The fascinating world of idol groups that collaborate with anime titles (2022)

Did you know that back in 2001, when the original Tokyo Mew Mew manga began to get really popular that someone decided to make a cosplay idol group to promote the series? The group was called Mew 5. They performed ten times total, released one song and then disbanded in late 2002.

The song was called “Mamaoritai Kara”, and it wasn’t even used in the anime. It was just a promotional song. The early 2000’s are a gold mine of odd media projects.

That’s an awkward intro since I think most anime fans are aware of the concepts of idol groups. Between anime that feature them as the main characters or premise, and the real people groups that dominate music charts, there’s something out there for everyone. But like always I have realized I’m in a weird rabbit hole in a specific niche within a niche, and I have the urge to talk about it.

The fascinating world of idol groups that collaborate with anime titles (1)

This time being about idol groups that are formed with the goal of promoting an anime. These groups consisting of girls either totally unrelated to the anime at hand (so no Seiyuu units), or members who are part of a previously existing non-anime related idol group that joined a temporary(?) unit. The songs are usually limited to a handful of tracks, if not usually just a one off release and done.

From my again, oddly specific criteria Mew 5 was the original group that started this ‘trend’. To my knowledge at least, I couldn’t find any earlier predecessors. Mew 5 were founded with Yoshida Yuki as Momomiya Ichigo, Akesaka Satomi as Aizawa Minto, Matsui Yurie as Midorikawa Retasu, Izumi Ayaka as Fong Purin, and Sakurai Mako as Fujiwara Zakuro. Sakurai Mao would leave the group early September 2002, with Mita Mao replacing her, and then late September the group disbanded. With the exception of Izumi Ayaka all members would later go on to be in other idol groups, voice act, or a combination of both.

Originally, I had only heard “Mamaoritai Kara” once before that video link was taken down. Kodansha probably still holds the rights and struck it. However, thanks to tumblr user hikayagami I have a new video of the performance and song to share with you! Also hikayagami has some other files related to Mew5, and Tokyo Mew Mew franchise info so be sure to check out their profile.

Well “Mamoritai Kara” is certainly a product of it’s time. It’s in a bizarre to me, league of it’s own of being a professional made but still close to a middle school talent show entry. Given how young and inexperienced the Mew Mew’s were – it’s earnest and charming. I can tell the girls had a lot of fun performing it, and that’s what matters. I can’t tell for certain the lyrical content in relation to Tokyo Mew Mew as a franchise. In my experience with anisong in general that tends to be hit or miss, so I’ll give it a pass.

It’s a bit of a shame that Mew 5 didn’t have any other tracks. If their discography is only one song… what exactly did they do to fill time at live events? I’m utterly curious about that sort of thing, but alas that is mostly lost to time. There are a handful of clips where the members answer some questions about themselves, but a lot of them are re-uploads of the same event. If you are curious, you can take a look at a clip of this here. However, we can thank Mew 5 for their hard work and laying the ground work for the more ambitious projects that followed.

The next group that formed to promote an anime was none other then Shugo Chara Egg! from Hello!Project, and Up Front Works in 2008. They were formed to promote the Shugo Chara! anime if you couldn’t tell. With a bigger company behind production Shugo Chara Egg! was no mere one-off cosplay group. Don’t get me wrong, they still cosplayed as the Amulet characters, even appearing as them in the musical, but just had a way longer run and more music. Shugo Chara Egg! lasted for two years as a unit, had two generations of members, and released three singles.

The fascinating world of idol groups that collaborate with anime titles (2)

The first generation members were Maeda Yuuka as Amulet Heart Yuuka, Saho Akarai as Amulet Spade Akari, Fukuda Kanon as Amulet Clover Kanon, and then Wada Ayaka as Amulet Diamond Ayaka. In 2009, Yuuka, Kanon and Ayaka left Shugo Chara Egg! in order to create the traditional idol group S/Mileage, now known as Angerme.

In the second generation Saho Akari remained as Amulet Spade Akari. She was joined by Fukumura Mizuki as the new Amulet Heart, and Maeda Irori as the new Amulet Clover. The group held an audition for the new Amulet Diamond who was later revealed to be Tanabe Nanami. On top of singing opening and ending themes, this generation also hosted the live action segments of Shugo Chara! Party. However, once the final episode of Shugo Chara! Party ended, Shugo Chara Egg! disbanded.

Given what I remember about Shugo Chara!, the song for sure falls into unabashedly commissioned for the series. That’s not a jab at it either, they committed to the theme and it’s still fun and upbeat. Hello!Project did a lot of mix and match groups around this era so the combination of members didn’t throw me off either.

I wasn’t expecting a group like Shugo Chara Egg! to have a song with a guitar solo but go off. I appreciate that now that the personalities of the Amulet characters were established, the girls could embody that better in their dances. It’s the subtle differences that matter a lot in groups like this, and I think it really works here.

Being the last song of the unit, the sparkly shojo tones of the opening are on point. This is also the second generation of the group, so I appreciate the more mature and natural vocals. I do wish the mixing was a bit better – the sparkle tones and backing band tend to overwhelm the track. Some vocal boosting especially for Tanabe Nanami since she was the least experienced would have been good. As a final song, the more mature tone, theme and lyrics was a really good choice.

Concurrently with Shugo Chara Egg!, but debuted in 2009 was Guardians 4 also in collaboration with Shugo Chara!. The group members were Mitsui Aika of Morning Musume, Kumai Yurina and Sugaya Risako of Berryz Koubou, and Nakajima Saki of °C-ute. Their line-up cosplayed in outfits similar to those worn by the guardians in the anime. Their first two singles were used as opening themes for Shugo Chara!, and their last two were opening themes for Shugo Chara! Party. They too disbanded when Shugo Chara! Party‘s last episode aired.

The sparkly shojo tone, guitars is a distinction from the Shugo Chara Egg! and the amulet characters so I like it. It’s on point for the guardians struggles in the series lyrically, but I’ll take it. It’s cheerful, upbeat and that the vocals are more in range for the girls thankfully. Also I can just picture so many elementary school girls trying to replicate this during a break time so bonus points for being that cute.

I can’t help but bob my head along with this one since the track is so bouncy. I have a feeling the beat will stick with me for awhile. It’s very on theme for the guardians, but also very relatable for any school aged kid. It’s rather sweet I think, with just a touch of anime for the inspiration.

This might be my favorite track of Guardians 4 – there’s something about the beat, and lyrics that even though I’m a grown adult still ring rather true. Sure it’s very on point about Ayumu’s struggles as a character, but very relatable at it’s heart. I’ve also been told by Hello!Project fans that this particular track is considered iconic… and I agree with that assessment. 10/10 would throw this on a get hype playlist.

Being the final track of Guardians 4, and for the final season of the anime it was in collaboration with – it’s pretty on the nose. It’s got the shojo sparkle tones, guitar of prior tracks, and lyrics that embody the themes of the series. They had a clear objective with this unit and I think they accomplished it.

It is worth noting that Buono!, which was a sub-unit also created to sing opening/ending themes for Shugo Chara! exists. Their time as a unit did not end when the anime did, so they don’t quite fit my oddly specific criteria for this post. They are a really unique unit though and worth looking up if you have the curiosity and time for it.

Moving forward there was the unit known as Magical☆Dreamin in 2015. Their activities, unlike the Hello!Project units, were significantly downscaled. Magical☆Dreamin consisted of six members from existing idol groups. Members MIMORI and MARI were from Dorothy Little Happy, Minamiguchi Nana and Murakami Rana were from GEM, and Nagao Mai and Komoriya Sakura were from X21. They created their song “Magical☆Change” as the main theme for the anime Jewelpet: Magical Change. While they never officially disbanded, but they concluded their activities in 2015 and all members returned to their prior groups.

This song is cute and fun which I anticipated with it’s onomatopoeia and phrase repetition. But I need to be honest – It’s an annoying without much substance lyrically. It’s aimed at little kids, complete with a dance they can pick up, but not something I’m particularly fond of.

In 2017, we had Youvex Rengougun or Youbex Allied Forces a temporary supergroup created by Avex to promote Youkai Watch! . They were composed of Asakawa Nana, Uchimura Risa, and Watanabe Koume of SUPER☆GiRLS, Ito Chisami, Murakami Rana, and Morioka Yuu of GEM, and Takaki Yumi, Fukuyama Kana, and MYU of LinQ. Their song “Haro Kuri Dance” was released on September 27th 2017. It was used as the ending theme for the anime for approximately episodes 179 through the end. Youvex Rengougun finished promotions as a unit on November 9th 2017.

From the vocal arrangement, repetition, onomatopoeia, and very easily followed dance – this is very much Youkai Watch‘s brand of theme songs. It’s catchy, not quite annoying, but certainly meant to stick with you. I’m a little overwhelmed by the member count for a single song with such limited promotion but whatever works I suppose.

The last unit fitting this oddly specific criteria of mine, sort of, is none other then SG5 or Sailor Guardians 5. The first and only official collaboration unit between Sailor Moon, LDH Entertainment and global management firm Three Six Zero, and the secondary reason I wrote up this blog post.

However, SG5 is taking the model and ground work stretching back from the 2000’s of an idol group promoting anime to… something adjacent but not the same. For one, they’re not technically a promotional group. Their verbiage says collaboration. It gets a bit muddled when they say the goal of their unit is to export Japanese music overseas, but that seems odd to me. The overlap between anime fans, and Japanese music fans isn’t 0, but it’s certainly not as high as you’d expect. With their music being inspired by Sailor Moon, “Fire Truck” clearly being a reference to Sailor Mars, but not part of the anime’s soundtrack, and no official releases yet – I’m not quite sure if SG5 actually belongs on this list or in a league of their own.

Either way, SG5 is currently composed of Ruri, Sayaka, Miyuu, and Kaede of Happiness, and Rui of iScream. It’s worth noting that in SG5 all members sing, but within Happiness’s discography only Ruri is a vocalist (with Fujii Karen whose not in SG5). As it stands, they are concurrent members of their original group and SG5. SG5 activities as of writing taking place exclusively outside of Japan, with Happiness and iScream’s currently taking place within Japan. Time will tell to see how SG5’s legend is written!

It’d be remiss of me not to talk a bit about SG5 since I’ve offered up my thoughts elsewhere. They’re a little trickier for me since technically, they haven’t officially released any music yet. I’m also incredibly biased since I like Happiness and iScream, therefore more or less I like SG5. I think their costumes are cool, the dances on point, and I’m really proud of Miyuu, Sayaka and Kaede for stepping up to do some vocal work. I can only hope we’re not waiting too much longer for official releases…

As always thanks for sticking with me until the end of my weird tangentially related to anime, tangentially related to Jpop rabbit hole I found myself it. As a lover of anime and idols, I had to share my knowledge since there’s some interesting history with this niche within a niche.

I’d love to read your thoughts about a different idol and anime collaboration. Which anime deserves having a promotional temporary unit with real idols? Which idols should be selected? Maybe we should start nudging boy idols to do this sort of thing? Let me know below.

This article would not be possible without the following web archives; jpop.fandom.com, helloproject.fandom.com, hikayagami on tumblr and Tim Chan’s article on SG5. From jpop.fandom.com I referenced their posts on Mew Five, Magical☆Dreamin, and Youvex Rengougun . From helloproject.fandom.com I referenced their posts on Shugo Chara Egg!, Guardians 4, and Buono! . I sincerely thank all these sources for compiling information so thoroughly.

Top Articles

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Otha Schamberger

Last Updated: 12/06/2022

Views: 5332

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (75 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Otha Schamberger

Birthday: 1999-08-15

Address: Suite 490 606 Hammes Ferry, Carterhaven, IL 62290

Phone: +8557035444877

Job: Forward IT Agent

Hobby: Fishing, Flying, Jewelry making, Digital arts, Sand art, Parkour, tabletop games

Introduction: My name is Otha Schamberger, I am a vast, good, healthy, cheerful, energetic, gorgeous, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.