.
The majority of last year's SS Administration Committee was influenced by Cosmic Production, allowing their idol promotion to spread more compared to other idols. This included making Eden the opening act of the SS, and letting their songs play in the SS dome during the qualifying rounds.
The temporary leader of the current SS Administration Committee is Gatekeeper, who is working with the P-Association and other sponsors and staff members. Their current headquarters is in the ES building.
Their objective is to ensure the SS is successful and find the best (super) idol in Japan.
Over the years, the SS went through many changes to suit the audience's wishes and the changing trends. Its current form, which seeks to find the best (super) idol in Japan, has existed for around 30 years.
Despite sharing a same goal, there are still a lot of differences between each year's versions of the SS, as it changed depending on its Committee.
Previous SS rules
Before Ensemble Square and P-Association helped the management of the SS, the SS was held in the end of the year for one whole day until night. The day started with qualifying rounds all over the city where the SS was being held.
- Each participating idol Unit will be given a flag as symbol of their power.
- Each participating idol Unit has to compete in qualifying rounds by fighting in a 1-on-1 battle against another Unit in a designated stage prepared by the SS. These stages spread throughout the entire city of the Main SS stage.
- The winning Unit will proceed to fight in another 1-on-1 battle.
- The losing Unit will have to carry the winning Unit's flag and fight for the winner Unit's side. Each of their wins will be counted as points for the unit flag they carried.
- The top 8 surviving Units will join the SS Final Stage.
- The top 8 surviving Units will compete in a knock-out tournament which will once again feature 1-on-1 battles. This time, the loser will be eliminated and the winners from each branch will compete against each other until only one Unit is left standing.
Current SS rules
Unlike the previous year, the new SS will last for a month and half. The Qualifying rounds begin from mid-November to mid-December, taking place in several major cities in Japan. P-Association and SS Administration Committee are the one who directed which ES unit have to compete in which region. Each Region has their own special area from forest, desert, amusement park etc. The idols are competing to gain the most SSL$ to earn their place on the SS Main Stage for the finals.
The SS Main Stage will be held on the last week of December, after a one-week break from the Qualifying rounds. To give a greater chance for all the powerhouses of Ensemble Square to join the SS main stage, the Units are being spread into seven different regions as to avoid clashing too much with each other.
Qualifying Rounds Locations
|Hokkaido||ALKALOID, Trickstar, local idols and nameless idol units of ES and other agencies (around 100)||The punished Unit will spend their time in the Jungle.|
|Okinawa||AKATSUKI, RYUSEITAI, local idols and nameless idol units of ES and other agencies||The Unit that defeats another in a live battle may takes the defeated Unit's SSL$.|
|Kyushu||Eden, Double Face, local idols and nameless idol units of ES and other agencies||During the SS Qualifying round, it is allowed to perform Lives in two regions: Kyushu and Shikoku.|
|Tohoku||Switch, Valkyrie, local idols and nameless idol units of ES and other agencies||Within the first week of the qualifying round, every Idol is made to join the VR qualifying round in the Virtual World named SHINSEKAI, a project made by Switch using the SSVRS technology they developed. Idol Participant SSL$ is converted into SSG, which can also be earned by doing missions and events in the VR world or stealing them from other idol units using the battle system. Every accommodation and item in SHINSEKAI is paid with SSG. In real life, participants are taken care by management and given nutrition via IV drips so they can continue to stay inside of SHINSEKAI without logging out. The participants don't feel fatigue or the need to eat while they are in SHINSEKAI, so it won't be hindrance of their activities there. The whole thing inside SHINSEKAI is recorded and broadcasted on TV or through online services.|
|Chūgoku||UNDEAD, 2wink, local idols and nameless idol units of ES and other agencies||Considering the enormous number of units competing in the Chuugoku region, it's impossible to fit all of them on the available venue. Thus, one idol representative from the selected units is chosen to participate in an unnamed event (called Super Desert Survival (SDS) by Kaoru).
This event forces the representatives to fight idol battles by betting desert coins, which they acquire the moment they arrive in the desert. The remaining members of the selected units in SDS stay in a special resort and are only allowed to access OasisVideo, a video streaming site, to gain SSL$ during SDS. They can convert their SSL$ to desert coins, which they can send to their representatives in the desert if they wish, but the coins can't be converted back into SSL$. After 2 weeks, any units where their idol representative fail to have any desert coins left are eliminated from the Qualifying Round. If the idol representative has at least 1 desert coin remaining by the end of SDS, their unit can continue competing in the Qualifying Round.
The selected unit which chosen for SDS was the one that wasn't favored by SS Administration Committee
|Kanto||Fine, Ra*bits, local idols and nameless idol units of ES and other agencies||Because SSAC has been focusing on the setting of different region, there was almost no specific regional rules in Kanto region. Although in the middle of it Eichi Tenshouin invited all the idols in Kanto region to try Sanctuary; a giant amusement park where visitor could enjoy their time as an Idol.|
|Kansai||Knights, Crazy:B, local idols and nameless idol units of ES and other agencies||Quite similar to Okinawa's rules, Idol units can challenge each other for SSL$ but if they refused to take the challenge their SSL$ will be taken by the challenger. In the middle of SSQR, posters spread all over the region to reveal the order that Ensemble Square idols have during SSQR putting every Ensemble Square idol units in great disadvantage.|
Qualifying Rounds Rules
- Only Idol Units are allowed to join the SS competition. Solo idols will need to find a partner and form an Idol Unit before participating.
- During the SS Qualifying rounds, participant Units need to arrive before the designated time.
- During the SS Qualifying rounds, participant Units are not allowed to leave the region with the exception of emergencies.
- During the SS Qualifying rounds, participant Units have to partake in lives and other types of idol work to gain as many SSL$ as possible in their region. This currency will disappear at the end of the SS.
- SSL$ cannot be converted into L$ or real-life currencies and can only be used within the SS area.
- Participant Units are free to do whatever they wish with their SSL$.
- They can transfer them to other Units, use them to rent Live venues, practice sessions, etc
- The Unit that has earned the most SSL$ during the Qualifying rounds for each region will earn a ticket to the SS Main Stage competition.
- During the Qualifying rounds, special orders will be given to Unit members.
- Each participating idol has received an order, and each idol Unit leader has received a secret order, that differs from their personal order.
- Content of the orders and secret orders must be kept a secret for the entire duration of the SS.
- The Idol themselves isn't allowed to reveal their order/secret order, but other idols are allowed to guess.
- Secret orders are given to the Unit leader in a special meeting, usually by Gatekeeper.
- It's unknown who gave the idols their individual order.
- Failing to comply to an order or revealing one's order will allow the SS staff to deduct the Unit's SSL$.
- Failing to comply to the secret order will result in extreme punishment.
- (Spoiler!) When Hokuto failed to comply to his secret order, Trickstar was dropped in a forest at the beginning of the qualifying round, risking their participation on the SS Main Stage.
- It is unknown if the repercussions for revealing the contents of the secret order are as extreme as those for failing it, but it is confirmed to result in punishment.