Task have Fun (8/3-8/5)
Task have Fun is a three person idol unit started in 2016 with the concept of having fun while going through the tasks of life. They aim to have a powerful level of performance that you wouldn’t expect from looking at them. Task have Fun had a bit of a breakthrough hit with last year’s 3WD, which was probably the most popular underground idol song of the year. They’ve been steadily getting more and more popular and with how young the girls are right now (15, 16, and 16), I think they could become something big.
THE HOOPERS (8/4 and 8/5)
THE HOOPERS were formed in 2014 as a junior group to Fudanjuku. While I initially thought they were a danso group like Fudanjuku, they’re actually an “ikemen joshi” group. Basically, Fudanjuku is a group of girls that dress and act like boys and THE HOOPERS is a group of girls that dress and act like cool, handsome girls that even other girls will fall in love with. They want to make a dream world that you can’t experience in your daily life and take you captive with their dangerously sexy performances. Like Fudanjuku, they seem to have a mostly female fanbase, but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy them if you’re a guy. Their songs are catchy and feature deep and powerful vocals.
There There Theres (8/3 and 8/5)
There There Theres started as BELLRING Shoujo Heart in 2012, disbanded in 2016, and reformed in 2017 as There There Theres with a change in members. They describe themselves as a phantasmagoric group with a 60s retro and psychedelic rock sound. There There Theres wants to someday perform at Coachella. The group’s sound is rather dark and depressing and the girls wear black feathers on their sleeves to look like crows. Like Jyujyu, they’re not the kind of group to get you pumped up and jumping around, but they provide an option for people looking for something a little different than your typical idol fare.
tipToe. (8/4 and 8/5)
tipToe was formed in 2016 with the concepts of school and youth. Their group name was chosen because if they stand on their tiptoes, they can reach higher places. While a school/youth themed idol group seems very orthodox, their music is pretty unique and incorporates Shibuya style guitar pop, bass, electronica, and chiptune to create a refreshing and emotional sound. I find their music very pleasant and relaxing and recommend giving it a listen.
Tokyo CLEAR’S SMILE (8/4)
Tokyo CLEAR’S SMILE was formed in 2016 as the second Tokyo based branch of the larger CLEAR’S group. CLEAR’S is a cleaning based idol group formed with the motto of “the town is not everyone’s trash can”. While they perform normal idol lives, they also participate in cleaning activities. To become full members, they have to get certain cleaning certifications and every Tuesday, members pick up trash and encourage their fans to do it too and share pictures on social media. Like 48G, CLEAR’s has branches all over Japan and currently Tokyo CLEAR’S, Tokyo CLEAR’S SMILE, Nagoya CLEAR’S, Kawagoe CLEAR’S, Kumamoto CLEAR’S, Osaka CLEAR’S, Gunma CLEAR’S, Chiba CLEAR’S, and Sendai CLEAR’S are active. Tokyo CLEAR’S SMILE performs both CLEAR’S songs and songs written specifically for them. I think it’s kind of an entertaining concept and they even have a cleaning mix that you shout where you shout about trash and mops. CLEAR’S has catchy songs and I’ve heard great things about the Tokyo CLEAR’S SMILE fans, staff, and members.
Tokyo Performance Doll (8/3-8/5)
Tokyo Performance Doll was an idol group active from 1990-1996 that was revived in 2013. They aim to be an unrivaled performance group with beautiful formation dances. It’s clear that they take pride in their skills and the girls are particularly good dancers. I remember them doing some pretty cool dance breaks when I saw them live. Tokyo Performance Doll also has a huge catalog of songs, many of which are quite good. If you’re into great dancing and a mix of cool and cute songs, keep an eye on Tokyo Performance Doll.
Underbeasty was formed in 2014 as a visual kei rock idol group. While they aren’t fully self-produced, the members write the lyrics and make the choreography for each one of their songs. They also help with composing, outfits, CD designs, and designing performances. Underbeasty has great songs, fun lives, and it’s always nice to see a group where idols take an active role in the production side of things.
Vanilla Beans (8/4 and 8/5)
Vanilla Beans is an idol duo formed in 2007 with a pure, innocent, and fashionable concept. The two members are very active on television, talk shows, and radio. Vanilla Beans has a definite old school style; the group looks and sounds straight out of the 80s or 90s. One of the members, Rena, made it to the final round of the 7th generation Morning Musume auditions. I’m not too interested in their music, but I love their old-school aesthetic and I think it’s amazing they’ve been active as just the two of them for over ten years. Sadly, they just announced that they are disbanding, so this will be their last TIF.
WHY@DOLL (8/3 and 8/5)
WHY@DOLL is a group formed in 2011 as a derivation unit of Team Crarekko that was previously a Hokkaido based group, but now primarily promotes in Tokyo. They started with a cute concept, but as the members got older and became fewer in number, they have transitioned to a more mature, nostalgic city pop, R&B, and disco funk sound. If you like cool, mature, and relaxing groups, you’ll like the current WHY@DOLL.
Wyenra (8/3 and 8/5)
The five members of the now-disbanded drop went two different ways. Three of the members stayed with the agency and formed Nanaland, which is basically drop 2.0 (and also at Tokyo Idol Festival). The other two, Misato and Hikari, left and formed Wyenra with Hikari’s sister Kirara, a former member of KAGUYA. Wyenra was formed in 2017 as an entirely self-managed and self-produced group with the concept of being ever-changing like smoke and unable to be captured in a frame. They want to go abroad and take part in anime and musicals. I was never much of a fan of drop, but I really like Wyenra’s dark image and rock sound mixed with traditional Japanese influences. As I’ve said before, I also have a strong appreciation for self-produced and self-managed groups. Check out Wyenra if you were a fan of drop, like self-managed groups, or like dark, rock idols.
X21 (8/3 and 8/4)
X21 was formed in 2013 from twenty-one finalists of Oscar Promotion’s nationwide beautiful girl contest. Since then, seven new members have joined who were finalists in subsequent years. The group is a next generation unit of girls full of possibilities who are also active as models, actresses, and talents. I have to admit, I initially wrote them off as a boring group with no effort from management to make good songs, dances, or develop the personalities of the girls because they were so pretty they’d get fans no matter what. While it’s true most of the girls aren’t great at singing or dancing and the group has an orthodox concept, their recent songs have been pretty catchy and shown off the personalities of the girls. The group seems to have more substance than I gave it credit for. If you like orthodox idol groups with fun and pretty girls, X21 might be your thing.
Yamakatsu was formed as Yamaguchi Kassei Gakuen in 2011, but changed its name in 2017. The group is based in Yamaguchi prefecture and was formed to promote the prefecture’s products and sightseeing spots. The group has all of their goods produced in Yamaguchi and all of the composers, writers, instructors, and staff are from Yamaguchi. Yamakatsu focuses on having dynamic and powerful dances, as well as having a lot of lives that last longer than two hours. Not only is their dancing and athleticism impressive, their songs are really high quality. Take the chance to see them in Tokyo!
Yanakoto Sotto Mute (8/3-8/5)
Yanakoto Sotto Mute was formed in 2016 and the group’s music combines the genres of grunge, shoegaze, and alternative rock. They say that while muting the unpleasant things in life doesn’t solve anything, for now, they will sing sorrowful melodies with a rock sound. Yanamute allows pictures and videos at every live, so they’re pretty easy to follow from abroad. They’re not the most idolly idols around, but they’re putting out some of the best rock music in the idol industry and if you like rock music that’s kind of sad and emotional, you’ll probably love Yanamute’s stuff. Shortly after TIF, they are performing in America at the East Meets West Music Festival, so I’ll be featuring more Yanamute content on this blog, including an interview with the group.
You Kikkawa (8/3 and 8/5)
You Kikkawa became active as an idol in 2007 as a Hello! Project Egg member, but in 2010, graduated from the program, and in 2011, became active as a soloist. Kikka is a skilled singer, often performs abroad, and in her seven years as a soloist, has covered a ridiculous amount of genres. She’s one of the most talented active solo idols and you can probably find at least a couple of songs that you like.
Yufu Terashima (8/3-8/5)
Yufu Terashima was a member of BiS from 2011-2013 and in 2014, she started her career as a solo idol. Her image as an idol now is about polar opposite from BiS: her songs are orthodox idol and have a very sweet, calm sound. Yufu prides herself on being traditional and taking her job as an idol seriously. She is also known for being really into yuruchara, mascot characters used to promote a place or business, and incorporates them in a lot of her PVs and imagery. Sometimes I just want a dose of cute, relaxing, and traditional idol music and Yufu is perfect for that.
Yumemiru Adolescence (8/3-8/5)
Yumemiru Adolescence was formed in 2012 as an idol group made up of models from popular fashion magazines. Obviously, they’re a pretty group, but are they more than that? Well, sort of. They have some decent songs and have experimented with a variety of genres. I think some of their stuff is good, but they’re not the most interesting group around. Most people who like them probably became fans because of their visuals, but their music isn’t bad either.
Yurumerumo! (8/3 and 8/4)
Yurumerumo!, or You’ll Melt More!, was formed in 2012 as a new wave girls group. They want to fight the constraints of the world by writing lyrics for those who are burdened and experimenting with whatever sounds they want to. Yurumerumo has collaborated with a lot of rock bands and held solo lives abroad. I wouldn’t say I’m a big fan of Yurumerumo, but I think they do some interesting stuff musically and are worth checking out.
Zenryoku Shoujo R (8/3 and 8/5)
Zenryoku Shoujo R started in 2016 as a fusion of the groups Ru:Rian and Ryuuseigun Shoujo (Shooting Star Girls). They’re known for their high energy lives and are a really fun group. Two of the members have well-known siblings: Kanon Hirokawa is Nanase Hirokawa from Wasuta’s little sister and Erika Satou is former AKB48/SDN48 member Yukari Satou’s little sister. Zenryoku Shoujo R is a group with catchy, feel-good songs and live performances that will get you hyped up.
Zettai Chokkyuu Joshi! Playballs (8/3 and 8/5)
While Beboga! is made up of baseball fakers, Playballs is the real deal. Zettai Chokkyuu Joshi! Playballs debuted in 2015 with a baseball concept. Each of the girls have some connection to baseball: among the current members one collects baseball uniforms, one plays baseball currently, one currently manages her school’s baseball team, one has a uniform of each professional baseball team in Japan and has been to all of the stadiums except one, and one was a former member of the softball club. You can buy jerseys of your favorite members and if you spend enough money, play catch with them. If you like baseball and idols, they’re the perfect unit for you but even if you don’t, their songs and lives are ridiculously fun.
Well that’s it for part five of five. Are you going to TIF? If not, will you be watching streams of it? Which groups are your favorite? Anything you’re looking forward to? Let me know!