This Year’s TIF Is Next-gen and Looking Cool as Hell

The second or third most wonderful time of the year is almost upon us, folks! Yes, the Tokyo Idol Festival, the happiest place on earth, is in the process of announcing the confirmed acts (a process that will continue almost until the festival itself happens), and this year’s lineup not only includes lots of faces fresh to the public at large but possibly familiar to us, but is lousy with opportunity to take loud idol stuff in general to a whole new level.

The lineup so far:

Ayukuma! You’ll Melt More! amiinA! Osaka Shunkashuto! Maison Book Girl! Stalwarts, they are. Also, how cool is it that IVOLVE and NEO JAPONISM and SHINGEKI are joining the festivities this year? Who gets to be the first-timer who takes the festival by storm and officially becomes a Big Deal in the aftermath?

That’s a lot of idols who are first-timers and even relative newcomers to the scene, a testament to just how much things have changed over the past few years. This will be my fourth TIF overall, for instance, and the third one that I’ll watch closely; they’ve all been different, and thank heavens for it. I may or may not be most interested to see what SHINGEKI does, and which side of themselves they choose to bring onto the TIF stage.

Maybe more importantly, excitingly and Maniac-torturingly, though, is the big announcement that TIF and Summer Sonic are teaming up:

Yes, the (arguably) biggest idol festival and (easily) biggest rock festival in Japan are joining forces for … something. The announcement is still mostly devoid of detail, but one can probably expect idols on the Summer Sonic stage, potentially a few (more) bands on the TIF stage, and likely some on-stage collaborations between bigger-name idol units and bands.

It’s a huge opportunity, basically, to further knock down the ever-more-erroneous distinction between rock music by idols and rock music by bands, and to generate more credibility for idols as rock performers. Even beyond this year, I can’t wait to see where it goes.