Leaving the horse armour aside, this caught my attention:
[...] it wouldn’t be that difficult to design an iM@S-beating idol game that played on the same compulsions (both gameplay and content-wise) as iM@S, but it’d likely be, if not incredibly difficult, certainly extraordinarily expensive to line up all the necessary non-gameplay elements. Beyond accusations of mimicry, the biggest one is the voice-talent, which is where iM@S really struck it lucky. Most of the voice actresses for the games main characters – even the ones brought on recently – were hardly prolific at the time they signed onto the series, and many of them continue to be otherwise relatively small names. In the case of Rie Kugimiya, they were clearly extremely fortunate to sign her just before her popularity absolutely exploded. Yet they all worked out. To try and take mindshare from iM@S at this point, you’d probably have to build yourself a pretty stellar voice-cast to build your marketing around [...]
The facts weren't new for us. Asami Imai's performance was amazing in the anime, we know that. She grew together with iM@S as DiGi narrated. But one of "brought on recently" was incomparable Haruka Tomatsu, who since very much proved that she offered more than a cute package. I suspect that her promise must have been obvious to whoever audited her in 2008. So... It is not just luck, but clearly someone at Namco has a keen eye and knows how to negotiate (it may even be the same person -- a real-life Producer).