ATARASHII GAKKO! or Atarashii Gakkou no Leaders (新しい学校のリーダーズ; lit.: New School Leaders) is the girl group that will make you take a second look, despite their unsophistication and ruggedness.
Anyone from my generation can attest to the enormous gap between high schoolers today versus high schoolers from the 90s to the early 2000s. Many of us older generation girls have had our unpretty, unkempt, and rugged days. We clad baggy, saggy pants, tag necklaces, and skater shoes. Unlike many kids these days, we weren’t taught how to put on make-up or pose for the camera. We didn’t have social media, whereas teenagers today can easily emulate people whom they deem to be beautiful, rich, or hip.
High schoolers these days are most exposed to popular and it-girls–the influencers and K-pop girl group members. Hence, as what I’ve noticed, kids grow up so fast. Many of them wouldn’t ever go through an “ugly duckling” phase because even beauty products today are cheap and widely available.
It was just so different back in the day. We might have the same blues–studying, defying school rules and authority, extracurricular activities like sports and music, and our crushes (which was pretty normal), but there was less pressure to be beautiful or influential. As I look back, I smile and sometimes make fun of the silly, unkempt old me. A millennial like myself have always taken pride in experiencing boyish and rugged days, especially in high school and even college.
That’s the reason why I can’t get over this girl group from Japan who has recently taken over the world: ATARASHII GAKKO!
Meet ATARASHII GAKKO!
Yes, ATARASHII GAKKO! is a girl group–they sing, dance, rap. Most of them have a natural refinement that may fit a typical Japanese girl group like AKB48, but they chose to be different. I won’t say they aren’t manufactured, but based on their style, music, and quirks, they are like an antidote to overly-groomed K-pop, J-pop, or even Western girl groups. I wasn’t surprised because Japan is known for breaking a lot of stereotypes, and this girl group concept sells in the country.
It’s a great thing that Asian-American label 88Rising signed them up to be promoted in the USA and the rest of the world. They’re getting known little by little, and in no time, I’m sure that they could influence many teenage girls to embrace their silliness and youth. Girls could alternatively look up to ATARASHII GAKKO, instead of the more robotic or groomed girl groups we have today.
Reasons to Love ATARASHII GAKKO!
I love ATARASHII GAKKO! because as a teenager back in the early 2000s, I could relate to their style, manners, angst, and the issues they face as high schoolers. Love, studies, authority, social identity are some of the problems I had to deal with in high school, and the group isn’t afraid to speak of them. I am mesmerized by the group’s advocacies and the things they fight for, like challenging Japan’s institutions, especially in education–deciding what they’ll do in the future, changing the status quo, and getting rid of BS rules–or adults not listening to what the younger ones have to say.
As an adult, I am also charmed by ATARASHII GAKKO’s music, which is a mix of alternative rock, math rock, pop, jazz, and hip hop. If you’re into any of these genres, then you might enjoy what they have to offer. Listen to them on their Spotify Profile.
ATARASHII GAKKO! Members
ATARASHII GAKKO’s lead vocalist and main face of the group, Suzuka, is far from the archetype idol that we’re used to seeing. Who would ever present someone with sunglasses as an idol? Even the quirkiest rock band vocalists and artists are asked or prefer to wear contact lenses in lieu of their essential glasses. It’s almost the first time I’m seeing a girl group member wearing not even a stylish one. Apart from being physically unique, Suzuka is strong, confident, rebellious, a bit chaotic with a “don’t-care-what-they-say” attitude. Best of all, her broad range and strong singing vocals offer various genre variety–from jazz to the usual j-rock.
My other favorite member is Rin. I find her very cool and also a bit boyish. Unlike the other girls, she’s got smooth dance moves, plus rapping skills. If you check out her Instagram page, you’ll see that she’s into hip-hop, dance, and djing. She posted several videos and photos of her doing samples and sounds. I can’t get enough of her.
The other two members–Kanon and Mizyu, may be a lot more feminine than Suzuka and Rin, but they also exhibit silliness and crazy attitudes that make the group stand out. Even if they look too girly for their dance moves and manners, they still try to be consistent with ATARASHII GAKKO’s rebellious vibe, while being sexy and kawaii, at the same time.
It’s very refreshing to see this type of girl group make it to the mainstream. ATARASHII GAKKO! is a symbol that kids should embrace their youth and not rush into growing up. That’s apart from the fact that their music can also be relished, no matter what generation you belong.
Are you a fan of ATARASHII GAKKO? What do you like most about them? Let us know in the comment section below.😄