Anime / THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls

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Cinderella, please! From left to right, top to bottom: 

The iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls is the fourth anime series based on The iDOLM@STER video game franchise. Unlike the first three series, which were based on the main series games, this anime is based on the mobile game spinoff Cinderella Girls, and it acts as a sequel to the second TV series. It is produced by A-1 Pictures. While the game has hundreds of characters, the anime focuses on fourteen of them, with another ten or so idols as extras. The New Generations trio of Uzuki, Rin, and Mio is the primary focus, along with an unnamed producer working for 346 Production.

The anime aired in split seasons; the first half aired from January to April 2015, and the second half aired from July to October 2015.

A series of web shorts, fittingly called Idolmaster Cinderella Girls ~ NO MAKE (a pun on omake, meaning extra content, and "no make-up", or off-camera), aired alongside the anime, adding extra interactions between the Idols of 346 Pro that otherwise would not have fit in the episode.

The iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls provides examples of:

  • Alternate Continuity: While overall the same, certain aspects are changed for the anime. For example, while Rin, Nao and Karen were friends in the game before becoming idols, they didn't become this until they enter the idol business. Also, the anime created much deeper relationship with certain idols like Anya and Minami and Riina and Miku. Units were also created specifically for the anime as noted in Canon Foreigner while others in the game don't exist.note 
  • And the Adventure Continues: The anime ends in this manner, with the Cinderella Project reuniting to shine even brighter on stage after each member takes time off to do individual pursuits in order to gain more experience.
  • Animation Bump: Episode 3's live performance of TOKIMEKI Escalate was animated with incredible motion and details. Even this, however, didn't save Mio and Rin from having their wrists cut off, among other things.
    • GOIN'!!, Cinderella Project's version of its predecessor's Jibun REST@RT.
    • The Heart Beat remix of ØωØver!! at the end of Episode 19.
    • Triad Primus's live performance of Trancing Pulse.
  • The Anime of the Game: Based on the mobile game of the same name.
  • Arc Symbol: The Cinderella Project's logo, a pegasus shaped like a heart, appears sporadically throughout the opening animations and the series itself, with its symbolism finally explained at the end of Episode 26, when Chihiro and Imanishi inquire about it. Wanting a symbol to adorn T-shirts for the idols to wear in preparation for the Idol Fest, the Producer approaches the girls for ideas. According to the Producer, the heart represents the idols' wishes to become Cinderellas, while the pegasus symbolizes the Producer's desire for the girls to fly with their hearts and feelings to attain that goal.
  • Ascended Fangirl: Uzuki and Mio have longed to be idols, and finally get their chance. They can barely contain their excitement when they first spot an idol they recognize.
  • Big Sister Worship: Rika idolizes her sister Mika and wants to be an idol just like her.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Dekoration members Rika (blonde), Miria (brunette), and Kirari (redhead).
  • Blue with Shock:
    • Happens to Uzuki in Episode 1, when the imposing producer enters the room while she's alone.
    • A police officer has this expression when he realizes he was mistaken about an incident involving Rin and a young boy.
    • Chieri turns blue in Episode 14, when she sees a mysterious shadow behind the Producer.
    • Uzuki, Mio, Miku, and Riina have this reaction in Episode 26, when Airi tells them that she gave Rin a chocolate recipe containing locust bean pods, which Uzuki confuses as being derived from the locust insect.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: In Episode 9, Mio and Miku get Kanako and Chieri to practice this in preparation for a TV appearance. They get to put it to good use at the end.
  • Book Ends:
    • Onegai! Cinderella is the first and last song sung in the show.
    • Additionally, the first scene of Episode 1 features Uzuki, Mio, and Rin bumping into each other at the top of some stairs, with Uzuki dropping a box containing a glass slipper down the stairs, and the Producer picking it up. This sequence is replicated as the penultimate scene of Episode 25.
  • Brick Joke: The Boke and Tsukkomi Routine Kanako and Chieri practice at the start of Episode 9 comes back at the end of the episode, when Anzu says the three are retiring.
  • Broken Pedestal: In Episode 15, the girls were shocked when they found out the "cool and elegant" Kaede really loves her alcohol and bad puns. However, later in the episode, New Generations finds out exactly why she's considered the best idol in the business.
  • Call-Back: The end of Episode 13 has Uzuki, Rin, and Mio reflecting on how they were all present at a previous 346 Productions concert but did not realize it until this point, an event that occurs at the beginning of Episode 1.
    • In Episode 12, the inn where the girls hold their training camp is the same one used by the original idols in the Idolm@ster movie. A stand with their signatures is visible in the end credits.
    • In Episode 15, the girls once again propose ideas for the Producer like they did back in Episode 5. Episode 26 reveals via a flashback, that the Cinderella Project's logo is the result of another similar brainstorming session the girls had.
    • Episode 23 features scenes set in the dance school and the park, where Uzuki met the Producer and Rin respectively.
    • Episode 25 has one to Episode 3, as New Generations pop out from the stage trapdoor and we get their reactions to the crowd in slow motion. It also has another call back to Episode 1, when New Generations bumps into each other at the concert venue.
  • Call-Forward: The concert that the idols perform in the first opening is this to their group performance at the Idol Fest in Episode 13. In the same way, the second opening is this to the Episode 25's Cinderella Ball.
  • The Cameo:
    • A few idols who aren't Masters (i.e. don't have voices) are frequently shown in the background or in a few advertisements.
    • In Episode 1, a poster of Asuka Ninomiya and Suzuho Ueda on a screen can be seen. There's also a poster of Yui Ohtsuki on Uzuki's dance school.
    • Episode 2 cameos Sae Kobayakawa and Miho in one short scene. Other idols throughout the episode include Shizuku Oikawa, Natsuki Kimura, and the New Wave trio, as well as featuring the first voiced appearances of Chie Sasaki and Haruna Kamijo.
    • Episode 4 has a poster of Takumi Mukai.
    • Episode 5 features Shizuku again, but voiced this time. Joining her is Sanae Katagiri and Yuko Hori. Later in the episode, Aki Yamato is seen with Kaede. Both Sanae and Aki also have their own voices.
    • Episode 8 reveals that Ranko's dormmates are Koume and Syoko, in a brief scene where the two display their quirks. Later, in the cafeteria, Emi Nanba and Suzuho Ueda can be seen in the background, as well as Mayu and Miho.
    • Episode 9 gives us Sachiko, Sae, and Yuki as opponents in the quiz show, with Mizuki and Airi as the hosts. The questions also showcase Shizuku Oikawa and Kurumi Ohnuma (in the aptly-named unit, B.B. Team), Reina Koseki (playing the role of a magical girl), and oddly enough, Project Jupiter is still going strong in this universe (though their posters use the logo from their time at 315 rather than their time at 961).
    • Episode 10 has Yuka Nakano, Yukari Mizumoto, and Noriko Shiina in the crepe scene (though Noriko is carrying her Trademark Favorite Food doughnuts instead), while Yui Ohtsuka and Rina Fujimoto are briefly seen with Mika in another scene. As a bonus, Yui's line to Mika before she runs off is to ask about karaoke. Both girls have karaoke as their listed hobby.
    • Episode 13 has a brief scene of Karen Hojo and Nao Kamiya leaving the Idol Fest, with Karen remarking that Rin went to her old middle school. In the game, the three girls were friends prior to their idol debuts and form a unit known as Triad Primus.
    • Episode 14 gives us a proper introduction to Karen and Nao when they meet Rin, as well as Natsuki Kimura meeting Riina. Miku also recruits Koume and Karin Doumyoji when they think the Producer is possessed, and Kirari recruits Sanae and Miyako Anzai when they believe he's being stalked instead. Oddly enough, Miyako doesn't have any speaking lines for her cameo.
    • Episode 16 introduces an entire department of TV and variety show idols, both old and new. Nana Abe is the star of the episode, but Yuko Hori, Suzuho Ueda, Haruna Kamijo, Emi Nanba, Tamami Wakiyama, Ayame Hamaguchi, and Nina Ichihara are also part of the group. The Producer also recruits them at the end of the episode in preparation for the Cinderella Ball.
    • Episode 17 continues the trend when the Producer gathers up several kid idols, along with Airi to host a new variety show. The cast includes Momoka Sakurai (finally making her long-awaited debut since her appearance in the first PV), as well as Kaoru Ryuzaki, Chie Sasaki, and Nina Ichihara again. Other kid idols include Mai Fukuyama, Koharu Koga, and Yukimi Sajo, but they are voiceless for the episode.
  • Canon Foreigner: Barring New Generations and the second season's Triad Primus, none of the idol units introduced in the anime come from the original mobage, however...
  • Canon Immigrant: The fandom has embraced the groupings from the anime, particularly when it grouped together girls even veteran mobage players never expected to be put together in a single unit like Riina and Miku.
  • Can't Catch Up: Uzuki fears this is happening to her when Rin and Mio started to accept work outside of New Generations, so much so that Mishiro wanted the Producer to fire her.
  • Cast Herd: Because of its large cast, the main idols are often split up into groups. This includes the main trio of Uzuki, Rin and Mio, Minami and Anastasia, Rika and Miria, Kirari and Anzu, and Kanako and Chieri. Miku tends to bounce around between other groups, while Ranko and Riina are the only ones who were initially not part of a herd.
    • Starting from Episode 5, the idols are gradually placed into units for their debut.
      • The main trio, Uzuki, Rin, and Mio, are the members of New Generations.
      • Minami and Anastasia are in Love Laika.
      • Ranko is the sole member of Rosenberg Engel, though she is frequently grouped with Love Laika after Episode 12. This extended into the Character CDs and Starlight Stage, where Ranko is unofficially considered the "extra" member of Love Laika. On the original CD for the 3rd LIVE, which contains solo covers of each Cinderella Project member singing her unit's song, she instead sings Memories, though this may partly be due to the fact that her unit's song is already a solo piece.
      • Anzu, Chieri, and Kanako debut as Candy Island.
      • Kirari, Rika, and Miria make up the unit Dekoration.
      • Miku and Riina form their duet as Asterisk.
  • Character Development: A few of the Cinderella Project idols get more development beyond the original mobile game.
    • Miku is perhaps the most prominent example. Like in the game, she's initially The Rival and the Butt-Monkey, and she starts off as an example of Hard Work Hardly Works. She expresses jealousy at how the New Generations trio got their debut so early. Once she finally gets her debut, she has to work with Riina, who she often clashes with. However, she eventually mellows out, often looking out for the other idols' best interests, and ends up being one of the Producer's most supportive idols.
    • Kirari's Genki Girl and Cuteness Proximity tendencies get deconstructed when her Hidden Depths regarding her height insecurities are brought up, and she sees herself as the odd one out in her unit with Rika and Miria. While these aren't fully explored in the anime, they do pop up in supplementary material. Also, in Episode 17, she has an argument with Anzu about how clothes make a person, further hinting at her insecurities over her appearance.
    • Miria's off-hand mention of having a baby sister and becoming an older sister in her interview comes up in Episode 17, and Miria starts feeling upset at becoming The Unfavorite. However, with a little help from Mika, she shows her mature side and decides she should work towards becoming a better sister instead.
    • Episodes 19-23 gradually start to explore Uzuki's reputation as a Ridiculously Average Girl, The Nondescript, and The Pollyanna in more depth, as faced with the splitting up of New Generations and Mio and Rin finding other interests outside the unit, she fears being left behind by them and not being able to catch up, leading her to return to her dance school and train from the ground up as if she never became an idol to begin with. This is because she perceives herself as having no special talents like her friends, with her only notable point being her smile, something she notes that everyone else can do. After New Generations' split, Uzuki then used her smile as a way to try and hide her insecurity regarding those issues, while she desperately sought a way to shine on stage with them again.
    • The Producer also develops throughout the series, though more subtly than the idols. He initially starts out as extremely socially awkward, and often has difficulty properly communicating his thoughts and feelings to his idols. This leads to conflict in the first half the series, when some of the idols feel they are being left out due to the Producer's lack of communication with them. They later find out that the Producer was traumatized when his first attempt at the Cinderella Project failed and decide to help him open up. By the end of the second cour, the Producer has gotten MUCH better at communicating his feelings and telling his idols what they need to hear.
  • Chekhov's Skill: In Episode 12, Ranko is put together with Love Laika in the team building exercises the idols undertake and learns how to work in coordination with them. This becomes important in the next episode when Minami is stricken with a fever from anxiety and Ranko has to take her place to perform on stage with Anastasia at the Idol Fest.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: Present in New Generations members: Mio (yellow), Uzuki (pink), and Rin (blue). Though, it's only their neckties/bowties when they wear their school uniforms or New Generations costumes. This is also highlighted in the colored points of New Generations' crown-shaped logo, which also serves as a visual metaphor for the three types of idols: Cool, Cute, and Passion. This is notable as the New Generations members are the representatives of the three types, with the unit being the only one that has members from all three types (if the four member Asterisk with NatsuNana is not counted).
  • Clothing Switch: One segment of Episode 26 has Uzuki trying on clothes evoking the styles of Kirari, Mio, Rin, Miku, Riina, and Ranko in succession, while trying to look more stylish on her part.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The original thirteen idols from the main iDOLM@STER series are established idols here, having their own billboards and advertisements shown in the background. The three Dearly Stars idols also get a poster of their own.
    • In Episode 6, the person who is interviewing Mio, Uzuki, Rin, Minami, and Anastasia is the same one who interview the 765 Pro Idols in the anime.
    • Iori's stuffed bunny Charles and Hibiki's hamster Hamzou have gotten in-series plushies in Episode 10, and the Petit Idolmasters still have keychains.
    • The inn and multipurpose hall that the Cinderella Project girls go to in Episode 12 for their training camp is the same place that 765 used for their own training camp in the Idolm@ster movie.
  • Darker and Edgier: While the first season had its drama, the second deals with the girls struggling to maintain their idol status after the major company change up. On the flipside, the show is very much filled with idealism and optimism.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Ranko's focus episode is all about this, where she becomes upset about the grim, gothic horror direction her debut is being taken when she's not into such things at all. She's too shy and unable to communicate her feelings to the Producer about what she wants her image to be, which is a "dark angel"; elegant and mysterious, but not scary.
  • Dark Reprise: The credits of Episode 6 has a somber piano version of the main theme playing, which follows a dramatic ending scene.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The first half of season 2 is this for the idols not in Cinderella Project:
    • Episode 14 involves a certain stalker (Mayu), who is mistakenly thought by the idols to be pursuing the Producer.
    • Episode 15 is centered on Kaede. The New Generations trio gets to assist her with a job and learn a few things about 346's top idol.
    • Episode 16 focuses on Nana, who serves as Miku's inspiration and rival.
    • Episode 17 focuses a bit on supporting member Mika, who gets to share her problems with Miria, while Rika also gets to focus on her own issues.
    • Episode 18 gives attention to KBYD, particularly Sachiko, who helps Kanako and Cheiri overcome their insecurities about having to give an interview for television.
    • Episode 19 features Natsuki striking up a friendship with Riina, which mutually helps both of them figure out the meaning of rock and the direction they want their careers to go.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Cinderella Masters who aren't the main fourteen are this, having already established their idol career prior to the start of the anime. In Episode 1, we see Kaede, Airi, Mika, Akane, Miho, Mayu, Sachiko, Koume, and Mizuki holding a concert, singing the opening.
    • Among the main cast, this happens to Ranko during the second season, as unlike the rest of the Cinderella Project units, she does not get a focus episode or do anything of consequence to the plot. Additionally, while all of the other Cinderella Project units each get a new image song for the second season, she simply features on Love Laika's song as an additional singer.
  • Death Glare: Rin gives one to the Producer in Episode 6 after he tells Mio it was only natural they wouldn't get that many attendance in their first mini concert.
  • Distant Finale/Fast Forward to Reunion: After the Winter Ball, Episode 25 features a mild version of this, depicting each member of the Cinderella Project embarking on her own individual pursuits in order to gain more experience, before they finally reunite at the end for 346 Productions' next concert.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The opening themes, "Star!!" and "Shine!!", and the main ending themes, "Yuubae Present" and "Yumeiro Harmony", are sung by the main cast.
  • Documentary Episode: In Episode 4, Uzuki, Rin, and Mio are tasked with making a PR video, and they spend the day finding the other project members for footage.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The main fourteen idols can be found scattered throughout Episode 1's intro.
    • Natsuki Kimura is featured in a montage in Episode 2, but doesn't get a speaking role until Episode 14.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • The producer scares Uzuki and her trainer in his first appearance, frightens Uzuki again in his second appearance, and shows his gentle side when he holds out his business card.
    • Mio races towards a closing elevator, and then gets off at the 22nd floor to race up the next eight shortly after her introduction.
    • Nana does her Planet Usamin act in her cameo.
    • Miku acts like a cat while introducing herself.
    • Kanako offers some sweets after introducing herself.
    • Ranko opens her umbrella and goes full ham with her introduction.
    • Anzu is off in a corner sleeping during introductions.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Like all other producers before him, the producer here is only ever referred to as such.
  • Evolving Credits: An interesting variation for the key visual on the show's website — during most of season 2, Uzuki's expression in the art is unsure. During her Heroic B.S.O.D., it changed to her all alone with no one else. After episode 24 aired, she's with Cinderella Project again with a new look of pure happiness.
  • Fairy Tale Motifs: The anime is rife with Cinderella symbolism. Some characters talk about becoming princesses, glass slippers and clocks striking midnight abound, and even the episode titles reference elements of the fairy tale. It keeps with the theme of unknowns becoming famous. It continues in the second season with the girls being force to move from their large meeting room to a smaller one after all of the idol divisions were disbanded.
  • Foil: Genki Girl Uzuki and The Stoic Rin present this dynamic in how they see themselves and others as idols. Uzuki has a clear, pure goal in becoming an idol, even if she doesn't know exactly what that entails or why she wants to become one. Meanwhile, Rin initially has no interest in the idol business, much less becoming an idol, but she also has no aspirations of her own until the producer convinces her to try.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In Episode 1, prior to opening performance number, we see silhouettes of the girls who would eventually join the Cinderella project. Not only that, but the scenes they're in together point to who they're eventually grouped with when they're divided into units.
    • Done not-so-subtly when the Director tells a story of how the Producer used to raise idols in the past. It's implied that Mika was formerly brought up under him. Based on their interaction in a previous episode, Kaede may also have been one as well, along with the other established idols.
    • You can see the storm clouds rolling in throughout Episode 13's concert before it starts raining.
    • In Episode 19, Uzuki is shown to be very worried of the aspect of units breaking up. Then on the computer screen of Mishiro, she has the pictures of Rin, Karen, and Nao, implying she wants to form a new unit with the three and in the process, break up New Generations. While New Generation isn't disbanded, it is unable to participate in the Autumn Festival because of Project Krone's debut as the 346 Production's main group of idols.
  • Food as Bribe: In Episode 26, Uzuki and Mio give Kanako a box of macaroons to get her to tell them who Rin wants to make Valentine's Day chocolates for. She lets slip a few details, but stops short of revealing who it actually is.
  • Friendly Rivalry: The members of the Cinderella Project are surprisingly cordial with the idols of Project KRONE. You'd think that there would be some bad blood involved, given how Project KRONE came about and the fact that Anya and Rin, two of Cinderella Project's best performers, joined them, but in the wake of the fall review concert, and how the Cinderella Girls helped calm the nerves of the KRONE girls and picked up the slack when things began to go off the rails, mutual respect seems to have formed between the two groups. And despite their roles in convincing Rin to join KRONE in the first place, both Nao and Karen show real worry when informed of Uzuki's situation, and throw their support for Rin to go and help her friend. It's important to note that Nao and Karen looked up to New Generations as role-models, going as far as to practice their lessons using their song and dance routine.
    • Not only that but they jumped at the chance to cover for them until the staff could prepare for Triad Primus' performance. Even before the concert, the girls had decided not to feel sad or bitter at Anya and Rin's departure and to give it their all. It helps that the Producer told them not to worry about whether or not their division would pass the review and just perform to their heart's content. Ultimately, it wouldn't be constructive at all to hold the girls accountable for how Mishiro wants to run the company.
    • Expanded upon in Episode 24's NO MAKE, which shows Uzuki, Rin, and Nao getting along very well. Mio and Karen are also stated to have hit it off over a mutual love of hamburgers off-screen.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • In Episode 4, Riina is desperately trying to keep from being exposed as a poser when she's interrupted by someone else coming in with another problem. While everyone is discussing the new issue, Riina can be seen in the background, breathing a sigh of relief.
    • In Episode 6, during Miku, Rika, and Miria's video, Nana can be seen in the background, wondering what the three are doing.
    • At the end of the Episode 10, Ranko is still dressed in Dekoration's clothes, having taken a liking to them.
  • Gentle Giant: The producer in this anime is a large and intimidating man, who is actually quite awkward, and a man of few words.
  • The Gimmick: Episode 16 focus a bit on idols with character gimmicks like Nana Abe's Usamin personality and Miku Maekawa's cat motif. Unfortunely, Mishiro either wants them to re-think their characters or eliminate them entirely and make the idols focus more on singing instead.
  • Gratuitous English: Episode 4 has Kirari saying "Super happy happy candy shower!" as she throws a bunch of candy in the air to lure Anzu out of hiding.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: Episode 7, which is really mood-heavy, has constant rain as the weather for nearly the entire episode. When the conflict is resolved at the end, the rain clears up.
    • Subverted in Episode 13 — there's a brief storm that stalls the outdoor concert for a while and lowers the crowd morale, but New Generations perks them back up and it gave Minami enough time to recover for the final song.
    • Episode 21, which examines the impact Rin and Anastasia joining Project Krone and Mio becoming a solo artist, has on the Cinderella Project, also features this.
  • Hard Work Montage:
    • One is shown in Episode 3, as Uzuki, Rin, and Mio practice their dance routine.
    • There's one for Episode 11, as Miku and Riina race to put together some song lyrics.
    • The majority of the team building exercises the idols undertake in Episode 12 is covered via one of these.
  • Hero of Another Story: Because of its large main cast, the show mostly focuses on the Cinderella Project idols. However, given the company's size, there are dozens of other idols present with their own adventures that don't receive screentime.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In Episode 11, Miku complains about the large number of headphones Riina possesses, saying one is enough. Riina retorts that Miku keeps a lot of cat-ear bands.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: In Episode 4, Riina uses a few of these to cover her lack of rock song knowledge, giving nuggets of wisdom like "you don't really ask someone about rock" and "if you think it's rock, it's rock".
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The episode titles all reference some aspect of the Cinderella fairy tale.
  • Idol Singer: Like the rest of the series, the idol business is the focus here, with most of the characters being idols, or becoming idols.
  • Imagine Spot:
    • Episode 4 has a brief one with Rin in a giant butterfly suit.
    • Several of these pop up in Episode 5, especially when the idols think about their debuts, like Riina's rock debut and Miku debuting with a lot of cats.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: In Episode 13, Kaede cracks a pun when she rallies all the idols for the upcoming concert. There's a moment of silence, and then follows a variety of reactions ranging from surprise to annoyance.
  • Last Episode, New Character: Nao, Karen and Mishiro made their first appearance in the last episode of season one. They would play a much larger role in the second season.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Episode 8 has a segment where Ranko attempts to address the producer as such, but switches to phrases like "provincial wind" and "proletarian literature" before walking away. After exhausting all her options, all she has left is "pudding".
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: In Episode 4, Ranko gives a hammy speech for a PR video. The music slows to a halt when Mio cuts Ranko off in the middle, stating her speech is hard to understand, and Ranko loses her groove.
  • Limited Social Circle: None of the 14 girls are shown hanging with others outside their own group or who aren't idols themselves very often. Though, Rika and Mio are shown to have friends at their school, with the latter's friends coming to see her first concert. Rin was also seen with some friends in the first episode before becoming an idol. Though, they aren't seen after that.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Averted, as the main cast wear a variety of casual clothes at various points in the anime.
  • Losing the Team Spirit: In Episode 23, Uzuki's absence drastically affects Mio and Rin's work perfomance, and to a lesser extent, the rest of the Cinderella Project, who put up Stepford Smiles as they wind up covering Uzuki's workload.
  • Meaningful Echo: In Episode 22, just before Triad Primus' performance, while seeing the unit off with Uzuki, Mio requests that Karen and Nao take care of Rin. Later, in Episode 25, Nao makes the same request of Uzuki and Mio when she and Karen go to see off New Generations before they perform.
  • Meaningful Name: 346 is read as "Mishiro," which translates into "beautiful castle".
  • Mood Whiplash: Miku's strike at the end of the Episode 5 begins on a lighthearted note, with various antics playing out between her and the others... then the music becomes more somber and she tears up.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The clothes and poses that the main cast makes during Episode 2's photo shoot are the same as their introductory cards in the mobile game.
    • Miria's drawing of her idea of a debut in Episode 5 is a reference to her Fluffy Tail SR card.
    • And in Episode 17, Miria actually dresses in her Fluffy Tail SR+ outfit.
    • Anzu no Uta references her usual quotes, but the end of Episode 5 had Anzu reference her song when she goes "Mayday! Mayday!"
    • Throughout several episodes, advertisements for the girls from 765 Pro can be seen in the background.
    • During Mio's training in acting, she is paired up with Akane Hino and Aiko Takamori. The three have their own unit in the game known as "Positive Passion".
  • No Name Given: The Producer, much like the producer of the first series. His Fan Nicknames tend to refer to his seiyuu or his looks, resulting in names like TakeuchiP (seiyuu Shunsuke Takeuchi) or KuzukiP (referencing a similar-looking character from Fate/stay night).
  • Non-Uniform Uniform:
    • Episode 5 shows that Mio's school outfit is this. The uniform standard that everyone else wears is a blazer, and she wears her hoodie in place of it.
    • Although the idols all wear the same dress for their group performance in Episode 13, there are subtle differences between each one.
  • Odd Couple:
    • The cute cat idol Miku and cool rock idol Riina are a unit in this series. They spend their first moments together in an adversarial relationship, which is noted by the others.
    • Ranko and Koume. The former sees the beauty in darkness and is scared of horror. The latter loves zombies and sees ghosts. Yet the two are good friends and love working with each other.
  • Off-Model: The first half of Episode 3 were filled with rather...incomplete shots, such as this. Strangely enough, Anya avoided much of it.
  • One Side of the Story: In Episode 1, Rin gets into trouble with a police officer when he comes across a scene with her and a crying boy. The officer thinks she somehow made the kid cry, and it isn't until they're at the station that the truth comes to light - she was actually helping the boy find parts of his broken toy.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • In Episode 10, after Rika's phone breaks and Mika's call gets cut off, she gets increasingly frantic and noticeably pissed off after she runs into the producer. It really shows how much she worries over her little sister.
    • In Episode 13, when Minami gets a fever and Love Laika's performance is at stake, Ranko drops her chuunibyou mannerisms entirely to volunteer as a backup.
    • This happens with Ranko again in Episode 17. She begins to speak freely in plain language about the various changes happening with some of the Cinderella Girls units (New Generations, Love Laika) and how they should be looked at as a chance to experience new things. In short, something positive that would enrich each idol in the long run, rather than a source of lingering gloom hanging above the division. Everyone present is stunned.
  • Placeholder Titles: The Producer came up with New Generations and Asterisk's names intending for them to be this due to an inability on the part of the units in question to come up with names of their own on time. Both units decided that they liked the names enough to keep them.
  • Police Are Useless:
    • Twice in Episode 1 for escalating a situation that didn't need interference, though they were slightly justified in the second case, as the producer was seen as a suspicious stalker to other people. It's still lampshaded when Rin thinks "Again?" the second time.
    • Comes up AGAIN in Episode 7 when the Producer arrives soaking wet at Mio's apartment. The misunderstanding forces Mio to come out of her room.
    • It happens yet again in Episode 10, which accidentally separates him from Dekoration.
    • In Episode 14, the Producer gets handcuffed by Sanae Katagiri, a former police officer, for being suspicious. And she was there to help him with his stalker problem.
    • In Episode 24, he gets stopped by a security guard for loitering around Uzuki's school, and narrowly avoids trouble when Uzuki spots and recognizes him.
  • Product Placement: Episode 14's NO MAKE is this for the songs sung by the Cinderella Project members for the THE IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA MASTER series, which predate the anime, and were later re-released on THE IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS ANIMATION PROJECT 00 ST@RTER BEST. The NO MAKE integrates the songs into the plot by explaining that they were individual singles recorded and released for each of the Cinderella Project idols in between Seasons 1 and 2. By extension, it gives an in-universe reason for the existence of Venus Syndrome and S(mile)ing in the plot, as they were performed by Minami and Uzuki in Episodes 22 and 24 respectively.
  • Refusal of the Call: Rin initially turns down the Producer's requests to become an idol. However, through the Producer's persistence and a conversation with Uzuki, she eventually relents.
  • Retcon: In the mobile game, Rin, Nao and Karen are all high school friends. The anime changes thusly; Karen went to Rin's middle school but wasn't in her class, Nao is a stranger to Rin and Karen's friend.
  • Running Gag: Uzuki's enthusiasm combined with the Producer's straight-face responses in Episode 1 results in a few repeated conversations. Uzuki's reaction on the third instance lampshades the gag. Paraphrased...
    Producer: Do you have any questions?
    Uzuki: When can I start doing idol things?
    Producer: That's in the planning stage.
    (later in the episode)
    Uzuki: Producer, what shall we do today?
    Producer: Your lessons...
  • Scooby Stack: In Episode 6, Rin, Uzuki, and Mio, and later Miku, Rika, and Miria all stack up behind a door to listen in on Anastasia and Minami's interview.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Episode 1 is entirely about Uzuki and Rin, and Mio is briefly shown right at the end. It isn't until the next episode that the rest of the cast is introduced.
  • Sempai/Kohai: Mika is the sempai to many of the Cinderella Girls, giving them words of advice and encouragement. In the second season, Mio, Rin and Uzuki are the sempai to both Karen and Nao.
  • She's Back: Uzuki recovers from her lack of self-confidence by the end of Episode 24 after gradually losing confidence in herself over the past few episodes, culminating in her Heroic B.S.O.D. in Episode 23. In Episode 25, we see the huge leap forward she's made as an idol.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Episode 4, Kirari is wearing a Godzilla suit and there is a poster of Godzilla fighting Gamera.
    • The audience in Episode 9 has someone in a Gendo Pose.
  • Sneeze Cut: One is present in Episode 10, where Uzuki sneezes after Rin bemoans the fact that she answered the phone in response to the disappearances of the Producer and Dekoration.
  • Squee!: Uzuki and Mio react with excitement with each idol they first see in person.
  • Take a Third Option: The main conflict of Episode 11 is about Miku and Riina arguing over which direction their unit should take; Miku wants a cute pop image, while Riina wants a cool rock image. In the end, the two decide to combine them and play off their contrasting styles.
  • Ship Tease: Unlike the previous series — which featured Miki actively and aggressively pursuing 765-Pro's producer, even to Hollywood! — there's little overt teasing in the Cinderella Girls anime, and many of the project's members treat the 346-Pro's producer as a big and scary looking big brother than anything else. However see the Fan-Preferred Couple entry to who among the cast gets associated the most to with Producer.
  • The Stinger:
    • The one at the end of Episode 3 has the Uzuki, Rin and Mio looking out at the venue post-concert, still in awe at what just transpired. They revisit another venue post-concert at the end of Episode 7, after resolving the episode's conflict.
    • Present in the Episode 8, to provide one last punchline for an episode-long problem.
    • The one in the Episode 11 caps the events that transpired within it.
    • Episode 14 has one where Mishiro announces to the producers her intent to dissolve all current projects in the idol division.
    • Episode 20's stinger has Anastasia making her intention to be a solo artist public to the rest of the Cinderella Project, and Mio announcing the same thing as well.
    • The one in Episode 22 has Uzuki's Stepford Smiler hints, which started in Episode 19, finally catch up to her, to the point that it affects her performance at a photo shoot. She also thinks the Producer apologizing to the staff there is her fault and apologizes profusely to him, leading him to dismiss her from work early that day.
  • Technician VS Performer: Mishiro's Project Krone is the technician to Producer's Cinderella Project performer. While all the idols are great singers in their own right, Project KRONE is uniformly made out of the best performers of 346-Pro's line-up. The Cinderella Girls by comparison have varying levels of musical talent, but make up for this by being able to quickly adapt to any kind of situation due to the myriad of skills its members can bring to the table.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Star, the opening theme for the first season, makes a cameo appearance in Episode 26, where Cheiri is seen drumming to it on a Taiko Drum Master arcade machine.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Rin, Ranko, and Minami have this reaction in Episode 10 upon realizing that they have to wear Dekoration's clothes to fill in for the missing unit if they don't arrive at their concert on time. Ranko grows to enjoy it, though, and continues to wear it even at the end of the episode. The rest are immensely relieved when Dekoration does show up in the nick of time.
  • Title Drop: The very last spoken line of the anime, by the Cinderella Project.
    Cinderella Project: Hello! We're the Cinderella Girls!
  • Title-Only Opening: Episode 7 opens with just the title. Given that it's heavy on the drama, the usual peppy song and sequence would be out of place. Episode 13 is also given this treatment, given that the concert scene the opening sequence depicts is a Call-Forward to that particular episode. Episode 24, which deals with the fallout from Uzuki's emotional breakdown, also features this. Similar to Episode 13's example, this is also present in Episode 25, as the second opening sequence is a Call-Forward to the Cinderella Project's performance in that episode.
  • The Unfavourite: Because the Producer was so focused on Uzuki, Rin, and Mio, several idols were beginning to fear the Producer had relegated them to this. He hadn't. His plan was to stage their debuts in sequential order, and the newest idols were simply lucky they were first.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: After living together for a week to better understand one another in Episode 11, Miku and Riina became this; while they still bicker, they both have respect for the others quirks. In fact, the others know the two care for one another when they do bicker. So when the two act extra nice to one another in Episode 19, they know something is wrong.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: In Episode 5, a button pops out of Shizuku's blouse, revealing her bra and some cleavage.
  • Wham Episode: At the end of Episode 20, Anya decided to be part of Project Krone as a solo artist. The Episode attempts to fool the audience into thinking that the second announcement is Rin joining Project Krone as well, but instead it's Mio becoming a solo artist.
    • Episode 20 in general really counts as a whole. Mishiro reveals she's playing dirty by making offers to Anastasia and Rin. While their units in the Cinderella Project won't be disbanded, they will not be allowed to participate in the Autumn Festival with their old units. Furthermore, the original deadline for the Producer's plan is temporarily suspended as his division must first pass the company-wide review at the Autumn Festival. While the Cinderella Project's idols decide to take this on headfirst, we see both Anya and Rin unsure of what to make of the offer. Though the two would like to perform with their division in solidarity with their friends, the events of the episode gradually sway them to reconsider. By the end of it, Anya has decided to join Project Krone and Rin, though still undecided, unintentionally drives a wedge into New Generations when she reveals her indecision to her partners.
  • Wham Line: In Episode 14's stinger.
    Mishiro: All projects in this division are disbanded, we're starting anew.
    • Its effects are immediately felt in the next episode, with ALL of the 346Pro idols being affected, not just Cinderella Project.
    • Another one can be found in Episode 20's stinger.
    Mio: From today, I, Mio Honda, will be a solo artist. Thanks for your support!
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: The final punishment game in Episode 9 is a bungie jump, which is likely a Mythology Gag on Sachiko's skydiving lessons. Sachiko is visibly terrified upon learning this, and Chieri also passes out backstage after hearing about it.
    • Episode 26 reveals that Uzuki, Mio, Miku, and Riina are afraid of insects, turning Blue with Shock and running out of the room after they mistakenly assume that Airi's chocolate recipe contains locusts.
  • You No Take Candle: Anastasia, who is half Russian and Japanese, speaks in broken Japanese.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Anime/TheIdolmasterCinderellaGirls