I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Afilia Saga -- Magical Express Journey (マジカル☆エクスプレス☆ジャーニー)

Afilia Saga (アフィリア・サーガ) is definitely not a group for everyone! If AKB48 is considered unpleasant –  saying the least – to some people, this group, which is comprised of maids, can be even more cringeworthy with the gaudy cute vocals, clumsy dance moves, moe shouts and – sometimes – sexy cosplay-like uniforms. It’s a full-on cotton candy aidoru group.

I, however, enjoy some of the songs released by them, even if I can’t help but feel a little bit guilty while listening to them. “Magical Express Journey”, for example, is so cheerful and over the top that when the chorus explodes I imagine myself in a magical journey to the “Care Bears” land.

“Magical Express Journey” was released in July 2014, reaching #3 on the Oricon charts and selling around 25,000 copies. Lyrics and music were composed by veteran anime singer/composer/seiyuu Haruko Momoi (桃井はるこ), while the arrangement was done by Kouji Ueno (上野浩司). In 2015, the song was included in Afilia Saga’s third studio album, “Realism”.


  1. Well it's not cringeworthy at least. Unfortunately MoMu & AKB48 have effectively destroyed the genre and turn it into some thing rather distasteful.. Give me Onyanko Club, CoCo or Seifuku Kojo Iinkai any day overthe pablum thatmakes up jpop today.

    1. Hi, Mieko. Thanks for the comment.

      Personally, even if I sound harsh sometimes, I like this new lineage of aidoru groups (even AKB48). However, I agree that the genre has already seen its heyday (at least musically).

      From the ones you mentioned, CoCo is easily my favorite (I love CoCo's "Sylph" album). As for Onyanko, I'm more of a fan of the solo works released by ex-members after the group's dissolution (Sonoko Kawai's "Dancing In The Light" and Akiko Ikuina's "Nihon Ikuina Kikou" are probably my favorites).

    2. As Mieko pointed out, "Magical Express Journey" isn't cringeworthy but neither will I expect it to be performed at the 2020 Olympics. :) It just seems to be fit as an anime opening theme.

      Perhaps, times are a-changing for this 21st-century wave of aidoru. I've also been getting the impression that the days of the Alphabet groups are on the wane. I wonder if aidoru-dom will be coming out in a new guise or just go dormant for the rest of the decade.

    3. Yeah, Afilia Saga generally sings anime theme songs. As for "Magical Express Journey", I think it was used as the ending song to a late-night variety show, or something like that.

      You spoke about the 2020 Olympics, and I've been reading lots of people talking how they don't want aidoru singers to appear during the opening ceremony. Personally, I think they're being a little to harsh on the genre, as it's a big part of Japanese entertainment since the 70s. Of course I don't want the whole ceremony to focus on them, but I think there's space to everything.

      I remember London had One Direction, and in Rio we also had Anitta... so, a little bit of aidoru in Tokyo will not be a problem, in my point of view. However, as you pointed out, I agree that the whole aidoru thing is sinking again. We might not see them in 2020 at all. Maybe some classic divas like Seiko-chan, or even Akina? It would be awesome.

      On a side note, I was expecting Perfume to make an appearance in the 8 minutes showcase by Tokyo, as their coreographer, Mikiko, was one of the responsibles for the show. Some Japanese newspaper even especulated about this possibility, but it didn't happen at all (and I don't think they'll last until 2020 as a relevant act, to be honest.)

    4. I have my doubts about Akina but perhaps Seiko Matsuda can perform a tune on the big stage. Four years are a long way away...just don't know who will be the new big thing.

      Yeah, not sure about Perfume either but perhaps a unit that will pick up the baton from them. The newspapers here in Toronto are declaring that the 2020 Olympics will be "The Hi-Tech Games" so I've got a feeling that techno will be represented to some extent.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.