Kokoro skipped down the street, no destination in mind. Spending all day at home was getting boring even though she had so many things at home it still got boring at times. She hadn't made any friends at school yet so it's not like she could hang with anyone.
Before she turned to head down the road, a flyer caught her eye. It was covered over with a bunch of other flyers but somehow Kokoro still managed to spot it. She walked up to the pole, taking the flyer down away from the rest.
"Fun!Idol!Times Annual Idol Guerilla Concert" the poster read in a colour font. Kokoro skimmed through the flyer, looking for more information on the event.
'Come out and see your favourite local and underground idols perform at the special stage. The entire show is free and open for all!!'
"Idols…" Kokoro mumbled. She had heard about them before but never bothered to pay attention to them. She didn't really have anything to do anyway, the location wasn't too far away and the event would be starting soon. Without much thinking, Kokoro folded the flyer and shoved it into her before skipping off to the direction of the event.
Not too far away a girl was struggling to carry a drum kit by herself to a local music store…
When Kokoro arrived at the event she was surprised to see how empty it was. A free concert with so many artists performing, surely a lot of people would be crowding the area ready to see what was in store. Even with the little people that were there, many of them were decked out in what seemed to be merchandise. Kokoro couldn't tell if they were bought or handmade but it definitely seemed fun to wear. The people (mostly older men, fathers maybe) were all congregating in little circles discussing amongst themselves. Kokoro smiled, they all seemed to be so excited to watch their daughters(?) perform. It would be nice to one day do the same for her father but he was always so busy.
Before Kokoro could dwell on that thought any longer, the announcer came out yelling at the top of his lungs. He gave the usual, overly enthusiastic introduction to the event and the crowd seemed to also be very engaged. After a few opening points and awkward jokes that only Kokoro laughed at, the first group was announced. They seemed a bit older than Kokoro, around college age. The costumes were cute and sparkly but also seemed a bit worn out. The group introduced themselves and quickly jumped to their first song.
The performance ended as quickly as it started with the group only performing 4 songs with one short break in between. The crowd wasn't very engaged for this performance either, lazily clapping along to the beat or just completely distracted. The same couldn't be said about Kokoro. She couldn't help but cheer and jump around during the performance. The songs were so cute and refreshing and the girls wore such bright, cheerful smiles. Even when they made mistakes they kept going, giving it their all even for such a dead crowd. It made Kokoro feel energized and excited. She didn't notice the weird stares she got from the other audience members, only the way the girl's face brightened up when glancing her way.
Kokoro's energy didn't falter the entire show. It was almost 3 hours in total yet she managed to cheer for all the girls. Some of the little groups cheered for a few of the groups but for the most part, the audience was pretty relaxed and even unimpressed at times. Kokoro didn't understand why All the groups did such amazing jobs and they all gave such great performances, even if you weren't a fan of that specific group it should have at least made you a bit hyped.
Kokoro definitely stood out in the crowd. Even getting called out by the MC a few times which she just cutely laughed off. Some of the groups or their managers even came up to her and offered her some form of memorial which she gladly accepted. All the groups did eventually ask to take a photo with her for the SNS accounts. Some of the girls even admitted to feeling nervous and discouraged before the performance but seeing Kokoro cheer them on really made them feel a bit more comfortable while on stage.
At some point in the show, The Suits did appear around her and even some extras showed up. Who knew they were such fans of idols. It was a bit upsetting when they kept getting in the way of Kokoro when other audience members tried to talk to her. In their defence, it is their job to guard Kokoro anyways, maybe they were just worried Kokoro would feel overwhelmed.
Kokoro felt a strange emptiness when the concert was over. She felt so energized yet there was no one left to cheer for. Now she just had to wait for the next live performance for any of the groups. Thankfully they gave her their information so she could even keep up with their activities.
"Kokoro-sama." One of The Suits said to Kokoro who was checking out the merch stands. "This is Mr Narukami. He's a local idol producer and he wanted to speak with you."
"Oh ok. Can you pick up 3 of everything for the stands while I talk to him! I'll need two extras of everything just in case I break one and misplace another." Kokoro said before walking over to the gentleman leaving the Suits to gather the merchandise. Only 2 of them stayed to stand with her.
"Good day Ms Tsukumari. It's a pleasure to meet you. My name is Mr Narukami Jun. I'm an idol producer for a company here in Tokyo currently trying to scout a new act to produce. You see this event is normally used to help promote underground and local idols to a more general audience. We selected the most popular, talented idols with the most potential to perform. On top of that, sometimes other companies would stop by to find their next act to sign."
"Wow! This event must be a big deal then!" Kokoro didn't know much about idols but an event to help promote them seems important.
"Well, it used to be. Nowadays, most kids are interested in bands and stuff. Idols are slowly slipping back into being a niche making it impossible for idols to get popular among anyone but wotas. Normally the whole area would be packed out with teens and adults alike, looking for a new upcoming idol group to support. This is the 3rd year in a row this happened."
Kokoro stared at the man, shocked at this revelation. No wonder she didn't hear much about idols, it was a niche which meant it only applied to a specific demographic. Easy to miss for the average person.
"Most idol concerts, festivals and even theatres have been closing down. Companies are going back to focusing on the niche which means there won't be much room for underground idols and with support of the general public, local idols are essentially useless."
"That's horrible. What are you going to do about it?"
"Eh? Me? I can't do much honestly. My idea to start an idol band kinda flopped so. Now I'm just trying to find a perfect girl to mentor before everyone starts learning an instrument and forming bands."
Kokoro thought to herself for a moment. Form a band? Would that even be as fun as an idol group? Since every one would have to play an instrument there probably won't be much dancing. Not to mention instruments take time to master so it would probably be more boring than fun. The way the girls were dancing and singing on stage it was almost as if they didn't know that song. That seems fun.
"Aw. I wish there was something I could do. Idols are so much fun. But I guess if people don't want to, we can't make them can we?"
"Well, I mean. If they were to see one amazing idol that should surely catch their attention. Someone talented, a quick learner, energetic and good at getting people hyped."
"There were so many girls that could definitely do that! I wish you could take them all and form one big group."
"Haha, that's cute but it would be pricey. But I actually had someone in mind."
"Really? Who?" Kokoro mentally ran a list of all the girls who performed trying to narrow it down to the most eye-catching member. It was hard though because as far as she was concerned everyone did amazing and deserved to get signed.
"You." Well, she didn't think of that.