Saturday, February 12, 2011

Idol Groups That "Should Have Been"

Ever had a time when you thought "I love this group, wish they could have stayed around longer". Such thoughts are commonplace when you are into Japanese entertainment, where especially female idols acts are notoriously short. Only a handful of them that had their big break like AKB48, Morning Musume, Perfume, MAX etc get to enjoy a much longer life span. Here are my Top 5 groups that I think "should have been".

No. 5: Folder5 (2000-2002)
Believe it or not, these girls were actually a 2nd incarnation. They were formerly called "Folder" with 7 junior mixed members, with 2 boys leading and 5 girls dancing. Then the 2 boys were removed from the group and the remainding 5 girls formed "Folder5", which I feel have given the group a much better recognition than before. Folder5 debuted with their smash hit "Supergirl" and have since then been synonymous with Eurobeat and hit anime One Piece. Even collaborated with idol group w-inds as short-lived Earth Harmony. With so many commercials, games, anime and TV in their portfolio, it is still a wonder why they broke-up.


Believe (2nd OP to One Piece)

No. 4: PARADISE GO!! GO!! (2004 - 2006)
Born from the vocal and dance school "Caless" that have produced well known acts such as Hinoi Team and Shimizu Shota, PARADISE GO!! GO!! (also known as Parago for short) should have had a longer life span with their line-up of trained dancers and singers. Before their major debut with Avex, they performed in street lives about Kansai. Their first major single Koi no Undoukai (恋の運動会) is quite like what you would expect from a regular akibadol group. Then it was with their next single ZETTAI and the following Faraway, which I feel have given them with much more mainstream appeal with better vocals and complex dance formations. And just as we thought Parago could be a very promising pop act they were put on hiatus, later disbanded without any official notice, and just right after their one and only live tour. A shame, because personally I thought they could gone a little further. One of the lead vocals Matsumoto Misaki has since then moved on to form a duo "Love" as part of the main 3 acts under LDH, namely "Love", "dream" and "Happiness".


Dear My Friend

No: 3 SweetS (2003 - 2006)
Another group that I wished have stuck around longer. Was crushed when I first hear about their disbanding. They were put together after passing the avex audition in 2002. They officially debuted the following year in 2003. At age range of 13-14 at debut, their solid vocals and dance skills betray their young age by far. Since then they have had a series of hits of which my personal favorites were "Love★Raspberry Juice" and "Love like candy floss". It was a treat to watch their growth from pre-teen to teens, as their appearances and vocal maturity changes from single to single.Their life span was but 3 years but they have done much better than Parago, with 11 singles under their belt.

Love raspberry juice

Love like candy floss

No: 2 EARTH (2000-2001, hiatus from 2002-2005)
To call EARTH an idol group, a female vocal group was probably a better description. After passing an audition in Kyushuu in 1999 they were vocally & dance trained in New York before debuting in 2000. Although they did win the 42nd Japan Records Award for Best New Artiste, their activity spanned only from 2000 to late 2001 and remained on hiatus before their official disbanding in 2005. EARTH's debut single "time after time" remained their best single ever, and with such good vocals it is hard to believe that they were between 12-13 years old at that time. Although EARTH started out with R&B genre, they moved on to mainstream pop in the following year but yet unable to garner enough attention. After the breakup, each of the girls have since started their own separate singing career. It was rumored that their musical differences was the cause of the eventual breakup. But I cannot help wonder "what if…?"

time after time

Make up your mind

No: 1 W (2004-2006, disbanded 2007)
With two of the most recognizable names and faces to graduate from the top idol group at the time Morning Musume, many were delighted to see the duo that formed W. They have every quality to be a successful idol group, and they have a gimmick for every single they released, a trait they borrowed from their Morning Musume days. Personally, I actually enjoyed their covers more than their original singles. And just about W was hitting its prime, trouble happened when one of the girls Kago Ai was caught smoking while being underage in 2006, and their activities have been put on hiatus. The following year, Kago was caught repeating the offence once again and W has been disbanded permanently. Coming from many years of singing and dance grooming within Morning Musume and being highly recognisable, W's break-up is in my list as one of the biggest let-downs, and tops this list as being the group that "should have been".

Miss Love Tantei

Shirois iro wa koibito no iro (Cover of Betsy and Chris)

Thanks for reading. m(._.)mアリガト


  1. Excellent post. I'd never heard of Earth before, but I agree with you completely about the others.
    Folder, by the way, wasn't really 2 boy singers and 5 girl dancers. The two lead singers were one boy, Daichi, and a girl, Akina. The other boy, Joe, was a dancer who didn't sing much.
    Another SweetS video I encourage people to see is "On the Way" ( when they were temporarily a 3 girl group while two girls studied for exams. I've always thought it was one of the best choreographed pop video dances ever. There's a moment where Haruna turns to one of the others and sings her line like they are having a conversation. As she does this, she touches the other girl's shoulder the way girls do when they talk. It is a small thing, but I think it is brilliant that the choreographer thought of making it part of the dance.
    Everything that the new group Happiness is trying to be, Paradise Go Go already was, only better. That's the most puzzling break up of all. That group had beauty and talent. Why would a record company or talent agency put a profitable group on hiatus?
    Something you may not have known about W: Just before they were put on hiatus they had recorded an album. That album is still in the vaults, unreleased. Talk about walking away from a pile of money. Go figure ...

  2. @Rikki... Hi! Nice to know someone else feel the same about Parago. Not many people I know that knows about them. I still have Faraway as my alternate mobile ringtone. :-) And yeah, I agree that the 3 girl lineup of SweetS was a gem.
    EARTH was presumably created to emulate the same success SPEED had at that time and to fill in the space SPEED have left behind when they disbanded. Although EARTH was not the only one. Perhaps the media and the fans began to drew comparisons between SPEED and the subsequent group acts making it difficult to follow in SPEED's footsteps. Now only those who bought EARTH's CDs will remember them, I think.
    I admit I was not really into Folder when the 2 boys was still there, have listened/seen only a few of their singles. But I'm more into Folder5. :-)
    As for W, yeah I heard about the W unreleased works. Maybe the agency will use it in the future, who knows? Unless the album was tailored specifically for W then it may be difficult, I should think.

  3. Great post! My biggest disappointment was EE Jump. Like W, they had an album that was about to be released when they were disbanded.

  4. I miss W and SweetS so much!!
    Ai Kago was one of my favorite MM mambers, her and Tsuji were un separable sisters! and I loved SweetS style!!

  5. W!!!!!!!!!!!!! I loved that group so much when I heard about them being disbanded!! Also SweetS was also my favorite group. I think that they were the second group that I loved after Momusu! Paradise a gogo... I remember only one of their songs. I thought they were good but that song was actually their last single togethere so I didn't listen to the rest X( All of them would have been the best if they had ontinued!!

  6. W should def have stayed >_< !!!
    they were awesome !!! i would say... even better than momusu to me.. but thats to be expected with 2 ex momusus :D
    the twins were AWESOME

    tsuji has become an amazing mom..
    and kago i wish her the best of luck with whatever shes doing now :)

    also.. i wish V-U-den didnt graduate..

  7. Like everyone, I loved W as well... They were both so talented, I was always surprised by the stuff they did..
    My fav. "one-hit wonder" idol group is ニコモノ (nicomoni??). i love that song, "I Don't Know"

    Thank you for the very nice post. I didn't know Paradise Go Go. Loved those songs.

  8. W pains me because Miss Love Tantei was done by a complete different production staff and who would of known if they lasted for at least 2 more singles... know that would of been interesting !

  9. I've heard of SweetS - they've all got good voices~~~ :D And EARTH seems VERY familiar... I just can't put my finger on it at the mo... @@

    I have to agree with everyone that W really tops the idols that should have been list.

    I loved the duo and the songs they did. I got to know them years after they've disbanded, but I would have loved to see how they faired if they had continued...

  10. Great selection! I would add ZYX to this list!

  11. A noteworthy mention is 'Bishoujo Club 21' which had a lineup that consisted mostly of various Japanese beauty contest winners. They released 2 or 3 singles to modest reception before fading into obscurity. Only member to still have a solo career in JPop is Arashiro Beni. They did manage an appearance on Kohaku though, but only as backup dancers to Ueto Aya.

    I'm actually surprised that there's still a PV online:

  12. W breaking up was the worst thing ever,Nono and Aibon were magic together.But I am happy for Tsuji now,she's a great Mom.Kago Ai still worries me,I guess she has matured now,but it's still that bad girl rep that we associate with Erika Sawajiri.

    Folder5's Believe is a great song,just the PV they did for it looked a bit ropey,think it had a big glitter ball in the background.

    I don't know much about SweetS,besides people saying they hope Avex take better care of TokyoGirlsSytle than they did of SweetS


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