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.
The World Standard
Who the hell is Cheeky Parade, and why am I devoting so much time to them? As of writing, I still do not possess a great understanding of the group. When I originally began looking into the Cheekiness, they were promoting their terrific “Together” mini album. An upcoming performance in New York City put the group in select the company of the few idol acts to break out of Japan. “Together” made such a grea impression on me that I included it in my “ 2014 Single of the Year” story. So, this is the genesis of this set of articles. I need to learn more about this group, and I’m taking you with me.
Before we start, I need to tell you that I’m no expert on anything here. I will get something wrong, and when I err it’s your responsibility to correct me.
Firstly, the group took shape in 2012. The popular mythology of the group, or at least my favorite mythology, is that rejects from the Super Girls auditions comprise the group we know as Cheeky Parade. This theory seems somewhat plausible given the two-year gap between SG and CP debuts. Giving the theory more legs, Suzuki Mariya can be (allegedly) seen in the 2010 Super Girls audition footage. The footage I’ve seen of Cheeky Parade witnessing Super Girls events shows a mixture of admiration and envy that supports this theory. Whether or not they are actually “rejects” is anyone’s guess. If this proves factual, then we can consider Cheeky Parade to be the “C-ute” to Super Girls’ “Berryz Kobo”.