These days, the idol industry in Japan is dominated by AKB48 and Hello!Project but over the past 9 years there’s been a great many idol groups that have come and gone. Many of them having only limited success before fading away quietly into obscurity so to celebrate their existence here’s my list of 10 idol groups that are sadly no longer with us – either they’ve disbanded or on permanent hiatus. A couple I didn’t even know about until I did some research about them.
Debuting in 2003, SweetS was a bunch of 5 12-13 year old girls thrown together after impressing the judges in an audition for the record label AVEX. Their first single Lolita☆Strawberry in Summer released on 27th August 2003 did reasonably well and the group had some moderate success during their time in the spotlight. I liked them. Their music was great. Sadly though SweetS disbanded 3 years later in 2006 after 11 singles, 1 full album, 2 mini-albums and a best of compilation album. Out of all the songs they did Sky was my favorite.
9. Hinoi Team
This was an idol group based around Asuka Hinoi and they were famous for their eurobeat covers. They came onto the idol scene in 2005 with their single Ike Ike and notched up 6 singles and 1 album before they disbanded in 2007. 2 of their singles featured comedian Korikki. Asuka Hinoi has gone on to release 4 solo singles – the last came out in March 2008.
8. Paradise Go!!Go!!
I didn’t know anything about this idol group until a couple of days ago. They started out as 9souls in 2003 then changed their name 1 year later and adding 2 new members. Despite having a healthy fanbase when they were active, nothing’s been heard of them since 2006. They released 6 singles and 1 full album although their songs have appeared on several Girls!Box compilation albums.
7. Pipo Angels
Another 4-nin idol group that I don’t have any information about whatsoever. When did they debut, how many singles did they release and when did they disband – if anybody can point me in the right direction for information about Pipo Angels I’d be grateful. Judging by the PV for their single below they looked like a cute group. There’s something about two of them that makes me think of Aibon & Tsuji. Maybe it’s the hair and the bright clothes.
6. Bon Bon Blanco
Bon Bon Blanco ceased to be sometime this year after 7 years on the idol scene. Debuting in 2002 they slowly became quite popular but it wasn’t until 2004 when their song Bon Voyage was featured on the anime One Piece that they hit the heady heights of the Oricon Top 10 charts. But instead of capitalising on the success of that song, there was a big gap of 6 months between their next single. It didn’t set the charts alight and the rot continued with their next few singles. Even with changing labels in 2006 and one member quitting they still carried on until this year. I can’t say I was a big fan of their music. They were OK.
D.D.D was a short lived 4-nin idol group which lasted for just over a year from 2005 until the end of 2006. In that time they released 2 singles and an album. I came to know this group as their debut song Heart was the theme tune to the J-dorama One Missed Call. It’s such a great song.
I’m not sure if they’re active or not as they were still releasing stuff last year so if they’re still going strong please tell me. 9nine is a 9-nin unit formed in 2006 and are apparently popular with school girls. They’ve only released 2 official singles and 2 albums with some download exclusives so far. From what I’ve heard off them they’ve produced some good stuff.
The 5 piece idol group Folder5 started out as Folder in 1997 with 2 male members until the girls went on their own in 2000 when both boys left. Dropping Folder’s R&B music, they changed to a eurobeat style where they had some moderate success due to their songs being featured on the anime series One Piece. However things went quiet for them after 2002 and although there’s been official statement to say that Folder5 has been disbanded , some of their members have gone on to release solo singles and enter into the gravure industry. They were quite a good idol group were Folder5, I liked their music very much.
EDIT: Just to see how much one former Folder5 member has changed from her days in this idol group may want to check out Hikari Mutsushima in Sion Sono’s 4 hour movie spectacular Love Exposure. She’s totally hot in this one!
2. Harenchi Punch
I’ve talked about these before so I’m not going to go over old ground again. They’ve only recently disbanded after their last live event in June. I’ll pick a different PV to the one I chose last time. This one’s their debut single Hakusen~Start Line.
1. Bishoujo Club 31
Another large idol group that I didn’t know about until recently. The most famous member to emerge from this group and go on to a successful career has been Beni Arashino. The group also spawned 3 spin off sub-units. They only released 2 singles and that was back in 2004. They’ve been on hiatus since 2006 and are unlikely to ever come back. I can’t get any PV’s from this group so here’s a group shot of them. Don’t they remind you of AKB48!