We’d Probably Have a Pretty Good Time at the Tokyo Idol Festival

It’s been brought up before (including in that whole why-does-this-website-exist thing), but it bears repeating that idol isn’t even remotely the same anymore. What was once the domain of the cute, the safe and the wholesome has been thoroughly infested by loud music, body-disregarding performances and gimmicks running from the dark to the profane.

In other words, the kind of idols that we like are here to stay, and the establishment has adjusted to that reality. Thanks, Establishment!

The lineup for this year’s Tokyo Idol Festival (Aug. 5-7) has been set, and our kinds of idols are well-represented throughout the schedule. Check the TIF website for more specific details, but also consider this a little shorthand guide for planning either your own personal trip or your off-hours YouTube sessions:

Appearing All Three Days

You’ll be a very happy person if you’re attending all three days of TIF in the first place, but here are your options:

  1. Ayumikurikamaki — in human form
  2. Osaka Shunkashuto
  3. GANG PARADE — I’m sure they’ll be on their best behavior; getting booked for all three days is a big break for them
  4. STARMARIE (who I’ll include properly soon, I promise)
  5. nanoRider — for the unfamiliar, this is the former nanoCUNE that was the little sister of Fruitpochette and Himekyun Fruit Can, now rebranded and sort of getting a national re-debut at TIF with new music and everything
  6. Party Rockets GT
  8. Himekyun Fruit Can
  9. petit pas!
  10. Babyraids JAPAN
  11. Yamaguchi Kassei Gakuen
  12. You’ll Melt More!

Appearing on Multiple Days

TIF organizers decided to give me particular fits by including some all-time favorites on the schedule, but only for two days instead of the full three.

PassCode and Bellring Girls Heart will both appear on Aug. 5 and 6, and may they take a moment to reconstruct BellCode for at least one song, and may that song be a PassCoded-up rendition of “The Edge of Goodbye,” because that’d be amazing. MAPLEZ will appear on the 5th and the 7th, but maybe the biggest surprise of all isn’t that BiSH was invited back, but that they’re back for the latter parts of the festival, on Aug. 6 and 7.

Making One Day Count

These performers are only scheduled for a single day of the festival, so adjust your schedule accordingly.

Fruitpochette, either Shiori by herself or New Fruitpochette with a new partner/s, will play Aug. 5. Youth rock unit Maria and terrifying demon idol Pikarin will both play Aug. 6, but the real day to catch will be Aug. 7: Included then will be JyuJyu, Devil ANTHEM, Hauptharmonie, Malcolm Mask McLaren and Phantom Voice.

Also of Interest

There are cool alt-idols and rock idols and even chaos-minded idols who haven’t made their first appearance on this site yet, but they’ll be at TIF and you might want to check them out.

Mad Magazine trainee group AiCune will be appearing on Aug. 5, as will vaporwave solo idol KOTO and the EDM-inspired STEREO JAPAN (who perform on the 6th as well). The festival final on Aug. 7 will include Full Power Girls (who I have scheduled coming up — stay tuned!) and the great queens of denpa style Dempagumi.inc. Appearing all three days are alt-idol darlings sora tob sakana and the villain/hero of the original BiS, Terahshima Yufu.

I’d also wager that her nemesis, Pour Lui, may make a somewhat random appearance like she did last year with Parallel Japan, just to promote New BiS, but that’s a guess that could easily be wrong.

While not a single note has been sung, nor a single step danced, I have to say that the big winner right now looks like Mad Magazine. I bag on them a lot for what’s basically a complete failure to take advantage of Babymetal Fever in the West to really push with Fruitpochette, but they have all four of their units not just at TIF, but very much a part of the festivities, with new music and looks. May this be the beginning of beautiful things for them.


12 thoughts on “We’d Probably Have a Pretty Good Time at the Tokyo Idol Festival

  1. I do think Babymetal Fever is at work here. For all the talents of Su, Yui, and Moa, they would not have succeeded if there were not a market out there, and TIF seems open now to more edgy idols.

    What I don’t get is why promoters are so slow to get on the bandwagon

    • I don’t see babymetal as edgy at all tho, for all the metal in there music the girls themselves are pure as silk xD, not exactly bish, pikarin or guso drop levels of crazyness going on with the members, so thoe it may have helped, I think underground idol has been making a come up for some time now

      • Yeah, I think it goes hand-in-hand in a lot of ways. A lot of these acts have BiS as their spiritual godmother; Babymetal’s main contribution was in demonstrating a mainstream market for idols doing something different.

        For the promoters, that’s a really mixed-up question. For every Gyu-no Fes, there’s still way more traditionally aligned events, and I invite anybody to compare across-the-board sales and other fan data to see just how big the slice of the idol pie our particular favorites collectively claim actually is. Like, I’m sure we’re biased.

        And then you have your ayukumas and PassCodes that have picked up the crossover mantle and could make a decent living just from album sales, one-mans and shared stages with non-idols. I might be (probably am) wrong, but I think Bellheart was a big mover on that front, as their sound and performance style lends itself well to the band-favoring set.

        Boy, this just keeps going: Babymetal made a lot of noise by playing Summer Sonic a few years ago, and now ayukuma’s doing it, and Fruitpochette has; it may be that the Pearl Jams of this scene, so to speak, go on to that kind of a place and dip back into TIF and other big idol events as necessary, but kind of outgrow the old scene while the Guso Drops and DISDOLs keep grinding away in the relative underground, almost as much by choice as by how much market exists for them.

  2. Hey Maniac, we came upon this one recently.We would have added them to a forum category but they seem to go in extreme directions. We’ll let you figure it out.LoL. For some reason this post jogged my memory of them. They seem to have been around for a least a year.

    This track is called “Trojans”

    Came across this live set with some baseball themed idols Play Balls,Diamodollfy and DeathRabbits.
    You can follow the time stamps in the description.


  3. This is how I see it:
    The start of the Idol War Area helped a lot in the exploration of new boundaries, be it musically, looks-wise or the audience (lifting or moshing wasn’t known back then from idol shows at all). It was formally not considered possible that there would be a fan base for girl groups, that don’t do Pop and that aren’t well produced like the then popular AKB or Morning Musume. So we have to thank Babymetal for that, who – let us be honest – are still considered weird by the general (metal) public.
    Lucky for us a fast adaption of groups like BiS and PASSPO took place, when it came to the use of rock elements in idol music, but also other groups that started to go different directions, which led to groups like Yurumerumo. And let us not forget that TIF started in 2010, which helped in making the growing numbers of fast founded underground idols, that haven’t been there before, public knowledge. This supported the development of more alternative idols as well. Which then helped the change in the mindset of idol fans and promoted the foundation for festivals like Idol Koushien or Girl’s Bomb, not to forget live houses starting to book them.


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