notall (ノタル) - The Update and 2015 Exclusive Interview - Underrated Idol Spotlight
|Image Courtesy: Official Twitter|
Ladies and Gentlemen, may I have your attention for a few minutes.
Can I introduce you to a new brand of idol.
The groups name is ノタル or notall in English.
I have been a fan of this group for about six years at the time of this update. I am sorry for such a long pause in this renewal.
Things have changed since I last updated this back in 2016, such as a member graduating, the addition of a few new members and a lot more music.
Since the time of the original writing, notall exploded on the scene and performed in Paris, they have performed their own stage show, and have a lot of support from various countries around the globe.
Included in this update will remain the original interview I did with the original four members back in May 2015.
Let's begin on this journey once again.
The group was debuted in June 2014 under WALLOP Entertainment. They are an idol group that uses social media to their advantage to help produce their music and other aspects of their production style. The have done some unique concepts when it comes to promoting their work such as the "0 yen CD" and also collaborating with Village Vanguard to sell sweets.
The group consisted of four members but now has blossomed to six members.
As of April 2021, notall has released nine singles, will soon be five digital singles, and two albums.
As I mentioned the group currently has six members. I will place their social media accounts where you can follow them, if you'd like. Please do!
The profile information on their official website has a lot of interesting information about the members.
Name: Narumi Katase (片瀬 成美)
Birthdate: July 6th, 1992
Name: Reina Tasaki (田崎 礼奈)
Birthdate: March 8th, 1995
Name: Sato Haruka ( 佐藤 遥)
Birthdate: February 6th, 1992
Name: Risa Arimura (有村 莉彩)
Birthdate: January 6th
Name: Kaede Hiroyama (広山 楓)
Age: 21 years old
Name: Yui Otoi (音井 結衣)
Birthdate: January 9th, 2001
Born in Kentucky, USA
Watanabe Chiko - Graduated March 21st, 2019
As of April 2021, they have released nine singles, three digital singles with two more in the plans to be released by June 2021, and two albums.
You can buy all of their singles (except the 0 yen CDs and Village Vanguard collaborations) on your favorite Japanese CD purchasing store. You also have the other option of streaming all of the groups music via Spotify (which I use), Apple Music, or LINE Music.
July 26th, 2014 - koi no sumasokura (Love of Sumasokura)
September 19th, 2014 - Ready Girl / Boku no kakera (My Piece) / mirai chikygi (Mirai Globe)
December 26th, 2014 - Re:notall
February 25th, 2015 - Penguin Human
July 13th, 2015 - my baby. my lover
November 25th, 2015 - Just Now
March 8th, 2016 - Thanks A Million / Arigatou
July 30th, 2016 - #Social idol
7th Single / 1st Major Single
April 17th, 2017 - Capybara 50km / Kimi ni DA-DA-DAN
8th Single / 1st 0 yen CD
July 23rd, 2017 - CD uru no, yamemashita. (I quit selling CDs)
9th Single / 2nd 0 yen CD
October 30th, 2017 - CD uru no, yamemashita. (I quit selling CDs 2)
1st Digital Single
November 1st, 2018 - Sonosakihe (Beyond)
2nd Digital Single
April 26th, 2020 - suiheisen (Horizon)
3rd Digital Single
November 5th, 2020 - 2-Dome no hatsukoi wa sonzai shita (The Second Hatsukoi Existed)
4th Digital Single
November 5th, 2020 - Fuyu, Haru, Natsu, Aki, Kimi
5th Digital Single
April 21st, 2021 - DREAMIN' City
The next four were part of the collaboration with Village Vanguard. The candy art is actually pretty neat.
November 23rd, 2018 - 1-Ban aidoru no aji ga suru chokorēto (Chocolate that tastes like the best idol)
Music Video Information
In this section, I will showcase some of my favorite videos of the group. While revisiting this article, I wanted to make some changes to this section because it needed it. It will also show the progression in music styles as years go along.
The first music video I would like to show you is from their first album and the title song, titled Pengin ningen or Penguin Human.
This song was the first music video that I saw of theirs. The song is extremely catchy and the PV is top-notch with the comic book effect and all. I actually showed this video to my friends and family because I enjoyed it so much. I listened to this song over and over and over. Looking back on this song, it is still so good. Their characters really showed throughout the entire video. There are sometimes, when I want that nostalgia of the beginning songs that got me into Japanese pop and I come back to this one without a doubt.
The second video is from their 7th single, Kimi ni DA-DA-DAN. The song is the B-side track from that single (Capybara 50km is the title track).
This song will get you amped on a whole different level. The street shots of the members walking through what I believe to be Otomesando is a nice touch. Even in the studio shots with the choreography is nice as well. The members express themselves in very different ways throughout the whole video. The song is catchy like no other. I'm not going to lie, it has been some time since I last saw this video and I was jamming along to it. Time to turn this song up on the long drive to work nowadays. I'm pretty sure there is a fan chant to this song yet I made one up as it went along. You can tell that the two years difference in videos, shows their transformation.
Do you want to jam even more? This is another song for you. It is from their first digital single, Sonosakihe (Beyond).
This is a cool flippin' song. It is my kind of jam. It has the rock vibes and has catchy lyrics. In all honesty, I want to run so many miles while listening to this song. As you can tell, each of the members are having to challenge something, which is a nice behind the scenes look for the video. Some of the challenges look difficult to even do. They were able to succeed in all of them though. This was also the last video for former member Watanabe Chiko. Their outfits are so cool as well. Kind of a grunge rock type of outfit. The video itself is fantastic. so shoutout to the director. The close shots in the tunnel and the beach shots were so great. I want to know what beach that is because it looks perfect, especially at sunset. I don't think I ever listened to this song but I am glad I have now!
The next video is from the group's original stage, Twice Love. The song is titled, 2-Dome no hatsukoi wa sonzai shita (The Second Hatsukoi Existed).
New system. New style of music. This is the evolvement of notall into "progressive idol pop". This is the first video with the new members in it. This song is super up tempo and it shows the maturity of the group. The whole song is really good. I like the switch between the spoken word verses to a really nice chorus in between. The art style is really aesthetic and it looks like it a complicated shoot during some parts. The choreography has a lot of different movements in it that looks really difficult. The outfits are really mature and match the members well. To be honest, this song didn't grab me at first but after listening to it a few more times, I am beginning to come around.
The last song I want to showcase is their newest MV, DREAMIN' City. This song is a part of a three month digital single tracks to be released from April - June 2021.
Holy Cow! Since the songs and MV release, I have enjoyed listening to and watching it. I realize I have a lot of favorite styles of idols music that I enjoy, and this is one of them. It is orthodox and it showcases the members vocals and dancing evenly. I certainly enjoyed the behind the scenes look into how they record things, dance practices and such. The storyline is really interesting to watch. How the new members are trying to learn everything but sometimes they have set backs or aren't confident in their abilities, yet they practice their heart out to improve and even watch as the veterans push themselves to be better no matter how long they have been around. It is really touching. All the members look really pretty in their stage outfits and everyone of them shines in their own way. The choreography is really crisp and looks like to be a nice pen light song from the audience. Listening to this song over and over makes me appreciate how far they have come over the past seven years.
When they release the next song/video, I may or may not make a new article based on it or I will update this one to share it.
How Did You Find notall?
A couple of months back, a certain website named Tokyo Girls Update posted a article about this group. They were introduced and they were wearing their penguin outfits and I thought how cute they all were and after watching the video for the song, I was hooked.
I did research of the group but kept holding off on writing a article on them, just in case I can get a interview with them.
Pre-Interview and Interview
When I was planning on visiting Tokyo for my birthday, I decided I wanted to interview a group for this blog. Thus, I started to contact the group for the interview.
A day after I contacted the group, they graciously accepted my invitation and I was set.
After discussing the date a little while later, it came time for the interview.
The day of the interview was probably one of the most nerve wracking days I have ever had. I made it down there early and I stopped just outside the station because I got so nervous.
I found Wallop Studio but I couldn't walk in because my heart was seriously racing. I walked around the block a couple of times and stared at the Sky Tree for a little bit to calm my nerves.
I entered the building and sat on the first floor. After a while had passed, I began to wonder when I would get the chance to do it. Unbeknownst to me, not having mobile Wi-Fi was about to ruin it all, because they sent me emails asking if I had made it etc.
Anyway, their manager Mr. Shingo Yamamoto-san came down to greet me and we headed up to the fourth floor so I could see the group.
As soon as the door opened and I saw them, I actually started to tremble a little bit. As we introduced ourselves (mine to the best Japanese I could muster), I gave them the gifts I purchased just for them.
Their looks are not deceiving. They are very, very pretty in person and super nice to talk to. Also, Sato Harukas' English skill is pretty good. (She will deny it when she reads this)
As we moved down to the first floor lesson room, I became so nervous that I couldn't talk.
Now on to the interview. I posed about 17 questions, so get ready to read.
Question #1: How was the group formed?
The unanimous answer was they were formed through a audition.
Question #2: Did any of the members know each other before formation?
I got the firm answer of no they did not know each other at all.
Question #3: What is the ultimate goal of the group?
I got a combination of the fact that they hope that the group will continue and hopefully make their world debut.
Question #4: How was the feeling after your first live?
They responded with the answer that they were nervous, excited, and that they were really happy and enjoyed it since it was the first time.
Question #5: Are any of the members competitive against each other?
They stated as a whole that in order to grow the group they need to cooperate with each other.
Question #6: What has been the greatest achievement of the group thus far?
The members said that due to having a Japanese connection in Thailand, that having a live there would be great. Mr. Yamamoto stated that getting first place on Amazon MP3 distribution would be a great achievement.
Update (July 12th, 2015) In late May, they attended the Cheerz Connect Japan Festival in Thailand to a huge success.
Question #7: What made you want to become a idol?
Katase stated that she wanted to become a idol due to the wide range of entertainment benefits and relations. Chiko chimed in with the fact that when she was little, she loved to sing and dance, so why not take those talents into show-business.
Question #8: Other than being a idol, what is your dream job?
Haruka, Chiko, and Katase said that they had no idea what their dream job would be, while Tasaki stated that she wanted to become the future Prime Minister.
Question #9: Who are your favorite artists to listen to?
As a whole, they state that they love Momoclo or for those who don't know, Momoiro Clover Z. Chiko said that she likes Nicki Minaj and Tasaki enjoys listening to Chris Brown. Tasaki even showcased her rapping skills to Chris Brown. She did her best.
Question #10: Do you plan to release any new material for your fans?
They said that they are having their First Anniversary Live at Shinjuku ReNY on July 12th. So, be there or be square.
Question #11: What would you like to say to your current and prospective fans?
I guess you could say the answer to the above question and also they want to create a new idol style by co-creation and hope to be embraced by new fans in the future.
Question #12: You're called "social idols", and on your website it says fans can take pictures of the group during performances, has that ever been distracting?
Katase stated that the Notaru fans are kind and that they enjoy taking pictures. Mr. Yamamoto said that they were thought to be no good because of their style.
Question #13: I noticed on their Facebook that they had collaborated with Alice Project and I asked them how that was.
They told me that they were very excited to collab with them. Chiko said that it was crazy while Haruka commented that it was a unique experience. Their manager said that both groups have had a upsurge of fans telling them they were terrible.
Question #14: Would you want to tour America and what would you want to do?
I got a variety of answers including Haruka wanting to go to San Francisco as a idol and that they want to create a song together with the American people, which includes costumes, music and also making a PV. Katase told me that she wanted to go to New York and learn how to drive there but she is to busy at this moment.
Question #15: What is the best/worst part of being a idol?
They said that the best part about being one, is the fact you get to meet a lot of people and they are given vigor, courage and love. They also said that the worst part about being a idol is that sometimes they are tired and that can be seen by fans.
Question #16: In the opening for Penguin Human, Katase is shown drawing a penguin. I asked if she did that herself including the writing of the title.
I was told by Katase herself that she loves to draw penguins and animals alike but the writing happened to be a ghost writer, fellow member Satou Haruka.
Question #17: What are your favorite TV shows and movies?
I got multiple answers from this question including Chiko saying that she loves Spongebob and 90s cartoons. Tasaki stated that she likes Doraemon, Biohazard (anime) and zombie shows and movies. Katase and Haruka said that they both like Harry Potter (mostly Hermoine). A few other ones came up such as Pixar movies (Toy Story) , Ed, Edd, and Eddy, Big Hero Six and of course Frozen.
That finished the interview and I asked if they had any questions for me and I answered them to the best I could.
I got the chance to take a photo of them and with them, so that was pretty cool.
I thanked them a lot for allowing me the chance to do the interview.
I thanked them a lot for allowing me the chance to do the interview.
Looking back on it, I noticed some things over the past few years I need to correct. When this article and a couple of updates were added, I was a big fan of notall. Yet over the past few years, I went from being a diehard fan to being just a casual fan. I still paid attention to what the happenings were but I never came back to update this thing until April 2021. I apologize to them for that.
Secondly, I saw them perform in May 2016, a year after the interview, while I was on vacation in Tokyo. That was an interesting experience to say the least. Since then, I have not seen them perform live on any of my recent vacations there. Am I ashamed to not show my face to them after so many years? Probably. Is it because I feel like I have let them down over the past few years? More than likely.
In 2021, I started to talk to them more via comments on Twitter because I owe it to them. Not out of pity, but out of being more of a fan again.
There are some things that rejuvenated my fandom, especially Ms. Kentucky (Otoi Yui). Also, the fact that they are still selling out shows and the fanbase continues to grow makes me have a little bit of FOMO.
Their is also one tiny thing that is on my mind and that is graduations. The past couple of years, especially during the pandemic have been difficult for idols fans in general. When you have a group like notall that you have witnessed, not only the group but the members grow, you begin to wonder when that time will be up. It honestly will make me sad if one of the members left.
Note to the members of notall:
I still want to thank them for allowing me the opportunity to interview them all the way back in 2015. I also want to thank you for all that you do on a daily basis. You constantly can make the fans smile no matter what you post on your SNS. You all all ever so talented, not only as a group but also individually via stage performances, modeling, acting etc. You continue to grow your fan base no matter where they are in the world. Each and every one of you all have such a bright future no matter which path you take.
I still want to apologize for not only not updating this material but also the fact that I have not come to see you all in six years.
I will still continue to support you all from afar until the day we can once again meet in person.
Always keep smiling and please stay healthy!
Much love and support from Oklahoma USA!
You can follow me on Twitter or feel free to comment on this page. A positive comment is always a good thing.
Wherever You Are Or Whatever You Do, Enjoy Life To Its Fullest And Have A Fantastic Day!