Ahh, Super Girls. I’ve been aware of them right from the beginning. Super Girls is one of the groups of Avex’s Idol Street (which is where the Idol Street Sei from the first post are from). While Tokyo Girls’ Style, the group before Super Girls that year, have always had a more mature (but in a performed by young girls kind of way) feel that is somewhat inspired by previous group SweetS, Super Girls are pure idols aimed at hitting the AKB48 demographic. Literally, at their first press conference the one part that stands out is how they want to surpass AKB48.
Super Girls is an 11 member group (one member left in the past year) that has girls ranging from 14 (popular member Maeshima Ami) to 23 (leader Yasaka Saori), so they have a pretty wide age range. Calling them “idol-like” is probably the best way to put it, as they perform fairly energetic songs (for their singles, at least) that are catchy and pop-y, and don’t get too cutesy or too mature.
Super Girls conflicts me. On the one hand, being an avex group, they have a very polished image and all the girls are pretty solid performers as well as being appealing idols (Arai Reira and Kanou Kaede both stand out to me and I’m very fond of both of them). The PVs are all pretty good (though none are extraordinary) and their single songs are, like I mentioned, catchy. However, after watching some of Super Girls livestreamed, none of the album/b-side songs really stood out to me and I found myself kind of bored. Moreover, the way they started (essentially as a way for Avex to get into the AKB48 market) kind of rubbed me the wrong way, and I can’t stand their latest PV to Puri Puri Summer Kiss, which features blatant long shots of the girls’ butts. I don’t mind fanservice with older idols, but this was both featuring younger girls (like Ami) and was so obvious and blatant that it really bothered me.
Still, I like Super Girls. To an extent. They’re by no means my favorite idol group, but I find Max Otome Gokoro to be a really top notch summer song and all the girls ARE really good idols. If you’re an idol fan and you haven’t, you really owe it to yourself to at least try Super Girls. Like it or not, they’re a major power in the idol world right now.
This is a pretty recent group; while Passpo is the group based off of flight attendants, Station is a five member idol group from Akihabara that has the girls be based off train attendants. They have so far released three singles and one album, all of these in 2012, so it seems like while they’re new they’re trying to kickstart their career, and an audience as big as TIF will do well for them.
The interesting thing is the train theme; while Passpo has since shed a lot of the flight attendant theme in the process of becoming a bigger group (Next Flight was very flight attendant-based, but Natsuzora Hanabi is much less so), Station is at this point still very much keeping with their train attendant theme (their album’s title is even Densha (train) de Go! Go!); it will be interesting to see when/if they shed that. For example, their second single “Let’s go! Tetsudou Idol” has a PV set at some train museum, so at this point they’re connected to their theme.
While Passpo also distinguishes itself as a rock focused group, Station is more about the cute; their latest single is a ballad, but their second song, Let’s Go! Tetsudou Idol is a ridiculously adorable song. They feel much more idol-y.
I have to admit, when starting to research Station I expected to go “Train attendant group, what’s up with that?” and move on. However, all the girls are cute (and are decent singers and dancers) and the songs aren’t bad at all. While the train attendant theme can sometimes be a bit much, I know I’ll try to follow Station a bit more in the future as I’ve really enjoyed them so far!
Unrelated to SHAKE (despite similar name and concept) SPLASH is another dance and vocal unit with a rock focus to their music and image. They’re a three member unit that has a mature image to them, as is evidenced by their pictures on their website featuring them wearing leather jackets and posing in front of a dark background (that I swear looks like they made it out of a trash bag).
Please note that SPLASH is pretty tough to find videos for; not only is the name a bit tricky to google search (as well as having all their singles have pretty generic titles), but there’s also another idol group named SPLASH out there. So if you decide you’ve taken a liking to SPLASH, they are not the idol group with colorful costumes and about 7-8 girls in the group.
One thing I have to commend SPLASH for is that they do seem to be keeping up with the dance and vocals, since they are a “dance and vocal” unit. Their vocals are pretty good and their dancing, while not super great, is at least trying to be better
Musically I can’t say I’m all that impressed, personally. The first song I listened to was “Crazy 4 You” which starts off sounding a lot like AKB48’s Mokugekisha and then moving into what sounded like a dance ripoff of the instrumental break in Momoiro Clover Z’s Ikuze! Kaitou Shoujo. Their songs feel slightly generic, and don’t have that much life to them. “Are You READY?” also has the least energetic “Yeah!”s I’ve ever heard. I can’t say I’m much convinced by SPLASH, personally, but if you’ve exhausted the other rock vocal & dance idol units out there, they could be something to look into.
Space Girls Planet
My immediate impression was that I really dig the name, but then I notice that Space Girls Planet is yet another “Dance and Vocal” three member idol unit, which is fast becoming the default group at TIF.
Space Girls Planet, while having a promising name, doesn’t have an astronaut gimmick or anything like that (though their first real song, Sayonara Planet, fits in with the theme nicely). They were formed in December 2010 and have released two singles in addition to some “demo” singles, as well as a DVD that has a solo song/PV by member Ito Yui (whose image color is blue).
While I was a bit tentative when I saw the image on their website, their lives seem like fun and I’ve started to like this group. The vocals are solid and pleasant to listen to, and while their dancing is quite frankly nothing special they all seem like they’re having fun on stage and are very fun to watch. While none of their other songs really grab me like Sayonara Planet does, they’re fun and ultimately very enjoyable.
3B Junior Team Blue and Team Red
OK, I’m consolidating into one thing because I can. 3B Junior is the section of Stardust Promotions that focuses on idols. They have Momoiro Clover Z and Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku, in addition to smaller/lesser known groups like Minicheer Bears, Team Syachihiko, etc. 3B Junior Team Red and Blue are two teams of 8 girls that are in Stardust Promotions (a couple formerly from Minicheer Bears), that aren’t quite in a group like MomoClo or Ebichu but could be in a new group in the future.
Given the nature of 3B Junior Team Blue and Team Red, they don’t have singles out or anything like that. However, these are the girls that could potentially go into a new Stardust group, so they’re girls to follow!