Sorry I haven’t been posting, but personal life took precedence for a while. But now I’m safe and sound back in the US. I know I’m going to miss Intl Wota like crazy (yes I haven’t been blogging for that long), but it’s excellent that the fun seems to be continuing over at Idolminded.
While I have a lot of thoughts about things like the Mitsui Aika graduation (that I will probably be posting shortly), one thing that didn’t escape my notice is that Tokyo Idol Festival just announced its preliminary 2012 lineup (if it’s anything like last year there will be some last minute additions). I have decided to make last year’s posts an annual thing and I’ll be posting about all the idol groups attending this year’s festival!
If I wrote about them at all last year I’ll be cross-referencing that so that we can know what’s been going on since last year and see what’s happened!
Full list of participants is here: http://www.idolfes.com/2012/ First impression is that I hope MMJ gets added this year; they are my indie idol love (Kyao is amazing!) so even though they’re based in Hiroshima I’d really like seeing them.
First on the list and I’d argue this is the biggest group performing at TIF. Their latest single Mamore!!! sold 56232 copies in the first week, hitting #2 on the weekly Oricon charts, so they’re certainly not hurting for sales. The case could be made that Super Girls are a bigger act, though.
Like always, Idoling!!! was formed by Fuji TV and appears on their self-titled TV show. They have been around since 2006 which makes them one of the older idol groups, but I feel like they haven’t gotten a huge break; they always feel like they’re on the cusp of being a bigger group but haven’t quite gotten to that level, and they’ve felt that way for years, at least since I’ve become aware of them. That could be my own perception, though, after my favorite member (Yazawa Erika) graduated in December I haven’t been paying them much attention.
I honestly don’t know if TIF is going to do much to increase Idoling!!!’s popularity and recognizability (like some of the smaller groups that come), but they are definitely one of the leading acts of TIF 2012.
Now this group has an interesting history! I didn’t cover them last year, but they’ve been around for a while. Idol College was originally B.L.T Idol College (aka the idol magazine that I’m sure most idol fans are at least somewhat aware of). They were formed in 2009 and had a few singles; however, on March 31, 2010 B.L.T. Idol College was disbanded and Idol College was born the next day with all new members. There are 7 full members and 4 what I think are akin to submembers; they’re still in the picture on the Idol College website, for example, but are listed differently on the wikipedia page.
Their stated theme on their website is that they’re bringing up the future generation of idols, so the name is kind of self-explanatory, that these girls are still learning to become idols.
Since their reformation they’ve released one album and were on a compilation album. From the schedule on their website it looks like they’re keeping pretty busy, so they’ll be interesting to see perform on the stage this year! Their PVs seem pretty basic, but they’re from their new album. However, their songs are pretty catchy! My personal favorite is Na.Ri.A.Ga.Ri. Often the original songs for indie idols can be not the best (considering they have a limited budget) but I’m enjoying what I hear of Idol College and wish them luck in the future!
Idol Street Sei
Idol Street Sei isn’t really a group but where Avex pulls members for its new idol groups. Street Sei is where Super Girls hails and the newly formed Cheeky Parade (however not Tokyo Girls Style). At Cheeky Parade’s announcement they also announced that there will be a new, 3rd generation of the Street Sei, so they might be performing at the festival.
I don’t have much else to say other than the fact that these girls have a high probability of being put into an avex group fairly soon, so if you’re the type that wants to support idols from the very beginning and you like Super Girls and Cheeky Parade then following one of the seven girls currently in the Street Sei might not be a bad idea!
Up Up Girls
Yes! A group I definitely enjoy! Technically the group is “Up Up Girls (temporary)” but I’ll just be referring to them as Up Up Girls. If you are a fan of Hello!Project you likely know of these girls because all seven of them are former Hello!Project Eggs. They were originally formed as UFZS and still use that name when they do KPop dance covers (they’ve performed various dances such as After School’s Bang at contest), but Up Up Girls is their regular idol group name.
They aren’t in Hello!Project anymore and instead are under Up Front; however, they perform fairly regularly (at least weekly, it seems) and they do mostly Hello!Project covers at their concerts. They’re also fairly active online, posting a lot of their stuff online. Only very recently they’ve started to release original singles and do non-cover songs. I have a personal interest in the group since I’ve been a fan of Sekine Azusa (orange member in the group) for a few years now and I’m very glad to see her shine in a group!
The group is full of great dancers and for the most part very good singing (I’m very biased towards Sekkii, but she’s a great singer!), so they’re definitely worthwhile to check out, especially if you like Hello!Project in some capacity.
Afilia Saga East
Another group I don’t have much experience with but that I know has their fair share of a fanbase! The big thing about the group is that all of them come from a line of maid cafes and they still work in the cafe, which would be pretty exciting if you happened to go to a cafe and meet one of your favorite members.
The cafe chain itself is set up kind of like a magic rpg/anime, where you gain certain points and levels for going to the different cafes and doing different things. There is a whole backstory that seems pretty complicated and this post on Pure Idol Heart explains things a lot more clearly than I could. Here
From what I’ve seen the group really does play up the “moe” aspect of being an idol and a maid cafe waitress. All the members have fantasy anime sounding names, such as Aria M Milvana and Rose Gardenfairy, and the music and costumes tend to be on the cutesy side. However, this is a big part of their charm and one reason that they have their fanbase. Shurastriker (who you might know from JPHiP) wrote on twitter the fact that the members interact directly with fans via twitter and blogs as being a reason for liking the group, as well as the fact that all the members have different characters but are all geeky.
The group also has a connection to Tsunku because he wrote one of the songs, Knee-High Egoist, which is not quite as moe as the other songs but a bit more sexy. The group seems to have a lot going for it, a clear theme that sets them apart from the rest and a fanbase of their own, and I can’t wait to see more about them in the future!
So far a really good group of five (even though I wouldn’t really count Street Sei as being a group). But if this is the level that Tokyo Idol Festival has this year it’s going to be a great time for anyone lucky enough to go!