Sunday, June 19, 2011

[Idol Spotlight] Chu!☆Lips



My first Idol Spotlight after a LONG hiatus (real life beckons, you know how it is...) is Chu!☆Lips, a veteran idol group that is managed under the label South to North Records where it also manages other idol acts such as Feam and KiSS&KiSS.

I see from the comments of Gaki mentioned in his last "Fresh Faces" post, that some of you guys may have heard of them already. And rightfully so, because they have been around since 2005, right when AKB48 also had their start that same year. Strangely enough I did not come across them until Gaki told me about them last year. But it was an interesting experience diving back in time for their past materials.



Chu!☆Lips got their first break back in 2005 with their first single "Kiss Kiss Kiss Arashi" which was used for TBS's anime "Gokiburi-chan". Since then, they have continued to produce more music in singles and DVDs as they become more popular. But rather than bidding for the mainstream playground, interestingly Chu!☆Lips chose to continue to perform in live events as an indie idol group. However, this is where they are at their best, and dare I say, has established themselves as the most popular indie/underground idol group to date. Chu!☆Lips is well known for their entertainment factor in their performances, singing, and interaction with the fans. Their style is such that I could pick any of their song and use it for a movie opener. And it has been proven too, since some of their songs have been used for movie ending soundtrack, game OST and even for a cheerleading group.
Now, in any live shows or concerts, you will almost definitely see Chu!☆Lips gracing the performer's line-up.



Like any other long time idol groups, Chu!☆Lips had their share of graduations and new members.
Now only two original members remained in their 4 member line-up, with which they released their latest single "The Golden Chups", AND they played the "bandol" card this time too (much to my delight :-) ).

Their last single prior to The Golden Chups was 15 months ago in December 2009 with "Koi no Geemu Oshiete" (also ED theme for PC game Genegetsu no Pandora), but there's a reason for it. Apparently they were supposed to stop their Japan activities in 2010 and perform in China, but for some reason the plan was derailed and they had to return to Japan to continue their act.

Personally, I find that for a group that had such a longevity, high recognition amongst mainstream and indies, connections with movie/game music, and even eyed the China market like AKB48 and Morning Musume did... but they still remained an underground idol unit. Don't the members or their agency have the aspiration to go mainstream at all?

During a magazine interview in conjunction to their 4th single release in 2008, member Nacchin expressed her wish to have their singles appear in at least Oricon Top 100, after one week since the single has been released. Member Rio hopes that one day Chu!☆Lips would be featured in Mechaike in a "Okajo"-like segment.

So what happened? Did their run not go smoothly as planned? Or was it by their own principle and volition that they currently prefer to remain indie, where there are no mainstream cliche and stereotypes to limit their entertainment creativity?

Either way, I'm sure there will be more of Chu!☆Lips to come, whichever direction they choose to take.

Trivia - Former member Kasai Rion, who graduated from Chu!☆Lips in 2007 is elder sister to AKB48 Team B member Kasai Tomomi. Rion then joined another idol group "Survive" but the group disbanded the next year (although Survive revived itself 2 years later but that's another story). Looks like Rion didn't get enjoy the same success in showbiz like her sister did.



Nacchin
D.O.B: 06/12/1985
Blood type: AB
Hometown: Tokyo
Interests: Karaoke, shopping, movies
Skill: Calligraphy


Rio
D.O.B: 24/03/1986
Blood type: A
Hometown: Tochigi-ken
Interests: Karaoke, shopping
Skill: Violin, swimming



Kurita
D.O.B: 28/05/1990
Blood type: A
Hometown: Kanagawa
Interests: Trumpet
Skill: Jazz dance, tap dance


Nattan
D.O.B: 18/10/1988
Blood type: A
Hometown: Tokyo
Interests: Anime, game, cosplay, cooking
Skill: Shoulder massage, Impersonation




First Single - Kiss Kiss Kiss Arashi 2005


Shinjuku Ruido K4 - Idol Station 2006


Oh Please Kamisama Onegai!
From latest Single ザ・ゴールデン・チュップス "The Golden Chups" Released April 2011





Official website
Blogs
http://ameblo.jp/chu-rio/
http://ameblo.jp/chu-nattin/
http://ameblo.jp/shiori-kurita/
http://ameblo.jp/nattan-723/

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