If you’re interested at all in female idol groups you’re bound to have heard of Momoiro Clover. Consisting of members Reni Tagaki, Kanako Momota, Momoka Ariyasu, Akari Hayami, Shiori Tamai and Ayaka Sasaki. Their first single after joining Universal Music Japan Ikuze! Kaitou Shoujo was used as the opening theme song to Rank Oukoku. After first week sales of over 20,000 and tickets for their first solo concert selling out within 30 minutes, things looked promising.
After seeing Ikuze! Kaitou Shoujo on Music Japan’s idol group special, I instantly became a fan. It wasn’t until November whilst I was in Japan a friend of mine invited me along to a mini-live for their new single Pinky Jones that I became a true fan. The venue was small and was held on the top floor of the Ishimaru Soft building just outside Yokohama Station. ¥1,000 secured your ticket and a reservation of Pinky Jones.
I didn’t know what to expect after stepping into such a small room. There was only a few feet at the front allowing the girls to dance around and sing. I had chose to stand along the back while other wota sat down in the seats towards the front. I couldn’t believe as soon as the live started how serious the Momoiro Clover wota were. I’d been to concerts for all Hello! Project acts but I’d never been to such a high energy show, being in such a small environment was all the more exciting.
As the group was still quite unfamiliar and new, there was a lot of mini-lives for Pinky Jones. There was only one poster promoting it all over Tokyo and that was above the stairs at Akihabara Station. I ended up seeing them 7 times in the space of 2 weeks. My favourite Shiori Tamai knew my name and where I was from by the end of it all. I had shook her hand nearly every time. I was able to meet many people through following them around Tokyo.
To my surprise a lof of them were fans of Akari Hayami. She’s the one in the blue. Her rapping skills within Momoiro Clover helps them stand out among the many other idol groups out there. As Pinky Jones went on to sell just under 30,000 before the end of 2010, Momoiro Clover’s success continued to grow.
Sadly as most awful idol news seems to hit the internet on Sundays. Akari Hayami announced she would be leaving the group in April. Just 3 days after consulting the rest of the members of the group, she announced her resignation at today’s live for their new single Mirai Bowl, currently the ending theme to a new anime this season called Dragon Crisis!
It’s a shock to all of the Momokuro fans out there. Just as the group seemed to be hitting the big time, one important member has decided to leave the group. If I may, meeting Akari at events she always seemed to have a blank stare on her face instead of an idols million dollar smile. I’d hung about after the Pinky Jones release event and bumped into her outside the venue with her mother. Recognising me from the handshakes she was embarrassed and hid herself from us. I’ve never met an idol outside their work so I’m not sure how they’d act but I was a little dumbfounded at her reaction.
I’m excited to see what’s next for Momoiro Clover. Akari will be around until April so hopefully I can attend another event before she leaves in early Spring. I thought there would be an album announced soon but with Akari’s departure I’m not sure they would have even recorded much.
I wish Akari all the best and will continue to support her in whatever she ends up doing next. Here’s hoping they can bounce back from this and continue to gain momentum in the world of idols.