Monday, 30 March 2020

Thank You, Kobushi Factory - The Graduation Appreciation Post

In which Chiima finally reflects on Kobushi, their disbandment and the feelings she has stowed away all this time...


Around the time Kobushi Factory announced their disbandment, a friend asked if I would write about. At the time I said yes with the intent to express my frustration over the groups sudden announcement because, like everyone around me, I wanted to air my grievances about how Kobushi had been neglected by H!P upon becoming a 5 member group, how this disbandment announcement itself seemed extremely sudden and far too short a time frame for a H!P group. I wanted to talk about how unfair it seemed and the sadness I felt regarding Kobushi Factory's short run.

That post never happened, and in the end I went into a period of denial regarding the groups imminent dissolve. I am also aware that I am not alone in this.

Monday, 27 January 2020

"I want this to be a group that doesn't lose to anyone!" - An Interview with LONDON BLUE

Earlier this month, I was contacted by LONDON BLUE asking if I would like to interview the members. With the up-coming debut of newly appointed member, NOA, I knew that I had some questions I wanted to ask the two girls who make up the cool & cute group inspired by Pop, rock and the iconic London landmark.

This interview will mark my 4th time talking with the group, but the first time interviewing both AILI and NOA. Please enjoy the interview below.

Left: NOA, Right: AILI

*I would like to thank LONDON BLUE, their staff and the members for allowing this interview to happen. I would also like to thank LONDON BLUE staff for permitting the use of their images of the members, which can be found on their group and individual Twitter accounts.

The following Interview was conducted via e-mail.

Active since September 2013, LONDON BLUE is a group with a COOL & CUTE image and a sound that will either charm you, or simply rock your socks off. A lot of the groups inspiration undeniably comes from Britain's capital, London, and more often than not you will find that influence infused into the groups sound style, as well as their fashion on-stage.

Similar to most other Idol groups, LONDON BLUE has had its fair share of old and new members, with NOA being the most recent addition this year. Debuting on January 31st, this will end LONDON BLUE's current one-member system, which AILI has dedicated herself to whilst also being active as a member within Ange Mignon.

Before AILI and NOA debut the latest chapter of LONDON BLUE on January 31st however, let's take a look at what the girls have to say in regards to their image of the group, their goals for the new year, and what inspired them to become Idols...

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

"I've stopped calling myself an Idol" - Yoneko Transitions From Idol To Artist in Her New Song, 'SET FIRE TO NOW'

With the new year and a new decade already set in motion, self-produced soloist and former Bellring Shoujo Heart / Migma Shelter member, Yoneko, is set to make her mark this 2020 as she takes a step forward in her career by rebranding herself from 'Idol' to 'Artist'.

"I've stopped calling myself an idol. There's nothing there for me anymore. There is nothing I feel like doing as an idol."
With 2020 marking the fifth anniversary since Yoneko's performance debut, it only feels right that this would be the same year that the singer-songwriter drops the Idol tag completely. Now at a pivotal point in her career, Yoneko is entering the year with the release of a new song and music video that defines her freedom as an artist.

Acting as her first solo release in over 9 months, SET FIRE TO NOW is a statement piece that not only reflects who Yoneko is as a person, but also expresses the raw power and emotion that she has as a singer, lyricist and composer in both a visual and audial manner. Undeniably passionate from beginning to end, SET FIRE TO NOW is Yoneko's brilliant transition from an industry filled with restraints, to one that has no barrier that holds her back.

In sound this is a mesmerising piece, one that is inexplicably freeing thanks to its almost ethereal sound mixed with the textured beauty of the post-rock genre. Though it may seem like a more soothing song from the start, SET FIRE TO NOW progresses in a striking way, and will undoubtedly surprise and impress even Yoneko's most dedicated listeners.

There is a raw, deeply moving vulnerability to this piece that can only be experienced by listening to the song, as well as by watching the music video that accompanies it. Though an artistic visionary already, Yoneko has stepped up her game with the quality of her music video for SET FIRE TO NOW, which captures the artists passion, vulnerability and freedom beautifully. 

Visually this is a stunning MV, one that you will not be able to tear your eyes away from thanks to the passion and honesty that exudes from the video itself. It's intense, with visuals that are textured and complex, often transcending the reality we experience. But this is Yoneko's unfiltered worldview, a peek into the complex mind of an artist who wants to share the vision only she can see, and it is through this very video that we as the viewers can experience and hear her freedom. It is not until the end, however, that we catch a glimpse of Yoneko's true freedom, and it is this very moment of the music video that I want other viewers to experience the most: Yoneko, content and at one with herself.

SET FIRE TO NOW is nothing like the music that Yoneko has released up until now, because what we have here is something that goes beyond 'music'. This is an experience, as well as sound that you will find yourself emotionally invested in. Stimulating, raw and powerful, SET FIRE TO NOW is Yoneko's passionate display that will see her transcend from the world of Idols to the world of artists, and I, for one, look forward to all that she brings after this.

Set for release on January 22nd at 21:00 JST, SET FIRE TO NOW will be available for online distribution only, with no plans to release the single in a physical format at this time.

If you enjoy Yoneko's music or recently became a fan of hers, you can find all of Yoneko's solo and collaborative physical releases, as well as all her other merchandise, at Idol Underworld.

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CREDITS:

SET FIRE TO NOW

Lyrics and Composition: Yoneko
Music Arrangement: Kageyama Shōtarō (Studio Caribe)
MV Director: Tomeoki Daisuke
Assistant Director: Kosakai Runa
Kyoryoku: Nakamura Rio
Seisaku Tokyo COLORS TEC

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*I would like to extend my thanks to both Yoneko and Derek Vasconi for providing me with this press release, and look forward to sharing the video and song in full on January 22nd, 2020.

Monday, 13 January 2020

The Definition Of 2019: The Best Of Music Master List

Finalising the defining sounds of 2019, it's time to take a look at the Master List of music that engulfed my year gone by. Though it doesn't seem like I listened to that much, let's take our time to appreciate the individual songs we have enjoyed over the last 365 days.

It's time to dedicate myself to Idols, music and more. Are you ready to experience the Master List?


2019 comes back in another music-heavy list, one that includes my favourites from the year gone by. Though I have not listened to a lot of these throughout, there were many I remembered enjoying a great deal, and many that I wanted to note as favourites. So, through this desire to share the songs that I enjoyed the most, I created what I like to call The Master List, a list that is made up of 70 individual tracks, all of which brought me some form of enjoyment in the year that was 2019.

A little on the excessive side - because when I have ever not been excessive? - this entire list will showcase some of my favourite songs, with the ones at the bottom being those I listened to a lot less, and the ones at the top being the tracks I have been obsessed with throughout 2019.

And to top it all off will be my #1 spot, the song that brought the most joy, had the most plays and also holds the most meaning to me. This is the song that is my Definition of 2019, a song that holds great importance to me as a listener and saw me through the shit storm that was last year. Out of all the songs, this is the one that I consider my favourite. Whether you consider it good or bad, that doesn't matter, because the importance of a song is not defined by analytics; it is defined by how important it is to the individual, and no one else.

So without further ado, I present to you The Definition Of 2019: The Best Of Music Master list.

What songs will you find in here, and which ones did you enjoy that made it onto the list? Read on to find out~

Sunday, 5 January 2020

The Definition Of 2019: The Best Of Debut and Graduation Songs

Continuing the start of our 2020 with our ranks from 2019, it's time to take a look at the debut and graduation songs that swept us away and appreciate what our Idols have given us in terms of their greetings and farewells.

Sometimes it can get emotional, but with every end there is a new beginning. Once again we will define our 2019 in music. Are you ready to say hello to the Idols of the Reiwa era, and goodbye to those from the Heisei period?


Returning to my 2019 rank lists, I thought that this year it would be a good idea to dedicate some time to the debut and graduation songs from the year gone by. With a fair few departures that have rocked both mine and many others' fandoms, I didn't just want to acknowledge these songs flippantly on my full list of favourites from 2019. Likewise, I wanted to celebrate the few Idol group debuts I knew of properly, and showcase groups that you may have overlooked or simply not heard of.

It isn't a massive list, but I had a lot of fun re-discovering a few gems from the year gone by and reliving the fun that was hearing some of these songs over and over again. I also shed a few tears when it came to the graduation tracks, because this is me, and I am a crybaby.

Anyways, behold the list that is made up of Debut and Graduation songs. For the Idols we will get to know and those we must say goodbye to, let's pay a proper amount of respect to each and every group here.

It's time to define 2019 in song once more. Who will you discover, and which Idols will you grieve over in the process? It's time to find in The Definition of 2019: The Best Of Debut and Graduation Songs (According to Chiima).

It's time to check out some Idol music...~

Thursday, 2 January 2020

The Definition Of 2019: The Best Of Singles & Albums

☆★☆★ And A Happy New Year! ☆★☆★

With 2020 now in our grasp, it's time to look back at the year that was and reminisce about the music that we loved.

It's time to define 2019 in music. Have you picked your your favourites as well?


Though I typically do my Year End posts at the end of the year, I decided that this time around I would have a change of pace and begin 2020 by getting all nostalgic and reminiscing over the music of 2019. 

That, and I had no time. With work and life getting busy during the festive period, I have had little time to spare for my blog, writing of any form or even visiting family. It's hectic, but it must be done, however i would never abandon this list - I love writing them, and I love the challenge that a Best Of list brings me. You never know what you're going to consider your favourite until the last moment, and you never truly consider which songs have leaped in ranks since you first heard them, or which ones will fall below the number you initially thought they would stop at.

Anyways... another year, another list. I hope that this one proves just as interesting as past Top Tier of the Year lists that I have created, and I hope you find some singles you yourself loved, as well as those that you you haven't heard of before and hope to check out.

It's time to define 2019 with music, pass our judgements and choose our favourites. Of course we won't all agree on what was good, what wasn't... but that's the fun of these lists. So, let's take a lot at what I've picked for my personal favourites and head into the post.

Welcome to The Definition of 2019: The Best Of Singles & Albums (According to Chiima). I hope you enjoy the music I share with you all today~

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Of Album Releases and Graduations: Houkago Princess to Release 2nd Album as Three Members Descend The Throne!

On December 22nd 2019, Houkago Princess finally revealed the covers for their second studio-album release. Ttitled My Princess II, the album will act as a sequel to the groups first album, My Princess.

Two editions will be available to purchase, both in a Regular Edition form and a Limited edition release. The Limited version will include a DVD that contains the groups three most recent music videos. Both editions will come with 13 tracks from the groups latest releases, as well as three '2020' renditions of their more popular and recognisable songs.

Left: Regular Edition  |  Right: Limited Edition

Taking on the theme of My Princess, My Hero, My Princess II aims to showcase both the cute and strong sides to a Princess. By creating an expression of strength on both covers, whilst still maintaining the individual cuteness of each girl,  My Princess II is the groups representation of a Princess who will face adversity head-on and become her own type of Hero.

The Regular Edition cover features the groups most recent costumes from their single releases for Abrakatabu Luv!, Kaguya ni Negai wo and Shin Jidai Princess / Princess no Teigi. The Limited Edition, on the other hand, includes costumes from the groups major debut release Seifuku Cinderella up until Shin Jidai Princess, with the only costume missing being the outfit for Sayonara Duarena.

This will also be the last release for members Yukino Yuria, Yamamoto Natsumi and Takano Hiyori, who will all be graduating from the group at the end of the release events for My Princess II.