Iroppoi Twilight Game

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

2003 Nendo Hawaii Genteiban Hello! Project Best 3


Track Listing

  1. Ne~e? / Aya Matsuura
  2. Please Don’t Cry (Musical version) / Maki Goto, Atsuko Inaba, Mika Todd, Mai Satoda
  3. Rock ‘n’ Roll Kenchoushozaichi ~Oboechaina Series~ / Minimoni
  4. Morning Musume no Hyokkori Hyoutanjima / Morning Musume
  5. Watashi wa Kono yo de Ichiban Bijin / Yuko Nakazawa
  6. Haya~i Norimono / Risa Niigaki, Atsuko Inaba, Asami Kimura, Aya Matsuura
  7. HEY! Mirai / Morning Musume
  8. LA FILLE D’IPANEMA ~Ipanema no Musume~ / Kaori Iida
  9. Giniro no Eien / Miki Fujimoto
  10. Akai Freesia / Melon Kinenbi
  11. Eigakan ga Aru Kara sa! / Aya Matsuura, Ayumi Shibata
  12. Uwasa no SEXY GUY / Maki Goto
  13. Boogie Train ’03 / Miki Fujimoto
  14. Date Biyori / Aya Matsuura
  15. Hareta Hi no Marine / Maki Goto
  16. Ganbacchae! / Morning Musume, Hello! Project Kids, Maki Goto

1. Ne~e?

So the album kicks off with an Ayaya track (her 9th single) and just by looking at majority of the album, the first song is quite sugary and upbeat.  It has a certain summery vibe to it and during this time Aya was just a force to be reckoned with and this song is goofy, but still true to what Aya was pulling off (this song was a part of her 3rd album).  I really like the track, though I feel like it might’ve been starting to stretch slightly thin as far as I was in her discography.

2. Please Don’t Cry (Musical version)

At the same time, I was curious to some of these songs that I haven’t come across and this was one of four songs that I had to research a little on.  Please Don’t Cry is a song that originally came from Gocchin’s stageplay, “Ken & Mary no Merikenko On Stage!”.  It’s also sung by Maki, Atsuko Inaba (from the disbanded T&C Bomber), Mika Todd, and Mai Satoda.  Now this one is pretty funny as it’s a bit more lowkey, but at the same time, hearing the girls singing in a hot emotional mess is funny.  It is pretty short though not even making it to 2 minutes.

3. Rock ‘n’ Roll Kenchoushozaichi ~Oboechaina Series~

Next up is a Minimoni song (the technical actual first single with Ai Takahashi as a member of the group and replacment for Mari Yaguchi who left to form ZYX).  It feels like this little era for Minimoni took a strange turn as they went more for a educational route though this song is actually a Chisato Moritaka cover.  As I mentioned before, the song is educational covering prefectures and their capitals by tying it to food as well.  Minimoni’s cover is pretty boogie-woogie sounding and a bit groovy to hear.  I will say it is a slight bit tamer than most of their previous releases, but I do like it teaches things.

4. Morning Musume no Hyokkori Hyoutanjima

I feel like the theme overall for this album so far, is like cutesy J-pop (seems like a lot of the end of 2002 and most of 2003 felt like H!P was going through this kiddy phase).  Morning Musume was definitely guilty of this and this track was actually an A-side for them.  Even though this is one of a couple bizarre songs in their collection, this was also a cover song.  I do like the kind of tropical feel it gave off and it feels like a lot of the members got spotlight.  There was one part that made me wince a little (the ~hyoutanjimaaaaaaa~ line had one girl sound REALLY off pitch, but slide into correction).  It is a decent song nonetheless amongst this crowd of cutesyness.

5. Watashi wa Kono yo de Ichiban Bijin

Continuing on, we have an OST song, this time from “Minimoni ja Movie Okashi na Daibouken!” and it’s a Yuko Nakazawa track (who if I remember correctly, played the villain in said movie).  The song is just as sugary sweet as the movie was, though Yuko sounds like she was having fun with this song.  Honestly though, it’s an OK song, but I’m kind of over it.

6. Haya~i Norimono

Next is a track from the Douyou Pops series (specifically “Shinsaku Douyou Pops 2”).  Damn, there’s just too many kiddy songs on this compilation (this one kind of takes the cake because it is a children’s song).  Arrangement-wise, it’s pretty fitting for the time and I found it amusing that it’s Gaki, Ayaya, Atsuko, and Country Musume’s Asami together here.  Sadly, once again I find myself wanting to skip over it not because it’s bad, but because it’s sugar overload!

7. HEY! Mirai

While this isn’t quite as sugary as previous songs, HEY! Mirai is pretty much known as a cute song due to its tie-in to Koinu Dan no Monogatari.  While I was surprised it did get a PV, it was with cute puppies so that’s always a win!  I do like that there’s some guitarwork here to shake things up for the cute songs and once again enjoying the amount of lines all the girls get.  Decent song, but understandable as an album track/soundtrack song.

8. LA FILLE D’IPANEMA ~Ipanema no Musume~

At least things seem to change for our next track which comes from Kaori Iida, from her first solo album.  I think most fans notice the sheer 180 as this song is sung entirely in French (weird since the original song was sung in Portuguese).  I do like the whole Mediterranean Cafe feel I get from this and a sweet change of pace from the previous 7 tracks.  Plus the saxophone is quite pleasant alongside to smooth arrangement.  While I don’t know how Kaorin did on her pronunciation, it did sound decent.  Overall a pretty cool and chill track.

9. Giniro no Eien

Then we get a random album track from Miki Fujimoto from “MIKI 1”.  While I figured a lot of releases were R&B tinted, Giniro no Eien was definitely catering to the fans that were still under the charm of “SHALL WE LOVE?”.  It does become slightly more poppy in the chorus, but it seems like safe fare from Mikitty.  Overall, it’s a decent track, but a little randomly added to this compilation.

10. Akai Freesia

At least we get to a rather popular song from Melon Kinenbi.  As the group’s 8th single, Akai Freesia might not be what I’d consider an amazing song, but it is a one of their fan-favorites (even then, the 6th Gen auditions had this as its main song).  The song itself is upbeat and mid-tempo.  There was a lot of Ayumi, but she was the groups ace so no surprise…but the remaining 3 did have solos throughout.  Not a favorite of mine, but it’s passable.

11. Eigakan ga Aru Kara sa!

Our next track is another one from a stageplay, this time from Ayaya’s Sougen no Hito OST.  This specific track though is a duet between Ayaya and Ayumi Shibata!  Being another short track (about 1:30 long).  Sadly, we do return to the slightly cute songs.  I feel like the jazzy vibe of the track is nice, but it does also feel like a morning cartoon at points.  Plus, it goes into ~la, la, la~ mode towards the end which is pretty meh.  Still, it’s an ok song, but nothing too memorable.

12. Uwasa no SEXY GUY

Going into something a little more mature, we have Gocchin’s 6th single and I was once again happy to see something different on this album.  I really like the sexier glow from this song and Maki’s vocals suit the arrangement (though the male backup could’ve been left out).  Plus the little bits of James Bond styled guitar licks added some sass to the track.  Good song, overall!

13. Boogie Train ’03

Unlike the random addition of “Giniro no Eien”, I felt like Boogie Train ’03 made a bigger impact to fans.  I actually really like the intro here as it shown off Miki’s vocal skills (plus that high note was great!).  The tune is pretty upbeat and fun to listen to on top of Miki’s full voice that really brought the song together.  Definitely one of the best of that year for sure!

14. Date Biyori

Another random inclusion, an Aya Matsuura song from her sophomore album “T.W.O”.  It feels like the current sound from Country Girls started here.  The track has a strong rockabilly/boogie-woogie sound to it and I’m not arguing one bit because it’s bright and fun to listen to as well.  Definitely another great on this compilation.

15. Hareta Hi no Marine

Then we have an album song from Maki’s first solo album “Makking GOLD 1”.  I was surprised that Tsunku opened the song with ~HAVE A GOOD DAY!!!~ and kind of doing his typical backing he does in various other H!P songs.  I want to like this song, but it feels rather generic and forgetful compared to other songs here.

16. Ganbacchae!

So the final track was another song that was from Koinu Dan no Monogatari but features Morning Musume, Maki Goto (as she had graduated shortly before this came out), and the Hello! Project Kids (Berryz Kobo & C-ute before they joined their groups).  That said, no surprise it’s another upbeat and cutesy song.  Though to be more correct, Morning Musume and Gocchin had all the solo lines while the other 15 kids had the chant of the title and a few small words here and there.  It’s an OK song, but I never was into this one either.

Tracks Recommended

  • Date Biyori
  • Ne~e?
  • LA FILLE D’IPANEMA ~Ipanema no Musume~
  • Morning Musume no Hyokkori Hyoutanjima
  • Boogie Train ’03

As the 3rd and final H!P Genteiban Hawaii release, I felt this was the weakest of the trio.  Primarily because majority of the album was filled with cutesy kids-like songs and the occasional mature track, but I felt like this was a weak year altogether.  Adding on the short stageplay/movie songs and it just wasn’t working like the 1st two albums did.

Leave a comment »

Warp back to 1999…Year Recap!

Stepping up for the last year before the new millenium begins, we have one more set of 12 months before things really kick of for Hello! (or Hello! Project as the name was changed once more groups & soloists had joined.  Though to say the least it was a very rocky year as it has the first members start to leave, our first member passing away, and some bizarre decisions as things go!  So let’s recap the year that was 1999!

Morning Musume



Kicking it off with Momusu, the year began with a surprise announcement that Asuka Fukuda would be graduating in April do focus on studies which made the group’s next single, Memory Seishun no Hikari her last single with the group which included a song that was all hers!  After the the group kind of went into a weird funk with their next singles, Manatsu no Kousen Furusato (which the latter suffered in too much of one member before finally rounding the era out with their sophomore effort, Second Morning.  Though during that, auditions were held for Morning Musume and proteges for the group and Michiyo Heike.  For Morning Musume, they ended up with a winner, Maki Goto and ended up joining the group for their next single, LOVE Machine which ended up being a MAJOR MAJOR HIT for them, but it came with a cost.  The announcement that Aya Ishiguro would be graduating in January of the next year.


  • Happy Night – As the overall B-side from Asuka’s final single, Happy Night is surprisingly good and telling of the times for the end of the year it feels.  Unlike the slow vibes of “Memory Seishun no Hikari” and the depressing tones of “Never Forget”, this is a song that really lets its hair down!  I am surprised that Sayaka and Kei had the only solos, but it’s a fun discotheque kind of track!
  • Manatsu no Kousen & Manatsu no Kousen (Vacation Mix) – Despite me having problems with the A-side of the last single, Manatsu no Kousen tried to set things back on an upbeat track with their summer song, Manatsu no Kousen.  While there’s the obvious push going on for Natsumi, she had a pretty solid voice though her high notes were pitchy to say the least.  Still, it sounds very upbeat and very 90’s.  Just wish there was more of the rest of the group!  The Vacation Mix found on their second album made things a little more clearer and the levels of sound were fixed a bit more. Honestly it didn’t do too much to change things around and I liked that.
  • Otome no Shinrigaku – Who knew Kei and Sayaka would basically get a song to  themselves here!  Funny enough this was the song that ended up being the catalyst for the creation of Petitmoni!  Back to the song, it’s probably the funkiest of them and it’s quirky and fun.  I am a little buzzed that headphones are bad for this because Kei sings through the left side and Sayaka on the right…so it’s a bit strange for me.  Still without them, it’s a solid song!
  • LOVE Machine – Though after the album, I think the standards were set PRETTY high with LOVE Machine which was the debut song for Maki (though also the last for Aya).  Unlike most of the songs here (exception of “Happy Night”), LOVE Machine was its own beast entirely going for more of a discotheque kind of sound.  This song is a legendary song for H!P and for good reason!  Great lyrics, awesome arrangement and new member Maki brought it as she was kind of the main here!


  • Memory Seishun no Hikari – As the last A-side to include Asuka, I kind of felt letdown here with how much Nacchi was here.  Despite the obvious ace pushing going on in the song, the chilled out R&B style really suited the kind of vocals all 8 had at the time and wasn’t begging too much.  Though there are some unfortunate oddities like the rapping and the ending itself (sorry, but please no more adlibbing).  It’s a good song overall, but it does have a couple of problems.
  • Never Forget & Never Forget (Large Vocal Mix) – So for the first time in H!P history we have a single with 2 B-sides, but that’s only because this single was the first graduation single and I think Tsunku wanted to do something special for Asuka and so she got a solo track!  As for the song itself, it sounds a lot like stuff from the group’s first album, but with more Asuka lol.  Well the rest of the group is there, but they’re more like backups here.  From the album version, I feel there was no changes there…although maybe Momusu has more of a presence in the song…it’s still Asuka though so they’re just in the same slot.
  • Koi no Shihatsu Ressha – As the B-side from “Manatsu no Kousen”, Koi no Shihatsu Ressha sounds less old-timey and a bit more like Western Pop with the light guitar pop/rock sound.  Though the kind of reggae-ish verses were interesting to say the least.  Plus, it feels like Kaori and Yuko join Natsumi in solo lines which is always nice.  I really ended up liking the song even it feels a little like something left off the first album like “Never Forget”.
  • Furusato – I really do have a love/hate relationship with this song for sure.  I really do love that Momusu tackled a ballad for an A-side and it sounds beautiful and the lyrics while sad (because it’s basically about being homesick) were sweet. I just wish it wasn’t JUST Natsumi singing here.  Don’t get me wrong, she sounds good, but good lord you could’ve had the remaining 6 do something besides being back-ups…
  • NIGHT OF TOKYO CITY – Opening the group’s sophomore album, NIGHT OF TOKYO CITY followed suit to the group’s sound at the time with the whole urban R&B sound.  At least it didn’t have the raps as “Memory Seishun no Hikari” and “Wasurerannai” contained.  The opening was a bit aggressive, but it really smooths out after a while!  Not a bad track overall!
  • Daite HOLD ON ME! (N.Y. Mix) – Like “Manatsu no Kousen”, Daite HOLD ON ME! also got an album version and just as the aforementioned song, the changes are pretty minimal from the cleaner arrangement and changing the rapping section by making them filtered and the 2nd verse kind of following the “Sexy long version” from the “Morning Cop” OST.  Other than that, I would say it’s a mix of both versions?
  • Koi no Shihatsu Ressha (Album Version) – I should say that I was surprised to see a B-side get edited for the album as I wasn’t there to know if this song was a big song for them to garner the edit.  Unlike the light reggae sounds, Koi no Shihatsu Ressha’s arrangement has changed a LOT compared.  It’s a bit more poppy and synthy and sounds like some 90s pop.  I do think this sounds more complete and fulfilled so it definitely sticks out from the album!
  • 21seiki – As the B-side for “LOVE Machine”, I wasn’t expecting the sound of it to be rather familiar to songs on “Second Morning”.  What makes this one different is that while the arrangement is pretty much acoustic, the song is entirely sung in unison so no one really sticks out here.  The tune is pleasant and heartwarming, but it’s a pretty decent B-side so far.


  • Wasurerannai – If you missed the Momusu that did songs like “Summer Night Town”, “Daite HOLD ON ME!” or “Mirai no Tobira”, then the B-side from “Furusato” might tickle your fancy, but for me it’s just a hot mess and the rapping section is just strange to me.  It’s like they were trying to be classy but also edgy like TLC here and it just didn’t work together this time around.
  • Suki de×5 – I figured that the group wanted to tackle a big band kind of song and they tried that with this song.  I like the genre they were going for, but the song almost felt too flat for me.  I did also enjoyed hearing the ladies in a more sultry sound too, but a lot of the song does come off as a little awkward here.
  • Papa ni Niteiru Kare – I’m not sure why the new songs are mostly going over my head, but I feel like that’s the case with a lot of the “Second Morning” songs.  Yuko, Natsumi, and Kaori seem to be the leading ladies in the song, but the overall breezy pop sound, doesn’t seem to connect to me.
  • Senkou Hanabi – Another Natsumi focused song?  It seems this album is heavily centered around her this time around which is slightly bothersome.  With a little help from Sayaka and Kei, Senkou Hanabi is sounding a little bit like some of Michiyo Heike’s things.  Sadly, it just doesn’t leave much for me and I simply ended up forgetting about it.
  • Da Di Du De Do Da Di! – As the closer for their album, this odd-titled song made for a decent ending if the song wasn’t as long as it felt.  The lighthearted acoustic arrangement does sound nice but there’s some quirky things like how Yuko and Kei can’t sing together (they have lines that they completely miss!).  Add that the ending while cute with the mentions of “Morning Coffee”, “Karasu no Nyoubou”, “Last Kiss”, and “Happy Night” references…definitely dragged the song out TOO far for me.
  • LOVE Machine ~analog remix~ – A month later after the single’s release, LOVE Machine was released as a vinyl and came with a remix and a secret track.  The remix is 7 minutes in length and funny enough tries to urbanize the song a bit.  I sort of dug it, but it is just a bit too long and the verses have like no emotion to it.  Sadly not a great remix.


  • Secret Track – Yeah it had to go somewhere, but the vinyl has a secret track, but it’s just background sounds and whoa, whoas and all that…why is this a thing?

Overall: After going through their 1st loss and having Gocchin take up the mantle, they had a pretty straightforward year.  Though while I thought their 2nd album was pretty meh, their singles were still the strongest releases!

Michiyo Heike



Unlike last year, it feels like Michiyo really stepped down on releases for some reason.  It could’ve been from the dwindling sales, but only releasing these two singles, Anata no Yume ni Naritai and scene, this was her only contributions to H!P in the year.


  • Anata no Yume ni Naritai –  I feel like Michiyo’s pop/rock songs are getting a bit more easier to listen to and this song was a pretty good showcase of sounding 90s but having a good rock sound to it.  It does sound a tad bit dated in places but that’s always been the case for Heike’s music so it’s nothing new.  Still, it’s a cool song for Michiyo!
  • return – Funny that I thought the B-side to “scene” had a bit more oomph to it.  This time Michiyo switched things up and gave us a sultry performance with some cool R&B.  I’ve never heard Michiyo taking up a breathy style to her voice and she could’ve sung “Memory Seishun no Hikari” on her own to be honest!


  • scene – As for the other A-side she released in the year, scene toned things down after the set of edgy singles she’s had and it’s a temperate letdown.  For me, it does sound a bit too laidback for me to really care.  It does have a certain anison feel to it, but scene is otherwise not one of her bests.


  • Haru da yo – I didn’t think Michiyo would once again make the B-side of the single more along a cuter route than the leading track.  Even if it doesn’t sound as corny as “Shinkokyuu Shiyou!!”, the song is a bit out of character and doesn’t really suit Michiyo’s grittier set of vocals.

Overall: Compared to last year, I’m not sure why Michiyo’s releases kind of were on the downlow for the year besides the fact there were multiple auditions, but still was rather low with just two singles.

Yuko Nakazawa



If you thought Michiyo had a slow year, Yuko’s solo career went even slower releasing her lone single of the year, Junjou Koushinkyoku.  Though she could use the excuse that she was pretty busy with Morning Musume to focus on this (plus I wonder how much she wanted to continue being an Enka artist.


  • Junjou Koushinkyoku – Of all the enka songs, I’ve heard, most of them seem to really gel into each other and I end up mixing up the melodies to other songs.  This seems to be the case for Junjou Koushinkyoku as it feels like this could easily been on her first album.  I do like upbeat enka songs though, so it’s nothing to outrageous, but nothing ultimately memorable like “Karasu no Nyoubou” was.
  • Heisei Rhapsody – Which follows into the B-side of the single as it’s got the same upbeat arrangement, but luckily the melody is a little more playful and I remembered Yuko’s vocal performance more.  It’s a smidge better than the leading track, but at the same time…just as middle-of-the-road.

Overall: I guess it shows because Yuko was really busy dealing with Momusu that she would only release one single for the year…a bit sad as I like her voice, but she was kept busy!




 After having Tanpopo being created at the end of last year, it seems Tsunku decided to put some focus this year on them with their first single, Motto.  Then less than a month later we see them releasing their first album, TANPOPO 1 and because of the album managed to release a recut single for Tanpopo.

Sadly, towards the end of the year, Aya Ishiguro announced that she was graduating in the beginning of the new millenium and thus made Seinaru Kane ga Hibiki Yoru her last single with the group.


  • Wakattenai ja Nai – Seems like the trio’s first album was going to start off really nicely with “Last Kiss” first then this song which is styled a bit like boogie-woogie, but a little more classier.  There’s just something about Aya’s voice that really suits the song and she really gives it a sexy glow.  Oh yeah, it’s a solo song just for her!
  • Sentimental Minamimuki – Next is Mari’s solo track and I would say of the three, this one stuck out the most in the best way.  I’m surprised that it was supposed to be styled as U.K. R&B, but either way, it gives me this nostalgic vibe and the beat is just on point.  My only qualm though is that Mari is hitting some notes that she can’t exactly hit right in the chorus, but otherwise, it’s mad catchy.
  • ONE STEP – It feels like this song came from the same vein as a lot of Taiyou to Ciscomoon’s songs during the same period.  Though it has its own smooth twist that lets the trio have a little more fun with the song.  I do like the piano melody and just gives me this cool and sultry glow that Tanpopo had down to a T.
  • Tanpopo – Another album song that surprisingly caught my attention, the song named after the group had a pretty breezy, but strong 90s pop sound to it which stuck out to me.  Still a bit too sung lightly for me, but it’s an ethereal kind of song and I enjoyed this too much!
  • Suki – That Spanish guitar opening definitely took me by shock and unlike the majority of the album, this one tries to be upbeat and sultry in the same experience.  I really like the latin vibes out of this one and I just REALLY think these soft sung vocals suit this track!  One of my favorites from the album!
  • Tanpopo (Single Version) – I suppose this song really stuck out to people enough that it was to be rereleased as a single!  Initially, I couldn’t really tell the difference between the two versions, but I feel this one sounds a lot better structured.  Still, one of the trio’s best songs!
  • A Rainy Day – Seems like Tsunku took some liberties from “Suki” for this B-side from “Tanpopo”.  I like the atmosphere of the song giving off this bright and party-like atmosphere and the trio sound pleasant here even with the brass going on and Engrish throughout.  I loved this song!


  • Motto – As the group’s 2nd A-side, Motto is definitely still a bit more mature than what I was expecting from a H!P group, but not quite as wispy and sensual as “Last Kiss”.  As being another 90s R&B-like track from the trio, Motto is decent, but there’s something a little weird about it.
  • Ai no Uta – Opening with what could fit a spaghetti western movie, the B-side of “Motto” is actually pretty interesting as well as it’s got the trio singing in a lower, wispy style and I found that unique even the ~chu-lu chu-lu~ sections.  It’s refreshing that’s for certain and one of the stranger H!P things that worked.
  • Motto (album mix) – Seems like all of the leading songs got a new album version, but the original Motto didn’t make the album cut.  Unlike the original, the arrangement is a lot more sultry and softer and less sounding like a H!P track.  I do enjoy it more than the original, but it’s still not quite my favorite (though I heard it has never been performed live?)
  • Tanjoubi no Asa – With a piano intro like the one we got here, Tanjoubi no Asa felt a bit lacking somewhat despite the song’s melody to be memorable.  It took a bit while for the song to grow on me, but it’s slightly memorable even if it’s sung way too lightly for me to catch on.
  • Seinaru Kane ga Hibiki Yoru – As Ayappe’s final single for Tanpopo, Seinaru Kane ga Hibiki Yoru was obviously their Christmas song and despite how popular it got in later years, I never got into J-pop Xmas songs very much and this one doesn’t really stick out for me.  Vocals are of course just fine and the song doesn’t sound too bad as it reminds me of “Tanpopo” a bit.  I also would put the solo versions here as well (the B-sides, I suppose)


  • Kataomoi – Sadly, Kaori’s solo is somewhat a forgettable track from the album for me.  It definitely carries itself like something from Momusu’s first and second album and on top of that, Kaorin sounds a bit too light for a song with this loud of an arrangement.  Just kind of a slow burner.
  • Last Kiss (Album Version) – Closing their album, we get an album version of Last Kiss which also opened their album!  Though sadly, I didn’t think this version stood close to the original despite the intentions.  Replacing the arrangement by an all strings ensemble without resinging the tune is a mixture for issues and it’s really apparant that the two ideas clashed a bit too much.  Like I said, it’s a nice idea, but they really should’ve took some effort here!

Overall: Seemed very shortlived for Tanpopo with the three with Aya leaving and all.  Though I do think they had a solid year of releases and shockingly did better than Momusu did overall this year (though another group also did pretty damn good too, but we’ll get to that shortly).  Sad to see Aya leaving, but I wonder if it means Mari and Kaori are going to push forward as a duo, or something else?

Taiyou to Ciscomoon



Back in 1998 in November, Tsunku announced an audition to further out Hello! roster and such and this one in particular was shown on ASAYAN.  Initially the process led with 8 finalists split into two groups (San Fran & Cisco Moon) and trained a bit.  Initially, Atsuko Inaba, Miho Shinoda, and Miwa Kominato were the winners but the last member was left for the remaining 5 until RuRu Honda was the final piece of the puzzle impressing Tsunku with her vocals (also her name changed in the period as well).

After the 4 won, they were sent to the United States to train under various American styles of music and in April, debuted with Tsuki to Taiyou.  Though it was a challenge as if they didn’t do better than Momusu’s “Ai no Tane” they wouldn’t go any further than their debut.  They succeeded easily!

After a month with that, the group would go and release a single each month for 4 months with Gatamekira, Uchuu de La Ta Ta, Everyday Everywhere, and Magic of Love before releasing their first album, Taiyo&Ciscomoon 1.

Sadly after that, the company announced that Kominato would leave the group leaving Taiyou to Ciscomoon as a trio and released a single Marui Taiyou -winter ver.-.  That was all of 1999…very shocking end to the year to say the least!


  • Gatamekira – I think for me, the group didn’t really start to kick some ass until their 2nd single and thank god that they were able to continue as a group because we wouldn’t have got this gem!  Following the sultry R&B sound, I think this song basically showcased RuRu’s vocals on top of everyone’s stronger appearance.  Is that Tsunku I’m hearing???
  • Tsuki to Taiyou -sexy beam remix- – I should mention that their singles after their debut have many remixes that I’m going to have to tackle.  The sexy beam remix of Tsuki to Taiyou really chills things down and finally the melody of the quartet can shine better to a better arrangement and it’s a MAJOR upgrade to the song.  Definitely a cool, laidback song to jam along to.
  • Tsuki to Taiyou -more cool remix- – Alright, this is a nice throwback to some Eurobeat stuff that Americans were drowning in during the early 90’s.  The other Tsuki to Taiyou remix is just as cool and hearing RuRu’s ad-libs are just pleasing to me!  The chorus is slightly disappointing, but the arrangement for the remix is cool and the added rap section was nicely added in.
  • Uchuu de La Ta Ta – As the group’s 3rd A-side, Uchuu de La Ta Ta begins with some spoken dialogue in Chinese from RuRu which was unheard of in H!P!  Unlike the darker side R&B, Uchuu de La Ta Ta sounds exciting and bright and you can hear it in the quartet.  I really do love the verses though…always sing with it!  What a wonderful song this turned out to be!
  • Everyday Everywhere – Despite Tsunku saying this isn’t a ballad, it is their slowest A-side yet.  With the track’s simplistic R&B beats and piano/guitar melody, it let the group manage to show off their smoother sides and group dynamic overall!  I really love this song a lot and just dug the groove overall!
  • Uchuu de La Ta Ta -after summer remix- – The second remix for Uchuu de La Ta Ta took the song in a TOTALLY different direction by making it more beach friendly (to the point where even Coconuts Musume could’ve done this).  Even though it doesn’t have as strong of a beat as I would’ve liked, the summery vibes are aplenty and that stuck out nicely!
  • Magic of Love – Like with “Uchuu de La Ta Ta”, the 4th and last of the single rush sounded like a song that makes you happy no matter what and this disco track also felt like it really worked along the skills the 4 have.  I especially LOVE the big RuRu solo in the bridge…she just really worked the hell out of this song.  Definitely deserve the love it gets today (even if Juice=Juice doesn’t come close to this amount of awesomeness).
  • Chinmoku – Probably the only song off their album that really caught me by surprise, Chinmoku is a weird song for them in a couple ways.  It did take the quartet to more of a Bossa Nova vibe here and that the lyrics are split into their syllables, so the members get one with every time they sing.  Though the girls are singing in a whispy way, the song is pretty classy and the gimmick behind it is unusual, yet cool at the same time.


  • Tsuki to Taiyou – As the group’s debut, Tsuki to Taiyou sounds pretty familiar to more of the urban sound that Momusu was doing at the time.  I will say that immediately that all 4 members had smooth, silky vocals that resonated to me with this one.  Though the song does sound a smidge jumbled here and there and the chorus kind of came out of nowhere.  Still for a debut, this was impressive!
  • Get on my Love – As the B-side from their debut, Get on my Love felt more like a TLC song.  It did feel more focused than “Tsuki to Taiyou” did and the vocals were able to freely stand out.  I enjoyed enough, but it still doesn’t seem quite right despite the sales say.
  • Gatamekira -GTS more energy remix- – Gatamekira’s first remix definitely took the song to a different spot than I thought it would especially for dragging the opening as long as they did.  Once the verses kick in, it picked up, but not in the way that I thought it would.  I actually think the original has more energy xD
  • Versus – Funny that it took towards the end of the year that we’d get another B-side.  From “Magic of Love”, Versus was going up an already amazing song and I figured it wasn’t going to last very long of enjoyment.  The tune is decent, but it’s lacking that soulful energy that most of TaiMoon’s previous songs had.
  • Be Cool Down – Going into their album songs, Be Cool Down is the first new track and it does show the group in a slightly different direction taking a stronger R&B sound here.  Though it’s definitely a Miho/Atsuko duet as the other two only say the title of the track here and there.  I really do love the smokier vocals and chilled atmosphere…interesting song!
  • ENDLESS LOVE ~I Love You More~ – As the last song off the album, ENDLESS LOVE takes the group back into disco-land and while it’s once again led by Miho and Atsuko, it’s actually a memorable song amongst the other tracks and feels like it could’ve been a single.  Bright song and fun to listen to!
  • Marui Taiyou -winter ver.- – After Miwa left the group, we were left with a trio and Marui Taiyou which is the group’s winter entry.  While I do enjoy the upbeat sound here, I was a bit bored due to the song being sung entirely in unison and such.  I suppose it’s OK, but they’ve had better A-sides.
  • Magic of Love (Masters of funk remix) – This remix of Magic of Love does keep things a little close to the original in comparison to the other remix.  Actually it might be a little too safe as it’s REALLY straightforward.  It’s a decent remix if not slightly bland.


  • Gatamekira -digital gigolo remix- – I’m not sure what happened with this remix, but this one is a bit annoying and just doesn’t work with the vocal melody.  I do like the deeper synths and all but with no sticking beat and the overall weird flow, it just didn’t do well for me.
  • Uchuu de La Ta Ta -super afro remix- – I was hoping that the remixes for Uchuu de La Ta Ta was going to be decent, but I feel like the song was left behind for the music, which I was surprised it took H!P this long to end up here.  The parts that do appear are short, but it worked with the beat…sadly, as a whole, it was forgettable.
  • Everyday Everywhere -crazy dance remix- – You would think that I’d love this remix as I love EDM tracks as it is.  Everyday Everywhere’s first remix could’ve been that if it hadn’t felt empty and repetitive.
  • Hey You! – Another album song, Hey You! feels quite disjointed as a song due to both the arrangement and once again the members not really connecting vocally (RuRu and Miho lines are VERY rough).  As for the music, the rapping is meh, the arrangement while more urban, just felt empty as well.  Just bleh!
  • Sunrise Soredemo Hi wa Noboru – What a weird way to open this song with such chaotic chords!  The song it feels like is taking some notes from “Mirai no Tobira” with the overly R&B/Urban sound.  Add that it’s a Miwa-led song with Atsuko and Miho appearing in and out and the song is a bit of a hard listen.
  • Magic of Love (T.Y.P. remix) – Not sure what to think of this Magic of Love remix because it seems to remove all the fanfare-like substance that the original had (and surprising that Miwa was left intact despite she left).  There’s just something missing even though the idea does sound good.


  • Everyday Everywhere -sugee reggae remix- – Though I think what took the cake here in bad moments is releasing a 9 minutes reggae remix.  Not only is it too damn long for my tastes, it drags FOREVER and it’s repetitive at that.  It really doesn’t work and luckily isn’t a main track (or given to Coconuts Musume for that matter).
  • Introduction – As the opening of their album, Introduction does very little for me being 30 seconds and the group doesn’t even sing, instead a rapper does some things…just a weird intro.
  • Interlude 1 ~Breath~ – Yes, their album was chockful of interludes and such.  Breath is the first up and for being a minute long, it does make me feel awkward hearing the door squeaks and breathing in the background.  The music does gradually get a little better towards the end, but that’s the last 20 seconds.
  • Interlude 2 ~Soul Train~ – These interludes are just not sticking at all, at least this one is slightly memorable due to Miwa’s Minyo vocalizations.  But that’s about it!
  • Interlude 3 ~Waga Omoi~ – The last of the interludes does begin with a ringtone of “Tsuki to Taiyou” before it goes into urban sounds and a RuRu monologue before it ends.  Strange…
  • Finale – Of course we’d have an outro…  So the album closes out with some footsteps and a heartbeat before what sounds like a door shutting and a crowd screaming.  I suppose it’s meant for something, but it’s just unusual overall.

Overall: For such a year, I feel like Taiyou to Ciscomoon hit the ground running and definitely scored most releases this year (even more than Morning Musume and Tanpopo).  I am a bit shocked at Miwa’s sudden departure and the excuses from the company as to why..but I mean now we have three alto singers together…so who knows what the trio can pull off for the new millenium.

Coconuts Musume



Back in November of last year, auditions were surprisingly held out in Hawaii by Makoto to find a new group with an international flavor and out of 1500 girls, only 5 passed: Chelsea Ching, April Barbaran, Danielle Delauney, Ayaka Kimura, and Mika Todd.  They were shown off in May to a bewildered Momusu on ASAYAN and shocked people further when their single was announced as Halation Summer / Summer Night Town (English Version).  Though this single was released simultaneously as Country Musume’s debut in July.

A month later, they would release their 2nd single, DANCE & CHANCE.


  • Halation Summer – As the group’s debut, Halation Summer is a bit wild for a debut.  Considering that 3/5 of the group didn’t have a strong grasp at the language.  It does have a strong tropical theme which was their whole shtick.  The song was fun although language was weird but the heavy amount of Ayaka helped out a lot!
  • Summer Night Town (English Version) – Though I was most surprised that their other debut song was a cover of Momusu’s 2nd A-side AND in English which was handled a lot better than “Halation Summer”.  My problem is the vocals aren’t harmonizing very well, although they are doing vocalizations (thinking of Taiyou to Ciscomoon).
  • DANCE & CHANCE and DANCE & CHANCE (English Version) – There’s something familiar with DANCE & CHANCE although I think that sound becomes more apparant next year.  Anyways, Coco’s 2nd A-side is a little more dance-centric and less tropical sounding like their debut.  Of course, I feel like Chelsea really showed up as she’s doing the vocalizations this time around and she sounds amazing!  Once again Ayaka does the Japanese for the most part which I’m fine with.  Also there was an English version which actually made the tune better as well!  Good second single!
  • Zurui Onna (English Version) – Surprise, Surprise!  Coconuts actually ended up covering a Sharam Q track, this time Zurui Onna and honestly this sounds pretty good in English and the harmonizations have been worked on a little bit as well!  It’s a lot more poppy than one would think, but it’s a decent cover!

Overall: Of the 4 new groups introduced this year, I feel this is one of the more interesting ideas by having 5 Hawaiians put into a group.  I’m a little worried that maybe the gimmick will run short or the girls might start having issues continuing to sing in Japanese…

Country Musume



So in March, another audition was announced but this time wasn’t from Tsunku!  This one was from Yoshitake Tanaka who thought he could kick off a group just from his love of farming & nature.  From the auditions there were 9 finalists and they were sent to work to a farm until 3 winners were chosen: Hiromi Yanagihara, Azusa Kobayashi, and Rinne Toda.  They were to debut with their indies single, before tragedy struck and Yanagihara passed away in a car crash.  The parents were giving the choice to either stop the release or let it release and they chose the latter giving Futari no Hokkaido as the group’s first release (which was an indies single)

However a month later and Kobayashi would announce she was leaving.  Most people think it’s either from a scandal or just her not being able to cope with the loss of Yanagihara.

After that a couple months went by before Rinne returned with a second indies single, Yukigeshiki was released to the public and that was the year basically.


  • Yuki da Yori – Did Rinne join Tanpopo?  This song is so light and more mature than previous efforts and this was a B-side!  There’s just something about Rinne’s voice here that just seemed to work and she wasn’t straining like she was elsewhere.  Very nice and relaxing song and her acoustic guitar lines are just really pretty!


  • Futari no Hokkaido – As the trio’s debut (and only one with the 3), Futari no Hokkaido definitely reminds me of like early H!P for some reason.  Opening with a horse neigh and spelling Hokkaido then turning into some diner-friendly song, it stuck nicely.  Though Rinne had the only solo, the song isn’t bad and was a nice debut even if it was a rather bittersweet song.
  • Morning Gyuunyuu – If the title wasn’t slightly apparant, it’s a sort of cover? of “Morning Coffee”.  I will say I’m happy that Hiromi and Azusa have a much stronger appearance here as all three have solo lines throughout.  I did find it funny that at how country the arrangement is, they threw in some idol-rapping lines in as well.  Weird idea, but it slightly worked!
  • Yukigeshiki – After the chaos that befell the group, after the break, when Rinne came back, it was surprising to see she’d be all by herself for this A-side (a rather bold move to keep the Country Musume name alive).  This song had Rinne and an acoustic guitar which was interesting.  I really did enjoy the lighter country sound but I’m not entirely sure Rinne could handle things by herself quite yet.

Overall: What a tragic year this was for this group who had such a hopeful start. I mean R.I.P. to Yanagihara, but going from 3 to just Rinne by herself, I feel bad for her, but also quite respectful of continuing despite the hardships.  Be interesting how this story continues next year.

Chinatsu Miyoshi



In February, an audition was held for the 1st Protege for Morning Musume & Michiyo Heike and out of 2000 applicants, Miyoshi was the lone winner and was given a solo career to run alongside Yuko and Michiyo.  However, she was produced by Kaoru Sanada and not Tsunku and released her first two singles Unchain My Heart Love, Yes I do!


  • Unchain My Heart – When she was announced as a winner than given her solo career, I would imagine many were curious where she’d fit between rocker Michiyo and enka-tinted Yuko.  Luckily, Unchain My Heart was more of an upbeat ballad, but felt very 90’s too. Chinatsu’s vocals to me were a little rough, but had a sense of maturity to them too.  It might sound a bit behind the times, but it’s definitely a memorable song!


  • Namonaki Generation – As the B-side of “Unchain My Heart”, Namonaki Generation reminds me of Michiyo Heike’s works as it had a little more guitarwork and a serious sound to it.  While not as strong as the leading song, it’s nice that she’s a little versatility.  Plus the verses were pretty neat!
  • Love, Yes I do! – As Miyoshi’s 2nd A-side, Love, Yes I do! is actually a lot like “Namonaki Generation” without too much guitar.  The song is a bit more upbeat and bright and has a certain romantic feeling to it.  It’s a good song, but also somewhat like we’ve had this in her previous single.
  • Lonely Surrender – Another similar song eh?  It actually now reminds me of “Unchain My Heart”, but there’s some nice guitars and stringwork and a little bit of synthwork too.  It’s OK, but could be better.

Overall: For someone to win an audition and become a solo artist is pretty big in its own right and I congratulate Chinatsu for winning, but I’m not sure about the style of music she got as it’s kind of behind the times and a little generic maybe.  Let’s see if she gets better in the next year.




Last, but not least, it seems like H!P wasn’t quite done making units and in October created Petitmoni to further push new member Goto.  About adding Sayaka and Kei, he thought they sounded great together in “Otome no Shinrigaku”.  Though with the end of the year coming close, they only managed to put out their single, Chokotto LOVE.


  • Chokotto LOVE – As the trio’s debut, I wasn’t expecting quirky and cute for Chokotto LOVE, but it definitely did wonders for all three members by having them with multiple solos and just that perky energy.  I actually really enjoyed the three together as their vocals meshed well together and they gave the song such a fun atmosphere.  I even liked that the PV was essentially put after “LOVE Machine”.
  • DREAM&KISS – Wow, what a trippy song the B-side of the single was!  With an otherworldly arrangement with a bunch of synths, this Petitmoni song is for sure dreamy with its composition and the trio sound great once again (each member gets two solo each).

Overall: Even though I know the unit was created just for Goto and Tsunku’s love for “Otome no Shinrigaku”, I’d say this is a pretty hopeful and exciting trio as Sayaka and Kei needed something to get them out there and Maki was kind of the push and lead they needed!

Melon Kinenbi


So during the year, more auditions happened and the 3rd Michiyo/Momusu protege auditions ended with these four Megumi Murata, Masae Ohtani, Ayumi Shibata, and Hitomi Saito winning in the end.  Despite the win, they didn’t become active during the year only with the news of their name being announced in December as Melon Kinenbi…

Other H!P Releases


So the only releases that sort-of include H!P members were of these two singles from the show THE GARAGE.  Though it featured artists that were under zetima who were at the time Momusu & Taiyou to Ciscomoon and other non-H!P artists. Both The Garage Vol. 1 & 2 had three songs each.  (sadly I haven’t been able to find these songs, nor could I really say these were H!P releases, but I thought to mention it).

Gains & Losses


  • Atsuko Inaba
  • Miho Shinoda
  • RuRu Honda
  • Rinne Toda
  • Chelsea Ching
  • April Barbaran
  • Danielle Delauney
  • Ayaka Kimura
  • Mika Todd
  • Chinatsu Miyoshi
  • Maki Goto
  • Masae Ohtani
  • Ayumi Shibata
  • Megumi Murata
  • Hitomi Saito


  • Asuka Fukuda
  • Hiromi Yanagihara
  • Azusa Kobayashi
  • Miwa Kominato

My H!P Member Ranking for ’99

  • 27. Masae Ohtani (NEW)
  • 26. Hitomi Saito (NEW)
  • 25. Megumi Murata (NEW)
  • 24. Ayumi Shibata (NEW)
  • 23. Hiromi Yanagihara (NEW)
  • 22. Azusa Kobayashi (NEW)
  • 21. April Barbaran (NEW)

At the end are Melon Kinenbi because other than being the winners of the audition, NOTHING has really popped up about them, so they round out the end.  Let’s really start with the lower end of the spectrum; while I know the loss of Hiromi was huge and the after-effect of Azusa leaving impacted Country Musume, I feel like the lone single for them didn’t do them any favors vocally I think because Rinne was the front member.  I mean you didn’t hear them in the A-side and the B-side had them rapping a lot of the song (for their solos)…I feel like they really didn’t leave too much of an impact.  As for April, I didn’t even know if she had a presence in the group as she only had one singluar solo in their songs and the other 4 just stood out exponentially further than she did…

  • 20. Miwa Kominato (NEW)
  • 19. Yuko Nakazawa (-18)
  • 18. Mika Todd (NEW)
  • 17. Kaori Iida (-9)
  • 16. Chelsea Ching (NEW)

I felt like Miwa was actually the weak link in Taiyou to Ciscomoon despite she had the best control in her tone of voice.  With her Minyo style of singing, she was able to basically hit notes like a laser beam, but with her high pitched voice going against ther other 3 members’ lower tones, it was a bit awkward at times.  So surprised to see she left the group, but we’ll see what happens in the next year!  From being the top last year, I felt nothing from Yuko this year despite her releasing one single.  Even in Momusu, Yuko was kind of pushed back in favor for Natsumi.  It just wasn’t a strong showing in the year.  New member, Mika was kind of middle of the road for me this year as her prominent appearance was in “Summer Night Town” when she debut with the other Coconuts members.  Like Yuko, Kaori found herself pushed towards the back when Natsumi got the overly done push, but unlike Yuko she also had Tanpopo where she became a bit stronger of a presence and sounded really pleasant!  Coconuts’ Chelsea might’ve been put towards the end if it wasn’t the impressive showing for “DANCE & CHANCE.  Otherwise she’s kind of forgotten due to her lack of knowing the Japanese language, but meh.

  • 15. Asuka Fukuda (-12)
  • 14. Michiyo Heike (-12)
  • 13. Rinne Toda (NEW)
  • 12. Chinatsu Miyoshi (NEW)
  • 11. Danielle Delauney (NEW)

As the first Hello! Project member to leave, I feel like Asuka got a pretty good deal with a solo song for herself, though the single she left on was the beginning of the Nacchi push so it kind of felt like it went over people’s heads.  Michiyo had a MUCH quieter year this year with only two singles released, not sure what happened but she just wasn’t quite as in the front but it was an OK year for her.  With all that she’s been through this year, I’m surprised Rinne chose to continue her career under the Country Musume name despite the losses they endured.  I also seem to really enjoy that she’s playing guitar in her music now, very cute and seperates her from the other members!  While I feel that Chinatsu came out of nowhere to debut under a different person (like Rinne), Chinatsu comes off pretty mysterious to me but her music is pretty light and good to enjoy on slow days.  Some really strong things happened where Danielle was the first White gal to join H!P.  Yes, she sticks out, but she has a really sweet voice and can really pull off some great vocalizations.  I’m definitely going to watch where she goes!

  • 10. Sayaka Ichii (-4)
  • 9. Ayaka Kimura (NEW)
  • 8. Natsumi Abe (-1)
  • 7. Mari Yaguchi (-2)
  • 6. Kei Yasuda (+3)

A lot of these Momusu members would have been pushed towards the back if not for the sheer fact that there was sub-groups.  That was the case of SayakaMari, and Kei.  Although they were put in their places just for vocals alone which is still pretty impressive that none of them really had Momusu spotlight this year.  Ayaka is clearly the only one comfortable singing in both English and Japanese so it’s obvious that she’s pretty much the lead in songs for now!  As for Nacchi I was a bit surprised how much push she got before Gocchin joined the group as she nearly became the only important member in Momusu no thanks to “Furusato” and some of the tracks off “Second Morning”.

  • 5. Maki Goto (NEW)
  • 4. Atsuko Inaba (NEW)
  • 3. Miho Shinoda (NEW)
  • 2. Aya Ishiguro (+2)
  • 1. RuRu Honda (NEW)

It hasn’t been very long but I feel like Gocchin was there to pretty much knock down the wall that was the Nacchi hax and gave us a mind-blowing single in “LOVE Machine” and would continue into the creation of Petitmoni.  Will this wave continue to flourish?  For Atsuko and Miho they’re both kind of at the same talent and power which is still pretty impressive with them also being in the same group.  I just really love these lower vocals for sure!  While I am really sad to see Ayappe leaving in the new millenium what she did this year was quite amazing and her vocals in Tanpopo are just amazing!  Seriously though I think the clear winner this year was RuRu!  Who knew a member could come into H!P with such amazing vocals and talent would seriously show up the remainder girls?  She really does have a classy presence and those vocals are so powerful…yeah she’s definitely the best H!P right now!!!




Leave a comment »

H!P Profiles: Hello! Pro Kenshuusei Hokkaido


Top Row L to R: Hikari Sato, Haruka Oota, Mei Yamazaki
Bottom Row L to R: Kanami Ishiguri, Minori Kawano, Yume Kudo, Ryou Kitagawa

Back in 2015, H!P announced an audition for a group in Hokkaido (well, technically that was never totally confirmed to be a group, especially with the outcome).  Either way, the auditions came and went but there was silence for quite a while before emerging in July at the Summer concerts where these 7 were announced as Kenshuusei but not quite a part of the collective it seems.  See, as they are from Hokkaido, performances would be difficult because of the traveling they’d have to go through, so from that they decided to seperate them and make them a branch of the KSS.

Overall: This is an interesting twist as the whole Kenshuusei thing was pretty standard it seemed.  While this does remind me of H!P Kansai and how much of a flop it turned out to be (SINA *cough*).  Though it’s funny they have an official picture whereas the KSS vanilla has none.  It’ll be interesting to see where this goes for the future.


°C-ute to disband in 2017


Today, it was announced that the eldest group in H!P currently will disband at Saitama Super Arena in June of 2017.

Honestly, while the timing was surprising, the overall thoughts were that it wasn’t as much of a shock considering the tenure they’ve been pulling since they’ve debuted.  I love the group and as much as I think Airi, Maimi, and Chisato were the vocal powerhouses, Saki and Mai were pretty integral as well!

More news is that they’ll release one more single and won’t take part in the Winter H!P concerts.  Makes me think there’ll also be a best album thrown in like when Berryz called it a day.

Don’t know what other surprises are in store, but it’ll be a nice run towards the end!

1 Comment »

Tsubaki Factory gains 3 members?…WHT?!?

Yup!  Announced today at a Fanclub event, the group annouced 3 new members (all from the Kenshuusei…so let’s get to know them!

Saori Onoda


Probably the most familiar face of the trio, Saorin kind of took up Karin’s mantle when she started doing the Pinkss stuff and even then she surprised many for her Shindan Test performance opting for a recorder solo!  To me she stands as a good face for the group next to Yumeno currently.  It’ll be interesting to see what she’ll bring, but I have a feeling she’ll be a lead next to Yumeno and Kiki.

Mao Akiyama


The next gal up is Mao Akiyama!  Though I am sad to say that between her and the other girl that’s coming up, I don’t have too much of an opinion on them.  With Akiyama though, she is known for her dancing abilities so that’ll come in handy for more upbeat songs.  We’ll see how things go!

Mizuho Ono


The last girl, Mizuho is really an enigmatic to the group as she kind of runs in the middle of the road leaving nothing that really sets her apart from her KSS sisters.  She has gotten better singing since her induction to the KSS, but how it’ll stand amongst the other 8 will be interesting.

Overall, I feel like moving Tsubaki to a 9-nin group might be a little overkill, but I feel like the group really needed a spark as not many fans are won over quite yet.  While I see Saori being a good choice, it’ll be worth seeing if Mao and Mizuho can add something else as well!  Though announcing this not even a week after the 6-nin released “Hitorijime / Watashi ga Obasan ni Nattemo” is beyond weird

Leave a comment »

Manaka Inaba graduates from Country Girls


Today, it was announced that Manaka Inaba from Country Girls has graduated.  For me, this isn’t all too surprising because she’s been absent and on hiatus for a couple months now due to her asthma which apparently hasn’t gotten better.  The notice did say she’ll remain a part of UF, but to what degree is unknown currently.

It’s a bitter and sudden closure as she only sung on three singles, but she was kind of the hidden ace amongst the group due to her amazing dancing skills and her voice which could go between a powerful voice and to a cutesy squeak.  While I wonder if they’ll replace with someone (as ANGERME did recently), I kind of hope one of the Hokkaido KSS gets added just for the whole Country Musume/Girls status quo.

Leave a comment »

Time for some Kenshuusei news!

So over the last week we’ve gotten some pretty interesting news concerning the Kenshuusei!  So let’s talk about it all!


Top Row: Hikari Sato, Haruka Ota, Mei Yamazaki
Bottom Row: Kanami Ishiguri, Minori Kawano, Yume Kudo, Ryo Kitagawa

The biggest news is that a new branch of the Kenshuusei program was created for members from Hokkaido!  Though that 6/7 are from Sapporo (Kitagawa is from Rankoshi), these our are new trainees. Now what they’ll do during this time is still up in the air currently (though they did perform “Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa”).  It makes me wonder if this is a pre-conceived group in waiting or not (as they have a profile picture above) whereas the normal KSS don’t (yet).


On the other side of the program, it was announced that Yumei Yokogawa, Momoko Shimano, Nagisa Hashimoto, and Rion Nakano had finished their training a few days before the announcement of the Hokkaido branch.  With the first three, age was pretty much the factor on why they are all gone (though for Yumei, I’m sure it was her lack of talent…sorry but not sorry).  As for Rion, there was not a lot of reason for her leaving, but maybe she wanted to go back and focus on school or something.

With the Kenshuusei (not counting the Hokkaido girls) going to just 16 members (plus Tsubaki), they might focus on gaining new girls for a while, though with 2 new songs, anything can happen.

Leave a comment »

Warp back to 1997 & 1998…Year Recap!

So I’ve decided to start tackling the old H!P and slowing reaching up the year (a grand task at hand!).  What’s a better way than to start from the humble beginnings of H!P?…or at that time the 6 together were just called Hello!  Well, two years because 1997 had only two releases and that would’ve been too short of a blogpost.  Also some pictures are going to be from more recent stuff (because apparently promo shots back then were near to not existing at the time).

Also, as it is a Year Recap, it’ll be done like the ones I tend to usually do at the end of every year :D…so this won’t be any different (except currently, there’s no Eggs/Kenshuusei XD)…so shall we dive right in!

Morning Musume



At the late months of 1997, Sharam Q lead singer Tsunku was looking for a female vocalist to join the band and held an audition to find said singer!  Really of course, it seems that Tsunku had found his winner between 6 girls (Nakazawa, Iida, Abe, Fukuda, Ishiguro, and Heike) though in the final round, it turned out that Heike was the winner, but it didn’t end there!

The remaining 5 were given a task: Sell 50,000 copies of their demo (or indies single as they’re called today), Ai no Tane and they will be given a major label debut.  It took 5 days, but they managed to complete this mission and was able to debut properly the next year in January (which was only a little above two months after) with their single Morning Coffee.  With about as much excitement there was though, Tsunku decided to hold auditions soon after for a 2nd Generation which ended up with Sayaka Ichii, Mari Yaguchi, and Kei Yasuda passing and becoming the 2nd Generation of Momusu and led to their next single, Summer Night Town, and their debut album, First Time.  Before rounding out the year with Daite HOLD ON ME! which was the ending theme to the group’s first movie.


  • Morning Coffee – I mean there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be up here to be honest.  It’s a song that kicked off a really, long and exciting set of years.  Hearing that initially Kaori was supposed to lead the song but switched last minute for Natsumi is quite risky (as the latter had some pitch issues, but Kaori had some problems herself…but this was their 2nd song so what can I say?).  I really like the harmonies that these 5 have and the double lines are just so pretty to listen to.  Plus I have to say that Asuka and Kaori really stick out the most and I quite love it!
  • Summer Night Town – Well, it’s enough to say that their 2nd major single was just as strong!  Though I wasn’t expecting a change of genres after “Ai no Tane” and “Morning Coffee’s” more lighthearted and breezy tones.  Though I could say it was cashing in on the current trends in music and such.  This was also the 2nd Generation’s debut, but they were more or less non-existent here being back-up vocals.  Though one gripe was the vocals weren’t as tight as they were previously, but I’m sure it’s to share the rough sound we had.  Still, it’s a great follow-up!
  • Yume no Naka – Going into album tracks with Yume no Naka, I love the kind of throwback sound it got especially with the horns and overall groove.  There’s just something dreamlike about this and Kaori, Yuko, and Mari really sound good together especially with the lighter atmosphere!  Still my favorite track from the album sans the A-sides.
  • Usotsuki Anta – The only other album track that stuck out to me is Usotsuki Anta and that’s because of its upbeat sound and we get a LOT of Yuko in this track and I’m definitely excited since its mostly been an Asuka/Kaori/Natsumi fest.  Even Aya gets a couple lines. Vocally it’s one of the best songs off the album that’s for sure!


  • Ai no Tane – Yeah, their first song, their indies, is kind of just middle of the road for me, even though this was new and foreign to me when I first heard of it.  I think maybe its just that “Morning Coffee” did the upbeat, breezy sound better for me and the vocals here are a bit more shrill as well except for the verses ironically.  Still, for a debut, this song is actually not that bad and screams nostalgic to current H!P fans!  Even the keyboard solo was so weird xD
  • Good Morning – Moving into the intro for their album, Good Morning definitely has that sunrise kind of feeling and the group harmonizing is quite nice to listen to (especially with 8 members in tow).  Though it does struggle to leave an impression outside of its chorus.
  • Wagamama – All I feel for the album is that it has this certain Western kind of sound and not so much J-pop at time (minus “Summer Night Town”).  The pop/rock feel I get from this suits Kei, Aya, and Sayaka who are the leads of the song.  Still the whole song sounds like it was meant for something else and not-so-much for Momusu, but the trio held it quite fine!
  • Daite HOLD ON ME! – As the group’s 3rd single, I felt like they tried to tackle a lot more than they should here.  I mean on top of the fact that it does remind me of “Summer Night Town”, the girls sound a lot more rough and hitting notes were ending up squeaky and off-kilter.  Though the rapping section was something the group hasn’t done yet…and it was interesting to say the least.  I do love the verses as they came off so sexy and mature too.


  • A MEMORY OF SUMMER ’98 – Being the first B-side for the group that wouldn’t make the album’s cut (“Morning Coffee’s” was “Ai no Tane” and was on the album too), A MEMORY OF SUMMER ’98 is a little strange nowadays due to the year at the end (but at the time it was something special for them).  That said, despite this being 2nd Generation’s debut, they were actually absent for this song.  Beyond that, the song was quite uneventful for me, even though the arrangement is light and pleasant (and with strings).  It just kind of was there for me, nothing bad, but nothing remotely memorable.
  • Dou ni ka Shite Doyoubi – If there was anything I could pull from this song is that the song made me think of like 70’s disco but cheaply made?  At least the intro of the song was trying to build into something cool, but then it turned into a hokey mess.  It just wasn’t working out.
  • Samishii Hi – Then there was the ending to the album.  I don’t mind the gospel-like arrangement and I could even give props to the solo lines within this song, but once another girl joins up, the harmonies just get too wobbly and uncertain for a lot of the groupings so everything feels all over the place.  A little too loose vocally (maybe too raw?).
  • Tatoeba – Then we have the B-side from “Daite HOLD ON ME!” and I could only think of “Wagamama” because it shares that Western vibe, but this one actually includes slide guitar to make it more fitting.  Though what makes me forget this is once again the vocals that seem to clash moreso than gel.  Also it does tend to drag way too long for me to care for.


  • Mirai no Tobira – There was seriously one song that made me want to cry as I listen to the songs from their first year.  This album track is the only urban track (that wasn’t an A-side) and it’s just bizarre and doesn’t fit anywhere.  I’m not a big fan of the speak-rapping going on here and then the sudden switch of BPM to fit in the slower verses to just speed it back up for the chorus, which was in itself weaker than normal.

Overall: As the group began, I felt like they were going to be run-of-the-mill goody-girls.  Though with “Summer Night Town” and the 3 new members, I feel like Tsunku was starting to take some risks and seeing what works and what doesn’t.  Though I won’t lie and say the stuff they get in these early albums are easy to get into sadly…

Michiyo Heike



If you’ve read above, then you already know that Michiyo Heike won the ASAYAN auditions to become the new singer for Sharam Q right?  WELL…it seems Tsunku had other plans and instead gave her a solo career (where guitarist from Sharam Q, Hatake, would work with her for a couple of singles.  She debut a couple days after Momusu with the single GET (which was the audition song that let Michiyo win).  It did initially have great sales (around 70,000) but then her follow-up singles Sotsugyou ~TOP OF THE WORLD~, Daikirai, and Dakedo Aishisugite ended up flopping hard in comparison!  Though after her 2nd single, she released her first album, Teenage Dream as well.


  • GET – Despite that everyone heard GET in the auditions (and to be fair there were better turnouts than Michiyo in the final round), she definitely made the song her own and I was kind of happy that GET ended up being her debut.  Unlike the poppy sound that Momusu got with “Ai no Tane”, GET had a full-on J-rock sound (thanks to Hatake) and Michiyo’s mature voice suited the aggressive nature of the track which is awesome!
  • Sasaete Kurenakucha – If there was one song that I thought deemed better than “GET” though, it’s this edgy B-side from “Sotsugyou”.  Hatake sounds a bit more aggressive here and Michiyo sounds a bit more fitting for the sound as well.  She was even getting some cool screams in there too so it gave the song a lot more personality throughout!  Awesome B-side!
  • Onna no Evolution – I never thought an album song would manage to stick out to me, but Onna no Evolution keeps things simple yet really catchy, add on that Michiyo was pretty upbeat and sounded strong (even more than she did on “Skip” and “Start!”.  It’s just a great song and one of the true standouts from “Teenage Dream”.
  • Akai Tsuki – At least there was one other album song that really caught my attention and that’s Akai Tsuki which felt like it had the most effort on it and it heavily sounded 90s especially with the synth beats and speed.  Actually it has a certain avex feel, sort of Euro, but at the same time not…it was unique and a total surprise on her album.
  • Daikirai – I feel like after her 2nd single, it seems like she wanted to go back to the more gritty rock sound she debuted with and Daikirai was definitely in the realm of that plus that title was also kind of given.  It might not be quite as rockin’ as “GET”, but there’s something edgy here and the lyrics were just as much.  I just ended up loving it!
  • Dakedo Aishisugite (Mix for Single) – Yes, there’s a reason why its a single version here.  Either way, Dakedo Aishisugite is probably my favorite A-side Michiyo released in 1998.  It just perfects her pop/rock style to suit her voice and the overall strong and aggressive nature of the song.  There’s some synths that play around, but it’s still mostly guitars and drums here.  Just a cool song and one of the best ones to represent Hello!’s cast of ladies especially being the first solo member.


  • Sotsugyou ~TOP OF THE WORLD~ – I was surprised that Michiyo’s first release in 1998 was going to be a cover of an old Carpenters track.  Considering that it’s a popular song that’s covered in Japan, Michiyo’s is a bit better than I was expecting and her mix of pop/rock is interesting.  Not a bad cover and Makoto did pretty well here.
  • Start! – The opening of Michiyo’s album kicks things off quite strongly with this track.  Now most of the song is a lot like “GET” with a more aggressive sound, but I will at opening was a bit overkill for me.  Disregarding that, I do think she did a great song here!
  • Skip – After the opening track, we got Skip and it’s upbeat and cute to listen to which is a nice contrast!  While I feel like Michiyo did get some help vocally, I didn’t mind this as it’s breezy and funky at the same time!  Fun little track overall!
  • Hitorigurashi – Another album song, I felt like Hitorigurashi was more safe than anything.  I do love the harmonica and the whole Western light it had (which once again a couple of Momusu songs had as well).  Like there’s nothing wrong with it and it could make for a nice, easy listen, but that’s what it really comes down to for me.
  • Fall the rain – As the B-side from “Daikirai”, it was a nice contrast from the more edgy A-side.  Though I do feel like it’s a leftover from her album and the kind of rock-ballad wasn’t the most exciting thing, but it’s a little interesting as a B-side.


  • Prepare – As Michiyo’s first B-side, it felt like it joined alongside the cute and upbeat songs Momusu were releasing and funny enough they gelled together.  The big difference is that Michiyo didn’t have the harmonies (and multiple members to fill things out).  The tune ended up being a little bit one-note IMO.
  • Furimukinaide – One of the other few Tsunku-produced songs, Furimukinaide was a strange album song because of the kind of pseudo-reggae, slightly rock tinged groove that throws me off.  Add on Tsunku doing backup vocals and things are just a little more stranger than normal.  Oh add on the random organ lines and it’s just a black sheep on the album.
  • Hey! Hey! Girls Soul – Ending her album, Hey! Hey! Girls Soul tried to mix up some 50’s diner-esque songs with some stranger things.  I couldn’t get behind some of the arrangement choices and Michiyo is kind of yelling some of her lines which is not exactly something I was expecting for a style like this.  Maybe a little too random for me.
  • Shinkokyuu Shiyou!! – If “Dakedo Aishisugite” was going to be that catchy rock song, I wasn’t sure what the B-side was going to be and it’s a little too sway-back and forth for me and seemed to be a total opposite to its A-side.  I will say the acoustic sound is nice and the harmonica part was interesting enough (though “Futarigurashi” already tackled that…but this song doesn’t seem to suit the single.


  • Teenage Dream – The only thing I could really say it’s so icky is that its an interlude that really has no place on the album.  All it really is is just a lone piano melody for a whole minute.  I will say that it does feel like it’s leading to a more darker song…though it actually doesn’t.

Overall: She started so strong, but for some reason her sales just dropped to the wayside whereas Momusu continued to sell (could be because Tsunku focused so much more of his time on the group sadly).

Yuko Nakazawa



After Morning Musume released their first album, it was announced shortly after that Yuko would be given a solo career as an Enka artist (traditional Japanese folk music).  Though we would learn later that she wasn’t too big of a fan of this because it made her feel old on top of it being a little more of a niche genre.  She debuted a little under a month after “First Time” with the single, Karasu no Nyoubou and then released a second single (a duet with Enka artist, Gen Takayama), Odaiba Moonlight Serenade and then a week later, released her first album, Nakazawa Yuko Dai Issho.


  • Karasu no Nyoubou – While I’m not the biggest fan of Enka (in the same reason, that Yuko wasn’t initially), I have to admit that this song is kind of cute and catchy.  I was also impressed that Yuko could handle Enka on her own merits despite being in an idol group simultaneously.  As a debut, it really came out of nowhere and the genre of choice while absurd, kind of made Yuko a totally different kind of soloist when compared to Michiyo.
  • Sutenaide yo – As the first album track, Sutenaide yo definitely hints a little of a cross between Yuko’s idol side and her new Enka side in a nice blend of both genres.  I definitely love Yuko’s voice here as it’s bright and full of l more relaxed and calm arrangement.  It’s a great tune to get to on the album that’s for sure!
  • Ame no Midousuji – So Yuko’s album actually is filled mostly with covers of old Enka songs, but strangely enough, I felt Ame no Midousuji didn’t fit the mold of the atypical Enka song.  I mean the horns, recorder, and strings do scream it, but Yuko’s straightforward singing made me it more like an idol song a bit (it could also be from the vocal layering as well).  Either way, it’s a pretty good song overall!


  • Otonashibashi – I think if it wasn’t the recorder that wasn’t used, it would’ve been a simple ballad to listen to, but with the solos going on, the song really felt classic and soft for Yuko.  Unlike it’s A-side, “Karasu no Nyoubou”, Otonashibashi is more relaxed and focused more on Yuko’s light vocals which really were pleasant and almost heavenly to listen to.  Nice B-side overall!
  • Odaiba Moonlight Serenade – For Yuko’s 2nd offering, she teamed up with fellow UF singer, Gen Takayama for two songs!  The leading track, Odaiba Moonlight Serenade is not as quiet as her first single which is great and the arrangement is pleasant and upbeat, but sometimes I felt like Gen and Yuko didn’t match vocally, but it could just be the man/woman difference here.  It’s cute though and Yuko sounded really nice!
  • Tsugunai – If there was a safe Enka song in Yuko’s album, I feel like Tsugunai might just be that song because it does have the easy things that would be normally seen in Enka songs and while that can be bad, I do like Yuko’s performance enough that it just breezes by nicely.
  • Cosmos Biyori – Our next track makes this spot because of its sheer simplicity.  Like “Tsugunai”, the song has one defining feature and that’s the accordion in certain parts of the song…otherwise the same things I said about the above song can be brought to this track.
  • Etto Tsubame – I have to say, the intro to this song was something that woke up after a few of the other ballads that came before it, but outside of the arrangement, the song was a little plain, but Yuko once again had a really sweet voice so it didn’t bother me too much.  Not bad, but there’s clearly better.


  • Koibitotachi no Ballad – The B-side of her 2nd single also included Gen and it felt more of the same that I got from the leading track, though I did enjoy the strings a little more, but still the vocals are a bit wobbly and I think there was more Gen here which is ehhh.
  • Osaka Rhapsody – There are a lot of covers on Yuko’s album and maybe she should’ve just stuck to doing original tracks because Osaka Rhapsody felt so boring and forgetful to me.  It’s just kind of blah for me and to know that Yuko’s stuff is better sounding and all just doesn’t give this song favors.
  • Koi – It feels like we’ve had this song already in “Otonashibashi” with the lowbrow quiet ballad here which is OK, since there isn’t too many on her album, but this song is a bit too sleepy for me.  The harmonica (I think) is a nice touch and all, but otherwise, just a bit too light for me.
  • Eki – Oh boy, this song just left no mark on me.  I mean the majority of the song just kind of goes on by with not a lot of changes and yet the most memorable song was at the end where Yuko starts ad-libbing the chorus melody.  I mean for a cover song it’s ok, but not really memorable.

Overall: Of all the members of Hello!, I feel like Yuko had the busiest year as she had her share of solo work and her role in Momusu so she definitely had her work cut out.  Of her solo stuff specifically, it’s a mixed bag because Enka is still not a genre I delve into very much so meh lol!




In October of 1998, it was announced that a sub-group of Morning Musume was to be created to have a little maturity in their music vs. their normal place of being an idol (which was moving to a more R&B style).  Chosen members were Kaori Iida, Aya Ishiguro, and Mari Yaguchi.  Just a month later, known as Tanpopo would release their debut single, Last Kiss and that was their 1998!


  • Last Kiss – Of all the debuts so far, I think Last Kiss was the best of them for sure!  There’s something chilling and dark about Last Kiss that really caught my attention and then hearing Kaori, Aya, and Mari sing in such a wispy way impressed me a whole lot more than they were doing in Momusu!  Add on that a lot of spotlight was placed on Aya and Mari (who while they were given some spotlight on the Momusu album) had a LOT more lines in this one song.  I just love this song!
  • Jikan yo Tomare – They weren’t lying when Tsunku said he wanted Tanpopo to go in a different direction and the B-side ended up being a bossa nova track!  I do love hearing a lot of Mari, but the other two are there as the lower vocals which is pleasant enough for me.  It felt like a song that suits a later generation for me

Overall: Even though they had debuted at the end of the year, I felt like getting these 3 into a unit was a smart idea and the whole mature sound they have is definitely impressive just by going with their 2 songs!  I hope it continues throughout next year!

Other Hello! Releases


The only release that did fit anywhere else is actually a soundtrack for Momusu & Michiyo’s movie, Morning Cop ~Daite HOLD ON ME!~ the first time since the ASAYAN auditions that all 6 Hello! members were singing together on top of the new 2nd Generation of Momusu!


  • Dakedo Aishisugite (Mix for Screen) – To be honest, I really couldn’t tell the difference between the OST version and the A-side cut besides the arrangement being more clear in the OST one?  Actually, I think another big difference is the guitar solo in the bridge…definitely different.  Still it’s Dakedo Aishisugite at the end of the day and still one of the more impressive Michiyo songs!
  • Daite HOLD ON ME! ~Sexy Long version~ – I was surprised Momusu’s 3rd A-side would be given a new take, but I actually really like this version a smidge more than the original!  I especially love the new opening that really gives this sultry and sexy vibe and it continues through the verses (even though they weren’t resung).  Actually most of the song is changed by arrangement but that’s actually so cool!


  • Onegai Nail – As the only song on the OST to include all 9 Hello! members, Onegai Nail was pretty interesting and features more of the recent happenings with Momusu by being a little more urban overall and yet has a lighter vibe to it.  I do like the harmonizations here a lot and since just about everyone had a line in it so that’s always good.  It’s a pretty happy-go-lucky song though and it does stick out in this OST.
  • Yoroshiku! – Disregarding that opening with the lifeless excitement, the song comes off as a surfer pop track and it presents us with something different.  I do like the silliness and upbeat vibe from the tune and it would’ve made a good album song to go after “Good Morning”


  • Koi no ABC – The other Momusu song from the movie, Koi no ABC tried to take the same path that “Onegai Nail” did, but the urbanized sound is a lot more cheap sounding and the chorus is rather slower than majority of the song (and it’s short too).
  • Tsuyoku Naranakucha…ne –  The OST actually also came with a new Michiyo song as well, but sadly this was kind of more of the same I’ve came to expect from her releases so it just kind of falls under.  Though I do like Michiyo’s lighter vocals that aren’t too scratchy as they’ve been.  It just sounded like “Sotsugyou ~TOP OF THE WORLD~”.


  • Michiyo Heike
  • Yuko Nakazawa
  • Kaori Iida
  • Natsumi Abe
  • Aya Ishiguro
  • Asuka Fukuda
  • Sayaka Ichii
  • Kei Yasuda
  • Mari Yaguchi

My H!P Member Ranking for 97/98

  • 9. Kei Yasuda
  • 8. Kaori Iida
  • 7. Natsumi Abe
  • 6. Sayaka Ichii 

Since it is pretty early in the girls’ careers I still had to rank them for the time being and kicking things off is Kei-chan because she wasn’t a star player back then and she only had a seldom of times where she had lines to herself.  Not saying she’s the worst member, but she hadn’t had the time to shine quite yet.  Kaorin also finds herself here, but she had a couple noticeable places where she stood out (like Tanpopo).  Though she’s ranked low because her voice isn’t quite strong and she shows a lot of dead-face emotion in the PVs sadly.  Being the lead vocalist can be rough, especially in the case of Nacchi who led the singles in Momusu.  She’s got potential, though right now she sounds very pitchy to me…shame considering she’s not even the best singer in Morning Musume!  Same with Icchan as she’s slightly better, but she hasn’t had the push yet of being a front singer yet.

  • 5. Mari Yaguchi
  • 4. Aya Ishiguro
  • 3. Asuka Fukuda
  • 2. Michiyo Heike
  • 1. Yuko Nakazawa

At first, Marippe was going to sit in the latter half of the 9, but it wasn’t until her addition of her into Tanpopo where she finally rised up to the occasion and she has a pretty, yet higher pitched set of vocals.  She’s still kind of an enigma in Morning Musume, but she did manage to carve out a small bit of personality here which is also the same for Ayappe.  Though she’s had a little more time to get settled and like Mari, it wasn’t until Tanpopo happened where she finally had a chance to show her skills and she’s got a lovely set of deeper vocals.  In Morning Musume proper, I feel like my favorite vocalist is Asuka but she’s also the youngest as well which is just more impressive!  Michiyo for me is 2nd because she does have a lot of power in her voice and being the winner of the ASAYAN auditions is something (and she didn’t have to go through an indies period).  However I feel like Yuko gets the top spot for doing the most of the year and delving into a genre that’s not entirely familiar to fans of the idol world!  Plus her vocals are so pleasant when singing ballads and Enka songs yet she gets very little in Momusu…


NEXT TIME, 1999 and finally Hello! Project is created!!!


ANGERME gets another new member!


So at today’s opening day for the H!P annual Summer concert, it was announced that ANGERME was getting their 5th Gen member, and surprise, surprise it’s Momona Kasahara!

While she hasn’t been a member for too long, I can’t help but feel that she wasn’t too ready from going by her Test Recitals (even though she did win alongside Momohime Kiyono in this years).  I do love that she loves Eri Kamei, but she slightly felt weaker than normal, but considering her improvements in the year between, maybe she’ll find her spot within the group, though she is all-in-all taking over Meimi’s place so who knows what she’ll bring.




The Hokkaido auditions have finally completed and there’s 7 members joining, though with the way the site is wording it, it sounds like they will start as the Hokkaido branch of the KSS, but at the same time sounds like they’re a group already XD…I’ll be making a post about this on 7/30 (their debut date)

Leave a comment »

Morning Musume PVs Through the years!: Arigatou Riho and Kanon!

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these but that’s only because I managed to actually keep up and get to the current releases Momusu have been put out.  At this point in time I’ve reached a milestone where I’m finally seeing members I saw joining the group now leaving to greener pastures to put it that way with 9th Gen members: Riho Sayashi & Kanon Suzuki.  So in this post we’ll be talking about Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi, ENDLESS SKY, One and Only, Utakata Saturday Night!, The Vision, and Tokyo to Iu Katasumi.

Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi

The Song: As the first A-side from Riho’s final hurrah, we have Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi which was originally supposed to be a solo track, but canned for some reason (mostly by the fact that Riho wasn’t exactly leaving H!P after this, but still).  Still it is the slowest of the tracks!

What Genre is it?: Sounds quite like a ballad, mixed in with some synth elements

The Premise: None

The Setting: To me it seems like it’s in a large room (well most of the PV with the choreography), though once we get into solo shots, it feels like the girls are in various places in this house.  Though it feels like Riho gets a special setting, it actually is a different part of the house?, just darker and with lights surrounding her.

The Outfits: I was kind of surprised from the simplicity of the setting and it bled into the outfits as well where all the members have a simple white outfit.  Though, once again, Riho has 2 extra outfits (for her solos) and instead it’s a little more mature with once being a little more formal with pants and such and a black dress for another.  While, I’m not surprised by this, I feel like H!P was going through this love of simple white outfits and it was starting to bother me a bit at the time

The Choreography: It feels like we’ve finally started to close the door on formation dances and returning to what the Platinum era was doing with dances.  It’s very smooth and a lot of sudden pops to fit with the beats of the song.  Of course with the focus on Riho, she gets two major dance solos (because she was the leading force behind the choreography).

PV as a Whole: As a whole, Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi was a total surprise and a nice drift off from the electro songs for the time being.  All the ladies looked heavenly, even if the video was lacking color and vibrancy (which only was fixed during Riho’s solos).  I do feel that it was a good song to show off our graduating members and the power she brought with her dancing.


The Song: There’s really not much to say about this song, or well what is special about it compared to the other two tracks of the single.  While not as heavy on Riho as Tsumetai was, it was a little more upbeat in arrangement and tried to be as happy as it could despite the implications with Riho leaving (especially the ending with Duu shedding tears)…like she did in “Mikaeri Bijin”…

What Genre is it?: Pretty much a mid-tempo EDM track, think “Ima Sugu Tobikomu Yuuki” basically and you’re pretty close to what ENDLESS SKY is all about.

The Premise: None

The Setting: If you thought the washed out, white-over-white look in the previous video was bad, then ENDLESS SKY felt like a cheap throwaway in comparison.  It almost looks like “Ima Sugu” with the pillars going on, and of course white curtain all over the place.  If it wasn’t for the outfits, this could’ve been a LOT worse than it should have been.  You can tell there’s some blue/purple hues going on to try to add a little more flair, but it just fades out for me.  Then there was the falling feathers and the scenes where the group are either laying/sitting in the circle as well which doesn’t do much favors to the otherwise blah set.

The Outfits: That being said, the outfits were really the only colors we had as they were wearing a get-up split between members of both blue and purple outfits.  I mean at least it helped the members pop out more from the background to say the least.

The Choreography: I have to say, I don’t remember much of this dance.  After “Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi”, I think we were spoiled a bit.  I mean I remember a lot of finger-pointing and some hand shakes that came off odd to me.  Not the most memorable of them all.

PV as a Whole: ENDLESS SKY felt almost too much of a shrug from H!P.  I’m not sure what happened, but the PV’s overly simplistic look kind of bored me to death.  Luckily, the members actually emoted nicely and added much personality to a rather drab PV.  Definitely a weaker one of recent times next to “TIKI BUN”.

One and Only

The Song: As the most energetic song from the single, One and Only was the first track that everyone knew about because of the whole tie-in with J-MELO and the sheer fact that it’s the first song that’s sung entirely in English!  While there was no solos to be found in this song as opposed to the previous two PVs, we did get to see a lot from the girls!

What Genre is it?: Not quite rock, not quite EDM…kind of in between!

The Premise: None

The Setting: I’m not gonna lie and say they’re at a location, but it’s actually green-screened, almost to the levels of “Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa”.  The group dance is in front of a revolving globe, where as another shot has them surrounded by blue clouds like they’re above the clouds!  As for solo shots, it’s an abstract thing, though it does look like an actual background with light bars, but it could also be more green-screen too!  Add lyrics in the actual video too!

The Outfits: It feels like it’s been quite a while since the group had more than one uniformed outfits for a PV so this is quite a treat.  Majority of the video has them wearing different kinds of clothing but all share some amount of white and a plaid (black/red) look.  The other outfit is only seen during the group shots in the clouds where they were all white (again) but in a more casual style.

The Choreography: At least the choreography doesn’t feel half-assed compared to what ENDLESS SKY was.  It’s a mad catchy dance and it feels like it’s rather easy to do as well.  Probably one of the more memorable parts of the PV!

PV as a Whole: I think the energy and just seeing how much fun the girls were having, making this PV, was probably the best of the single.  Despite the need for green-screen through most (if not all) of it, One and Only was just so much fun to watch and Miki was just all over this single too.  Fun song and video it got!

Utakata Saturday Night!

The Song: After leaving Riho to finally graduate, it wasn’t long until Zukki would announce her full graduation out of the company.  With that, this song was actually the last of the three A-sides to be revealed due to that and left us wondering what was going to be in store for Zukki’s final song.  To be fair, it’s such an amazing track and just brings out so much happiness and all that Zukkiness was just what everyone needed before she bowed out.

What Genre is it?: It’s a little EDM, but it’s definitely got some funk and disco here (a little like “Sukatto My Heart” too).

The Premise: None

The Setting: I think the best way to describe it is like they took C-ute’s “Bye Bye Bye!” hexagonal set and threw in some Berryz’ “Asian Celebration” shenanigans like the disco balls and shiny things!  Interesting things to not, that some of the solo shots are set in front of repetitive screens and there’s DJ Zukki as well!  Simple set, but worked well with everything else that was going on!

The Outfits: The outfits for this one are pretty simple, just shiny yellow, blue, and pink dresses for everyone!  With some feathers to top it off!  Though Zukki does get an extra outfit during her monologue in the bridge.  She gets a Red/Orange suit with a big yellow polka-dotted bow and a boa to kind of make it work together.

The Choreography: With the song being mostly under a disco/funk style, the dance was to be pretty fun and energetic and it didn’t disappoint in that regard!  I did love the throwback to C-ute’s “Massara Blue Jeans” with the hip thrusts and the ~utakata~ pump was cute too!

PV as a Whole: I haven’t been this impressed by a PV from Momusu for quite a while and USN! was definitely a knock out of the park!  The effects were quite nice and felt exciting, to the amount of times we get to see all the members (especially Zukki!).  I especially loved her monologue where she claimed that the video was coming to an end and reminding us to keep smiling (as it was always her wish for her fans).  It was a realization that many didn’t expect but hit hard and she’ll be missed a lot!

The Vision

The Song: It seems that as of recently, H!P has been getting into these vocal/dance splits in the song as its happened with “Oh my wish!” and ANGERME’s “Nana Korobi Ya Oki”.  Though this is Momusu’s 2nd ordeal and once again the girls that didn’t sing in Oh my wish! (Fukuchan, Eripon, and Daaishi (Ayumi)) were sadly sat out for this one and acted as the visual representation of the track here.  Though I suppose it’s to be said that 12th Gen had a little more of appearance here, but not quite there yet!

What Genre is it?: It’s basically the sequel to “Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe” with the fluttery piano lines and light EDM affairs

The Premise: None

The Setting: For most of the video, the dance is shot on a stage (it’s startin’ to get old H!P >.>) though I first thought it was in a training room, which is bizarre, but eh!  The other shots are taking in a white room surrounded by chandeliers and linen?  It’s a little boring to say the least, but much more elegant than whatever happened in “ENDLESS SKY”.

The Outfits: Trying to mesh with the white background of the solo shots and the overall beige feel of the choreo section, the outfits weren’t too bad being half blue, half white skirts.  The only thing that truly bothers me is the white strip of cloth hanging off their backsides, it kind of looks like toilet paper honestly

The Choreography: Sadly, the focus of the dance is placed upon Erina, Mizuki, and Ayumi which was impressive don’t get me wrong (though Eripon had some hiccups), but the rest of the group looked odd?  Though it was cute how Sakura and Masaki had some moments togethers and the verses were nicely done too…it’s just the chorus that is strange.

PV as a whole: While I do think it’s the weakest of the 3 A-sides on Zukki’s graduation single, the song itself is really pretty and has seriously grown on me since it was first performed.  I think these simpler PVs are a bit underutilized with money, but then again when is that a new thing?  Still great song, meh PV.

Tokyo to Iu Katasumi

The Song: Being the first song from the single to be performed, the song drew a lot of weird opinions, but for me Tokyo to Iu Katasumi was just something a little more aggressive and that was missing from the group at least not since “Oh my wish!”  Still, it was a decent track but the other two kind of ranked higher than it xD

What Genre is it?: Aggressive EDM, maybe not trance-like, but it has beats and guitar riffs!

The Premise: None

The Setting: For the first half, it felt like it was just going to be one setting with the group in a circular set surrounded by spotlights…it feels slightly familiar for some reason.  Luckily the setting does change when we hit the 2nd verse where the girls are backstage (of some place).  It gets better during the bridge with more scenes of the girls just relaxing/getting ready.  There wasn’t a whole lot of that sadly.

The Outfits: Where I think the PV starts to slip are the outfits which were a bit random and didn’t make much sense in the long run here.  The pink and blue candy striped outfits just looked out of place for everything (especially since it’s mostly a darker looking PV).  Though the backstage scenes had the ladies in just casual clothing so it was OK, but the uniformed outfits just didn’t work here.

The Choreography: Which was made worse with the choreo this time around.  I wonder what the idea/concept was about it, but lord did it not work with this kind of aggressive sound.  There were some cool parts to it, but the chorus is where it just messes up and looks goofy.  Not fitting to the song at hand.

PV as a Whole: You could say the video gets a weird look from people and I would agree because from the wacky candy outfits to the arm flailing choreography to the stark contrast to everything else the PV had to offer, I feel like the director/stylist/choreograper never spoke to each other about how this was going to come together and sadly it didn’t work.  Luckily, the song is pretty bangin’ so I suppose that’s a good thing!

Leave a comment »