Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What In The World? - The World Standard (Wa-Suta) - Group Intro and Album Review

If I do not write this article, I might literally lose my mind with insanity due to this group and their first major album.

The group as you can see in the title is Wa-Suta or The World Standard in English. They are under iDol Street which is managed by Avex Music. Other artists included in iDol Street include the Super Girls, Cheeky Parade, GEM, and the local streets themselves. I felt like I left one out.

The group Wa-Suta was first announced in March 2015, but their first live appearance came at the iDOl Street Carnival 2015 on April 29th, 2015. I had a chance to attend that event but decided not to which I somewhat regret to this day.

They have grown since their debut and they are looking to take on the whole world. In my opinion, they are still underrated and have blown many fans away with their music and performances, so kudos to the management and the members of Wa-Suta themselves.

I first saw the debut of this group when I was following one of the other groups, GEM, to be exact. They had usually a weekly YouTube episode that showcased behind the scenes moments of the group. I noticed one day that they had a new video on the iDol Street channel that had a different name to it so I gave it a watch and enjoyed what I saw. They were so adorable and very talented but relatively new to the scene as idols which was just fine by my standards.

I kind of put them on the back burner until I saw that they were releasing their first major debut album on May 4th, 2016. They were going to be releasing it in 110 countries, which was pretty cool. At that time, I knew I was going to be in Tokyo so I waited until the release to buy it. Well technically, I waited a couple of weeks and then went to Tower Records in Shibuya to find the album. I searched and searched to no avail. I realized there was a HMV & Books nearby. I wandered over there and got to their idol section and noticed the display with the group and many a CD on the rack too. I started to listen to the preview and really enjoyed it. I listened to the three songs that you were allowed to listen to before I made my decision. I had two choices: I could get the regular edition which was $25 USD or I could get the extra special looking one, which came with a mini house and character figures of the members plus the CD and DVD of a concert of theirs. The second one would've set me back $80 USD. I chose the regular edition because I really didn't need all the trimmings of the large album, no offence.

As soon as I got back home I placed the album in my laptop to give it a little more attention than I had and I was really shocked and awed with how well the album was put together. The vocals were strong throughout and the composition of each song made it really awesome. So again, kudos.

Without further ado, let me introduce you to the members. Each member is color coded as with most iDol Street and Avex artists. Wa-Sutas' colors are a bit different because they are not bright colors but pastel ones. I have chosen a favorite member from the get-go, so you should read further and see who that would be.

Member Information

Name: Hazuki Sakamoto
Birthdate: September 9th, 1998
Color: Pastel Yellow
Twitter: @tws_hazuki

Name: Nanase Hirokawa
Birthdate: May 12th, 1999
Color: Pastel Green
Twitter: @tws_nanase

Name: Miri Matsuda
Birthdate: August 2nd, 1999
Color: Pastel Purple
Fun Fact: Miri is my oshi
Twitter: @tws_miri

Name: Ririka Kodama
Birthdate: October 1st, 2000
Color: Pastel Blue

Name: Ruka Mishina
Birthdate: March 17th, 2001
Color: Pastel Pink
Twitter: @tws_ruka

When it comes to vocals, Ruka and Nanase are the lead singers of the group.

Discography Information

Wa-Suta has only released one album that I will discuss below the video section.

May 4th, 2016 - The World Standard

Video Information

The first video I will drop is the first track to their album titled, Uru Tora Mira Kurukuru Fu Ainaru Arutimettochoko Bi Mu. What a title. 

As you can tell by the music video, the song is extremely catchy. I am glad it has English lyrics on screen but I wouldn't have minded if it didn't. I won't go into extreme length about the video but I like the concept. 

Here is the behind the scenes of the video shoot. 

I love behind the scenes videos, especially to get to know the members better. You get to see their characters shine and choose your favorite if you haven't already.

A couple of other videos are LIVE versions. I will not place them in here, so if you want to watch them, you can on the official YouTube page. I usually only like placing the actual MV which is more interesting to watch, you could say.

The third and fourth video I will share is the MV and behind the scenes video for Inu Neko, Seishun Massakari.

I like this video as well because it showcases the cuteness of the members again as well as a fun song to listen to. 

I will link another video as well. This video is from one of their PR events and showcases the members with MakoMina. MakoMina came up with some choreography for this song and is actually quite fun to do if you don't mind embarrassing yourself. 

Those are the videos I suggest until more come out. So until then continue to sit tight as we move onto the album review.

Album Review

The World Standard album consists of 11 tracks total if you get the regular edition and only ten if you get the special one.

Again, these are my opinions.

As I mentioned earlier the first track is Uru Tora Mira Kurukuru Fu Ainaru Arutimettochoko Bi Mu. I find this song to be completely addicting and really fun to jam to when you are around other people. I love the fact that they have spoken word lyrics which are ultra funny to listen to. I like the Excali-Nyan part the best.I also like the out of date jokes they have in the song. Also I get loads of laughs with the Abracadabra part. I also like the tempo of the song and it has the techno-ish rock beat during the interludes which really take the song up the notch and I am pretty sure that those chords are my favorite part.

The second track is called, Doki Doki Today. I really like the uptempo pace for this song. It has a little bit of a electronic feel for it and then it hits you with strong vocals which lead you to the bridge and finish at the chorus. To me this song seems like a quintessential iDol Street song. I can see any of the groups performing this song but I believe that Wa-Suta pulled it off quite well. It has a great beat that you can bob your head along to. 

The next track is Wandafuru World. This song has a fantastic tempo. I know I talk a lot about song tempo but I believe it is important if you want to enjoy a song. This song has a great electronic vibe to it that sticks out very well against the great drops and fantastic vocals by the group. This song can have you jamming for a while with no interruption. The lead up into the second chorus really hits me pretty good with the feels. 

The fourth track is titled, Sukina Hito Toka Imasu Ka. This track is one of three that have a pretty good Latin flair to them. In this songs case, it has more of a techno feel than the second that I will share. I like the pace and the vocals are really great too. This is a song that if you wanted to, you could pass over. To me, this is a pretty alright track for this album. You have ups and downs and this is in the middle. There is one highlight and that is the high notes being hit about a little over halfway through.

The fifth track is titled, Zili Zili Love. This songs starts off with catchy piano and goes into a really high-paced song that is hard to keep up to but I really like it. I would expect to hear this in a cabaret club form a ska band. The beat in the song is paired perfectly with the orchestral electronic in the background at some points. This song plays to the members strengths. The vocals are really strong which is a very strong point. Over halfway through it goes into a crazy piano solo followed by a nice beat drop with a music box playing in the back then right back to the high tempo. 

Track number six would be Ran Ran Jidai. As like track number four this one has a little flair to it as well. It is pretty high paced with great vocals being spread throughout. The chorus is pretty fun to try to sing in your vehicle or in person. The latin guitar in the background pairs well with this song. I have to admit that this song sounds really familiar with the first Juice=Juice song I listened to. I like the guitar solo halfway through and then back to the fast vocals. It has some very fantastic characteristics. I like the beat and it gets you in a groove if you are feeling down or unmotivated to work. 

The seventh track on the Wa-Suta album would be NikoNiko Hanbuko. This song brings you back to the idol world with the Beatles' rock in the background into a fantastic fairy like beat that plays off of the vocals really well. The buildup to the chorus is pretty fantastic as well. The song gets really jammin' whenever it goes into a fantastic guitar solo. As usual, solo instrumentals are followed by solo vocals into the chorus again. I really enjoy the beat once again. This is another song that you could listen to on a road trip or if you need a pick-me-up if the previous one didn't do the job. 

For the eighth track on the album, Suikawari, or Watermelon in English is presented in glorious fashion. This track is the third of the Latin flair variety and it doesn't disappoint by any means. This one outshines the previous two. No joke. I really like the songs like these from idols. The tempo is so perfect and the lyrics are pretty outstanding. It makes you want to just get up and dance. I really enjoy listening to this as I'm driving down the road trying to keep my eyes on it. I can not describe how I feel when I listen to this song. They did a really fantastic job with this song. I want to go to a beach now or have a watermelon. I love me some watermelon.

The ninth track kind of hits home for me and that track is called, Chiisana Chiisana. The reason why I said that is the way it sounds a little like a country song. When idols go this route I can't help but enjoy it. It has a great beat and lovely vocals with banjo and the strumming of an acoustic guitar playing in the background. Believe me, as a Oklahoman, hearing banjo in a idol song brings me back home. The vocals are very soft and enjoyable to listen to leading up to the fast paced bridge and chorus. This song gives me the chills up and down my arms because if the western feel. I thank Wa-Suta for releasing a song like this, This song also features one of my favorite parts of idol music and that would be the vocals with light background music. The lyrics at the end reassure me, 

"Everything's gonna be alright,
 everything's going to be okay." 

Track number ten is titled Inu Neko, Seishun Massakari and is the second music video I displayed above. This song overpowers you with the rock vibe and the high paced that you can jam to it. I love the lyrics to this song. I like that they hit you hard with the descriptions of which one do you like. Personally, I like cheesecake. This song greatly plays to their strengths as well. Which one do you like? As for me, I'm both a cat and dog person. This song is very fun to listen to if you are having a rough go of it. I literally have listened to this song more times then you should know about. I constantly have it on replay if I get a chance. Now imagine the video of the dance to it and try that at work when no one is watching. Pretty funny, right? Now imagine getting caught doing the dance. Now that is embarrassing but you shouldn't mind it because that is who you are.

The final track on the album is titled Ima wa Mukashi. This track is technically a bonus track for us regular edition people. The album really didn't contain a slow song until this track. I like the organ that plays in the background and of course the vocals are on par as well. It has like a twinkling electro thing in the background that pairs really well with the other instruments that are brought in throughout the song. I am glad they saved this song as a bonus track. These kind of tracks usually never disappoint and this one is no exception. 

Overall Review

Wa-Suta really pulled out all the stops on this album. They did it very exquisite and I gladly thank them. 

I look forward to more material from this group in the future as my money will more than likely go out of my wallet to support yet another group. 

I really hope you like this group and get to learn and watch more of them as well. Also, purchase the album at these lovely places:

Official Links

You can follow me on Twitter or feel free to leave a comment.

And as always. no matter where you are, have a fantastic day!!!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Real Underground Idol - Kamen Joshi - New Age Idols Interview

As you hop off of the train and leave JR (Japan Rail) Station in Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan you get the sense that this district is a hot-spot of everything Japanese pop culture. From anime to manga, maid cafes to cat cafes, this place can hold a lot of strange things in one area.

One thing as a idol fan that sticks out most to you is the fact is that this part of town is really known for one thing, AKB48. As soon as you step foot outside the station, it becomes very evident that this group is huge even after 10 years. You see the Cafe & Shop, where you can purchase meals that are member inspired and purchase goods related to your oshimen. You also may know that Akihabara is known for the Don Quixote building which houses the AKB48 Theater.

Over the course of time, AKB48 has seen its fair share of competition. One group that you might bring to mind is Nogizaka46. They were labeled as a rival idol group but were started by the same man. Strange, huh? There has been the groups from Hello Project that still throw out groups like a crazy factory and produce some amazing songs. Then you have the indie idols that perform in Akiba as well, such as Aoyama St. Hachamecha High School or Akibushu Project. Both those groups are simply amazing. Recently, at least in the past five years, one group has been pushing themselves harder and harder to get to the mainstream and challenge the 48 group. That becomes ever so apparent nearby the 48 Cafe & Shop. If you look up and to the right of the cafe on a plain gray wall, is a gigantic billboard with this group on it, that you can't help but scratch your head at.

Why do these members have 70s era hockey, Friday the 13th Jason Vorhees masks on?

In the recent idol explosion in Japan over the past few years, many groups have resorted to new ideas in order to buck the norm in idol culture. A few examples include, the social idol group notall, in which I was fortunate to have a interview with them last year, where their fans are allowed to be content creators, from the outfits they wear to writing a song with the members, they have pushed the boundaries of idol groups. You may have heard of a fantastic idol group called BABYMETAL. They started as only a sub-unit of a greater group Sakura Gakuin, that said they performed a thing called Kawaii Metal, or Cute Metal in English. They became pretty big in Japan and a couple of years ago were spotlighted around the world via FineBrothers Entertainment on YouTube. They have rode the fact that they perform that type of music to the point where they are now sort of a metal group. They are extremely popular due to the fusion music they produced as younglings in Amuse. Some other groups that have used and still use fantastic models for broadening the horizon are Ladybaby, in which a grown Australian man, who also happens to be a professional wrestler, growls at audiences and performs in a maid outfit while singing hard rock with two gravure idols. One last instance I will use is the adorable group, Death Rabbits. This group has come a long way since debut in which they call their type of music Kawaii Death Pop. The three members are accompanied by a 30 – something year old man that yells at audiences and wears a full on combat uniform, even equipped with a gas mask.

As you stare at the sign on the wall, you see a map leading you to where they perform. You follow the map to the best of your knowledge and maybe get lost a couple of times because you expect it to stand out. In a inconspicuous building that has no frills whatsoever, named Pasela Resorts, you might think you may have the wrong building. When you think of the term resort you refer to a hotel. What Pasela Resorts are is a karaoke entertainment complex. You can do all sorts of karaoke that you want.

Anyways, inside this building, this masked unit performs 365 days a year, 366 on a leap year. The units name is Kamen Joshi or Masked Women. Starting as a very independent idol group founded by Kleeblat under Alice Project in 2010, Kamen Joshi has sprung up to be a big dog in the industry. The sheer number of members as a part of this group should blow your mind, 18 members, yet that doesn't compare to their competition, AKB48 with over 200 members total. The 18 members are formed from three sub units, Alice Juban or Alice No. 10, Steam Girls and Armor Girls. The members sometimes participate in Gravure shoots and a couple of current members have DVDs out there for sale if you want to buy them (Kubota Misa and Kamiya Erina). Also, not only are the members a part of Kamen Joshi and their large sub-units, but each member is a part of a few other units that perform as well. They have a lot on their plate for being idols.

In November 2015, Kamen Joshi put on a one-man live at the Super Saitama Arena in front of thousands of adoring fans. The SSA is a huge venue to play in. I can only think of BABYMETAL who performed in that venue but there have been countless others. I just recently bought the DVD so I'll watch it when I get back to the states. Anyways, they put on a fantastic show. It was a show for the ages and I don't think any of the fans or members will forget that evening. 

Member Introduction

*Note: All the pictures will be of them in the masks but behind those masks, they are actually very pretty. 

As Kamen Joshi, all but technically two people where the glow-in-the-dark masks. 

The center of the group, Tachibana Anna wears a dark red mask which draws the attention to her on occasion. Anna-chan wears that mask as part of the sub-unit Alice Juban along with Nodoka Sakura, Kawamura Nanaka, Sawada Risa, Mori Kanon, and Sakura Yuuki. The five just recently mentioned wear the plain mask when performing. 

Name: Tachibana Anna
Birthdate: February 29th, 1992
Twitter: @anna_tachibana
Blog: anna-tachibana

Name: Sakura Nodoka
Birthdate: August 12th, 1990
Twitter: @nodoka_sakura
Blog: nontan0812

Name: Kawamura Nanaka
Birthdate: December 26th, 1995
Twitter: @kawamura_nanaka

Name: Sawada Risa
Birthdate: November 6th, 1996
Twitter: @sawada_risa
Blog: sawada-risa

Name: Mori Kanon
Birthdate: February 11th, 1990
Twitter: @morikanon
Blog: kano-nnon

Name: Sakura Yuki
Birthdate: December 12th, 1992
Twitter: @snow_of_cherry
Blog: sakuraayukii

The Steam Girls consist of Kamiya Erina, Kurose Sara, Sakamoto Mana, Mizusawa Mai, Kojima Yuuka, and on a typical performance day they may wear, now only during their entrance or overture, a gas mask. Also, the other instance of using a different mask is Mizusawa Mai. If Anna-chan is out somewhere or performing elsewhere, she will don the mask but in the color pink. They might sound creepy at first when you see them but after they take the masks off, it becomes a whole different ballgame. When I was writing this introduction to the group, Steam Girls and Kamen Joshi member Ume Koume graduated from the group due to personal reasons. I wish her the best of luck in the future.

Name: Kamiya Erina
Birthdate: October 15th, 1991
Twitter: @kamiya_erina
Blog: kamiya-erina

Name: Kurose Sara
Birthdate: August 6th, 1996
Twitter: @kurose_sara
Blog: sara-kurose

Name: Sakamoto Mana
Birthdate: October 13th, 1996
Twitter: @sakamoto_mana

Name: Mizusawa Mai
Birthdate: May 2nd, 1991
Twitter: @mizusawa_mai
Blog: mizusawa-mai

Name: Kojima Yuuka
Birthdate: March 20th, 1996
Twitter: @kojima_yuuka
Blog: yuka-kojima

As for the Armor Girls, there are currently six members: Tsukino Moa, Kubota Misa, Hitome Momose, Kitamura Maki, Kusunoki Mayu and Kuroki Hinako. When I glanced over their names, I had no idea that they all began with the letter M and it blew my mind. Just like the Steam Girls, the Armor Girls adopt a iron mask that resembles a knight when he goes jousting. They are pretty cool masks to be honest.

Name: Tsukino Moa
Birthdate: March 7th, 1994
Twitter: @tsukino_moa
Blog: tsukino-moa

Name: Kubota Misa
Birthdate: March 25th, 1994
Twitter: @kubota_misa
Blog: kubota-misa

Name: Hitomi Momose
Birthdate: March 10th, 1996
Twitter: @hitomi_momose

Name: Kitamura Maki
Birthdate: March 2nd, 1995
Twitter: @Kitamura_Maki

Name: Kusunoki Mayu
Birthdate: October 13th, 1992
Twitter: @kusunoki_mayu

Name: Kuroki Hinako
Birthdate: August 17th, 1996
Twitter: @hinako_kuroki

Earlier I mentioned these three groups came together and created the now famous, horror movie, panic inducing masked idol unit Kamen Joshi.

But why masks?

As girls of their generation were constantly appearing on variety TV shows and such, Kamen Joshi kept performing while wearing those eerie masks, which they can never be seen as cute by any means on their faces. The girls turned their frustrations that they may have had or are currently having into all-out performances with the masks they hide their faces under. It gives them all sorts of power which draws in fans from around the world.

Now what kind of music would you expect this kind of group to perform you ask?

Their original music consists of mostly rock and rap. The rock is very head bang inducing. Warning, might give you a headache. The rap gets you really pumped up in between the intensity of the song. The rappers currently are Nanaka Kawamura and Sakura Yuki whom both belong to the group Alice Juban. Their raps are really good to listen to if you like rap.

Kamen Joshi is a group that not only produces original songs but they also collaborate with animes (Show By Rock), PS Vita video games (Net High), a cafe with select member dishes (S*weets Paradise). That sounds really familiar, doesn't it. They have even collaborated with a basketball team (Chiba Jets) and for a episode of a drama Tachibana Anna co-starred in (Forgot Name?)

As you can see this group has a lot of talent in it and never fails to show it on a daily basis.

Hey, Tyler. You did a AKB48 article and a Nogizaka 46 article and now you're doing a Kamen Joshi article? I know you like them. Why did it take you so long?

Well to answer my own personal thoughts, I knew there had to be a right to to write about them. I had to prepare myself for a pretty big fight in terms of my writing style and how I wanted it to be presented to the public.

So, a few months ago, I took a chance about asking for a interview with Kamen Joshi. I sent out a lovely email and I got a quick response with a shocking result. It was a firm, yes. I had been waiting for this interview for the longest time and it finally came time to do it on May 2nd, 2016. That date also happened to be Steam Girls member Mizusawa Mai and my birthday. A very strange coincidence.

For the interview I expected to be able to interview all of Kamen Joshi but due to schedule obligations and time constraints, I was only able to get a chance to interview Mizusawa Mai and the Armor Girls. I really feel like that was the best decision ever.

I asked a total of 21 questions to both parties, group and personal, which turned into a real fun time. I allowed them to ask questions of myself. I received the most questions from the Armor Girls and I will place those below because I had never heard those questions before.

So with that being said, I will start the interview portion with the one I had with Steam Girl Mizusawa Mai. 

I want to say at first, that some of the questions I had got lost in translation with Mai-chan due to me being a tad bit nervous. So one question got totally omitted from the interview. 

Mizusawa Mai (Steam Girls)

Q. When you put on those masks (Kamen Joshi) does something change in the way you perform? 
A. She stated that she feels like a part of the group and more strong.

Q. Can you describe the type of music you perform?
A. Cool

Q. What is the ultimate goal of the group?
A. Kohaku Uta Gassen (Japan Entertainment New Years Tradition)

QWhat has been the most enjoyable experience of the group?
A. Super Saitama Arena One-Man Live in November 2015

QWhat makes P.A.R.M.S different than the AKB48 Theater?
A. You can meet all members of Kamen Joshi all day, every day

QAre there currently any plans to maybe release a new single or even a compilation album in the future?
A. She doesn't know.

QDo you see a performance in the United States happening? If so, where would you want to perform?
A. She gladly said that she wants to go to America and the venue of choice for her would be the Apollo Theater in New York City.

Q. Is there anything you would like to say to fans that may not know who you are?
A. She said she is very nervous but has respect for it.

Q. Other than becoming a idol, what is your dream job?
A. She stated that she wants to become a fashion model. More importantly the designs that she would want to model for would be One Spot or Liz Lisa, basically Shibuya fashion. 

Q. What made you want to become a idol?
A. When she saw a BOA stage live, that is when she made her decision to become a idol.

Q. Describe what being a idol means to you.
A. She described about being a idol is that she can deliver power to the audience.

Q. What is the best/worst part of being a idol?
A. The best part she told me was that it is a fun job yet the worst part about it is keeping her body sharp.

Q. You have the Otaku Satisfaction results that come out weekly in which you are ranked by the fans. How important is it to be ranked in the results?
A. It is a way for her to be able to know the fans feelings.

Q. Who would you say is the most athletic of the group?
A. Within a split second, Kawamura Nanaka-chan. 

Q. Who is the most competitive member of the group?
A. The most competitive she said it would have to be Tachibana Anna.

Q. What is your favorite song that you have performed?
A. High & Low (Steam Girls)

*Some of the members in this video are no longer around, just FYI

Q. Since you perform so many songs, how difficult is it to remember lyrics or choreography?
A. Underground? 

Q. What is your favorite thing to do when you are feeling down that will cheer you up?
A. Her favorite thing is when her mom makes a appearance.

Q. What are your favorite musicians to listen to (Japan or Abroad)?
A. She likes BOA and also enjoys listening to Chinese lessons while on the road.

Interviewers Final Thoughts On That One-On-One: Mizusawa Mai is really pretty in person and it was kind of weird we had the same birthday, but I felt it was like more of a ice breaker than anything. Some of the answers she gave got lost in translation like I mentioned before. The one answer that got me was the Apollo Theater one. The Apollo Theater in NYC is usually home to famous comedians and rappers etc. It would be cool to see a Kamen Joshi concert there just to witness the reaction. One other thing that really got me and it made her laugh was the most athletic question. As soon as she answered, which was pretty quick on the draw, I wrote down the honorific -chan to her name and she pointed it out. 

Armor Girls

L-R Kusunoki Mayu, Kubota Misa, Tsukino Moa, Hitomi Momose

Now this one turned into me interviewing four of them at once. So I decided to go in a circle with each question in a clockwise format. I asked a question to one and then the next went to the other, so on and so forth. In that case, I will put down the name of who said what and some times another member chimed in and I will place that there as well.

Q. When you put on those masks does anything change in the way you perform?
Misa: It makes her feel cool and strong while under the mask she is cute and girlish.

Q: Can you describe the type of music you perform?
Mayu: She calls the music she performs Half and Half. Kamen Joshis' music is meant to be cool while the Armor Girls are meant to be cute.

Q: What is the ultimate goal of the group?
Momose: Kohaku Uta Gassen
Moa: She wants Kamen Joshi to be a national idol group.

Q: What has been the most enjoyable experience as a group?
Moa: SSA. The group was overwhelmed in so many instances and they overwhelmed as a group in return. All of their emotions became one before and during the performance. All the members had whole hearts and she felt happy to be in Kamen Joshi.

Q: Performing at Super Saitama Arena was a pretty big deal, can you explain what kind of emotions were being felt before and after the event?
Misa: She felt very nervous and also very confident. She wants to be improved to culture even if she is a underground idol. She also stated that she wants to be joint culture and pursue various dreams.

Q: What makes P.A.R.M.S different than the AKB48 Theater?
Mayu: They give a free concert every weekend and they are easy to come to which is a difference compared to the 48 Theater.

Q: Are there currently any plans to release a new single or compilation album in the future?
Momose: No, but she wants to release one but the songs they want to put in there are already being performed in the theater.

Q: Do you see a performance in the United States happening? If so, where would you want to perform?
Moa: Of course, she gladly responded. She said that she would want to perform at the Sakura Festival in Washington D.C. as it is a huge entertainment competition and they dare to perform there.

Q: Is there anything you would like to say to fans that may not know who you really are?
Misa: She said that maybe everyone knows about her. Her friends know everything. She doesn't hide her personality.

Q: Other than becoming a idol, what is your dream job?
Misa: A nail artist

Q: What made you want to become a idol?
Mayu: She saw Momoiro Clover Z live and gained energy from that event and wanted to emit that energy to fans.

Q: Describe what being a idol means to you.
Momose: Give and Take (She delivers power to the audience and wants the audiences power in return)

Q: What is the best/worst part of being a idol?
Moa: The best part she said ware the daily live performances and the chance to meet many people (employee or student), plus the chance to advance her career. The worst part of it is that there is no time to spend with family. She is so busy with being a idol, there is hardly time to spare.

Q: You have the Otaku Satisfaction results that come out weekly in which you are ranked by your fans/ How important is it to be ranked?
Misa: The system has brought her many fans and salary. Their life and sport is important to her.

Q: What were your emotions before and after your debut?
Mayu: She had to fill in a big hole in a event with other 10,000 attendees. She was most emotional during the SSA One-Man Live. She felt happiness and emotional after the fact.

Q: Who would you say is the most athletic of the group?
All: Kawamura Nanaka-chan

Q: Who is the most competitive member of the group?
Moa: She commented that there is more chance to rank competitively as she has not decided on a select member. She did not want to say herself.

Q: What is your favorite song you have performed?
Misa: Alice Underground as it contained her first solo part from their first one-man live in Zepp Tokyo in 2014. She also said that they lyrics to the song describe the group itself.

Q: Since you perform so many songs, how difficult is it to remember lyrics or choreography?
Mayu: The song is Halala and it contains a mixed cloth. They practiced very hard on this song. The song describes Wa Life and it is very difficult to understand because it is hard to explain.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do when you are feeling down that will cheer you up?
Momose: She says that she just would want to do a good performance and get calls and responses to her.

Q: Who are your favorite musicians to listen to (Japan or Abroad)?
Moa: Avenged Sevenfold

Interviewers Note: I was really impressed with the answers I was given. They gave me the complete facts about the questions. All four of the members I got to interview were completely patient with me. I wasn't as nervous with them as I was with Mizusawa Mai. After I finished grilling them, I gave them the opportunity to fire back at me and these were some of the questions.

Moa: The idol culture in America, what is it like?
Tyler: This was the roughest question I have ever received. I had to think long and hard about this one. I gave a long and drawn out answer that would take too much room. In short, I stated that idol culture still hasn't grown a lot here in the states as people don't understand the fans. They ask questions and when the questions get answered they sort of laugh at you like you're a nut job and don't give you a chance to explain.

Misa: What is my favorite song?
Tyler: I told them my favorite Kamen Joshi song is Zekkai Hero which happens to be a Alice Juban song. I also have favorite songs from the other sub-units. My favorite Armor Girls song would have to be Kokororoido. As for the Steam Girls, my favorite song from them would have to be Seishun Hoseki. My favorite collaboration song would have to be Paradaisui tsu.

Zekkai Hero

*Not all members are currently around today


Seishun Hoseki

Paradaisui tsu

This song also is my sisters favorite as well.

Momose: Who is my oshi?

Tyler: I gave them my top five instead since I can't pick a complete favorite anymore. My list goes as follows;
5. Kubota Misa
4. Hitomi Momose
3. Mizusawa Mai
2. Kamiya Erina
1. Tachibana Anna / Kojima Yuuka

Mayu: What are my favorite groups?
Tyler: I gave like a top six as well with Kamen Joshi and notall ranking as number one together. They both were above the 48 groups and both the 46 groups. 

That was it for the interview portion of the article. I hope you enjoyed reading the interviews and read the rest of this if you have come this far.

The story behind me learning of Kamen Joshi can be traced back a little over a year. I saw their video for Gekidane by accident on Facebook. I watched the first 30 seconds and stopped because I really didn't like the type of music. I thought it was to hard rock for me. About two weeks later, I gave it another go around. I instantly liked it and had to find more videos. At that time, I had no idea they were doing daily videos so I didn't pay attention to them. I showed their music videos to friends and family to get feedback and they had no idea what to think. I started to watch the Junketsu (daily video) everyday. Before I went on vacation to Tokyo last year, I found out that a couple of members had been promoted from Pa-Ken and Oz to the Armor Girls, Steam Girls and moved from other groups to Alice Juban. I was super happy to see them succeed. 

During my vacation there, I had the chance to stop by and watch a performance. I didn't know what to expect. It wasn't Kamen Joshi yet all the sub-units instead. I wrote about this last year. I met Tachibana Anna afterwards because she was my solo oshi at that point. 

After that day in which I tell stories about, I have not lost track of the group whatsoever. I listen to them constantly. I talk about them constantly. I even have a few friends around me that like them. Kamen Joshi to me is a group that will never get old. The song could be from 4 years ago and you can still jam out to it.

I truly, truly love Kamen Joshi and the sub-units!!!

When I went for the interview, select members had been out of commission. For Alice Juban, Sakura Yuki and Sawada Risa were not performing on that day yet have made that return a few days ago. 

L-R Kawamura Nanaka, Mori Kanon, Tachibana Anna, Nodoka Sakura

The Steam Girls were missing Kurose Sara on that day.

L-R Kojima Yuuka, Mizusawa Mai, Sakamoto Mana, Kamiya Erina

Sakamoto Mana
Kojima Yuuka

Kamiya Erina

As for the Armor Girls, they were missing Kitamura Maki and Kuroki Hinako for this days' performance.

Armor Girls Song
Perfect Timing! 

As for the whole Kamen Joshi portion of the show, I got a lot of pics but I will share a few of my favorite. 

I really hoped you enjoyed this article and share it with others as well as start to like the group as well if you haven't yet. I will still be on the lookout for them and cherish this group for a long time to come. 

I want to thank Mizusawa Mai and the Armor Girls for letting me take their precious time. I know I might have been a goof at some points but I hope you don't hold it against me. 

I want to thank my translator Ikeda Kouhei. He helped me through the language barrier and allowed this to be more of a fun interview. 

Again, I thank you!!!

Official Links

*And as always, No matter where you are, Have A Fantastic Day!

You can follow me on Twitter if you'd like. If you want to discuss this article and share it on Twitter, use #NAIKJ for New Age Idols Kamen Joshi.