Lyrical Deep Dive: ミライコンパス - The Time Has Come To Say Goodbye

Posted on March 29, 2023, 6:16 p.m.
13 min read

Mirai Compass is a song first arrived in Starlight Stage on March 2023 as a game original. The song is composed and with lyrics by トミタカズキ who doesn't actually have that much released under his name so we don't have that much to go by here. It is sung by Hijiri, Yoshino, Mayu, Chieri and Aiko as the unit エフェメラ (ephemera).

The unit name "Ephemera" refers to something that "exists or are used or enjoyed for only a short time" which is honestly pretty significant when it comes to the naming of this song since this is a graduation piece. More on that later.

Mirai Compass is in stark contrast to the other Cinderella Girls graduation themed song. While Life is HaRMONY is more on the happy graduation sort of theme, Mirai Compass is far more somber and sad. It is the sad graduation song, so to speak, and we will cover all of it today.

The words "Mirai Compass" have been used in a single song before, which is Great Journey. Before the event dropped, there was some speculation on whether the two songs are related. We will look into this when we go through the piece.

The timing of this event is very particular, because while it is graduation season in Japan, it also concludes exactly on the same day that Cinderella Girls (mobamas) ends its service. Thus many people, myself included believe that this song was timed deliberately to be a send off for the original game and we will quickly see why the two themes line up so damn well.

The full version of the song was released digitally 9 hours after the event dropped. The CD version still does not exist at the time of writing, so the lyrics here are also largely unofficial for the sections that aren't in the game version.

Standard disclaimer: Translations are not meant to be perfect English and comprehensible sentences to give the reader who may not understand Japanese a chance to derive meaning from the original literature with the original contextual clues, instead of having someone else already making that interpretation for you. Read the discussion under each section for some suggestion on the interpretations.

晴れ渡る空 風は少し強く
最後の制服 最後の道

The cleared up sky, the slightly strong wind
The familiar scenery [is] becoming blurred
"It would be good to be like this [forever]", I wished time and again
But the throbbing remained roughly the same
The last uniform. The last road/way.
While restraining the tightening heart

The verse is split into groups of 2 lines. The first two lines describe a scene and talk about how that scene is familiar yet becoming blurred. The theme here of this song having a more sad graduation tone already starts to show in these lines. There are two reasons why a familiar scene could become blur. One is that it is growing distant and fading into memory. The second is that tears are affecting vision and the ability to see. We will quickly find out why that is a completely reasonable assumption to make, because the theme of the song continues.

The next 2 lines describes the desire to stay stagnant and in place. The expression is typically for "It is good just the way it is" and can be used for everything between declining plastic bags in convenience stores to describing that you like your current position in life. This is contrasted with the next line which talks about a throbbing that is unchanged. The connection between these two parts are obscure at first, but make more sense after you return to the section later.

Up until this point, if you had heard the song in a vacuum you'd have no idea it's a school graduation song. Heck, you could even assume that the subject in the song is having a heart attack and everything is fading into nothing. The simplicity of the lines here is what really drives home the impact though. To know that it is going to truly be the last time you do something always weighs heavy on the mind. In fact for many of us right before this point, the fact that it's the last time in 11 years they get to fiddle around with their mobamas account and inventory is something that has a profound mental impact on us. This setting in of the new reality is what causes the tightening of the heart. Clearly they're trying to not let this affect them and I believe the same can be said for most of us who are trying to move past the loss of mobamas.


The canvas where dreams are written on
The single final page
The compass showing the future...
believe in it and face forward

We talk about this canvas of dreams and a single final page. Elements of school and the type of materials students may handle. The dreams drawn on the canvas are born of the experience in the school life. The idols that we love, the events that we look forward to and the desires for the future are born of the experiences that we've had with Cinderella Girls. And now the book that is being written has come to an end, a new story will be written from this point.

This next part isn't a title drop but consists of the words of the title. It talks about this compass that will lead us to the future. We don't know what the future holds for us or what it means to go to the future, we just have to believe. This is just like how the term future compass is used in Great Journey where we talk about journeying in the direction pointed by the future compass.

光がさす方へ 期待を胸に今進もう

Let's look towards and go to the rainbow
Open the door and let's smile
Towards where the light pierce. Now let's advance with expectation in our hearts

This part is a bit strange because they're very much abstract. The rainbow represents some kind of happy future of sorts, something that they want to journey towards. It is also convenient that Idolmaster Shiny Colors seems to have completely taken over in terms of having the most songs with the word "Rainbow" in the title, fitting for a series where the unit colors are deliberately chosen to be the colors of the rainbow. Could this be some subliminal messaging telling us to abandon cg and migrate to shiny?

More likely on the song reference side is the 765PRO ALLSTARS song Nijiiro Miracle, which has a lot to do with finding the dream and chasing after a new future which seems to be in line with what we're presented here.

Now cinderella girls has a bit of an obsession with doors. We see doors in the anime all the time and they seem to have all sorts of strange symbolic meanings. And then you even have seiyuus who have made cinderella girl history for not being able to open doors on time. I mean like you'd lose track of how many doors there are in the Eternity Memories movie alone and I can tell you that they're likely to continue to try this with U149. There's just something about the act of opening a door that represents choosing something, taking action on that decision and to venture into the unknown.

Oh and while we're dropping song references, the most iconic song with 笑おう in the series is the FIVE STARS 15th Anniversary song Nandodemo Waraou, though I'd struggle to justify that any of these parts are trying to throw major series references. Now if the first line of this section was 輝きの向こう instead then maybe I'd believe you.


At first the usual anxiety was strong
In solitude in an unfamiliar school building
The future that felt like it was so far away
When did it come to be that it had already long passed?

The translation of the 4th line has been augmented to capture the nuance of tone here. It's asking a question, even though the wording works out to something like "Before I realized it, that [future that seemed so far away] had already long passed" we need to capture the feeling of being oblivious to the passing of time in this case.

Can you believe that mobamas has been out for 11 years? That's a heck of a lot of time for a game literally designed for the era of flipphones that supported multitap. Things that some people reading this article might not even know what the heck those things are and are going to call me out for being a boomer. If that doesn't strike a chord with you, just think about how deresute is approaching 8 years, which means Starlight Stage has been around for more than half the lifespan of mobamas. It's just incredible how a game that was designed for that era stayed alive for so long. As far as I'm aware of the support for multitap phones was kept around until sometime in 2016/17 which is also a heck of a long time.

It's hard to believe how time flies by so quickly. In many ways, the producer office in Cinderella Girls is a bit like a school compound. You start your journey as a producer alone and slowly build up a collection or unit of idols. Before you realize it, 11 years has passed and the time for the game to close is upon us.


The exchanged pinky promises while [in the state of] smiling,
and wiping the the tears that spill out

Things get the most painful when you have to say goodbye to the friends you've made. This is the promise that they will meet again someday and that they wont be forgotten. It's a happy occasion to graduate, but yet the idea of separation can be a painful one.

Probably one of the most interesting analogies here is the MV for this song where Hijiri sees her and her friends underneath the tree. Mobamas and deresute exist in a slightly different timeline, and in some ways this scene symbolically represents the handing over of the series from their mobamas to their deresute selves.

Starlight Stage being around is a promise that we will meet our idols again. But yet can we really leave behind the years of content, story, voiced dialogue, cards, illustrations and animations of the old one? Are we happy to have a more modern game, but sad to see the old one leave? What will fill the void in our hearts?

今では宝物 どんな時も忘れないから

In defiance of the spring breeze
The intention to go to the ends of the earth
Right now it's still heart breaking but
Without hanging your head down, face forward
The classroom that became the place we belong
The days full of light are
now treasured because they will never ever be forgotten

The first two lines combine to something like "The intentions to go to the ends of the earth [stand] in defiance of the spring breeze". The resistance to change and the desire to hold on forever to the things of the past is overwhelming. The pain is unbearable, but we're told that though it is difficult now, we will eventually face forward and look to the future. Note that the word "つらい" for "bitter" generally carries a stronger connotation than in the english language.

This is the message for us all, that even though mobamas will depart from us and the pain that we feel as all of the history of the franchise goes under is heavy, we have to look forward to what the future holds in terms of the franchise.

I actually really like the phrasing here. The idea of "居場所" (lit. place of belonging) being used to refer to a classroom really drills in the idea of closeness with the location itself. It's effectively used like a declaration that I live in the classroom and its an inseparable part of my life which is such a strong way to express such a thing in ways the english language doesn't quite catch the nuance of.

In this very moment, the things that are ordinary. The ability to log into mobamas and spend stamina, the ability to browse your card collection or to manage your units suddenly have a great and profound impact to you. People have been going to great lengths for months to archive just about everything in the game, but nothing quite replaces the visceral sensation of going through all of it yourself on the real thing. As the time draws to the end, these small mundane experiences and the "office that we belong" in mobamas becomes our treasure that we will hold in our hearts.

昨日までと 同じ明日はもう来ないでも
また会えるよ だからもう行かなくちゃ

Even if the tomorrow that is the same as the days before no longer come
We will meet again, so that's why I must already get going
With the compass of the heart, [I] believe [I] can go without getting lost anymore

There's a philosophical discussion to ponder on here. When a game closes and ends service, the days of tomorrow that resemble the days before will no longer come. The service of any online game is something that is temporary. Almost like the unit name suggests, ephemera. We enjoy it for a short time and then it is gone.

The place (mobamas) is no more, but yet the idols have continued with us to Starlight Stage in some form of another, even if you disagree with the disjoint backstories for some of them. This concept of the same people in a different place is very much where we are headed at the moment, but we don't really know what the future holds until we're there.

This compass in our hearts (written in Japanese so it's nowhere near a title drop) guides us towards the new destination that we move forward to. The franchise is telling you that it is time to move on to Starlight Stage. Of course, some people will get "lost" because their heart will seek out new things away from this franchise altogether, but such is life and human decision making.

So now we consider two things. Firstly, is the song telling you to trust the decisions of the corporate body of executives driving the franchise and do you think this is something that you're willing to do? Secondly, when we pick up things that are as ephemera, which is here today and gone tomorrow, at the end of it all, was it worth it? (Knowing that you'd grieve it's loss)


The canvas where dreams are written on
The single final page
I never knew such grief in the heart, nevertheless

For many of us, these last few days was a discovery. Maybe you've heard of mobamas shutting down before but have never come to think about it because you've just never played it. Now it's only when the game closes when you suddenly develop some feelings, an appreciation and begin to grief its loss. For a lot of us, this is the section that hits home the most because the realization of what we lose doesn't really hit us in the face until we're there or almost there.

光がさす方へ 期待を胸に今進もう

The canvas where dreams are written on
Piles up page by page
Stacking hand to hand like it hurts
Let's sing now, including our wishes [with it]
Let's look towards and go to the rainbow
Open the door and let's smile
Towards where the light pierce. Now let's advance with expectation in our hearts

The final chorus talks about these dreams again, but instead of being the final page, they stack up. Out from the wish of a single person, becomes the desires of a multitude. Cherishing the friendship shared between each other, holding hands tightly for the last time until it hurts, they share in each other's future. They've graduated. The future is bright for them and each individual has a different one. The door to open that future cannot be reached just by staying where they are, so they have to depart from this place.

Is Starlight Stage the brighter future that we were hoping for? This is obviously one a controversial topic because Starlight Stage was not really designed to give unvoiced idols content. What will happen from now on? Perhaps the biggest hope for us is that the franchise still lives. The dreams that we have don't end here and we can still look forward to new content, new developments, new lives and more events.

There's an exhibition for mobamas covering its history to be held in Japan in April 2023. I affectionally nickname it the mobamas funeral service where some of the content in the original game will get its official recognition for the very last time.


The irreplaceable everyday is
The future compass deep in our hearts

We talked about the compass deep in our hearts a bit back. This is the thing that will guide us towards the future. Now we have the title drop and complete the full circle. The days of past, the days that cannot be replaced, these memories are what guides us. This is our future compass.

A similar thing is covered in Great Journey, where in the bridge we talk about packing away dream like memories and carrying them in our hearts wherever we go.

Maybe you've played mobamas. Maybe you remember what it was like to figure out the maze of menu structures in the game. To verify your account with a japanese phone number. To play through an event. To find out that you've messed up the stats of your card because you didn't level and awaken in the right order. Or maybe we haven't played mobamas like the vast majority of the english community. But we might still remember looking at silhouettes of upcoming moba SRs and watching people trying to figure out the most difficult ones. All these memories are yours and unique to you. They make us who we are. These are the irreplaceable days that we have experienced. Even though the time for mobamas has come to an end, we must learn to grieve and once we're ready, move on to greater things.

This song fucks me up super hard. It's an example of the right song at the right time. Nothing super complex about it, but the timing of its release just hits home so hard to the point there's nothing left. This song was clearly carefully made to be a send off for mobamas, and the execution of that is perfection.

This article is a bit of a rush job, I didn't even get time to talk about the composition, how the song builds up from quiet to loud, how there's a clock ticking as a percussion in the 3rd beat of every measure of the chorus. Or the vocals and how Hijiri is the the 2nd coming of Kaede. These things are great, they elevate the listening experience so much, but the core message is important.

With this I bid mobamas a goodbye. Though I have become increasingly interested in reading some of the mobamas exclusive content to develop my knowledge of the history of the franchise and it's characters, I just never got around to trying to do it myself because the amount of money to be spent in the game intimidated me. Perhaps this is my greatest regret. Farewell my old friend that I never truly knew, you will be missed.

Did you find the article interesting or helpful?
You can help keep this website running by becoming a patron or making a one time contribution with the links at the bottom of the page.
Become a Patron!

Thank you for helping keep ad free for everyone.

Return to all Posts

Donate with PayPal (USD)