Negaigoto is a seven member idol unit formed in 2011 to specifically perform in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Since their name means ‘wish,’ their goal is to grant their fans’ wishes. Which is a pretty cute concept. Since their formation they’ve put out four singles (the latest being 12345678) and one album. In addition, if their website is any indication, they perform a lot, so they’re a very active group if you are in Japan looking for idol performances. They have a bit of rock influence in their music, though I’d strongly hesitate to call them rock idols. Yes Haruna rocks an undercut hairstyle, but this is very much rock-lite.
That said, they seem like a pretty typical idol group, all things considered. They stick to their image colors and sing generally happy idol songs but with an occasional rock edge. The one thing that makes them stand out to me is that they seem to be more live oriented idols. The girls aren’t immediately interesting in the PVs I’ve seen, but they really get a lot more interesting live. Perhaps that’s because they perform live so much, but if you like live idols you may want to give Negaigoto a shot. Otherwise, they’re a cute, if not very original idol group.
Negicco’s one of the idol groups that has been around for quite some time (they were formed in 2003) but really got big during the idol boom. This is a three member idol unit from Niigata prefecture, originally formed to promote negi, green onions. However, in the past few years the group has grown in popularity and are now with T-Palatte Records. Their most recent single is Idol Bakari Kikanaide, but they’re putting out a new one, Tokimeki no Headliner, this November. As far as I know they haven’t generally sold that well, so they’re not quite a top group, but they’ve become a fairly well known group in the idol world.
One of the side effects of larger groups becoming a focus like AKB (and Morning Musume, too) is that it seems that more and more larger groups are becoming standard. Really, I’d say most groups have at least five members. So it’s almost a novelty that Negicco is a three-member group. At first, their music isn’t immediately catchy. I listened to a few of their songs, and there’s nothing that immediately made me love it or get it stuck in my head straight away. However, I really like their PVs, and Idol Bakari Kikanaide has grown on me a lot. A lot of the recent stuff I’ve seen has given me Vanilla Beans vibes, except being a tiny bit more fun.
So if you want something different, musically and visually with your idols, but don’t want to go so far as to leave the pop music genre, Negicco is a good option. While I didn’t initially find them all that appealing, they’re growing on me. Perhaps, like spring onions? (OK I had to throw that in there).
This is a group I’ve known of for some time, but for the life of me I can’t remember how to pronounce their name. It’s the least comprehensible idol name out there. Apparently it’s pronounced “hyper yoyo.” Yeah, still don’t get it. hy4_4yh is an alternative idol unit, and they claim to be the original one. Since hy4_4yh was formed in 2005, it is ahead of the Babymetal, BiS and Alice Juban groups in that regard. Their other goal is to spread “YAVAY” across the world, which apparently means Yabai (bad). The reaction to their name and Yavay is that I don’t personally get it, but whatever they say. I do like the idea of alternative idols, though, and the fact that they’re trying to make more interesting idol music is a very good thing, in my opinion. So even with their quirks as a group I’m still interested to see what this group is like. Their emphasis is on cool, rather than cute.
As a group they’ve put out five albums and sixteen singles, their latest being Hanabeat (Hanabiito, a pun on the word hanabi meaning fireworks). When I put up Hanabiito, I knew there were two options for how the song went; it could either be really tame and a disappointment to the legacy from their name and YAVAY, or it could be just completely bonkers. And it’s kind of both. The song is trying to be strange, but it’s not doing it as well as it could be. Maybe I’m spoiled, being a fan of Hyadain and groups like dempagumi.inc, but this feels like what someone does when they’re trying to be completely bonkers and not doing that well. Their single before it, Tikkee Daisakusen ~YAVAY~ is better, though.
Maybe Hanabiito is just a misstep, because the more I watch this last single the more I like it. However, despite this song, they just feel like they’re trying a bit too hard to be kooky without having a strong foundation in music and performance. I’m going to give them a chance, but I’m a bit wary.
Bakusute Sotokanda Icchome
In 2011, Hello!Project producer decided he wasn’t busy enough with H!P and TNX and decided to try and get into the AKB market, by opening up an idol training cafe with the guy behind Afilia Saga. It’s essentially a maid cafe, but the “audience is the producer” is the gimmick, with the fans actively supporting their favorites. Last year they formed the idol group from the cafe. So far they’ve done two indies singles and two major singles, with their third coming out this November. The group has a lot of members, but there’s a smaller group that is the main group for the singles. Personally, I prefer the indies to the major debut singles. “Produce” and “Yoropiku Pikuyoro” are a lot more memorable tha nwhat they’ve done for their major label stuff, and I hope they go back to the fun and the energy of their indies soon.
That said, while it’s easy to pick on this for being an AKB ripoff, I know that if I was in Japan I would be all over it. It’s a gimmick, sure, but a fun one; the mix of a maid cafe and an idol theater/group is very appealing, and the whole “you can be the producer” gimmick is one I know I’d get behind. This also promises pretty close access to your idols, which is another thing I think sounds like it could be fun. So really, being a fan of this group is just going to be not as good as if you were in Japan. However, if you’re a Tsunku fan or if you could get past this, you might want to check Bakusute out.
The one reason I continue to follow this group is AD Nagisa. AD Nagisa is one of the girls in the group, and she’s pretty instantly recognizable because she doesn’t look like a typical idol. She’s larger, she wears glasses, and doesn’t have the typical looks associated with idols. However, she got in the group because she loves idols a lot. I’m very interested in following girls who don’t fit the typical idol mold, so I’m excited to see more of her!
If you follow idols beyond the 48 groups and Hello!Project, there’s a good chance you know about Passpo. Formed in 2009, Passpo is a nine member idol unit with an airline theme; they dress up like flight attendants. However, beyond this transportation gimmick, they also are rock idols, who perform rock inspired music. This isn’t just rock-lite inspired idol pop, either; there’s a genuine rock sensibility to the music, which is refreshing as an idol fan.
Ultimately, recommending Passpo is hard, because they’re so well known. I feel like if you’re a fan, you don’t have to be convinced, and if you don’t care about them you’ve still probably given them a chance. However, if you’ve ever been following idols but wished their music was less pop-y, then you really ought to be following Passpo. They’re a really high-quality group that should appeal to you, if you like the types of stuff they do.