2011 might not brought a lot of new acts when compared to the last few years to this site, but there was some that stood out (of course some of the new JPN acts are originally Korean acts). Still let’s look at this!
Brown Eyed Girls started 2011 off in Japan with their first single, “SIGN” but since then has been quite in Nippon. Though if it’s not a surprise they released a Korean album in Sixth Sense and it’s also repackaged ^_^.
Also kicking off 2011 in artists that debuted this year we have HIROKO who everyone should know is the singer from mihimaru GT. Well like her partner miyake who went on his solo starting late last year, HIROKO started off with a bang with “GIRLZ UP ~stand up for yourself~” which was pretty damn awesome. After that she released a slower R&B ballad in “Saigo no Koi” before releasing her first album, “OPEN THE DOOR”. Since then she decided to put her solo career in hiatus mode and get back with miyake for another mihimaru GT era. Who knows if she’ll hit the solo bell again…but it was a nice (albeit short) era.
One of many Korean groups to debut in Japan this year, 2NE1 started their JPN releases with a digital single, more specifically an English Version of CAN’T NOBODY, which led to their first album, 2NE1 (which is most of the Korean songs). While they were initially supposed to debut their single “GO AWAY” in March, the earthquake postponed that all the way to November. However, instead we got NOLZA, which is Japanese takes on their Korean songs from their 2nd mini-album there. Strange calender but still great!
In March, we got Not yet which has been branded as an AKB sub-unit in which there’s not too many of those actually. The members are Yuko Oshima, Rie Kitahara, Rino Sashihara, and Yui Yokoyama…they came in together as the light pop (slightly easy listening stuff). As they’ve released three singles in “Shuumatsu Not yet”, “Naminori Kakigoori” and “Perapera Perao”…this group is easily the least memorable of the sub-units for me…and yet they sell very well on Oricon. I’m curious to if an album is next or a fourth single…but they are a strong group (mostly because Yuko is damn popular).
I’m seriously guessing that CGC was just a one-off group just to celebrate Columbia’s 100th birthday and all. Still I found the whole enka meets idol twist to be quite interesting (last time I even saw that was like Momosu doing “Furusato” and “Sakura Mankai”). Still I’m sad that this group hasn’t released anything since “Yumeiro Rhapsody”.
Like Momosu needed more competition, here comes Dream Momosu which is comprised off all the members of UFA who was also a part of Morning Musume at one point (with the exception of Asuka, Aya, Sayaka, Gocchin, Aibon, and Konkon). They only had one release in 2011 with “Dreams. 1” (which is mostly self-covers and three new songs). At least they’ll release their first single, “Shining Butterfly” in 2012.
May usually brings a lot of artists out and especially in 2011 since most of the releases that were supposed to come out in March/April were pushed back a month or two.
The first to talk about is 2PM who are also another K-pop group riding the Hallyu Wave this year. I’m happy they stuck with SONY because they know great animes and they usually get the better songs. This is especially the case with the group’s debut single “Take off” for the Ao no Exorcist series. They really did great with that song and since then released “I’m your man” and “Ultra Lover”. Of course closing out the year they’ll be releasing their first album “REPUBLIC OF 2PM” in early December!
Aimer kind of came out of nowhere for me. She kind of seemed to me like a temporary replacement for ayaka since she has light vocals and the music is slightly reminescent. She debuted in 2011 with an indies album, “Your favorite things”. Then suddenly in September, she goes major and releases her triple A-side, “Rokutosei no Yoru/Kanashimi wa Aurora ni/TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR”. At least it’s great to hear that she’s releasing her second single (tied to Bleach!) “Re:pray” in mid-December
DiVA is a lot more interesting of a sub-group to AKB than Not yet will ever be TBH. It’s also funny because there’s another group in AKB-land named DIVA (but they are only involved in singles and there’s many members involved). This DiVA which only has Sayaka Akimoto, Ayaka Umeda, Yuka Masuda, and Sae Miyazawa. Purpose of the group was the fact that all four were amazing singers and dancers which is the reason they’re together. Releasing two singles in 2011: “Tsuki no Uragawa” and “Cry” it seems that’s all we’ll get since they opting for a second generation of girls to join. However, there really hasn’t been news since that announcement so who knows…but I hope a single is announced soon!
Marina Kawano doesn’t have as much information like the other two do but the important thing to know is that she won the same event HIMEKA and Sayaka Sasaki won previous which means anime themes for her! Sadly she hasn’t released anything after her debut single, “Morning Arch”…I wonder what’s up and why there hasn’t been much of anything since then.
Last but not least, I remember seeing Yuu’s debut single “Kikkake wa YOU!” being pushed back because of the earthquake and all that. Breaking from being a mere H!P Egg, Kikkawa joined UNIVERSAL-J and released her first work since MilkyWay. After her debut, she released another single in “Hapirapi ~Sunrise~ and has one coming up at the end of December titled “Konna Watashi de Yokattara”. For a gal who left the idol world to do something more out there, I like it so far!
HYNA was definitely a change of style since there’s been a lack of sexy in the year and I mean sexy not AKB…More like Kuu and HYNA really brought that in with her first single “TARATIKA”. I am a little saddened that she was dropped which could mean uncertainty of music from her but that single was quite good! I hope she comes back soon!
I was so surprised that it was only a short while before Sayaka Kitahara would go solo as well like her MilkyWay brethren. However, unlike Yuu, she stayed within UFA and has released singles for an anime. Those being “Yappa Seishun” and “Kanari Junjou”. While her voice isn’t as great as Yuu’s or cutesy like Koharu’s…she’s kind of a little of both in a way. I hope a third single is coming soon because she’s got potential!
While the idea of the group came together originally in 2010 on the I’ve Sound concept album, “SHORT CIRCUIT III”, they didn’t fully debut until July with their single “Kimi+Nazo+Watashi de JUMP!!”. Consisting of I’ve Sound’s three newest singers: Airi Kirishima, Nami Maisaki, and Rin Asami, they are kind of more of the cuter side to I’ve Sound and prolly will be more since KOTOKO left. They have a second single announced “Trip -innocent of D-” in 2012.
Another unit that includes TNX member Yui Ogura, RO-KYU-BU! is more than likely a one-off unit for the anime of the same name but they managed to release a single in “SHOOT!” and an album “pure elements” before the end of the year which is quite awesome. However, like I said I think that’s all that we’ll get from the group unless the anime continues (which I doubt).
September brought us another K-pop act wanting to debut in Japan with RAINBOW and while they aren’t one of the more popular groups, they seem to be doing well as seen in their first single, “A”. Since then they released another single in “Mach” in December
October also brought us our second artist that came off as a Kuu clone! Chiaki Takahashi who’s known for being involved in THE iDOLM@STER as a seiyuu. That I didn’t know so she is well-known in the community I guess XD. Though who would’ve expected that her debut single “Kon’ya wa Chupa♡Riko” would be so raunchy and dirty and of course her and her pancake ass in that glorifying PV. Beyond that, I actually like her voice and stands out from the usual seiyuu by singing in a deeper but better tone. She’s got potential!
Last but not least, December brings us another Korean group in U-KISS. While they’ve been together for a while in their homeland it’s this year that they’re bringing their A game in “Tick Tack”. Already, I’m enjoying this group because like “2PM” they are also starting with a clean slate of songs leading.
So this is all who debuted in 2011 that are being reviewed on the site…I don’t know how many more artists/groups debuted this year but whatever XD.