Thursday, March 12, 2015

Idol Matsuri Announces Time And Location

It turned out there were two more surprise graduation announcements since the last time I wrote in my blog.  Including the four members of Sakura Gakuin who are graduating at the end of the month (which I knew about well in advance), that makes a total of nine girls from various idol groups that I am personally following are leaving the idol world sometime between now and May 2, 2015.  But instead of writing more articles that make me depressed to even write them, I decided to wait to write in my blog again until I had some good news.  Thankfully, today I have some.

Idol Matsuri, America's first convention dedicated to Japanese idols, has confirmed an official time and location for 2015.  From August 14 to 16, 2015 Idol Matsuri will be held at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington, which is located in Seattle.  I don't know anything about the venue itself, so I won't pretend to.  However, you can check out the official website for yourself.   

Monday, March 9, 2015

Another Candy Kiss Graduation

For the past three days I have been very depressed.  I feel as if someone shot three bullets directly into my heart.  I also feel as if what I am doing as an idol blogger might be pointless.  Being the first person to write about certain Japanese idols, or to share some kind of news about them, doesn't seem to have much of a point if very few people care about the idols I'm writing about.

Sakurai Maya, the leader of Candy Kiss, has announced her graduation from the group.  This news comes two days after the second oldest member, Shimoda Kaede, announced that she will graduate in April.  Apparently Maya wants to focus on her dancing, and Candy Kiss is a secondary concern to her.  The producers of Candy Kiss have known about this for a long time.  She mentioned something on her blog about a "summer album", but I am not sure if this is a reference to the unreleased CD that was supposed to come out in 2014.  In any case, she will have her graduation event in April, presumably with Kaede.  This will make Candy Kiss a trio after April, with remaining members Oguchi Ryoka, Yoshizawa Ruri and Fukushima Kotoko.

I have been a Candy Kiss fan since around July 2012.  Their first single, "Koisuru Candy Kiss", caught my attention in a good way.  It was a very cute song, and I loved all the girls in the video.  I placed an order for the single and played the CD several times once it arrived.  I eventually bought all four Candy Kiss singles, and I have enjoyed each one.  I was a bit disappointed when Kasahara Mahochi (the almost forgotten original member of Candy Kiss who wore the green dress) left the group in 2012.  When Yamashita Honoka left the group in early 2014, this was an even bigger blow.  Honoka was my favorite member, and she sang lead on all the Candy Kiss songs up to then.  I wasn't too happy that there were remixes and alternate versions of Candy Kiss songs on their third and fourth singles, as I wanted to hear the studio versions of songs such as "Open Arms" and "First Love" instead.  Candy Kiss have also performed the songs "Bara no Maho ~Takan'na Kisetsu~" and "Chotto Dake" live.  So far these songs have not been released on CD. While I think Candy Kiss is a really interesting and fun idol group, they have not enjoyed the success that other local and indie idol groups have.  With so many graduations and unreleased songs it's possible they will never achieve the success I feel they deserve.  It's possible that Candy Kiss does not have the kind of promotion they need or the type of songs idol fans are craving.  I still believe Candy Kiss are better than what some people give them credit for, and as long as they are around I will give them my support.              

I sure hope the next time I write in my blog it will be some sort of good news.  I seriously don't think I can handle another surprise graduation announcement.      

Runa To Graduate From Prism☆Mates And Prism☆Box

Runa, a member of Prizmmy☆'s sister groups Prism☆Mates and Prism☆Box, will graduate from both groups on May 2, 2015, after the current Prism☆Box Live Tour VIRTUAL×REAL.  This was announced on both the Prizmmy☆ Official Website and the Prism☆Mates blog.  Runa has been a member of Prism☆Mates since 2012 and sang on the song "Glory Days" along with Prism☆Mates leader Hina.  She has also been in Prism☆Box since the group formed in 2013, and has sung on all three singles.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Shimoda Kaede To Graduate From Candy Kiss

Shimoda Kaede has written on her blog that she will be graduating from Candy Kiss in April 2015.   Exact details were not given as to why, but she thanked the fans for all of their support for the past two-and-a-half years.  (Candy Kiss formed in February 2012 so it's actually been three years.)   This comes as a real blow to fans of the group as Kaede was one of their more important singers, especially since the departure of Yamashita Honoka in early 2014.  Kaede took over some of Honoka's vocals, along with Candy Kiss's leader Sakurai Maya and member Oguchi Ryoka.  How this will impact Candy Kiss's future is unknown at this point. 

Candy Kiss have performed several original songs live with both Kaede and Honoka that have not been released on compact disc yet.  A video on Vimeo tells of an unreleased album that was due in Autumn 2014.       

Friday, March 6, 2015

Sakura Gakuin "Kimi ni Todoke" CD Covers And Track Listing

The Sakura Gakuin Official Website now has the CD covers for their newest album in News section.  The covers are small, but it's all there is for now.  The track listing is below the covers.   The "Sa" and "Ku" versions feature a DVD; the "Ra" version has a Blu-ray.  Each DVD and Blu-ray have music videos and other content exclusive to that disc.

Regular Edition

"Sa" Edition

"Ku" Edition

"Ra" Edition

01. "Mezase! Superlady -2014-" 
02. "Anima Rhythm"  
03. "Heart no Hoshi"  
04. "Spin in the Wind" - Wrestling Club
05. "Tenshi to Akuma" [Remake] - Twinklestars  
06. "Hirari! Kirakira ☆ Yamiyami Museum" - Minipati 
07. "Piece de Check!" - Purchasing Club 
08. "Takaramono" - Kikuchi Moa, Mizuno Yui, Taguchi Hana and Notsu Yunano 
09. "Gokigen Mr. Toropikalory" 
10. "Aogeba Totoshi" ~from Sakura Gakuin 2014~ 
11. "Sayonara Namida" 
12. "Kimi ni Todoke" 

I'm not sure why we need remakes of both "Mezase! Superlady" (even if it's a version with the newer members) and the old Twinklestars song "Tenshi to Akuma".  On another note, "Takaramono" is also the name of a song by Michinoku Sendai ORI☆HIMETAI, so I hope this is a different song. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sakura Gakuin's Close Encounters!

The preview for the new Sakura Gakuin DVD single, "Aogeba Totoshi", was uploaded two days ago.  In the video the members of Sakura Gakuin appear to have some close encounters with an alien resembling an Ewok from the movie Return of the Jedi, a mecha of some sort and a Japanese rock band in top hats.  In case you missed it, here it is!

Here are the two different DVD covers, each with a different "making of" segment.  

Former Sakura Gakuin member Miyoshi Ayaka is on the cover of the recent issue of "Seventeen" (Japanese version).  Ayaka appears in every issue, but this is her second solo cover.  The first was the September 2014 issue.

And if Japanese fashion magazines for teens interest you, another former Sakura Gakuin member, Sugimoto Mariri, also appears monthly in "Pichi Lemon" magazine.  

Sugimoto Mariri

If Sakura Gakuin and all of its members past and present interest you, make sure you pick up copies of all of these like I am!