Friday, October 31, 2014

All You Need Is Love: amorecarina

Aiming to be loved by all generations of idol fans are the 15 fashionable girls in the new idol group amorecarina.  The name of the group comes from two Italian words, amore ("love") and carina ("cute").  They were created by Good Choice Entertainment Co., Ltd. and are the little sister group of Chu-Z.  The girls of amorecarina were chosen to sing the Japanese version of the theme song to the scary cool cartoon Monster High, along with Chu-Z member KAEDE.  Here is the promo video. (Sorry, the usual embedding problems....)

"Monster High ~Scary Cool Girls~" PV  

On the list of members below, click on the name of each girl to see her introductory video.  Trivia: Yamabe Ayu is the younger sister of Tokyo Girls' Style leader Yamabe Miyu.

Mouri Aimi - Born on December 21, 2000
Tozawa Airi - Born on January 5, 2001
Yamabe Ayu - Born on February 3, 2002
Matsumoto Momona - Born on October 12, 2002
Sugiyama Hina - Born on December 13, 2002
Abe Sara - Born on February 25, 2003
Izumida Momoka - Born on March 3, 2003
Mukoyama Aira - Born on March 28, 2003
Takahashi Urara - Born on June 24, 2004
Nakajo Himeka - Born on June 27, 2004
Oda Yuzuha - Born on November 7, 2004
Saitoh Kiara - Born on November 26, 2004
Yanou Juria - Born on November 28, 2004
Kiyono Momohime - Born on December 22, 2004
Fujimoto Naho - Born on January 12, 2005

Official Website
Official Blog
Akiba Cultures Theater Page
Official Twitter
Official YouTube

Happy Idol Halloween!

Caramel ☆ Ribbon


Kairi (Sakuran Bom Bom)

Koga Suzune (soloist)

Nishikawa Airi (PARLISH)

Nishikawa Reika (PARLISH)

Sakurai Rico & Imamura Misato (St. Bonapro School)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Q♥T Disbands

In August I wrote about a cute young group of idols named Q♥T.  It was announced on Twitter on October 20 that Q♥T will disband after their November 16 live.  I didn't read the tweet until last night due me not paying attention to all of the people and groups I am following on Twitter.  (Sometimes following over 100 people has its downside.)  I didn't even notice that all three girls now have their own Twitter accounts.  Perhaps they will keep them after the group breaks up so fans can keep up with their favorite member(s).

Q♥T is a very nice group, although I honestly didn't expect big things from them.  I discovered them due to people linking the same video on two forums I use, and one of my followers on Twitter re-tweeting photos of Yano Myuu, who joined the group on July 10 only to leave two weeks later.   Unfortunately, Q♥T's singles and merchandise are venue-only and very limited.  This means there is little chance of me or anyone who doesn't live in Japan of getting their CDs.

For those who wish to follow the members of Q♥T on Twitter, here you are!
Luna's Twitter
Mio's Twitter
Himari's Twitter   

I'm sad to see you girls break up, but here's hoping I will see all of you again in other idol groups soon!    

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

St. Bonapro School Closes

St. Bonapro School (or St. Bonapro Gakuen, as it's pronounced in Japanese) is an idol group that was formed by BONAMII Inc. (Bonamii Model Production) in 2013 with seven members.  The group's YouTube channel debuted on May 29, 2013 and the digital download (no CD, unfortunately) for their first single, "St. Bonapro School", appeared on June 30, followed by a YouTube video on July 5.  St. Bonapro School's second single, "Yumemiru Carnival", followed the same pattern, with a digital download debuting on August 31 and the YouTube video on September 12.  In the early part of December Marumoto Rin joined the group, writing in the group blog for the first time on December 8.  The eight member lineup didn't last long as Ishikura Miyuu and Yoshikawa Rio graduated on December 21, 2013.  2014 saw the debut of a tennis-themed subunit named Yellow Ball with the youngest members, Mafune Nono and Rin.  New members joined and old members graduated, with sisters Ishikawa Suzuka and Yumeka leaving in April, and Yoda Ayaka officially leaving in June (although her activities with the group stopped sometime before this).  Sakurai Rico and Nono eventually became the last of the original seven to stay with the group.  One new member, Ohashi Remi, was a member of St. Bonapro School for only two months before she graduated.

Two important announcements were made yesterday on Twitter by members of St. Bonapro School.  The first was from Rico, who announced the group was breaking up after their 11th One Man Live on November 24, 2014.  The second was from Rin, who said she was leaving the group on October 23.  The girls and the staff thanked everyone for their support, and apologized for the sudden announcement.  At the end of next month only Rico and Nono can claim to have stayed with St. Bonapro School for the entire 18 months of the group's existence, with Rin claiming the second longest tenure of any member.

I became aware of this group some months ago.  Someone linked the video for "Yumemiru Carnival" on a forum of a French website I use.  I didn't really like the song at first, thinking it was too electronic.  I did like the girls, though, as they are very cute.  Rico in particular has an incredible voice, and she's very beautiful for her age.  I should have watched St. Bonapro School's self-named debut song to see what else the group had to offer, but I didn't until two-and-a-half months ago when the same person on the French forum (which thankfully allows English language comments) linked the video for that.  "St. Bonapro School" is a great song, and it hasn't left my head ever since I heard it.  I wanted to slap myself for ignoring this group based on one song that I didn't care for.  I listed to "Yumemiru Carnival" again and it grew on me.  I then had to check out the other videos on their YouTube channel.  The live videos feature excerpts of three songs, with about two minutes of each song heard.  The only live video you can hear the whole of is a graduation song sung for Miyuu and Rio, although some of the members are crying and can't get the words out.  I should have written about St. Bonapro School long before this, but kept putting it off.  I doubt that an article in English would have kept this cute idol group from breaking up, but maybe if I had written this over a month ago I would have made more people aware of them before this sudden news.

"St. Bonapro School"

"Yumemiru Carnival" 


Sakurai Rico 
Born on May 3, 2002 
Nickname: Ritchan 
Hometown: Tokyo 
143 cm 
Blood Type: O 

Mafune Nono 
Born on July 8, 2004 
Nickname: Nono
Hometown: Kanagawa Prefecture 
125 cm 
Blood Type: B 

Imamura Misato 
Born on April 8, 2003 
Nickname: Mi~pi 
Hometown: Saitama Prefecture 
148 cm 
Blood Type: Unknown 

Amano Mimi 
Born on November 10, 2001 
Nickname: Mimipyon 
Hometown: Tokyo 
153 cm 
Blood Type: A 

Amano Misaki 
Born on March 9, 2005 
Nickname: Misaki 
Hometown: Tokyo 
136 cm 
Blood Type: A 

Akai Sakura 
Born on November 20, 2004 
Nickname: Sakupon 
Hometown: Hokkaido 
131 cm 
Blood Type: O 

Graduated Members: 

Ishikura Miyuu
Born on December 26, 2002 
Nickname: Miyuyu 
Hometown: Kanagawa Prefecture 
139 cm 
Blood Type: Unknown 
Graduated on December 21, 2013  

Yoshikawa Rio 
Born on March 14, 2003 
Nickname: Rio 
Hometown: Chiba Prefecture 
133 cm 
Blood Type: Unknown
Graduated on December 21, 2013 

Ishikawa Suzuka 
Born on January 8, 2002 
Hometown: Yamaguchi Prefecture 
143 cm 
Blood Type: O 
Graduated in April 2014  

Ishikawa Yumeka 
Born on December 16, 2003 
Nickname: Yumerin 
Hometown: Yamaguchi Prefecture 
132 cm 
Blood Type: O 
Graduated in April 2014 

Yoda Ayaka 
Born on February 23, 2004 
Nickname: Ayaya 
Hometown: Yamanashi Prefecture 
133 cm 
Blood Type: O 
Graduated in June 2014, although she stopped her activities with the group sometime earlier.    

Ohashi Remi 
Born on May 31, 2003 
Nickname: Remimin 
Hometown: Tokyo 
142 cm 
Blood Type: A 
Graduated on August 31, 2014

Marumoto Rin 
Born on April 23, 2005 
Nickname: Rinrin 
Hometown: Kanagawa Prefecture 
131 cm 
Blood Type: B 
Graduated on October 23, 2014


"St. Bonapro School" (June 30, 2013, mp3 download; July 5, 2013, YouTube video) 
"Yumemiru Carnival" (August 31, 2013, mp3 download; September 12, 2013, YouTube video) 


Friday, October 10, 2014

Konno Yuuka Update

I reported two days ago that Konno Yuuka was leaving Aither, and this is true.  Yuuka's original announcement on the Aither blog was deleted twice by the management, although it appeared a third time and has stayed.  This was followed by Misaki's reaction to Yuuka leaving, which was also deleted.  Yuuka then posted a long comment yesterday (divided into three posts) about why she was leaving Aither on her new Twitter account.  Apparently Yuuka has not been paid her salary for ten months and had to borrow money just to get to Aither's gigs.  She feels her relationship with the management has been damaged and she cannot trust them.  It was decided a while ago that she would leave.  In addition, Yuuka had a fever due to the high amount of stress caused by all of this.  She said she wanted to continue her activities in Aither but cannot under the circumstances, and offered an apology to all the fans.  

This is very sad news, and totally unexpected.  I was not aware of what was happening, and I doubt many others (except maybe the other members of Aither) knew either.  It leads me to ask many questions, such as are Tsujimura Airi and Misaki being paid a salary?  If so, why hasn't Yuuka been paid?  What about the graduated members of Aither, Megumi and Sakura?  Were they paid for their tenure in the group?  Did they have other reasons for leaving Aither other than the official reason of wanting to focus on school?  Aither had announced back in July that they were releasing an album sometime in 2015.  Will this album still be released?  What about Yuuka's activities with Shamrock, her project with two members of Links?  So many questions, and I doubt any of us will get all the answers.

I feel terrible that Yuuka has been treated so poorly.  I sure all of her fans do.      

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Konno Yuuka's Announcement

Today I woke up to some very startling and sad news.  I was told by two of my friends that Konno Yuuka, the leader of Aither, was leaving the group.  I was also told that the announcement was on Aither's blog early in the day and then it was removed.  It reappeared later so I could see it myself. I read it with Google Translate but it didn't really say why she was leaving.  Sometime later it was deleted a second time, but it has  now reappeared.  I'm not sure if it will stay on the Aither blog for long, but here is the article.  Yuuka's announcement is quite surprising.  Aither have had an interesting year, having added two new members who unfortunately stayed for only nine weeks, and performing their first overseas live at Idol Matsuri in Silverdale, Washington, which I attended.   Furthermore, their U.S. performance came less than a year after their debut and without the support of a major label or an anime tie-in, something that - to the best of my knowledge - has never been done by any other Japanese idol group.  During their first year as a group Aither released three singles, all of which contained four vocal tracks and no instrumentals, another unusual thing for an idol group to do.  Aither's songs are more like artist songs than typical idol songs too.  I was feeling pretty good that Aither were on the road to success.  Now I still don't have any real reason as to why Yuuka is leaving, so hopefully this will be revealed soon.  I am personally going to miss her if she leaves, as she is my favorite member of Aither.

My friends already know this, but some of you reading may not, so I'll confess something about myself.  I used to have a blog that was named "I ♥ Miyoshi Ayaka's Idol Musings".  I deleted this blog and other personal accounts for personal reasons.  When I wrote this blog I wrote several articles about idols that no one else wrote about, similar to what I am doing now.  Among the groups I was the first to write about in English were B Flat and Party Rockets.  I first wrote about B Flat in January 2012, in reference to a concert named Girl's Revue.  B Flat was one of seven idol groups that performed at this event.  The lineup of B Flat at the time was basically the lineup that later became Party Rockets, Watanabe Koume, Konno Yuuka, Tsujimura Airi, Fujita Akari, Kikuchi Fumika and Sato Hiyori.  Of course Airi became ill and had to leave the group before they debuted.  I wrote about the members of B Flat graduating and forming the group Party Rockets on June 14, 2012, 17 days before they made their live debut on July 1.  I wrote about them a couple more times before July and only after their first performance did other bloggers start writing about Party Rockets.  Now I got a tip off about B Flat and Party Rockets from a Japanese friend who actually saw B Flat live.  She wrote a detailed history on Facebook which I copied into a document that I have kept on my computer ever since.  I give my friend Yacchan credit for bringing these girls to my attention.   Without Yacchan I would not even know about Konno Yuuka.  Even if you count June as when I really started to take an interest in Yuuka, I still have been her fan for more than two years.  Only Japanese fans like Yacchan can claim to have been supporting Yuuka longer than me.  I cancelled the internet for 14 months and then decided I wanted it back.  On November 2013 I finally watched the promo videos for Aither that were on YouTube, and slowly learned more through the live videos uploaded by Chibineko, who I am now fortunate to be friends with.  No one else had written about Aither at the time so I decided that it was time that idol fans knew about this awesome new group and became the first to write them.  In July of 2014 I asked Chibineko for information on Shamrock, Yuuka's side project with two members of Links.  I wanted to be the first to write about Shamrock so that I could  say that I was the first to write about all of Yuuka's groups.  Of course I didn't have much info to go with so I turned my article into a joint Links and Shamrock article.  I'm glad I did as I can now rest easy knowing that I have done my absolute best to show my love and support for one of my favorite idols.

If Yuuka is leaving Aither for good, no matter what her reason(s) may be, I will be heartbroken.  But this is her decision and as a fan I should support her no matter what her choices are.  I sure hope this will not be the last I hear from her.  Yuuka has cancelled her Twitter account with fashion designer Frank Valleee, but has started a new Twitter account.  It says she has tweeted three times although I can only see one tweet.  Perhaps those other tweets were deleted or private.  So maybe this isn't goodbye, but rather a new start.  Only time will tell.                             

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Getting "Glitter Way Down☆"!

A couple days ago both versions of the new Prism☆Box video "Glitter Way Down☆" were uploaded to YouTube in their preview edits.  The new single will arrive on November 26, 2014.  I'm really into this song a lot!  Prism☆Box singles are what I'd listen to if I needed something  to perk me up.

Regular Version:

Dance Master Version:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

It's Time For An Idol Renaissance!

In December 2013 Sony Music decided to celebrate their 40th Anniversary by creating an idol group!  They started with twelve candidates.  The name Sony chose for this group was Idol Renaissance.  Is this a revival of old fashioned idol groups?  A brand new start to a new wave of idol groups?  Those are the questions that the group's name brings to mind.  Interviews with the candidates of Idol Renaissance began appearing on YouTube in January 2014.  The official YouTube channel was created in March.  A nine member version of Idol Renaissance made their live debut on May 4, 2014 (although originally it was meant to be ten members until one candidate became ill).  The candidates blog became the group's official blog on May 7.  Idol Renaissance performed at TOKYO IDOL FESTIVAL 2014 and @JAM EXPO 2014 among their other regular live performances.  By this time they had been reduced to their final lineup of seven members.  Idol Renaissance's first single, "17 Sai" ("17 Years Old"), was given a limited release on July 6, 2014, and the official music video debuted on YouTube on the same day.

Now here's the bad news.  All of Idol Renaissance's videos except one are (as far as I know) blocked from all countries outside of Japan.  That two track limited release CD and other merchandise can only be purchased from Rocket Express's website, which I believe requires a Japanese address.  There is some good news, however.  While I have had the official website and blog bookmarked for a few months now, and I been following Idol Renaissance on Twitter for the same length of time, I didn't take notice of their official Facebook page until today.  When I clicked on the Facebook page link I figured I'd find the usual things; i.e, lots of Japanese text that I can't read, photos of the group and links to YouTube videos that I can't watch.  While I did indeed find all of this, I also noticed that pinned to the top of the page was the official music video.  I clicked on the video and to my surprise it actually started to play!  I clicked on the HD which made the picture so much better!  So this video may be blocked on YouTube, but I believe anyone can see the video on Facebook.  And see it you should, as "17 Sai" is a fantastic rocker that is already on my list of the best idol songs of 2014.

Some trivia for you.  Hashimoto Kana is the only member of Idol Renaissance that is actually 17. Momo-oka Koyoi was previously in B Flat, the same Step One Sendai group that Dorothy Little Happy and Party Rockets came from.

The only video on their YouTube channel that overseas fans can watch is an interview with Minamibata Maina.

Hashimoto Kana - Born on December 5, 1996; Blood Type: B; 152 cm
Arai Noa - Born on January 17, 1999; Blood Type: A; 158 cm
Minamibata Maina - Born on February 21, 2000; Blood Type: O; 150 cm
Higa Nanako - Born on February 26, 2000; Blood Type: A; 152 cm
Ishino Riko - Born on October 29, 2000; Blood Type: A; 155 cm
Miyamoto Marin - Born on April 23, 2001; Blood Type: AB; 155 cm
Momo-oka Koyoi - Born on April 30, 2001; Blood Type: A; 156 cm

"17 Sai" ("17 Years Old") (July 6, 2014)

Official Website
Official Blog        
Official Twitter
Official Facebook
Official YouTube