Reporting Live: Otome Shinto’s new single event at Nagoya Kintetsu Passe (May 16, 2015)

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Happy July to all my readers. Hopefully the summer weather isn’t getting too hot. It’s still rainy here in Nagoya. It’s suppose to be rainy all week. Where did you go, summer sun?

Speaking of summer, it is the season of going to the beach, wearing cute beach swimsuits and sandals, and the release of many new singles and albums. A lot of groups release their “summer single” in May with many trying to emulate the AKB48 style of summer song with cute bikinis. Thankfully, Otome Shinto chose to go another route with cuter summer costumes with beach appeal, white dresses, colored vests and ties, and beads.

Otome Shinto is yet another idol group from Japan. Formed in 2012, the girl group includes these members: Yurika Takahashi (Pink), Ayame Tajiri (Yellow), Mari Aihara (Blue), Mayu Ogata (Green), Arisa Sonohara (Red), and Airi Hasegawa (Pearl). The group came together under the concept  “Positive “2 Armies” Roughly Middle School Student Idols” (ポジティブな“2軍”ほぼ中学生アイドル).  The “2 Armies” is furthered explained as “whatever class you pick from, these are the girls that will be liked easily” (どこのクラスにもいそうで、それでいてちょっと気になる女の子).[1] Nevertheless, the group’s mission is “fighting to bring their positive attitude and their energy to people while trying to become popular.”.[2]

The girls released their first single, entitled “Mousou Koukan Nikki”, on February 20, 2013 under the  VAP Records sub-label Fuwa Fuwa Records. The title song’s lyrics were penned by Kenichi Maeyamada, also known as his stage name Hyadain, who produced various songs for artists like Momoico Clover Z, former Morning Musume. member Koharu Kusumi,  and Dempagumi.inc. At a release event for the single, the group further expressed their “girl’s manifesto”, as they wanted to make Japan “lively” (or “genki”) with all their efforts (わたしたちが日本を元気にします! ……できる範囲で) starting from this single.[3]

I wanted to see these girls after reading their “girl’s manifesto”, thinking this might be another fun-loving idol group. I was a bit skeptical at first because I didn’t want Otome Shinto to be a generic AKB48 sounding group like Idol Kyoushitsu is. Putting my doubts aside, I raced to Nagoya Kintetsu Passe as fast I could after work. I got there within thirty minutes amid the sea of people making their way to the same shopping area.

The “stage area” (which was basically a rooftop) was divided into three sections; one for those who pre-ordered the single beforehand, one for those who didn’t, and the special “Girls-Only” section. A convent corner, the girls-only section comes in handy when you want to get close and personal with any artists on stage. And, you could get really up close at an idol event because there isn’t a lot of female fans. They are growing in number but there is still more guy fans that come to these things than females.

Ten minutes before the event was scheduled to start, the event manager announced that they were going to open up the girls-only section and the pre-ordered section for everyone, including those who didn’t buy yet. I walked into the girls-only section and found a spot that had a pretty great view of the stage. It wasn’t close but it wasn’t far away. I was actually standing behind a mega Otome Shinto fan (she was toooo into their songs) and in front of another non-Japanese fan.

At the same time, the girls came onto the stage to do a mic check. That lasted only for a few minutes when they announced that they were finished and headed back to the “green room” to rest up before the event. Then, around 4 pm, Otome Shinto came on stage and performed this set list:

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1. Otome 365nichi (乙女の365日)

2. MC

3. Viva! Otome no Daiboukenn!! (ビバ!乙女の大冒険っ!!)

4. Kimi to Piikan☆NATSU Sengenn!! (キミとピーカン☆NATSU宣言っ!!)

5. Tokimeki☆ Paradox (ときめき☆パラドックス)

{Thanks to Kids Model, Kids Actors Audition Information site for the set list. I know, I know. It’s a bit strange that this kind of site has information from the live. Somehow, someone has to find their new idols by reporting these things?)

Throughout the whole event, I was totally awkward.  Everyone around me was getting into the mood by dancing, singing, and doing their fan chants. But here I am, just standing still with my arms crossed, trying to study the group intensely to see whether or not I could like this group. You could say that I had this expression during the first song or two:

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My mood lightened up and I was able to participate with the audience when they performed their new song “Kimi to Piikan☆NATSU Sengenn!!”. The members taught us the dance to the chorus part of the song, which was just spelling “NATSU” with our arms. I was a bit timid as I just did small moves within my own personal space. Even though I wasn’t very outgoing during this live, I had lots of fun and enjoyed the dancing and singing.

After the mini-live ended, the girls went back to the green room as the staff got the stage ready for the special events. I went over to the CD table, pre-ordered a single, and got in line for the handshake event.  Fifteen or so minutes later, Otome Shinto came back on the stage and said a brief message to start the handshake event while standing behind a wooden table. I was a bit sad that I could only do the handshake event (thanks to it being the week before payday) because they were giving away free pictures of the members and you could do other special events like taking a photo with a girl if you pre-ordered more singles.

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As I approached the table, I first shook Yurika Takahashi’s hand. We chatted a bit as I told her that she was cute, that I found this event out on Twitter, it was my first live and I had fun. She then replied that she was excited to hear that and said that she saw me in the crowd, trying to do my best. Guilty. I felt a little bad when she said that because I wasn’t the greatest fan out there. I was just standing there and looking like a fool.

I went down the line after talking to Yurika, shaking the other members’ hands. I can’t really remember what I said to each girl and what were their responses. But, I do remember telling Airi Hasegawa and Mari Aihara that I liked them and their outfits. I really looooooooooove this single’s outfits because each girl had mini versions of different summer appeal incorporating in their hair style. Mayu Ogata had some cute beach sandals and beads with her side ponytail.

“Kimi to Piikan☆NATSU Sengenn!!” is a fun summer song that will have you dancing “cha-cha”-like moves anywhere. Recently, I had the chorus stuck in my head because I always think the song goes like “Natsu no Pecan (YAY!)”. That is because I mistake the meaning of the Japanese word “Piikan” to a name of a nut, which isn’t true.  However, with the energetic vocals, dance moves, and the summer-y instrumentation of a high school’s drumline and crystallized synthesizers, “Kimi to Piikan☆NATSU Sengenn!!” is a memorable, adorable idol summer song that will make you think that great songs don’t need a bikini.

Did I forget to mention that the music video is a great tourist video? It was shot in Australia. I feel sorry for those girls trying bungee jump though, That looks very scary (but I am deadly afraid of heights and would have someone knock me out before I try something like that).


References

[1]  “乙女新党.” – Wikipedia. 26 Dec. 2012. Web. 4 July 2015. <https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E4%B9%99%E5%A5%B3%E6%96%B0%E5%85%9A&gt;

[2] “Otome Shinto.” JPop Idols. Web. 4 July 2015. <http://www.jpop-idols.com/en/otome-shinto/&gt;

[3]  “乙女新党、CDデビュー会見で「乙女ニフェスト」宣言.” 音楽ナタリー. 27 Dec. 2012. Web. 4 July 2015. <http://natalie.mu/music/news/82278&gt;

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