I’m a fifteen-year idol fan, but I’m not blind to the stereotypes associated with the genre. Most often, I’m told that every idol group, regardless of agency or age, sounds exactly the same.
When I stumbled upon cy8er, I had finally found proof to the contrary–a carefully cultivated mix of classically cutesy vocals with bass drops and hard drum beats to boot.
The new poster children of the ‘Alt-Idol’ movement, cy8er’s hits ‘Hello new generation’ and ‘te to te’ have brought an influx of new fans, both from Japan and around the world.
Future Bass: The Foundation of a New Type of Idol Group
Cy8er (pronounced ‘cyber,’ the ‘8’ taking the sound ‘ba’ in Japanese) began in 2015 under the unit name BPM15Q.
Ichigo Rinahamu, known during this period as Yokoyama Rina, was known to idol fans as an early member of the massively popular group BiS, having graduated in 2011, the first in the group to do so.
Along with soloist Nicamoq, the two formed this electro-idol unit, releasing their first and only single under the moniker, “online 1st” in May 2016.
After releasing their only album “BPM15Q all songs” at the end of 2016, Nicamoq graduated from the group. Determined to carry on, Yokoyama quickly announced that the group would carry on, and began auditions to add suitable members to the unique project. Koinumaru Pochi and Suzukawa Mashilo, the latter of which had previously debuted in idol rock group DEEP GIRL, joined in January 2017.
Cy8er released their first single as a trio in March 2017, titled “Remix Start”, though they would find more success with “Te to Te”, released in April.
In June of the same year, the group released “Kakusheemu”, a brand new song also featuring three brand new members. Yamiyume Yamii, Naatan Coromushi, and Fujishiro Anna also participated in the group’s first solo tour and helped boost the group to Idol Matsuri fame, with cy8er bringing home a win for the Kanto region in 2017.
Though cy8er’s unique sound may be enough to distinguish them from the competition, their promotional activities have often sparked chatter–and sometimes outrage–on social media.
At the Budokan Idol Expo in 2017, cy8er decided a handshake event was a little too normal, and instead opted for a hug event with a twist.
The girls showed up in full hazmat suits which served to be an extremely successful marketing ploy, helping cy8er stand out from the ultra-frilly crowd.
“Hello New Generation”, the first cy8er album released in early 2018, with the title single finding acclaim online for its unique sound and visuals. During this time, Naatan left the group with very little warning, and cy8er has continued with five members to this day.
As is true with most idol groups active today (at least, those with a reasonable number of members,) each girl reps a different color and style, with fans fervently supporting the one that strikes their fancy.
Fans of idol pop and fans of Harajuku fashion enjoy some heavy overlap, and multitudes of fans found themselves in style heaven when members of cy8er began promoting the galaxxxy clothing brand in 2018.
For an independent group with somewhat limited engagement, this kind of work quickly gained them more than a quick glance from the mainstream. In 2019, cy8er announced via a free concert their upcoming major debut in 2020, promising that this insanely promising group wouldn’t be left in the dust.
Who are the Current Members of cy8er?
With their own unique styles and quirky-cute nicknames, the member lineup for cy8er brings something for every type of idol fan.
- Fujishiro Anna – Easily recognized as the only half-Japanese member of the group, Anna is also of Polish ancestry. She’s the tallest member (172cm is huge by idol standards), and perhaps the most stylish, if her Instagram page is any indication. A fan of alcohol and chocolate, she gives off a more ‘adult’ vibe.
- Suzukawa Mashilo (Mashilo) – A girl who wears many different hats, Mashilo is a singer, dancer, rapper, model and trap artist. Yes, you heard me right–she releases plenty of hip-hop under the pseudonym SHACHI. Her hobbies are also all over the place, from painting to WWE.
- Ichigo Rinahamu – The original founder of the group was also a trailblazer of the yume-kawaii subculture in Nagoya, known for its pastels, florals and polka dots. She also has a solo DJ project, Hamrig, along with her own agency, ICIGO STYLE. Quite a list of accomplishments for a 27-year old.
- Koinumaru Pochi – The first to join the group after it was renamed cy8er, Pochi was already an established Harajuku model and DJ, fitting into idol life like it was made just for her. According to her sparse Youtube channel, her favorite things are music, clothes, and shoes–fans of fashion will enjoy her more active Instagram page.
- Yamiyume yAmmy – A model and fashion designer, Yammy’s tattoos immediately set her apart as an atypical idol. Often rocking devil horns and having a passion for Radiohead and System of a Down, she claims to be ‘unbeatable at darkness.’ This Instagram post, in particular, highlights a bit of cutesy devil flare.
Hello New Generation: The Future of cy8er
Fans of cy8er, known as the Sabai community, have been the backbone of this eccentric group from the beginning, and the fuss is only growing. The lyrics of the group’s hit song “Hello New Generation” sum up the group’s bright future–’Let’s continue to knock on the door to the new world.’
Right now, in the midst of worldwide panic and uncertainty, the group delivers a musical escape which many people need to survive the daily monotony of being stuck inside. (Don’t worry, their music is on Spotify.)
Like the rest of the idol world, the current pandemic has put a halt to all outside activities. Other idol groups have resorted to live-streaming concerts or offering rehearsal footage on Youtube to fill the gap.
The April 10th cy8er concert, celebrating Rinahamu’s birthday, has been postponed until at least June, with no other event plans posted.
Though this is a major hiccup, fans eagerly await the announcement of new music through the member’s individual social media pages. Myself included.