The main UNIDOL competition finals finally took place! The last winter edition was held back in February 2020 at the USEN Studio Coast. Then the Covid came by and the 2021 edition was cancelled and the USEN Studio Coast closed down. It was the first time for an UNIDOL event to take place at the Nakano Sun plaza and to mark such beginning the special guest was nonetheless HKT48. Matsuoka Hana doubled as the event MC as well.
HKT48 brought twelve members to ignite the scene, performing six songs: “Hayaokuri Calendar“, “Otona Ressya“, “Ishi“, “12byou“, “Totsuzen Do love me!“, “Saikou ka yo“. The girls were dazzling, treated the audience with live singing and a perfect pitch from Hana for HKT48’s last song.
65 teams all around Japan joined this edition. 14 teams passed the selection phases held in five regions of Japan: Hokkaido, Tokai, Kanto, Kansai and Kyushu. 2 more teams were selected part of the revival phase which took place the same day prior to the finals.
Two big contenders, Sayonara Moratorium and Tomboys, unfortunately had to drop out from the competitions due to college regulations regarding Covid. Lot of people was eager to see Tomboys’ five winning streak to continue. It is sad to see it end because of a technicality.
Revival competition: Natsume46 (Waseda University) , Seijo Kanojo (Seijo University)
Miss UNIDOL 2021-2022
Winner: Hina (Pichicart)
Runner-up: P! (Plumeria)
Jury’s special award: Renamaru (Spring UP)
Model Press Award: Hina (Pichicart)
MISS COLLE award: Ui (Kindan Adolescence)
Most “Fair Play” award: La.mf (Y. University)
Best “Energy” award: Tansui Meri RiEtto (K. University)
Best Costume award: Rikkyou Idol Kenkyuu kai
Most “Attractive” award: chocolat lumiere (K. University)
Best Performance award: Kimi ha toxic (Waseda University)
3rd place: chocolat lumière (K. University) – @ChocolatLumiere
Jury’s vote: 1st
Audience’s vote: 12th
Total score: 432 points
Setlist: “Luminance Princess” – Run Girls, Run!; “Walkure ha Uragiranai” – Walkure;
“Demonstration” – Momoiro Clover Z
Kokoro, Minarun and Yuipomu made up the team. The three, 1st year college students, had nothing to shy away from their performance. Their coordination and energy were exceptional securing them 1st place in the jury’s vote and the most “Attractive” award. It is a shame that the anime setlist and their budding fan-base were only able to rank them 12th in the audience’s vote.
The trio’s future sure looks bright and we look forward seeing chocolat lumière’s achievement at the following UNIDOL competitions.
2nd place: SPH mellmuse (Sophia University) – @SPH48
Jury’s vote: 3rd
Audience’s vote: 2nd
Total score: 460 points
Setlist: “Junsei Evidence” – Morning Musume ‘20; “Happy Lucky KiraKira Lucky” – GANG PARADE;
“Love take it all” – ℃-ute; “Gira Gira Revolution” – SUPER☆GiRLS
SPH mellmuse showed up with 12 members of generation 17, 19, 21 and 22. They were aiming for the crown. And once again, they did not disappoint. It is remarkable that SPH has been able to keep such quality while having new member generations joining their rank. The performance was a well oiled machine. The units and song transitions were impeccable. The group really feels like AKB48 in that respect. Using AKB48 as a model is in no way an easy feat however one cannot help noticing that for the past years AKB48 has not been standing at the pinnacle of the IDOL industry. SPH mellmuse has been falling short lately, neither earning 1st place in the jury’s vote or audience’s vote or any special prize in this 2022 edition. It will be interesting to see what the girls will do to breach through that bottleneck.
1st place: Kimi ha toxic (KimiToki) (Waseda University) – @kimihatoxic
Jury’s vote: 2nd
Audience’s vote: 1st
Total score: 466 points
Setlist: “Synchronized ~Synchro~” – Fairies; “Watashi Accent” – ≠ME ; “Answer” –Jewel
The team was made of three girls: Non, Reika and Yukiko. Reika stood alone at the Kanto 2nd day preliminaries and won the ticket to the finals with a marvellous performance, topping both Tomboys and chocolat lumiere. She turned her team into the dark horse of this edition. For the finals Yukiko and Non were able to join Reika and share her burden. The three performed as one with beaming smiles, sparkling eyes and brimming with confidence. Their triangle formation was not perfect a few times nevertheless their mastery over the choreography was undoubtful. Their last song cover was particularly outstanding. The video was filled with warmth contrasting with Tokyo cold weather and the A capella part resounded ever more crisp to one’s heart. Their hardwork earned them a well deserved first place and the best Performance award. It was a soul-stirring scene seeing the three of them, 4th year college students, standing at the summit for their very last UNIDOL competition.
It was with a great relief to see this historical and thrilling edition closing down. Historical because many first happened: first UNIDOL competition held at Nakano Sun Plaza, first time for Kimi ha Toxic (KimiToki) and chocolat lumière to stand on the winning podium at UNIDOL finals.
Thrilling because there were 1st year college students brimming with talents and 4th year college students get to end their final UNIDOL in the very best way. All these make UNIDOL an unique event that never gets old to watch.
A great thanks to UNIDOL management for the official photos.
Article and translation by Anthony.