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In the never-ending battle to be the next big thing, a new idol group made their debut on January 15–with “big” being the operative word. Featuring the same singing and dancing you’ve seen from the hundreds of idol groups before them, these five girls are trying to prove that even those who aren’t paper-thin can make it in the idol world.

What separates this group from the “marshmallow girls” before them? For one, they actually are plus-sized, and they are OK with that! Please welcome to the stage: Pottya.

The entertainment industry feeds off handsome, well-built guys, and thin, beautiful girls. It’s a formula that presents an incredibly flawed and dangerous body image, but it’s one that makes money nevertheless. People love to see the beautiful faces on TV and imagine what it would be like to be them.

Last year, so-called Marshmallow Girls all over Japan sought to demonstrate that you don’t have to be super-model thin to become an idol. And 2015 is kicking off in much the same way, with lots to be excited about.

Pottya, an idol group of “large” women who made their debut on January 15 at LIVE GATE TOKYO, boast that their average weight is 76 kg (167 lbs) and their combined weight totals 380 kg (837 lbs).

Pocchari is a Japanese word for “chubby”.

When asked what the goals of the group were, they said: “We are aiming to be orthodox idols who sing and dance. We want to be a presence that gives dreams to chubby girls.”

The group will be doing live shows, as well as making appearances at food festivals and hopefully in dramas too. Their new song, “Po, Po, Po, Pocharinko,” will be released on January 29, but you can catch a preview of it on YouTube now.

January 29 = i niku no hi (pun for “Good Meat Day”)

The leader of the group, Risa Oki.

Mai Yokogawa

▼Emi Tsukada

▼Michiko Ohashi

▼Maika Inudo

It’s nice to see larger girls in the spotlight, and we wish the girls all the luck in the world, but we can’t help thinking that the people behind Pottya may be borrowing a bit too heavily from 2014’s Chubbiness, itself an idol group of (just barely) plus-sized girls. We’re all for helping to change the perceptions of beauty, and having more than one plus-sized group out there is by no means a bad thing (least not when you consider how many idol groups populated with super-slim girls there are), but it’s a shame that both Pottya and Chubbiness’ videos seem to rely so heavily on the image of chubby girls gorging on extra-large quantities of unhealthy foods like doughnuts and cakes. After all, being a bit on the large size isn’t always down to an over-fondness for Krispy Kreme.

Perhaps when the next plus-sized idol group appears on our screens, their management will try to spread the message that it’s OK to be big without also feeling the need to show the girls surrounded by oversized confection.

Source: Hachima Kiko
Images: Pottya Official Website