Idols That Sing, Dance, and Arm Wrestle? Tower Records Japan “The Kanshasai 2017 Shin-Shun”!
Tower Records Japan gathered together the groups of their various labels for their biggest “kanshasai” (Thanksgiving) event at Shinagawa Stellar Ball on January 22, 2017.
With (T-Palette) Negicco, UPUPGIRLS (KARI), GANG PARADE, Idol Renaissance, WHY@DOLL, (youthsource records) Devil ANTHEM., Serena Kozuki, (Hako Records) Jyu Jyu, Electric Ribbon, Hauptharmonie, KOTO, Rinatic State, (Kamitou) Kamiyado, and (PENGUIN DISC) Hakoiri♡Musume taking the stage for “The Kanshasai 2017 Shin-Shun” it was an afternoon packed with music from all the shades of the idol world. Perhaps most interesting of all was the annual arm wrestling event which saw 2 time champion Saki Mori looking to defend her belt among a larger field of competitors.
The cursed trio kicked off the festivities as they emerged from the shadows in their black dresses and capes, swinging their fists and kicking up their feet. The fans at the front of the stage appeared powerless once caught under their spell as they jumped and scrambled to pay respects to their dark mistresses. Mixed in with some of their beloved older material was “Kuroi Ito” which will be released on March 14th and can be heard on their Soundcloud page.
01 Noroi Hajime
02 Kono Sekai・Yami
04 Kuro Ito
06 Jyu Jyu
The ominous atmosphere began to dissipate slightly as Devil ANTHEM. stepped into the spotlight next, switching between their angelic and devilish sides with a mix of brain-rattling EDM bass wobbles, light footed idol choreography, and thundering metal. During their final song “Last Go!!”, a large circle opened up in the crowd and several of their fans handed out copies of the group’s CDs to random strangers as others rushed to follow the members skipping across the stage.
02 Anata ni ANTHEM
03 Kokoro Kara
04 Ki ni Naru
05 Last Go!!
Serna Kozuki’s small army of fans in their bright red shirts sprang to life as they started jumping and going wild as soon as her entrance music began and didn’t seem to stop moving until she left the stage. It was an energetic performance that mixed heart-pounding punk rock, Japanese festival-style music, and anisong. During “Tenchi Muyo”, the fans raced towards the back of the ballroom before sprinting as close as they could to the front of the stage to send her a wave of kechas. Linking arms and jumping in a circle while chanting during her final song, the hot-blooded wishes of her fans to make her the top solo idol in Japan resonated through the room.
01 Saikyo Melody 2
02 Kokuhaku☆Three Count
03 Japanese Culture
04 Shake the DiCE
05 Tenchi Muyou
Arm Wrestling Preliminaries
The groups marched out onto the stage as the arm wrestling table was set up in the middle of the floor. Saki Mori strutted around with the red championship belt on her shoulder. Smiling confidently, she riled up the audience like a professional wrestler, asking them what kind of new drama would come out of the event. Konatsu Furukawa took her place near the starting bell to signal the start of each bout.
First up was Suzuka Harada (Idol Renaissance) versus KOTO. Harada won decisively and quickly, raising up her arms triumphantly as her opponent could only look on with a dazed expression. Next up was Maika Kyan (GANG PARADE) versus SATSUKI. (Devil ANTHEM.). Even though Maika attempted to lower her center of gravity by sticking out her backside, the strength of SATSUKI. was too much for her to handle as she was defeated almost instantaneously. A gasp rushed through the crowd as it looked like Juno Terada (Hauptharmonie) and Serena Kozuki were at a deadlock but, Juno emerged victorious after what looked like a bit of fabricated drama. Rinatic State was no match for Nao☆ (Negicco), the perennial challenger from Japan’s strongest local idol group. Any curses cast by Jyu Jyu were ineffective against Mei Hashima (Kamiyado) as she dispatched Miori.
It was a “May-December” showdown as 29-year old erica (Electric Ribbon) locked hands with 16-year old Momomi Wagatsuka (Hakoiri♡Musume). Despite stripping down to show off the results of her training, erica’s efforts were rendered futile as “Ponyo” flexed her muscles and brought the match to a quick end.
Akari Saho of UPUPGIRLS (KARI) was looking for her first ever victory in the arm wrestling tournament but her losing streak was not to be broken on that day. Her fellow group members and even Nanako Higa of Idol Renaissance rushed towards the ring to cheer her on as struggled against Chiharu Aoki (WHY@DOLL). After a few tense moments, the match was stopped and called in favor of Chiharu as it became clear that Akari was at a disadvantage with no signs of recovery. With her hand trembling, Akari sobbed that getting her black belt in karate had been part of her plans to win and that she would be training to win the whole thing the next time around.
Akari was still mourning her defeat as Saki Mori handily dispatched Suzuka. Juno also kept her hopes alive as she took down SATSUKI. with no hesitation.
The first upset of the day came as Nao☆, who had been considered one of the favorites to make the finals, was shocked by Mei. Mei explained that she had been on a soccer team that had made it to the national championships, citing that she had confidence in her leg muscles. Undaunted, Nao☆ surmised that her defeat may have been to her losing strength as her 29th birthday was only a few months away.
It seems that “Ponyo” defeated Chiharu so quickly in the second round that the photographer was not able to capture it which is unfortunate since she flashed a fist pump to the crowd as her streak continued to bring the preliminaries to an end.
Zipping up her outfit, erica was joined by pippi and nagisa as Electric Ribbon made their appearance accompanied by flashing lights and thumping electronic beats. pippi jumped around with a small keytar as she lead the audience in a series of calls and responses as they waved their hands from side to side for “Namioto Tuning”. The members joked how erica had been so motivated to do well in the arm wrestling tournament that she had been drinking a protein shake before it began.
01 Muteki Girl
02 Hoshikuzu Highland
04 Namioto Tuning
Known for her high energy performances, solo idol KOTO more than lived up to her reputation as she only slowed down to introduce herself and remind the audience of her 3rd anniversary live at Shibuya WOMB on February 8th. She lead her fans in the MIX to “SixteenSick” as she spun in a circle while whirling a towel around her head, the intensity only increasing as she shifted into a higher gear for the controlled chaos of “Platonic Planet”, and blasting through “Budou Yuugi” to end her explosive set.
02 Gizagiza no Lonely Night
04 Platonic Planet
05 Otoko no Ko-chan
06 Butou Yuugi
A trancelike atmosphere swept over the venue as Rinatic State took the stage, her twintails trailing behind her as she seemed to float on waves of synthesizer melodies streaming from the speakers. Despite it being her first time to perform in Shinagawa Stellar Ball, she seemed at ease on the giant stage.
01 Nijiiro Shelter
02 Tokyo SPOTLIGHT
04 Real Renewal
05 Kyunkyun Kirakira
lyrical school, who had announced their departure from T-Palette to make their major label debut on KING RECORDS almost a year ago to the day, were reunited with Idol Renaissance. As the limited time group lyrical Renaissance, they rocked out with their cover of Base Ball Bear’s “The Cut -feat. RHYMESTER-“, drawing one of the biggest crowds of the day. Treating the audience to a short medley of “Run and Run” and their classic “Fresh!”, it was a warmly received homecoming for lyrical school.
01 The Cut
02 Run and Run
Another abrupt shift in genre and mood came as Hauptharmonie screamed onto the stage (almost completely) barefoot to the sounds of Ben Folds Five before leaping into a series of their jazzcore and retro rock-influenced tunes.
01 Kidnapper Blues〜Hitosarai no Yuutsuu〜̶
02 Kuchibiru wo Ubai ni Iku
04 Until, Her voice caused a lump in my throat.
05 Mabataki no summer end
06 LAST CHANCE (Koufun no Samatage)
Despite vulgar displays of power by Momomi Wagatsuka during the arm wrestling preliminaries, Hakoiri♡Musume turned the clock back to the golden age of idols and soothed the audience with their gentle vocal delivery, honor student appearances, and graceful dance moves.
01 Hako Ippai no Present
02 Yakusoku no Ponytail
03 Hohoemi to Haru no One Piece
04 Let’s Party Time!
WHY@DOLL turned up the heat with a simmering set of jazzy city pop and Shibuya-kei sounds, tossing their hair seductively and snapping their fingers steadily. Chiharu Aoki, who had just celebrated a birthday the day prior, mused that even though she had beaten Akari Saho in the arm wrestling tournament, she declared that she would be aiming for the champion Saki Mori the following year.
01 Anata dake Konban wa
02 Sumire Aioraito
04 Magic Motion No. 5
06 Byousoku Party Night
Arm Wrestling Finals
The finalists accompanied by their groups returned to the stage, Idol Renaissance appearing to cheer on UPUPGIRLS (KARI), followed by Negicco and WHY@DOLL. Saki Mori boldly declared, “I came to win!” as a forest of green penlights flashed in support of her quest. Juno Terada felt like wearing her glasses like she had last year would help give her the power to win but, in the end, Mori’s strength would not be so easily overcome by lucky objects.
The streak of Momomi Wagatsuka continued as she dispatched Mei Hashima before pumping her fist in victory while smiling confidently. When the losers were asked for their thoughts, Juno apologized through tears for letting the rest of Hauptharmonie down. Seeming to think that there would be a 3rd place match, Mei simply shouted, “Ganbarimasu!” before realizing her arm wrestling was done for the day.
The final showdown between “Ponyo” and “Morisaki”, despite all the buildup and the groups crowding around the ring, was over in seconds, Mori decisively defending her belt for the 3rd year in a row. “We Are The Champions” by Queen played and after receiving the belt and her prize, she expressed how much pressure she had been to repeat and even though people might think it is silly for an idol to be so focused on arm wrestling, she was proud that she did her best.
Just as the champion was soaking in all the emotion of her victory, Hitomi Sakai (ex-Idoling!!!), the only idol to have ever defeated Mori in an arm wrestling match, appeared on the stage, with Idol Renaissance, standing behind her waving a banner which read “Sony Music Artists” (Hitomi Sakai and Idol Renaissance belong to Sony Music Artists talent agency even though Idol Renaissance is signed to T-Palette Records.).
There was an additional surprise as a hidden bracket was revealed, showing Sakai as the final competitor standing in the way of the champion. Youngest member of UPUPGIRLS (KARI) Manami Arai looked Mori in the eyes and told her, “Destroy Sony!” right before the match begun. However, it was not a promise that would be kept as Mori crumbled at the hand of her arch-rival as soon as the match began. The crowd chanted “Sakai” as Idol Renaissance rejoiced, the new champion rubbing salt in Mori’s emotional wounds by asking, “What were you doing this whole time?” Wiping away tears, Mori demanded a rematch as Sakai paraded offstage triumphantly.
Kamiyado recognized Mei Hashima’s impressive debut in the tournament by having Hina Koyama arm wrestle her during their opening song “Hissatsu! Cho-KAMIYADO Senpu”. With them having conquered Zepp Diver City less than a month earlier, it should be exciting to see how much more they will have grown by the time they return to Shinagawa Stellar Ball on April 30th for their spring 2017 tour finale.
01 Hissatsu! Cho-KAMIYADO Senpu
03 Odore! Kamiyado Carnival
04 Harajuku Sentai! KAMIYADO Ranger
05 Summer Dream
The venue filled with the green and white glow of “negi penlights” as the mightiest local idols in Japan swept them up in the blend of their cool jazzy music and sophisticated vocal stylings. President of Tower Records Japan Ikuo Minewaki was pulled on stage during “Ai, Kamashitaino” and he danced along with Negicco for a few brief moments.
02 Watashi wo Negi ni
03 Koi no EXPRESS TRAIN (Azusa ver.)
04 Ai, Kamashitaino
05 Sayonara Music
06 Nee Vardia
A rainbow of penlights in the 7 colors of UPUPGIRLS (KARI) dotted the audience as the athletic group sprinted out onto the stage, punching the air fiercely. As always, the headbanging of Akari Saho and chest pops of Konatsu Furukawa during “Chopper☆Chopper” were ferocious. Ending on a sentimental note with “Kimi Toiu Kasetsu”, UPUPGIRLS (KARI) put an exclamation point on their short yet powerful set.
02 Marble Hero
06 Kimi Toiu Kasetsu
The group now known as GANG PARADE (They were known as POP at the 2016 Tower Records Kanshasai.) seemed to have found some stability as tied together their past and present with songs from their time as Pla2me (“UNIT” and “Plastic 2 Mercy”), their POP era (, “Happy Lucky Kirakira Lucky”, and “pretty pretty good”) and their most recent iterations (“WE ARE the IDOL” and “don’t forget me not”). Looking towards the future, they announced that they would be releasing a new single “BODY&7SOUL (KARI)” on April 25th.
02 don’t forget me not
03 WE ARE the IDOL
04 Happy Lucky Kirakira Lucky
05 pretty pretty good
06 Plastic 2 Mercy
Despite being one of the newest groups on T-Palette, having been announced during the 2014 Kanshasai, it did not seem unusual that Idol Renaissance was the final performer of a long day. In addition to their triumphant Zepp Diver City live in November of the previous year, they played a dramatic role in the rise and fall of Saki Mori during the arm wrestling tournament, and collaborated with lyrical school as well. As always, it was a powerful and sharp performance which had fans and music lovers alike wrapped up in a renaissance of famous songs.
01 Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari
02 Traveler’s High
04 Omatsuri Mambo
05 Galileo no Showcase
For the grand finale, Tower Records Japan president Minewaki and interviewer Go Yoshida returned to wrap things up. Minewaki joked that maybe UPUPGIRLS (KARI) should challenge GANG PARADE to a marathon, hopefully something that neither of the groups’ management considered seriously. Riko Ishino explained that Idol Renaissance had decided to perform “17-sai” last as they recalled their first time 2 years ago. Saki Mori explained that she forgave Idol Renaissance’s “betrayal” even though Riko admitted that it had been fun to deceive her. Each of the performers tossed signed balls into the audience to end the night of thanksgiving (and arm wrestling).
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