Pre-debut idol group introduced to idol fans in Singapore and changes name to reflect post-trainee phase
Name change towards maturity and preparation for official debut
On 1st December 2015, the official website of the Stand Up Records pre-debut idol group Stand-Up! Hearts announced that they have changed their name to Iketeru Hearts (イケてるハーツ), with their social networking sites reflecting this change shortly after, the reason being them having completed their trainee phase under Stand-Up! Records and are thus detaching themselves from their agency name.
Debut to Singaporean idol fans
During the week before said announcement, the 8-piece idol group of high-school-age girls was featured the Anime Festival Asia Singapore 2015 (AFA SG 2015), held from 27th to 29th November 2015 at the Suntec City Convention Centre under their former collective.
The group performed each afternoon for half an hour at the Akiba Mini Stage, an area with daily performances and guest talks accessible by all attendees who purchased basic admission to the main convention grounds. In the mornings and shortly after their Lives, they were available for photo-taking with the attendees at the CHEERZ promotion booth in the main convention hall.
The group’s showcase in Singapore was done in conjunction with the promotional team for the photo-sharing app CHEERZ, an Instagram-like smartphone application for start-out idol groups to promote themselves through sharing photos of themselves, after which users of the app to vote and be subsequently rank the featured groups according to the number of “CHEERZ“, the in-app term for Likes, given to them.
Yuno, Nijika, Kazune with their pose with the iconic Cheerz frame
The app has a number of tie-ins to other media, such as high-ranking idols being featured in the complementary CHEERZ photobook series, in which Iketeru Hearts has appeared in in its 3rd to 5th volumes. Iketeru Hearts’ involvement in the app and its usage, as well as PVs of several other featured idol groups, was showcased at the booth.
The group began recruitment in February 2015 as a trainee unit from branched out from the Afilia Saga vocal idol group, and will debut with their first original single, Let’s Stand Up, due for a 10th February 2016 release. This single will be used as the ending theme for anime series Punch Line.
Despite staying active for around a year without original music content, Iketeru Hearts is still able to generate hype amongst themselves, especially among the Afilia Saga and indie idol fandoms, through heavy promotion through social media and live performances in Japan.
Since they do not have any original songs yet, their performing setlists comprise entirely of song covers from various games for the Playstation console family and anisong, mainly those originally performed by Haruko Momoi, Ayumi Murata and Afilia Saga.
AFA SG is their second overseas stop, the first being their performance at Japan Expo convention in France in July 2015. Snippets of their performances were recorded by videographers from local Japanese entertainment news site Ani-Culture.
After their final performance on Day 3 of AFA, reporters from J-Network conducted an exclusive interview with the girls of Iketeru Hearts to learn more about their preparation leading up to their debut:
J-Network: Today being the final day of showcase in Singapore, what do you think of this country?
Yuyu: AFA is one of the biggest conventions we have appeared in thus far. We feel honoured and proud to be able to be part of an anime exhibition like AFA and see our audience and fans in person from the view of the stage.
J-Network: How does the audience here differ from the one in France?
Karin: We feel that the French audience is actually more straightforward, accepting, enthusiastic about idols, and come off as daring, contrary to the Singapore audience who are actually more reserved and shy. Several members of the French audience tend to speak more.
Yuyu: There are a lot of fans here who are idol otakus and we feel very pleasantly surprised when they start using otaku jargon.
J-Network: In what ways are Cheerz effective in helping new idol groups like yourself gain outreach?
Yuyu: We are grateful for the app itself and how we update our feed daily to keep in touch and connect with our fans in Japan and from all over the world.
J-Network: How do you balance academics and high school life with training?
Nijika: We make use of our free time and breaks in between filming and photoshoot sessions to do our homework.
Usami: Some of us, mainly the Senior High students, will try to get help from peers to help us with our studies. I put most of my time studying nearer to exam seasons but will still do some dance practice on my own if spare time permits.
J-Network: How is the preparation for the first single, Let’s Stand Up, been going?
Nijika: We actually faced a lot of problems when recording this song because it is a 16 beat rhythm is built into it. Still, its a a terrific song – we have put in a lot of effort into it, so we really hope that everyone can listen and enjoy it.
Yuyu: The song was composed by Tsunku, the producer behind Hello! Project’s Morning Musume.
Nijika and Karin: The lyrics are what “hearts” is really represented of and it is thus an excellent song to start of our “hearts” [in our performing career proper]. They convey our feelings accurately and empowers us with the desire to strive even higher.
J-Network: Any closing comments for your fans?
Yuyu: Currently, we, Stand-Up Hearts!, are still trainees under Afilia Saga but do catch our single release in Feburary next year, so we hope everybody would give it a listen. We will continue to work hard so we may come to perform in Singapore and other places overseas again. Please support us!
All: Please support us!
With much interest from the up-and-coming Iketeru Hearts in Japan and abroad, expect a bang of a debut when they start their original content next March. Their single is already available for preorder through sites like YesAsia and CDJapan in 3 versions. The DVD, retailing for 1852 yen contains the Let’s Stand Up! PV, making-of and live footage. The singles, retailing for 1111 yen, contains the audio track and comes in Types A and B with “identical contents” sans (presumably) different CD cover designs. Prices are not tax-inclusive.
Till then, interested followers can keep abreast of their performing schedule in Japan on the Schedule section of their official website.
– Mikeru, Muhd Shahlehin, HaruHaru, Tab, Kuuin
J-Network has an explanatory review of the Cheerz app published earlier this year that covers its functions and promotional tie-ins, which you can read here.
Source: J-Network’s on-site reporting, Tokyo Girls’ Update, Ani-Culture, Iketeru Hearts Official Site
Interview interpretation by Cheerz’s on-site translator and NanoDesu Translations