After attending two events (covered in this post) and doing a bunch of chekis and shamekai, I retreated to my favorite HUB location west of Ikebukuro station to relax with a few cocktails, and to get ready for the big event of the day. When Sawabe Rion graduated from Tokyo CLEARS in November, I hoped it wouldn’t be the last time I would get to interact with her. I was happy to see she stayed active on her blog and twitter, and started posting different plays and whatnot she was doing. However, it was her announcement that she would be participating in Otona Idol Live Vol. 2 with a few of her fellow Ebisu Muscats graduates that got me completely excited. That, and her announcement that she would be putting out a new gravure DVD, something she used to do earlier in her career, and hadn’t done in quite a few years.
Rion’s most recent gravure DVD, from 2014. She has over a dozen titles from as far back as 2006
Yes, Riochi put out quite a few gravure DVDs early in her career under the name Sakamoto Rion. She made her first DVD at age 15, and her most recent five years ago at age 23. In the ensuing years not only did Riochi change her professional name, but she has also changed her look quite a bit. In fact, I think she looks younger now than she did when she was in her late-teens/early 20’s. But anyway, back to the show…
Once I had confirmed that I didn’t win the HKT48 theater show Sunday afternoon, I reserved a ticket for the Otona Idol Live online. I had no idea if the show would sell out, and didn’t want to get skunked on tickets. That evening Riochi did a Mix Channel live (pretty much the same as SHOWROOM) where I got the chance to tell her 1) her new hair color was cute, and 2) I would see her at the show. Riochi immediately reacted “Thank you Kurisu, I look forward to seeing you tomorrow!” About her hair color, Rion had been sporting a reddish-brown hair tint for quite a few years. However, she changed the color back to dark brown/black for the upcoming DVD shoot. And while the reddish hair is what initially attracted me to her, I still think she looks cute with the more natural color.
I knew that the Muscats unit were the headliners of the show, but there were two other groups also on the bill. Normally I don’t pay much attention to the other units when there is a multi-group performance, and I really didn’t recognize the names of the other groups either. But whatever, I can sit through a couple other idols while I waited to see Riochi again. I did check the bios of the other Muscat members Riochi was performing with since some of the group’s graduates have previous AV Idol experience, but these girls were all strictly gravure idols. Anyway…
I arrived at Space Emo Ikebukuro shortly before doors opened. There was supposed to be a queue along the street, but since it was raining most everyone was hiding under an alcove a couple doors down. I had ticket #68, but was probably around 30th to get in. I paid for my drink, and got an Ebisu Muscats sticker upon entering. I found a spot in the center around three people back from the stage with a fairly clear view. I realized that I forgot to bring any lightsticks for the show. Oh well, I really only use them once in a while these days. At 6 p.m. the lights dimmed, and the first group came out…
At first I thought I had heard of this group before, but I think I was confusing them with Lovely Doll. They entered the stage as a duo, although they had a third member (Hoshizora Moa, the “green” girl) who only participated in MCs. Overall they sounded like a fairly generic idol group, although I loved the third (and last) song they performed, Neko Nyan Nyan, which was edgy, and catchy.
Quite a few in the crowd seemed to know this group, and were doing all the member and song chants. I totally got into the “Ni-Jyu Kyun, Neko Punchii” chant. As for the members, Aihara Reno, the “yellow” girl with the short blondish hair seem to be the main singer, but I thought Ichihasi Erina (the “blue” girl) was the cute one. In any case, they did their 15-minute set with 2 MCs, and were done. On to the second group…
Okay, from the moment these girls took the stage, I assumed there was something “special” about them. Every thing about their music, the way they danced, oozed sexiness. But it was during their intro MC that it dawned on me, these girls are all AV stars! I mean everything about their MCs was about the size of their busts, and sex. I mean I know AV-related idol groups do exist, but this was the first time I had ever seen one in person.
Despite the group being listed as a quartet, only three of them were in this show. (The tall girl in dark blue wasn’t there) As pop idols they were really good. Their dancing was quite polished, their songs were a lot of fun. It was just an overall great experience. In fact, I kept thinking throughout the first two acts that they were all a lot more polished than the groups I see at some of these other idol lives. Maki Kyouko, the one in yellow, seemed to be the leader. Mizumi Saki (in silver) was the “busty” girl, although to be honest they were all busty, and Hara Miori (in red) was the cute, yet devlish one who seemed to be the most hentai during the MCs.
There were quite a few fans wearing the groups’ T-shirts (Are You Gin Gin?) and I was surprised to learn they have appeared at Tokyo Idol Festival, and do have a a few singles in their discography. One of their latest singles, “Push It” sounded suspiciously like they are actually saying “Pu$$y” and they motion to their crotches when they sing it. Ultimately their set was a little longer than the first group. The headliners were to take the stage at 7 p.m. for what was supposed to be a 40-minute performance. But first….
So I figured that Gin Gin Girls were probably AV Idols, and I was right. What I didn’t realize was that Lovely Pops, the first group who performed, were also a bunch of AV actresses. They didn’t initially give me that impression, but when I saw all the post show photos they took alongside GGG, I had a feeling. Anyway, here are the official sites for each group…
On to the headliner….
Finally what I had been waiting for. I was really interested in what this unit would sound like. Would they just sing a bunch of old Muscats songs? Would they do covers? Despite never seeing Ebisu Muscats live before, I am somewhat familiar with them. I purchased their debut single when it came out nine years ago, and I do own an Ebisu Muscats-themed Pachinko Machine (Doki Doki Girls Spot, which has been in storage in California for 5 years now) The four members took the stage in matching-styled, different-colored dresses. Riochi, the most petite of the four, wore a beautiful lavender dress.
I miss my old pachinko machines!
Most of their setlist consisted of early Muscats singles, including Oecura Mambo and Watashi Mambo, however, the biggest surprise was when they covered Tokyo CLEARS’ first indie single, CLEAN Love wearing the old CLEARS’ aprons. Riochi did eventually spot me in the audience and gave me a smile and quick wave. There seemed to be some sort of running gag with Riochi where the fans were calling her by some nickname, and she kept responding “_____janaiyo!”
The crowd was definitely the loudest for this group, and everyone got excited when they finished their initial set with Banana Mango High School, their first single. There was a quick encore chant, which they might not have been expecting since they came out and repeated one of the songs they had already performed. Once the show ended they quickly began setting up for buppan. Muscats and GGG were on opposite sides of the stage, and Lovely Pops set up in the rear of the venue.
So I knew I would be purchasing tickets to see Riochi, the question was how many, and also whether I wanted to meet GGG, since I admit I was really intrigued by. Interestingly, the Muscats area had a separate table to purchase Rion tickets, I asked the guy how much for a signed cheki, and he said 2000 yen, which is slightly cheaper than what CLEARS used to charge. In any case, I bought my tickets, but was unsure where to line up, so I just went to the rear of the general line.
In the meantime I noticed a couple other people buy Rion tickets, and ushered directly up to see her. WTF? Why didn’t that happen to me? Eventually I made it to the front of the line, and by this time Rion’s staff had created a separate queue for her, and were basically ignoring me standing there. Finally I said “Excuse me, but I have been waiting!” The guy responded that I was in the wrong line, failing to remember that the line he created didn’t even exist when I bought the tickets. He was going to make me go to the back of the line, which I told him was unacceptable, and that he should’ve created the queue when I bought the tickets. However, the other fans came to my defense and insisted I go next, then Riochi came out and grabbed me next. However….
This ultimately ended up being somewhat of a faux pas, as I am pretty sure the dude I was arguing with is in fact Rion’s younger brother. Whoops! But at the end of the day, he did not handle the situation correctly. Anyway…
We took the cheki, and I kept telling Rion how happy I was to be seeing her again, and that I missed her. She mentioned that she was really happy when I popped up in the Mix Channel feed, although I admitted that the video kept freezing on me, so I eventually clicked out. I also mentioned the pachinko machine, which surprised her a bit. I knew she was heading out of town to shoot her upcoming gravure DVD, and she told me she would be doing Mix Channel videos on location, so I should watch. And with that my time was up…
Now the question was whether I wanted to buy any GGG buppan tickets. From the look of it they really go all out with the fanservice. Very touchy-feely, almost as if they are giving fans the true “girlfriend” experience. Ultimately I wasn’t sure what I wanted to buy, or who I wanted to meet. Not to mention I had already spent quite a bit over the course of the day. They are definitely a group I would consider seeing again, so perhaps next time. I wanted to get dinner, and had a little bit of Japanese homework to do, so I excused myself to my new favorite restaurant Mouko Tanmen Nakamoto for a bowl of super-spicy ramen, and headed home…
I mentioned Rion’s upcoming DVD. Being that she had just appeared with a bunch of AV stars, it got me thinking. What kind of gravure DVD is she going to make? I mean she said she was doing things that were “new to her,” which could mean a lot of things. I also knew she was going to be filming in Thailand. However, she had also mentioned the production company that’s producing it, so I decided to check them out…
Well, they aren’t a porn company per se. That said, the type of gravure they do produce is extremely suggestive, and in most cases involves nudity in some fashion or another. The have various sub-labels which seem to have different specialties, but Rion didn’t mention which label she is working with. At a minimum their videos contain a lot of hand-bras, bare butt shots, and highly suggestive scenes. At the most extreme their videos involve nudity, and pretty much everything except for actual sex acts. Where Rion’s DVD is going to fall within that spectrum, I’m not sure, but it comes out in less than two months, and the company website will likely have a preview up sometime in April. I am really interested in what it contains. I’m sure she will have release events too, so that will definitely be fun.
In the meantime I will have to add Gin Gin Girls to my list of groups to keep tabs on, as they seem to perform quite regularly.
CK in Tokyo