Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The 2014 Japanese Idol Review!

With another year drawing to a close, it's time for everyone's favorite (?) tradition, the year in review!  Of course, I'll be focusing on Japanese idols for the purposes of this article.

In the past few years the Japanese idol industry has been going through an "idol boom" where idol groups are popping up all over the country.  Every city, district and neighborhood seems to have an idol group.  You can't walk too far down any street without bumping into an idol or idol wannabe. This, unfortunately, has caused an oversaturation of the industry that has many fans having a hard time keeping up with all of these groups, as well as finding ways to support them through purchasing merchandise and attending concerts.  2014 saw many new idol groups debut, only to have some of them break up or have lineup changes.  Sometimes an idol would join a group only to leave a few weeks later, or even join a another group shortly thereafter.  Some groups reorganized into new groups and there were even some "microwave" idol groups that came and went in the blink of an eye!

One trend I noticed this year is that older idols were being "phased out".  Shortly after I wrote the first English language article about Links on July 24, Saito Mitsue, currently 21-years-old, left the group.  The idol group BiS, whose members were in their 20s, broke up.  Michishige Sayumi, age 25, graduated from Hello! Project's Morning Musume, and H!P even announced the disbanding (excuse me, "hiatus") of the group Berry Kobo, whose members range in age from 20 to 23, during Spring 2015.  While there are still older idols for those who like them, I feel that this may mean that some new, younger girls will soon debut and hopefully take the place of the departed older idols.  The only way for the idol industry to survive is to keep things fresh and exciting, and to give younger girls the chance they want to show the world how much they love to sing and dance.  

Any end of the year review wouldn't be complete without a list.  Yes, I have one!  Actually, I have a list of my favorite idols songs of 2014, as well as much shorter lists of favorite albums and new groups.  Instead of ranking my favorites, which I can't really do as I love a lot of these songs, albums and groups equally, I am grouping my favorite songs from each idol group that I like, and adding a list of albums and groups that I recommend if you haven't already heard them.  (Select songs on my list have music videos.)    

Favorite Songs of 2014: 

Sakura Gakuin & Subunits - 
"I J I" 
"Jump Up ~Chiisana Yuki~" 
"Mikansei Silhouette" 
"Daydream Believer" (cover of The Monkees) by Marina, Raura, Nene & Hinata 
"Ningentte Iina" by sleepiece 
"Heart no Hoshi" 

Caramel ☆ Ribbon - 
"Nana Iro no Niji no Muko ni" 
"Sparkling Daydream" (cover) 
"Zankoku na Tenshi no Thesis" ("A Cruel Angel's Thesis") (cover) 

NA-NA - 
"Fu Fu" 

Aither - 
"Fantasy combo" 
"1 carat star" 
"Pure myth" 

Prizmmy☆ - 

Prism☆Mates - 
"Pojikaru World" by Natsu & Yuka 
"Chocolate Paradise" by Momona 
"Glory Days" by Hina & Runa 

Prism☆Box - 

Sakuran Bom Bom - 
"My Hero" 
“Bom Bom World☆” 
“Ne~e! Sakuranbo” 

Candy Kiss - 

Michinoku Sendai ORI☆HIMETAI -
"Kimi ni Todoku Kaze ni Nare" 
"Takara Mono" 

Himekko 5 - 

Candy Zoo - 
"Go Go ☆ Dinosaur" 

loop - 

Pink Babies - 

CoCo DeCoRu - 

Onigokko - 
"Hare nochi Hare" 
"Dream Angel" 

Haru ☆ Kana -  
"Sense Revolution" 

Peekaboo - 

Millennium Girls - 

Pocchimo - 

Hypericum - 
"Sweet Box" 

Miniature Garden - 

Q♥T - 
"Happy Happy" 

Kokepiyo - 

Idol Renaissance - 
 "17 Sai

Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku - 

mImi -
"lucky star"  
"Girls' Revolution" 

"Fujicco QQQ no Theme" 

Minichia ☆ Bears - 
"Minichia ☆ Ouenka"  

Cute☆Pit - 

Maboroshi Love - 
"Merry Go World" 
"Kinenbi Noto" 

Party Rockets - 

Favorite Albums / Mini Albums of 2014: 

Sakura Gakuin - 
"Sakura Gakuin 2013 ~Kizuna~" 

Onigokko - 
"Toy Box" 

Prizmmy☆ & Prism☆Mates - 
"Music Goes On" 

Sakuran Bom Bom - 
“Bom Bom World☆” 

Favorite New Groups of 2014: 

Millennium Girls 
Idol Renaissance 

So there you go!  Fifty-six songs, four albums and five new groups.  Yes, I know that Q♥T broke up last month, but they were a new group in 2014.   

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