The second issue of the seasonal guide to the iDOL Street family25 June, 2012 by Chad
Last winter, Sony Magazines released the first ever mook featuring avex’s own pop idol family. Just like the previous issue, the iDOL Street OFFICIAL BOOK Vol.2 is meant to be a comprehensive guide to everything related to SUPER☆GiRLS, the newly formed Cheeky Parade and the iDOL Street students. It’s chock full of profiles, photos and updates of what the groups have been up to in the past 6 months.
Pre-ordered copies come with one free photograph. In usual avex fashion, the photos were pre-determined and could be previewed ahead of time online at the SUPER☆GiRLS website. We decided to pre-order our copies from 7-Eleven in Japan, which gave the nicest of the lot. You can see it inside the shrink wrap here. You’ll also be able to find it for sale at Neowing’s CDJapan of course for the same price.
The new iDOL Street book looks and feels identical to the original, which is a great thing for collectors. There is a nice consistency between the covers, photographs and size of the book. Note that the book is now double sided though. It can be read in reverse for the Cheeky Parade content.
There is no bonus poster this time round. Instead, the mook comes with two random photographs (2 of 54 different types) featuring SUPER☆GiRLS, Cheeky Parade and the iDOL Street students. Accordingly, the price of the book has also increased from 1,575 yen to 2000 yen. Personally, I would have very much preferred to do away with the photographs and get a cheaper book but this comes down to a matter of preference.
In typical mook fashion, the book opens up with profiles of each of the group’s members after the page of contents and a short magazine spread. Once again, the book features a ton of full color images and the photography is top quality. The print quality of the book is excellent too so none of the iDOL Street goodness is wasted upon that technicality.
The mook is made by Sony Magazine’s M-ON! Entertainment team, which also publishes the GiRLPOP magazine. Maeda Atsuko’s graced the covers of the magazine’s revival issue last year for Flower.
As I initially suspected, the photography is courtesy of Kojiro Hosoi from the b-irthday team. Hosoi’s style is quite distinct and excellent at capturing movement in portraits. He’s had a close relationship with Sony and was responsible for most of the promotional photography for Watanabe Mayu’s Synchro Tokimeki. You’ll also recognize many of Hosoi’s works in UTB Magazine, which he is a regular contributor too.
Each of the SUPER☆GiRLS members are given two pages for their profile. The layout is organic. There are no fixed number of pictures here. Instead, the editor chooses some of the nicest shots for each member, the best of which is featured as a full page blowout. The candid handwritten Q&A interviews with each member make a return, though to make room for the more photographs, they are shifted to a separate section.
The book chronicles the group’s progress in the same manner like the last. Again, this is presented as a free for all discussion between the SUPER☆GiRLS members themselves. Till now, this has been the most novel means of presenting a timeline, since it provides an interesting read for even the most knowledgeable of fans. Props if you read it in your head in Maeshima Ami’s high pitch squeals and Mizote Ruka’s short tongue.
Some of the key events are also highlighted in a series of photo collages, namely the larger concerts performed since the release of the last book. These come complete with commentary from the members. The pictures from the last book were good, but they’ve managed to up the standard even more, possibly since the venues are much better lighted this time round.
A portion of the book is dedicated to the remaining iDOL Street students in some new uniforms. The older orange polos have in turn been passed down to the newer generation. They get their own profiles and a photo shoot too, in a sizable number of pages, when you consider that there are only 7 of them left. The theme is simple, but the contrast in vibrant colors is nice.
The next few pages cover the recent 3rd generation iDOL Street auditions with short profiles for the girls that made the cut. There are noticeably much less commentary and interviews from the staff this time round since they’ve had to fit in other contents. Most missed is the “Costume Check” section from last issue which showed sketches from the group’s costume designer.
Cut to compilation of photos from a exclusive shoot for the mook. The theme this time is Special Graffiti and has the SUPER☆GiRLS members creating a set themselves with nothing but some blank canvases and glass panels. It’s a refreshing theme and the versatility of the photographer really shows. Like in the last book, the shoot blends the lines between spontaneous and organized for a dynamic and fun series of photographs.
The deco section makes a return with the SUPER☆GiRLS making some DIY candles and Cheeky Parade some bracelets. Each book comes with a mailer that gives fans a chance to win one of these handmade gifts.
Though oddly placed, the book ends with a behind the scenes look at the girls at a recent Recochoku handshake event followed by a space for the members to write messages to their fans.
Starting at the other end of the book gives you coverage on iDOL Street’s second group Cheeky Parade which was formed earlier this year by the remaining candidates from the first audition and 2nd generation students. The new group had only recently released their first single Cheeky Dreamer. Much of their content in the book mimics SUPER☆GiRLS, with the standard profile and Q&A sections.
As before, each copy of iDOL Street OFFICIAL BOOK Vol.2 comes with a unique keycode that can be input into the SUPER☆GiRLS quasi social game fan club Maidoru! for rewards. It’s not a major point, but is a nice finishing touch to make fans feel a little better about an already great purchase.
The sheer quantity of pointless mooks released by other pop groups and the fact that none of them match up in terms of quality or size can be annoying. While I initially expected a new Official Book every 3 months, rather than release a new book for every minor footprint over the year, it’s great that avex chooses to compile everything into one semi-yearly release.
I’m going to rank the iDOL Street OFFICIAL BOOK Vol.2 as a must purchase for fans of SUPER☆GiRLS. The only thing that could have made the iDOL Street Official Books better was if all their spines lined up to make one giant photo ala the Mr. Men series.