Three Step Guide: FES☆TIVE

So having been around idols for a while now, I have a theory about why fans have a difficult time branching out to other groups. I think one of the problems is that because of distance, language barrier, and sheer amount of information, potential fans don’t have the desire to do a lot of research in order to find out basic information about new groups. So I’ve gathered up most the information for you!

Here’s my “Sure Fire Three Step Method” (still a work in progress) for getting into a new Idol group.


  • As with most groups, I think the best place to start is with the music and see if it’s a genre that might interest you.

    FES☆TIVE is a group inspired by Japanese festivals so there’s lots of upbeat songs with those types of themes. You’ll hear things like fireworks, drums, or festival calls. Subject matter usually involves games, food, and love. It’s like one big party.

    So here are my five favorite FES☆TIVE songs.

    03/29 – **UPDATED** To Include New Releases & Subgroup

    festive-group



    Shidareyanagi

    This is one of the most intense Idol songs I’ve ever been around. People lose their stuff when this song comes on.

    I’ve since become one of those people and would be honored to share that experience with anyone who’s interested. If you’re ever in Japan when I am, hit me up.

    There are so many interactive parts to this song, just keep your eye out.


    Susume Zipang

    I prefer not to give initial impressions of songs. Because what can you really say after hearing a song one or two times. I feel like you’d be grabbing a things to say. But after some extended time with Susume Zipang, I feel it’s one of FES☆TIVE’s best. Everything about the song is fun and upbeat. I love all the little nuances like the weird lullaby that plays when they throw Mikki into space, the “hey-sa hou-sa” chanting bridge before and after that, the oddly simple choreography, and of course the fact that one of the lines in the chorus is “Natto, Sushi, AH Miso Soup!” Seriously, listen for it at (0:53). Once you hear it, you can never unhear it and you’ll smile every time it comes around.


    Matsuri da SUN SUN

    This is one of the groups’ indies releases. It’s only available on a compilation album or if you can find the original indie CD, but it’s one of their best songs.

    I feel that songs like this are what epitomize the Idol genre. Just fun songs that make you have a good day. The term “Rasera Rasera” is used in festivals, specifically the Aomori Nebuta Matsuri, and it means like “Have another round” referring to alcohol.

    You might even have heard it used in another group’s song. [Link]


    Koi Momiji

    This song was recently released on the new Susume Zipang Type-A CD. I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough depth to the song as it is primarily a live ordeal. But after hearing the CD version, my fears were put to rest. There’s a lot going on musically in the high quality recording as well.

    But I cannot stress enough how fun this song is live. When the chorus comes around and everyone is going that axe-arm chop move. It’s a blast. There’s a ton of audience participation which I love.

    And of course the members cap it off with their personalities.


    Yumehanabi (Dream Firework)

    To be honest, initially many of the songs from FES☆TIVE’s second single did gel with me. But after some time on the playlist, they’re making the way to my favorites list.

    What I like about this song is the intensity. There’s a build up and release. When I hear this song I imagine it being played at a large venue where they have people just beating on large traditional taiko drums.

    I always get a bit of traditional feeling from FES☆TIVE’s music.


    Don Don Matsu-risumu

    This is probably my favorite FES☆TIVE PV because of it’s quality and color coordination. It’s a very one of a kind video and while it does take a bit of a questionable risque turn, I think it’s all done as a tongue in cheek riff.

    Funny story, I was there when management released the PV and the members saw it for the first time. There was a whole lot of laughs and embarrassment had.


    Natsuiro to ridoribon

    Yep, they’re performing in swimwear tops in this live. It matches the theme of the song which is summer love and time at the beach. That’s why you see the members stoop down during the song. They’re figuratively drawing in the sand.

    This is one of the great things I love about Idols. When you’re around them long enough, it gets to the point where you know the members well enough that you see what they wear and go “Oh! that’s totally what she’d wear.”


    Magical Parade

    My favorite part of this song is the kinda cowbell sound effect they use. I can’t put my finger exactly on what sound it is, but just listen for it happily skipping along through the entire song.

    This is yet another fun idol song. And during the chorus portion of the song fans will randomly will jump up and down in the crowd like popcorn popping.

    I think this is a good video to identify which members are which, so take notice.

    Now if you’d like to learn more about the members, please proceed to STEP 2.


    **BONUS SONG** ALBERT – Senbatsu

    So after FES☆TIVE came back from performing in San Francisco for JPOP SUMMIT, they temporarily formed a sub-group from the four “genius” members. They performed for a couple months but since then have faded away. It’s unknown as to what the status of this Albert Einstein group is and unfortunately that also may mean that we might never see a release to either of the songs they had.

    In a bit of an Easter Egg, I was actually at this performance which was their first as the sub-group. I went straight to the show from the airport and have the pictures if you wanna see.

    You can also hear me yelling “HOMI!” during Yokoi Honami’s solo parts. And that also might be me at the end who jumped the gun before the song was actually over. I honestly can’t remember.



  • If I had one knock against FES☆TIVE it would be that they have EIGHT MEMBERS. I had a heck of a time trying to learn who was who and which name went with which member. If I hadn’t gone and spent extended time with them at JPOP Summit in 2015, I probably would still be having troubles.

    So to the best of my ability, here’s a User’s Guide to the members of FES☆TIVE.

    festive-group-zipang


    festive-suzuki-mitsuki-green
    This is Mikki, short for Mitsuki.

    She is probably the easiest to identify. She’s like five foot tall and has blonde hair.

    Why the blonde hair?

    Well I asked her once, and she said she did it to stand out more.

    I like her for her confidence to want attract people’s attention.

    In magical parade, she’s the one doing the reverse bridge.

    Look for her Color on Stage: Green


    festive-momohara-hiyo-purple
    Hiyo-chan is probably the second easiest member to identify because she’s pretty much Mikki’s complete opposite. She’s the tallest one in the group and she’s kinda quiet.

    And I say this in the nicest way possible, she’s kinda the weird one.

    She loves things having to do with Aliens and often times she’s making the Alien antennae sign with her hands.

    She’s also one half of the Idol DJ group “Skip Alien.” And a few times a month they’ll DJ late night events.

    Look for her Color on Stage: Purple


    festive-aoba-hinari-orange
    I mentioned “DJ Skip Alien.” Momohara Hiyo (above) is Alien and Skip is Aoba Hinari (left).

    Hinarin, I would say is the most lady-like. She gives off a more mature aura and is most likely to use her womanly charms on you.

    The best way to find her during a performance is look for her head bob. She’s got this way of dancing where she her bobbles and she always has a very expressive happy/surprise face. It’s fantastic.

    Look for her Color on Stage: Orange


    festive-suzuki-kotone-blue
    Kotone or KOTTON as she’s affectionately referred to, has the makings of a prototypical kid sister. She’s got the big smile, the braces, a unique hearty laugh. But I think the members consider her more of an older sister.

    She’s got a really unique way of speaking which I find enjoyable. She’s also got really unique features which I like too.

    Recently Kotton had surgery to fix an eye problem, which is why in a lot of older pictures you’ll see her with an eye patch.

    Look for her Color on Stage: Blue


    The next three members I had difficulty telling apart initially.

    festive-shiozaki-reia-yellow
    Reiyan is the youngest member and at the time of this writing she’s still in her final year of middle school. But she’s actually the leader of the group. She’s one of four members of FES☆TIVE who passed the initial auditions.

    At first glance she comes off cold or unapproachable, but I think that has to do a lot with her age and her not being used to social situations.

    When you make an attempt to talk to talk to her I think you’ll find she’s super friendly and talkative.

    She has a very traditional Japanese look.

    Look for her Color on Stage: Yellow


    festive-shiina-akari-pink
    I feel like Akarin is kinda in the same boat as Reiyan. In a group as large as FES☆TIVE that has a bunch of stand out personalities, some of them are bound to be over shadowed.

    I think it was really difficult for Akari to push her personality out there for people to see.

    I used to only be able to differentiate Akari from her red-dyed tips.

    But since talking to her a few times, I’ve found her to be just a down to Earth sweet girl.

    Look for her Color on Stage: Pink


    festive-sakamoto-yuna
    Sakamoto Yuna aka YUNAPICO is one of the craziest Idols I have ever met. She’s a non-stop one man show. Even if you don’t speak much Japanese she will carry you through the conversation. Maybe even literally.

    Although she’s from Saitama, she’s nothing like girls from Saitama. She’s even told me so herself.

    Even though the video to the right is a Reiyan episode, Yuna and Honami are the ones in the background mucking it up.

    Look for her Color on Stage: Red


    festive-yokoi-honami-white
    Honami is always laughing. When you talk to her it’s always just one big giggle fest. Either that or she’s surprised. And then couple that with her goofiness and willingness to be animated and you’ve got the makings of a great center.

    Also doesn’t hurt that she’s cute as a button and has an image that is universally loved.

    She was the first member of FES☆TIVE I ever talked to and that fun conversation was what led me further into getting to know the group.

    Her nick name is Homi.

    Look for her Color on Stage: White


    If you still want to know more about the members, here’s the JPOP Summit 2015 Interview NSK had with them.

  • So here is where I think most pursuits into new Idol groups sputter out.

    Now you know some of the songs and are somewhat familiar with the members. You’re probably thinking “What now?”

    Well, if you have any questions about FES☆TIVE here’s your chance to ask them!

    I’ll try to answer any and all questions that you might have about the group. You can ask about members’ history, other popular songs, my experiences with the group, whatever you like. And if I don’t know the answer, I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to find a person who does know.

    So ask away!

    We might even be able to turn this into an FAQ of sorts.


    Also, the FES☆TIVE opening is one of my favorite Intros for Idols (love that bass line). Please give it a listen!

About David Liao

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