Minicheer Bears: I assume it's "Minicheer" because the group's cheerleading themed; however, the real name is "みにちあ＊ベアーズ" and I keep wanting to read the first word as "miniature," especially since this is such a young group.
There are fourteen members, and it's another Stardust group, which then makes them a sister group of Momoiro Clover and Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku. The first thing I noticed is that their website is REALLY cute. There are teddy bear images everywhere, and it looks like all the Q&A profile questions are handwritten, but in a really cute way. Another notable thing is that the girls are all REALLY young. The ages range from 9-12, so if you like your junior idols VERY junior, Minicheer Bears might be the group for you to support.
I think they're still really indie and haven't released any singles yet, but they did perform at the Tokyo Idol Festival last year. It looks like only a few girls are singing, so I'm thinking the set up is that only a few girls are the leads and the others are background dancers?
Still, it's a cute group, and it'll be interesting to see if Stardust pushes them further, given the relative success of Momoiro Clover.
Mugiwara * Musume: When I saw the name of the group, I immediately thought "OK, they have to be a Morning Musume clone." However, from their looks, it seems like they're more of a Country Musume type of group, since that's the vibe they're getting at. This is another group with very junior members, with ages ranging from just barely nine to thirteen. They were formed late last year, so the group hasn't even been around for a year!
Interestingly enough, they released one single with two songs on it last year, Mugiwara Musume no Uta and MY DEAR BLUE.
Upon listen, it does seem like a country themed group, though the versions I've heard are on YouTube and are outdoor performances (which doesn't lend itself well to acoustics). MY DEAR BLUE is a bit more electronic sounding than Mugiwara Musume no Uta, though. They seem pretty rough so far, but the videos I've found were a few months ago at the least, so I'm hoping they've practiced some more for the idol festival!
Momochi Minami: OK, this is one of the more bizarre things I've looked into while getting into the Tokyo Idol Festival. Momochi Minami is an idol that wears an anime face mask, and dances/sings anime songs. I'm having trouble finding much more than that, but honestly this is hitting Uncanny Valley territory for me.
I am having trouble finding more information about Momochi Minami other than the fact that "she" does anime songs, and it looks like she's a DJ? But I think there is a decent following among anime enthusiasts, so I'm going to be interested to see how this works at the festival.
R*M : Pronounced "ramu", I just have to say that my sleep-deprived mind (I just got back from vacation, and I never sleep very well in beds that aren't my own) read "Dance and vocal unit" as "Dance and polka unit" which for some reason made me really really excited.
Anyways, no, they're just a normal idol trio unit, that seems to focus a bit more on the vocals. The name actually stands for the three idols in the group, Rui, Anzu and Emika (Focusing on the M in eMika). They were just formed this year and released their first single, Kiseki no SPARK in July. The reason I say that they seem to focus a bit more on vocals is because there are live harmonies done in the performance I've found of Kiseki no SPARK. And while their vocals are a bit rough so far, there's definitely some promise from what I can tell.
Anyways, I really like Kiseki no SPARK as a song, and I'd love to find the studio version, because it's actually one of my favorite songs I've discovered from this mission to find all these groups. This is the type of group I could see getting some success as more of a vocal unit than an idol unit, if they got some really good vocal training over the next few years.
YGA: This is one group I've heard about before but that I've never gone and looked for anything from before. According to their Tokyo Idol Festival bio they're "50% variety, 50% idol, 120% meetable." And while the nerd in me wants to go "that does NOT add up to 120, and how can that make any sense?" I do think it's a really good sentiment for an idol group, if they're focusing that much on variety. Actually, I think focusing that much on variety is a great idea, considering that that's one of those big things that makes people really love an idol group.
Unfortunately, it's tough to find information about this group, because there are a variety of things that go by the name YGA (including an English-language LGBT magazine) so finding information about that Japanese YGA is proving a bit tougher. However, they do have eight members and have released three singles with an album on the way, all in this past year which indicates that even if they started doing things earlier, this year is their first big year as an idol group. Their blog does indicate that they started up at the end of 2009, though, so I think that 2010 focused more on their variety duties.
They seem popular, from their view numbers on YouTube, and from what I can tell they're related to Idoling!!! or have done something with Idoling in the past, considering they have a DVD together. Idoling!!! fans, tell me if I'm wrong about this!