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Idol Master DS Director Speaks Out on the Male Idol Situation

Why does Ryo Akizuki dress up like a girl? Inquiring producers want to know!

 
You're not alone if you were fooled by Ryo, although as a hint, his self introduction says that he wants to become an idol that even girls will like.

You might have heard by now that one of the three idols in Idol Master Dearly Stars is not really a girl. If not, now you know. Ryo Akizuki, while looking just as girly as the two other idols, is actually a little boy who, for various reasons, has decided to dress like a girl.

And what are those various reasons? At the root, one reason could be Ryo's childhood, where his cousin, 765 Productions's Ritsuko Akizuki (who appears as one of the idols in the other Idol Master games) used him to try out all sorts of clothing. Presumably girls clothing.

He also apparently has some female qualities. A recent profile of the character reads "Cousin of 765 Productions idol Ritsuko Akizuki, Ryo may be a boy, but he has a feminine side that includes interests in cooking and cleaning."

Just in case you forgot that girls like to cook and clean.

From what I gather, Ryo doesn't actually want to be a cross dresser or anything, but this ends up being the only way for him to become a male idol. In his prologue, a fellow male student confesses his love to Ryo. Ryo decide to seek out advice from Ritsuko on how to become an attractive, but manly, idol. Ritsuko ends up suggesting that he dress up as a girl and make his debut with 765 Productions. Ryo refuses. But 765 Productions CEO Ishikawa says that if he can become a success as a girl idol, he'll allow him to make another debut, this time as a boy. This, says the CEO, is the only way he will recognize Ryo.

As for why team Idol Master decided to go with this unexpected (but not unprecedented -- Sakura Wars 2 did something similar years ago) character setting, Dearly Stars director Toshihiko Kajioka spoke about this very topic in a recent magazine article, as detailed at Hachimaki.

"In this title, the idol herself is the main character, and we thought some male players would resist the idea of 'becoming a girl.' In that case, we thought what if we made the story so that there was a boy acting as a girl. His personality is normal, so we believe a large number of people will be able to relate to Ryo."

I personally think I'll stick with Ai and Eri. I don't really need to "relate" to the virtual idols.

Ritsuko (left) and Ryo (right).

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