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Video Game / THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls

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Over 190 girls to produce, indeed.

THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls is one of the four subseries of The iDOLM@STER franchise besides Million Live!, SideM, and Shiny Colors, spawning three games, two Anime adaptations, countless number of Manga spin-offs, five main real-life Live Concerts, and a growing number of songs. Oh, and one more important thing, Over 190 girls to produce. All three games were developed by Cygames (yes, that Cygames) and published by Bandai Namco.

The first game in the subseries, THE iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls, first started its service on November 28, 2011 through DeNA's Mobage platform for feature phones; compatibility was extended to iOS and Android devices as a web application on December 16, 2011. In 2014 native apps for these devices were released. In addition, a Korean version was released with three exclusive idols, though service has since shut down.


When it was released it boasted over 100 idols, a cast which expanded until it reached a total of 203 idols note  (counting the trainer sisters, 765 Pro idols, Korean-exclusive idols, and 876 Pro idols), though of these less than half are voiced. The gameplay follows a collectible card game format in which each idol is represented as a card, which the player may use to form a unit of idols to train in lessons, take to jobs, and compete against other units.

An anime television series adaptation produced by A-1 Pictures aired in 2015. In addition, just as with the original franchise there are numerous manga adaptations including a set of anthologies. A Cinderella Girls Theater anime adaptation aired in 2017 as part of the Spring 2017 Anime lineup, and has been renewed for a second season as part of the Fall 2017 Anime lineup; A third season of the Theater anime aired in Summer 2018. An All-CGI Cartoon short produced by Orange known simply as Spin Off was released in 2019.


In 2015, a Rhythm Game spinoff called THE IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls: Starlight Stage was released for Android and iOS platforms, with gameplay similar to fellow idol rhythm games such as Love Live! School Idol Festival but using 3D models, and with five lanes as opposed to SIF.

In 2016, a virtual live simulator, THE IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls: Viewing Revolution was released for PlayStation VR, allowing players to enjoy watching their favorite idols in a virtual live performance set in Maihama Amphitheater (the venue that was first used for the first live back in 2013).

This series also has quite a number of spinoffs; U149, about idol groups consisting of the child idols; Wild Wind Girl, about Takumi; and After20, a Slice of Life about the older idols bar hopping and exploring food.

Cinderella Girls Mobage provides examples of:

  • Age-Inappropriate Dress: Some might call it fanservice. You'll see both older idols wearing school uniforms or athletic outfits and younger idols wearing Stripperific outfits.
  • All There in the Manual: More than just the anime gives.
    • For the Cinderella Master Idols, there's always that Drama CD interviews, titled "Mezase! Cinderella No.1", found in track two of a Master Album.
      • What about the other Drama CD tracks found in various albums sans CM singles, like those in jewelries! series or MASTER SEASONS series? Don't forget these, too.
      • Or maybe the Shiny Numbers interviews for the top five 5th Election overall winners? Or the MAGIC HOUR interview series aired after each episode of the Anime ended?
    • Want to learn more about idols' quirks? Cinderella Girls Theater four-panel series and its animated adaptation might help.
    • Memorial Episodes. Whenever a new card of an idol is released, chance that you'll see her new memorial episode, both in Mobage game and Starlight Stage.
    • Tons. Of. Manga. Series. We've got various one-shot compilations like DNA Media Comics' Comic Anthology series, the Shuffle! series, and the Ensemble! Series.
    • Not only these three manga compilations, there are also a number of manga series focused on certain idols:
      • Rockin' Girl focuses on Riina, as well as supporting characters like Kanako and Rika.
      • [Wild Wind Girl takes a in-depth look of Takumi as the main character.
      • U149 has a lot of kid idols under 12 like Arisu, Momoka, Miria, Chie, Nina, Kaoru, Risa, Haru, and Koharu.
      • After20 is the polar opposite of U149, with mature, 20 years and up idols such as Kaede, Miyu, Sanae, Mizuki, and Shino are the main focus of the series.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: They boost an idol's performance and various card stats.
  • Art Evolution: Newer card illustrations are generally drawn better or with more complexity.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Musical stage battle idol style!
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Certain cards were designed to be used together for a Set Bonus. While this feature seems awesome on paper, the Metagame can make it a suboptimal choice.
  • Bonus Boss: Random rival battles. However you will need to be at least in certain areas around Japan to face them.
  • Bonus Stage Collectables: Beat the rival and she joins your studio (i.e. becomes a usable card).
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Naturally.
  • Canon Welding: Rin's appearance at the end of the Beyond the Brilliant Future! movie establishes that Cinderella Girls (or its then-upcoming anime, at least) shares the same continuity as both the original iDOLM@STER and Million Live!.
  • Card Battle Game: The "Live Battle" mode. Make a deck consisting of up to five cards and battle against other Producers' decks.
  • Clark Kenting: The idols resort to this after becoming successful, to hide from the paparazzi and avoid generating crowds when not doing work related stuff. Several card illustrations focus on what they look like when disguised as such.
  • Clicker Game: The main essence of the mobile game is that you click the "next" button repeatedly for the "Work" mode.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Pink for Cute, blue for Cool, orange for Passion.
  • Continuity Overlap: Both the anime and the manga that came before it establish that Cinderella Girls is set sometime after the Beyond the Brilliant Future! movie.
  • Costume Porn: Up to Eleven. It's been said Bandai Namco once hired fashion designers as advisers and it really shows.
  • Crossover:
    • The original 765 Pro idols were initially featured in Cinderella Girls as already successful sempai the cast hopes to emulate. However the original idols are used very sparingly (limited edition or special event promotionals) and not eligible for vote during popularity polls. They're in Cinderella Girls, but technically not considered among their official ranks. As of now, there has not been any cards for the 765 Pro idols, maybe because the cast of Cinderella Girls have been more popular, surpassing the OG Idols... or maybe because the 765 Pro idols are busy spending time with the Million Live! idols.
    • Since December 2016 there have been events where the 876 Pro idols from DearlyStars can be obtained.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Three girls from the sixth batch of Cinderella Master (26-30) were confirmed in an animated PV for Onegai Cinderella. From the Cool side we get Nao and Karen and from Passion, Syoko. Momoka and Nina (also appeared in the PV) were apparently replaced with Sae and Yuko, respectively.
    • The replaced idols later received their own Cinderella Master entries (35th for Nina, 40th for Momoka).
    • Some idols like Chieri and Koume (both from the fifth batch of Cinderella Master) had their voices patched in then-new cards before their CDs were released.
  • Free-Range Children: Not just all across Japan, but the entire world. The Producer sometimes travels along, but it's impossible for him to keep an eye on all of them at once. Some of the adult idols babysit as Cool Big Sis and Team Mom.
  • Genre Roulette: The songs introduced for this subseries encompass a genre range much larger than that of the other series branches. Some examples include Kanade's Hotel Moonside (an EDM-inspired song), Syoko's Dokukinoko Densetsu (a metal song about... mushrooms), and Miku's Onedari Shall We? (a jazz pop song).
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Well over 190 idols and all of them have card variants.
  • Hollywood Dateless: How this many beautiful girls and women are having trouble finding boyfriends or husbands. Averted once they become successful idols, upon which they have thousands of devoted male fans, but the only man the idol wants at this point is the Producer.
  • 100% Completion: Exploited. Entirely new idols, variant cards, and upgraded cards are added at regular intervals.
  • Idol Singer: Goes without saying.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: A frequent happening during the Drama CD skits.
  • Job Title: The idols seek to become a Cinderella Girl: the title given to the most popular idol in the world. The Producer is obviously the Idolmaster.
  • Joshikousei: Too many to list.
  • Kimono Fan Service: Again, too many idols to list. They've done this a lot times whenever they release cards (limited or not) based on Japanese celebrations and traditions like New Years or Summer Festival.
    • Sae, Syuko, Kako, and other Yamato Nadeshiko-inspired idols often don in Kimonos and Yukatas in some of their card illustrations.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Started with 100 idols. Reached around 180 as of late 2013 and broke the 200 barrier in 2014.
  • Mascot: Pinya Korata, the vaguely cat-like green creature that serves as the mascot for... heaven knows what. It's Ugly Cute enough to be practically a parody of the concept.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Apparent in-universe and in Real Life.
    • It's probably easier to list what doesn't get merchandised. The official company stance is, "anything not made to intentionally harm." Therefore you won't see products packaged as Cinderella Girls weaponry or insecticide. However everything else from food to clothing to toys to pet supplies are perfectly valid and do exist.
    • In-universe within the anime, every store window, billboard, magazine cover, subway car, television set, public bus, utility pole, etc. without a Cinderella Girls idol somehow shown on them. The idol craze is taken to lavish extreme, and the general public worships them for every entertainment need.
  • Metagame: Shifts seem to occur once every four to six months.
  • Microtransactions: A major source of revenue for the game makers.
  • Mobile Phone Game: The series began as one and continues to release newer additions in the same media.
  • Mukokuseki: Used with ridiculous extremes with some Japanese characters. While there are many characters whose hair is either dyed due to their job, or they sport foreign ancestry, there are some Japanese idols who inexplicably had either blonde hair, lighter skin and either blue or green eyes and they couldn't reasonably had either foreign ancestry or legimately dyed their hair due to their age, being the biggest offenders Momoka Sakurai, Kozue Yusa, Koume Shirasaka and others.note 
  • Music for Courage: The idols repeatedly sing songs of these nature.
  • Power Creep: Was pretty much inevitable, given the game format.
  • Power Equals Rarity: Holds true for the most part, but players have the ability to subvert this if they're willing to undergo Level Grinding.
  • The Power of Friendship: Storyline cornerstone of character interaction in iM@S.
  • The Power of Love: An idol's affection has a factor in the game. Many of them fall for the producer, whether they be older, younger, or teenage.
  • Promotional Powerless Piece of Garbage: Such cards exist (especially Rare cards) and they would end up becoming level fodders for stronger cards.
  • Reused Character Design: Several girls use similar, sometimes exact, themes in their character design. Some are even based on iM@S voice actress or inside jokes about the franchise. It's rumored Cinderella Girls incorporated rejected or unused development artwork from the original iDOLM@STER.
  • Sailor Fuku: Many of them are wearing this, whether as regular attire or something else.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: Personality details and character quirks of the idols.
  • Shout-Out: The background of the multi-idol Wonderful Magic series of cards features the silhouette of a castle that has a profile similar to Disney's Cinderella Castle.
  • Significant Birthdate: Considering that on average every other day is an idol's birthday, this is bound to come up.
  • Stylistic Suck: Pinya's design is 100% this.
  • Tagline: As of now, "Over 190 girls to produce".
  • There Are No Therapists: Quite a number of the idols should get professional counseling for their personality quirks.
  • Token Minority:
    • Dozens of idol are not Japanese nationals. The majority of these are American and European, but there are Brazilian, Chinese, and Korean idols too. However the series still lacks an idol of African decent or from the African continent, even when considering the Ambiguously Brown girls.
    • Anastasia and Frederica are automatically this for the Cinderella Master Idols, thus so far being the only non-Japanese girls to earn the honor.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The less popular or unimaginative idols tend to be abandoned and forgotten by Bandai Namco and game fans (i.e. don't get new cards). Fridge Horror if one interprets this to mean the Producer could not make her career successful and the idol's dream never comes true.

Starlight Stage provides examples of:

  • Alternate Continuity: Explicitly described as having its own continuity, though many elements from the anime do make appearances.
  • Ascended Meme: When the CD for Twintail no Kaze was released, one fan made a hilariously memetic video of "Nobunaga with Glasses". Three months later, the Starlight Stage music video for the song actually features footage of a textbook page with the very same picture of Nobunaga that was used in the Fan Vid.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Certain card types can be like this, especially if they lack synergy with other more versatile cards.
    • "Overload" grants more powerful Score Boost and maintains your combo at NICE/BAD at cost of 15 Life Points, but it activates very often and you will more likely lose your HP by Overload more than missing your notes. It also poorly synergizes with Life Sparkle, who requires you to maintain HP at your highest for the best modifiers.
    • "Encore" cards is either Game-Breaker or this, since it will copy the last skill activates. Since you have no real control over what skill you should copy, often times they're copied something that's not beneficial to your current conditions whatsoever (like activating Overload twice) or copying skills that you don't want to.
  • Boring, but Practical: Having an entire team made out of the same idol type, since most of the Center idol skills only affects the idols from the same type as the center idols, with few exceptions.
    • "Score Boost" cards are all scattered everywhere throughout the game. All they do is increase your score everytime you hit PERFECT and GREAT during the time activation, but you will most likely rely on them at all times and they can be splashed at any team that requires a good filler.
    • Similarly, "Combo Bonus". All they do is grant you bonus score based on your capability of stringing and maintaining your combos, but their multipliers are pretty good on it's own and doesn't have any special conditions/penalties or requires specific synergy with other cards. They a lot more rare since they're limited, but an SR Combo Bonus works just as fine and can be found commonly on Events and LIVE PARTY sequences.
    • "Coordination" are basically Score and Combo Bonus in one card but with a smaller Score Boost modifier, and unlike the Combo Boost cards (sans Riina Tada's 2nd permanent SSR card with a Tuningnote  modifier) they're non-limited card and can be obtained at any time and any banner.
    • "HP Recovery" heals 3-2 HP based on your PERFECT hit. While it doesn't contribute to the scoring, it does help maintain your current condition and synergizes well with Life Sparkle.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The Overload skill works this way. Every time it activates, it takes away a certain amount of your Life bar, but while it is active, it not only gives you a (slightly higher than the usual Perfect Bonus cards) boost to your score, it also keeps NICE and BAD hits from breaking combo.
  • Costume Porn:
    • The 3D models for the idols wearing their SSR outfits are highly detailed.
    • The DLC outfits are nicely detailed. However, with the exception of the Party Time Gold dress, only some idols can wear them.
  • Crutch Character: There are several SR card skill that are pretty good on the release but becomes obsolete as the time goes on.
    • "Damage Guard" keeps you from getting damage from missing notes or hitting BAD's and just that. They do have synergy with Overload cards, but HP Recovery is a much better option to maintain HP and even synergizes better with Life Sparkle cards, that requires player to get an Overheal to get it's best potential.
    • "Combo Lock" keeps your Combo from breaking when hitting NICE, but it becomes obsolete by Perfect Lock that can set your hit notes to PERFECT regardless of what you hit, synergizes better with cards that demand more on hit perfection. The skill was later retooled into Overload with better capabilities (they also maintain combo at BAD).
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Creating a Rainbow Teamexplanation  in this game can be cumbersome, since most of the cards you need is either limited and can only be obtained after release or at reruns/CinFes, or requires a specific combination to pull off, especially since card skills doesn't stack, and you still had to carefully build an idol so that their stat fit well with the card. Done it correctly however, allows you to rack up scores up to millions if you so desire.
    • "Tricolor Synergy" requires you to have at least three different card type in your team, has a lopsided stat that may or may not jeopardize your team-set and idol build, but they're essentially Score and Combo Bonus in one card and has a minor healing to boot, not to mention their modifier isn't slouch either.
    • "Concentration" gives you higher PERFECT boost modifier at a cost of having smaller PERFECT window once activates, which can be alleviated based on the device you're playing on. Weaker devices can trick out the PERFECT window by using higher beatmap speed and tap just a little higher from the button press at the right time, which is easier said that done but can be mastered with proper training.
  • Difficulty Spike:
    • Chiisana Koi no Misshitsu Jiken (Master) is the most notorious for this - if not for that one section in the middle it wouldn't be anywhere near a 27.
    • Twintail no Kaze's Master+ chart turns a straightforward 29 for the most parts into a nightmare that is equivalent to 30s thanks to that one ending with difficult flick patterns.
  • Early Game Hell: Not as bad as in SIF, but it still takes some time (or cash) to accumulate enough SRs to get good scores on Master difficulty songs. Thankfully, a Pro-only player can still be competitive enough in events to get those SRs.
  • Empty Levels: The higher Producer Level you have, the less frequently you receive increases in max stamina and friend capacity. After level 140, each of these increases only once every ten levels.
    • Updates have rectified this however, with max stamina coming in at faster rate. In addition, increasing your level also makes spending star jewels to recover stamina much more efficient.
  • Harder Than Hard:
    • During events, the event song receives a special MASTER+ difficulty, which is exactly as you might expect.
    • The MASTER+ difficulty became available as a separate folder for non-event songs (CINDERELLA MASTER solos and others), as well as event songs in one of the updates, which also added "slide" notes for the aforementioned difficulty. This folder uses MASTER+ tickets as opposed to using stamina, and divides songs' MASTER+ difficulty into 3 albums (A/B/C), each rotating every week, with new song charts to be added on each album rotation. Certain event types such as Cinderella Caravan, Cinderella Road, and Token events will not reward points/tokens when playing MASTER+ charts.
    • Legacy MASTER+ charts are also added for the event songs, which are the old MASTER+ charts at the time of an event running on that period; that means you can play previous event songs' MASTER+ charts (before Jounetsu Fun Fanfare) that do not have slide notes, or the later event songs (from Fanfare onwards) without additional changes added later on.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: One of the loading screens has a 1koma with Miria saying "R-O-A-D-I-N-G Noow!!"note . Mika comments on that, saying that the R should be L.
  • Level-Up at Intimacy 5: Maxing an idol's affection gives a bonus to stats. In addition, the player can put her through special training, which converts the card to its more powerful + form.
  • Loading Screen: Some of them comes with "rumors" of the idols, while others have a 1koma manga instead. Every month, idols whose birthdays are in the appropriate month will receive a new rumor or a new 1koma manga.
  • Metagame: The way of getting that 1000 PRP or 1 Million Score by total appeal keeps changing due to the cards and their skill effects and central skills.
    • Initially, having five single-type-attributenote  SSR cards (especially cards with combo bonus or score bonus) will net you big scores and huge PRPs, depending on how big the appeal numbers are...
    • ... And then there's these tricolor vocal/visual/dance cards that give you 100% single attribute appeal boost, only if you have at least three of different type cards.
    • After that, what comes after tricolor attribute cards? Type Princess cards, giving you 50% total appeal boost when you have five single-type cards, a polar opposite to tricolor cards. And the card skills metagame will change again, and again, and again...
  • Microtransactions: No wonder why Starlight Stage surpasses the original mobage game itself. Paid Star Jewels are what Scamco keeps the sub-series alive, offering you to buy many things such as:
    • A limited surprise pick idol ticket
    • DLC unit outfits
    • A 10-part gacha that gives you at least 1 SSR cards (guaranteed!)
    • A vote ticket pack consisting of 10-part platinum gacha ticket, three 50-stamina pots, and ten vote tickets (available during the general election period).
  • Mirror Match: The Cinderella Versus minigame from 2020 April Fools' event pits the idols against the shadowy version of themselves.
  • Money Multiplier: Each day of the week provides bonuses to drop rates; Saturday and Sunday are money bonus days.
  • Play Every Day: Daily login bonuses, frequent login campaigns, daily missions, and of course ongoing events all encourage this.
  • Scunthorpe Problem: Naming your units Pa/Vi, Pa/Vo, note or the alike is not possible, since they contain the word "AV", which basically means adult video.
  • Shout-Out: The April 2017 LIVE Parade playlist for April 2nd references brother series THE iDOLM@STER: SideMnote  in celebration of that game's 2nd anniversary.
    • In a similar vein, the September 2017 note  LIVE Parade playlist for October 7th (the day the first episode of the Side M anime aired) spelled "SIDEM" using the initials of the songsnote .
    • From the Halloween Code comes Nana Abe's reference to Sailor Moon "In the name of Planet Usamin,.
  • Temporary Online Content:
    • The promotional items associated with the anime, such as the anime Producer's desk.
    • Past event cards are shaping up to be this. Subverted when past event cards are obtainable through the LIVE PARTY!! mode or through a past event card ticket, obtainable in new events.
    • Due to specific wording in a limited-time-release Hot Springs gacha's fine print, it was believed that the three particular cards from that gacha (SSRs belonging to Chieri and Riina, and an SR belonging to Shizuku) would never be re-released, unlike cards from other limited gacha. Given that many players (especially whalers) poured a lot of money just to get once-in-a-lifetime limited Chieri/Riina/Shizuku, they feared that one day Bamco will rerelease the first Hot Springs gacha, making them feeling scammed by the company who insisted not to bring back these cards again.note  Eventually in 2019 they found another way to distribute the cards through the Memorial Gacha system.
  • Title Drop: The SSS rank title is called "Idolmaster".
  • Vocal Dissonance: Except for solo versions of "Onegai! Cinderella", the original singer(s) for each song will remain the same no matter which idols are on stage, much less what position on stage.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: SSR Perfect Support skills convert judgements from Bad upwards to Perfects. Skill Boost strengthens skills when it's active. When both are active, Miss judgements will be converted to Perfects, meaning the player doesn't even have to hit the notes while this happens.

Alternative Title(s): The Idolmaster Cinderella Girls Starlight Stage


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