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Video Game / THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls

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Over 190 girls to produce, indeed. And that's exactly 190, if you don't count guest idols.
Please! Cinderella
This dream won't end as just a dream
I've started to move, towards sparkling days!
Onegai! Cinderella, the subseries' flagship theme song.

THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls is one of the four sub-brands of Bandai Namco's THE iDOLM@STER franchise besides Million Live!, SideM, and Shiny Colors, spawning three games, two Anime adaptations, countless number of Manga spin-offs, ten (7 numbered and 3 unnumbered) real-life Live Concerts, a growing number of songs, and of course, Over 190 girls to produce. note 

All games of this subseries were jointly developed with Cygames (yes, that one), while all of the music releases are handled by Nippon Columbia, who publishes the mainline, non-Million Live! 765 Pro music releases as well.

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 in 2016.

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.

On September 3rd 2015, a Rhythm Game spinoff called THE IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls: Starlight Stage was released for Android and (later) 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).

An anime television series adaptation produced by A-1 Pictures aired in 2015. Two years later, A Cinderella Girls Theater anime adaptation aired in 2017 as part of the spring 2017 anime lineup, and has been renewed for four more seasons each year, totalling five seasons.

An All-CGI Cartoon short made by Orange known simply as Spin Off! was released in 2019 as part of the 8th Anniversary. A year later, just in time for Starlight Stage's 5th Anniversary, a new anime music video for "Go Just Go!" animated by CloverWorks was released.

On the tenth and final concert, an animated adaptation of the U149 spinoff was announced, to be animated by Cygames's animation division CygamesPictures.

After an unprecedented 11 straight years running, the original Cinderella Girls is geared for shutdown in late March 2023.

This subseries also has quite a number of manga adaptations, be it anthologies or spin-offs; see All There in the Manual section of this page for more.

Cinderella Girls brand provides examples of:

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     In General 
  • Actor Allusion:
  • 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, Drama CD interviews are here to stay. Said drama track "Mezase! Cinderella No.1" can be found in the second track of a Cinderella Master Album.
      • What about the other Drama CD tracks found in various albums sans CM singles, like those in jewelries! series or in 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 five-season animated adaptation expands more (especially behind the cards) of the idols.
    • Memorial Episodes. Whenever a new card of an idol is released, chances are that you'll see her new memorial episode, both in the Mobage game and Starlight Stage.
    • Tons. Of. Manga. Series. This series has been getting various one-shot compilations like DNA Media Comics' Comic Anthology series. Square Enix's manga division (Gangan Comics) also brought four manga anthology series: Shuffle!, Ensemble!, Idol of the Day, and Dereraji-san.
    • Not only these manga compilations, there are also a number of manga series focused on certain idols:
      • New Generations was about the eponymous unit consisting of Uzuki, Rin, and Mio; Rockin' Girl focuses on Riina, as well as supporting characters like Kanako and Rika. Both of these were part of the Cinderella Girls x Square Enix manga deal.
      • Wild Wind Girl takes a in-depth look of Takumi as the main character, with Rina supporting the delinquent idol.
      • U149 has a lot of kid idols under 12 like Arisu, Momoka, Miria, Chie, Nina, Kaoru, Risa, Haru, and Koharu. Chika, Mai, Kozue, and Yukimi would later be added into the cast as more chapters go on. Currently available on Cygames' Cycomics division.
      • After20 is the polar opposite of U149, with mature, 20 years and up alcoholic idols such as Kaede, Miyu, Sanae, Mizuki, and Shino are the main focus of the series. Currently available on Cycomics, just like U149.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Naturally for both games, especially given that the meta builds keep changing throughtout the years so that makes sense to cash in for either pulling the gacha rolls or tiering events.
  • 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!.
  • 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.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Pink for Cute, blue for Cool, orange for Passion, green is for the trainers and Chihiro.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: The ETERNAL MEMORIES ONA, being the 10th anniversary event for this franchise, features just about every collaboration, continuity, and event costume it can cram into a forty minute movie.
  • Continuity Overlap: Both the anime and certain manga titles that came before it establish that Cinderella Girls is set sometime after the Beyond the Brilliant Future! movie.
  • Costume Porn: To the next level. Rumor has it that Bandai Namco once hired fashion designers as advisers and it really shows.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Three girls from the sixth batch of Cinderella Master (26-30) were confirmed in the 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).
  • Idol Singer: What do you expect from this franchise?
  • 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, because there are at least 20 idols that are high-schoolers.
  • 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, Karin, and other Yamato Nadeshiko-inspired idols often don in Kimonos and Yukatas in some of their card illustrations.
  • Mascot: Pina 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 media; 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 needs.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Significant Birthdate: Considering that on average every other day is an idol's birthday, this is bound to come up.
  • Stylistic Suck: Pina Korata's design is supposed to be 100% intentionally bad.
  • 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.
  • Title Drop: The word "Cinderella" has been at least mentioned in some songs like "Onegai! Cinderella", "GIRLS in the FRONTIER", "comic cosmic", "Orange Sapphire", and "DoReMi Factory!".
  • Token Minority:
    • Dozens of idol are not Japanese nationals. The majority of these are American and European, but there are Brazilian (Natalia), Chinese (Yao Fueifuei), 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.

     The Original Game 
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Card Battle Game: The "Live Battle" mode. Make a deck consisting of up to five cards and battle against other Producers' decks.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: After the Korean version of Cinderella Girls went under, The whereabouts of Im Yujin, Ryoo Haena, and Juney went unknown.
  • Clicker Game: The main essence of the mobile game is that you click the "next" button repeatedly for the "Work" mode.
  • 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 765Pro idols are busy spending time with the Million Live! idols.
    • Since December 2016 there have been events where the 876 Pro idols from Dearly Stars can be obtained, which means Ai Hidaka, Eri Mizutani, and Ryo Akizuki (the sole male) were in this game.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The game features over 190 idols and all of them have card variants.
  • 100% Completion: Exploited. Entirely new idols, variant cards, and upgraded cards are added at regular intervals.
  • Mobile Phone Game: The series began as one and continues to release newer additions in the same media.
  • Metagame: Shifts seem to occur once every four to six months.
  • Microtransactions: A major source of revenue for the game makers.
  • 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.
  • Promotional Powerless Piece of Garbage: Such cards exist (especially Rare cards) and they would end up becoming level fodders for stronger cards.
  • 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.

     Starlight Stage 
  • Alternate Continuity: Explicitly described as having its own continuity, though many elements from the anime appear in the game as well.
  • An Interior Designer Is You: The game has three rooms available for the player to decorate, with a wide variety of items to use, many of which come in themed sets. Each event also has its own exclusive item, and pulling SSR cards will give the player posters.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature:
    • Previously, an event song would be added to the regular LIVE list after a certain time, or even months. Starting from 2018, most of the event songs that have ended would be immediately added to the regular LIVE chart after the event ends so you can immediately replay it again if you want.
    • An update aimed to change Live Party formula eventually allows player to have the card center skill to be based on what card the player bring into the team rather than to depend on the current team center idol, without any restrictions. This means the player would be able to use Focus cards or Tricolor cards without having to fit with the current team composition as they're always active and your scoring is determined on your performance rather than the team composition, which makes quick play more feasible and Live Party more accessible. Also doubles as an Author's Saving Throw.
    • Getting duplicates of an SSR card you don't want? Introduced alongside the memorial gacha; If you got an SSR duplicate of the one you have owned previously, you are guaranteed to get 1 diamond token that can be traded for items (akin to the Granblue Fantasy's Gold Moon). You can get a Platinum Draw Card from it for 120 diamonds, which allows you to pick any card you like from any period up since the game's release, or you can get an animated reel for 3 diamonds, which allows the SSR you select to receive animated art without having to pull the animated SSR, which were very rare.
    • Similar to Granblue Fantasy, the Star Shines that you don't use after the Gacha period has ended is automatically converted into Star Fragments. Star Fragments can be traded for various items to your liking (mostly upgrade items) but it also includes the costume ticket for a certain costume you can only get from a certain period (like New Year's countdown costumes) and some motions that you can use when previewing certain idols in your inventory.
    • Tired of waiting for limited card reruns? Don't have enough patience or money to save for a Star Shine Scout? Starting from 2019, Cygames added the memorial gacha and the Luna Shine Scout system; the former essentially allows you to draw either un/limited cards from wayback period (currently containing non-Fes limited SS Rs up to September 2019, divided into 4 segment for easier navigation) at a tradeoff of not being affected by rate-ups, the latter allows you to accumulate the shine points you got from drawing on the memorial gacha up to 300 times where you can pick any card from the memorial gacha pool, akin to the Star Shine Scout system, except it will not expire and will still accumulate everytime another card pool period is added onto the list. The card you can draw in question also included cards that never seen a chance for reruns (like Rinaa Tada's Hot Spring SSR).
    • Bamco introduces the Producer Mastery Points in 2019, where players can allocate points to boost certain aspect of the game, from fan gains, LIVE stamina cost reduction, et cetera. The producer mastery points allows you to circumvent certain grindy elements of the game to make progressing faster and more comfortable. With the added LIVE Infinity support masteries, it becomes outright necessary to allocate your points to it because of how grindy the project were, even giving players free mastery reset for limited time.
    • Previously, idol upgrades are merely restricted to statlines. Considering how the metagame relies greatly on skill activation, adding up stats are usually not worth the hassle as the number of stats increased is based on the rarity (which means SSR cards gains much less stats compared to SR cards) and you only want to do it for PRP farming or upgrading the health of the idols for Life Sparkle teams. Update in 2020 now allows player to upgrade their skill activation chance, allowing them to activate their skill more often as the bonus stacks up with the card's activation rating up to 90% (depending on card skill) at full card and activation chance upgrade.
  • 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 combo at NICE/BAD at cost of 15 Life Points, but it activates very often and the player will more likely lose their HP by Overload more than missing your notes. It also poorly synergizes with Life Sparkle, who requires the player 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 the player have no real control over what skill you should copy, often times they're copied something that is not beneficial to your current conditions whatsoever (like activating Overload twice) or copying skills that you don't want to.
    • This is pretty much the gist of "Alternate" and "Mutual" cards. "Alternate" lowers your current combo bonus in exchange of copying your best score boost so far with an additional 70 percent pre-calculation bonus (for example, it copies your Concentration, boosting your current score boost by 22% and nearly a double modifier increase). "Mutual" cards does the exact same thing, except it lowers your score gain by the same amount at a cost of higher combo bonus modifier in the same value.
  • Balance Buff:
    • "Concentration" was reworked from it's initial design, where you get up to 22% score boost if you hit PERFECT but breaks combo otherwise, into more manageable 22% score boost if you hit PERFECT but the PERFECT to GREAT window is greatly thinned without having to break combo. This means you don't need to use Overload or Perfect Lock cards in your team anymore just to use Concentration card as they're less punishing compared to it's past iteration.
    • "Type Brilliance" cards initially only gives 30% appeal boost, which makes them vastly powercrept when "Type Princess" starts rolling out into the limited gacha pool. To address the controversy, Type Brilliance was buffed to grant the team 40% appeal boost if it's used as a center idol, which makes a lot more viable to use compared to Type Princess cards.
  • 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, or if you confident enough about your dexterity that you didn't need Overload in your team for Life Sparkle focused teambuilds.
    • "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 to short-time banner or older Cinfes cycles, 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 (excluding All Round and Tuning cards) 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.
    • Copying skills tends to be offset by the drawbacks they bring; Encore copies the last skill it activates including it's downsides, Cinderella Magic activates all skill at once and apply the highest value out of them all at a cost of awful max stats, while "Alternate" and "Mutual" weakens your combo bonus or score gain by 20% in exchange of copying the best overall score or combo bonus modifier with up to 50% multiplicative bonus, and also dependant on which Score/Combo boost cards you bring to the team because it won't work without one. Refrain on the other hand only copies the highest-so-far score and combo bonus applied during the LIVE and the only thing you need is the appropriate Score/Combo boost cards, which means it'll copies Overhealed Life Sparkle, copies Overload bonus without the health penalty, copies the Concentration boost without lowering your PERFECT window, and so on. It's also a Cinfes Blanc exclusive, meaning that you get to pull one once every month assuming they do appear in the banner.
    • Out of all center skills, "Type Brilliance" is essentially this. It gives you 40% increase to all appeals for one type of idol. It's only slightly smaller than Type Princess and Type Unison, but it's also less restrictive compared to the other two. Better yet, "Type Brilliance" card is rather common among unlimited SSR's, making them a team staple until you either got one of the Type Princess or Type Unison cards.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The Overload skill works this way. Every time it activates, it takes away a certain amount of the player's 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.
      • Even the free outfits are pretty well detailed themselves, like Next Frontier, Hapinness Yell, Go To Paradise, et cetera. The latter has alternative version that can be switched between two different versions. The MOTTO! free outfit also has wide range of customization where you can select which outfit style and attributes you want to pick for the idol you like. After certain amount of time, these free outfits were updated so it can be customized with alternative colors you so choose for specific idol(s) you like.
      • However if you notice certain SSR costumes and some free costumes (like Ranko's 1st SSR and Shiki's 5th SSR), most of the details are cast in low poly properties, which breaks the illusion of the detail. The Deep Sky Blazes DLC outfit is also just a Palette Swap of Starry Sky Bright, which is a base outfit you get for starting the game.
    • The DLC outfits are nicely detailed. However, with the exception of the Party Time Gold and Connected Parallel dress, only some idols can wear them, usually depends on the corresponding units that the outfit was designed for (for example, only LiPPS members can wear the Tulip outfit, and so on). They can only be purchased with 2500 paid jewels, but it also includes a 10-draw tickets you can use immediately or save for certain banner.
      • There's also special casual DLC outfits that portrays wider range of idols in a non-customizable casual/model outfit, which like the stage DLC outfits, can only be purchased with 2500 paid jewels for each outfit.
  • Crossover: The "Year of Collabs" beginning in 2019 lead to various collaboration campaigns involving franchises such as Digimon Adventure, various Key games, Code Geass and Steins;Gate. These included room items and cover songs, as well as special introductory commus from collaboration characters.
    • Collaboration with musicians such as J-Folk band Yuzu and TRF's member DJ KOO bringing popular cover songs. Not only that, on Yuzu's side, they also made an original song for Starlight Stage called "Mujuuryoku Shuttle"; meanwhile DJ KOO made three Cinderella Girls medley songs: "CINDERELLA NONSTOP MEDLEY -DJ KOO Mix-"note , "TRF x CG -DJ KOO Mix-"note , and "TAKU INOUE SELECTION!!!! feat.DJ KOO"note .
    • The biggest collaboration of all however, was the one with Million Live! Theater Days. On Theater Days, it was Lazy Lazy (Frederica and Shiki) x Cleasky (Elena and Miya). TD's side was on November 2020. Not only the aforementioned units performed Lazy Lazy's Crazy Crazy together, but also they let Lazy Lazy cover Cleasky's Nijiiro Letters. Starlight Stage's side will receive a crossover between Rock The Beat (Riina and Natsuki) x D/Zeal (Shizuka and Julia) on February 2021.
  • 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.
    • Normally, card skill doesn't stack. Only the ones with the highest value percentage will take effect when two skill with same effect activated at the same time, like Life Sparkle will take priority over Combo Bonus or Focus card if the player has accumulated enough health. Resonant cards, essentially allows your team card effects to stack regardless which one is active or not, as long as they're in the center. The prerequisite? It requires you to have at least five cards with different skill effects, and only one kind of appeal (depending on the Resonant card) can be active for that live. This card syncs well with Tricolor Synergy cards where their appeal is highly lopsided and can be fitted with other cards with same appeal focus.
    • "Cinderella Magic" activates all available skill and applies the highest score/combo boost modifier available, including overhealed Life Spark and Concentration modifiers, all in generous duration and activation rate. It also possess "Cinderella Blessing" which applies all best available center passive to all cards in the team, which includes good center passive like Type Princess/Unison/Duet cards that increases type idol appeals based on their type if conditions are met, or useful passive like Cheer or Resonant cards. It was balanced by abysmal stats (none of them reach four digit numbers in total) and requires optimal build and a Resonant card (support or main card) to fully flesh out it's potential. Common strategies involves Magic cards at the center with Mutual, Life Sparkle, Concentration, and Ensemble cards for the rest of the team, also using Resonant card as a support card, so you can apply all the bonus passive for that team, and even then, you had to be lucky they'll activate all the available skills at the same time so they can stack.
  • Early Game Hell: Not as bad as in SIF, but it still takes some time (or cash) for the producer to accumulate enough SRs to get good scores on Master difficulty songs. Thankfully, a Pro/Master-only player can still be competitive enough in events to get those SRs.
  • Empty Levels: The higher Producer Level, the less frequently the player 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, until later update that finally allows MASTER+ charts for grinding tokens and road progression, but only if you choose to use stamina bar over EXTRA tickets.
    • 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. These songs did not add up towards the song's milestone, so you won't obtain the milestone prize of that MASTER+ chart (for example, completing and Full Combo-ing Jet To The Future Legacy MASTER+ doesn't achieve it's milestone, nor you will be rewarded for it, you had to play the regular/new MASTER+ chart to reach the milestone and get the prizes).
    • Early on in the middle of December 2020, the new difficulty called "WITCH" mode was released. This is a five-lane WIDE LIVE chart with added tricks and obstacles that's not limited to Fake Difficulty and Interface Screw, such as halting and/or reversing the notes flow to play with your fingers, or even tricking you into tapping a wrong note. It also added the Hazard notes, where if you tap them not only it break your combo and it's considered as a miss, but you cannot tap more than specific amount of Hazard notes or your run is over. It really incentifies the Trial And Error gameplay and really flip your way of playing the game.
  • 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.
  • Jiggle Physics: Each idol models has parts with added physics that allows them to jiggle around depending on the idol's movement. Parts like outfit, hair or outfit accesories, and even body parts included. Well-endowed characters like Sanae, Takumi, Shizuko, Miyu, Fumika, and many more have prominent jiggle physics on their large busts, but some models of average characters like Mika, Kaede, and Mio also have jiggle physics depending on the outfit.
  • 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 are 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 is the Type Princess cards, giving the player 50% total appeal boost when one have five single-type cards, a polar opposite to tricolor cards. And the card skills metagame will change again, and again, and again...
  • Microtransactions: Often overlaps with Bribing Your Way to Victory. This is the reason why Starlight Stage surpasses the original mobage game itself. Paid Star Jewels keep this sub-brand 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.
  • Nerf: Certain skill cards that were too powerful on release were nerfed to compensate with the Power Creep they bring, especially after newer, riskier cards that rewards the player for their skill was released.
    • Type Focus cards was initially introduced as a combination between regular Score and Combo Bonus with identical numbers, which makes the other two card type obsolete because of what they bring into the table is equivalent of a two cards, and the "Type Princess" center skill they bring makes them even more powerful in the passing metagame. Later on, Type Focus would be nerfed so that their numbers are now inferior compared to their vanilla counterparts. They would also release a watered down version of the Type Focus card called "Coordinate", which grants even lower numbers, but nowhere as restrictive compared to Type Focus.
    • Life Sparkle would also be nerfed after the playerbase realize they can easily get to 20% combo bonus upon getting 440 HP and uses it's "Type Cheer" center skill to boost it even further. Now it no longer grant as much, but the numbers they grant is still potentially more powerful compared to vanilla Combo Bonus, assuming that you managed to get the max overheal bonus and not missing notes.
  • Play Every Day: Daily login bonuses, frequent login campaigns, daily missions, and of course ongoing events all encourage this.
  • Power Copying: Certain card skills allows to copy another card skill or just copy it's score/combo bonus modifiers.
  • 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...".
    • Miyo Harada's second SSR card has her performing the sliding bike stop from AKIRA.
  • 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.
    • Averted with the Utaiwake supported songs, where the player had the option to arrange the position of the original five singer as they like and they will sing with their voice arranged. Theoretically, one can arrange them to make it sounds like the MASTER version of the song.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: SSR Perfect Support skills convert judgements from Bad upwards to Perfects. Skill Boost strengthens skills when it is 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.

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