On Monday, the official website of the 22/7 idol project made a significant announcement. Oto Amaya, renowned for her portrayal of Toa Yagami, is set to graduate from the franchise. Amaya, who took a temporary hiatus to prioritize her studies, unveiled on her blog that her graduation date is August 31.
Following discussions with the staff, she concluded that effectively juggling both the franchise and her studies would prove to be challenging. Compounding this, her mother fell ill in March, further complicating matters.
Amaya’s blog and social media accounts will conclude their run on September 7. Preceding her, Reina Miyase, who brought life to Ayaka Tachikawa, bid her farewell in May. Likewise, Chiharu Hokaze, acclaimed for her role as Reika Satō, parted ways with the franchise in February 2021 to pursue a voice acting career.
Earlier, Mei Hanakawa exited the 22/7 idol group in December 2019 due to health-related reasons. In October 2019, the group had announced her extended hiatus, hoping for her eventual recovery and return. Despite the collective efforts of Hanakawa and the staff, her health did not rebound, rendering continued performances infeasible. Consequently, Uta Kawase stepped in, assuming the role of Nicole Saitō.
The visionary “dimension-crossing” idol group, spearheaded by AKB48 founder and producer Yasushi Akimoto, has its foundations in the concept of “idols who transcend dimensions.” The initial ensemble comprised of eight anime idol characters, with their respective voice actresses assuming real-world idol roles. Facilitated by Sony Music Records and Aniplex, the venture drew a staggering 10,325 applications, prompting five rounds of auditions.
Commencing in 2017, the group embarked on the release of animated music videos, followed by the debut of character videos in English in May 2018.
The 22/7 anime premiered in January 2020, encompassing 12 episodes and an additional 13th episode labeled “8+3=?” showcasing all 11 primary cast members. Aniplex of America facilitated streaming on FunimationNow concurrent with the Japanese broadcast, and the anime joined Crunchyroll’s lineup in February 2020.
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In 2021, the group conducted their second audition for new members, marking a continuation of their recruitment journey initiated in October 2016.