With Wasamin busy rehearsing for her upcoming play, I have been relatively inactive lately when comes to idols. However, the groups I like had quite a few events scheduled over this past weekend that it wasn’t a matter of “if” I would attend a few shows, it was a matter of “who would I choose?”
Probably the biggest event I was considering was a performance by one of my favorite idols, who I hadn’t seen in almost four months. Sawabe Rion, who graduated from Tokyo CLEARS last Fall, would be performing at Otona Idol Live Vol. 2 in Ikebukuro as a member of Ebisu Muscats, the group she was a part of over five years ago. I ultimately attended that event, which will be covered in “Part 2” of this post series. As for the the other groups I was considering…
Hissatsu Emomomomo!! The idol group who “picked me up” in Shibuya on Christmas Eve, were performing four times, three shows at Ikebukuro Yes Theater, and one in Shibuya
Minyo Girls were in Saitama all weekend; Kamisato on Saturday and Wakaba on Sunday.
KissBee were doing free lives, in Odaiba on Saturday and Ikebukuro on Sunday.
As for FESTIVE and Setsuna Sonic, I didn’t see anything on their schedule that grabbed me. I should also mention that I did have applications in to see HKT48’s “business trip” performances at the AKB48 Theater, but I knew my chances to win those shows, especially Saturday, were quite slim. The good news was that KissBee, Emomomomo, and Riochi’s Muscats were all in Ikebukuro on Sunday, and their showtimes were scattered in a way that I could conceivably see all three of them. I also needed to devote a little time to Japanese study, so it was settled. I would study all day Saturday, and then spend all day Sunday in Ikebukuro going to shows. This however left the Minyo Girls as the odd-group out, shouganai.
KissBee “in-store” live at Parco Ikebukuro
What I neglected to mention was that Saturday was a gorgeous day; Sunny, slightly chilly, but a nice day to be outside. Sunday was another story. Cold, wet, windy, not a great day to be spending outdoors. KissBee’s two mini-live events were supposed to be held on the roof of the Parco department store at Ikebukuro station. There was a caveat on the schedule that inclement weather could affect the performance, although Tanifuji Misaki, my favorite member of KissBee, posted that he likes the rain, and had no issue with performing in it. Nevertheless, around two hours before the first show the management posted that their late afternoon live was cancelled entirely, and their early live would shift of being a “Buppan-only” event, with no performance. This announcement came just as I was boarding the bus for Ikebukuro, and I considered just bailing on their event entirely. But I ultimately decided that I really wanted to say hello to Misaki, so off to the event I went.
I got to Ikebukuro an hour before the event. Management’s tweet mentioned that CDs would be on sale from 11 a.m., but when I got to the top floor I didn’t see any booth, nor did I see any signs. I only saw a bunch of fans camped out on all the stairwells. I grabbed a quick lunch, and returned around 40 minutes later to find the same situation. I asked one of the staff where I needed to go to buy CDs, and he told me to line up on the stairs. (BTW, this proved to be bad information, not that it really mattered, although I wasn’t alone in being misguided by staff) I dutifully lined up, and when I eventually got to the top of the stairs I found out that 1) I could’ve climbed the stairs at any time to but a CD, 2) Most everyone already had tickets, and 3) the line was for “group shamekai,” which I wasn’t interested in doing.
I left the line and went to the Tower Records booth. There are like 7-8 different versions of KissBee’s new EP, “Imaginism,” and I wanted the Misaki-chan version. This afforded me two tickets, which I could use for a 2-shot shamekai and a handshake/signed photo session. I excused myself from the line, and re-queued for cheki/shamekai time. You don’t really get much talk time during the photos, just enough to choose a pose and say thank you. I hadn’t seen Misaki-chan for a while, so we got the “hisashiburi” pleasantries out of the way. I also told her that her new hairstyle is adorable. I suggested a “”raining” pose….
Well, on one hand the girl screwed up the shot by being too close to us, although in the staff member’s defense they were doing this in a narrow alcove. Ultimately you cannot see that our hands are outstretched as if we are feeling for rain. On the other hand, I like our expressions, and Misaki-chan’s “pouting” face is too cute. Anyway, it was getting close to the time where I would need to head over to see Emomomomo, so I hung out on the stairwell so when they called for the handshake queue I would be close to the front…
Of course a lot of people had the same idea, so when staff called for the queue there was a mad dash, I sort of got pushed to the wrong side, but I was able to force myself into the queue so I wasn’t too far back. They later split the lines into individual member queues, so the line got a bit shorter for me even though Misaki is the most popular member by far, I was probably around 12th-15th in line. I had opened my CD in hopes that she might be able to sign it, although I had a feeling she wouldn’t be able to. Sure enough, when it was my turn she sadly told me that she could only sign photos, and asked me which one I wanted…
I chose the pouty face over the smiley face pic. Anyway, I told her that I was sorry that the show was rained out, since I hadn’t seen KissBee perform for a while. I then told her a bit of what I had been up to lately. With that I said I would see them again soon, and took my leave. It would take me around 5-10 minutes to walk to my next destination.
Hissatsu Emomomomo!! at Ikebukuro Theater Yes “One Coin Live”
This was not the first time I had seen a show at the Yes Theater. Just after New Year’s I saw EmoX4 there in another idol ensemble show, although I neglected to do a report about it. The theater specializes in “cheap” shows; the one I went to in January was free with reservation. By the way, here is the cheki I took with Minase-chan that day.
The one I saw today was 500 yen with reservation. The catch is you have to purchase two drinks. The venue also seems to draw a lot of new groups without much of a fanbase. The theater overall is quite small, and the idols are often shoved into tiny corners for their buppan.
This show started at 11 a.m., and went until 4:30. Emomomomo!! were the 2nd-to-last group on the schedule, so I got there around 2:40 as one of the groups was covering a FESTIVE song, small world. BTW, I had made my reservation first thing in the morning, and got a response from the manager that they were looking forward to seeing me. I was also informed that the reservation came with a free signed 2-shot cheki, so ultimately the 1700 yen I shelled out to get in was an awesome deal. Since they were behind schedule I immediately went to the bar for my first of two drinks, catching the attention of one lonely idol group who wanted to give me a flyer. I was more interested in quenching my thirst at that moment, but when I came back out I asked for one, much to their excitement. I have no idea who they are, or what their live was like. I was merely being courteous. I headed back out to the stage and patiently waited for Emomomomo’s turn. BTW, let me talk about what attracts me to this group.
Why I think Hissatsu Emomomomo!! are great
Group’s Official Twitter
When Minase-chan came up to me in Shibuya I had no clue what the group was like. However, based on the venues they perform in and the groups they sometimes perform with, I had a feeling they might be a bit edgy. My assumption was correct. They have a fairly straight idol look. Seifuku, Sentai color codes. That said, their sound is closer to that of “metal-styled” idols. Although you don’t get a full example of that in the following video, it is their most recent, despite going through another lineup change last month…
But I’m not necessarily a metal-idol kind of guy. What really sets this group apart to me is they way they integrate the audience into the show. For starters, they spend a great deal of their set performing among the audience. They dance with the fans, and they are sure to get all the fans involved. I mean if they see you moving off to the side, they will pull you right back into the group. They will put you into the dancing circle, or the “head-banging” line. And if you are in the right spot, one of them will put their arms around you. The bottom line is you can’t help but get involved in the fun, it encourages camaraderie among the fans, and gives a unique sense of intimacy between the fans and the members.
Their 20-minute set didn’t disappoint, and I worked up a bit of a sweat from all the jumping around. Of course I got the occasional wave from Minase, and a “high-five” at one point while she was among the crowd, although it seemed like on this day the other members were paying more attention to me, including Himeka, the new chibi member with pink hair, who I also noticed has her tongue pierced. Frankly, all of them have engaged with me at one time or another, including Yuiyui, who has definitely been fishing me. In any case, I would have to wait for the last group to perform before the final five performers would begin the post-show buppan. I excused myself to get my second prepaid beverage.
For 600 yen you get a small cup of soda that’s about 90% ice, so I finished it rather quickly. As I headed back I noticed that the duo on stage were quite cute, and upon closer look….What’s this? The smaller girl looks just like a young Akiyoshi Yuka! (HKT48) Both members seemed quite young, but I was smitten with the Yukachan lookalike. Their performance was pretty good too, basic idol stuff, but they sang well. Hmmm, I may need to meet these girls. Their group name is “New-Wa”
Apparently they were a trio at one point
Buppan…2-shots and stuff
As the groups set up for benefits, the Emomo girls came out and began calling the names of fans who had earned a free cheki. Himeka had trouble pronouncing my name, but all the members knew immediately it was me, LOL. I proceeded to take my first pic with Minase-chan…
Minase had lost her glasses in all the commotion of the group’s set. So I asked her if these were a new pair or if she had found them? She immediately had the idea of me wearing her glasses for the pic. I told her that I also occasionally wear glasses, especially for reading kanji. She kept exclaiming that she was so happy to see me at their show again, and I told her how much fun I had, although initially I was positioned on the wrong side of the stage from where she usually stands. I need to remember that from now on. I immediately purchased another ticket, and re-queued for Minase.
For the second cheki I wore my own glasses so we could be nerds together. I showed her my Wasamin megane case and iphone cover. If you remember, when I first met Minase she said she was friends with Wasamin. In fact, when I showed her my goods she told me that she saw on my twitter that I sometimes tweet to and about Wasamin. So she knows I’m a Wasafan. In any case, two cheki sessions gave me plenty of time to talk to her. I briefly contemplated buying a cheki ticket for another member, either Yuiyui or Oshiko, who was one of two members who were offering half-priced tickets due to their lines being short. Oshiko is quite pretty, so I am surprised that she seems to be the least popular member. I was still thinking about the other group, so I moved over to the other side to see what their “deals” were…
Ryumeru Sekai Factory Flyer
In the meantime one of the members of Ryumeru Sekai Factory, the group who performed right before Emox4 tried to bait me over to their booth. Frankly, I thought their group was okay, not great. However, the member who engaged me (Mona-chan) happened to be the one who I liked the best. I also forgot to mention that while they were setting up for buppan, Noyuri, the cute chibi girl from New-Wa came up to me, handed me a flyer, and asked me to come and visit her. I was fished completely.
Group Official Twitter
The group had one manager handling the time, the cheki-taking, and the sales booth, so it took me a couple minutes to get his attention. My original plan was to meet both members, but when I found out that signed chekis were 1500 each I decided to just stick with Noyuri. Oh, and I felt slightly less creepy about taking a cheki with them when I found out they are both older than they look. In the meantime, I suddenly heard a male voice say “Kurisu?” from behind me. It turned out there was another Wasafan at the show who happened to be a fan of this group. He proceeded to explain to the other fans about me being a Wasamin fan club member, much to their surprise. Eventually it was my turn to see Noyuri, I was really excited.
The “salute” pose was her idea. She seemed unsure how to speak with me at first, but when I started speaking Japanese she eased up. The best was when I told her that I thought they were cute on stage, and she got this (you hentai!) look on her face. But she seemed really happy when I mentioned that her handing me the flyer made me come over. She asked my name, and at first was unsure how to write it. But when I said it Japanese style she knew she had it right, in fact she had already written it. Interestingly, once I started talking to her it was obvious she was older than she appeared. Her demeanor was fairly mature. Ultimately she got a kick out of meeting me as both she and her manager were laughing the entire time. They are definitely a group I would see again.
And with that I took off. I had one more show to attend, and wanted to relax with a couple of cocktails in the 90-minutes I had before doors opened. The evening show ended up being filled with unexpected surprises, and put me in previously uncharted and “dangerous” idol territory. That post is coming soon, so be ready for it!
CK in Tokyo