Sun-myu is the idol group from Sun Music (clever, I know) with the concept of the “first pure idols of the 21st century.” By pure they mean that they want to have more of a showa era idol appeal, which is great for people who miss that type of idol. Formed in 2012, the initial concept of Sun-myu was that they were a beginner group, airing a lot of their training on their Nico Nico Douga channel (though now they’re discovering more of Youtube). This is a really great thing for people who like brand new/indie idols.
Recently they released their latest single, a cover of the JITTERIN’ JINN classic Natsu Matsuri, which is pretty much one of my favorite songs of all time. And they actually do a really good job of it. Watching their PV preview, they don’t seem like pure beginners, but do a really good job at this song. At first this seems like a standard arrangement of the song, but actually deviates in a pretty good way. I don’t think this will ever beat the original, but the original is so good that this is good by default.
I don’t see quite as much on Sun-myu’s stuff about being pure beginners anymore, but I’m assuming that’s because they’re surprisingly polished. The performances I see in Natsu Matsuri are very good. It feels a bit too polished for a beginner group. Still, if you want to go back, it may be easy to see their growth. They posted a lot HERE on Nico Nico Douga and on their YouTube (which I will link later). This is more footage than a lot of indie acts get!
I like them. They’re not the most interesting group, but there are eight really cute, now polished members who performed one of my favorite songs. I’m going to keep an eye out for Sun-myu in the future!
JK21 stands for Japan Kansai 21, with 21 being the 21st Century. This group has been appearing at TIF since I started covering it. They formed in 2008 and made their major debut in 2010. Currently they have 7 members, which means that there are some new girls since last year! Probably their biggest claim to fame is being the group to do a Hanshin Tigers theme song “Win! Win! Tigers!” so if you follow baseball at all JK21 might be the group for you.
They haven’t put out anything new since last TIF; their most recent single came out in March 2012. However, they’re putting out an album on July 30th, “Lucky Tripper ~Sorezore no Natsu~” so they’re clearly pretty active. Other than that, there’s not too much else about them. They’re pretty cute and have solid music, despite their inactivity. If what you want is a pretty standard idol group it might be good to follow them, but there’s nothing that extraordinary about them.
Here’s a group I’m sure a lot of you should be pretty familiar with! GEM stands for Girls Entertainment Mixture and they’re the third group to come from Avex’s iDOL STREET, and is made up of former Idol Street Sei trainees. They’re a fairly new group that was formed late last year/early this year and their only release has been on a Street sei album (I’m taking this from the avex site; if I’m wrong please correct me!). They have ten members whose ages range from 14 to 20, so much Super Girls this is a pretty varied group, age-wise.
Other than that, they haven’t done all that much. They officially confirmed their members in June, have a few original songs but no singles yet, and are still new. However, since they’re avex, it’s reasonable to expect a good group with high quality releases. Personally, I don’t follow any of the iDOL STREET groups all that much and I don’t seek out avex groups. However, both Super Girls and Cheeky Parade are solid groups, so GEM should be, as well.
From their first big video “Speed Up” it looks like they’re going for a polished look, with a cooler feel. There’s definitely both dance and vocal skill here, and for being so new GEM is pretty polished already.
Personally, I don’t know how much I’ll be able to get into them, all things considered, but if you’re a Super Girls or Cheeky Parade fan this is a group to follow.
G stands for Gravure. So right off the bat you know what you’re getting into with them. An idol group by the gravure magazine FLASH, G Girls’ goal is to bring the charm of gravure into their singing and dancing. So for anybody who’s really into gravure idols, this may be a good group for you. To be honest, I don’t follow the world of gravure all that much, so I don’t know how recognizable these girls may be. They have people who entered the Miss Flash Grand Prix contest in 2011 and in 2013, so they may be well-known. As of last year when I covered them all the girls were over 18, and thus wanted to do a sexier, more adult performance.
Last year there were 9 members; now there are five. I don’t know if these girls are all new (at least one has joined, and she’s the first profile listed), but it appears there’s a pretty big turnover rate. All the girls are very pretty, as you would expect from a gravure-centric unit. They’ve released one new single since last TiF, Tik Tok (Ke$ha?), which came out right around last year’s TIF, so I don’t know how many of them are still in it. Tik Tok is a pretty enjoyable track, if a bit forgettable, which is focusing on being a cooler single than their first one.
Ultimately, with this group you know what you’re going to get. Like gravure? You’ll probably be cool with this group. If you don’t care about gravure? It’s probably not for you.
Shizukaze & Kizuna~KIZUNA~
Take one duo unit of Shizukaze, add sister unit Kizuna ~KIZUNA~, and you get Shizukaze & Kizuna! One thing this group is very proud of is that they’ve gone to every TIF since 2010 when it started, a pretty impressive feat given how relatively small TIF 2010 was. (this is also the unit that has the C-side Yellow Fuckin’ Idol, which may be one of the best idol song names ever).
They’ve put out three singles as Shizukaze & Kizuna; their most recent one, Tsukushinbou, had two song versions: idol version and rock version (since Shizukaze & Kizuna is a self-proclaimed rock unit, this actually makes sense. Last year I noted that their vocals didn’t sound the greatest live, but on the recorded version of this track they actually sound really great. I actually really like Tsukushinbou (rock version); it’s a really nice track, and the chorus sounds really great with some harmonies. This song/PV really makes them feel like rock idols as opposed to an idol group with rock inspiration.
If you like rock music or if you like idols with different music/sensibilities than typical idol stuff, you really should check them out. They’re really growing on me as a group, and have improved a lot over the years.