Last night during the Street-sei finale concert, the next iDOL Street group was unveiled. The group’s name is The World Standard (abbreviated as わ→すた or “Wa Suta”) and they will join SUPER☆GiRLS, Cheeky Parade, and GEM as the fourth group on the iDOL Street label. TWS consists of five Street-sei members: Hazuki Sakamoto (16), Miri Matsuda (15), Nanase Hirokawa (15), Ruka Mishina (14), and Ririka Kodama (14).
The above images were included in iDOL Street producer Higuchi-P’s blog and the color-coding matches their Street-sei team. They slightly messed up Haachin’s photo though, because her color should be the same as Miri, and unlike every other member, her age wasn’t shown. Unless those are also their TWS colors, in which case they assigned Haachin a non-penlight color. Unforgivable! I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt that they weren’t attempting to hide her age though, something they did with Saori in SUPER☆GiRLS, because it would be unreal if they considered 16 “old.”
Practically nothing was explained during the reveal (their producer wasn’t even present), but considering each iDOL Street group has a distinct style and image, their concept should become more clear after their debut performance at the iDOL Street Carnival on April 29.
My initial reaction was total disappointment–pretty much the exact opposite of how I felt when GEM was announced. I disagree with Higuchi and his increasingly lame idol preferences, which seem to be based primarily on age, rather than talent. If you are going to be superficial at least base it on looks or cup size! Although iDOL Street makes it completely obvious which girls are being pushed, the inclusion of Miri is shocking. Choosing Miri is like playing an RPG and choosing an extreme niche character like a bard or geomancer. I don’t even know what a geomancer is, which is exactly the point. It’s like a prisoner who is about to be executed choosing a jar of mayonnaise and one of those disgusting giant pickles from Disneyland as their last meal. And don’t even get me started on Nanase and Ririka. *grumble grumble*
TWS resembles the iDOL Street spinoff Hanarichu a lot more than SUPER☆GiRLS, Cheeky Parade, and GEM. It’s going to be difficult for them to compete with their sister groups, let alone the hundreds of other established groups, like AKBN0 and Chubbiness. When Chubbiness was asked about their newest rivals The World Standard, they replied, “The World Strawberries?” When corrected, they were like, “The World Sausage?” and proceeded to lick their lips and salivate uncontrollably.
Even though The World Soup hasn’t debuted yet, I don’t think it’s too early to judge them, because the members have been performing in Street-sei for years, and to the fans who have been paying attention, their strengths and weaknesses are obvious. The lineup lacks a definitive ace and there are two members who can’t sing. For a major label group with only five members, those are significant handicaps. I doubt idol fans in general will care too much about them, but I am curious how the i-Street fandom reacts. GEM was designed around multiple aces from a stacked talent pool, and despite their skill, it took more than a year for them to catch on. Although there are a lot of great five member groups like Doll☆Elements, 9nine, TOKYO GIRLS STYLE, Dorothy Little Happy, and HimeKyun, those groups either have a complete lineup of comparable talent (Doll☆Elements, 9nine, and TGS) or feature a true ace who can compensate for the more specialized roles of the other members (DLH and HimeKyun).
It takes a special idol name to ANGERME
The World Standard is a horrible name that makes no sense and the Japanese abbreviation of “Wa→Suta” is ever weirder. “Suta” is more commonly associated with “star,” and if anything, World Star would have been a better name, because then at least the gimmicky “わ→すた” (“me”→star) abbreviation would have made sense. This is going to be like Girls Entertainment Mixture all over again, when the GEMbers didn’t know what “Girls Entertainment Mixture” meant or how to spell it.
Or maaaybe, the name is so lame that it’s actually cool, like when a movie is so bad it becomes a classic. Like The Garbage Pail Kids Movie and Citizen Kane.
One thing I like about the group is the similar ages of all the members, since it makes the group more cohesive. This is one of the basic premises for why kids progress through school with peers of the same age, despite having completely different abilities. The previous iDOL Street groups have significant age differences, and even though they get along, the generation gaps are obvious. It becomes really visible in the 48 groups, but it exists in smaller groups as well. At the very least, they won’t be able to call the leader “obaachan” or make a big deal about whoever happens to be the youngest.
So let’s all give The World Standard a chance!
Because if they suck, at least GEM is still cool.