Just under two weeks until the festival kicks off and they keep adding groups on me!!!
Fudanjuku: This is IMO the group of gimmicks (though they aren't bad gimmicks) because there are two things that make the group stand out. One thing is that each of the girls have some kind of fandom themselves; they're all supposed to be a wota of SOMETHING, whether that thing is anime or pro wrestling or anything between. The other thing is that they are crossdressing idols, with the "male" portion of their act called Fudanjuku, and the female portion as "Nakano Fujoshi Sisters".
The thing I find kind of interesting is the fact they refer to themselves as "fujoshi" as women, as I've only heard that in the past as a negative term. It means "rotten girl" and is usually only used in the yaoi fandom. However, I do appreciate their nerdiness.
While I don't think the group has hit it that big, I know that a lot of the English-speaking fandom is aware of them. And they really should be, because this is a pretty cool group. The highlight of the group was one time they were on a TV show with Momoiro Clover and a couple of other idols, and they started to flirt with the idols that didn't crossdress.
This is a really good group, that while they aren't big yet, I can see their gimmicks giving them serious niche appeal.
Pre-Dia: This is, as far as I'm aware, a fairly new idol group. According to their bio on the TIF site, they had their live debut only in November of 2010! They have 12 members and are a sister group of Passpo, which automatically makes them a group to follow, since Passpo's management has been doing such a good job of promoting them so far.
^This is their debut single, Dia Love. They seem to be going for a bit of a more mature image than their sister group Passpo. Other than that, since they're less than a year old and under an indies label, they really don't have that much about them.
The Possible: Ahh, a group that was originally H!P Eggs! The Possible is arguably the flagship unit of Tsunku's idol "Nice Girl Project" under his own label TNX (I say arguably, because I know there are some Canary Club fans out there). It's currently a five member unit.
I have to say, I stopped following the group after my favorite member (Ohse Kaede <3) left the group, but it's nice to still see them kicking. TNX suffers from pretty poor sales, even though I do enjoy quite a bit of the music that comes from them. The Possible is a pretty tight group, and Canary Club has released some gems. Plus, they both had stuff to do with the game Rhythm Heaven, which I think is the best work Tsunku has done in years.
They released their last single last year, but they're releasing their newest effort, a mini-album, a week or so after the festival ends. Coincidence? I think not.
Still, the fact they've been together for years makes them pretty solid as a group, even though their sales haven't been so hot.
Hop Club: Clever name is clever! It stands for Horipro (a talent agency) Osaka Produce Club. So essentially, it's a regional idol group produced by Horipro in Osaka. Man, they managed to get a cute name from all those abbreviations.
They're a six member group with ages ranging from 21 to 15, that according to Japanese wiki was formed in 2001(following the popularity of Morning Musume?). They apparently only became really active in 2009, when they started to do radio and single,s though they did TV appearances before then.
With multiple generations and these local TV performances, they seem to be just local Osaka area idols, now trying to make it elsewhere with the current idol boom. Their live appearances look to be at many idol festivals including the Tokyo Idol Festival, so good luck to them.
(can't embed their PVs, sorry).
MaixNao：Mai x Nao is an idol duo group formed in 2010 with Sakura Mai and Miyazawa Nao. Both of them are older (at least by idol standards, with Mai born in 1985 and Nao born in 1987), so they have a bit more of a mature feel. They released one single , Hoshi no Piasu, in August of last year, soon after the group was announced.
They appear to come from a company called Aint, and other than that not much is out there about this indie group.
However, among the idol festival, their mature image might be a bit refreshing from all the younger idol groups out there.