Rhymeberry – R.O.D / Sekaichuu ni I Love You review

While I am a long-time idol fan, there are only a few artists whose work I will unconditionally purchase physically, mostly for financial reasons. I purchase most things digitally, if I can, and then I buy  releases if I really like them in particular. However, the one you might not know about is the amazing Rhymeberry.

I learned about them for last year’s Tokyo Idol Festival coverage, with the help of one of my idol fan friends who has been following them for longer. They’re a subgroup of Usa Usa Shoujo Club, however, Rhymeberry seems to be going the way of Babymetal, by releasing their own music separate from their main group. Rhymeberry also is like Babymetal, in that Rhymeberry does a genre of music generally not associated with idol acts. While Babymetal is a metal act, Rhymeberry does hip hop. Yes, Rhymeberry are rapping idols.

This is their second single, the first being the fantastic Hey! Brother, which contained three of their best songs, Hey! Brother, Rhymeberry iz No. 1 (a live version), and Ich Diebe Lich.  However, Rhymeberry has only recently started doing the two songs on this single, as opposed to including other songs they’ve been doing live for quite a while. So perhaps this indicates more music to come? I hope so!

1. R.O.D

Right off the bat this reminds me how much better Rhymeberry is live. That’s not to say they’re not good on a recorded track. They sound better here than they did in Hey! Brother, and have really upped their game in terms of rap ability. However, there’s a real energy to Rhymeberry lives that recorded tracks don’t have. When I crave listening Rhymeberry, I usually pull up one of my favorite performances, and I imagine I’ll do that with these tracks.

However, on the track you hear more, most likely due to the mixing. There’s a really interesting electronic countermelody (do you call it that when they’re rapping?) that I never heard live. I think the Rhymeberry vocals are mixed a little too quietly, but the electronic bits sound really nice, as does the beat of the song.  The other interesting bit is that when they chanted live “R. O. D. 3 MC 1DJ,” on the track it’s just an artificial/robotic voice doing it, with no Rhymeberry. It doesn’t sound bad (the robotic voice reminds me of something from the intro to Bill Nye the Science Guy, oddly enough), but I prefer the live version with Rhymeberry shouting.

Even though this is the first billed song on the single, Sekaichuu ni I Love You feels more like the traditional single song (even though it’s a really weird song in its own right). Here the only chorus is the robotic voice chanting “R.O.D.” This is probably the most heavily rap-focused Rhymeberry song yet, because it really is a great chance for the three girls to show off their skills. It’s not a very melodic song.

This is ultimately a really great song to separate Rhymeberry from all the other idol groups out there. While they’ve always been rap-based, this is VERY far from standard idol music. The Rhymeberry girls are really getting better, and I can’t wait to hear more!

8/10

2. Sekaichuu ni I Love You

I’ve never EVER heard a song like this. Which is why I love it.

While R.O.D. was heavily rap-focused and not very melodic at all, the backing music is, of all things, 30s-40s sounding jazz/swing music. I don’t follow rap other than Rhymeberry, but I can’t imagine many, if any, other hip hop songs have done this. This is a really interesting/unique combination that I really think sounds fantastic. This seems like the type of song that could be completely divisive and some could hate it while others love it. I’m firmly in the ‘love it’ camp.

The backing music sounds really fantastic, with lots of appropriate instrumentals. The song starts out with piano, but soon band instruments come in. I personally appreciate the great clarinet parts in the song, as a clarinet player myself. It’s unusual, but really fits the feel of the song (especially in the chorus parts).

The girls sound really great as well. There are some really fun lines they shout (Yuka mentions Han Solo at one point, and they shout “Dope the Shit” a few times (written in the lyrics booklet as “Dope the ****”). While this isn’t as intensive of a use of their skills as R.O.D was, they still sound really great, and I appreciate the brief spoken part by Hikaru (the DJ mentioned in R.O.D who DJs all the Rhymeberry concerts). The song also gets a bit more of a chance for expression rather than pure rapping skill; for example, Hime sounds really great in the way she raps the “kekkyoku dareka ni aisaretai” line.

Like I said, this is probably divisive. You’ll most likely want to listen to it a lot, or not at all. However, I think it’s fantastic, it’s creative, and something I’ve never heard before.

9/10

Overall: Another great effort by Rhymeberry, definitely upping their skills in the 9 months or so since Hey! Brother came out. While I preferred Sekaichuu ni I love You for its creativity, R.O.D is a very good track as well, both showing off how strong Rhymeberry is as a unit. This is very much recommended (dope the shit!)

8.5/10

 

Momoiro Clover Z ‘5th Dimension’ Review

As some of the readers of Happy Disco may know, I loved Momoiro Clover Z’s first album to death. Battle & Romance still stands out to me as one of the greatest idol albums ever. However, I’ve found myself not quite as much into their music as I had been in the past, with Otome Sensou (which has since grown on me) and Saraba Itoshiki Kanashimitachi yo. So how will I like 5th Dimension, Momoiro Clover Z’s second album?

(as a note my scoring system is now out of 10. 5 is totally indifferent, anything above 5 is positive, anything below 5 is negative. So if I give a song a 6, it means I like the song, just not that much)

1. Neo Stargate
I already covered this for my First Impressions series, so I won’t get too much into it. However, I will say that I do stand by what I said in the review, in that I really like it before it goes up tempo and I feel like the chorus, while good, is out of place. The opening of this song is so epic and is a really great album opener, but the chorus really falls flat for me and doesn’t quite have the same epic feel that the rest of the song does. If they had removed the chorus (and considered the “Open the gate, open your soul” lines the chorus), it would have tightened up the song and ultimately I think this would have been a lot more successful. However, I think this is also mainly a problem with the first chorus; the later choruses, where there’s a bit more of a drum beat and the choral vocals are layered on, it fits in a lot better.

Regardless, I really do like the bits that are like the opening, as well as the “Open the gate…” lines. I know I sound critical, but I just think that while this has a lot of potential it doesn’t quite live up to all it could be. However, Neo Stargate is ambitious and has a lot of really great elements to it, so it’s definitely an interesting opening, at least.

Of note, that on the disc (not in the PV) this starts off with about two minutes of the ‘O Fortuna’ from the Carmina Burana. It’s definitely epic, but at this point for me it’s SO overplayed that all it serves to do is make me giggle. It feels a bit lazy, because it’s such a shorthand for epicness right now that it kind of falls flat for me. Ah well, the song itself is decent.

5/10

2. Kasou Dystopia
After Neo Stargate this is a bit of a surprise; while flawed, Neo Stargate was a pretty epic opening. This is an uptempo, happy sounding rock/pop song. In fact, the opening of this song most reminds me of Pinky Jones B-Side Kimi to Sekai. Which is definitely not a bad thing. However, the rest of the song really doesn’t follow Kimi to Sekai.

While this song would be a pretty ordinary rock-inspired pop song, Kasou Dystopia really stands out as the song goes on, with multiple vocal parts playing off each other. While most idol songs have the main melody covered by vocals and maybe a harmony part, there’s a really unique use of multiple vocal parts here. It sounds really nice and refreshing.

The one section of this song that really stands out is the bridge before the last chorus. The interplay of all the voices, with solo parts and ‘la la la’ in the back is gorgeous. Add the instrumentals building up to the last chorus, which itself is really great.

After a couple of listens I’ve found that this is a really nice song. I have no idea if anyone will really like it as much as I do, and certain parts aren’t quite as good, but man that bridge as a section alone is one of the best things I’ve heard recently.

8/10

3. Mouretsu Uchuu Koukoukyouku Dai Nana Gakusho “Mugen no Ai”
How much more do I have to say about Mugen no Ai? It was my 8th favorite song of 2012, which sounds low but it had some tough competition. Honestly, Mugen no Ai is a pretty perfect song, and I agree with the assessment that it’s Japan’s answer to Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s perfectly epic with the vocals, the choir in the background and the electric guitar all working perfectly together. I know this song convinced some people to follow Momoiro Clover Z, and I don’t blame them because this song is pretty amazing; as close to perfect as you could reasonably get, in my opinion. Definitely fitting of the epic feel of Neo Stargate (on that note, why didn’t this come after Neo Stargate and then before Kasou Dystopia? This album’s starting to have a good overall feel, but some of the songs sound a bit odd in relation to one another).

10/10

4. 5 the Power
The fact that this isn’t the fifth song will never make sense to me. So far, the placements of each song really don’t feel like they make much sense, anyways, which is a bit of a shame. The album has a lot of things that feel cohesive, and the songs really seem that they fit together, but I don’t quite grasp the order.

Anyways, MomoClo plus rap. It sounds like they’ve definitely improved upon their rap skills since their bit in Roudou Sanka, which is nice. They aren’t quite as good as, say, Rhymeberry, but they definitely do a good job here.

While I’m not a big hip hop fan, it definitely reminds me of 80s/old school hip hop, which is nice because that’s definitely the kind I prefer. The chorus has a similar feel, with a little disco-esque influence. The chorus reminds me eerily of the Morning Musume song Inspiration, which is one of my favorite Momusu B-Sides. Not a bad thing, but I have to fight myself from singing the Inspiration lyrics when I listen to this.

While the end is a bit slow, ultimately this is a really solid track. It feels a bit out of place, but I like it well enough.

7/10

5. Roudou Sanka
Speak of the devil, the original song with some rapping in it. While I don’t think I’ve written much about Roudou Sanka in the past, I can say it’s a favorite of mine. It’s just ultimately a really well crafted song dedicated to the hardworkers of Japan in the wake of the Earthquake in 2011. The entire song stands out, but the one thing that I really like is the instrumentation. Idol music needs more brass instruments! (and more woodwinds, for that matter). The rap section is also a favorite of mine, just because of how passionate MomoClo sounds while doing it.

All in all, really excellent stuff. If you haven’t heard it by now, seriously where are your priorities.

9/10

6. Get Down!
Roudou Sanka and Get Down! already have connections; they were written by foreign songwriters! Roudou Sanka was written by Ian Parton of The Go! Team, and Get Down! was written by the lead singer/guitarist of Ok Go. So really, this is MomoClo’s effort to work with every foreign artist with “Go” in their name.”

This is probably one of the songs that sounds least like idol music MomoClo has done. While they’ve had their eccentric songs in the past, most of them are rooted in idol music. This sounds like retro music, with a pseudo-Beach Boys feel (the ascending “ahs” leading up to the chorus, especially), that feels a lot like the music OK Go normally does. Which is excellent.

I’m a big fan of a lot of indie/alternative groups in the US, and I like upbeat music with some folk influence. While I don’t actively follow OK Go, they fall into the kind of aesthetic I enjoy (alt rock). However, I haven’t really seen this come up yet with idol music, partially because I don’t know how big this is in Japan.

This is a catchy, upbeat and fun song, and everything about the pacing, the arrangement and songwriting is pitch perfect to me. I really hope this influences idol groups to explore alternative rock and power pop, because I would enjoy hearing this more.

This is one of my favorite MomoClo songs since DNA Rhapsody blew me away (though not my favorite song on the album, that’s still to come!)

10/10

7. Otome Sensou
I have a confession to make.

…. I actually like Otome Sensou now.

Now a lot of the things I raised when I first reviewed it still stand. There are plenty of issues with the pacing, the instrumental feels empty in places, and the choruses are kind of a letdown after a great build up. This all still stands. However, it’s grown on me and I’ve started appreciating it more. Because really, there are great elements in there. The slowest section is really beautiful and the initial section is energetic and fun.

For me, the most frustrating thing about Otome Sensou is that I feel like, with a little work and tightening up, it could be one of my all-time favorite idol songs. It’s so ambitious and has so many good elements, but it falls flat.

Still, I know that for some people this is the pinnacle of MomoClo. And that’s fine. However, for me, it’s become almost synonymous with missed opportunities.

6/10

8. Tsuki no Gingami Hikousen
The opening for this is beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous. I’m not a ballad fan, as some of you might know, but this seems like a ballad that I could get behind. It has a lot more power than MomoClo’s major ballad from Battle & Romance, Kimi no Ato, and I think this really fits the epic feel that MomoClo is trying for.

I have to say, while I found Momoka’s voice to be generally overrated for the majority of MomoClo’s music, her voice is gorgeous here. Ballads really suit her voice, and it sounds fantastic. Kudos, Momoka.

Nothing really lives up to the gorgeous opening 30 seconds, though. The rest of the song’s really quite nice; I love the use of piano near the beginning, especially. However, the intro really shines apart. I find myself preferring the song much more near the beginning; the rest of the song’s really good, but even beyond the intro the first verse is the best. Still, it does drag on a bit, and the fact nothing really lives up to the first part is kin of disappointing.

Still, this is a really solid ballad with some fantastic sections. Like this a lot.

8/10

9. BIRTH Ø BIRTH
(on a side note, song/group names should stop using irregular characters because it inconveniences me <3)
NARASAKI, while not my personal favorite MomoClo composer (that’s, of course, the incomparable Hyadain), is a fan favorite composer. So really, this song has a lot to live up to.

And I have to say, it’s probably my least favorite song on this album. It’s another song that I feel like has a lot of potential, and has sections that sound fantastic, but as a whole it doesn’t live up to the potential. Is it fair that this song doesn’t live up to the hype? Perhaps not. However, as a song it is kind of muddled.

The chorus sounds really great, and the later bridge does as well. In fact, to me this is almost the exact opposite of how I listen to Neo Stargate. In Neo Stargate, I wish they would focus less on the pop elements and focus more on the epic, dark elements. However, here I think the darker/heavier elements are the weaker bits, while the pop-focused chorus/ending are really excellent.

I also don’t really like the dubstep-flavored elements. It feels excessive and unnecessary, and it’s not particularly good dubstep. I’m fine with these elements popping up in

Ultimately, again, this song has elements I want to love, but it’s just weighed down by unnecessary elements and things that don’t really fit together. Sorry NARASAKI, this doesn’t cut it.

4/10

10. Joukyu Monogatari -Carpe diem-

This is by the guy who wrote Chai Maxx, and man it sounds like it in the chorus. Chai Maxx is one of the best MomoClo songs, so this isn’t bad, but it really is clear that this is the guy who was behind Chai Maxx.

Otherwise, though this is a bit weird; the song sounds almost funk/soul inspired in a way, with some beach boys-y surf rock elements in there. Plus, this is the theme song for an act with dinosaurs and I can hear that. This is an interesting sounding song, that’s for sure.

It’s a bit slow in parts, but it definitely picks up near the end, where a heavier beat really adds to the song.

Ultimately it’s a bit weird, but that’s very Momoiro Clover. It’s not immediately the most catchy song and I can’t see myself listening to this too much on it’s own. However, it fits the album and definitely fits the album. The lyrics are also pretty interesting, because the phrases “memento mori” and “que sera sera” are featured prominently. Interesting stuff.

Also, I might be biased, but Sasaki Ayaka’s solo section after the chorus is really amazing. Again, I might be just saying this as I’m a huge fan of hers, but I think people really underestimate her vocal ability. She might not be able to belt and sing ballads quite like Momoka, but the scatting/fast singing after the chorus here really stands out and sounds fantastic. A~rin owns this song.

7/10

11. Soratobu! Ozashiki Ressha
This one starts off kind of weird; what sounds like a heart beating fast and a train whistle! When I first heard this I didn’t quite know what to make of it! The song pretty quickly gets back to normal, though.

The song itself sounds like pretty retro, 50s rock. It’s the type of music I don’t necessarily associate with idols, but sounds nice when they do. I always dig retro inspired idol songs, and this is no exception.

Much like Carpe Diem, I can’t really see myself listening to this that much. This isn’t really a classic MomoClo song at all. However, it’s fun, I like the train whistles near the beginning and end, and the announcer is pretty fun, too. It’s energetic and nice, but not spectacular.

7/10

12. Saraba, Itoshiki Kanashimitachi yo
By now if you’re a MomoClo fan you’ve probably heard this. When this first came out, I wasn’t really all that thrilled. Initial live performances were underwhelming, and I was still not quite feeling the direction MomoClo was going in.

However, while this might not be up to MomoClo’s standards, this is still a good song, and definitely well construction. None of it overstays its welcome or feels like it’s dragging on too long. I love the verses, especially, with a bit of the harpsichord (that will become more prominent later) doing a very quiet countermelody. Hell, more idol music needs more harpsichord, calling it. The xylophone (or related instrument) sound that sometimes comes in is great, too. MomoClo, with all the instruments in this, Pinky Jones and then Nippon Egao Hyakkei (mostly shamisen there) needs to pioneer the use of more unusual instruments in idol music.

I love the interplay between the dark and light within this song, though darkness dominates. The difference between the harpsichord-heavy sections and the guitar heavy sections is really good.

While I don’t think I appreciated this song as much as I should have when it came out, I appreciate it now. It might not be quite as strong as some of the other MomoClo songs, but that’s because MomoClo sets itself a really REALLY high bar so when something falls even a little flat it’s really noticeable. This is a good song. Not the best, but definitely good.

8/10

13. Hai to Diamond
OK, let me get my bias out of the way. Maeyamada Kenichi, AKA Hyadain, is my favorite composer, not just in Japanese music, but in popular music in general. He’s up there for me with the other musicians of today I find to be genius, and there are only a couple of music producers in general today who I think beat him in terms of well-constructed, creative and downright good songwriting.

That being said, this song is an utter work of genius and is a very good candidate for my favorite song of the year. Hyadain usually controls every aspect of the songs he writes; he usually writes the songs, arranges them, writes the lyrics, and often does vocal coaching. Here he only wrote the song. That being said, both Hyadain and the arranger need to be commended, because this song is one of my favorites in a while.

While a lot of songs felt really long on here, interestingly enough this 7 minute closer doesn’t feel long. There are a lot of different parts about this songs, but Hyadain does what he does best and really made the transitions between parts seemless.

The arranger deserves a lot of credit, too; the piano and strings, in particular sound really fantastic.

While the rest of the album was trying to be one long work, there were sections where I wondered if that was actually the case. However, this definitely feels like the ending. It just makes me wish that Hyadain wrote an entire symphonic work for MomoClo for their album, and this could be the last thing.

In my review of Neo Stargate, I criticized the use of O Fortuna for being a bit of a lazy shorthand for epicness. Which is true. However, Hai to Diamond succeeds because it’s genuinely incredibly epic, with both the song itself and the arrangement.

Simply put, this song is utterly epic, beautiful, and well-written. It builds from a slower, pretty section that felt like it would be another simple ballad on the album, but builds gradually into being an epic piece. This is why I love Momoiro Clover, this is why I love Maeyamada Kenichi. The lyrics, from my lyrics, are very nice as well. My two favorite lines in the song are Ayaka’s “Tsubasa ga aru mitai” (Like I have wings) and Kanako’s “Hai no naka no diamond” (Diamonds in the middle of ashes).

I realize I’m gushing, but this song is incredible, and one of my favorites. This makes the album for me.

10/10

Overall: I tentatively like this album. It’s not perfect, but it’s good. It’s not to the level of Battle & Romance good, but expecting that much was asking a lot. My biggest issue with this album is that both it and the songs tend to drag on longer than their welcome. I think if this album took advice from my assessment of Otome Sensou, and faced a bit more editing down the album would be a lot better.’

However, all the girls sound great, and this is definitely not a bad album. There are great tracks and it does fit together pretty well. Don’t take my criticism to mean I don’t like it; I’ve honestly never liked Otome Sensou and Saraba better than I do now. This is a good album, great even, but far from perfect.

This album’s also really divisive for me. On the one hand, certain tracks fell flat and disappointed me. On the other hand, other tracks are amazing and really fantastic. It’s a mixed bag, rather than the consistent greatness of Battle & Romance. Still, this is a lot more ambitious than B&R was, and only serves to reason that it would have (IMO) higher highs and lower lows.

If you like the current direction MomoClo is going, you should like this album. If you don’t like current MomoClo, this MIGHT make you give them a second listen, but it will probably not be to your tastes.

Ultimately, I like the album, and definitely recommend you listen to all of it, even the songs I was less fond of, so you can give your own opinion.

7.6/10

TIF 2013: The Stages

There are a lot of places to perform in TIF; but what does it mean if your favorite artist performs there? (this post will be kept updated if any of the stage arrangements change; however, things stayed pretty similar between 2011 and 2012, so I doubt there will be any major differences with 2013)

Hot Stage- TIF takes place at Zepp DiverCity, the sibling venue to Zepp Tokyo, both hall venues. Zepp DiverCity has about 2500 seats, and normally is home to pretty medium-size acts. Hot Stage is the big event that takes place at this major stage. Since it’s the big venue, most of the acts performing there are single-artist concerts that take around 40-45 minutes. These are the big headliner acts, as well; Idoling!!!, The Possible, Tokyo Girls’ Style, Sakura Gakuin, Vanilla Beans, AeLL and Negicco all had shows there, as well as SKE48, Afilia Saga East (now just Afilia Saga), Fudanjuku, etc. This is where the more known idol acts perform their main shows.


Here’s Sakura Gakuin at last year’s Hot Stage

In addition, Hot Stage is where the big evening show that features the more adult idols take place. KNU, Ayaman Japan, Sexy All Sisters, BiS and others performed last year, and if you like these more adult-themed idols (or you just want a really fun, strange performance), this is a really fun show.

Here’s a (slightly NSFW) video from the Hot Stage evening club show.

Green Oasis– There are a lot of outdoor stages, but this is one of the biggest for TIF! This stage was new in 2012. It’s placed pretty directly outside the Zepp Diver City/ Hot Stage and has a lot of space for people to watch idol acts! In fact, with all the seating/standing room available, it’s very close to size to the Hot Stage itself. This stage features individual acts as well, but they’re shorter, 15 minute shows, usually. It’s an interesting venue, because while relatively larger groups have done performances here (Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku, Idoling!!! subgroups, some very small groups got performances at Green Oasis (Kurikamaki, feam, choice? Tokyo Cheer2 Party, etc.) This stage would be excellent exposure for a new up and coming idol act.

Doll Factory- Another indoor stage, but this one’s at the nearby Wangan Studio for Fuji TV. While indoor, it’s a smaller venue than the Hot Stage. As such, usually smaller artists perform there, though some Hot Stage artists have different shows there (Sakura Gakuin, The Possible, Fudanjuku, etc.) While there are a lot of smaller 20 minute shows (9Nine had a longer show), Doll Factory has a lot of group lineups all forming one larger show, such as the “Dream Unit Live” featuring Idoling, Sakura Gakuin, Tokyo Girls’ Style, Vanilla Beans, Fudanjuku, The Possible and YGA (though most of these line-ups don’t have quite that many major acts in them).

Fantastic Theater – Fantastic Theater is another small venue taking place at the Wangan Studio, but right near the front. While Doll Factory’s still a decently sized event, this is even smaller for smaller idols. While they have both small solo shows (around 15 minutes each) and collaboration shows, they also have interesting events like idol talk shows/events, which can be a nice reprieve from all music all the time. Since it’s so small, the groups that perform here tend to be on the smaller side (Himekyun Fruits kan, Gal Doll, etc.) though notable acts like Dempagumi.inc did perform there last year.

Wonder Future Planet – Last year this was only on Sunday, the second day, and was new in 2012. This is held in the plaza of a local hotel. A collaboration with Nico Nico, this was intended for fresh, next generation of idols. As such, smaller acts like Izukoneko, Caramel Ribbon, BiS and my favorites Team Syachihoko performed. They also had something called the Idol Summit 2012, and the Dream Shuffle 2 Shot. I don’t know what these are, so if you know I’d love to hear from you! So this is intended primarily for fresh, young, up and coming idol acts!

Smile Garden – While TIF is a paid event (5000 for one day, 9000 for both, as of last year), there are two free areas. One is the Smile Garden, an outdoor venue. Larger groups had lives there last year, and it was also the home to the Opening Live. It even (sometimes, at least) features a live band, which is pretty rare for TIF. While this did have some larger shows last year (a 45 minute Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku one, notably) there are a lot of collaboration events. Some of the most interesting events are the Idol Summer Jamborees, which are the events that feature the live band. One was a live band and a collaboration between Idoling!!!, Tokyo Girls’ Style and Sakura Gakuin. This really shows the strengths of having an event like TIF; it allows for strange, unusual collaborations, bringing idols together. This is also arguably the most diverse stage; last year groups as vastly different (in popularity) as SKE48 and Minicheer Bears took the stage.

Sky Stage – This takes place on the open air rooftop of the Wangan Studio, which is a really cool looking venue for TIF to perform. Two notable events, the East Japan Idol Live and the West Japan Idol Live brought together local acts from those parts of Japan for two long shows (West Japan Idol Live featured Team Syachihoko AND CQC’s, two of my faves). Another diverse stage, while Sakura Gakuin, The Possible and Passpo performed here, so did Osaka Show Gangs, Himekyun Fruits kan and Lovely Doll, so this is another diverse stage. This is probably one of the more unique venues you could see an idol live, so I really hope they continue it!

Secret Court – Yet another venue for up and coming future groups, but it’s hardly a secret location; it’s right below the Sky Stage at the Wangan Studio. All solo shows, this is where Rhymeberry, Oh*Campee, Idol College, Usa Usa Shoujo Club, etc. were able to do solo shows. When the most known groups are arguably BiS and AeLL, this is for lesser known groups.


(Yes, more Team Syachihoko. Because I can.)

Fresh Field – This is also on the roof of the Wangan studio, but it’s a really close field. And by field, they mean actual grass. The audience sits on the grass with the idols performing in front of them; I’d imagine this would have a really intimate, close feel; it’s one of the ways you can be closest to your idols. Sadly, while I think this would be a unique experience, there are relatively few artists/shows that happen at Fresh Field. However, even if none of my favorites performed there, I’d want to go to at least one show at this unique set up.

Welcome Marquee – To be honest, I’m not quite sure about everything that goes on here. I know it’s a free area at the entrance where groups welcome visitors, but I’m not sure what the performances are like. The timetable for last year was packed, though, with a wide variety of artists performing/inviting guests into TIF.

Greeting Square – essentially the handshake event location, this is where you meet idols. There are multiple tables so the list is always very full, giving you many opportunities to see your favorites.

Other than this there’s food and merchandise. Depending on if TIF wants to expand any more (from the 111 acts that came to TIF last year) or if they want to scale it back, I’m sure they’d either start a new stage or stop an old one. However, given the past few years, I doubt they’d change anything drastically.

Tokyo Idol Festival 2013 is upon us!

For everyone who didn’t guess yesterday, my announcement about “Hallyu Disco” was only an April Fools’ Day joke. So far most of you caught on, but I fooled my mom and my sister, who were so confused as to why I was giving up on JPop.

Earlier, one of the big reasons I could never quit blogging about JPop showed up, and that’s the brief preview for this year’s Tokyo Idol Festival! It’s going to be July 27th and 28th, and while only 7 acts are listed (Idoling!!!, AeLL, Sakura Gakuin, The Possible, Tokyo Girls’ Style, Negicco and Vanilla Beans), I’m sure there are going to be many excellent groups showing up.

Since I’ve been doing write-ups of all the groups going for the past couple of years, and especially since the past couple of years I’ve found it tough to get every act, especially since they add more later, I’m going to do things a bit differently.

First off, I’m going to hold off on doing my artist write-ups until later; until more are added. They always add people in later, but I’m holding off while there are only  7 acts listed, especially since they’re 7 big ones that people know more than some of the others.

My first couple of posts will then detail a bit more of last year’s TIF, specifically the various areas/stages. Since the venue is the same as the others, I expect that many of the ideas will stay the same.

Finally, I would like to do more posts than artist introductions; if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see from TIF, let me know!