Iroppoi Twilight Game

For those who like H!P ^_^, plus a learning experience!

Hello! 2017! Let’s see what you have brought for us fans this year?

Boy has this been a crazy year with many graduations, surprising turn of events and new members galore with some fun releases from all the groups involved…so shall I get myself started!!!

NOTE: This year, I think I’m going to skip the stageplay OSTs this year as none of them really stood out to me sadly, and there was a LOT…but I’ll at least mention the ones that were found on Petit Best 18.

Morning Musume ’17

mm17

brandnewmorningjamashinaideherewegogosenfunotasuki15thankyoutoo

Always with the longest group to begin things out!  Anyways the year sort of began a bit last year with the announcement of the group adding two members in Kaede Kaga Reina Yokoyama.  Their first thing was to be involved with that ABK48 song, “Get you!” but right before it was sadly announced that Masaki Sato was going to be out on hiatus due to an injured back which ended up with her missing the first single of the year “BRAND NEW MORNING / Jealousy Jealousy” which also included a slightly different take of “Get you!” and “Morning Misoshiru” which was a redone take of “Morning Coffee” meant to promote miso soup.

Then it was announced during their “Pharaoh no Haka” stageplay round that Haruka Kudo was going to graduate towards the end of the year.

Then in a twist during the summer, Country Girls went into hiatus and their members (alongside other new H!P members) were shuffled to existing groups and Chisaki Morito would join as the lone 14th Generation and would be included in the group’s next single, “Jama Shinaide Here We Go! / Dokyuu no Go Sign / Wakaindashi!” which was also known as Duu’s final single and the return of Maachan!

As December was nearing Momusu did a one/two punch of an announcement of a digital single, “Gosenfu no Tasuki” & a new album finally, “⑮ Thank you, too” before Duu would go on and graduate on 12/11.

GREAT SONGS

  • BRAND NEW MORNING – Considering this is the debut for the 13th Generation, it was rather uncertain how they’d turn out, but suspicions were laid to rest as both Reina and Kaede managed to hold their ground in this powerful and cool song!  I was also impressed to see Eripon have a strong line as well.  All I will say that it was a bit sad that Maachan was absent for this one, but she really doesn’t do much in the song after she had returned anyways, lol.
  • Dokyuu no Go Sign – As the most energetic song off the 2nd single, Dokyuu no Go Sign was bursting with life and the girls are quite excited to be a part of a song like this!  I wasn’t expecting the song to be split between vocals and dancers (like in many of their previous songs).  The girls that were chosen to sing did bring a nice amount of fun and expression though!  I will say that I was blown away by Sakura, Fukuchan, Akane, and Harunan here though.  Just a song to break the mold for the year and it was much appreciated!
  • Wakaindashi! – Well for a song that’s meant for our graduate, Duu to have, Wakaindashi! was a great way to celebrate her time with the group!  This poppy, tropical house sounding mid-tempo tune is just breezy and very sentimental to listen to and the nods to Duu on top of her many solos is just great!  Of course there was lines for the 3 youngest members (Reina, Akane, and Maria) and that was a nice thing to include too.  Great graduation song!
  • CHO DAI – Honestly, I’m still digging this song from the album review I did on my main blog because it’s so mysterious and the beat is kickin’ and quite memorable to me.  I just love when they repeat ~cho daaiiii~ over and over up until the chorus where the synths get a little more active.  My only concern are those high notes still as that’s pretty hiked up there!  Still, it’s a pretty cool track!
  • Watashi no Nanni mo Wakacchanai – Yeah, it’s goddamn time they’ve finally released this song!  It’s been two years and with a couple members having left (or joined) I figured it wasn’t gonna be like when they first performed it during their PRISM tour.  Having the studio version though feels so good and it just fills my headphones perfectly!  I love the repetition and the EDM is just enough to get me pumped up…Like I said, it was worth the 2 year wait!!!
  • Seishun Say A-HA – Like “Watashi no Nanni mo Wakacchanai”, we had to wait quite as bit (but not quite as long as) for this one to have a studio cut.  Just like the aforementioned song though, this song was also worth it because it’s catchy and great for pumping crowds up with those chants in the chorus.  It might be on the lower end of the Great songs, but I still dug it.
  • Mou Gaman Dekinai wa ~Love ice cream~ – My favorite of the 3 shuffle groups on the album, this one sung by Haachin, Akane, Kaedii, and Reina and I was excited to hear more of the latter two as they still feel rather brand new (no puns intended).  I definitely get anison themes in this pop/rock track and once again I love that they breakaway from the EDM a little bit.  It just sounds cool and unique on the album and having all the members that haven’t really got to shine is always a welcoming sight to behold!

OK SONGS

  • Jealousy Jealousy & Jealousy Jealousy (Album Version) – So the other A-side from the first single of the year, I feel Jealousy Jealousy was the more polished and classy song amongst the two.  The track is pretty cool though and the synth horns sound cool alongside the strings as well.  Though I can’t quite put a finger on why it isn’t a great song to me.  I also love hearing Miki taking a bigger role as well.  As for the album version, very little seemed to have changed besides adding Masaki and Chisaki to the song in some small parts so it feels as if it didn’t change any.
  • Get you! – As the song that the group and Rino Sashihara worked together on, I was surprised it would get a single version that’s slightly different from the one from AKB’s album.  The biggest difference is that there is less Sasshi and solos from Sakura, Haruka, Mizuki, and Ayumi.  I do think the arrangement is a tad bit boring (but mostly because Akimoto’s works tend to sound similar to one another).
  • Jama Shinaide Here We Go! – As the leading A-side for the 2nd single they released in 2017, Jama Shinaide Here We Go! was our first taste of Chisaki Morito being a part of Momusu and she had a lot of facetime in the PV!  The song itself it was a little difficult to point out her voice amongst the crowd of other voices.  Still, this is a pretty decent EDM track from the group despite not totally standing out amongst the crowd.
  • Romance ni Mezameru Mousou Joshi no Uta – As the first album song you run into, I was curious to how I’d feel about it because it was the only track that wasn’t really previewed during the group’s tour.  It definitely makes me think of “What is LOVE?” with those aggressive synths and rhythms.  It’s somewhat cute and a bit crazy and I kind of dug it.
  • Style of my love – Sung by Harunan, Sakura, and Maria I was thinking the song was going to be a cute one and I was pretty damn close if I say so myself.  Not quite as cute as some of the stuff that was connected to Sayu, but the saxes really connect the idea.  I do love that Harunan and Maria have gotten better as singers, but they still can’t quite get to Sakura’s levels.  Either way, the tune is pretty nice but it’s in the lower end of the OK songs.
  • Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari (Morning Musume ’17 ver.) – It was pretty much a known fact that the group was due for one of these songs.  It’s been quite a while and we have a whole new set of girls to deal with.  Not much to say though if you’ve been a fan for a long time and know this song and what’s its shtick is.  I will say that Miki getting that all English in her solo line is great though!
  • Ai no Tane (20th Anniversary ver.) – Normally, I’d be so excited to see Ai no Tane being redone but it had already to much better reception!  Though they do share the same arrangement, this one was all of the current Momusu members.  So the excitement isn’t quite as large.  At least this was a more valiant effort than “Morning Misoshiru” was.

MEH SONGS

  • Morning Misoshiru – As it was the beginning of celebrating 20 years of Momusu, it was no surprise that “Morning Coffee” would be worked in the group’s celebration.  I do feel like the song felt more cheap from the instrumentation and the changing of one word (in the chorus), there was just no interest from me though it’s nice that Maachan was in both of the single’s B-sides.  It’s somewhat cute, but I could’ve been simply OK with just the original.
  • Gosenfu no Tasuki – So this was a surprisingly announced song that the group released prior to the album (why it’s not on the album is beside me because it’s rather mediocre, although NOW I know it’ll be on a 2018 mini-album they’re releasing).  The tune seems like a typical unison sounding ballad and I wasn’t sure how it tied to anything of theirs.  There are solos from Sakura, Mizuki, shockingly Miki luckily which it meant things would be OK…but the song just feels lacking to me.  Odd song overall…
  • Narcissus Kamatte-chan Kyousoukyoku Dai 5ban – I’m not sure what it is with this song with the wacky long title, but the song doesn’t quite resonate with me as with other songs from the album.  I do like the crazy amount of solo lines for all the members which is impressive, but the song doesn’t seem to pave new roads that have been already dug out from other tracks.  Plus the tone shift in the choruses just seem out of place maybe?
  • Koi wa Toki ni – As the last of the shufflings with Fukuchan, Eripon, Ayumi, Maachan, Duu, Miki, and Chiichan.  I kind of found myself kind of lost with it.  Like I know it’s not a terrible song, but on an album chock-full of EDM songs, Koi wa Toki ni seems pretty middle-of-the-road and it feels like the song doesn’t quite have the oomph, other songs do.  Although that bridge is kind of cool…

Predictions from last year

I’m hoping for a push for 12th Gen even if Maria is getting the push currently. Not sure what else could be said, maybe an album to get things rolling?

Actuality: I really don’t know what to say on that first part, I think 12th Gen overall took a backseat once again (maybe a little bit of a Miki push this year).  Though they did get a little more appreciation from the album which FINALLY happened!

Predictions for 2018: Considering this is going to be big for Hello! Project next year, there’s really no amount of surprises that could happen (and that’s something to say considering Momusu gained 3 members and lost Duu).  I think someone will graduate next year…either Harunan or Eripon…but it’s hard to say otherwise…maybe a best album? (15 A-sides with no album kind of just says eventual best album).

°C-ute

2017cute

totomorrowcompletesinglecollection

Well it had to happen and we were reaching our end line with °C-ute due to last year’s announcement of their disbandment in 2017.  They kicked off their year with what would become their final single, “To Tomorrow / Final Squall / The Curtain Rises” and they began their final performances with a best album, “°COMPLETE SINGLE COLLECTION“.  Then they had their last performance on June 12th.

Since their disbandment it seems 4/5 of the remaining members at the time have been releasing (or getting ready to) solo music (everyone but Maimai).

  • NOTE: They did release a Live CD of their final performance, but I’m not going to review all those live cuts…but I will say it was pretty awesome they did that!

GREAT SONGS

  • The Curtain Rises – A little surprise of the 3 A-sides, this one didn’t feel like a goodbye song but this track is pretty good since it’s what °C-ute does best which are dance tracks!  There’s just something about it that really pulled me in and once again caught me off guard.  There’s a little odd rap section here, but it worked and the after-chorus was pretty badass too.  Definitely a cool song for them but not quite as epic as “Mugen Climax” was last year.
  • Yuki ga Chirari – Moving to stuff found on their best album, I was surprised by this special treat.  It’s basically “Sakura Chirari” but a switch of a lyric and the fact that Megumi Murakami was still a part of the group when the song was made.  She feels so natural here and suits this hoppy song!  Still, it’s a fun song to listen to but made slightly better with Megu and Airi here.
  • Juliet Juliet – If you thought waiting for “Watashi no Nanni mo Wakacchanai” was mad, waiting for this rarity took almost a decade xD.  Juliet Juliet is basically “Namida no Iro” with different lyrics but the same arrangement.  Like “Yuki ga Chirari”, it’s a decent alternate cut of a song, but I kind of wished this had the “Shin Seinaru” arrangement lol.
  • Yume – That intro though!  It definitely gives me anison vibes and the rest of the song kind of does the same.  I really like the brightness of the song that remind me somewhat of “Ai wa Maru de Seidenki” but a bit more pop/rock here.  It’s a pretty nice song for them to release (makes me wonder why they didn’t promote any of the new songs from the best).

OK SONGS

  • Final Squall – Hey, it’s fine that Final Squall reminds me heavily of “Tsugi no Kado wo Magare” because I loved that song.  Final Squall felt a bit more stronger of a song to leave things behind with.  I definitely remember Airi and Chisato for some reason the most in this track and they held their own with that powerful chorus!  I think they should’ve promoted this song a WHOLE lot more!  The only thing that bothered me was the rapping…but otherwise, pretty good track.
  • Come Together (°C-ute ver.) – I’m rather curious to how this happened.  A song that’s sung by Ongaku Gatas, I wonder if °C-ute was originally planned for it and then it was switched perhaps?  I meanthe vocals sound way younger here of course, but the arrangement is no different.  Actually vocally, I prefer this over the Ongaku cut…hmmm odd!
  • Kimi wa Jitensha Watashi wa Densha de Kitaku (Winter ver.) – I had totally forgot they performed this like once on one of their tours.  This wintry edit of their big ballad song might not be the most intriguing bonus on that 6th disc, but I do appreciate how appropriate it sounds!
  • Samurai☆Baby – Considering this song was used for one of their older stageplays, I wasn’t sure how to feel about it and unsurprisingly it does sound low quality (primarily because it felt like a live recording).  The song does have potential though and I like the spacey vibes I get from it (strange as it has Samurais in it).  Cute song overall.
  • Zenbu Owatta Kaerimichi – I guess this was promoted the most? (just going from the fact it’s on Petit Best 18).  Anyways, this song is strange primarily it’s a cute AF song that sounds more appropriate on a Momusu album.  It’s pretty youthful and reminds me of when H!P was focused on their anime tie-ins.

MEH SONGS

  • To Tomorrow – For being one of three of their last A-sides, I feel like To Tomorrow somehow felt chintzy and just a bit hammy.  Of course I like hearing the group and their lines and they sound nice, but the song itself just felt a bit weak, especially for being one of their goodbye songs.
  • Ataru mo Hakke!? – Unlike “Samurai☆Baby”, I feel like Ataru mo Hakke!? is a bit more cheesier to listen to and it feels like the group wasn’t really into the song either because I felt bored by it.  It just sounded vanilla and unmemorable to me.
  • RIN – Of the 3 songs introduced on the best, I wasn’t really sure where I stood with RIN because it’s kind of an album song to me with no real memorable parts, but it moves into different sections quite quickly too.  It’s an oddball song that really doesn’t stick out to me…is that strange?

Predictions from last year!

Honestly, with the group only having half a year left to do anything and them now finished with H!P concerts (except their own), all I can see them doing is releasing one more single and a best album (hopefully the same kind of way that Berryz did).

Actuality: Yeah, this was surprisingly easy to predict and it came true!

ANGERME

2017angerme

aisaearebanannimoiranaimannermode

It seems that every group had some kind of crazy year and ANGERME is not innocent of it either.  It begun with the announcement that Maho Aikawa was going on hiatus.  That meant that their first single of the year, “Ai Sae Areba Nanni mo Iranai / Namida Iro no Ketsui / Majokko Megu-chan” was going to be without her, but before that, they released a much fuller release from last year’s stageplay, MODE

Then it led into the summer concerts and what not and the big shuffle led to Musubu Funaki Ayano Kawamura joining ANGERME and they’d do Yumemiru Television and they would release a DVD single to close the year, “Manner Mode / Kisoku Tadashiku Utsukushiku / Kimi Dake ja nai sa…friends“.

Though on the last day of 2017, it was finally announced that unfortunately Maho decided to leave the group…

  • NOTE: Despite them performing “I Musou Strong!” this year, there’s no studio cut, so it won’t be talked about here.

GREAT SONGS

  • Majokko Megu-chan – As the Momona-centered 3rd A-side from the first single of the year, it’s no surprise it had to be a cover song like “Mahou Tsukai Sally” was.  Still, despite the slightly sexual lyics, the song is exciting and the jazzy/rock feel of the track was exciting and cute!  Though despite Kassa being lead, the other members get a line to themselves throughout so it feels so varied and awesome!
  • Kisoku Tadashiku Utsukushiku – I really wasn’t expecting a part deux to “Otome no Gyakushuu” here, but I really dug hearing Takechan & Funakki open up this goth ditty here.  I love the dramatics and the strings strewn throughout.  It’s pretty unique and the song has such an interesting PV to go along with it which is aweshomes!

OK SONGS

  • Ai Sae Areba Nanni mo Iranai – Being the primary A-side from their first single of the year, I was kind of surprised that this was chosen as such because the song is quite the hodge-podge of a mess here.  I do love the intro and verses of the song the most here, but the waltz-heavy pre-chorus and the oddly shaped chorus is a bit jarring and reminds me of 2012-13 H!P where Tsunku just kind of cut n’ pasted different parts of various ideas to somehow make a whole song.
  • Namida Iro no Ketsui – It seems like this is our first ballad as an A-side released by ANGERME (and by that, S/mileage too!).  Being a song that focuses around Rikako, Murotan, and Kamiko, the song is a bit of a slow burner and I do slightly cringe with Rikako’s voice being all over such a soft song, but there’s something rather memorable about the track.  It’s nice and the meaning behind it is sweet of them!
  • Manner Mode – As the rockin’ lead of their 2nd single, Manner Mode is pretty cool and it has an edgier feel in comparison to other songs released during the year.  I mean it’s got the soul and energy of an ANGERME song which is exciting to always see and a lot of the members sound great too, but it seemed slightly safe.

MEH SONGS

  • Kimi Dake ja nai sa…friends – I think the only misstep is this mid-tempo track that focuses on Kamiko, Murotan, and new member Kawamuu and the song is just a bit too straightforward for me.  I do love hearing Mizuki in her own in the track, but Ayano’s squeaky vocals don’t fully suit the song very much.  It’s not just that much of memorable song for me from them, at least it’s the only bummer.

Predictions from 2016

Same as I said last year, I’m not so sure where ANGERME will land for the next year.  I mean of course, more growth for Kamiko & Kassa that’s for sure.  With Maimi leaving H!P, will Ayacho become the new leader or will she pass and just graduate?  It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the next year!

Actuality: Well, Ayacho did become the new H!P leader so that answered my thoughts on it last year.  As for growth for Moe/Momona…I would say Momona got the push here from “Majokko Megu-chan” moerso than Moe, but it wasn’t like she was invisible.  Though I really wasn’t expecting 2 new members to join the fray on top of one being in hiatus for the whole year.

Predictions for 2018: ANGERME should get no more members, there’s quite a bit of them now (their biggest iteration since 2nd Gen became sub-members).  So, maybe a less wild year…maybe one graduation?

Juice=Juice

2017juice

jidandadanceGoalashitafiestafiesta

Juice=Juice had a much improved and interesting in comparison to the last few!  It did begin slightly slow and on a regular schedule with one single in Jidanda Dance / Feel! Kanjiru yo and then things decided to go crazy!

The summer concerts had begun with the knowledge that 2 members were going to join the group (the group’s actual 2nd Generation with Nanami Yanagawa Ruru Danbara.  It was also known that songs that Juice=Juice were performing last year, Goal ~Ashita wa Acchi da yo~ Jouro were going to be released digitally before their actual first digital single (and the first with the new members), Fiesta! Fiesta! was released.

  • NOTE: The group has done quite a few new songs this year, but those 5 don’t have studio versions so they’ll be passed up this year, though it does look like the making of an album!.

GREAT SONGS

  • Jidanda Dance – With last year’s “KEEP ON Joshou Shikou!!”, I was starting to see Juice=Juice letting loose and having a bit more fun with their music and the ideals continue with the main A-side of their first single this year!  It’s goofy and has a very wacky arrangement, but yet somehow keeps my attention (even the oddly placed Ondo-styled bridge was funny, yet worked).  Definitely a song H!P needed during the year.
  • Fiesta! Fiesta! – We finally get to see our first taste of both new members, Ruru & Yanamin here and the song being latin-flavored already made me excited and they did not disappoint.  Hell, Ruru gets the first solo and she owns the hell out of it!  I just love the energy of the song and it’s so festive and powerful. It was surprising it wasn’t released physically and just left for digital (and where’s our full PV damnit!!!)

OK SONGS

  • Goal ~Ashita wa Acchi da yo~ – With the two digital songs released (before they gained their new members) I was wondering what they were waiting on because this was first performed last year.  What I can say about this one is that it kind of gives me Buono! vibes here and I kind of dig it but at the same time it feels like a leftover song from “First Squeeze!” as well.

MEH SONGS

  • Feel! Kanjiru yo – The other A-side from their first single, Feel! Kanjiru yo was a total 180 from the excitement that came from “Jidanda Dance” by being one of their more softer offerings.  I don’t know why, but this song just doesn’t affect me very much in the long run and the only thing I remember are those synth brass lines.
  • Jouro – Performed as early as last year, Jouro was kind of a strange song for the group because they hadn’t really released anything this kind of cute (though it does remind me of “Wonderful World” and “Arekore Shitai!”).  It’s just that I don’t think J=J can handle cuter songs very well IMO.
  • Wonderful World (English ver.) – It’s Wonderful World but in English…there’s really not much to say because I still dislike the song heavily…and it’s made that much worse by the Engrish that’s hard to understand at times.  To be quite honest, even though it’s a B-side to “Fiesta! Fiesta!”, I’m not quite sure if I hear the new members involved here.  Still, my thoughts haven’t changed much since the original cut.

Predictions from 2016

With their long-ass tour finally coming to an end, it’s really going to be a surprise to see where the group goes next.  It doesn’t seem like things will change (if anything I would be surprised if Kanatomo graduates due to her endometriosis, but who knows)

Actuality: Happy to say that no one graduated, but the opposite happened with the surprise addition of two new members (their biggest since their original lineup).  Otherwise things felt more streamlined this year, though one physical single and the rest being found on iTunes/Recochoku is a little different.

Predictions for 2018: Kind of hard to tell, I’m sure Ruru & Nanami will find a stronger foot as more releases come by (especially with 5 unreleased songs).  As for the rest of them, it’s hard to say once again what Juice=Juice will do after their World Tour is done…maybe Yuka graduating?

Country Girls

2017country

goodboybadgirlarigatouotomomochiKonamaiki Girlkaitewakeshite

Boy, where do we begin with this?  Well, from last year, us fans were already knowing that Momoko Tsugunaga was going to graduate late Spring of 2017 so she started off with the final single with Country Girls, Good Boy Bad Girl / Peanut Butter Jelly Love and the release her solo best album (which in this post her solo stuff will be mentioned later on down the post) but it also included a full disc of unreleased (and new) Country Girls songs.  That would be the final thing she did before she graduated.

Though in a weird and cruel twist of fate, it was announced that Risa Yamaki Mai Ozeki were going to be on a weird semi-hiatus to focus on their studies which might not have been so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that the other 3 members would be shuffled to other groups permanently, so the fate of Country Girls is kind of on thin ice so to speak.

Though at the Summer concerts and later on released digitally, they did one song, Konamaiki Girl and after that, the group became inactive until nearly the end of the year with another digital single, Kaite wa Keshite no “I Love You”.

Though not technically directly involving the group, but past member Manaka Inaba had returned to H!P, but is currently the leader of the Hokkaido branch of Kenshuusei.

GREAT SONGS

  • Peanut Butter Jelly Love – As the song that’s more connected to Momochi’s graduation, Peanut Butter Jelly Love opens very sweetly from a solo from her and the song turns into this cuter pop track that’s akin to stuff like “Koi Dorobo” and “Wakatte Iru no ni Gomen ne”.  It’s just a happy-go-lucky song and shows off their sweeter side!
  • Mousou Rehearsal – It’s finally nice to see the remaining unreleased songs finally get a studio version (despite they had to change it because of different line-ups).  This song in particular is upbeat and sweet to listen to and hearing Funakki in a higher register is rather humorous and at times sounds like Manakan.  It’s just a good time here!
  • Rhythm ga Yondeiru Zou! – Though I actually prefer this song a lot more because there’s a better hook here and the tune is just a bit more goofy and lets the group let down their hair more.  Plus, hearing all 6 members just sound great together is always a treat.  Plus the random as hell bridge was something to behold….  Crazy song, but one that I’ll remember a LOT.

OK SONGS

  • Good Boy Bad Girl – As the primary A-side from the single, I was interested from the title before hearing it and turns out the song is a bit more rock-laced than previous efforts!  Plus, it’s nice to hear a lot from Funakki here who really fits this style nicely.  It’s got a lot of nice things going on and hearing the members tackle something a bit more gritty is great to see!
  • Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto – Despite that I did indeed review this song last year (because it was on “Petit Best 17”), I have to put it on here because it went through some changes like Manakan’s vocals were replaced by Funakki & Yanamin.  Besides that, the song’s arrangement remains the same and it’s still a cute song from them and just an adorable song to hear.
  • Gizagiza Heart no Komoriuta – Interesting to see the group cover another song from The Checkers (the same band that they covered their song, “Namida no Request” last year).  I really liked the opening and how Musubu, Nanami, and Mai had the first lines and it grows into this catchy pop/rock that has a feel of the past but not quite as heavy as some of their previous A-sides had been.  Cool song for them, just wish they performed this more often!
  • Kimama na Kataomoi – Thinking about this track, I wasn’t expecting the group to release a song that’s more suited for Wintry times in May lol.  Seriously, Kimama na Kataomoi just sounds like it would be amazing with a snowy PV.  I was also liking the amount of Momoko here (which might explain why this hasn’t been performed much).  Definitely a cute one for them and I would love to see this (and “Gizagiza Heart no Komoriuta”) performed more whenever they return.
  • Konamaiki Girl – While not the first song performed by the 5-nin (that was left for the MEH songs), this was released a while after Momoko graduated out and after the hiatus announcement.  Though I think of the songs in this category, this might be on the lower side because it feels like a song that was left off Momoko’s best album.  It’s cute, but not quite the song to really stick out for them.
  • Kaite wa Keshite no “I Love You” – As a total surprise for the end of the year, another digital single pops up and like “Konamaiki Girl”, it’s pretty damned cute of them to release, but it’s a bit more sparkly and adorables.  Though it’s probably on the lower end due to it not really bringing anything special to the table, it’s just nice to see the 5-nin back together for another bout!

MEH SONGS

  • Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou (2017.5.4 Live @ Nakano Sun Plaza) – There’s something to be said about graduation songs and this one in particular takes it to a strange level where the song is technically the grad letter from the remaining members to Momoko.  Also, the song does feature Sharam Q’s Makoto as he was the MC at this live performance.  The actual music & singing isn’t bad persay, but the majority of the track is the girls talking to Momoko.  Too much dialogue for a song to be a musical track IMHO.
  • Ashita Kara wa Omokage – The same problems find themselves in this track which was one of the 4 brand new tracks from the Country Girls disc of Momoko’s best album.  The arrangement is about as country as it gets from Country Girls so far which is nice, but once again the goddamn dialogue takes me out of the song.  Yeah, I really couldn’t deal with this or “Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou”.
  • VIVA!! Barairo no Jinsei – Of those unreleased songs, I actually couldn’t care too much about this song.  Though it does slightly stand taller than “Ashita Kara wa Omokage” with having no spoken dialogue in the tune.  Though I couldn’t really get behind the country-esque arrangement and it felt a bit corny and hammy to listen to.  Just not a song I find myself going back to.

Predictions from 2016

That said, I’m sure when Momoko graduates, Yamakki will be appointed leader, but I wonder if we’ll get new members to kind of boost it back up beforehand to fill the spaces Manakan and Momochi leave behind.

Actuality: I actually don’t remember if it was confirmed that Yamakki was going to be leader, but it really doesn’t matter now considering the hiatus the group is going through now so not even new members will help out.

Predictions for 2018: It’s really hard to guess where Country Girls is going to be in 2018.  What with Morito, Funaki, and Yanagawa now permanently in Momusu, ANGERME, and Juice=Juice respectively.  Though I assume that perhaps Yamaki & Ozeki will be shuffled into units as their schooling will probably be somewhat finished.  Though could we get Inaba to perform with the 5 Country Girls for one time???

Kobushi Factory

2017kobushi

shalala

Good lord where do we begin?!?  Actually the beginning half of the year was pretty OK, a bit quiet from them because they were finishing up promotions of their first album.  Though in the Spring it was announced they were going to do a stageplay & a movie titled JK Ninja Girls and they announced a single to coincide with that whole thing, Shalala! Yareru Hazu sa / Eejanaika Ninjanaika.

Then chaos ensued with Rio Fujii announcing her graduation at the end of the Summer tour.  HOWEVER, it was announced a couple weeks prior to the beginning that her contract was terminated!

Shortly after it was also announced that Rena Ogawa had gone on hiatus due to anxiety (the same reason ANGERME’s Maho Aikawa went on her hiatus for), but unlike her she ended up leaving the group as well in September (though some people think it’s for a scandal that happened).

December came around and we find out that Natsumi Taguchi had also left the group due to some scandals as well, dropping the Kobushi group to 5 members in a matter of half a year.  That said, nothing musical has been released from the group since the first single they released this year.

GREAT SONGS

  • Yami ni Nukegake – For an insert song for the play/movie, I actually feel like this got pushed moreso than “Eejanaika Ninjanaika” did without even having a PV!  This was definitely my favorite track from them this year as it has a lot more oomph and all the members somehow got memorable lines all over with this funky/brass heavy arrangement.  Pretty cool, sad now that the groupings are gonna be odd without Riorio/Renako/Taguchan.

OK SONGS

  • Shalala! Yareru Hazu sa – As the only song they released this year that wasn’t involved with their stageplay in some fashion, Shalala! Yareru Hazu sa is kind of the ska/rock song the group released.  Honestly, it’s not that bad and continuing their streak of pop/rock songs, this was a nice offering and hearing the 4 mains get solos (Hamachan, Reirei, Ayapan, and Minamina) was nice, but this wasn’t a graduation song so it’s no surprise the back girls didn’t get anything.
  • Eejanaika Ninjanaika – As the main theme for both the stageplay & movie, Eejanaika Ninjanaika presented itself like a Japanese showgirls-y kind of track and it’s silly and goofy with the Ninja theme and all, but it was humorous at times.  Plus the members here had a bit more equality in line distribution it feels like.  I kind of dug it a little more than “Shalala! Yareru Hazu sa” but not enough to be a favorite from them.

MEH SONGS

  • Picchi Pichi Tomodacchi – The other B-side from the single was also an insert song for the stageplay (just that).  It’s the only miss because this song sounds like a continuation of “Eejanaika Ninjanaika” but somewhat cuter.  The male voices do kind of ruin the song for me, but the song itself just doesn’t work for me altogether.

Predictions from 2016

Well, I hope they continue strong and not lose anyone that’s for sure!

Actuality: Hmmm, sounds like the opposite happened doesn’t it?  I mean one actual single (not counting the OST for “JK Ninja Girls”) and losing 3 members in a matter of 5 months felt like Kobushi was pretty down in the dumps from this year

Predictions for 2018: I just want them to return to music for once!  Maybe add some new members to kind of soften the triple loss they’ve endured.  Musically, not quite sure…more rockin’ songs!

Tsubaki Factory

2017tsubaki

hatsukoisunriseshuukatsusensationteionyakedo

I think out of all the groups this year, I feel like Tsubaki Factory stayed out of the mess that was going on with member changes and whatnot of 2017 (though they did in 2016 add Mao, Saori, and Mizuho) so I guess maybe not because those three debuted in the first single of the year, Hatsukoi Sunrise / Just Try! / Uruwashi no Camellia which is also credited as the group’s major label debut as well!  They followed it up with Shuukatsu Sensation / Waratte / Hana Moyou though Kiki Asakura did have to miss a dance shot or two for the single as she had suffered the same injury Maachan did for Momusu though she has since made it back (slowly though).

They surprised fans by releasing a preview digital single for Teion Yakedo which is actually for a single due out in February.

GREAT SONGS

  • Hatsukoi Sunrise – As the group’s major label debut and debut for Mao, Mizuho, and Saori…it left me wondering how the girls would fit in the group and Hatsukoi Sunrise was a great showing for the now 9-nin group!  The song is powerful and energetic and just a lot of power behind it!  I really love hearing the new girls getting their solos and the well-known members already were sounding much better after their indies singles.  I really ended up enjoying this song a LOT and it’s one of my favorites this year!
  • Shuukatsu Sensation – Ugh, that opening set of lines that opens up their primary A-side from their second offering of the year, it’s an instant earworm and it just keeps up the entire time and I ended up loving it all!  I think the more goofy approach from the hooks and the cool atmosphere really worked (though it was awesome to see Yumeno and Mizuho own their lines!).  Another valiant effort!
  • Waratte – Moving to the 80’s accented 2nd A-side from their second single, Waratte really scratched that funky vibe that I’ve been missing for most of the year and Tsubaki really made it pretty neat and catchy.  It feels like a more synthy “Shuukatsu Sensation” but really made it separate and cute!
  • Teion Yakedo – I wasn’t expecting to be talking about this song because it’s supposed to release in 2018 as the group’s next single, but they surprised people by releasing it as a “preview” digital single and I still found it fitting as it does give me Winter vibes.  It’s pretty straightforward compared to most of the other songs they released this year, but it’s got a nice drive about it.

OK SONGS

  • Just Try! – As the song first previewed from their first single of the year, Just Try! seems a bit too robotic for my tastes.  I think it’s one of those songs where Tsunku wanted to cut’n’paste stuff from other songs to make one full one.  I will say, the verses are what caught my attention, but it’s so robotic and lifeless and the chorus is just repetitive to me.  Maybe not the best song to show off a debut when compared to “Hatsukoi Sunrise”.
  • Uruwashi no Camellia – Giving us some throwback, Uruwashi no Camellia was toted as the cute song from their major debut and it shows!  The intro that made it sound like it was coming from the 40s was an interesting twist and once the tune opens up, it’s a lot more upbeat and the whole jitterbug style is really cute for them, despite them not being a group that’s known for cute songs.
  • Hana Moyou – You know what, I wasn’t sure what to think of the song initially because it reminded me of various C-ute songs of recent times with the more serious drive and heavy amount of synths.  I do like solo lines from everyone especially Ami who while vocally still kind of eh, isn’t totally being left behind.  The chorus is what bothers me for some reason especially the transition into it as it’s just jarring to me.  Still, I really liked the aggressiveness out of it and the bridge is badass with the guitar solo!

Predictions from 2016

With the group debuting on a major label, I’m hoping for a smooth debut.  Not sure if the group is ready to lose a member but it could happen and if anything it might be Riko, though it’s just that she’s the only member I’m not noticing too much currently and she now has to compete with 3 new members.

Actuality: Good news was that there was no graduation/lost member and their debut went very smoothly…so smoothly that they just won the Best New Artist at the Japan Record Awards so that’s an amazing thing to have done!

Predictions for 2018: Maybe an album or something like that?  I feel like they have enough to have one now luckily!  I just hope nothing else happens beyond that ^^

Hello! Pro Kenshuusei / Kenshuusei Hokkaido

2017kss

2017hokkaido

reallittlegirlHello! Massara no Jibun 8

Where do we begin?!?  I guess we can begin with the fact that the Hokkaido branch of KSS announced a single released in February titled, Real☆Little☆Girl / Kanojo ni Naritai!!!.

Then a rather quick announcement that Marie Yoshida had finished her training a bit after her stint in Nega Poji Poji was finished up before the Spring Test Recital and the removal of the Tsubaki Factory members from the KSS too.  On top of that, new members were announced; Rena Doi, Rika Shimakura, Natsume Nakayama, Minami Okamura, Saya Eguchi, Riai Matsunaga, Marina Hibi, and Ichigo Yamada.

The test recital was quite the doozy as there was many on-the-spot announcements made from Hikaru Inoue becoming the KSS leader and that Ruru Danbara, Reina Ichioka, Ayano Kawamura, Kurumi Takase, and Momohime Kiyono were going to become H!P members (the latter two not initially, but they’ve since become members through official goods and some music!).

A couple months later in June, it was finally decided where some of those members were going to do.  Ruru & Ayano would join Juice=Juice & ANGERME respectively alongside a couple Country Girls due to the inactivity that group was going to be in and that Reina will be the leader of her own group (which as of the end of 2017 has not gone further than this).

They all performed as H!P members at the Summer concert and shortly after due to UPCOMING! having started to release digital songs, the Kenshuusei slowly released 3 of the 4 original songs that they’ve performed in 2017; Hello! Massara no Jibun, Isshakudama de Buppanase!, and Arigata-Meiwaku Monogatari.

In September, Manaka Inaba had returned and her first duty was to be the leader for the Hokkaido branch.

Towards the end of the year, the auditions that were announced during the Summer tours had concluded with no winners and initially there was an announcement of a couple of the finalists choosing to join the KSS; Nanami Kubota, Anna Shutto, Ruru Kanemitsu, and Yuriya Matsubara as the other 4 were still deciding on whether or not to become a KSS and in the end 3/4 decided to become KSS; Momoko Hashimoto, Sayaka Goto, and Shion Tamenaga.

  • NOTE: Yeah, thought “Medatte Do Dance” would release before the end of the year, but I guess that didn’t happen.

GREAT SONGS

  • Arigata-Meiwaku Monogatari – I thought “Isshakudama de Buppanase!” was going to be their cool song, but they threw this song, first performed at their Summer tour.  This song is heavy and pretty powerful for the Kenshuusei and it’s such an awesome sounding tune showing off some attitude from the trainees and really sticks out amongst the new batch of songs the Kenshuusei have been pulling off.

OK SONGS

  • Real☆Little☆Girl – As the Hokkaido girls’ original song, I was quite curious since the group of girls hadn’t had a real showoff time quite yet.  I think this song did a great job showcasing the 7-nin and they are so adorable in this song.  The tune does feel like something more suited for Country Girls from its arrangement being slightly poppy but slightly boogie-woogie too.  Sometimes the ~odore odore odore~ parts could drive people off the wall, but I personally didn’t mind this as much as in other songs that kind of overdo it.  Still, the Hokkaido girls did well here and I’m surprised there wasn’t a 2nd single from them.
  • Kanojo ni Naritai!!! (Hello! Pro Kenshuusei Hokkaido ver.) – As much as I used to loathe hearing this song (being performed to ad nauseam levels when it was first released) since the KSS released MANY more songs, I’ve finally managed to somewhat enjoy the song a little more.  Not bad, but the fact there’s no solo lines for the members is a slight bit more sad.
  • Isshakudama de Buppanase! – At least this one found itself sticking out to me as the girls had to sing in a lower register in comparison to many other of their songs.  The tune definitely has a certain charm about it that reminds me of some of Kobushi, ANGERME, and Juice songs with the peppiness and rockin’ atmosphere (ignoring the bridge with the fireworks).

MEH SONGS

  • Hello! Massara no Jibun – After the first album, I was hoping for new material from the KSS and they didn’t disappoint in that aspect.  However, the first song they first performed earlier in the year, Hello! Massara no Jibun is giving me the same cheesy vibes that “Ten Made Nobore! did.  There’s just not a lot for me to grasp onto and I quickly forgot about it.

Other H!P Releases!

thumbnailfurusatonoyumeMiss Henkan!! 7arigatouotomomochiInoue no Uta 6Obaka Neko to Obaka Neko Baka no UtaMin Min Rock'n'RollGobaku ~We Can't Go Back~ 6pienezzaainotane20petitbest18Zouni de Kenkashitenja Nee yo 3

Thank god this was more filled out than last year!

First to talk about is definitely not H!P-related it just happened that Momusu was involved in one of the songs from AKB48’s album, Thumbnail.  More specifically it was just Rino Sashihara being involved with Momusu for a song!

Next up is a release from the SATOYAMA side of things from a new (short-lived) group consisting of Kamiko, Nakky, Ayumi, and Kanatomo named Kamiishinaka Kana titled Furusato no Yume.

Next up (I’m just gonna group them altogether here) UPCOMING started releasing original songs digitally every other week (or in some cases gaps longer between).  A song between Maachan/Duu in Miss Henkan!! (and an alternate take), Hikarun & Reirei in Inoue no Uta, Kanatomo & Harunan in Obaka Neko to Obaka Neko Baka no Uta, Yokoyan & Funakki in Min Min Rock’n’Roll, and Yukanyan, Maria, and Kawamuu in Zouni de Kenkashitenja Nee yo.  These songs were more for the humor and strangeness of things so that’s why I feel like they’d go together.

As a graduation gift to the fans, Momoko Tsugunaga had a best album titled Tsugunaga Momoko Idol 15 Shuunen Kinen Album ♡Arigatou Otomomochi♡ and released a digital single that was connected prior (but wasn’t a part of the album), ♡Otomomochi Densetsu♡.

More digital singles were abound with a release from the newest additions to H!P: Reina, Ruru, Kurumin, Kawamuu, Momo with their collab song, Gobaku ~We Can’t Go Back~.

With Buono! now split, it was celebrated with one more release, which is primarily their last live concert…but there is a special, Buono! Live 2017 ~Pianezza!~ COMPLETE BOX which included about 99% of their discography on CDs which should be mentioned here!

Then Momusu surprisingly released a single (a self-cover of) Ai no Tane but the surprise is that the original 5 members returned to sing along with the current members!

Last, but not least there was the annual release, Petit Best 18.

GREAT SONGS

  • Iku ZYX! FLY HIGH – As the first group she was involved in, the shortlived ZYX, she chose to sung a solo cut of this and it really showed how much she’s grown as a singer and her deeper tone is refreshing but I’m so used to the original take so it took a while to get used to the fact it was just Momoko.
  • Gag 100kaibun Aishite Kudasai – Now this song was going to be at the top because this was a song that centered mostly around Momoko already.  Hearing a Momoko solo is nothing because I knew she’d handle it perfectly.  Compared to her younger self, Momoko does sound more mature, but you could tell she was giving a youthful performance.  While I have never been a BIG fan of her voice, I couldn’t imagine anyone else doing this!
  • Hatsukoi Cider – Now I have to mention that Momoko has two different cuts of solo Hatsukoi Cider and this is the one from the Momoko best album!  I have to say she sounds strong and while maybe not quite as powerful as Airi and Miyabi, she held her own for this solo cover.  Pretty awesome!
  • Peanut Butter Jelly Love – It was nice they had included her first and last song she was involved with Country Girls and I felt she handled this a bit better than “Itooshikutte Gomen ne”.  She sounds fine and taking over the girls lines, it was almost as if this was a song meant to be sung solo.  One of the best tracks from that first disc!
  • Inoue no Uta – Back to the goofy tracks, we have one from surprisingly Kenshuusei leader Hikaru Inoue & Kobushi’s Rei Inoue for a song about their surname xD.  Of course both are pretty known for strong vocals so having them duet is awesome and to top it off, the song is like a nostalgic trip for 80’s rock!  Throwing in some nods to some American Classic Rock tracks!  It’s a great song, sucks that it was a short song…
  • Min Min Rock’n’Roll – Of the humorous digital singles, I thought this one from Musubu and Reina was just awesome and my favorite of the 5 released during the year!  A song about Cicadas is just funny and then making it sound like surfer rock and it just worked in its favor.  Though let’s be honest, Funakki made this song and I’m always impressed with her vocals and she stood out so much.  Yokoyan didn’t hinder though and her non-as-trained vocals sound nice alongside Funakki’s sound.  Great song for the year!
  • Gobaku ~We Can’t Go Back~ – I wasn’t expecting a track like this to pop out!  A song sung between the newest members to H!P and I was happy to hear some of these members take some solo parts and really make them their own and some of them deserved the limelight!  The song itself is minimalistic in arrangement, but it’s cool and funky and just really works to their favor!
  • Hatsukoi Cider (Suzuki Airi version) – I would say the best of the Buono! bonuses is Airi’s take of Hatsukoi Cider (considering she was all over that track initially so it doesn’t feel totally out of place that I liked hearing this version).  Best vocally between the 3 STILL!
  • Ai no Tane (20th Anniversary ver.) – I thought they had already celebrated their 20th year after “Morning Misoshiru” came out so I was pleasantly and heavily happy to see them make a new version of Ai no Tane.  What I wasn’t expecting to see what Yuko, Ayappe, Nacchi, Kaorin, and even friggin’ Asuka return to join Momusu for this collaboration and I was FLOORED with it all.  I was so happy the 0G members got the solos like it was in the original and they sound so heavenly.  Crazy dream this is but I’m happy it happened!
  • Yami ni Nukegake (Movie Version) – Really though, there’s not much to say as this song is still pretty awesome between this version and the one found on Kobushi’s single!  The only difference is the ending and that really doesn’t make too much of a change either way for me.  It’s still a powerful song and I love the energy of the song!

OK SONGS

  • Get you! – Considering this is different from the one that was on the “BRAND NEW MORNING / Jealousy Jealousy” single, Get you!’s main and ONLY difference is that Sasshi is singing more here and there’s less Momusu.  I mean otherwise it’s the same song and Sasshi isn’t so bad but it’s obvious she’s a voice that’s unusual when put up against Momusu!
  • Miss Henkan!! & Miss Henkan!! (Alternate) – Chosen as the first of the goofy short song duets, Miss Henkan!! is an oddball of a song about saying phrases and then misinterpreting them.  I like the rockabilly/big band arrangement but it’s the whole shtick that was a bit odd.  Though it was nice hearing Maachan & Duu having fun.  As for the alternate, it was essentially roles reversed.  Not bad, but a strange tune nonetheless.
  • Ganbacchae! – As the opening track of the first disc of Momochi’s best, I’m so happy that this song came full circle because this was the first song Momoko was involved in when she joined as a Hello! Project Kid.  Plus it’s just sweet that she’s singing it solo and the background singers are still the original Kids members is just so sweet and sentimental.  It was a great way to open that album!
  • Koi wa Hipparidako – Maybe it’s just me, but I never had a strong connection to this song (I’ve never gave it much attention, so I missed why it’s initially important for Momoko other than it’s a Berryz song).  Interesting that it’s an album song though.  Not a bad solo, but not quite sure it was chosen?
  • Arigatou! Otomodachi – Another Berryz song from a mini-album this time, Arigatou! Otomodachi seemed to always be around when Momoko’s around so I figured this was one of her center songs as well.  Like “Koi wa Hipparidako”, it’s a song that doesn’t totally resonate with me because I wasn’t a fan of Berryz in this time (plus it’s a part of H!P I haven’t fully delved into yet).
  • Moshimo… – This one was a no brainer for me to be included because she was originally a part of the song (a 5-way between herself, Fukuchan, Nakky, ManoEri, and Ayacho) from the “Busu ni Naranai Tetsugaku” single.  Now this one I was definitely more like *shrugs* because it was a bit straightforward, but hearing Momoko’s solo cut is cuter and fits her entirely a lot more than it did originally.
  • Itooshikutte Gomen ne – Maybe it’s just me but I don’t think this song should’ve been given the solo treatment from Momoko.  I know this is important because it was Momoko’s first single with Country Girls, but it just sounds empty without Mai, Chisaki, Manaka, Risa, and Uta sadly…though I’ll give Momoko props for sounding decent.
  • Momochi! Zutto Otomomochi – As the lone NEW track from Momoko’s best album, I wasn’t expecting her to have a song that sounds natural and not be synths and genki.  The song feels quite sentimental and she sounds pretty good (even throwing in some nods like a ~Yurushite Nyan~~.  Decent song overall and good way to sendoff Momoko!
  • Hatsukoi Cider (Tsugunaga Momoko version) – So the Buono! best did include some bonus tracks in the form of Hatsukoi Cider solos from all 3 members.  As I’ve said, this is different from the solo found on Momoko’s best album, but the only difference is just in time and vocals.  If I recall, these solos are technically from the Event V of the single (why it was chosen as bonuses now is beyond me).
  • Hatsukoi Cider (Natsuyaki Miyabi version) – Miya’s is more of what I was expecting for a solo take and she sounds like what I’d expect her to be back then and she still sounded pretty decent!
  • Pharaoh no Haka – As the main theme from Momusu’s stageplay this year, I wasn’t expecting the song to be a little over 2 minutes in length, but in those 2 minutes, the song goes through a really neat direction with grandiose arrangement layered on top of an Egyptian motif.  I heard a lot of Sakura and she impressed like she always does.
  • Zouni de Kenkashitenja Nee yo – As a surprise near the end of the year, Zouni de Kenkashitenja Nee yo, a song between Yuka, Maria, and Ayano, the tune is quite strange because it feels like it has multiple arrangement from the pop/rock chorus to the anime-like section and the jazzy tones through the verses.  It’s a bit wacky as a whole, but it makes it so memorable!

MEH SONGS

  • Furusato no Yume – Seemed so random for a new SATOYAMA unit to show (especially considering Nakky was mere months from graduation too!).  I’m already not too fond of ballads so this wasn’t going to help things for me.  What’s worse was that Ayumi tanked performing this during HinaFest which soured the song for me more.  It’s just a boring song overall.
  • Otomomochi Densetsu♡ – As the weird digital single that preceded Momochi’s best album, Otomomochi Densetsu is just an odd song to me to listen to because it’s a cheer song that she performed on a bus tour.  The arrangement just feels cheap and it feels like a song that would fit next to her exercise song she did back when she was still in Berryz.
  • Obaka Neko to Obaka Neko Baka no Uta – I suppose this doesn’t count too much, but it’s a song about cats sung between Harunan and Kanatomo.  Normally I wouldn’t be too shady, but this song drags just a bit too much for a near 5 minute track.  I will say this song made me happy that Haruna was starting to sound good vocally and that’s saying something singing next to someone like Tomoko who’s known for being a top singer.  It’s just the song works like a lullaby and slowly puts me to sleep.
  • Yumemiru Television – Of the 3 OST songs from Petit Best 18, I definitely thought the weakest was this one.  Though I know it more because it was the first time we’d hear Kawamuu and Funakki in ANGERME, but otherwise the track is pretty hokey and kind of cheap.  In a way I suppose it can be catchy, but it’s not doing much for me!

Gains / Losses

GAINS

  • Rika Shimakura
  • Marina Hibi
  • Saya Eguchi
  • Rena Doi
  • Minami Okamura
  • Riai Matsunaga
  • Ichigo Yamada
  • Natsume Nakayama
  • Ruru Danbara (to Juice=Juice)
  • Reina Ichioka (to ???)
  • Ayano Kawamura (to ANGERME)
  • Chisaki Morito (to Morning Musume ’17)
  • Musubu Funaki (to ANGERME)
  • Nanami Yanagawa (to Juice=Juice)
  • Kurumi Takase
  • Momohime Kiyono
  • Manaka Inaba
  • Anna Shuttou
  • Nanami Kubota
  • Ruru Kanemitsu
  • Yuriya Matsubara
  • Momoko Hashimoto
  • Shion Tamenaga
  • Sayaka Goto

LOSSES

  • Marie Yoshida
  • Airi Suzuki
  • Saki Nakajima
  • Maimi Yajima
  • Chisato Okai
  • Mai Hagiwara
  • Momoko Tsugunaga
  • Rio Fujii
  • Rena Ogawa
  • Natsumi Taguchi
  • Haruka Kudo
  • Maho Aikawa

My H!P Member Ranking for 2017

  • 63. Aika Mitsui (-4)
  • 62. Riho Sayashi (-2)
  • 61. Maho Aikawa (-6)

 

  • 60. Mai Hagiwara (-4)
  • 59. Haruna Ogata (-2)
  • 58. Saki Nakajima (-9)
  • 57. Natsumi Taguchi (-12)
  • 56. Rena Ogawa (-6)

 

  • 55. Rio Fujii (-17)
  • 54. Nanami Yanagawa (-10)
  • 53. Ami Tanimoto (0)
  • 52. Akane Haga (0)
  • 51. Ayano Kawamura (NEW)

 

  • 50. Mai Ozeki (-20)
  • 49. Riko Yamagishi (-3)
  • 48. Kisora Niinuma (-7)
  • 47. Momoko Tsugunaga (-15)
  • 46. Kurumi Takase (NEW)

 

  • 45. Ayumi Ishida (-9)
  • 44. Momona Kasahara (-5)
  • 43. Reina Yokoyama (+15)
  • 42. Manaka Inaba (-24)
  • 41. Reina Ichioka (NEW)

 

  • 40. Ayano Hamaura (-3)
  • 39. Momohime Kiyono (NEW)
  • 38. Chisaki Morito (-4)
  • 37. Yuka Miyazaki (-10)
  • 36. Ayaka Wada (+6)

 

  • 35. Maria Makino (+12)
  • 34. Miki Nonaka (+17)
  • 33. Haruna Iikubo (+17)
  • 32. Rikako Sasaki (+3)
  • 31. Risa Yamaki (-7)

 

  • 30. Minami Nomura (-4)
  • 29. Saori Onoda (+14)
  • 28. Masaki Sato (-13)
  • 27. Sakurako Wada (-7)
  • 26. Ayaka Hirose (-17)

 

  • 25. Rina Katsuta (+4)
  • 24. Kiki Asakura (-3)
  • 23. Karin Miyamoto (-13)
  • 22. Akari Uemura (+11)
  • 21. Mao Akiyama (+27)

 

  • 20. Erina Ikuta (+9)
  • 19. Ruru Danbara (NEW)
  • 18. Risa Ogata (+5)
  • 17. Kana Nakanishi (-3)
  • 16. Maimi Yajima (+12)

 

  • 15. Sayuki Takagi (+7)
  • 14. Kaede Kaga (+3)
  • 13. Mizuki Fukumura (+3)
  • 12. Mizuho Ono (+43)
  • 11. Rei Inoue (+14)

 

  • 10. Mizuki Murota (-5)
  • 9. Moe Kamikokuryo (+3)
  • 8. Yumeno Kishimoto (+3)
  • 7. Akari Takeuchi (-3)
  • 6. Chisato Okai (-4)

 

  • 5. Tomoko Kanazawa (+1)
  • 4. Airi Suzuki (-3)
  • 3. Sakura Oda (+4)
  • 2. Musubu Funaki (+6)
  • 1. Haruka Kudo (+2)

Kenshuusei

  • Yuriya Matsubara
  • Anna Shuttou
  • Nanami Kubota
  • Ruru Kanemitsu
  • Momoko Hashimoto
  • Shion Tamenaga
  • Sayaka Goto
  • Rin Hashisako
  • Natsume Nakayama
  • Ichigo Yamada
  • Haruka Ota
  • Marina Hibi
  • Minori Kawano
  • Saya Eguchi
  • Kanami Ishiguri
  • Sakiko Kodama
  • Hikari Sato
  • Mizuki Kanatsu
  • Kotomi Ono
  • Minami Okamura
  • Yume Kudo
  • Kokoro Maeda
  • Rena Doi
  • Riai Matsunaga
  • Shiori Nishida
  • Mei Yamazaki
  • Kurumi Noguchi
  • Kirara Yonemura
  • Ryo Kitagawa
  • Rika Shimakura
  • Hikaru Inoue
  • Yuhane Yamazaki
  • Kizuki Horie

And that’s 2017!!! What a crazy year this has been x.x;

 

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

Maho Aikawa bids farewell to H!P

AikawaMahoUmakuIenaipromo

So after nearly a year of silence from Aiai, it was finally announced on the last day of 2017 that she has indeed decided to leave ANGERME and H!P today.  Considering that this took forever to find out because she had the hope to push through, it just wasn’t enough and she didn’t want to have panic attacks performing with the group.

Personally, it’s kind of here and there for me as she wasn’t a big member in the group (the worst vocally between her and her gen mates, Rikako and Mizuki) and she only lasted about 5 singles (and a best album) worth which didn’t cement much considering she barely got solos as well.  It’s a loss indeed, but I’m not quite sure she left too much of  a mark on me.

Leave a comment »

Petit Best 18

petitbest18

Track Listing

  1. Zenbu Owatta Kaerimichi / °C-ute
  2. Momochi! Zutto Otomomochi / Momoko Tsugunaga
  3. BRAND NEW MORNING / Morning Musume ’17
  4. Ai Sae Areba Nanni mo Iranai / ANGERME
  5. Jidanda Dance / Juice=Juice
  6. Peanut Butter Jelly Love / Country Girls
  7. Shalala! Yareru Hazu sa / Kobushi Factory
  8. Hatsukoi Sunrise / Tsubaki Factory
  9. Gobaku ~We Can’t Go Back~ / Reina Ichioka, Ruru Danbara, Ayano Kawamura, Kurumi Takase, Momohime Kiyono
  10. Real☆Little☆Girl / Hello! Pro Kenshuusei Hokkaido
  11. Furusato no Yume / Kamiishinaka Kana
  12. Yami ni Nukegake (Movie Version) / Kobushi Factory
  13. Pharaoh no Haka / Morning Musume ’17
  14. Yumemiru Television / ANGERME
  15. Miss Henkan!! / Haruka Kudo & Masaki Sato
  16. Inoue no Uta / Rei Inoue & Hikaru Inoue
  17. Obaka Neko to Obaka Neko Baka no Uta / Haruna Iikubo & Tomoko Kanazawa
  18. Minmin Rock’n’Roll! / Musubu Funaki & Reina Yokoyama

1. Zenbu Owatta Kaerimichi

While I’m not surprised that once again °C-ute opens the album up, but I’m more surprised of the song they chose to open this compilation with because it was one of three new songs that was found on their “°COMPLETE SINGLE COLLECTION” best album prior to their disbandment.  That said, unlike Berryz’ final track, this also wasn’t promoted much so I thought they would’ve pulled “Final Squall” or even “To Tomorrow” (the latter being on the Blu-ray, ironically).  The song itself I’m kind of torn about.  I love the intro with the swerving synths and subsequent areas of the song.  Though right after, the song goes into this hokey, cutesy track that might’ve worked for the quintet back during their first three albums, not this far in their careers and their vocals seem a bit too mature (especially Maimi).  Actually, just from the chords, it gives me this odd feeling of 2008/09 when H!P was doing their run with anime themes like some Guardians 4 stuff.  It’s OK, but definitely wasn’t expecting °C-ute’s pick to be this one.

2. Momochi! Zutto Otomomochi

The other song I was quite surprised, but not really to see was Momoko’s solo song that was found on her solo final album best?  It’s odd, but yeah this was technically the only new song from her (disregarding the Country Girls disc).  The song is a bit slower and luckily not a super genki track that Momochi has definitely done in the past >.>.  This song is kind of nice taking for a lighter acoustic pop/rock style and while I never thought Momoko was an amazing singer, she held her own here.  Unlike °C-ute’s track, this definitely feels like a sentimental goodbye track.  Not bad!

3. BRAND NEW MORNING

The rest of the album were easy guesses for me to be included here (H!P hasn’t released a WHOLE ton of things this year).  Anyways as per normal we’re continuing on this leg of the album of songs released by groups tenure with Momusu’s pick.  Really though it wasn’t much a shock to me.  BRAND NEW MORNING marks as the debut for the newly hatched 13th Generation members; Kaede Kaga and Reina Yokoyama, but at the same time it was released when Maachan was on hiatus due to physical injuries.  The tune is a lot more aggressive than the previous two tracks and I wholly welcome it.  The whole marching feel is strong and all the members seem to give off this very in-your-face performance as well, especially for both newcomers!  Really awesome song and definitely made it known that this was a ~brand new Momusu~ here!

4. Ai Sae Areba Nanni mo Iranai

Next up is ANGERME’s selection and it doesn’t feel like it was that long ago it released (June actually).  Though in my mind, it just doesn’t feel old to me, but in reality it kind of is.  After I reviewed the single initially, I still feel like the song belongs back in 2011/12 due to the mish-mash of ideas and shifts in composition from a darker EDM sound to a waltz and to a general pop feel in the chorus.  I do like that the elder members (Ayacho, Rinapuu, Kanana, and Takechan takes the center vocals here), and the remainder were sitting back a bit (plus Maho was on hiatus due anxiety).  I’ve gotten used to the herky-jerky arrangement and such so the tune has grown, still not their best, but it’s decent enough for them.

5. Jidanda Dance

Juice=Juice comes next and it’s literally their only physical single they released this year.  Jidanda Dance is quite something as it’s crazy upbeat and silly to listen to.  Little bit surprised that “Fiesta! Fiesta!” wasn’t included but Jidanda Dance is a fine choice considering it’s the last song to include the 5 of them before new members joined.  I really like the bright atmosphere of the song and I love the chorus here, but like a couple of other tracks, wasn’t expecting an Ondo-styled breakdown.  Other than that, this was exciting and was impressed at everyone’s vocals!  It’s a song that really leaves itself as an earworm of a song and Juice=Juice hasn’t had a song like this in a long while!

6. Peanut Butter Jelly Love

Of the 2 A-sides they could’ve chosen, I think this one was the more popular one between this and “Good Boy Bad Girl”.  It does strike a similar sound to other songs in their discography, but it’s pleasant enough.  I also love Momoko’s introduction as her higher register has this cooing feeling before the tune turns into something like “Wakatte Iru no ni Gomen ne”.  There was a whole lot of Momoko, but it seems there was some showing of Yamakki, Chiichan, and Ozeko here so that was nice to see and even Yanamin and Funakki.  It’s a lighthearted and breezy track, sucks that it might be the last Country Girls PV (and physical single) for quite a while…

7. Shalala! Yareru Hazu sa

Just like Country Girls, it seems Kobushi Factory was only able to squeeze out on single this year (too busy with JK Ninja Girls and the fact they lost both Riorio and Renako).  At least they managed one more single with the original 8 members with Shalala! Yareru Hazu sa (which wasn’t involved with the stageplay/movie).  The song continued to show the group as a pop/rock sound but this time has a ska-like feel to it.  Not quite sure why, but the song gives me a goodbye vibe, but the positive lyrics reinforce its place to show perseverance.  It seems that the only solos here though were for Hamachan, Ayapan, Reirei, and Minamina.  Yeah, neither Rena or Rio got spotlight (then again one got fired and the other left for “anxiety”)…what a bad year for Kobushi to have…

8. Hatsukoi Sunrise

On the other hand, Tsubaki made big strides in 2017 starting with 3 new members; Mizuho Ono, Mao Akiyama, and Saori Onoda and the fact they had their major debut this year!  Of course bring in the leading A-side of said major debut here!  Hatsukoi Sunrise is probably one of the best songs from H!P this year hands down!  It’s powerful, energetic, lots of great moments to be had as well.  It feels like after “Hitorijime” the original 6-nin got a lot better vocally and could stand tall (maybe not so much Riko and Ami) but adding the new members gave a stronger foundation to build on.  Great song and a good way to kick things off in the year!

9. Gobaku ~We Can’t Go Back~

I have to say of all the tracks that were shown off during the Summer tours, Gobaku was the one I was expecting of them to make its way here because it featured the newly debuted girls (Reina Ichioka, Ruru Danbara, Ayano Kawamura, Kurumi Takase, and Momohime Kiyono) well I say mostly because Ichioka is a leader of a currently unknown group of girls and Takase and Kiyono are kind of just floating around, doing stageplays at the moment.  The song itself is funky and screams cool.  Of the 5 girls though, I think Kawamura is the weakest as her voice is a bit squeaky where as everyone else got a lower timbre.  Definitely a grouping I didn’t see coming, but I appreciated this a whole lot!  Awesome song!

10. Real☆Little☆Girl

So the Hokkaido branch of KSS was technically the first to release in 2017 and that surprising to see them release a physical single apart from the actual Kenshuusei.  I thought the song was bright and fun to listen to and in some ways made me think of Country Girls’ more rockabilly stuff.  It was also awesome to hear the 7 of them manage solos throughout the track as well!  It’s pretty youthful and the song has quite an earworm tone about from those ~utae, utae, utae~ and similar lines.  Fun little ditty overall!

11. Furusato no Yume

Did everyone forget that there was a SATOYAMA release this year?  Yeah, I have to raise my hand too because this went under the radar for the most part during the year (it was performed at HinaFest, but Nakky left the group shortly after because C-ute disbanded and whatnot).  A group formed of Moe, Ayumi, Tomoko, and Saki, I wasn’t quite sure how it’d turn out between two decent singers (Moe, Kanatomo) and the lesser sounding singers (Nakky, Ayumi).  Though in the end, it didn’t really matter because the song was just a snoozefest all-around.  The arrangement is pretty standard piano/strings with light synths and percussion.  Yeah this was just not all that memorable to me.

12. Yami ni Nukegake (Movie Version)

Moving onto stageplay songs it seems we start off with Kobushi and their JK Ninja Girls song although I think it’s just an insert song though (considering it was a B-side on their actual single).  Now concerning the movie version, it’s a bit shorter than the one from “Shalala! Yareru Hazu sa / Eejanaika Ninjanaika”.  Mostly due to a different ending.  With Yami ni Nukegake being promoted quite a bit (especially on tours), I can see why Kobushi likes performing it a lot because it’s loud and features their growling.  I just liked how everything sounded for them and a much more preferred song than the one found earlier on this compilation from them.

13. Pharaoh no Haka

Moving to Momusu’s stageplay of the same name, I actually hadn’t listened to the OST quite yet and I was intrigued they were going to tackle Egyptian-like songs and Pharaoh no Haka doesn’t disappoint in that respect.  Actually the tune sounds just as grandiose as their last stageplay song, “Higashi no Chihei, Nishi no Towa”.  However it’s only a little over 2 minutes so the epic growth doesn’t quite reach, but it’s a nice concept and the theme song makes me curious to what the rest of the OST is like.

14. Yumemiru Television

Of the 3 stageplay songs, I kind of wasn’t expecting ANGERME’s song to pop up, simply because of all the songs on the compilation, this one came out last (October) and that said was also the first time hearing their new members (Funaki & Kawamura) being a part of the group.  The song itself sounds kind of cheap sounding (those CASIO synths really seem to make that a thing).  I do like that it’s a fuller song than “Pharaoh no Haka”, but it’s kind of lame-ish to me.

15. Miss Henkan!!

The remaining 4 songs on the compilation were released during the summer months as digital singles and all are duets with various H!P members.  The first to be released was between Maachan & Duu for this quirky ditty so to speak.  With a slight rockabilly vibe, the tune is more or less a joke tune as most of the time the song is Duu saying one thing and Maachan kind of warping it around.  I wasn’t too interested in the song because of its shtick, but it’s nice to see the two having fun with this one.

16. Inoue no Uta

Next up is the duet between Kobushi’s Reirei and KSS leader Hikarun as they have the same last name as one another, Inoue no Uta!  At first I was surprised of the two performing together, but it’s a pretty cool song and my favorite of the 4 because it’s pop/rock and gives nods to various 80s classic rock songs!  A little bummed it’s only a little over 2 minutes in length, but it’s catchy and fun (plus as a huge bias towards Hikarun, it’s great to see her get this kind of promotional material).

17. Obaka Neko to Obaka Neko Baka no Uta

Following that rockin’ experience we tone it down immensely with a song about cats, a duet from Harunan & Kanatomo this time.  Unlike the other 3 digital tracks, this is an actual full track (almost 5 minutes) and I was left confused and slightly bitter.  The song itself is a very café friendly tune with simple instruments led by acoustic guitar.  I will say, Haruna sounds pleasant here and Tomoko as well, but together…it’s not quite graceful but it’s enough.  Still a song about cats…how random!

18. Minmin Rock’n’Roll!

The final track on the compilation is a track between Funakki & Yokoyan and I also kind of dug the surfer rock vibes I get from this.  Once again, I was happy to hear Musubu showing off her vocal chops here and she sounds great all-around and we get a better grip with how Reina sounds and she’s got an interesting, husky voice.  On top of that, throw in the “cicada” voices and you get this goofy and silly song and yet it’s just cute to listen to.

Tracks Recommended

  • Hatsukoi Sunrise
  • BRAND NEW MORNING
  • Gobaku ~We Can’t Go Back~
  • Inoue no Uta
  • Minmin Rock’n’Roll!

What a crazy year 2017 has been huh.  Just going from the compilation this year, there was a lot of variety in the songs we got despite not having too many releases ironically.  I would say this has a lot of the -do listen- songs and there were some surprises (C-ute, Momoko and the digital singles).  Not bad, could’ve been tweaked better, but this was a decent year it feels like.

Leave a comment »

Strike 3! Kobushi Factory….

Taguchi_Natsumi_-_Shalala!_Yareru_Hazusa_promo

So it seems Kobushi just can’t win this year huh.  With Rio and Rena gone it seems lightning has struck a third time with Natsumi Taguchi being dismissed from her contract and therefore is not in Kobushi and moreso H!P anymore…It seems that she had some scandalous pictures leak on top of some problems within her family which led to the decision.

Though on my end, Taguchan wasn’t a front girl and her big spot was in “Sakura Night Fever”, but she’s been in H!P for a long time if you include her Kenshuusei days.  I liked her a little bit back then, then there was that short hiatus she took away back then and I was a bit surprised she’d come back and join Kobushi…It’s just strange that she’s leaving now I guess (stranger enough that the 3 members left on the 6th of a different month.

Not a big loss IMO, but a loss indeed…Kobushi slow your rolls!

Leave a comment »

Morning Musume PVs Through the Years!: Well…this is a bit messy for a 20th Anniversary?

Welcome back to another chapter of Momusu PVs! Wooooo!  Anyways this has been due for quite a while so it’s great to come back and do another one of these posts!  This post covers a lot of different changes in Momusu from a single without Riho/Zukki and the introduction to Kaedii & Yokoyan to the simulataneous and random addition of Country Girls’ Chiichan and the graduation of Duu (with a little lack of Maachan as well, due to injury).  So we’ll take a look at Sexy Cat no Enzetsu, Mukidashi de Mukiatte, Sou Janai, Morning Misoshiru, BRAND NEW MORNING, Jealousy Jealousy, Jama Shinaide Here We Go!, Dokyuu no Go Sign, and Wakaindashi!.

Sexy Cat no Enzetsu

The Song: The track itself doesn’t really have to much to offer in the information department.  Though it is known that Fukuchan, Duu, and Sakura are the song leads here and they are represented as cats!

What Genre is it?: It’s pretty playful sounding, a little dance, a lot of saxophones and just as much mischievous attitudes around!

The Premise: From what I can gather, the group is kind of in this state of matureness and only sticking to the thing they’re doing and the three main singers are off to make the girls have more fun.  Of course towards the end, they succeed and the group is having fun and just bouncing of the walls!

The Setting: There’s three main sets and one minor?  The main set is where a lot of the premise is taking place which is in a big room with various chairs, books, lighting, and whatever else is involved.  The second and third are for dance shots, one looks like it’s inside some abandoned warehouse (kind of looks like the same place they shot ANGERME’s “Nana Korobi Ya Oki”.  The other is in a studio with random light bars and mirrors and the minor set is the alleyway shot for Mizuki, Haruka, and Sakura.

The Outfits: The group besides the main singers wore black dresses to kind of give off a slight goth feel to the already darker toned look of the PV.  However, it doesn’t become clear until Fukuchan, Duu, and Odasaku enter in with cat ears and faux fur to kind of set themselves apart from the rest of the group…not bad, but I’m sure the furry community enjoyed the tails in the PV

The Choreography: Just like the outfits, the choreo was also split between leads and the rest of the group.  The group did a lot of dancing in line with each other and there was a lot of chest pumping and some simpler dancing whereas the 3 leads had cat-like dance moves since they were the focus of the PV.

PV as a Whole: Altogether, I thought this was a pretty awesome PV/song…very mischievous and playful and I was happy that Duu was once again getting some lead time here and she added a lot of spice to the song.  While the remaining members didn’t get quite the time to shine, their presence in the PV was well worth it!

Mukidashi de Mukiatte

The Song: As it was the last to be shown off of the three A-sides, Mukidashi de Mukiatte surprised many with all the members getting some kind spotlight and the sound that it brought in comparison of its sister A-sides.

What Genre is it?: It’s definitely a EDM track from the group!

The Premise: None

The Setting: Well, most of the track is the dance shot which is a white (or black) room with these angular artistic towers…that’s pretty much it when it comes to that besides the bridge where it was just all black.

The Outfits: A leopard-like top and skirt which is pink with black spots and a grey jacket on top of them…seems like a bizarre walk down the same lane that “Help me!!” took long ago.  Though I feel like it’s more striking because of how barebones the set actually is so it kind of sticks out…not sure in a positive or a negative way…it’s just there.

The Choreography: What stood out to me the most besides the editing was the choreography which was pretty exciting and striking when the PV showed.  I pretty much loved the whole chorus especially the jacket thrusting and the splitting of the girls…it was pretty awesome, though there was a surprising lack of Duu (she had injured herself, so she ended up missing both the dance-shot for this and “Sou Janai”).

PV as a Whole: While it doesn’t take much to notice that this had barely any money behind it in comparison to both “Sexy Cat no Enzetsu” & “Sou Janai”, it still was the best song off the single with it’s pulsating beat and crazy hooks.  I also have to say the editing of the PV was also really good with the transitions, negative coloring, and even the bridge where face paint and black light were used…that was neat!

Sou Janai

 

The Song: What’s noteworthy about Sou Janai is the fact that finally one of the 12 Gen members is a lead and that’s Maria this time around!  While she might not be the best singer, she did managed to do well for this one.

What Genre is it?: Not quite as hard hitting as “Mukidashi de Mukiatte” but it’s more along the lines of ANGERME’s EDM-ish songs.

The Premise: This is one of those “I know there has to be one, but it’s flew over my head” situations.  Since it has an extended intro/outro, there might’ve been something with Maria walking in and the rest of the group teleporting in bubbles and the glass breaking to the end of all of them walking away after spending most of the PV standing like robots.  Like I said, there’s probably some guesses but nothing concrete.

The Setting: I can say that there’s two places where the sets are.  The first is the building hall where most of the close-ups, solo dance shots (well, somewhere) and smidge of the premise takes place.  Then there’s the actual dance shot which takes place I assume elsewhere in the building, but it’s easily recognized because of the red wall behind the group.  I guess you can also say a SMALL part takes place in black space (the constellation shots).  Not bad, a little weird with the red wall when otherwise the PV has a blue hue to it.

The Outfits: White dresses, but they look a little more modern.  I suppose it passed, but I can’t help that it feels like a cheap move here.

The Choreography: I will say that I do enjoy the dance when the girls were alone rather than when they’re together..it’s probably me though.  Kind of surprised they did it in two lines, but I feel like the other two A-sides had better choreo in the long run.

PV s a Whole: As most of the budget went into this one (those bubbles aren’t going to pay themselves)  Sou Janai felt both sophisticated and yet also cheap at the same time.  I feel like it should’ve got a different PV than what it actually got.  It was interesting to see Maria get the spotlight here and she didn’t do too bad with it…but the PV is an odd one for me.

Morning Misoshiru

The Song: Morning Misoshiru was the product of the group actually promoting Miso soup for the coming winter so they had a surprise and it was a song!  Though it basically is just “Morning Coffee” swapped one word out in its choruses.  This does come first because A. The PV was out first, B. This was before Maachan went on hiatus, and C.  Well, while it’s not an A-side, it does become a B-side for the next two tracks I’ll be talking about.  This was also the first PV to include newest members Kaede Kaga & Reina Yokoyama.

What Genre is it?: Poppy, but less organic sounding than “Morning Coffee”.

The Premise: The girls camping and the new members join in the fun, simple and not difficult to explain!

The Setting:  Inside and outside the tent…kind of a basic setting, and around a fire pit there’s always that xD.  But let’s be honest, I’m just happy they’re outside and not in a studio xD

The Outfits: Casual pretty much, although from what it looks like, it’s more like Autumn clothing with hats and sweaters.

The Choreography: There are bits and pieces of some of the choreo in the PV, but it’s kind of half-assed because the girls are kind of celebratory towards the occasion and so there’s a lot more other things happening beyond choreo (wasn’t even expecting though.

PV as a Whole: I’ve never really cared for Morning Misoshiru because it was just a quick money grab from the Miso soup products being sold.  The arrangement too felt less special than the original.  What I will say is that it’s a cute PV, not a good one to introduce Kaede and Reina (as they had no lines).  Cute but not very memorable.

BRAND NEW MORNING

The Song: As the leading A-side for their next single, BRAND NEW MORNING to me marked the actual debut for both Kaede and Reina as they had lines this time and a stronger appearance than in “Morning Misoshiru”.  However, on the flipside of the coin, Maachan was absent for this and “Jealousy Jealousy” due to a back injury she sustained at the end on 2016.

What Genre is it?: EDM as per usual, but it sounds a bit march-like and smidge ethnic in places.

The Premise: None here

The Setting: Not quite sure of the setting, it seems like a bit of a red, golden version of some past A-sides but with curtains and pillars with many spotlights filtering around the set.  Kind of simple in the long run.

The Outfits: As the PV brought in only one outfit for the PV, they all match well.  Definitely reminding me of the “Ai no Gundan” outfits, but without the berets.  It’s a red/black outfit with some gold additions across different parts.

The Choreography: I have to say, the thing that stood out in the PV was the choreo one again tapping back into their formation dances and I’m not complaining as they were pretty sharp and newcomers Kaede and Reina had some pretty big parts to their own.  Add on some flag-twirling sessions and you got a pretty energetic set-up.

PV as a Whole: Honestly, while I do love the song itself, but the PV felt very safe for the group giving us the formulaic dance-shot, close-up session that we’ve been getting for quite a while now.  Still, it’s decent and Kaede and Reina already look like they fit in smoothly!

Jealousy Jealousy

The Song: Nothing to really comment about how special it is, I guess it’s nice they brought back some rapping sections and hearing Miki take more of a leading role is quite nice too.

What Genre is it?: Slightly reminds me of Platinum era with strings involved and a steady beat alongside more of the recent sound that Momusu was taking with horns and the funky sound!

The Premise: Nothing really, but I do find the girls walking from the white side to the black side in vice versa interesting.

The Setting: The PV’s main set is probably the black and white split screen-esque set which is where a lot of the premise (maybe?) is found.  The dance shot is more of a checkerboard-like stage which looks cool to watch, but once the raps start the changes slightly to add more color.  Then there’s the mannequin scenes where the girls are rotating in front of red curtains.

The Outfits: The group dons two outfits for the PV, One is the main one of choice and it’s a white dress which is seriously boring nowadays since everyone in H!P has to don a white outfit in at least one of the PVs.  The other though is a bit more interesting but not shown off enough.  They’re casual hip-hoppish clothes and adds color to the monochromatic PV.

The Choreography: I actually don’t remember too much from the choreo side of things except whenever Kaede and Reina get the leading move in the chorus, but otherwise, I suppose it was rather standard for them.

PV as a Whole: Don’t know why, but this one didn’t really stick out to me like “BRAND NEW MORNING” did.  I mean it was great to see rapping and Miki in the front, but the song itself felt more like something left for an album or something like that.

Jama Shinaide Here We Go!

The Song: Moving on, we get into the last single to feature Haruka and the debut for Chisaki Morito who was added to the group after her other group, Country Girls went on a weird hiatus.  This song in particular doesn’t have special notes to say about it

What Genre is it?: Lighter EDM, but still kind of got a strong beat behind it.

The Premise: While it doesn’t fully show until the end, but it’s like the girls are breaking through a mirror

The Setting: A lot of the PV is set through its dance-shot which is pretty bare-bones here going for a black set with 6 lights shining behind the group which is lead into the other shots which is mostly in front of a mirror (or a window).

The Outfits: It seems that the group has 2 outfits for this one.  The main one is the black dress with a white (prismatic top).  It’s nice there’s somewhat of an effort with the outfits here as their classy and kind of cool.  I do like the kind of beige fabric added to the dresses too.  The other outfits are a bit relaxing and somewhat casual outfits as the girls have their own look.  I do like Harunan is wearing a hat though…funny she’s the lone one here.

The Choreography:  The dance itself is a lot more flowing and a bit more emotional set than other PVs in recent times.  It’s like a mix of “Ima Sugu Tobikomu Yuuki” and “ENDLESS SKY” with the wavy arms and just overall smooth moves from all the girls.  Though there’s nothing that totally pulls me into the dance like older songs did.

PV as a Whole: Jama Shinaide Here We Go! of the 3 A-sides off this single is the one that doesn’t quite reach the mark for me.  Maybe it’s just the overall awkwardness of everything that caused me to kind of forget about it.  It’s dark and mysterious, but there’s not a whole lot of depth to it…I think maybe the effort went to the other songs…

Dokyuu no Go Sign

The Song: The next track up is a another pretty straightforward song and it brings back the split into vocal/dance units which means that Erina, Haruka, Ayumi, Reina, Kaede, and Chisaki are not present in this track vocally, but are the main dancers for the PV.  That should be said that the remainder are the leads of the track.  Boy they have lines for days and I appreciate that.

What Genre is it?: Very energetic pop/rock like a ska-less “Koko ni Iruzee!” or plenty of Buono! songs!

The Premise: None here…

The Setting: White room and green screen.  Actually the white room reminds me of a couple older H!P PVs (namely Manoeri’s “Onegai Dakara…” and Juice=Juice’s “Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne”).  The green screen tries to pop more color in there and there are paint effects (which seems to remind me ironically of Juice=Juice’s “Jidanda Dance”) but it’s a boring af set.  Doesn’t help that “Jama Shinaide” has the same problem…  The only time it gets close to being decent is the bridge when the song shifts into its classical motif.  The room gets a blue hue and the dancers are a LOT more visible but I talk more below…

The Outfits: I swear, white on white background never works and it seems that once again its become a problem!  The vocal group are wearing white jackets but they have blue with red spot dresses on to make them stand out whereas the dance unit is wearing white pants and there’s barely any color coming from their undershirts.  It’s pretty glaring that the director was messing up this part.  They also have once again different casual clothes, but since the camerawork is so frantic, we barely get to focus on them.

The Choreography: So with the split, the teams are what like they feel like back in “Oh my wish!”.  The vocals still have their own dance choreo and it’s there, but it’s not quite as upfront as the actual group that dances and they’re dance looks pretty hardcore with gymnastics and crazy moves.  However, due to the white on white situation, their moves are hard to focus on and keep on fading into the background.

PV as a Whole: The song itself is fine, one of the better non-EDM songs that Momusu has done which is a breath of fresh air for them.  Little bummed about the group split, but I regardless enjoyed the song.  The PV though, I think could’ve been handled MUCH better.  The whole white-on-white was distracting enough and trying to focus on the choreo was hard enough with how many camera-cuts this has.  Yeah, PV was a mess, for a good song…

Wakaindashi!

The Song: The last PV on this post, is of course the one that sends Duu off following her graduation and she’s all over the song with lines and face-time.  Though interestingly enough that Akane, Reina, and Maria are the only other girls to get solos (because they’re the youngest members).

What Genre is it?: Seems like this song took more of a tropical house sound, but breezy pop too.

The Premise: I don’t think there is one, it’s just Duu on a bus with Momusu (or herself) and she’s traveling around.  That is until the Complete Edit was released where it does have a bit more emphasis on a premise.  It basically begins with the group getting on a bus at night and then Duu falls asleep and the song plays and at the end of the song she wakes up to get off the bus while the remaining members drive on.

The Setting: So a lot of the MV is set outside from in a bus to a part of a city.  Though they’re also on a set for the dance shot (which isn’t there as much as the other) and once again…another white room (which might’ve been the same as “Dokyuu no Go Sign”).  You can tell I really like they’re outside moreso than the studio.

The Outfits: Unlike in the previous MV, it seems that the casual clothing is seen moreso than the uniformed set.  To be quite honest though, the dance-shot outfits are boring af being once again white dresses (seriously UFP…quit using them so damn much!!).  Going back, the casual outfits look nice and we get better looks at it and it’s not quite as flashy as the ones in “Dokyuu no Go Sign”.

The Choreography: From the small amount that we did get from the PV, I like the fact that at some points they form a “Do” as that’s roughly (Duu).  Though beyond that, a lot of the dance centers around Haruka but that’s an obvious conclusion.

PV as a Whole: Wakaindashi! was made for one thing and that was to send Duu off and it did a pretty good job, I do find that most of the budget was placed here since they actually went outside for the PV which hasn’t happened for a while!  Best of the single that’s for sure!

Leave a comment »

And now the Hokkaido goddess has returned!

manaka

After the announcement yesterday of Renako’s leaving, I wasn’t expecting another announcement a day after, however this one is REALLY good and a happy one at that.  It was announced today that Manaka Inaba (former Country Girls) is returning to the company after having to graduate due to Asthmatic issues.

Her first duty announced is that she’ll return on the 18th on top of being the new leader of the Hokkaido branch of the Kenshuusei

Honestly, it’s great to see her again and I wonder if she’ll join a new group on top of it, or just play it safe for now with the HPKH girls or maybe the 8 of them will become a group?  I don’t know but I’m excited!!!

1 Comment »

Another Fist Hits the Dust….

ogawa

Boy, H!P is just having a crazy year and in some ways, not that good!  Shortly after Fujii’s firing, we had learned that Renako had gone on hiatus due to having anxiety issues (the same stuff that ANGERME’s Maho Aikawa has been dealing with).  Though it seems netizens had found that she was also caught with a boy…but it doesn’t seem like it really affected the situation any.  Until today where it was announced she was graduating from the group & company.

While I do feel like in Kobushi, Rena was the weakest singer, she brought charisma and a very pretty look to the group so I’m a little sad she’s leaving without a farewell single, but there’s nothing you can’t really do.

I’m wondering since we’re down two members in Kobushi if it means we’ll get new members to fill in the space from this audition!

Leave a comment »

Half Year Roundup! 2017 Edition!

So it’s the beginnings of July and right before the Summer tour begins, so I wanna go back and recap the year so far!

Morning Musume ’17

This year has been hectic for every group it seems.  Kicking this post off is out main group and the began on a low note with Maachan being sat out due to a back injury, but we also had the debut for Kaede Kaga & Reina Yokoyama with the single “BRAND NEW MORNING / Jealousy Jealousy”.  After that, Masaki rejoined the ranks and another surprise came in the form of Country Girls’ Chisaki Morito joining the group (made a post about that bombshell).

C-ute

As the group that was going to disband in 2017, the made a final rush with one last single in “To Tomorrow / Final Squall / The Curtain Rises” before releasing a final best album “°COMPLETE SINGLE COLLECTION” and in June the group bid farewell.

ANGERME

Just like Momusu, ANGERME begun the year with the announcement that Maho Aikawa would be on hiatus due to anxiety issues and had to move on with just the 8 members.  They did release a single, “Ai Sae Areba Nanni mo Iranai / Namida Iro no Ketsui / Majokko Megu-chan”.  Though that quickly changed due to the whole Country Girls change AND Kenshuusei debut which ended up with CG’s Musubu Funaki & KSS member Ayano Kawamura joining the group.

Juice=Juice

As the group that had the least members (after C-ute graduated), Juice=Juice released a single in “Jidanda Dance / Feel! Kanjiru yo” and two digital single for “Goal ~Ashita wa Acchi da yo~” & “Jouro” before they got pulled in the H!P shift by adding CG’s Nanami Yanagawa & KSS member Ruru Danbara.

Country Girls

After the announcement of Momochi graduating from the group, Country Girls began their 2017 with the release of their single “Good Boy Bad Girl / Peanut Butter Jelly Love” as her final single with the group.  Momoko would go on to release a 15th anniversary album “Tsugunaga Momoko Idol 15 Shuunen Kinen Album ♡Arigatou Otomomochi♡” which was released right before she graduated, but that’s not all…Due to Momochi graduating, Risa & Mai decided to focus on school but somehow still be a part of H!P and because of that the remainder of the group (Chisaki, Musubu, and Nanami) were sent to other groups and Country Girls will only be active when the two get holidays and breaks (plus releases in digital form).  So unfortunately, the group is going to be on hiatus after the Summer tour.

Kobushi Factory

Kobushi were continuing to promote their first album as the year began so it took a while before the group actually released their first single (well it’s the 2nd release because the actual first was an OST for their “JK Ninja Girls” stageplay).  The single which was tied to the movie version of JK Ninja Girls was released in June, “Shalala! Yareru Hazu sa / Eejanaika Ninjanaika”, but before release we would get news that it would be Rio Fujii’s last single with the group as she would graduate at the end of the Summer tour…HOWEVER…she was fired before the tour started so Kobushi only has 7 members now….

Tsubaki Factory

Tsubaki was the first group to release a single this year which was also the debut for Mao, Mizuho, and Saori with “Hatsukoi Sunrise / Just Try! / Uruwashi no Camellia”.  After that they went a bit quiet and now are the first group to announce a new single for the 2nd half of the year titled “Shuukatsu Sensation / Waratte / Hana Moyou”.

Hello! Pro Kenshuusei / Kenshuusei Hokkaido

The trainees were quite busy this year.  Added about 8 new members to the collective before their Shindan Test.  Before that though the Hokkaido girls managed to release a single for “Real☆Little☆Girl / Kanojo ni Naritai!!!”

At the test, they announce that Kawamura, Ichioka, and Danbara would debut and Takase & Kiyono were going to start a new branch in the Kenshuusei that focused on acting.

From there, we get their two unreleased songs finally on digital stores, “Hello! Massara no Jibun” & “Isshakudama de Buttobase!” and the announcement of where the 3 girls would debut to (Danbara to Juice=Juice, Kawamura to ANGERME, and Ichioka is going to be a leader to a new unit!

===FUTURE===

Well, there’s still a couple songs that need to be released and it feels like right now it’s through UPCOMING! which means a couple more weeks of random, but awesome releases.

Besides Tsubaki’s upcoming single, nothing else, but it feels about the right time for Momusu to announce a single.

Maybe we’ll get some insight to Reina’s new group?

 

 

Leave a comment »

…Or Fujii just ends up being fired…

fujii

Really?  What a total surprise (albeit late for me to respond to).  What I’m talking about is about the recent news that UFP has dropped Fujii and released her from her contract a couple months before she was going to graduate.

Not much is known on what the reason is for the firing, but it’s slightly pointing towards something that was agitating the company to the point where they discussed things with her parents and came to the conclusion that she had to be let go (a thing that hasn’t happened since Aibon’s scandals).

I mean, personally if she wasn’t into it anymore, I couldn’t blame her for not trying anymore and the need to just get out, but when you have a date for graduation, wouldn’t you think you’d want that last glory moment before returning to reality?  I don’t know the specifics, but Riorio did what she had to do and for that I’m respectful, just wish she went out with a different kind of bang…

Leave a comment »

Oh H!P, shuffling your members!

So, today we got a special episode of Hello! Station today and we FINALLY got the news of what H!P is planning to do with the Kenshuusei chosen to debut (sans Takase & Kiyono), on top of the more recent happenings with Country Girls going into semi-hiatus and Morito, Funaki, and Yanagawa kind of placed in limbo.  So let’s see what happened!

Danbara & Yanagawa join Juice=Juice

danbarayanagawa

So the first announcement was made about Juice=Juice and we know that of the current Hello! Project, the group has had the longest running without losing/gaining members.  Though that was blown apart with today’s news.  Personally speaking, I feel like Danbara could’ve been utilized in a group that needed more vocal prowess (Momusu comes to mind). I will say she looks like she’ll fit in just fine and while Yanamin is kind of the same loopy mind that Yukanyan has, I think she’ll fit in perfectly…but vocally it’s up in the air considering most of Juice=Juice is powerhouse singers (maybe not so much Aarii & Yukanyan) but even with Danbara joining it might be a little struggle.

Morito joins Morning Musume ’17

morito

Next was the decision made about Chiichan and she was chosen to be the lone 14th Gen member.  Considering Chiichan was the popular one in Country Girls having her start at rock bottom might be a bit of a struggle.  The announcement was also a bit odd since Fukuchan was kind of low energy as was most of the group when they got the reveal.  I’m curious to see where she’ll be in line distribution, but it’ll be interesting.

Ichioka to become leader of a new unit!

ichioka

Probably the news that surprised and intrigued me the most, Reina was the only KSS that wanted to form a new unit apparently and she’s got her wish.  Granted, she’s the only known member so there might be Kenshuusei joining (or a short audition) to fill the ranks out.  I hope we don’t have to wait too long because I’m excited for a new group after the Factories.

Funaki & Kawamura join ANGERME

FunakiMusubu2015kawamura

Last, but not least we had the two remaining members and it’s a doozy that both of these girls join my favorite group at the moment.  Having a vocal powerhouse like Funakki is just a decision made in heaven and she can join in singing and standing out rather easily.  As for Kawamuu, she’s a little bit of a wild card but her Shindan Test performance was pretty good so I approve of this a lot!!!

 

 

Honestly, I’m not upset by the decisions and am quite curious about how these girls will fit in.  On top of finding out more about Icchan’s group…that I’m really excited about!!

1 Comment »