Tokyo Idol Festival 2014 – Part 1

TIF has officially updated its website, which means it’s time for me to start my profiles of all the acts! As of May 24, 2014 there are 93 acts listed. Also, all the group names are listed in romaji in addition to just the kanji. This is incredibly useful (since last year there were a few super indie groups that I was having trouble converting to romaji) so thank you, TIF. There is also an English-language page that seems to have been translated well into English! So if you’re in Japan or thinking about going to TIF, this is even easier for us foreigners. Thank you, TIF!!

Idoling!!!

 

Honestly, what more can I say about Idoling!!! that hasn’t already been said. Idoling!!! is one of those mainstay acts at TIF; I can’t imagine them not being there. Idoling!!! was formed in 2006 by Fuji TV as a group that would primarily grow through their Fuji TV show, also called Idoling!!!. If you’re an AKB48 fan, you know them for the AKBIdoling collaboration single, Chu Shiyouze! Currently, the group has 24 members over the course of several generations. Since last year, the group has released two new singles as well as an album, Gold Experience, which I liked quite a bit. They are putting out a new single, Kyupi, at the end of this month.

As I mentioned, Idoling!!! is a mainstay of TIF. They’ve been going to Tokyo Idol Festival every year since its start in 2010, and do interesting units and collaborations during the festival. Last year, Idoling!!! introduced its newest generation at the festival. Even if they’re not a favorite group of yours, they are certainly a group to watch if you have an interest in TIF. Some of the most interesting things that go on at TIF include Idoling!!!.

Personally, I think there’s a lot to like about Idoling!!!, but I don’t follow them quite as much as I should. Gold Experience is a very solid record with a lot of good tracks. My favorite songs tend to be from a few years back; by far my favorite Idoling!!! single is ‘Me ni wa Aoba, Yama Hototogisu, Hatsukoi.’ However, they’re a really good group doing quality music and quality variety content. A lot of their Idoling!!! episodes are up on YouTube, if that interests you. So even if Idoling!!! isn’t your favorite group, you should definitely keep an eye out on them.

Idoling!!! NEO

As I mentioned, Idoling introduced its newest generation at TIF. That is what is known as the NEO generation. Idoling!!! took these five girls plus two of the relatively newer Idoling!!! members (from the fourth generation) and made a new unit, Idoling!!! NEO, to directly compete with the original Idoling!!! (while these members are still in Idoling!!! proper, mind you). So far, they’ve put out two singles.

I’ve really liked what I’ve heard from Idoling!!! Neo; both ‘mero mero’ and ‘Sakura Horizon’ have been really solid idol releases. All the members seem great, too. Idoling!!! NEO is a very expected addition to the TIF lineup, but not an unwelcome one. I’m interested to see how they fit into TIF, especially since Idoling!!! is such an active group. I expect they’ll have their own live events, but will they do the collaborations with other groups?

Idol College

Idol College has one of the more colorful and interesting idol backgounds that I can think of. Basically, the group started out as B.L.T. Idol College (based off the magazine, not the sandwich… a joke I made last year) in 2009. They released several singles and were pretty active until March 31, 2010 when they disbanded… only to regroup a day later as Idol College, with totally different members.

Since last year, Idol College has put out one album, their first on a major label, called “Idol College no Tsutaetai Koto.” When they first started going to TIF years back they were still an indies group, so it’s exciting to see the group grow. That said, they haven’t put out anything this year yet. A lot of groups tend to release albums and singles around the time of TIF (it’s probably a great way to promote their stuff) so I bet they’ll do something like that around then.

The group’s theme is “growth” which is honestly the most generic idol theme you could possibly get. There’s nothing really revolutionary about Idol College, but they’ve had some good songs (their cover of Na.Ri.A.Ga.Ri is particularly good) and they are a pretty fun group to watch live. Since they keep growing, they’re a group to look out for. While they haven’t grown as much as I thought they would since last year, they have still come a long way.

Idol Renaissance

This is a new group! This group was formed at the beginning of this year, so they have only been around for a few months. The group has seven members, all in their mid teens. While this is a fairly new idol group, it is from the Sony Music Artists label as their first idol group, so that indicates a level of  professionalism right off the bat.

That said, the fact they are so new makes things difficult. Sony has put up a lot of videos profiling the girls, but there are so far no performance videos (as far as I can tell) and none of these are available outside of Japan for viewing.. Which makes things more difficult.

If you want to follow an idol group from the ground floor, especially one for a large label, then you may find something to like with this group. However, at this point it’s difficult to find much of anything about them.

Iris

Remember Techpri? Well, they were an idol group that was formed in 2009 and had four members. Last year, one of the members left and Techpri disbanded at last year’s Tokyo Idol Festival. Right after, they reformed the group as Iris, the new unit for the three members that are left. It’s kind of a nice gesture, for the member who left.

It’s hard to know how the group is going to differ, if at all, from who they were as Techpri. As that group they performed a lot of techno pop songs, and I compared their sound to Perfume. Which isn’t a bad comparison, really. If the group sticks with this, I might have to pay more attention to Iris.

From what I’ve seen of them so far, based off the video I’m linking below, it sounds like they’re doing a disco/electronic sound. Which I am very pleased with. If the group continues like this song I will definitely have to follow them more. Ever since they became a three piece unit they feel even more like an indie Perfume. Which isn’t a terrible thing. If any of what I’ve said appeals to you, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

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