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.