The war (戦争 sensou) took place one year before the Ensemble Stars! timeline and describes the drastic social and structural reform of the academy. While preparations for the war began spring, the start of the school year, its most notable events occurred from autumn to winter, ending before Christmas.
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, forced to leave school, and many committed suicide. After the events of the war, a cenotaph in their memory. The memory of the war remains 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.
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.
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 alumini, and attending Yumenosaki nearly guaranteed a successful career.
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 were 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.
The Five Oddballs
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, stating that he would "remove every little bit of pus and filth, and wash Yumenosaki Academy clean." As someone terminally ill whose death was likely to come at any time, Eichi felt this was also the prime opportunity to become the idol he always dreamed of being, and achieve the "youth" he had never had while in the hospital.
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.
Initially suggested by Keito, 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). 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.
Though Eichi would often profess he admired the oddballs greatly, he sought to defeat them; not only to purge students from the school as quickly as possible, but to prove that he were capable of defeating geniuses through hard work alone, despite being born with a frail body and without talent.
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). 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.
This granted fine a swell of popularity each time they defeated an oddball, and encouraged a violent and blind faith in fine's cause. Tsumugi knowingly and actively assisted with Eichi's plans, believing everything they were doing was a "necessary sacrifice." 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 would question Eichi.
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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Each oddball was "executed" in a different way; see the the Oddballs header below.
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.
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.
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, and Yumenosaki has an informal graveyard on its premises with graves erected in these students' memories.
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.. 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.
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 events that happen during the Ensemble Stars! timeline a year later, and will rely on the reader being familiar with the characters in question to have complete context of the events and development that occur.
(To Event/Scout Story)
(To Event/Scout Info Page)
Specific Chapters: Two Years Ago: Not Quite a Hero 1-17
Specific Chapters: dragon fruit 1-2
Specific Chapters: Midnight Chapter 3
|Cunning ◆ Wonder Game|
Specific Chapters: outbreak 5-8, 10-11
|Reminiscence＊The Crossroads of Each One|
|Reminiscence＊Spring Cherry Blossoms and a Night's Encounter|
|Reminiscence ＊ End of the Marionette's Strings|
|Cacophony◆Whirling Horror Night Halloween|
Specific Chapters: NIGHTMARE 4-5
|Cunning ◆ Wonder Game|
Specific Chapters: infinite 6
|Reminiscence＊Gathering of the Three Magicians|
|Cunning ◆ Wonder Game|
Specific Chapters: bluebird,redqueen - 1
|Lost Star＊Wavering Light, Pleiades Night|
Specific Chapters: Monologue 1-2
|Noel＊The Angels' Starlight Festival|
Specific Chapters: Chapter 1
Chess was the precursor unit to Knights, and was at the time a disorganized unit with a large amount of members who enjoyed the privileges of a “veteran unit” without actually doing work. Its name changed semi-frequently, and seemed to be voted upon rather than decided by a leader. Before Chess, it was known as Backgammon. Leo Tsukinaga served as the songwriter, who would make songs for the unit’s members because he loved them all and believed they loved him back, despite their tendency to not show up.
With Eichi’s unit system in place, it became less rewarding to have so many members in one unit, so Chess split up into several pieces as members defected, often naming their units after chess pieces. Since “Knight” was taken, Izumi Sena registered the name of his section of the unit with Leo “Knights” after the latter suggested making the name plural.
Reminiscence: Meteor Impact, but info also given in Rainbow
A long-lived veteran unit that existed even when Jin Sagami was a student. Last year, while still emulating heroes, they did not often resemble them, merely causing chaos and gaining a bad reputation due to this. When their captain and vice-captain were absent, they rarely gathered.
fine was the prime instigator of the war; many of the occurrences during the year were due to Eichi’s planning and sometimes Tsumugi’s execution. Tsumugi acted as its leader and public face, having also gathered its members (Eichi aside). After Wataru's execution live, its members split up according to the contract that bound them together.
Reminiscence: Reminiscence ＊ Marionette
Functioned similarly to the way it does in the current year. As one of the Oddballs, Shu Itsuki was one of the people Eichi was trying to defeat, and did so by orchestrating a scenario where the lights went out during a Valkyrie live, revealing the fact that they had been lip-synching and ruining the perfection that Shu insisted on for all their lives. He “broke” after this, ceasing live activities.
A unit that performed at the underground live house for a night after Rei returned from overseas for the purpose of orchestrating a King's Game-type of live to chase the delinquents from the live house. In the week before, Keito and Koga had been practicing together, and Kuro made their unit costumes. Keito was the one who named the unit. While Kuro is not officially part of the unit, he performed alongside them.
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.
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”.
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 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.
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.
- Checkmate/A Solitary Throne - 3
- Black Tea/A Spoonful of Sweet Poison - 5
- Element/Even in Hell - 3
- Element/Ash Returns to the Sky - 6
- Black Tea/A Spoonful of Sweet Poison - 5
- Main Story
- Blue Filament
- Star Festival
- Pleiades Night/Monologue - 1.
- Shinsengumi/Before the Dawn 7
- Anime Episode 11: Element ~Part 2~
- Crossroad/Chaos 3