'An Introduction to' is my random, passion-project fueled series here on Okay! Musume Time, - and sometimes Selective Hearing - where I bring together my love of idols and research in order to create a document filled with information and idol goodness.
My aim here is to introduce a variety of groups to my readers, as well as to document and give insight to who they are, what they do and more. It doesn't matter what their tenure within the entertainment world is, nor does it bother me how well-known or unknown they might be; if they pique my interest, I'm probably going to write about them at some point, and what better way to write about them than an introduction post to share with everyone here?
And with that, let's introduce today's group. Shifting the paradigms of their dreams and possibilities to become a group with no boundaries, today's group introduction is MeniPara!
*In no way am I an expert on MeniPara, nor do I claim to be one. I am simply a fan of the group and did all I could in terms of research to get as much as information as possible, though there may be some mistakes. This post was simply made for fun and out of my love for both idols and research, as well as to create awareness for this amazing group. Please be aware that this document is not perfect, but simply a passion project from an over-eager fan.
The Origin Story
Though they would not debut until September of 2019, MeniPara's journey officially began in June of 2019, when general manager Natsuno Kanami made the announcement that she would be returning to her roots as an idol with a new group that would be completely self-produced. In order to find new members for the group, Kanami held 'secret auditions' on her official YouTube channel, where she would invite various guests with different entertainment backgrounds for interviews, only to reveal her intentions at the end of the interview. She would then ask the interviewee if they would join her idol group. Among the interviewees, a former idol, gravure model and voice actress were included.
Kanami revealed the winners of the audition on July 8th 2019, and introduced members Aisawa Rinna, Minami Yuri, Maako Miwa and Ogusu Rienna as the final formation for her up-coming group. On July 10th, Kanami uploaded a video where the members decided on the groups name together, where they revealed that they would be called MeniPara - many many paradigm -. The group is generally known as 'MeniPara'.
After announcing their formation, MeniPara began working on creating the lyrics and choreography for their original songs, all prior to their live debut. The process of the groups up-coming September debut, including costume creation, song recordings, dance rehearsals and MV shootings, were uploaded to the groups official YouTube channel. As a part of their image, the group aims to document as much of their journey as possible, as well as deliver fun content that shows off their bond and individual personalities.
On August 15th, 2019, MeniPara uploaded their first official music video for their song Taiyoukei Cinderella, which has been coined as an orthodox idol song. A month later, the group made their official live debut at Shibuya Star Lounge on September 8th, 2019 with five original songs.
During the New Year of 2020, the characters in MeniPara's name changed from メニぱら to めにぱら. The official reading of the name is めにぱら - many many paradigm -
Completely self-produced, MeniPara's aim is to become a group where each member can realise what they want by working without restriction, and to throw away the stereotypes that are connected to the word 'idol'. As each member has a different age, background, experiences and preferences, the ultimate aim of the group is for MeniPara to become a place in which each member can share their own thoughts and perspectives, whilst also realising what they want to do as individuals. For this reason, MeniPara is a group that has no theme or stereotype attached to it in regards to their image, music genres, etc.
On August 1st, 2020, MeniPara released their first digital mini-album, titled First Paradigm Shift.
As the group is completely self-produced, all funding, event bookings, promotions and music production, etc, is sourced by the members themselves.
MeniPara's official slogan is: 'A paradigm shift of dreams and possibilities'
Name: Natsuno Kanami (夏野香波)
D.O.B: 28th May, 1993
Hometown: Kanagawa Prefecture
Blood Type: O
Image Colour: Peach
Skill: Acting efficiently
Hobbies: Playing with cats, singing, scuba diving, driving
Fun Fact: Kanami and Riena were classmates and childhood friends.
Affiliated Groups: Maboroshi Karen GeNE (June 2014 - February 2017)
Solo Songs: FuwaFuwa LOVE / Natsu no Jikan
Twitter | Instagram | Website
Active since June of 2014, Natsuno Kanami has 6 years of experience behind her as an idol, singer and actress. Starting out as a support member for the idol group Maboroshi Karen GeNE, Kanami was quickly promoted to Regular member status in July 2014. She participated in 4 releases with the group, including the groups major debut single.
During her time in the group, Kanami made her acting debut alongside her fellow members in March 2016 with the Hulu web-series, Criminologist Himura and Mystery Writer Arisugawa: Another Story, and appeared in the second and third episodes as a fictionalised version of herself. She would later get a chance to appear in the fourth story for the Gekijō-ban hontō ni atta kowai hanashi 2016 movie, titled Watching, after winning a competition held by DMM.Yell in August 2016. The movie had a theatre screening and was Kanami's screen debut. She would go on to make her theatre debut in December that same year.
In order to focus on becoming an actress, Kanami graduated from Maboroshi Karen GeNE in February 2017 during the groups second one-man live. She continued to appear in theatre productions, as well as starred in the music video Hoshigari by Mary Masami.
Kanami would go on to release her first original song ad music video, FuwaFuwa LOVE, on May 28th, 2017. Her second song, Natsu no Jikan, was released in December the same year.
As of May 2019, Kanami is currently a regular MC of the monthly radio show Shibuya Harajuku joshi kaigi. She shares this role with fellow MeniPara members, Aisawa Rinna and Minami Yuri.
June 2019 marked Kanami's declaration to return to the idol world with a self-produced Idol group. To document the process of the groups creation, Kanami held 'secret auditions' on YouTube where she interviewed various young women including gravure idols, actresses and former idols. She announced the winners of her secret audition on July 8th, 2019.
Bonus Trivia: Kanami has a Level 2 qualification in driving.
Though I have not interacted with Kanami in person or online, I do think that she is a pretty admirable idol. I mean, it takes a lot of dedication to self-produce an idol group, let alone host all the auditions privately and more. She's a hard worker, and despite how young she looks, I think that her age and maturity truly shines through when you look at how well she has organised MeniPara and its activities.
I do think that Kanamin is cute as a button, and I've began to really enjoy her solo songs as of late. By no means is she my favourite member of MeniPara, but she is definitely someone I admire as an idol, and I wouldn't be surprised if other idols looked up to her. She has done so much in her time as an entertainer, and I'm glad to see that she is taking those experiences and using them to mould MeniPara. She is a gem, and someone that you should definitely admire and follow from here on out!
Name: Aisawa Rinna (相沢りんな)
D.O.B: 22nd Mayrch, 1998
Blood Type: B
Image Colour: Red
Hobby: Singing, dancing, live streaming, café tours, movie watching
Role: Song Leader
Twitter | Instagram | Website | Online Store | YouTube | iTunes | TikTok
With her activities beginning in 2016 at the latest, Aisawa Rinna has worked in music, modelling, appeared in web shows and more, making her one of the more prolific members within the group. With an extensive background, Rinna has experienced various aspects of the industry prior to becoming an idol. In August 2016 she opened her YouTube channel, titled Rinna Channel, where she regularly posts a mixture of singing, dance and daily videos. Her channel has amassed over 6 thousand subscribers.
As a model, Rinna has been featured on websites and billboards. In 2017 she appeared as a billboard model for the DeNA game Megido72, and was a featured model for Heather x SHOWROOM in May and December of 2018. Rinna was also a regular model and GrandPrix winner for the smartphone magazine, MiRu, throughout 2017, and has acted as an image model for Asakusa Love Kimono and Premium Curry Akihabara.
Rinna has also made guest appearances on TV and in web shows, as well as acted as an MC for radio and on stage. In late 2017, Rinna was the MC for the opening day stage greeting for the movie LOVE and LIES, and later in May 2019 she became a regular MC for the monthly radio show Shibuya Harajuku Joshi Kaigi. Both Natsuno Kanami and Minami Yuri are also regular cast members of the show. Rinna has also made various guest appearances on Showroom programmes.
In April 2019, Rinna made her stage play debut in Yume ~ Arigatō no kakera ~, where she played the lead heroine.
Since her singing debut, Rinna has released one physical single, three digital singles, a mini-album and two albums. She also provided the lyrics for and helped to produce MeniPara's song Milky Way, stating that she wanted to create a song that was important to her whilst also considering the meaning of the lyrics for the other members. She also came up with a lot of ideas for the music video.
Bonus Trivia: Rinna is qualified in Japanese Tea Level 2, as well as Level 2 dieting.
Song Production: Milky Way (Lyrics + PV)
Rinna is a classic beauty, and definitely one of the strongest singers in the group. I think that, out of all the members, she is probably going to be the one that Western fans gravitate towards the most because - again - classic beauty and a damn good singer. And yeah, who can blame people for liking her? With such an extensive backgrounds as an entertainer, Rinna is quite possibly the most talented member of the group.
I actually haven't interacted with Rinna much either, however I do think that she is gorgeous. Researching her was a lot of fun, though a tad frustrating because I can't pinpoint exactly when she debuted. Well, whatever - I'm just happy to know that such a hard worker is in MeniPara. She puts a lot of care into all that she does, and takes pride in what she accomplishes. She is a worthwhile member to follow, and extremely admirable, too.
Name: Minami Yuri (美波有里)
D.O.B: May 15th
Hometown: Nagano Prefecture
Blood Type: O
Image Colour: Purple
Hobbie: Illustration, games, watching sports, singing songs
Favourite Things: Pale pink, Final Fantasy, SLAM DUNK, Sailor Moon
Role: MC Leader
Affiliated Groups: Merry Merli (February 2016 - December 2016)
Twitter | Instagram | iTunes | Cheerz | TikTok | Management Twitter
Making her stage debut in August 2014, Minami Yuri began her career within the entertainment industry in the stage play adaptation for the game Dream Club, where she acted as the second-generation receptionist. She would then reprise this same role in November and December of the same year, and again in February 2015. In November of 2015, Minami acted in the stage play for he Metropolitan Police Department Suzunari Station Criminal Division! as the heroine, Midori.
2014 also saw Minami's debut as a fashion model for Like it! Premium girl, and has since continued to pursue modelling independently for both general and Lolita fashion.
Continuing her acting career in 2015, Minami made her screen debut in the TV mini-series Gakushoku Wars, where she acted as the N class homeroom teacher, Kanehara Mami. She also acted as the narrator. The series ran from January until March in 2015 on Chiba TV.
Minami officially made her idol debut in February 2016 with the Lolita themed idol group, Merry Merli, as a 4th generation member. During her tenure she acted as the groups leader, however graduated in December that same year to focus on her solo activities and become a self-produced idol. Her aim was to begin songwriting, and to produce a CD.
May 2nd, 2017 saw Minami's return as Midori in the short film The Metropolitan Police Department Suzunari Station Criminal Division - Atsugi・Sagamigawa Murder Case, which was released on YouTube. She would then release her first solo song, Progress, on July 24th, 2017.
Before debuting as a member of MeniPara in September 2019, Minami continued to pursue solo activities in modelling and live performances.
Bonus Trivia: She sang in her school chorus club, but wanted to become a singer thanks to the anime series, Macross Frontier.
I think that Minami is the member who impresses me the most. I don't know what it is, but whenever she sings I just feel amazed. An incredible singer, Minami is definitely the member that I consider to be the best singer thanks to her amazingly mature, crystal-clear voice. It's incredible just how beautiful she sounds as a singer, and I am honestly glad that she returned to the idol scene with this group.
Prior to knowing who she was, I actually follower merry merli during Minami's time as a member in the group. I loved the one music video she was in, and enjoyed the song that accompanied it, so imagine my surprise when I realised she was the same person in MeniPara... I was shocked, to say the least. I didn't even recognise her out of her Lolita outfits!
Unlike the other members before her on this post, I have interacted with Minami a little bit online, and I can tell you with confidence that her interactions with me have been both sweet and helpful. It makes me smile thinking about how hard working she is, and our interactions have only endeared her to me a little more.
She isn't my favourite member, but I do think that she is my 3rd favourite, which is fitting, considering she's third on this list, after all.
Name: Miwa Maako (三和万亜子)
D.O.B: January 20th
Hometown: Mie Prefecture
Blood Type: A
Image Colour: Blue
Hobby: Walking, music appreciation
Sports: Soccer, basketball, marathon
Role: Group Leader
Twitter | Sun Music Profile | TikTok
Starting her career in 2010 as an actress, Miwa Maako made her debut as an extra for the NHK drama special, Dying at Home. Despite this being her only role for that year, Miwa would eventually be cast as an extra for the 2011 Korean TV drama, Dream High, as well as make her stage debut in collaboration with YouCan Vol. 5, where she sang The Reindeer Song as a part of a cast.
Throughout 2012 and 2013, Maako's acting focus was on TV and CM work. In 2012 she appeared in two NHK drama's as an extra, whilst in 2013 she made appearances in three CM's, and worked as an extra for an NHK drama in December 2013.
In August 2014, Maako made her official theatre debut with the musical CHANCE 2014, kick-starting her career as a stage actress. From there, Maako's focus was on stage plays, and throughout 2015 to 2018 would appear in a variety of performances. She would also make her music video debut in mid-2016 as an extra in Minami Fujioka & The Morone's Dō surya ī ze PV.
2017 was Maako's most active year in theatre, as she performed in seven different productions. In April 2018, Maako would appear in the stage play Shotō Kyōiku Royale alongside fellow MeniPara member, Kanami, and would be her last production as an actress in 2018.
Maako took part in Kanami's 'secret auditions' in 2019, where she mentioned her interest in becoming an idol and challenging herself as a singer and dancer, despite the idol world being unknown to her at the time.
Because of her career as an actress, Maako currently holds the longest tenure within the entertainment industry out of all MeniPara members. She was formerly signed to Sun Music, one of Japan's oldest talent agencies. She also has experience in playing the piano, however had not played it for 6 years.
Bonus Trivia: Miwa can't swim. When she goes swimming, using a floaty is mandatory.
Song Production: Vegetabon (Lyrics)
Maako is my second favourite MeniPara member, and here's why:
Because she is god damn adorable.
I'm actually a pretty recent fan of Maako, because before I did my in-depth research on her, I only cared about Riena. Yet upon falling down the MeniPara rabbit hole, I came out the other end a Maako fan because - as said in the above statement - she is freaking adorable and must be protected at all costs.
Maako is great. She is a bright, energetic ball of sunshine who, when nervous, waves her hands around and rubs them on her clothes because she can't contain her jitters. She is a cute little dumpling who puts white masking tape on black heels so that they match her outfit for a photo shoot (because she's resourceful). And finally, she is this adorable, sweet girl who wrote a song about vegetables, of all things.
Of all the members, Maako is probably the one who appears to be the youngest. In terms of how she acts and the way she expresses herself, Maako is rather open, and I think that this is her appeal. She is sweet and pure, and her innocence really bounces off of the maturity or Rinna and Minami, the playfulness of Kanami and the coolness of Riena. She is adorable, and Maako must be protected at all costs!
Name: Ogusu Riena (小楠梨瑛奈)
Nickname: Rie-chan, Ogu-chan
D.O.B: October 7th
Hometown: Kanagawa Prefecture
Image Colour: Yellow
Skill: English, dance
Hobbies: Dance, K-Pop, fashion
Role: Dance Leader
Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | TikTok | Twitcast
Beginning her career as an entertainer in early 2018, Ogusu Riena started out by making guest appearances alongside Kanami, her childhood friend and former classmate of 6 years. Prior to this, Riena had studied abroad in the United States, practiced Hip Hop, Jazz and Modern dancing, as well as performed on stage.
In May of 2018, Riena made her radio debut on ShimokitaFM88.8, and just days later made her live debut at WonderGround's first anniversary live, where she performed as a duo alongside Kanami. She would begin performing regularly for WonderGround after this, and even began modelling later on in the year.
January 2019 marked Reina's improvisational play debut with END es PRODUCE "Liberte Vol.7", where she was a part of the Sunday cast. She would the return for Liberte Vol.7.5 on March 16th, 2019. Riena would eventually join MeniPara as an original member in July 2019, however continued her solo activities whilst the group prepared for their debut in September.
In March 2020, Riena took part in the stage play for Hyakka Ryoran ~ Break a leg ~ as a part of Cast B. It ran from March 11th until March 15th 2020.
After studying abroad in America, Riena is fluent in both English and Japanese. Thanks to this, Riena leads her own series on the MeniPara YouTube channel, titled Riena's English Lesson. The series was created with the intention to teach the other members English for a future overseas debut.
Bonus Trivia: Riena has performed in dance cover contests, as well as performed BLACK PINK's Kill This Love at KCON2019 with her dance cover group.
Song Production: H-E-L-L-O (Lyrics + choreography)
Of all the members, Riena is my favourite, and I am aware that she is my favourite because I have interacted with her in person. With that said, she was the first member I gravitated towards when I watched the group perform in January this year. Firstly, she has yellow accents on her outfit - I freakin' love the colour yellow. Secondly, she stood out because of her outfit, which is a lot less flowy than the other members. I also thought she looked cool, and that was enough to make me decide she was my favourite on a first-sight basis.
I do genuinely think that she is a great member, one who brings a cool, almost refined aura that the other members don't possess. She has her cute moments as well, of course, and on more than one occasion Riena has shown her humorous, random side that is extremely endearing, but on the outside she radiates this image of an older sister that you look up to and aspire to be.
Riena is great. She's a member I really like, and it looks like she is having a lot of fun being a member of MeniPara. It feels amazing to see that two best friends came together as idols, and that all of the members are working hard with one another whilst also getting along super well. I'm super happy that I could meet her, and even happier that I can follow her journey as an idol in MeniPara.
With the release of their first digital mini-album in August of 2020, MeniPara currently has between 6-7 songs that they perform regularly at live events, six of which are featured on their debut release. Because the group aims to showcase their various styles as idols, some of the songs have been produced by specific members.
Personal Favourites: Taiyoukei Cinderella, Milky Way, M・A・T・E
Release Date: August 1st, 2020
- Dream Voyage
- Milky Way
- Vejitabon (べじたぼん。)
- Taiyoukei Cinderella (太陽系シンデレラ)
Each of the songs included in the mini-album were created prior to the groups debut, with some being produced and written by specific members. Accompanying music videos were also produced by specific members. It is unknown whether or not MeniPara will release their debut mini-album with a physical disc.
Release Date: December 27th, 2020
Release Date: December 27th, 2020
Lyrics: Miyagami Yuya
Choreographer: Elizabeth Marie
Taiyoukei Cinderella is the first song recorded by MeniPara, and is a refreshing, summer pop track with an orthodox idol sound. The music video depicts each members story, their struggles, and how they came together as MeniPara.
Natsuno Kanami oversaw the MV's post-production process.
2. Milky Way
Lyrics: Aisawa Rinna
Music: KAEDE LAPIN
Choreographer: Shiroishi Mizuho
One of the groups more popular songs, Milky Way is described as a mid-tempo ballad that is distinctive against the groups other pop tunes. With lyrics penned by Aisawa Rinna, she notes that Milky Way is an important song for her.
Rinna also helped to produce the music video, lending her insight. Natsuno Kanami noted that when preparing the songs for the members, she wanted to bring out each members individuality. With this song, Kanami feels that Rinna can bring her personality to the forefront and create a new aspect of MeniPara, ultimately allowing the group to face more challenges as a group.
Lyrics: Ogusu Riena
Choreography: Ogusu Riena
Inspired by K-pop, H-E-L-L-O is a cute love song that represents Riena's love of the music genre, as well as her ability to speak fluent English. The lyrics includes a mix of Japanese and English.
The choreography is described as 'cute, pop choreography', and fans are encouraged to join in with the song during the 'oh~! oh~!' ,'oh!oh!oh!' and 'Hey!Hey!Hey!' parts.
4. Vegetabon (べじたぼん。)
Lyrics: Maako Miwa
Choreography: Group effort
Written for those who dislike vegetables, Vegetabon is an upbeat track about a vegetable that seems almost human, and its plight to be eaten and enjoyed. With a catchy sound and incredibly cute lyrics, Vegetabon is an endearing number that creates a superhero-like image of the vegetable in question.
Due to Maako's inexperience in writing lyrics, she had a difficult time in creating the lyrics for the song, and in the end had Kanami help her.
The choreography is a cute and energetic number, and includes a 'high touch', which is also mentioned in the lyrics of the song.
5. Dream Voyage
Described as a fantasy song, Dream Voyage is the official MeniPara theme track for the group, and was penned by all of the members. Filled with the feelings of each member, Dream Voyage is an adventurous track that is both mysterious and energetic, whilst also being a track that looks towards the future.
With lyrics that depict a journey, Dream Voyage is a song that is filled with the hopes and dreams of MeniPara, and features both mature and cute moments in its sound to create a tumultuous journey that needs to be experienced.
Composer: KAEDE LAPIN
Expressing the importance of those who help you towards your dreams, M・A・T・E is a song that showcases the importance of the people who are in-between being your friends and rivals, similar to that of a teammate who is striving for the same dream as you, yet still continues to push your forward.
An important song for MeniPara, the lyrics seem to draw inspiration from the group itself, who all work together as teammates in their quest to improve themselves whilst being irreplaceable aspects of one another's lives.
It is an encouraging track that is perfect for the spring.
Since their debut, MeniPara have two music videos under their belt. Despite their self-produced status however, both videos are high in quality and showcase two different aspects of the group. With no theme holding them back, MeniPara are sure to deliver some interesting themes and styles in their up-coming releases.
With their beginnings as a group pretty open to the world, it's interesting to see the direction in which the group went for their debut music video. With a focus on their origin story, MeniPara's Taiyoukei Cinderella shows how the group came together in a fictionalised setting, whilst still portraying the individual members' history as performers and the struggles they faced before coming together.
Depicting the members encountering each other by chance, everyone within MeniPara is at their lowest point at the start of the music video, unaware of one another's struggles. It is not until they are met with failure that they find solace, however.
For Minami, adulthood and job hunting only results in failing to land a desirable position. Maako experiences hardships as an actress, and even suffers a breakup, whilst Riena has a fight with her dance crew and loses hope in what she does. Rinna, on the other hand, is working hard as a street performer, only to be scolded by the police, leaving her to wonder if it's worth the trouble to do what she loves. As each member is left to reflect on where they are heading in regards to their goals and life choices, Kanami comes along with a letter, ultimately bringing them together once more, but this time on purpose.
With Kanami herself acting as the catalyst for the groups formation, it's important to note that even she has her own struggle in the beginning. As she stands on the bridge overlooking the world below her, Kanami's world is seen as black and white until Minami runs past her, allowing for her to slowly realise what she needs to do in order to brighten each of their futures. It is here that we see the formation of MeniPara, a group that works towards shifting the boundaries of their own dreams and possibilities.
Cute, summery and upbeat, this orthodox idol song is everything you would expect from an idol group, but what it represents goes beyond the adorable sound we hear.
Elegant in sound, mature in how vision, Milky Way is an interesting change of pace for MeniPara whilst still capturing that idea of them being a group that does not lend themselves to any specific theme or genre.
Though lacking in story line, Milky Way makes up for its lack of plot with its editing, location and visual style, ultimately creating a rich experience for the viewer. It's warm and luxurious, something you would not expect from a self-produced group, but MeniPara have delivered once more and surprised me with the grace and maturity that this music video offers.
With a variety of camera angles, a mixture of dance and solo shots, and even more, Milky Way has enough on offer to keep its viewer invested in the product. It's absolutely beautiful and showcases a new, refreshing side to MeniPara that is both enticing and maybe even a little sexy, but ultimately charming and a new take on who they are as a group.
I feel like both Rinna and Minami especially shined in this music video. You can really see just how mature and beautiful both of these young women here are, allowing them to create a seductive presence in the video, whilst members Kanami, Maako and Riena balance them out with their sweet and youthful appearances. With that said, I do think that these three members do extremely well to showcase their mature sides, however they do not look or feel as mature as either Minami or Rinna.
If the song wasn't good enough already, the music video for Milky Way only enhances just how great the song itself is. Both are great pieces in their own right, but together you can truly understand the true beauty of Milky Way as a song. It is powerful, and I am so happy to see that the music video both embraces and enhances the quality of this song.
In short: It's a good video, one that has impressed me a great deal. It's not the style of video I typically gravitate towards, however, though the song is right up my alley. Still, it's a great addition to the groups small library of videos, and a nice change of pace when compared to Taiyoukei Cinderella.
Performances, English Lessons and Absolute Chaos
Thanks to their efforts in keeping fans up to date with their shenanigans, the MeniPara YouTube channel offers a variety of content to keep you entertained and up to date with the groups journey. What's more, the content on offer can be both informative and hilarious. Whether you are looking for a Making of video for one of their PV's, or perhaps a blindfolded dance rehearsal to give you the giggles, MeniPara has you covered.
It's time to get to know the group a little more with a selection of videos! But please remember that this is just a fraction of what MeniPara has on offer when it comes to video content. There is far more where this came from, so be sure to head over to the groups YouTube channel and subscribe to see more of what they offer, and to keep up to date with the group.
Make Your Own Costume And Photo Shoot
[Blindfolded Dance] Dream Voyage
Aisawa Rinna's Birthday Party Part 1
Milky Way Making of
Riena's English Lesson
[Dance PV] H-E-L-L-O (New Year's version)
Plain Clothes Championship
My first (and only) interaction with MeniPara happened on January 31st, 2020 at Club Citta in Kawasaki, Japan. The event in question was my first real chika idol event during my time in Japan, and though I had initially gone to see LONDON BLUE perform, I happened to catch MeniPara's own performance. I didn't know who they were at the time, but I thought their songs were catchy, the members cute - and I really liked their outfits. White, with member-coloured trimmings, and vastly different from one another's in terms of styling and length. They were an interesting group, though I never actually anticipated meeting them for cheki, or anything like that.
Well, it turns out I did just that. After watching some more performances and eventually growing a bit too hot, I decided to go out into the area where groups who were no longer performing did buppan, and there I saw MeniPara again. The members had just come out of the backstage area, and two of them - Kanami and Maako - waved to me as they headed towards their table. I was a little surprised, but also happy, because it was the first real interaction I had had with a chika idol since travelling to Japan. So, I headed to their table, nervous as heck because 1) my Japanese is pretty much non-existent, and 2) it was my first chika idol buppan in Japan. Prior to that, I had done cheki with READY TO KISS members and photo's on my phone with HouPri members. That was it. Chika idols just seemed a little different, though.
Anyway, I decided to do cheki with the member who caught my eye on the stage, Ogusu Riena. I just thought 'she's extremely pretty', but also gravitated towards her because she had yellow accents on her outfit, 'cause I'm a sucker for the colour yellow. So, yeah, I chose to have a cheki with Riena, wholly expecting to have an awkward but fun interaction all thanks to my friend The Language Barrier, only to be surprised when Riena asked if I spoke any Japanese in perfect English. I believe what followed was a dumbfounded 'You speak English?', and Riena confirming that she had lived in America, meaning that she was bilingual.
I was both dumbfounded by my luck, and extremely happy, because I could converse with an idol in full, and ask questions in a relaxed manner. I felt guilty, of course, because I had wanted to try and converse in Japanese to the best of my abilities, but I was delighted that I could ask about this group I knew nothing about, and find out about their music and such. Which is exactly what I asked, because I love information.
Riena was extremely sweet and informative, and I had a lot of fun talking to her. She told me the groups name, how long they had been working as an idol group, and that their songs were available on YouTube to watch and listen to it. It was a nice first interaction with a chika idol, and a surprising one as well. It's not every day that the idols you watch on stage can speak perfect English, but it was a blessing for me and ultimately allowed me to relax into the chika Idol scene quicker than expected, because man, I was really nervous before that.
In hindsight, I will admit that I am a little sad about the fact that I didn't talk to the other members, however I was trying to save my money for LONDON BLUE at that point, and honestly, I'm happy I did get to interact with one of them, because I have come to love the group thanks to Riena. Doing my first official chika idol cheki with her is a treasured memory of mine now, and I can't help but look back on our interaction with absolute fondness. It really makes me smile whenever I think of it.
And after that, it's a small part of my Idol fandom history, I guess. Granted, I didn't start to follow MeniPara with this much dedication until around March time, however I do consider seeing their live performance and meeting Riena as the beginning of my interest in them, and I look forward to supporting them from here on out~
I want to end this by saying thank you to everyone who took the time to sit down and read this. It has been a lot of fun creating this document for you all, and though the intention of the post was to help others learn about this group that I enjoy and follow, I was also able to learn a lot more about MeniPara, its members and their personalities through this. It is thanks to this very process that I could learn much more about the group than before, and to slowly come to an understanding of each members charms and merits.
These are the kinds of posts that I enjoy creating. It's a combination of my love of idols and research, and though it may be a quick read for you, it was many hours, days and nights spent dedicating myself to finding out as much as possible, all in the effort to produce something that can introduce a group to overseas fans. It makes me happy to know that I can share this with others and create awareness for a group that truly needs the support, even if it doesn't reach that many people.
I just hope that you all enjoyed this post and found it informative, and I would like to once more thank everyone for taking a look and giving even a slither of a thought to looking up MeniPara. All I can hope for now is that you follow the group, listen to their music and cheer them on from the other side of your screens.
Until the next post. Please take care, stay safe, keep yourself busy and - of course - enjoy your Idols.
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