(Some spoilers might be in here)
As one of those clueless idol anime fans out there, I'll be honest here. I watched Cinderella Girls before I bothered to watch the original. Now, I was reluctant to watch the original after watching this because I thought to myself "wow, look at all these unique characters and great songs in Cinderella Girls", now that I look back at myself for thinking that, I want to slap myself as hard as I can this instant.
So some people are probably wondering what the huge hate on Cinderella Girls is compared to the original iDOLM@STER, now I'll put this example as a real life scenario. You all have seen those food commercials on TV or on your computer and said to yourself "Damn, that looks delicious" and you decide one day to go out and get that food you saw on the commercial to try for yourself and you see it as half the portion and not even relatively close to the food you saw on the commercial, this is what it exactly is like. A pile of misleading directions trying to sway on how you really want to think.
"Omg, why is this guy rating the story 5 for Cinderella girls while he rated it 7 for original iDOLM@STER?!?! Aren't they both basically about cute girls singing cute songs???" No, just no, this is the statement that refrains new-coming anime viewers to avoid anime with these kind of genres. Cinderella Girls is probably inferior in mostly every way compared to the original iM@S series. While the original was based on starting from the bottom, working together with friendship and hardships, going through fun times and the sad times, Cinderella Girls is the complete opposite. The way they produced this was literally half-hearted, they plopped the girls into one big room and forced them to mingle and that's how 346 Cinderella Girls was formed.
Even though the art for the original and Cinderella Girls are basically the same and made from the same studio, Cinderella Girls didn't give the same feeling as it did in the original. In Cinderella Girls it had those very lazy intros to each characters, such as just putting a caption under the character with their name on it rather than in the original where they zoomed up to each characters face trying to catch the viewers attention, it was a very half-hearted thing to do. They also had very awkward moments when they dressed up different, I'll take Rin for an example when she was dressing up for Mika's TOKIMEKI concert. Her face and her clothing were very awkward looking when she looked at herself in the mirror.
Why am I giving this a 10 if I said that this is inferior to the original in mostly every way? The keyword there was mostly. I'll be frank here when it comes to the song, it was very catchy indeed, the group songs were honestly better compared to the original group songs IMO (I have downloaded majority of the original iM@S Live The@ter series, the 765 Allstars pros, and their Solo Collection, same with Cinderella Girls, I downloaded all the Jewelry albums and some of their solos. I have to say that the group songs for Cinderella Girls is more pleasing to me while the solos for original is better, but that's just me. As far for how the characters sound, they all fit their character basically. Each character getting assigned to their personality with a specific Japanese artist, nothing too special.
Why are the characters such a low rating? Think of it this way, you go to your local Free Market just to see what's going on and you see a pair of Nike knockoffs that were smuggled in to be sold for a cheap price, let's say 20 dollars whilst you saw the same design of those shoes at the mall for 150 dollars. That is how you describe these characters, majority of them are just a half-baked knock off of the original characters while adding some new personalities to jazz it up and not get repeated. I'm not saying this is a bad thing because I love the Cinderella Girls characters also, but they just don't feel that attachable if you get what I'm saying. Each character has such a rushed development and doesn't make you feel that attachable to them. The main issue in this series were the separative groups such as Candy Island, Love Laika, and New Generations. This was a huge mistake in an anime such as this, I honestly think that this is what enraged some of the original series fanbase because the original had them all work together and go through the hardship together while in Cinderella Girls if they had an issue within the subgroup, it was their issue to deal with as the other girls just shrugged it off not trying to get involved with them.
Now I realize I sound hypocritical after saying at the beginning on how I watched this before the original series, but hear me out. I would've honestly given this an 8 or a 9 and the others a much higher rating if I never watched the original series, but this felt so inferior compared to the original after I watched it. They add melancholic drama to Cinderella Girls that shouldn't even exist. For example, when Mio got sad when she realized she performed in such a small crowd. I thought to myself "You fucking selfish bitch, you still performed in front of people tat a god damn mall, how do you think 765 felt when they got turned down from local auditions and had to perform in a country side full of middle aged people and elderly?!?!". This part is what infuriated me when I didn't even watch the original series at first, but after watching the original that specific part in Cinderella Girls just infuriated me even more. So for those who don't want to read this scumbag rant of mine I'll write a TL;DR below here
THE ORIGINAL IS BETTER THAN CINDERELLA GIRLS