There are some groups that you can't help but smile about. May it be there cuteness, the type of music they perform or their all around coolness. The one I want to introduce is a group that showcases all three.
With sunglasses and backpacks in tow, these holy immaculate girls sing mischievous rock.
They are the playful rock girls!
They are Maria!
The history surrounding Maria is quite a interesting one. The group was started in December 2013 yet the group did not officially begin activities until April 26th, 2014. They are currently signed under Inazuma and their singles and albums are released through File Records.
Six members passed through the auditions to form this playful group but out of the original lineup only four remain: RinaRina, Minori, Lala, & Aona.
The two members that left that group happened to do so in 2015, both of them five months apart: Mei left the group February 20th, 2015 due to personal reasons and the same explanation can be applied to former member Seika who decided to withdraw on July 21st, 2015.
During the time between graduations, management decided to hold auditions for new members, labeling them as cadets for the main group. The two cadets came in during the month of May 2015. The two cadets names are Hanami and Tayori.
According to their Ameblo blogs, they are still labeled as cadets even though they have been in all of their concerts since Seika left and have been in the music videos since.
As of August 2016, the group is back to the original lineup number of six members. On their official website, they do not state the members birth years, just the month and day, so you just might have to guess their ages like I do sometimes.
Birthday: March 19th
Birthday: September 30th
Birthday: October 10th
Birthday: December 25th
Birthday: March 2nd
Birthday: July 11th
When it comes to picking a favorite member, I did it during my first impression of the group. I will leave the video down below of what video I saw her first in, but I chose RinaRina as my favorite.
So, shoutout to her!
As for their discography, they have covered a couple of songs from the 90's male group, The Gospellers, in their first two singles. One of the songs being Hurricane and the other being Me Gumi no Hito. Me Gumi No Hito has also been covered by Puffy and Koda Kumi. Both artists being well known in the idol community.
They have released three singles thus far as the most recent one being released in June 2016.
April 22nd, 2015 - Hurricane / Geba
October 21st. 2015 - Me Gumi No Hito
June 22nd, 2016 - Teppen Girl
As for cover artwork, I have to give credit to whomever did the Me Gumi No Hito one. The style of the CD jacket really pops out to me.
I want to showcase a few or all of their music videos they have released for you to enjoy.
The first video I would like to showcase is their first music video on their YouTube channel, and is from their debut single, which is their self-titled song, MARIA. During this video, you get to take a closer behind the scenes look at the group between the time Mei and Seika left the group.
For some reason, this music video and song really didn't hit me well. In all reality, maybe it is the fact I never really watched it fully through. While writing this, I watched it completely and enjoyed it more, so I'm kind of happy now.
The next video is also from their first single, Hurricane. It is the title track from that disc. The video also contains a special cameo from Gosperats member Yoshio Sato. If you are curious about that group, look them up. You will be surprised.
I absolutely love this song so much. I had never heard of this song until I saw this video and I loved it. The vocals are fantastic and the simplistic design of the music video made it even better.
The next music video that they released is also from their debut single and is titled Geba.
This video has a similar feel to it like MARIA. The behind the scenes aspect make it a must watch, especially the fish-eye lens camera. Make sure to catch some special guest appearances in the video as well.
The next music video they released is from their second single, Me Gumi No Hito and it is the title track of the same name.
This was the first video I saw of this group. I honestly had no idea who this group was at the time of release and this is what started my enjoyment for the group. This is also where I picked Rina "I'll mess your stuff up" Rina as my favorite member. I got so confused at that time when I watched this MV and the one for Hurricane because I didn't know she had long hair then and cut it before this video but her short hair is really cute. This is also the video where Hanami and Tayori make their appearance in the group. As for the song, I really enjoyed this cover more than the others I had seen. I really love to keep listening to this track over and over as it is extremely catchy. Go check out the original by Rats&Stars if you'd like.
The next video is their coupling track on the Me Gumi No Hito single. The song is titled Gecchu.
This song showcases their cool and cute sides. The choreography is super catchy as well as the song. It grabs your attention from the get go and fun to try to mimic. I really enjoy listening to this song. I used it as a favorite video of the week for one of my favorite YouTube shows that does idol things, that is how much I enjoyed it.
So overall, I really enjoyed that single you could say.
The last music video I will show y'all is from their latest single Teppen Girl and it is the same track as the single title.
Now, they released the music video just about a month ago and I have not watched it yet, so for my review, it is on a first impression basis.
For my first look at this video, all I can say is I am really excited for their future. No joke. This video and song is what I would expect to see and hear from such a group whose motto is playful rock girls. I really enjoyed this song top to bottom. A couple of things that stuck out to me was the knife-like choreo at the 2:10 mark of the video that led to the rap part for about 12 seconds from 2:18 - 2:30. I also wonder how many stairs did they run up to the roof of that building. I would have given up about halfway there.
My overall review of the group goes as follows:
Finding this group last year was like finding a diamond in the rough. Now I may have found them a little bit later into their tenure as a group but since then, I have not forgotten about this group.
I wait for more material they put out and try my best in order to secure it if I can.
I wish I could have seen them perform when I was in Tokyo but I completely forgot they were performing then or I had another thing scheduled. So I'm sorry I never got to see you perform in person. I hope to see you next year though, without question.
Maria is one of those groups that you can hold on to without telling people about and watch them grow and when they hit it big mainstream, you bring out the fact that you have been a fan of them for a while but I just couldn't wait anymore.
More people need to learn about this group not only in Japan but abroad as well. I hope they come here to the states to perform a time or two if they can.
I can't wait to see what their future holds and if they end up reading this, I just want to let them know, obviously now, that I am a pretty big fan if not the biggest Maria fan in the United States.
Ganbatte Aona, Lala, Minori, RinaRina, Hanami and Tayori and last but not least the staff of Maria!!!
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*And as always, wherever you are, Have A Fantastic Day