There has been a recent increase in anime-related crowdfunding projects popping up, and through the CHIKA*CHIKA IDOL project that has a Kickstarter campaign underway there is plenty of free content to enjoy.
CHIKA*CHIKA IDOL is an anime about “chika idols,” or “underground idols,” and it’s being created completely in 3DCG. In a recent interview, Tokyo Otaku Mode sat down with project director Hiroshi Nishikiori and producer Yasutake Honjo to find out their reasons behind them undertaking this project.
Director Nishikiori also recently held a Reddit AMA to answer questions from fans.
What is a Chika Idol?
The term “chika idol,” or “underground idol,” is a slang term referring to an indie idol who primarily performs at live shows and events. In contrast to so-called major idols you see on TV, chika idols perform at small live houses without any exposure in mainstream media.
In 1999, a live house called Yotsuya Sunvalley opened in Yotsuya, Tokyo. This live house had an floor underground where many indie idols performed, and this is said to have given birth to the term “chika idol.”
From there we entered the 2000s and another term was birthed due to the increase in idols active in Akihabara: “Akiba-kei idols.” What makes these idols unique is their importance on connecting with fans and creating a sense of unity even at small shows. Fans cheer on the growth and success of these idols while also being able to feel their tenacity—it’s certainly a special experience.
These days, indie idols are also called “live idols” and “real-kei idols” as well. But it’s safe to say it all starts with chika idols.