This post is reserved for the several Idol Koushien I attended on 29.12. (Shinjuku ReNY), 02.01. (Akasaka Blitz)and 04.01. (Shinjuku ReNY). Some more were on my list, but I skipped them for certain reasons – 28.12. to rest before the Predia concert and the one on the 03.01. to go to an One-Man by Chu-Z. I will tell the circumstances surrounding the latter in a later post. The Koushien‘s I’ve been to had
1. some regular idol groups present (PassCode, Anna-S, Idol College),
2. some groups I wanted to see for the first time (AliceInAlice, Tsuki to Taiyo, Tsubasa Fly),
3. a few I always enjoy again and again (JyuJyu, Pla2me, Hiroshima MapleS, Houkago Princess, PPP!PiXiON, Takenoko) and
4. of course three groups that belong to my absolute faves: Party Rockets, Bellring Shoujo Heart and PiiiiiiiN!
The Idol Koushien on the 29.12. I visited with Shaun. To my surprise, in the middle of the show from PiiiiiiiN I was recognised by Allan, whom I met in summer. After telling him to be quiet during the performance – idols go first! – he later told me he will be in Tokyo until early January as well and even visit the FiveStars Festival and the Alice Project Countdown. This meant I would see him soon again. But on this specific day we could talk much. The events for Bellring Shoujo Heart and PiiiiiiiN took too much of my attention – Reminder: idols first! It even goes so far that I can’t remember anymore, what I did that day besides the idols. I guess I moved on from as a fan and degenerated as a friend. But well – All together now!: Idols first!
Now to more specific impressions the groups of the above mentioned categories:
In short evaluation, the groups in category 1 still don’t interest me that much. They are not bad but they fail to impress me in a way that I would start caring for them. PassCode sounds great on record and I like their dancing with the walking-on-the-spot movement, but live their sound just turns into noise. Their fans behaviour already isn’t an issue anymore. I stay at the sides ot in the back and just enjoy the show, the one on the floor more than the one on on stage. For Anna-S and Idol College, they are to generic for my taste.
Ambigious. AliceInAlice has a nice concept: They call themselves Acting Idols, because for their performances they combine their songs with theatre-like stage-plays. But if you see this a few times in a row, which I did with the 3 consecutive Koushien attendances, then it gets kind of – I won’t say annoying, but repetitive. It is a nice gimmick but they should limit it to their One Man Lives. That would making those special as well. The music was fast electro pop. Quite enjoyable. I will further observe them. Funny was the moment when Member A (I forgot who) was missing for the day and therefore Member B (same thing: forgot) of the group just switched places when it would have been Member A’s turn and doing her Jiko Shokai. Never saw that before.
Tsuki to Taiyo has one problem – they couldn’t decide on a certain genre, so their songs change from metal to electro pop back to metal sound. I am used to bands exploring different genres. Not without reason my favourite musical era are the late 60s, but with Tsuki to Taiyo it basically feels like a different group: The genre changes neither feel organic, logical nor creative. The complete opposite to Bellring Shoujo Heart, who do a much better job in that regard.
That leaves me with Tsubasa Fly, a group recommended by Caio. And yes, they delivered. Great rock basis and I really loved their performed songs. Probably would have even attended their event as well, if not for one fact: The girls are really not my type, diplomatically phrased. But I will buy the album if they release one in the future.
Whereas Houkago Princess are a nice addition to every festival, performance- and song-wise, I can find no real connection to them. Maybe because I love their sister group already, Ready To Kiss. The latter I saw again at the FiveStars Festival and I will talk about them more then.
With PPP!PiXiON it is similar: I adore their sister group PiiiiiiiN, but are pretty indifferent to them. Their music is not bad but in style particular different. Maybe I get to like them more, as both groups often come in pairs and even support the other during songs sometimes. Though it seems that they will break this connection more and more to give both more individuality.
What impressed me with Pla2me was their high-quality electro sound, though repetitive, is very enjoyable. But now they performed new songs which were more rock-orientated. Good songs but not matching the previous output. I don’t know what to think of this. This is obviously a group where I have to wait for an album release to get a better idea of the musical direction they want to pursue.
Takenoko are pure fun while Hiroshima MapleS has nice performances to good dance tracks. I also love the blue-red costumes.
But the group I look out for the most is JyuJyu. Musically they were initially not my style but their songs grew on me. The two group members also appear very
nice during MCs. I hope to see them soon through longer sets. And when I am finally able to make out their names they tell everyone during the Jiko Shokai I will attend an event by them.
Finally the best category. As I saw Bellring Shoujo Heart as well as PiiiiiiiN several times on this trip I will devote a special post to each of them. Which leaves Party Rockets. On the Koushien of the 04.01. they performed and as the crowd was basically very small during the whole festival I was able to go – front row! Yeah! I achieved coolness! My sister was dragged along by me, she herself a big fan but a bit shy during lives. Akari was, as always, the most indifferent of each, taking no attention of any fan. She achieved coolness way before me. Opposite to Fumika and Haruka, especially the latter, who several times *seemed* to smile at me when coming to my side and motivated the audience for participation. That is my (secret) oshi *cough* Later during the event we at first had to wait a long time until they appeared. But this was good as it made me miss Especia, the most boring idol group I ever experienced! It also gave us enough time to buy my sister the album for the three event tickets and get in line for a photoset, also three event tickets. I skipped the chekis this time but my sister, for the first and only time on this trip, wanted to participate. Initially only with Fumika, her oshi, but I convinced her to do a group shot as well. I am a good brother! (Wrong. Remember: Idols first! This way Party Rockets gets more support!) Anyway she had fun during the event and was even embraced and cheek-to-cheek with Fumi-chan. So jealous…
I for my part used the remaining ticket (2 for for group shot, 3 for 2shot) for the group handshake, just out of a whim and to imprint myself more in their memory, though I doubt if will ever work with Party Rockets. Akari here acted very child-like again, as you can often see during their showrooms. She spoke a bit like Pinoko from the ‘Black Jack’ Manga, exaggerating the sh-sounds. I wished her ‘Agemashite omedetou’, she replied the same and then repeating it in English, whereon I now said ‘Happy New Year’. This was basically it as I was tapped on the shoulder already to make room for the next person. A very efficient conversation, so to say. Next came Haruka and I started to tell her, that I was glad to see her again, kind of as an reply to her from our last meeting. But I seemed to fail. We again wished us a good change of the year and when I had to move on, she told me – in English – ‘See you again’. With Fumika I would have loved to talk about Europe more but I could find the right Japanese words, so I skipped all the efforts for a serious conversation and just told her that I had fun at their show. Her reply was enthusiastically cheerful, asking me if this was really true and thanking me for my words. She either meant it or is a good actress(=idol). What else to expect from my talented secret oshi?
During the Idol Koushien on the 04.01. the members from Idol College handed out flyers in the hall of Shinjuku Reny. The advertised their own One Man Live which would happen on the same evening, just right after the Koushien would end. This was no option for me, than as I told you above, Idol College is not one of my favourites. Paying money for groups which I won’t follow later on is neither helpful for me nor for them. But while I was resting in the aisle (Especia was still playing *urgh*) Chisato Minami approached me and tried to win me for attendance. Here is the run down of our conversation, completely held in Japanese, which I am proud of:
Minami: (carefully approaching) Hello, we are Idol College. (hands me flyer) We have a One Man Live here.
Me: Ok. I know you. Ichigo Parfait, right?
Minami (surprised): Right. You speak Japanese?
Me: Only a little bit.
Minami: (She explains some details like entry costs) Will you come?
Me: (struggling internally) Tonight is a bit… I meet with a friend later for lunch. (lie)
Minami: (dubious look) Really?
Me: Yes. It is the truth. I promise. (lie)
Minami: Too bad then.
Me: I am sorry.
Then we parted. I couldn’t have told her that I don’t like their music, could I? So I instead opted for a pretty lie ( Idol College event. Maybe I talk to Minami then and use this conversation as basis for further communication. And so that you know of whom I am talking about:
By the way there was a new group named Namiki Bridge High School, who had a – chubby member, that even seemed to be the leader. Interesting… maybe. But as I am conventional I kept my focus on the blonde-coloured one, which was skinny. Anyway I have to point out this group to a certain person who can’t stop writing about Chubbiness, out of a love/hate-realtionship I assume, as Chubbiness is managed by AVEX, same as Super Girls and GEM.
And as I have too less pictures in this post, here is one of the blonde member, name Kikuchi Harumi:
I can also inform you that I found out about the group Nagoyan Shoujo Heart. They really are a cover group of Bellring Shoujo Heart! Still too perplexed about what to think of this. Bellring isn’t that popular. But they have the choreographies down perfectly! Also one correction: They actually spell the group name Nagoyang Shoujo Heart. With a ‘G’. Here you can find their Twitter: @NAGOYANG_SH
And the best thing – You can even book them. Minor set-down though: It seems you have to cover the travel costs when booking for shows outside Japan. Oh well…