Negicco is a Niigata based idol group that has been active since 2003 and is the second most well known group based in the prefecture after NGT48. They were originally formed to promote Niigata’s yawahada negi leeks and were supposed to only last for a month, but kept going because of their success. The three girls promote Niigata with their group and are active as sightseeing ambassadors. It’s pretty amazing that Negicco has been active for fifteen years, but what’s even more amazing is the fact that all three girls are original members of the group. The three girls now range from 26-30 years old. Negicco has found some success, but they still feel like a local idol group, which is kind of nice.
NEO JAPONISM (8/3-8/5)
NEO JAPONISM debuted in 2017 as a group promoting new (neo) sound and culture. They aim to have fun lives with a catchy band sound and choreography that is easy to copy. If you like rock idols with catchy music, look into NEO JAPONISM.
Nichome no Sakigake Coming Out (8/4 and 8/5)
Nichome no Sakigake Coming Out started in 2011 under the name Nichome Hello, but changed their name in 2017. In 2011, Mikitty Honmono was discovered dancing to Hello! Project in Nichome and asked if he wanted to have a dance off with Up Up Girls on TV. He was set to make another appearance, but this time, did it with four other gay men as the unit Nichome Hello. So yeah, they are based in Nichome, which is Tokyo’s gay district, and the whole group is made up of gay men. Their motto is “even gays can become idols”. While they started out having dance offs with Up Up Girls and being a dance cover group, they now perform their own original songs. Mikitty became a very successful idol choreographer starting in 2012 and has choreographed songs for BiS, Hakoiri Musume, Maison book girl, Philosophy no Dance, LADYBABY, Appare! Harajuku, and more. As you’d expect, he also choreographs all of the songs for Nichome no Sakigake Coming Out and writes all of the lyrics. A lot of their fans are girls and/or part of the LGBTQ+ community, but their fanbase seems to be really diverse. Nichome no Sakigake Coming Out lives are really fun with easy choreography, so everyone tends to get involved. It’s hard not to become a fan after seeing one of their lives!
Nidaime HAPPY Shoujo (8/4 and 8/5)
Nidaime HAPPY Shoujo is Fruity’s little sister group that debuted in 2015. Their concept is delivering happiness to everyone and like Fruity, they are based in Hokkaido. While Fruity’s songs are cool, Nidaime HAPPY Shoujo’s songs are cute and happy. Their songs are pretty enjoyable and definitely cheer me up, so I guess they’re doing their job.
Niji no Conquistador (8/3-8/5)
Niji no Conquistador is managed by the SNS site pixiv and was formed in 2014 with the concept of every day being a cultural festival. Like a rainbow, they want to have a lot of individual colors and conquer the hearts of their fans with them. Each of the members is active in either cosplay, voice acting, choreography, or illustration. This year, they became a part of DEARSTAGE and Nagi Nemoto became a concurrent member of Dempagumi.inc. Nijicon’s songs are pretty fun and they also do a lot of summer and bikini songs, if that’s your thing.
ONEPIXCEL is a free & easy girls unit formed in 2015 with a focus on dancing and singing. They really came into the spotlight early this year, when they sang the ending song for Dragon Ball Super. Another cool thing about them is the fact that former Hello! Project Egg/Kenshuusei member Nanami Tanabe is a member of the group. I was pretty sad when she left Hello! Project, but things ended up working out well for her. If you like Perfume, you should check them out, they definitely give off Perfume vibes.
Osaka☆Shunkashuto was formed in 2012 and is an Osaka based idol unit that focuses on dance and vocals, with MAINA acting as the lead vocalist and the rest of the girls as secondary vocalists. They describe themselves as unconventional rockin’ girls and their songs cover many genres, including rock, funk, pop, and ballads that will hold you captive. MAINA’s vocals are ridiculously good, the rest of the girls are pretty good dancers, and they definitely have more of an artist than idol feel. If you like your idols to be talented and different from the traditional “cutesy” idols, you might be a fan.
Papirosier (8/4 and 8/5)
Papirosier was formed in 2016 as a Fukuoka based cool and beautiful idol group. The name comes from Papillon and Rosier, with the first meaning butterfly and the second rose in French. They want to have the image of butterflies dancing in the roses. Papimache is also performing at TIF, another Fukuoka based group under the same label. Papimache has more of a cute image, so it comes down to whether you prefer cute or cool. While the Papimache girls are cute, their music doesn’t interest me the way Papirosier’s does. Papirosier are still pretty unknown outside of Fukuoka, but they’re solid musically if you’re a fan of rock idols.
Party Rockets GT (8/4 and 8/5)
Party Rockets GT is a Sendai based idol group formed in 2012 with the concept of fun like a rock party. One of the original members is now a member of SUPER☆GIRLS and one of the current members made it to the final round of the 2nd AKB48 draft and was a member of Fuwa Fuwa. I liked their earlier songs more than their recent ones, but they’re still a solid choice for fans of rock idols.
PASSPO is a flight attendant themed idol unit formed in 2009 with the concept of a girls rock unit that will accompany their customers on a trip they won’t forget. PASSPO comes from passport, the members are called the crew, fans are called passengers, and lives are called flights. They sometimes perform as a band and are one of the best idol rock groups out there, with an extensive catalog of high-quality songs. Sadly, like Beboga! and Babyraids JPN, they are disbanding and this will be their last Tokyo Idol Festival.
Philosophy no Dance (8/3-8/5)
Philosophy no Dance are a funky but chic idol group formed in 2015 that mixes philosophical lyrics with a contemporary funk and R&B sound. They have strong vocals and a very unique sound for an idol group that I think even non-idol fans would appreciate. If you’re into funk, listen to Philosophy no Dance.
Pimm’s was formed in 2012 and is led by the SCawaii model Erisa Gunji. They are a rock idol group that focuses heavily on performance, as well as acting, modeling, and gravure activities. I don’t have that much to say about them other than that they’re a decent group with pretty good songs.
predia (8/3 and 8/5)
predia was formed in 2010 as a sexy and adult unit with really impressive vocals. Their catchphrase is “Just being cute isn’t enough, welcome to the adults’ playground”. predia has an average age of 28, with the members ranging from 26-31. They are a sister group to PASSPO and their name comes from a diamond in the rough, with dia being from diamond and pre being from the suffix pre-, I think? They’re certainly a lot more adult than most idol groups and much better singers than most idols out there. A lot of their songs kind of sound the same, but it’s a formula that works for them.
QUEENS was formed earlier this year and has the concept of dancing rock. The members focus on music, dancing, and fashion and have a high performance level. I’m not really sure how they made it to TIF so fast. They’re part of the same agency as PiiiiiiiN and PPP PiXiON, so they’re not with a tiny agency, but it’s not a huge agency either. I guess it’ll remain a mystery, but their debut single is one of the better releases of 2018.
RIOT BABY (8/3 and 8/5)
RIOT BABY was formed in 2016 and they describe themselves as a subculture new generation unit with a melodic core sound. I’m not really sure what that means, but it sounds cool. They’re a very young group with an average age of thirteen, but don’t underestimate them! The RIOT BABY members are really good singers and performers. Last year at TIF, I saw KAE and one of the other members do karaoke and they impressed everyone in the room. They’re still really young, so I wouldn’t be surprised if at least one of them ends up making it big. My money would be on KAE.
ROSARIO CROSS (8/3 and 8/4)
ROSARIO CROSS is a Shizuoka based idol group formed in 2012 formed from the entertainment school Little Step Factory. The members are all childhood friends and really good dancers. They call themselves a performance unit and even make all of the choreography themselves. If you like idols that are strong dancers and have a hands-on role with their group, you might like ROSARIO CROSS.
Run Girls, Run! (8/3)
Run Girls, Run! was formed in 2017 as a voice actress unit for the Wake Up, Girls! anime. They started as a Wake Up, Girls trainee unit, but they’ve already become more than that; they have also performed songs for Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku and Kiritto Prichan. If you’re an anime idol fan, it’d probably be really cool to see them in person.
RYUTist is a Niigata based group formed in 2011. The name comes from Ryuuto, a representative place in Niigata, and artist. They have a lot of long lives that they upload on YouTube, so they’re one of the underground groups that’s easier to follow from abroad. RYUTist has a calm, refreshing sound and the girls sing pretty well.
Sakidori Hasshinkyoku (8/3 and 8/5)
Sakidori Hasshinkyoku was formed in 2017 as an official idol unit of the car information site MOBY. I don’t know why a car information site needs an idol group, but I won’t question it. Their songs, outfits, and goods all fit the car theme. Sakidori Hasshinkyoku has cute and catchy songs, so they’re a good group to support if you’re a fan of both cars and cute girls.
Sakuchan to Jiiji (8/5)
Sakuchan to Jiiji is a Stardust 3B Junior group formed in 2017 (I think) where a young girl sings and dances around a singing grandpa robot. Yep. There’s very little information on them and only a short clip on YouTube that shows what their live performances are like, but this sounds like the kind of thing that would be fun to watch just for the novelty of it.
Sakura Ebis (8/3 and 8/5)
Sakura Ebis was formed in 2015 as the little sister group to Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku. They often cover Ebichu songs, but they have songs of their own too. Sakura Ebis wants to be a cool group and the members are also active as actresses, models, and talents. I don’t know if I’d call them cool, but they’re certainly entertaining and have catchy songs.
Seiko Oomori (8/5)
I wouldn’t call Seiko Oomori an idol, but since she’s performing at Tokyo Idol Festival, I’ll include her here. Seiko has been active since 2006 as a singer and songwriter. She is famous for being a huge idol fan and composing a lot of idol songs. Seiko has composed songs for Up Up Girls, Yufu Terashima, Hikari Shiina (Pikarin), You Kikkawa, °C-ute, Sayumi Michishige, The Idol Formerly Known As LADYBABY, Morning Musume, and more. Her voice and general sound are both very unique and probably a love it or hate it kind of thing, but she has done a lot of songs with and about idols, so I think most idol fans would have a good time at her TIF live.
Serena Kozuki (8/4)
19 year old Serena Kozuki has been active as a solo idol since 2014 and is famous as the “live monster”, doing more than two hundred lives a year. She is from Nagano prefecture and performs there sometimes, but is mostly active in Tokyo. Serechu has mastered the art of live performance and while her songs are just okay (in my opinion), she puts on really enjoyable lives and knows how to make her fans have a good time.
SHINGEKI (or Shinshi Todoroku, Gekijou no Godoku, but I can’t be bothered to write that out) was formed in 2017 as an individualistic rock idol group sent from the heavens to revolutionize the idol industry. Their songs use orthodox melodies and change the keys and tempos to make them unique and irregular. SHINGEKI’s songs are a lot deeper than most idol songs and go to some pretty mature places. The lyrics are written by one of the members (Imoko), so that’s pretty cool. If you’ve been following this blog for a while now, you know that last year, I was one of the biggest fans of SHINGEKI around. Their early music was incredible and all of the members were really cute, unique, and entertaining. Sadly, three of their original members are gone and I’m not as much of a fan of their music this year, but their songs are made for a live environment and I would still highly recommend seeing them in person.
Shinsekaisen is a DEARSTAGE unit started in 2014 that has gone through a lot of different names, like Gimmick! and PamperRevivePeople, but settled on Shinsekaisen in 2017. The concept of the group is that they want to update the world with you and they have a bit of a futuristic feel to them. They’re a cool and powerful group with great lives and a good choice for anyone who is already a DEARSTAGE fan.
Shuuengo Buppan卍 (8/3 and 8/5)
Shuuengo Buppan debuted in 2017, but quickly went on indefinite hiatus. Well, they’re back with new members and a 卍 after their name. That’s not a swastika, by the way, it is a manji symbol that was originally used to mean mercy or good fortune, but is now mostly used as a cool exclamation mark among young people. Still, I probably wouldn’t want to bring their merchandise back to America. One of the former members of the group, Haruna Nanami, is now a member of GANG PARADE under the name Haruna Ba Chiin. They’re a rock influenced group with some really good songs and hopefully they’ll continue to be active.
sora tob sakana (8/3-8/5)
sora tob sakana started in 2014 as an imperfect group that is trying to grow one step and a time, reach perfection, and fly through the sky. sora comes from sky, tob comes from tobu, to fly, and sakana comes from fish…maybe because they’re on Flying Penguin Records? Their songs have a post rock and electronic sound, coupled with their innocent voices and and expressive dance. sora tob sakana songs are very unique and hard to describe. I think most people will either love their sound or think it’s kind of weird, but it’s worth listening and developing your own opinion on them.
S★Spicy (8/3 and 8/4)
Did you know that Stardust had a mature unit of girls in their late twenties? I definitely didn’t, but they do: S★Spicy. They were formed in 2009 and have a sexy and cute concept. Yasuka is almost 27 and Moe is turning 30 this year, so that makes them about double the age of your average Stardust girl. I doubt they will last much longer and they probably won’t ever make it big, but they have good songs and if you like the idea of supporting an indie group with the Stardust sound and Stardust resources, you should look into them.
That’s it for part four. Next part will be the last one. I think I’ll be able to finish the series before TIF, yay!