Signal’s “Secret Rain” Promo Event at HMV Sakae (August 15, 2015)

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Commited to catching up, here is another report! This is dedicated to all the Sailor Moon musical fans all over the world. ❤

Signal is a Japanese pop band that had three ladies transformed as handsome guys (more like the “ikemen” type). The trio formed in 2015 with members Root, Rei, and Lyra. If you are a fan of the all-female theatre troupe Takarazuka Revue, you might recognized Lyra from the Tsukigumi or the Moon Group. Others might recognized Root from various “ikemen shoujo” magazines like KERA or Men’s Bible. But, I think a lot of people from the Western World knows Root as the phenomenal Jadeite from the 2013 Sailor Moon Musical La Reconquista.
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The group released their first mini-album, entitled “Secret Rain”, on July 29, 2015. This is the only CD they ever released as Signal announced at the end of last month that they were going to split up due to each member wanting to pursue their own individual activities.

Originally when I went the mini-live at HMV Sakae on August 15, I just wanted check out this ikemen group because they looked interesting when I researched them beforehand. I didn’t really know that Root was in this group until she did her self-introduction. I was shocked when she introduced herself and had to check the group’s blog to make sure it was true. At that moment, I grew excited as I really loved Root when she starred in the 2013 Sera Myu musical. She makes a great guy villain and is an amazing singer.

The live started promptly at one o’clock. The crowd was a bit small with most of the audience being young adult females. I stood in the back of the crowd because I didn’t know this group really well to join the front section with the true fans. The “guys” came onto the stage and did their self-introductions. Root’s acting as a guy is pretty spot-on, like always. She got the mannerisms and can produce a guy-ish tone easily. So can Lyra. However, Rei was the weaker ikemen as she was pretty girlish. She really can’t do the ikemen really well as you can tell in the picture above that she is one that looks less masculine then other two. During the MCs, she brought out the playful female side as she tried to be cute and more girlish. Maybe a career in ikemen entertainment isn’t suited for her but she was having fun.

During the twenty minute live, Signal sang two or three songs, which the very last one was “Secret Rain”, while entertaining the crowd with a couple of MCs. The group was pretty shaky live as Root and Lyra could perform in an ikemen style and Rei couldn’t. I swear she just sang the song in her normal voice (and not the ikemen-type that was featured on the PV). However, the “guys” were having fun and you could see that the members enjoyed each other and had a good relationship between them.

After the mini-live, the staff prepared the stage for a handshake event for those who bought the CD. I quickly bought the album and obtained one handshake ticket. The line for the event was small, so it wasn’t much of a wait to approach the table. The first member who I greeted was Rei, who spoke some English to me and asked me if I lived in Nagoya. Then next was Root, who I told that I loved her in La Reconquista because she was my favorite Jadeite and I will continue to support her. She thanked me. Lastly, I approached Lyra, who I had a small conversation with. The event was laid-back as the fans could spend a decent amount of time talking to each member. I swear some of the girls before me were fangirling a lot though.

I haven’t listen to much of the album since I bought it. But, if you enjoy ikemen or vocally-altered dance music, you should check out this group. It’s a basic Jpop group that you expect to be from 2015. However, the group’s charm and the great relationship between each other is what makes Signal stand out. Just look at the PV below. You might even fall in love with one the members.

Live Report: Idol Kyoshitsu at Nagoya Tower Records Kintetsu Passe (May 2, 2015)

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Thank you for your continuous support towards my live events’ reports. I am really surprise to see how popular was the LinQ one from last week. It quickly became the most read blog post on ai love music. I want to put out a special thank for those who shared the post with their friends online and in real life, especially a special Facebook friend. Without you guys sharing, my blog wouldn’t be the blog that it is now. So, thanks again!

A day after going to see LinQ, I decided to see another idol group, Idol Kyoshitsu (English translation: Idol Classroom). A local group that is primarily based in Nagoya, Idol Kyoshitsu is a typical idol group with seven members. They also have two sister groups: Aikyou jr. and Nidaime Sushidoru jr. (2nd Generation Sushi Idols jr.; which was introduced for the first time publicly at the May 2nd event). The group’s concept is a bit strange. But, if you think about, it wouldn’t be as strange as some Japanese mascots out there because Idol Kyoshitsu’s concept is so Japanese. Each member is represented by a different kind of sushi: shrimp, egg, octopus, tuna, and etc. That is because the group is produced by the owners of Sushi Goichi, a mid-priced sushi restaurant in the heart of Nagoya. The group performs at the restaurant each Sunday with members selected by the fans.

I didn’t go to Sushi Goichi for the live on May 2nd. Instead, I went to Tower Records at the Kintetsu Passe department store near the Nagoya train station as they held an event to support their new single, “Happy Birthday no Uta 2 ~Happy Birthday Omedetoure~”. I arrived an hour before the live with a friend, who came from out-of-town to visit for the weekend and whom I also coaxed to come along with (sorry friend!), exploring Kintetsu Passe. I been to the department store a couple of times before; but only to use the bus terminal when I lived in Nagano and Yamanashi. The department store is really grand with most floors dedicated to fashion (that makes me cry because it’s what the girls wear here which I can’t afford). My friend and I were mainly interested in the book store, checking out various print to pass time. I got a new novel too; the novelization of the 2013 Sailor Moon musical. I am still reading it but I will say it is very Ami/Sailor Mercury-centric.

My friend and I parted ways as it reached time for the live to start. I took the stairs to the rooftop where the stage outside. Once I got there, I purchased their new single immediately so I could get a chance to have it signed by one of the girls and talk to her for one minute. I then headed towards the stage, trying to find a spot that had a great view. I actually chose a bad spot as a group of college-aged jerks (who were there for their own personal accords and I bet they weren’t fans) were in front of me and I was surround by tall people. It was also crowded as around 500 people showed up to see the girls, which is a massive amount for one of these lives.

The girls were greeted with a large fanfare when they appeared on stage a little past two o’clock. The girls performed a setlist of seven songs, which were:

1.Ima Hajimaru Story
MC (Self Introductions)
2. Makeruna Dreamer
3. Happy-chan
MC – Introducing the new members (8th generation and Nidaime Sushidoru jr.)
4. Nidaime Sushidoru jr. – MYSTYLE
MC. (Introducing the new single)
5. Happy Birthday no Uta 2 ~Happy Birthday Omedetoure~
6. Ai wa Mera Mera
ENCORE: We can lets go
To be honest, I wasn’t excited when I was listening to their performances. Most of songs sound like the long-lost siblings of the AKB48 family. They have the same instrumentation, same type of happy, cheerful melodies, and same vocalization. I know I am using the word “same” waaaaaaaaaaay too much but I think it appropriate, right? “Happy-chan” could be easily be a SKE48 song; just re-label it as an SKE48 song on your music player and give it your buddies, they will never know of the difference (unless they are hardcore fans).

Now, there were some great songs during the live, especially at the end. “Ai wa Mera Mera” is one of those kick-butt songs in a minor key (but switches to that happy-go-lucky major key during the chorus) with a dark side to it. Also, “We can lets go” is a calming, natural-paced song that was more original than the others.

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Before the mini-live was over, all the girls (Idol Kyoshitsu, Nidaime Sushidoru jr., and even Aikyou jr.) wanted to take a picture with the audience. You can play a “Where Is Wally/Waldo?”-type of game try to find me. I found out that only the top part of my head was visible in the photo. Once I posted ht picture to my Facebook, my dad commented in a witty manner, “I found you! You are behind a tall Japanese man!” BINGO, dad, BINGO!

The first event after the mini-live was the group picture shot. You have to get 2 tickets for this event, which I didn’t bother to get. Instead, I waited, watched the fans who were lucky enough to get those tickets, and read my new book.

After which seemed like forever, it was time for the next event. I quickly jumped in line and was one of the first people. Along with talking to a member for one minute, I had the option of getting a signature or a photo taken with a girl. I decided to get a signature but with who? There were million of girls but I could choose only one. I thought back to the live and tried to guess who I wanted to meet by remembering who stuck out.

Should I go with the Crab’s Aragaki Hikari or with the Egg’s Saito Asaki?

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After debating over it for about a minute, I decided to go with Aragaki Hikari. I told the staff member who were handling the requests “The member with light pink” because I didn’t know their names, i thanked the guy as he brought Hikari to the table. She smiled and greeted me as she sat down. But, she told me that we couldn’t shake hands as she saw that I was raising my left hand, motioning for a shake (as shaking hands is natural to me and my personality), maybe due to the group’s strict rules.

She offered to open my CD for me, which I gave nervously to her. When she was done, the staff member that guided me to her started the watch: time to start talking. She thanked me countless times and asked how I found out the event. Hey, didn’t I have this discussion about this last night with another idol girl? She accidentally began to signed on the CD glass when I kindly interrupted her and told her to sign on the lyrics card, which she did.

Hikari seems like a sweet girl but maybe not the type of girl for me, For the minute we had together, we didn’t talk a lot. Partially it was my fault because I was very nervous and was totally new to the whole Idol Kyoushitsu experience that I didn’t have enough to say. Or maybe, when she saw me as a foreigner, she was hesitated to use a lot of Japanese because most people don’t know my sub-par Japanese level. I wish we could have more of a conversation during the event. Maybe next time I will try harder and read up on any interesting conversation topics.

The minute pasted rather quickly as the staff member came back and told us that time was up. She quickly fixed her mistake on the CD case (which was just writing my name). She said our goodbyes and see you again and then I left.

If you into the whole AKB48 family, you should try out Idol Kyoshitsu. Same sound, tones, and happy musical melodies. I couldn’t really get into the local group during the live because I am not really into that type of music. I might give them another try if they sing songs like “Ai wa Mera Mera” or “We can lets go”, that is something more original. And also, I am secretly hoping to meet Saito Araki next time.

Here is the music video for their new single, “Happy Birthday no Uta 2 ~Happy Birthday Omedetoure~ “: