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!! Warning for references to violence and suicide !!

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(Holy Knight of Silver) Arashi Narukami CG

Arashi visiting the grave of someone who committed suicide during the war[1]

The war (戦争 sensou) took place one year before the Ensemble Stars! timeline and concerns the drastic social and structural reform of the academy. Preparations for the war began spring, the start of the school year, it came to a close in autumn following the defeat of Wataru Hibiki.

The central conflict of the war hinges on Eichi Tenshouin, with the help of Tsumugi Aoba and Keito Hasumi, mobilizing ex-fine and the student body against the talented Five Oddballs in order to cull the weak and unmotivated students from Yumenosaki while allowing him to triumph over these five geniuses, whom he would normally not have an ability to defeat.

While the students who lived through the war refer to it in violent terms, no literal blood was spilled during the so-called "battles" of the war. Additionally, no one was killed, though many students will metaphorically refer to what happened as a killing. However, students were bullied and forced to leave school during the war, and many committed suicide. After the events of the war, a cenotaph was erected in the memory of these students.


Overview

While the war has several components, it can be summarized briefly as this: Yumenosaki was in a state of disrepair as its students rested on the laurels of its reputation, and its staff was powerless to stop it. Eichi Tenshouin, who loved idols but who knew he could die at any moment due to his especially poor health at the time, took drastic measures to "cleanse" the school of its ills in as short a period of time as possible.

Setting

Yumenosaki Academy was known as a prestigious idol school lauded for its long history of creating talented and popular idols. Most entertainment agencies would instantly snatch up Yumenosaki alumni, and attending Yumenosaki guaranteed excellent career prospects.

Yumenosaki War 1

Yumenosaki students slacking during school

Over time, however, its students began to take its name for granted, believing that it was enough to have Yumenosaki's name on their resume, and ceased to put effort into their idol activities, often not participating in idol activities at all. There was no limit to how many members units could take on, leading to units akin to guilds with dozens and dozens of members and none practicing or participating. Teachers and student council members had no authority whatsoever, and were treated as slaves to the students; when either party tried to enforce rules over the student body, the students rioted until they were once again given back the freedom to laze around as they pleased. Most students turned to delinquency, and would damage property, litter, and cause altercations on and off campus.

This led to an influx of Yumenosaki students graduating into the entertainment world, flooding the industry with individuals who had not honed any skills and had no experience in any kind of performance, never mind idol activities. Agencies soon began to automatically turn away students from Yumenosaki, presuming that none of them had skill or ability, leading to unrest among the student body. Most students attended Yumenosaki in hopes that they would be instantly hired based on Yumenosaki's name alone; now, they were not welcome anywhere.[2]

Eichi's Role

Eichi loved idols with extraordinary passion, as they were one of the few things that gave him hope while permanently hospitalized. Upon entering Yumenosaki, he was disgusted by how its students malingered despite having perfectly healthy and capable bodies, and how their sloth had led to a dilution of talent in the idol industry as a whole. Eichi decided to reform the school out of both love for idols and a desire to perform as an idol, stating that he would "remove every little bit of pus and filth, and wash Yumenosaki Academy clean."[3]

Despite having the motivation and vision, Eichi struggled to come up with the specifics of how to accomplish his goal. He eventually collaborated with Keito Hasumi, his childhood friend, who also wanted to reform the school but had little power to do so despite being a student council member. Keito drafted up an outline of their plan to "revolutionize" the school, and Eichi modified it to suit his needs.[4] Furthermore, Eichi understood he lacked presence in Yumenosaki due to being almost entirely absent during his first year of school. He befriended Tsumugi Aoba, a classmate and the class president who had befriended nearly every person in the school, in order to use Tsumugi's social connections and familiarity with the school for his plans.[5]

Eichi thus became the main force behind his "bloody revolution." Keito would act as Eichi's right hand during the war, and Tsumugi became his left.

Yumenosaki War 2

The campus littered by Yumenosaki students

The Five Oddballs

As part of a plan initially suggested by Keito and given concrete form by Tsumugi, one of Eichi's tactics was to single out five specific students known as eccentric geniuses.

Eichi knew that the students of Yumenosaki would rather blame anyone but themselves for their own behavior, so he had these five students scapegoated as the living embodiments of sloth and decadence in Yumenosaki. Word spread that these five were so talented they did not work hard and instead used Yumenosaki as their personal playgrounds, tempting others to slack and causing chaos wherever they went. The student body began to blame these five as the reason why Yumenosaki students were no longer welcome in the entertainment industry and bullied them relentlessly.

These five students were referred to in a derogatory manner as the Five Oddballs (五奇人 gokijin, which Tsumugi notes is reminiscent of the words 蜚蠊 gokiburi, or cockroach; Eichi implicitly confirms this, referring to them as ゴキども, or gokidomo, an even cruder way to say cockroach).[6] While Eichi had decided on three of the members (Rei, Wataru, and Kanata), the last two (Shu and Natsume) were suggested by Tsumugi Aoba when Eichi asked him for advice. However, Natsume was one of several options Eichi was considering for the fifth oddballs slot; alongside Natsume, Eichi also considered Subaru Akehoshi and Hokuto Hidaka. Of the five, the only oddball to escape severe bullying was Natsume, whom the other oddballs claim they "hid" from the public eye.[7]

Keito's Plan

With the Five Oddballs established as a tangible enemy, the next phase of the plan was to socially execute each one in a manner that would make Eichi's underdog unit, fine, seem like heroes fighting for the student body.

Eichi capitalized on the students' desire to feel like heroes without actually doing anything, as well as how the students were likelier to sympathize with a unit that appears like an underdog, because the students, selfishly, viewed themselves as unfair victims of Yumenosaki's state of disrepair (despite it being of their own making).[8] To this extent, Eichi installed Tsumugi as the leader of fine, as Tsumugi was someone whom the students could relate to: someone without any particular strength, but who was "leading" a unit against five ultra-talented geniuses and winning, proving that anyone could succeed if they work hard enough.

(Something Precious) Eichi Tenshouin CG

Eichi becoming student council president

This granted fine a swell of popularity each time they defeated an oddball, and encouraged a violent and blind faith in fine's cause.[9] Tsumugi knowingly and actively assisted with Eichi's plans, believing everything they were doing was a "necessary sacrifice."[10] This granted Eichi immense social power, leaving him nearly untouchable. Even when those like Leo Tsukinaga began to publicly decry Eichi and his methods, students would instead attack anyone who questioned Eichi.[11]

To set the stage for each oddball's "death," Keito and Eichi collaborated on a number of ways to trap them, as well as cull weak-willed and lazy students:

  • Eichi was made the student council president, which allowed him to change the school rules at will (as no student paid attention to which regulations changed).[12]
  • Eichi raised the minimum number of members per unit to 2, hindering the Oddballs, who were ostracized from working with others, from performing solo. The maximum number informally became 5; any more than 5 members, and the cost to perform would be higher than any income made by Eichi's new rules.[13]
  • Though it is unknown when, specifically, this was implemented, it is known that during this time, Eichi made it mandatory for all performance proposals to be submitted to the student council for approval, granting the student council absolute authority about what kind of performances were allowed. Due to Eichi's wealth, he held full, independent control over what performances he could choose to fund without needing to appease sponsors or appeal to the staff's will.
  • At Keito's specific suggestion, Eichi made club activities mandatory with the intent of overworking the Oddballs, who would have to balance their extracurricular activities (their passions) and their now-mandatory idol work.[14]
  • Eichi instituted the Dream Idol Festival (DreamFes) system in order to numerically handicap the Oddballs. As the DreamFes system only official way of recognizing unit accomplishments, this caused the Oddballs and Oddballs-affiliated units, who did not or could not participate in DreamFes performances, to be ranked at rock bottom. If they did perform, their talent would seem far less impressive when measured numerically, humiliating them and allowing fine to overcome the Oddballs through mathematical loopholes, not superior skill.[15]

Each oddball was "executed" in a different way; see the the Oddballs header below.

Student Consequences

What students failed to realize while distracted by the Oddballs was that these changes, especially the DreamFes system, was gradually culling the student body (see the grading tab).

As DreamFes battles constitute a large part of each student's grade, students who could not or did not try hard were gradually unable to rank high enough in DreamFes battles, and were forced to flunk out of school. Most students were at a disadvantage in this system, as they had not been honing their idol abilities and were suddenly thrust into a brand new grading system and performance format. Additionally, the large, guild-like units had to break up into units of 2-5 people, causing infighting amongst former "guildmates," permanently destroying relationships and causing dozens of minor "civil wars" within the school.[16]

Because the student council now had full control over what performances were allowed to be performed and what performances were "worth" (through the DreamFes ranking system), the student council gradually clamped down on creativity in favor of producing industry standard, generic idols that fit the specific mold of entertainer the industry desires. Eichi's goal was not to cultivate idols, but to produce idols who could survive and succeed in the unforgiving entertainment industry, which punishes creativity.[17]

(Night Sky's Weaving Star) Tsumugi Aoba CG

Tsumugi burning all records of the war

Most students lost everything during the tumult, leading many to drop out of school or commit suicide. Jumping from the school roof was the most common method of suicide at the time,[18] and Yumenosaki has an graveyard on its premises with graves erected in these students' memories.[19]

Legacy

While Yumenosaki's reputation was eventually restored, most of the files and records that were kept regarding the events and units of the war were destroyed by Tsumugi, the only active member of the Library Committee.[20] As such, many of the first years in Ensemble Stars! are somewhat ignorant about the war, especially if their seniors do not disclose what occurred. Some second years are somewhat aware of what happened during the war, but many were too new to Yumenosaki to fully understand what was going on at the time.[21]

Despite this, the consequences of the war remain fresh in the minds of the second and third year students, so much so that a student who goes to the roof is assumed to be committing suicide.[22]

Eichi, Keito, and Tsumugi fully understood the gravity of their actions once the war ended, they independently swore to never allow such "bloodshed" to happen again. However, Keito and Tsumugi express that they do not regret their actions during the war;[23][24] they simply sought to do better in the future.

Conversely, Eichi frequently expresses regret over what he did during the war,[25] so much so that he has consistent nightmares about it.[26] In contrast to Keito and Tsumugi, however, Eichi chose to become the "emperor" of Yumenosaki, stifling its creativity and ruling it through brute force and oppressive regulations. Though he had Keito's support once again, this time Keito swore to strike Eichi down himself if Eichi's methods became cruel as they were during the war.[27]

This eventually leads to the events of Main Story in the spring of next year. Just as Eichi bad ex-fine challenge and defeat the oddballs using trickery and popular support, Trickstar challenged Eichi and new fine using wit and the support of the student body.

Reminiscence Stories

Reminiscences (追憶 tsuioku) are flashbacks that pertain to the war. While often occupying full events, some present-day events feature reminiscences that are only a few chapters. This timeline is presented in approximate chronological order.

Note: It is not recommended to read these stories without being familiar with the units and characters in question first. Many events in the war parallel interactions that happen during the Ensemble Stars! timeline a year later, and will rely on the reader being familiar with the characters to have complete context of the events that occur.

Story Banner
(To Event/Scout Story)
Story Name
(To Event/Scout Info Page)
One Year Before the War (Category)
Reminiscence*Ryusei Bonfire Banner Reminiscence*Ryusei Bonfire
Specific Chapters: Two Years Ago: Not Quite a Hero 1-17
Zodiac (Part One) Banner Zodiac
Specific Chapters: dragon fruit 1-2
War Era (Category)
Gang Banner Gang
Specific Chapters: Midnight Chapter 3
Cunning ◆ Wonder Game Banner Cunning ◆ Wonder Game
Specific Chapters: outbreak 5-8, 10-11
Reminiscence*The Crossroads of Each One Banner Reminiscence*The Crossroads of Each One
Reminiscence*Monochrome Checkmate Banner Reminiscence*Monochrome Checkmate
Reminiscence*Spring Cherry Blossoms and a Night's Encounter Banner Reminiscence*Spring Cherry Blossoms and a Night's Encounter
Afternoon Banner Afternoon
Specific Chapters: A Spoonful of Sweet Poison 5-6
Offering◆The Easter of the Undead Banner Sacrifice◆Resurrection Sunday of the Undying
Specific Chapters: Reincarnation 1-4
Reminiscence*Ryusei Bonfire Banner Reminiscence*Ryusei Bonfire
Reminiscence*End of the Marionette's Strings Banner Reminiscence * End of the Marionette's Strings
Cacophony◆Whirling Horror Night Halloween Banner Cacophony◆Whirling Horror Night Halloween
Specific Chapters: NIGHTMARE 4-5
Cunning ◆ Wonder Game Banner Cunning ◆ Wonder Game
Specific Chapters: infinite 6
Reminiscence*Gathering of the Three Magicians Banner Reminiscence*Gathering of the Three Magicians
Novel Daydream
Afternoon Banner Afternoon
Specific Chapters: A Spoonful of Sweet Poison 7
After the War, Same Year (Category)
Cunning ◆ Wonder Game Banner Cunning ◆ Wonder Game
Specific Chapters: bluebird,redqueen - 1
Planets*Wavering Light, Night of the Pleiades Banner Lost Star*Wavering Light, Pleiades Night
Specific Chapters: Monologue 1-2
Noel*The Angels' Starlight Festival Banner Noel*The Angels' Starlight Festival
Specific Chapters: Prologue
Novel Lionheart

War-Era Units

Chess

Reminiscence: Checkmate
Chess was the precursor unit to Knights, and was at the time a disorganized, guild-like unit with more than half the school comprising its ranks. Its name was not originally Chess: the unit's name changed semi-frequently, and seemed to be voted upon rather than decided by a leader. Before Chess, it was known as Backgammon. Chess was one of the oldest and most powerful units in Yumenosaki, and war era members of Chess enjoyed the privileges of being part of a "veteran" unit without actually doing work. Members of Chess were, like most Yumenosaki students at the time, behaved not unlike delinquents, and were not above animal cruelty and physical bullying.

Once Eichi Tenshouin instituted the 2-5 unit member cap and DreamFes system, it became unprofitable to have so many members in one unit. Consequently, Chess split into dozens of offshoot units, named after chess pieces, who then began to fight against once another. Two members of Chess, Izumi Sena and Leo Tsukinaga, formed their own offshoot unit together, naming it "Knights" plural since "Knight" had already been taken by another offshoot Chess unit.

It is during this period of infighting that Chess's old traditions of Duel (Chess members vs members of other units) and Judgment (Chess members vs other Chess members) became known. Knights was later the only unit left standing, and so Knights inherited these traditions as their own.

Leo, a prodigy songwriter, had served as Chess's personal composer prior to its dissolution. He created songs for the unit's members because he loved them all and believed they loved him back, despite their tendency to skip practice and performances. Following the events of Checkmate, however, he became ill-tempered and belligerent, and Eichi guided Leo, oblivious, to Eichi's enemies to get rid of them. Eichi used Leo's participation in Duels and Judgments to refine the nascent DreamFes system. He would later use the data he collected from Leo's performances to develop the DreamFes ranking system. Once Leo caught onto Eichi's schemes, however, he began to challenge Eichi over and over until Leo eventually ran himself to the ground.

While Izumi attended Chess practices seriously and accompanied Leo in Knights, Arashi Narukami avoided Chess and Knights activities all together. Ritsu Sakuma was sometimes called to assist with Knights activities during this period, but he did not always come to their aid.

Known members:

DEADMANZ

Reminiscence: Crossroad
A unit put together and named by Keito Hasumi with the intent to trap Rei Sakuma and make him a pawn in Eichi Tenshouin's schemes before having Rei executed. During its only war-era performance, it performed in the underground live house as a part of Keito's plan. DEADMANZ did not have a strong unit identity, as Rei was overseas during the short time frame Keito had to put together his plan. However, as Rei taught Keito how to play in the past, Keito coached Koga to help Koga improve at the guitar.

Keito had Kuro create their costumes as a favor for overlooking Kuro's unauthorized side income. Keito had Kuro perform with them at the live house in an attempt to keep Rei under control, but Kuro is not technically an official member.

Members:

fine (Past)

Reminiscence: Element
fine was the prime instigator of the war; many of the occurrences during the year were due to Eichi Tenshouin's schemes. Tsumugi Aoba acted as its leader and public face, and often acted as its manager and PR. fine had numerous members but, as Eichi described it, they used up each individual until their usefulness had run out. Each member of fine was bound by a contract of Eichi's devising which defined what functions they would perform and how long they would remain as a member. From the onset, Eichi planned for fine to dissolve completely after the unit's final live against Wataru.

At the very start of the year, in spring, fine had very little presence. Eichi was still sowing the seeds necessary to set up the oddballs (before the oddballs were known as such) as the school's enemy and fine as the school's "saviors." As hostility toward the oddballs ramped up in summer, fine made their debut with Shu's execution in Reminiscence * Marionette. Because they were seen as a no-name unit that had trumped over Valkyrie, Shu's unit that once stood at the top of the Yumenosaki, fine became known as underdog heroes and was immediately met with a rush of support.

As fine continued to strike down the undesirables of the school, including the other oddballs, their popularity only increased. This was largely helped by the fact that its two major players, Hiyori Tomoe and Nagisa Ran, were idols of great talent and presence. Eichi and Tsumugi, hard workers in their own right, performed in supporting roles to ensure that Hiyori and Nagisa shined.

Despite fine's immense popularity, its members were distant from one another. In Wonder Game, it's shown that the four of them did share the same dream to improve Yumenosaki, and that they valued one another as companions who fought alongside each other. However, because they were all bound by contracts and Eichi was so focused on his desire to defeat the oddballs, they could never truly come together as a unit.

After Wataru's execution live show in Element, its members split up in accordance to their respective contracts.

Known members:

RYUSEITAI (Past)

Reminiscence: Meteor Impact (Supplemental information: Rainbow)
A veteran powerhouse unit with a rich history, RYUSEITAI existed even when Jin Sagami was a Yumenosaki student. Since its creation, RYUSEITAI has always been a unit associated with heroes. During the war era, it was bloated with members, and they claimed to play along the hero concept, but they behaved more closely to rowdy delinquents who often engaged in bullying and created nuisances even outside of school. Members would often gather in the underground live house (introduced in Crossroad), and, as a result, it became known as a gathering place for thugs and truants.

Like Chess, RYUSEITAI members skipped practice and performances, and rarely gathered. During Chiaki Morisawa's first year in Yumenosaki, the captain of the unit was a genuinely passionate individual who was one of the few who could keep the members of RYUSEITAI in line. However, the following year, the captain was succeeded by another ill-behaved member of RYUSEITAI and the unit grew more delinquent. Madara Mikejima, the vice captain of both years, was the only remaining officer who could force the members to gather and behave, but he was not available due to his frequent travels overseas.

It was during this period of time that Chiaki, bullied by the other members of RYUSEITAI and desperate for some kind of hero to look up to, began to support ex-fine, who claimed to be heroes of the school.

Known members:

Valkyrie (Past)

Reminiscence: Reminiscence * Marionette
Formed in Shu Itsuki and Nazuna Nito's first year in Yumenosaki, Valkyrie was originally a two-person unit with Mika Kagehira joining the year after. Valkyrie was the most powerful unit in Yumenosaki, and its performances were known for their powerful, moving artistry. As leader of the ruling unit, Shu was known as Yumenosaki's sovereign (帝王 teiou, synonymous with "emperor"), similar to how Eichi is known as Yumenosaki's emperor (皇帝 koutei) in Ensemble Stars!.

Similar to how Shu leads Valkyrie in Ensemble Stars!, he controlled both Nazuna and Mika's behaviors, diets, and activities both in and out of practice so that they would abide by his "perfect" artistic vision. Though the strain was proving too much for them, both Nazuna and Mika supported Shu's draconian expectations out of a love for Valkyrie and Shu. However, this only made Shu all the more controlling; even more so when Eichi's DreamFes system discounted all of Valkyrie's past live shows.

Because Valkyrie's shows did not occur under the DreamFes system, they now technically ranked at the bottom of the school hierarchy, which forced Valkyrie into a corner. Following the events of Reminiscence * Marionette, Shu "broke" following Eichi's execution of him. Nazuna would later defect and join Ra✽bits, but Mika remained with Shu in Valkyrie.

Members:

Oddballs

See also: the Five Oddballs page for more information on the Oddballs.

Kanata Shinkai

An Oddball fought by AKATSUKI during the War. During this time, he was still known as a living God who granted wishes to others. Keito’s efforts to dismantle the belief of his godhood led Kanata to lose his following in the school, which led to a drop in his reputation. His “execution”, done by Keito’s AKATSUKI, was intentionally less brutal than Eichi’s methods and ended with Kanata and Chiaki performing together against them. Kanata ended up joining RYUSEITAI after this.

Wataru Hibiki

The last Oddball that was fought during the War. He was assisted by Hokuto Hidaka, who wore a mask and hid his identity during the live (he was known as “Hockey Mask” on-stage) due to the necessity to have 2 or more members performing at once. Wataru’s unit during the live was known as “Thirteenth Day”.[28]

Rei Sakuma

Rei was mostly physically absent during the events of the War, having been overseas both to try and find a cure for Ritsu's weak constitution[29] and having been sent away by Eichi, who wanted him out of the way due to his strong influence. When he was abroad later on, he was working on fixing problems in Yumenosaki Academy’s overseas sister schools, where it is implied that Eichi had stirred up trouble. When he returned, he was weakened and unfit to fight, so it is unknown if he had a specific execution live.

Shu Itsuki

See: #Valkyrie (Past)

Natsume Sakasaki

Added on to the 5 Oddballs after the other four due to Eichi wanting there to be five and needing another member, as seen in Element. Nagisa Ran alludes to this in Wonder Game, referring to him as “the one added on just to reach the number needed”. A first year at the time, he was defended from much of the fuss by the others, who were all second years, and thus sustains no metaphorical “wounds” from the war compared to them. Perhaps because of this, he feels more distant from the rest of them, and is more spiteful towards those who hurt them.

Sources

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