Idols

Japanese arcade has floor pads so fans can kneel before, leave offerings to their anime crushes

Even among otaku, those with a fondness for anime series Love Live! are known for being particularly obsessive. As a matter of fact, it wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to say that the Love Livers, as the franchise’s fans are known, worship the show’s central characters.

And if that’s the case, one arcade figured, why not give fans a place where they can kneel down and make offerings to their anime idols?

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Pro: Six idols fighting over you! Con: They’re all super-powered and violent!! Soda ad: Crazy!!!

There’s a pretty common male fantasy in Japan that goes like this: You’re sitting alone in your classroom at lunchtime, when suddenly, a cute female classmate walks up to you. With your heart fluttering and your stomach growling, you find out she’s ready to satisfy both, as she pulls out a bento lunch box filled with homemade goodies and, while smiling sweetly, asks if you’d eat lunch with her.

Now take that same scenario, but expand the cast from one girl to six. Even better, right?

Sure, at least until you find out that all six of your lady suitors have superpowers and violent streaks, like what happens to this unsuspecting guy in the craziest soda ad we’ve seen in quite a while.

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New music video by LADYBABY here to rock your world (in more ways than one) 【Video】

Few could have imagined that a bearded man dressed in a girl’s school uniform would prove to be big a hit. Even fewer perhaps would have guessed that putting said individual in a J-pop group alongside a couple of Japanese teens would be something people would actually want to watch, but watch they do, and LADYBABY is currently taking Japan by storm.

In the music video for their first upcoming single release, “Tokyo Manju”, Japan’s most curious trio takes to the streets of Tokyo to show you all the wonderful things we love about Japanese culture.

When Gackt said the Cool Japan campaign needed a revamp, I don’t think this is quite what he had in mind…

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What makes “Love Live!” so mega popular? We asked one passionate super fan

If you’re into anime and you haven’t been living under a rock for the past two years, you should have at least heard of the unstoppable, indomitable multimedia force known as Love Live! School Idol Project, which first aired in early 2013. The show took off and captured the hearts of Japanese and foreign viewers alike seemingly in the blink of an eye.

In fact, fans of the series are known for being so incredibly dedicated to the teenage troupe that we wanted to find out firsthand what attracted them to the series. Consequently, we had our Japanese reporter ask one enthusiastic fan, whom we’ll call Mr. K, for his personal opinion. What do you think he had to say about the draw of the series?

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Kyary Pamyu Pamyu goes to Tokyo DisneySea dressed like a total creeper

Perhaps it’s not to the extent that celebrities have it in the United States, but Japanese celebs – especially pop idols of the female persuasion – are regularly accosted in public if they’re recognized. And while most stereotypically meek Japanese might be content with taking surreptitious photos from afar in the event of an idol sighting, the possibility of running across an unhinged fan or aggressive paparazzi on the streets means most Japanese pop stars will conceal their faces somehow when strolling around in public on their own.

For the typical celeb, this generally means wearing dark shades or even just wearing a fashion they’re not normally seen wearing on TV, while others still will walk around with their faces totally uncovered like the rest of the unwashed masses. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, on the other hand, wasn’t taking chances on a recent trip to Tokyo DisneySea, choosing to conceal her face entirely and looking like a total creeper in doing so.

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Is AK48’s Chinese sister group even cuter than the original? Our reporter thinks so!

Ever heard of SNH48, AKB48’s second sister group outside of Japan? Based in Shanghai, China, the idol unit has been active since 2012, releasing a total of eight singles to date. These singles are all Chinese-language covers of previous AKB48 singles, including their latest release on May 15–the Chinese version of “Manatsu no Sounds Good!” (盛夏好声音).

Now, I’m not someone easily swayed by the cutesy “charms” of idol singers, but a female writer on our Japanese sister site recently wrote a piece expressing her opinion that SNH48 could possibly be–dare I write it–even cuter than the veritable goddesses of the original AKB48.

Take a moment to watch their latest music video and decide who you think is the cutest!

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Buy 2,000 identical CDs to visit hot springs with this idol group, save them from disbandment

Many Japanese idol groups, such as the mega-popular AKB48, package incentives in with their CDs to get fans to buy multiple copies of the same exact thing. In AKB48’s case, the group occasionally includes voting ballots within special “election singles” that allow fans to vote for the member that will be featured most prominently on a new song.

Like AKB48, up-and-coming rock idol unit DEEP GIRL is using a system of incentives to encourage fans to buy their debut single, which will be released this summer. However, the group is taking an even more drastic approach by using a tiered system of prizes–along with the very real threat that the group will be instantly disbanded if their song doesn’t make it into the Oricon Weekly Top Ten.

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Ami Takeuchi is a beauty queen with pageant awards under her belt, legions of fans and a new idol DVD out, and boy, is it sexy. She also happens to be a “new half”, which in Japan refers to a trans female. Her catchphrase, in fact, is “the new half that’s just too cute!”

Warning: Things are about to get a little bit NSFW (unless you work at RocketNews24, in which case, congratulations! Pretty much nothing is NSFW!)

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Smiles optional-New talent agency accepting applications for idols suffering emotional distress

It’s pretty widely accepted that in the Japanese pop idol world, legitimate musical talent takes a back seat to the ability to project an image. So while you might not need perfect pitch or flawless rhythm, if you want to be an idol, you will need to radiate a constantly upbeat aura, right?

Well, maybe not. A new idol talent agency has just opened its doors, and the company is specifically looking for performers with a gloomy outlook, and is now accepting applications, with no experience required.

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Superfan buys treasure trove of idol-cover magazines, swims through it like Scrooge McOtakuduck

In recent years, the idol singer industry in Japan has put a lot of power in the hands of fans. Multi-vocalist units like AKB48 and its numerous tri-letter, dual-digit sister groups often hold “elections,” in which votes are tallied to see which members will get the most prominent roles in upcoming music videos, live performances, and the like.

The idol world isn’t a perfect democracy, though, in that concepts like universal suffrage and “one person, one vote” don’t exist within it. Ballots are often packed inside CDs, DVDs, or other commercial goods, and the more you buy, the more you can vote, which is leading one dedicated fan to try to corner the market on manga anthologies.

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Daiso posts videos of fans dancing with long-lasting glow sticks, we can’t look away 【Video】

Last year, we learned from Nissin that samurai are still well and alive in Japan–they’ve just traded their swords in for glow sticks. While the Cup Noodle creators were obviously having a bit of fun with us, it has hard not to take notice of the wild swinging dance moves of the featured idol otaku. They moved with the sort of alacrity that we’d normally expect from a magical pear fairy running from explosions, and we had kind of assumed they were just actors playing a role.

It turns out we were wrong! Apparently that sort of jazzercise-on-steroids dancing is actually common at idol shows. In fact, it’s so common that Diaso, the 100 yen store filled with unique products, has gone out of its way to make and market long-lasting glow sticks. They even have little loops to make finger-spinning easier!

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Japan’s newest idol group, KBG84, hails from Okinawa, has an average age of 84

Japan’s idol world is quite…expansive, for lack of a better word. Even with the wide variety of groups running around, it can be hard to really tell them apart–though we have to say there was no mistaking Osaka’s Obachaaan for any other group. In fact, the “old lady” idol group is still going strong–perhaps thanks in part to the dearth of elderly competition. But it looks like Obachaaa and AKB48 are about to face some new rivals: KBG84, Okinawa’s own geriatric idol group!

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Want to see anime singer Hironobu Kageyama, or rising idol Azusa Todokoro, perform live? 【Event】

Aside from protagonist Goku’s voice actress Masako Nozawa, it’s pretty hard to find a performer who can claim to have made his or her presence felt in all of anime hit Dragon Ball’s over 290 TV episodes and dozen-plus movies. One man who can make that claim, though, is vocalist Hironobu Kageyama, who supplied the opening theme for each and every episode of Dragon Ball and its successor series Dragon Ball Z, plus 12 of its 13 movies to-date (and even the most recent film used a cover of his iconic hit “Cha-La Head-Cha-La”).

Now in his 50s, no one would blame Kageyama is he said he didn’t have the energy for live performances anymore, but the tireless singer isn’t ready to retire yet. Aside from being the front man for anime song supergroup JAM Project, next month Kageyama will be performing for TV program Anison CLUB!, and anime music Internet portal animeloLIVE! is giving away tickets to the event.

And don’t worry if Dragon Ball was before your time, because animeloLIVE! is also looking for fans to come out and support up-and-coming voice actress and idol Azusa Todokoro at yet another event to be held in March.

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Man who attacked AKB48 members with saw at handshake event is jailed for six years

Hugely popular idol group AKB48 was founded on the premise of “idols you can meet” and over the years they’ve stuck to it, hosting numerous handshake and meet-and-greet events on top of their live shows and performances at their own special theatre. Sadly, that open, accommodating fan policy was jeopardised last year when two members of the group were viciously attacked at a handshake event by a crazed “fan” wielding a hand saw.

Luckily, the girls weren’t too seriously injured, but the incident shook the entertainment industry and led to increased security measures being implemented at celebrity events, and it was reported yesterday that the individual responsible for the attack has been sentenced to six years in prison.

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Happy Twintail Day! Now ask out that girl you’ve got a crush on, say Japanese fans of the hairdo

Now that we’re into February, shy men across Japan are out of excuses not to ask out the girl they’ve got a crush on. This month includes a special day with its own framework that allows guys to express their feelings with an established method that leaves no doubt about their affections.

Of course, we’re not talking about Valentine’s Day, because in Japan, women give gifts to men on February 14. No, we’re talking about Twintail Day, observed on February 2, which not only celebrates the dual-tail hairstyle, but also seeks to strengthen the bonds between young lovers and established couples alike.

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Who’s still buying physical media in Japan? Top 20 singles lists for the year reveal the answer

With a large music market and some of the world’s highest prices for physical releases, Japan has been very slow in adapting to digital distribution. Rights holders are finally warming up to the idea, though, and it doesn’t look like it’s ruining the industry in Japan. What downloadable music does seem to be doing, though, is splitting the country’s pop music market into two distinct parts, as the lists of Japan’s top 20 single downloads and CD purchases for the year are almost completely different.

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State of the otaku union – Survey reveals vocaloids up, adult games down in 2014

Long ago, being an otaku, one of Japan’s hyper-obsessive subculture fans, made you sort of an outcast. People, especially respectable adults, didn’t really want to look at you, either out of embarrassment for your childish hobbies, or perhaps fear that having spent the last three days indoors had given you a case of shut-in cooties that would jump onto them.

That’s starting to change, though. More and more people are becoming comfortable identifying themselves as otaku, and while some still worry their fixations on fantasy are a drain on society, they’re definitely a boost to the economy, as shown by a survey that indicates spending is up in several sectors of the otaku world.

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Korean idol unit trots on stage in matching skirts and what look like pseudo-Nazi armbands

Creating costumes for idol singer groups can’t be an easy job. If you’re going for cute, designers already hit the limit for the number of frills a single item of clothing can hold sometime around October of 1986. Hot pants are an easy way to achieve short-term crowd-pleasing sexiness, but that might interfere with the girl-next-door image the most successful acts cultivate.

So instead of sweet or sultry, you might settle on snappy. That’s what the four members of Korea’s Pritz have been doing in some of their recent appearances, where they’ve shown up in matching black skirts and crisply pressed black shirts buttoned at the collars. Oh, and to add just a dash of attempted systematical genocide to the ensemble, what look like Nazi armbands.

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Big in Japan, not so much in the U.S. – Fangirl furious over Arashi concert ticket price gap

For many of Japan’s most successful music acts, there’s a huge gap between their popularity at home and abroad. Five-man vocal unit Arashi has been at the top of Japan’s boy band heap for years, and while they’ve picked up a few ardent devotees in the U.S., their fan base there is miniscule compared to their legions of followers in Japan.

This became even clearer than usual last week, when Arashi had a concert in Hawaii. The effective cost of a ticket bought in Japan for the event calculates out to some 100,000 yen (US$925), but in Hawaii, you could pick up a ticket for less than a fifth of that price.

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Princess Serenity negligee and pajama uniforms for core Senshi set to join Sailor Moon lingerie

We recently got a sneak peak at the second batch of Sailor Moon lingerie from merchandiser Bandai and intimate apparel maker Peach John. But while the two companies were generous with photos of what the new bra/panty/skirt sets will look like, they were only shown on nondescript, limbless mannequins.

Not only does a new batch of pictures rectify that with a human model, it also shows off some more modest bedroom attire, in the form of negligees and pajamas inspired by the dresses of characters Princess Serenity and Black Lady, plus the school uniforms worn by the five core Sailor Senshi.

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