I marked June 25 on my calender months ago for some very good reasons. That was the date of iDOL Street’s “iDOL Street Carnival 2016 6th Anniversary ～ＲＥ：Я｜LOAD～”, which would be a day of tremendous change for the AVEX backed idol conglomerate. Five girls would be leaving on this day, and fans were promised a shuffle of the iDOL Street units. Nobody knew what this meant: maybe new girls, or maybe girls switched from group to group, or maybe both would happen.
Five different girls left iDOL Street as I watched the events late at night (or early in the morning) this past Saturday on the NicoNico Live stream. In particular, my much loved Suzuki Mariya from Cheeky Parade took her hiatus for further study in Los Angeles along with group mate Yamamoto Marin and GEM’s Takeda Maaya. SUPER☆GiRLS’s Arai Reira and Katsuta Rino left the idol life for good on this morning.
The night began with performances from all of iDOL Street groups. For this first part of the Street Carnival, the groups performed with the lineups to which I learned and grown accustomed. The iDOL Street Students, The World Standard, GEM, Cheeky Parade, and SUPER☆GiRLS took the stage in turn. The final three groups (GEM, ChikiPa, and SG) delivered particularly emotional performances: these few songs were their last performances with their current lineups.
Following the performances, the five girls leaving iDOL Street took center for their graduation/goodbyes. The departing girls paired with another member of their group and listened as their groupmate said a few words for the occasion. I came to iDOL Street through Cheeky Parade, so I particularly felt my heart tugged as Suzuki Yuriya gave her goodbyes to her sister Yuriya. Aside from the Suzuki sisters parting, we saw Kanazawa Yuki say goodbye to Takeda Maaya, Sekine Yuna bid adieu to Yamamoto Marin, Shimura Rika give her words to Arai Reira, and Maeshima Ami speak to Katsuta Rino. After hearing the words from their groupmates, the five girls lined up across the stage and took turns delivering a farewell address to their fans.
I felt the entire venue take a deep breath: we all knew the iDOL Street group shuffle came next.
Surprisingly, Cheeky Parade came onstage first. A short VTR revealed a new logo, a new look for the group, and a new single. No new members were added to Cheeky Parade, no member was removed from Cheeky Parade. The next lineup for Cheeky Parade is simply the old lineup minus Marin and Mariya. When I later looked at the updated Cheeky Parade website I saw that Marin and Mariya were not removed from member list even though the other seven were updated with their new single outfits. I am encouraged that Marin and Mariya really will return to the group after two years in Los Angeles.
About that new single … the title of the song is “HANDS UP!” and has a release date of 2016.09.07. The outfits are pajamas. Yup. After years of stylish, carefully mismatched performance outfits, the girls get a set of clothes that were taken down from the shelves at the local SEARS. Each shapeless outfit is crowned with oversized headwear making the girls look like overgrown toddlers at a sleepover. I wish I could be more kind about the outfits, but iDOL Street really ruined a tradition of high quality performance outfits with this transformation.
Unlike these outfits, the song is NOT terrible … it’s quite good. It’s quick tempoed with a syncopated verse beat. “HANDS UP” sounds differently than anything the group has done before. It pushes Cheeky Parade into a more rock-oriented direction. Perhaps Cheeky Parade conceded dance music to GEM to focus on more non-traditional (for iDOL Street) music. The group is definitely at a crossroads! In the following clip, you can also see the girls wearing a simple t-shirts and shorts with color-keyed sneakers. I like the look much more than the unflattering pajamas.
GEM’s transformation came next. The GEM focus began with two performances; a dance performance of “one” and a vocal performance or “fRiEnDs”. These songs look to be the b-sides to the upcoming GEM single to be released 2016.07.20. Finally, new members for GEM were revealed. Your new GEM girls are Noguchi Monami and Nishida Hirari. As a point of distinction, I’m told Noguchi Monami studied at an international school can speak English. Further, Monami is a former member of the idol group PARLISH.
In their third performance, the newly “reloaded” GEM performed their upcoming single “Spotlight”. Spotlight’s July 20 release date is coming SOON.
The final act to showcase their change was the flagship SUPER☆GiRLS. Now, as you might know I don’t have much experience with the group other than quick primers and listens to their singles. What really helped me out with my motivation was 2nd Chapter member Asakawa Nana- this girl is seriously cute. Naapon melted my brain on the stream of @Jam 2016, and continued to bust my twitter stream during the “SUPER ☆ GiRLS Live Tour 2016 ~ SUPER ★ CASTLE” livestream that preceded the iDOL Street Carnival 2016.
The first item for Supaga was the transference of leadership from Shimura Rika to Maeshima Ami. As a newbie to SUPER☆GiRLS, this change doesn’t leave me with much impression other than Ami is a focal point of the group visually, so this change seems to consolidate the group’s power structure.
With the graduation of Reira and Rino came new SUPER☆GiRLS: five of them. The new girls are Kidoguchi Sakurako (Fancy Navy), Ishibashi Hotaru (Fairy Green), Ozawa Runa (Orange Candy), Abe Yumeri (Baby Blue), and Nagao Shiori (Cutie Violet). No, I don’t have much impression of them yet because of my current obsession with Asakawa Nana. Sorry for the lack of analysis.
Finally, SUPER☆GiRLS unveiled their next single “Love Summer” with a performance that incorporated the five new girls. I tell ya, I love this song. An old school idol quality permeates “Love Summer”: it’s upbeat, cheerful, and has a great, catchy melody! The sailor themed outfits flatter the Super Girls without being too flashy and lend a youthful spirit that seems contagious. As such, SUPER☆GiRLS’s performance was filled with confidence and energy. Isn’t that everything you want in a summer idol song? You can get your fill of “Love Summer” on
SUPER☆GiRLS / ラブサマ!!! （Short ver.）
I feel like I wouldn’t be giving a complete report unless I also mention the debut single from the latest iDOL Street group The World Standard has a release date 2018.09.28.
From what I saw at iDOL Street Carnival 2016 6th Anniversary ～ＲＥ：Я｜LOAD～, the reloading process mainly served to focus and differentiate the groups. The flagship SUPER☆GiRLS continue down the idol path, perhaps leaning more into the retro idol sound. Cheeky Parade seem to follow the more “alternative” idol route with their latest single filled with attitude and toughness. GEM look as though they are becoming the “talented” group of the bunch with an approach which pushes them even closer to other “dance and vocal” acts. The World Standard, still being rather new, seem to be iDOL Street’s answer to the no holds barred approach of the Stardust Promotion (Momoiro Clover Z, Shiritsu Ebisu Chugaku, Team Syachihoko, Tacoyaki Rainbow).
Did you watch iDOL Street Carnival 2016 6th Anniversary ～ＲＥ：Я｜LOAD～? What were your impressions and analysis? Did I miss anything? Leave a comment below and please share 🙂