Tokyo Idol Festival 2013: The Acts part 19

Nearing the end! I’m going to schedule something else when I’m done with these posts to go on Fridays. Maybe List Fridays. Because the internet loves lists.

Bellring Shoujo Heart

Ahh, Bellring Shoujo Heart. This is one of those groups I’ve heard about for quite some time, a group I know some people love, and one that has come highly recommended, but that I’ve hesitated on because they seem a little bit scary. This is not your standard idol group. The group has 7 members, and was formed in April 2012. Recently they put out their first album, Bedhead, and they’ve put out several singles. They often have fake crow wings on their sleeves as decoration; this is an art group along with being an idol group. They remind me a lot of groups like BiS in their aesthetic; they’re one of the more out there idol groups. Even though their outfits are kind of strange, as well, the girls themselves seem considerably less scary and weird than the comparable BiS.

That said, their music feels a bit different from their aesthetic. Instead of being rock/metal artists you may think from the way the group looks, they instead go for a more retro, 60s aesthetic with kind of a circus sound in there. The closest Jpop equivalent I can think of is the song Dekiru Onna by Morning Musume, though that’s not even really that much like Bellring. Their music also reminds me of the western band The Like, whose second album is very 60s inspired. That said, there’s no idol music quite like Bellring, so if you dislike generic idol pop then Bellring is a great option.

The only thing that makes me a bit hesitant is that the girls’ vocals aren’t THAT strong. They aren’t bad, by any means, but this is the type of music I wish I could hear with some really strong vocals. That said, the majority of what I could find on YouTube were concert performances, so I might want to check out Bed Head to see if I can hear this in higher quality than some concerts. The girls, from what I can tell, seem sweet and nice, though, and I generally like them.

I’m honestly regretting waiting so long to check out Bellring Shoujo Heart. Because this music is great.

Houkago Princess

Go read Okay! Musume Time. If you want someone to really sell you on HouPri, Chiima is your person. That said, I’ll try to give my brief take on them.

Houkago Princess translates to “afterschool princess.” That is basically, in a nutshell, the group. They’re a school-themed group, with nine full members and some trainees. The group was formed in August 2011, and has since had quite a bit of lineup changes and some quiet points in their history. One notable point was that a relative of Michishige Sayumi of Morning Musume joined as a trainee, so that is most likely bringing some recognition to the group.

They’ve put out a few singles so far, mostly things that are only sold at live events, but it looks like their latest single, (a redone version of their older single, Juliet ~Kimi wo Suki na 100 no Riyuu) had a bigger release and managed to get to 17th on the Oricon weekly chart, which isn’t bad at all.

The thing about HouPri is that they are kind of a very typical unit. They use both the school motif and the dress up thing, so they can use both uniforms and fancier outfits. Their music isn’t revolutionary, either, and is pretty typical cute music. That said, I can really see this being an appealing unit if you really want a girly, cute, typically idol unit. So many units are trying to do different things with idol music, which is great for me, but if you don’t like that kind of movement then HouPri might be the group you need.

Manaminorisa

Manaminorisa is one of the most clever idol group names I’ve encountered. There are three girls in the group; Manami, Minori and Risa, whose names all connect to be Manaminorisa. (Though this does put pressure on Minori; she can’t leave because Manami and Risa can’t form a name together). These girls were formed in 2007 at the Hiroshima Actors’ School, which is where Perfume originated. The girls are a bit older, in their early 20s, which could be a draw. In 2011 they won the UMU Award, which is an award that looks at local idols. Not only did they win their local region, but they took home the grand prize, which is a big achievement.

The group has put out several singles, but recently made their major debut this summer, with their single Blister. While this may not sound super appealing, my friend pointed out it was probably in relation to the blisters they get while working towards their dream. Which sounds much more palatable. There really isn’t a gimmick or anything that unique to Manaminorisa; their music is slightly rock inspired pop (only slightly) and they still have pretty simple/plain PVs. However, the girls seem to be talented at singing and dancing, and there is a general level of polish to them as a group. I recommend listening/watching Polaris to hear some of their vocal strength. If you are annoyed by the whole idol ideal of unpolished performers, you should check out Manaminorisa. They seem like a group to keep an eye on, if only for their background at this point.

Maria

This is a very new group, formed in February 2013. They’re a rock unit that makes a big deal about wearing sunglasses and carrying school bags (at least their TIF description mentioned it). Their goal is to be the strongest idol unit in this idol era, and make a note that they have regular lessons and tests. So they’re aiming to be a top group in this idol boom. There are only five member profiles on the site, but more members than that in pictures, so I’m not quite sure on how big this group is. They are still accepting auditions, and the girls have to be 9-14 years old, so this is a pretty young unit.

Looking at their website, it’s pretty apparent that this group is just getting started and working things out. The “Discography” page is under construction, despite already having a PV out. Still, the fact they have a PV at all (even if it is just a filmed live show) says something. Their first self-titled song is pretty good; it’s pretty light rock that features a lot of other sounds, but it’s definitely solid. The vocals are still pretty rough, but the song itself is nice.

This is a really young group that is nowhere near polished. If you like the idea of following a group with younger members that are just starting out, and you think they’re cute, maybe give them a try.

Minitia Bears

Oh hey, a Stardust group! Minitia Bears is another group from Stardust Promotion, along with Momoiro Clover, Team Syachihoko, and Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku. Minitia Bears is a cheerleading themed unit that performs at Stardust lives and does stuff, but has really young girls in the group and hasn’t put out singles. Generally it’s not really as big a group as the other main Stardust ones.

Since Stardust is putting out Takoyaki Rainbow, I really doubt that Minitia Bears is going to be a permanent/big unit. However, if you want to see adorable kids being adorable, you could do much worse than Minitia Bears.

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