Tokyo Idol Blah

15 Aug


Tokyo Idol Festival just kind of existed this year. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrible. It was just blah.

Everyone’s experience is different though. For instance, I won’t watch a performance at an outdoor stage during the day because I avoid the sun at all costs. That’s a rule I follow that most people probably won’t care too much about. All three days my favorite groups performed at outdoor stages during the hottest hours of the day and I either passed or watched from far away in the shade. And then there are overlapping performances, which happened a lot this year. Overall, the schedule didn’t work out for me. I’m not upset or anything; this happens and it’s expected. If anything I lucked out at past TIFs because the timetable usually worked for me.

Speaking of luck, the day after TIF, it rained in Odaiba. That would have been a disaster since the organizers didn’t have a backup plan and most stages are outdoor.

My TIF schedule that I occasionally deviated from.
Ignore the numbers. Those were scenarios if Harajuku Monogatari won the main stage contest.

An easier to read format.

Day 1 – Friday Day 2 – Saturday Day 4 – Sunday
El Float Candy Zoo Shibuya3 Project
READY TO KISS Siam&Poptune GGirls
Harajuku Monogatari Idol College Yamaguchi Kassei
Moriwaki Yui Harajuku Monogatari HimeKyun
One Pixel Yu Kikawa Starmarie
AIS Maneki Kecak MAPLEZ
predia Tsuribit C-ute “thing”
Dreaming Monster LinQ Batten Shoujo tai
X21 callme Dreaming Monster
LinQ Philosophy no Dance Moso Callibration
drop SUPERGiRLS Philosophy no Dance
Lovely Doll TokyoPerformanceDoll Yumemiru Adolescence
TokyoPerformanceDoll GEM PASSPO
GEM sora tob sakana 9nine
drop predia SUPERGiRLS
SUPERGiRLS Fudanjuku  Tsuribit
Nichome no Sakegaki Idol College  TokyoPerformanceDoll
predia Yuka Ueno  Vanilla Beans
Band Ja Naimon Yu Serizawa  amiinA
  AIS  drop
  Harajuku Monogatari  Grand Finale
  T.I.F.N.A. LADYBABY  
  Puca  
  Zenryoku Shoujo R  
  Tenko Shoujo  
  WHY@DOLL  
  TokyoPerformanceDoll  

Day 1
Friday was an important day for fans of Harajuku MonogatariTask have FunAppare Harajuku, and 26-ji no Masquerade because there was an early morning queue for the Main Stage competition. Tickets would be passed out at 7:30 and there were only 500. Harajuku Monogatari members were active on twitter asking fans to queue early. Appare Harajuku had also asked fans to vote after they performed at Konya wa Anata no SUPER LIVE earlier that week. The groups definitely cared about winning. This was a competition that Maneki Kecak won last year.

Even though it was important, I decided not to queue for a ticket. I want Harajuku Monogatari to conquer the world, but the timing of the competition clashed with stages of Tokyo Performance Doll, GEM, and drop. Another issue was arriving early enough. My hotel was a ten minute walk from TIF, but getting there by 7:30 would still be a hassle, and realistically I would have to get there much earlier than 7:30 since Japanese people seem to love queuing. Logically it didn’t make sense to try for the ticket. Sorry Monoga.

Instead, I warmed myself by the fire and ate my TIF Super Breakfast™ and arrived at TIF at 9:00 to collect my wristband.

[Wait a second, you prioritized breakfast over your favorite group, when they really needed all the support they could get?]

It wasn’t breakfast. It was TIF Super Breakfast™.

Mini-cap: Of all three days, the weather was the best on Day 1 and it had the smallest attendance. According to TIF, the numbers were 21,338 on Friday, 32,787 on Saturday, and 27,253 on Sunday.

While walking to TIF, a water slide was being set up on the bridge. It looked fun, but it turned out to be a classic case of something being interesting in theory, but really stupid in reality, because I saw it in action the following day, and the slope simply isn’t inclined enough for anyone to slide down without being pushed.

During Day 1, I was usually at an outdoor stage, but in shaded areas. At Festival Stage, I saw Harajuku Monogatari, Moriwaki Yuidrop, X21, and LinQ. Moriwaki Yui is the center of Yamaguchi Kassei Gakuen and she is now doing solo lives that are really cute. Maybe too cute.

Before heading to the main stage I went to the marketplace. This was the only time I’d go during TIF. For most of the day there was a long queue because of the security check point and just the number of fans trying to get in. I bought a drop towel and Harajuku Monogatari’s mini album. I wanted to buy their towel, but it sold out. In retrospect I should have bought their singles also, but I figured they would be included in the mini album. I went to Moriwaki Yui’s tent, but it was kind of in disarray. I wanted to buy YKG’s live bluray and Yui’s towel, but the guy couldn’t find the right box. Long story short, I left without being able to support them. I did buy their new album at their release event earlier in the week though.
If you are wondering about the event tickets, I never use them. It’s not an interest of mine. Sometimes I will give them away to random concert goers. If I’m not comfortable doing that, I’ll just keep them.

Later in the day, I saw Tokyo Performance Doll and GEM at the main stage. Both sets were okay and I had a great spot in the center column at the very front of the second barrier. This was the only time Nana and Kaho of TPD would perform at TIF because of a theater play they are doing. They are really important members. And I cried a little. [They’re also hot. Please mention that. And you actually cried a lot.] Lastly, I saw Band Ja Naimon for the first time. I’ve been interested in them for a while, but I guess I should have done more research because I didn’t like their music at all.

Day 2
At 9:00, I queued at Dream Stage. The stage would open at 10 and Harajuku Monogatari would perform at 10:45. I should have arrived earlier though; I only got second row and I wanted to unlock the “Front row for Monoga” achievement. Front row for them is difficult though. They have a small fanbase, but I can tell it’s mainly the type who jumps from one group to the next, whatever is trendy. Those fans aren’t long term, but they are hardcore. Their performance was HOT and I feel I should mention their outfits. It’s impossible without sounding pervy though. I’ll just mention that their skirts are the shortest I have ever seen a group perform in. [Yeah, that doesn’t sound pervy at all.]

Afterwards, I spent most of the day at Zepp DiverCity and saw Maneki Kecak, SUPER GiRLS, Tokyo Performance Doll, GEM, LinQ, and others. After spending six hours in the air-conditioned Zepp, I went to Sky Stage for Harajuku Monogatari. Even though Maneki Kecak was performing two sets after, I was only going for Monoga because I wanted to go to Doll Factory for LADYBABY (I’m a Rie Kaneko fan) and TPD, and Maneki Kecak’s army of fans would be a hurdle. This was the first time I went to Sky Stage since 2014. I thought there would be a queue, but when I arrived there was literally no one and I went up the lift that was already at the ground floor waiting. Upon exiting there was a massive queue waiting to get down though. 

When I arrived at the stage it was 17:00 and Fudanjuku was performing and I noticed that all of the original members have graduated. Harajuku Monogatari was scheduled for 18:30, so I tried to enjoy the other performers. There were two solo acts, Yuka Ueno and Yu Serizawa, which I thought was amusing because I’d also seen Yui Moriwaki and Yu Kikawa at TIF. And of course there are other more famous Yui’s that are solo artists.

There were a lot of people on the rooftop, way more than I expected. Front row for Monoga would be impossible. When they came on stage, they were performing in different outfits from that morning, which weren’t as hot as their normal attire, but still hot. The setlist was different (they always mix things up which is cool because most of their songs are great) and there was more fan excitement at this stage than at Dream Stage. Because of the strict rules at this year’s TIF, I was surprised they performed Party Animals. The stage was too congested to truly enjoy the song, but it was still fun. During the song TIF security cut in and warned fans to behave. This was the final time I would see them because they were at Smile Garden at 12:30 the next day and I would have disintegrated in that heat had I gone. 

Once they left the stage, I rushed to the lift and the massive queue from before had completely dissipated. I had literally gone up and down without waiting a minute. I was therefore able to catch the last half of LADY BABY. While waiting for TPD, I saw Zenryoku Shoujo R who I’ve seen before and I kind of like them, but their fans do annoying shit like clear space so they can mix and then rush the stage. TIF cracked down on certain behavior like lifting and non-stop jumping, but other things continued.

TPD came on minus Nana and Kaho and like everything they did at TIF, it was all blah. It was like their producers were sabotaging them. Boring setlists and unit songs that only the most hardcore fan could appreciate. Really disappointing showing from TPD.

Day 3

Nothing was scheduled in the morning that interested me and Japan’s summer heat finally appeared. I started the day at Festival Stage at 10:45 and saw Shibuya3 Project, which is a Platinum trainee group. They sang songs by predia, 3 min, and Silent Siren.  G Girls followed and I am actually a fan of two of their members, so I broke my rule and watched up close while standing in the sun. During their set I realized I left my iphone in my room, so afterwards I had to go back to my hotel. Which is why I mentioned Japan’s summer heat had returned. I ended up taking a shower when I returned to my room and had to redo my hair. Miraculously I made it back to Zepp right as YKG took the stage. I jumped around like an idiot for Yui and it was only later that I realized I had completely forgotten the no jumping rule, but no one had stopped me. I think the rule was mainly enforced at Smile Garden, Dream Stage, Doll Factory, Sky Stage, and maybe Hot Stage. HimeKyun followed and performed in their last TIF as they are disbanding. MAPLEZ tweeted a few days before that original members would join the current lineup just for TIF and it was awesome.

I stayed at this stage for five hours and saw Yumemiru Adolescence, PASSPO, 9nine, and several other groups. Also the C-ute “thing,” which I thought was poorly produced and had I been a fan, I would have been disappointed. Three songs in 30 minutes, super lol.

From there I went to the main stage for the last half of SUPER GiRLS. Again I had to skip Maneki Kecak who followed right after because TPD was at Smile Garden. Worst of all, I didn’t even stick around for TPD. Their setlist was so horrible I left. How many times do they need to perform “Brand New Story”? This song is boring and old school and will not bring them new fans. And Goo-Choki-Paa’s “Crazy Coaster” song is just embarrassing. They performed these two songs at all three of their stages. Whenever TPD came on, there was zero excitement in the audience. Their management is clueless. TPD has a lot of cool songs, but they rarely perform them. Instead, they regurgitate the same bland songs which reinforces their boring image.

Before heading to Doll Factory for drop I detoured to the gacha machines to get a Harajuku Monogatari pin. Or so I thought!

It’s already random, do they really need to combine three unrelated groups in one machine? I felt compelled to keep at it until I got a Monoga pin, but it’s not like the group would benefit in any way from my spending. It’s annoying because I like every member of the group and would have been fine with anything. I wanted to leave what I got in the machine in the event a real fan could enjoy it… but then I wouldn’t be able to blog about it!

TIF ended on a high note with drop. This entire trip they did not disappoint. And I love their summer outfits. They are a huge improvement over the weirdness they’ve been wearing the past two years. The VV collaboration shirts were also amazing. Unfortunately the sizes were L to 3XL (Why?!)

 TIF Fun Police
One of the changes that carried over from last year was the security at TIF. There was a visible presence last year, but they didn’t impact the experience too much (at least not for me). This year the organizers really tried to crack down though. They were somewhat effective, but they also sucked the fun out of the event. Not all banned behaviors are the same. Watching SUPERGiRLS perform “Everybody Jump” and not being able to jump was ridiculous. 

TIF also really needs girl-only areas at every stage. It’s ironic that practically every group, even the really tame ones, have concerts with sections reserved for girls. With the obvious exceptions, most pop concerts don’t need them, but at TIF, where they would be vital for a girls enjoyment, they are nonexistent. Of course, they reserve disproportionately large areas for the one or two photographers that attend though.

The main stage was another example of one step forward, one step back. The stage was a huge improvement over the main stage they used previously, but they brought back the labyrinth of barriers. It felt like being cattle in a slaughterhouse. “In you go!” *closes the gate*

The Future
They announced the return of New Years Premium Party on January 2 and 3. Last year’s event was just alright, but I’m still interested. I really wanted this to be the last time I go to Japan though. This was definitely the last TIF I’ll attend.

On a positive note, who loves corn dogs?

And I just remembered Goo Choki Paa.

[Corn dogs reminded you of Goo Choki Paa?]

Yeah, they’re both stupid. But lovable.

And remembering Goo Choki Paa reminded me I was supposed to recap TPD’s event and one man. But my brain is fried from this recap. I really wanted to share this cute photo of Saki too.

The End

[Why did she draw a pineapple after Choki?]

I don’t think that is a pineapple. Speaking of pineapples, back in January I wondered if the PPAP gacha outside of Kokusai-Tenjijo station (the station closest to my hotel in Odaiba) would still exist when I returned in the summer.

And now I know.

 The End

Speaking of Saki, why does she only have 680 twitter followers? Actually, while that is weird, that isn’t what I wanted to point out. Look at the Goo Choki Paa shirt she wore at TIF:

It says “All the cool girls are lesbians.” I’m pretty sure that isn’t true. But Saki wouldn’t lie.

The End

Speaking of corn dogs, when I went to TPD’s event, it was the same day as an event Silent Siren was doing. It wasn’t a one-man, there were other bands, which is why I chose TPD’s event. While I was walking to TPD’s stage I looked across the bay and saw the venue where Silent Siren was performing. So close, yet so far.

The End

Why Japan is better than the rest of the world: Reason #143

I want those posters in my classroom!

Japan Summer Trip Recap: Harajuku Monogatari, Silent Siren, TPD, and TIF.

12 Aug

Summer Trip: July 24-August 8

My final trip to Japan. The trilogy is now complete.

[Um, you went 12 times.]

Okay. The four trilogies are now complete.



Since I’m 99% certain this was the final time I will go to Japan, I sat in the first row of the plane and bought some toys for the flight.

And I was reminded why I don’t drink Bloody Marys. They’re disgusting!

Schedule

July 24  Arrived at Haneda, took a shinkansen to Shizuoka
July 25 Silent Siren 5th Anniversary Tour @Sound Shower Ark (Shizuoka)
July 26 Silent Siren 5th Anniversary Tour @Sound Shower Ark (Shizuoka)
July 27 Akishibu Project (Yuna, Natsumi, Saori graduation) @Akasaka BLITZ
July 28  Women-only onsen
July 29 Harajuku Monogatari, Yamaguchi Kassei Gakuen, Tenkou Shoujo, palet, Maplez, Woltanative, 26-ji no Masquerade Idol Koushien @Akasaka BLITZ
July 30 GEM, SUPER GiRLS, RuriRori, La Pom Pon @OTODAMA SEA STUDIO (Miura)
July 31 Harajuku Monogatari, drop, Cheeky Parade, Maneki Kecak, READY TO KISS, Task have Fun Konya wa Anata no SUPER LIVE @TSUTAYA O-EAST
August 1  Women-only onsen
August 2 Tokyo Performance Doll release event @LaLaport TOYOSU
August 3 Tokyo Performance Doll one man @Shinjuku BLAZE
August 4 Tokyo Idol Festival Day 1 
August 5 Tokyo Idol Festival Day 2 
August 6 Tokyo Idol Festival Day 3 
August 7 GEM teiki koen (Tokyo)
August 8  wild animal only onsen

Arriving in Tokyo
Typically when I arrive in Japan, I take a train to my hotel and fall into a coma (L.A. to Tokyo is a 12 hour flight). It’s especially tiring after you binge-watch four movies in a row. I watch the Japanese movies on the in-flight catalog, and there is almost always one that I end up loving. During my winter trip I watched a movie with Rina Takeda called “Kagurame,” (she’s awesome; check out “Wakakozake” if you can). The movie I loved though was Flying Colors (aka “Biri Gal”). I watched it going to Japan and on the return flight and bought it when I got back home.

During this trip, I watched “Kimi to 100-kaime no koi” with Erina Mano and Miwa, “HaruChika” with Kanna Hashimoto and a guy from Sexy Zone, and an American movie called “Before I Fall.” The fourth movie was “Let’s Go Jets” (aka “Cheer Dance”). I loved this movie. It’s kind of like Cheerfu11y, only way better. Definitely buying when it becomes available.

I wasn’t able to fall into a coma this time, because upon arriving, I had to take a shinkansen to Shizuoka in order to see Silent Siren the following day.

Silent Siren
@Sound Shower Ark
July 25 and 26

This will be brief because there isn’t a lot to write about. They didn’t perform any of my favorite songs at either concert and as they always do, they had a long “punishment game” corner. But it’s Silent Siren, so I can’t complain. And I’ll see them in December when they play in Los Angeles. Very likely from the front row. Also the weather upon arriving was great. With the exception of the final two days of the trip, the weather was almost perfect the entire time.
So, instead I’m going to explain what happened in the above photo.

After buying tour goods (more like greats), I went across the street to the shopping mall to look for souvenirs (my parents have been to Shizuoka before and wanted me to get them something). When there was ten minutes to go until the venue opened, I began walking back. In the photo, you can see the Silent Siren fans in the background. At this point I noticed an old lady walking her dog. Correction, I noticed a crazy old lady walking her crazy dog right into a row of bicycles. She then continued on her way like nothing happened.

I hope I never get old. Or crazy.

Tour goods

Akishibu Project
@Akasaka BLITZ
July 27

In the morning I took a shinkansen back to Tokyo for Akishibu Project’s concert, which would be Yuna, Natsumi, and Saori’s last with the group. Yuna and Natsumi are my favorites so this effectively ended my fandom.

The stage had three giant banners for the graduating members. After a few songs they did a MC and explained the rest of the setlist would be non-stop. Of course, not a single song they would perform was a favorite of mine :P Which was a recurring theme throughout my trip. I guess I have weird taste (or bad luck), because when it comes to the groups I follow, the songs I like are rarely part of the normal rotation. Overall, the concert was kind of “blah”–the crowd was tame, the graduation part was sloppy, and there were no announcements at the end which could give fans optimism that the group has a future. (A few days later they did debut new songs, a pv, and outfit though).

Idol Koushien
@Akasaka BLITZ
July 29
My original plan was Roppongi Idol Festival for Tokyo Performance Doll and SUPER GiRLS. I hesitated buying a ticket because I’d seen the broadcasts of this event before (it’s an annual thing) and I knew it was an outdoor stage that was also kind of janky. An Idol Koushien was also scheduled for the same day, with the typical Idol Koushien lineup, so not exciting. As the weeks passed, the lineup updated, and eventually there were seven groups I legitimately wanted to see: Harajuku Monogatari, Yamaguchi Kassei Gakuen, Tenkou Shoujo, palet, Maplez, Woltanative, and 26-ji no Masquerade. At the time I was still on a TPD high, but I also knew that I wouldn’t be able to see a lot of the groups I just listed at TIF due to timetable conflicts, so it was either Idol Koushien or never. I’m thankful logic won out over my infatuation with TPD, because this is the event that introduced me to Harajuku Monogatari hotness.

Mini-reviews
Typical for Idol Koushien, the event was from 10:00 to 20:30 and you could come and go. I saw a lot of groups, but I’ll just focus on the seven I came to see.

Harajuku Monogatari (aka Monoga) was scheduled for 13:20 and Yamaguchi Kassei Gakuen was the last act, so I was going to be there a while. I arrived ten minutes before their set, but I was able to get a great spot in the middle column at the barrier. When they came on I noticed they weren’t wearing their sleeve things, which was kind of their visual trademark for a while. They performed nonstop without MCs, with members continually swapping in and out based on the song. This is how they always perform, and I think it’s cool, even though my favorite member rotates out for a lot of songs (the rotations are based on their “teams,” a system they no longer use). I immediately liked their choreography, music, and several of the members, but it wasn’t until the following days when I starting researching the group and watching and re-watching the few videos they had on youtube that they really began sinking into my subconsciousness. 

In my opinion Harajuku Monogatari is the most exciting group to emerge since PASSPO back in 2010. The unexpected thing about Monoga is there is no other group like them, which is strange because on the surface they don’t seem particularly unique. When you see them perform though, their dance moves, lineup, outfits, and overall sassiness make them unlike any other group. To me, they are as unique as Migma Shelter, just in the opposite direction. They weren’t always unique though, when the group was formed last year, they were a typical indie kiddy group. Their “3rd chapter” overhaul at the beginning of the year completely changed their image. If I return to Japan during winter break, it will be because of this group.

Tenkou Shoujo performed next, and they also recently overhauled their image for the better. I didn’t like them as much as I thought I would though. The lineup is just a little off. [It’s the chibi member right? Just say so.] Can’t, chibi member might be reading this. And I’m afraid of chibi member.

Maplez came on two sets later. This was the first time seeing their new linuep, which completely changed earlier in the year when the original members were shuffled into spinoff groups (one of which is Woltanative). Vocally, the new lineup is pretty weak and I feel they are a huge step back. The music is still great, although it doesn’t seem like they are producing new music anymore. Their setlists always seem the same. Two groups later, Woltanative took the stage… with only three members. I was shocked. This group debuted just a few months ago and they already lost two members. That literally killed my interest, since one of the members was my favorite and the most visually striking of the group.

26-ji no Masquerade eventually performed and I think they are currently riding a wave of popularity from their new single. Having seen several of their live streams, I assumed I would be more into them, but I actually thought they were really generic. I didn’t dislike them, they are just kind of “blah.”

Palet came on after a few more groups and allowed photos during one song. I wouldn’t normally join in, but I do think Rito is one of the best looking members of any group ever. I basically like palet for three reasons: (1) Rito, (2) Haruka, and (3) Rito.

Yamaguchi Kassei Gakuen were scheduled last and I was surprised how many people were still at the stage area. For the only time that day, I got front row. I’d actually seen YKG years before, but I wasn’t really watching them back then. Like you can see something, but not really see it if you aren’t paying attention. This can apply to a lot of things in life. Anyway, even though they’ve been around for years (and I’d seen their music videos here and there), I didn’t really notice this group until two months ago when I watched the Idol Yokocho streams and realized their music and choreography is really good, and their center, Yui Moriwaki, literally never stops smiling. [And you fell in love. How predictable.] No, I did not fall in love. I fell in like. [I’m impressed then. It’s about time you didn’t fall in love based solely on looks.] Well, then I saw her in person and fell in love.

GEM, SUPER GiRLS, RuriRori, and La Pom Pon
@OTODAMA SEA STUDIO
July 30
The next day I went to Miura beach, which was an hour by train from Tokyo, in order to see GEM and SUPER GiRLS. I’d been to OTODAMA SEA STUDIO two years ago for a Silent Siren concert, and I assumed the venue would be at the same location this year. But when I got to the final station, I immediately knew I was in a different city. My brain temporarily short-circuited and I was like, “Umm, where the f-junk am I?” At first, I thought I was at the wrong station, but I began to slowly process that they just moved the location this year. It’s entirely possible that they move the venue to a different beach every year–since this is a long-running summer event, and I wouldn’t know since I’ve only been to two of them. Without knowing where I was, I left the station and walked toward the beach–once I figured out which direction that was :P It was a five-minute walk, and once I got to the beach, it was easy to find the venue.
I was surprised that there was hardly anyone at the concert. There was a night show also with a slightly different lineup, but I doubt the situation was much different. The stage is in a covered hall, directly on the beach, so you are standing on the sand. The girl band RuriRori opened. They’ve been around for a while and are the group with their name stylized as  凸凹凸凹. I’ve seen them before and they’re cute, especially the lead singer, who performed wearing a bikini and super short-shorts. Their style is very Silent Siren-like, except they don’t seem to have a huge catalog of music. 

The group definitely hasn’t leveled up since I saw them last. The first chord the lead singer played on her guitar resulted in one of the strings snapping. It was simultaneously hilarious, cute, and patheti-sad. Later on during a towel-waving song, she threw her towel in the air and it got stuck on a hook above the stage. I was dying. They’re really cute though and an average girl band is much more appealing than an average idol group.

After the group cleared their equipment from the stage, GEM performed. They didn’t do their SE, they just came out wearing GEM shirts and short shorts and hyped the crowd. It kind of felt awkward because the venue was only a third full. This isn’t going to be that informative because I forgot most of the songs they performed and pretty much all details–outside of the short shorts. They definitely performed their two new songs, which I really, really, really don’t like. Particularly the b-side. That song is all over the place. Chaotic choreography and nonsensical musical arrangement. Not to sound elitist, but the quality of the song is way beneath them.

La Pom Pon performed next, and I actually liked their set better than GEMs. Their new single is a cover of Mai Kuraki’s “Feel Fine” (they are from the same agency). I was a huge fan of Mai K and I thought their cover was cute. I used to like LPP’s leader Yukino, but I now like Rima (light blue). [Let me guess, she is super-long kawaaiiiii.] She is absolutely super-long kawaaiiiii!

SUPER GiRLS concluded the show. I don’t know the names of their songs anymore, but a lot of fans were jumping around, including myself. Since we were on the sand, I didn’t realize that sand was getting kicked everywhere until I noticed people brushing it off. I felt bad and proceeded to jump more responsibly.

After the concert I had to rush back to the station because Yamaguchi Kassei Gakuen had an release event in a few hours in Ikebukuro for their new album. 

Konya wa Anata no SUPER LIVE (“Tonight is your Super Live”)
@TSUTAYA O-EAST
July 31

There were a lot of groups scheduled and my interests were Harajuku Monogatari, drop, Maneki Kecak, Task have Fun, READY TO KISS, Cheeky Parade, and 2o Love to Sweet Bullet.

Mini recap
I reserved my ticket through Ready to Kiss‘s Tiget page, but I chose drop upon entering (still not sure the actual purpose, but it’s  protocol to choose the primary group you are pushing). I arrived ten minutes before Task have Fun took the stage and I saw Fuka watching from backstage. [Did you fall in love with her?] Yes, of course. Did you even have to ask?

This would be the only time I saw them this trip because I wasn’t able to see them at TIF. I should clarify that I like them, but just casually, so I watched from the upper step in the back of the venue because it offers a good view of the stage. They performed the three songs they always perform. And it was nice. [How descriptive.]

Fast forward to Harajuku Monogatari, I immediately awoke from my slumber and charged to the front of the stage, but only got to the second row of the middle column. They performed three songs (maybe four) and I wanted more. [How many more did you want?] I don’t know, 10. No, 20. I mean a million.

Fast forward again to Maneki Kecak. Forgot where I was, probably on the right column to avoid the pit area. I think this was the first time I saw them as just four members. Forgot when yellow member graduated. [Wow, your memory is great.] Something I wanted to definitively resolve this trip was whether I like them or drop more. After watching them perform at this event and at TIF, I can say I like drop a lot more. Drop’s music is much funner in my opinion and Maneki Kecak has too many ballady songs. Lineup wise, I think both are great, and it just comes down to preference. Chiai is one of the few truly elite idols and I rank her second only after Kome of SUPER GiRLS. Reona is also awesome. I just like Misa from drop the most from the groups. Speaking of Chiai, my first reaction when I saw her on stage was that she looked alarmingly skinny. Anyway, they performed the song “Splash.” This song haunts me. Why does this song exist and why do I keep seeing them perform it?

Cheeky Parade followed and… they are a shell of their former selves. I felt bad watching them and I don’t see how they can survive, with or without Marin and Mariya (whose returns I  never believed were going to happen anyway).

2o Love to Sweet Bullet performed next. This was the first time I’ve seen them and… they were kinda “blah.” And I need to stop using that word to describe groups.

Drop was the second to last group to perform. The thing about these types of concerts is you have to endure a lot in order to get to what you like. Even when the lineup is 50% to your liking, there is still a lot of dead time. Since it was getting late, they just performed three songs, but they were all high energy. Everyone was just jumping around and having a good time.

Unfortunately someone died.

But overall, it was great.

And no one actually died.

READY TO KISS ended the show, and I was kind of burned out by this point. I’m still a huge fan of the group’s center Sakino. I’ve been a fan of hers since she debuted in Houkago Princess, which was like seven years ago.

With this show over, all that remained on my schedule was TPD and TIF.

[And Goo Choki Paa. Don’t you dare forget them!]

To be continued

Japan Summer Trip Intro: Harajuku Monogatari, Silent Siren, TPD, and TIF.

10 Aug

Summer Trip: July 24-August 8

I’m going to temporarily fast forward to the end of my vacation because something unexpected happened. *cue spooky banjo solo*

I spent my last day in Japan at a police station. No I did not kill anyone! I was there because I had to file a police report. Japan is a very safe country, but unfortunately I was the victim of theft.

Harajuku Monogatari stole my heart.

*dramatic pause*

[Did they also steal your brain?]

Harajuku Monogatari (abbreviated as Monoga) is an S-gen™ (sassy generation) pop-group whose members were all scouted in Harajuku. They are talented, super sassy, and their average age is 15.9. (I didn’t do the math, I just happened to watch a video from last year that mentioned their average age was 14.9, and since it’s now a year later, I added a 1). For the record, I think it’s amusing that stuff like “average age” and “three sizes” are considered acceptable and appropriate ways to describe a group in Japan. [Yeah, totally weird … So what are their three sizes?] I don’t know. The video didn’t mention that. Probably because their average age at the time was 14.9. [Oh right.]

As I explained, they are very, very sassy. I traveled to the furthest edges of the inter-verse and this is the least sassy photo of them I could find:

[Whoa! Can you give a warning the next time you post a sassy photo like that?!]

I did give a warning.

[That photo is very, very, very sassy. You only mentioned sassy twice.]

Sorry. Warning: The above photo that you have already looked at is very, very, very sassy.

[It’s too late. They already stole my heart.]

And that is just their front-girl team! Things are about to get a LOT more sassy. Eight times more sassy to be precise. Below is the complete thirteen member lineup. Obligatory sassy warning: this may be TSFW (too sassy for work).
I’m starting my recap with Harajuku Monogatari because they are dare I say, magical, legendary-wait for it-dary, and a once-in-a-thousand years idol group.

[I thought TPD was your new favorite group? What happened?]

What happened?! Goo-choki-paa happened!! That’s what happened!

 To be continued.