Wow, 2012…it’s been a pretty busy year…not as wild and crazy like last year with the amount of changes. I actually was kind of happy that this year, it was so scary of year and the releases this year have been the BEST in years and even the releases have gotten so much stronger as well (though the auto-tune love has gotten a lot fonder). So let’s check out all the acts this year!!!!
Let’s start off with our flagship group. They begun the year finishing off their promotion for Busu ni Naranai Tetsugaku and finally kicked off the year with the first single Pyocopyoco Ultra, which was the debut for the 10th Generation! Of course that’s not to say there was some backlash because while I don’t think it’s because of the Suugaku Joshi Gakuen tie-in, but more of the fact that they were dressed up like chocobos! Boy I felt like the 4 elder members were just not liking that and it also showed as it’s the lowest selling single (even lower than the previous holder of that record, Mikan).
During that time, then leader Risa Niigaki announced her graduation and the auditions for the 11th Generation has begun as well. It all led up to Gaki’s final single Ren’ai Hunter. It even came with a special addition that included a solo track from Gaki (which was a cover of a popular Aya Matsuura track). Needless to say though that before her graduation concert, Aika Mitsui shockingly announced her sudden graduation because she didn’t want to risk being injured like she was (back after the Only you single, where she injured her leg). Unlike Gaki though, Aika remained as an H!P artist.
After the loss of two of their senpai, Morning Musume would go and return to form with their 50th single One Two Three / The Matenrou Show which was A BIIIIIIIIG deal as there were many specials about this occasion! It would go on to be their best selling single in first week sales since Ai Araba IT’S ALL RIGHT!. It was a turning point in the group and since then has been called the Rebirth era of Morning Musume!
Shortly after they would go ahead and release 13 Colorful Character and included the previous three singles on it. However, I felt like it was overshadowed with the sudden end to the 11th auditions with the lone addition of Sakura Oda. Who has definitely caught the eye of many!
Despite that she was added, she was absent for the group’s next single, Wakuteka Take a chance which was a nice single, but didn’t carry the candle as strongly as their last couple of singles. Though Sakura had gotten her own little dance-shot of the PV…
With nothing else releasing for 2012, the last BIG thing that happened was that 6th Generation member, Reina Tanaka had announced that she was graduating from the group to start up her own band.
Prediction: I can’t wait to see how the group will be like with newcomer Sakura, but it seems like 2013 will be an interesting year, maybe a 12 Gen addition…hopefully no one graduates and granted that Sayu is the only old member left after Reina graduates, I hope she stays a little longer than a year.
- Kanashiki Koi no Melody – As the debut B-side for the 10th Generation of girls, Kanashiki Koi no Melody REALLY stood out a whole lot from it’s paired A-side! It’s very electronic and each member of the group has a solo line and even Ayumi got favored as she has an extended solo alongside Gaki and Riho. It’s just a nice surprise after the horrors of “Pyocopyoco Ultra”.
- Ren’ai Hunter – Continuing that train of thought, Ren’ai Hunter is the A-side that dove into more of the electronic style that was slowly taking over H!P towards the end of the year. A lot of people were questioning the kind of dubstep-ish sound mixed with the choreography it got with that freaky crab dance lol. Though knowing that it was Gaki’s final single and how much she stood out in the song made me happy (can’t say the same for Aika as it was also her last single too), but this song is really cool and sticks this cool side to the group so much!
- One Two Three – Curious to what Momusu would sound like without Gaki and Aika we got our answer with the eventful 50th A-side (well the first half). The tune is pretty edgy and very EDM-like for sure. Though fans do frown at the over-focus with Reina and Riho and pushing everyone else to essentially have syllables as their solo lines. I didn’t mind it though and still rocked out to it and it’s no surprise it did so well on ORICON.
- Aisaretai no ni… – So what began as the first single to include multiple B-sides, we have the song that only featured the 9th Gen members, Riho, Zukki, Fukuchan, and Eripon. Honestly, I love the fact that Zukki stood out the most in this once again electro song. Everyone though got a good amount of solos so I was overall happy with this!
- Seishun Domannaka – Then there was the song that was sung by the new 10th Generation and their song was more on the cute side of things. I do think Haruka’s voice didn’t really fit and Harunan wasn’t that great in the song, but it’s still adorable and quite fun to listen to when it’s about a crush they have. A nice opposite to the 9th Gen song!
- What’s Up? Ai wa Dou na no yo~ – The first song we had a first listen to from their “13 Colorful Character” album, though we had an early version of the song (that honestly should’ve stayed that way and not messed with more). Other than that, it sounds like a solid dance track and it had chant and some strong lines from the members (mostly Reina) lol.
- Zero Kara Hajimaru Seishun – I was surprised that a song that’s 5 minutes long would be able to give significant lines to everyone in the group, but it managed that in a mid-tempo song more or less! It might be the lowest on the great songs of the year, but it’s still a great song nonetheless and it’s simple and sweet that’s for sure!
- Waratte! YOU – Then comes the track sung only by the 9th and 10th from the album and this was a blast from the past with this one. It has a very discotheque kind of sound (almost like “The Matenrou Show”). Still there was a lot of AWESOME moments in this one especially the big note coming from Zukki of all members.
- Futsuu no Shoujo A – Sung by Reina, Maachan, and Haruka, found on the “Wakuteka Take a chance”, Fuutsu no Shoujo A really came out of nowhere and it came with a unique arrangement and awesome vocals! Quite baroque and fancy and the swooping of the notes between the three shown off quite the skills (especially Haruka who at times sounded like Miki Fujimoto) and I bias her a lot! Cool song overall!
- Egao ni Namida ~THANK YOU! DEAR MY FRIENDS~ – While not sung by the group, it was the graduation song from Gaki and she did the song justice as her voice was more radiant than Ayaya’s original and the tune overall was just much better (yeah, I know she released this a year back with the whole “Hello Cover” series, but it was redone on the “Ren’ai Hunter” single.
- Watashi no Jidai! – Next up is the B-side from “One Two Three / The Matenrou Show” that was only sung between Reina and Sayu and while it didn’t impress me as much as the other generational songs, it still sounded hyper and kind of lies in between “Aisaretai no ni…” and “Seishun Domannaka” with it’s peppy electronic arrangement. It sounds like it could’ve been used in a video game!
- Lalala no Pipipi – Even better that Sayu got a solo track on the album and it was pinpoint right on with Sayumi’s interesting abundance on lacing her vocals with auto-tune. Like “Watashi no Jidai!” the arrangement could easily be a video game tune (like Miku Hatsune). It was a nice change of pace on the album!
- Dokka~n Cappricio – Wow was this song quite the energetic tune! It was very hyper and has a lot of things going on it that would include chanting and really sounds like a perfect live song. Plus the whole ~sexy~ thing might be a little too soon for the new members, but hey…if it pumps the crowd up, why not?
- Namida Hitoshizuku – Reina also ended up with a solo on the album and once again like “Ai no Honoo”, it’s another ballad too. I haven’t heard Reina sound so clean and putting that much effort in a solo like this before, so this was a treat, but it did still have some parts where it could’ve been filled better.
- Wakuteka Take a chance – Why did it feel like we just got this kind of song in “One Two Three”? I do think the intro is quite badass and a lot of the song is in the same kind robo-musume kind of state which is nice, but once again with the syllables acting as solo lines? Now that’s a bitter slap to the fans. I still think the song is cool though, so it didn’t lose too much by my standards.
- Love Innovation – I’m not sure what it is with Love Innovation (I initially thought it would’ve connected somehow with “LOVE Machine”) but this song is not harmful and can be quite cute to listen to (I also liked a lot of Reina’s lines too lol). Those synths though sound rather cheap for some reason hahah.
- Pyocopyoco Ultra – As the debut song for the new Generation, I was expecting something cool like what 9th Gen got with “Maji Desu ka Ska!”, but I was proven wrong when we got the damn chicken song. The synths are grating at times and the overabundance of cute just overkills me (and that PV was just embarassing (as I’m sure it was for the elder members). I honestly didn’t notice Ayumi, Masaki, Haruka, or even Haruna for most of the song until I looked at the color-codes. Yeah…this song was bad and it’s no wonder it’s their lowest-selling single (sorry Suugaku Joshi Gakuen!).
- Watashi ga Ite Kimi ga Iru – As the B-side for Ren’ai Hunter, this song sounds like a watered down Buono! song for some strange reason, but has elements of cute thrown in. Not as much as the song above, but this song has some odd moments that I didn’t care for. Plus, the chorus didn’t fit the song either…I’m not sure why they went in that direction but it’s whatever. Song wasn’t that memorable to be honest.
- The Matenrou Show – Meh at this A-side as well! I mean the disco vibes is awesome and all, but to promote this as the A-side when it seriously IS ONLY Reina AND Riho is pretty shitty to the fans. To say the least that there’s a version that’s SO much better than this is good though.
- Be Alive – The thing that comes off whenever I listen to this song is chintsy and almost a bit too corny for my tastes. It starts off pleasant enough with piano but then it kind of grows into this sort-of emo-musume sound that isn’t supposed to be emo and I just end up thinking it’s supposed to be a goodbye song (which on the recent performances, was the final tune performed). Not my kind of song to be honest.
- Chikyuu ga Naiteiru – One of the songs that really disappointed me in listening to it is Chikyuu ga Naiteiru. I LOVE the verses in the song especially since it’s Reina-fronted and she puts energy into her lines, but the chorus is drop-dead boring and one-note. Oh well…
- Daisuki 100 Manten – The Fukumura/Ishida duet from “Wakuteka Take a chance” ended up here and sadly it’s rather bland and forgetful for a song that had some high hopes. It’s just a bit too bland. I suppose it’s good because it has a lot of Ayumi in it at least 😀
- Shinnen Dake wa Tsuranikitoose! – The only song that really made me dislike things was the song sung by Sayu, Eripon, Riho, Zukki, and Harunan and it’s a really distracting song, especially with Riho’s vocals and Harunan’s as well…actually everyone but Zukki sounded terrible in the track. I can’t stand listening to it for very long so…yeah…
Berryz Kobo once again has had a pretty quiet year when compared to the others, so they just kept to their normal schedule. They begun the year with their 8th album, Ai no Album 8. Then released Be Genki <Naseba Naru!>, cha cha SING, and WANT!. Yeah they really didn’t go off and do something random so to speak. The good thing is is that they were pretty good especially releasing some of their most interesting tracks like Shy boy, Be Genki, cha cha SING, Loving you Too much etc….etc… Though in the process had THE worst song of the year in Momoko’s solo from cha cha SING. They did announce though that they’re releasing Berryz Mansion 9kai (their 9th album).
Predictions: I hate to be the sad panda, but I feel like someone is probably going to graduate next year considering their time is starting to tick (whether if they’ll go one by one or altogether is a different story).
- Yononaka Barairo – I don’t know why, but whenever this song pops up it brings excitement and a smile to my face. It’s energetic and the guitars are used well here. I would say it just has the right amount of Berryz fun that I’ve come to know from the group.
- Atarashii Hibi – Sung by Captain, Miyabi, and Momoko…Atarashii Hibi sounds REALLY good for some reason on this album. I mean with Miya and Captain’s deeper vocals and Momoko who moves between low and high vocals to a cool retro-esque arrangement, it’s a cool song to hear! Loved it a lot on this album.
- cha cha SING – Pretty risky covering again since I was one of the few that didn’t care for “Dschinghis Khan” at all. Though, this was an amazing song from the group as it was catchy as all hell and just was a fun, party song that had a fun dance to it! Probably one of my favorites of the year!
- Loving you Too much – Though the first B-side from the single was just as awesome if not better than “cha cha SING” was. Another cover song (from the same artist, mind you), Loving you Too much had a bit more depth to it, but still gave me happy feelings all over! Plus each member was highlighted so nicely…ahhh great tune!
- WANT! – They just had to end the year with a bang huh? Yeah WANT! was the group diving into H!P’s EDM syrup and unleashed this beast which ended up being a quick favorite! The auto-tune was pretty cool and the bounce and energy was heavy too…club music…definitely…LOVED IT!
- Mythology ~Ai no Album~ – As another disco song of the year, Mythology might not be the one I’d recommend first, but it’s not a bad track. I like the vocals here and Risako did a nice job standing out as well.
- Shy boy – Another song from the album, Shy boy would’ve been an amazing had it not been for the overuse of auto-tune here. Otherwise, it’s a slick and sly kind of track that tries to be sexy but with the autotune, it’s misses that mark. I still do enjoy it from time to time at least, so it’s not a big enough gripe!
- Ren’ai Moyou – The tune sung by Chinami, Maasa, Risako, and Yurina…Ren’ai Moyou is one of the slower songs of the year and it’s kind of a mix of a ballad and an R&B track. The voices were really pleasant and not overbearing, but I seem to forget about it a lot whenever I listen to the album.
- Be Genki <Naseba Naru!> – I thought the superhero song was so odd xD. The introduction reminded me of Bomberman songs and the whole flow was so superhero and just kind of that 80’s Saturday cartoons. When I first heard it, I was like welp…this is a lot like how ridiculous “Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance” was, but I grew into enjoying this a lot too. Fun and silly song and it was an A-side 😀
- Because happiness – I know I’m going to get flak for putting it so low since I love “Chou HAPPY SONG”, but by itself, Because happiness is an awkward song to listen to. There are WAY TOO MANY gaps of silence in the song and it makes me wonder why we didn’t find the connection to this and “Shiawase no Tochuu” earlier to be honest. I do like how it’s synthy and upbeat, but this is not worth being it’s own track.
- Seishun Gekijou (Berryz Koubou Ver.) – Being as a stageplay song, Seishun Gekijou never really interested me much, but seeing as this and their sister group got their own versions made me groan. I do like the more natural arrangement here with the piano/strings, but the song is still kind of blah. Add in that male vocal and it’s just eh…I do slightly prefer over C-ute’s though.
- Mou, Kodomo ja Nai Watashi na no ni… – I was surprised to see a Chinami-centric song happen more or less as an A-side, sadly the song came off as awkward for me for some reason. I still do like how much Chinami is singing here…it’s just not my kind of song.
- Yuuki wo Kudasai! – Even though I didn’t get to spend much time with this B-side before the end of the year, Yuuki wo Kudasai! is one of their more upbeat songs. It’s a bit anison, but still retains the group’s vocals…but like Chinami’s song…not my cup of coffee.
- Momochi! Yurushite Nyan♡Taisou – Why did this have to exist? If you don’t know this song is based around Momoko’s catchphrase of “Yurushite Nyaaaaan!~”…so I suppose it warranted a song (though calisthenics?). I don’t know but this song REALLY caked on the cute meter and it drove me insane, even dragging the other BK members to sound like they were back in H!P Kids >.> If you can’t tell I hate the song xD
°C-ute this year has been somewhat busier than Berryz funny enough, but they definitely didn’t have much of a year for me at the same time. They (like Berryz) began the year with their 7th album, Dainana Shou “Utsukushikutte Gomen ne” which is probably my least favorite album for the year from H!P. Then they released two singles which are their top selling singles yet, Kimi wa Jitensha Watashi wa Densha de Kitaku and Aitai Aitai Aitai na. Then followed up at the end of the year with a pseudo-best-of album 2 °C-ute Shin Seinaru Best Album which is mostly self-covers of their older songs and a couple of their recent hits. Not bad…
Predictions: Like Berryz, but less so 😄 Though with their raising sales, I’m hoping their get better ^_^
- Hitorijime Shitakatta na no ni – For some reason, I think of early 2000’s with this song from their 7th single. I really like how quickly Chisato has come from the bottom to the top of the group and fits nicely against Maimi and Airi. The tune is pretty standard sounding, but the group just has the right vocals to give the right emotions.
- Zuntaka March ~Hitorashiku Ikiyou~ – The next song is just so bizarro sounding for the group, but the thing that really stands out is Airi’s and Chisato’s growls and ascending notes in the verses, then the track makes a sharp turn as it goes into an actual march~…It might not be a favorite of many, but I love the originality behnd this.
- Tokai no Neon ga Odoroku Kurai no Utsukashisa ga Hoshii – One of the solo songs from the album, the best was definitely from Chisato. It definitely reminded me of something around the time of Maki Goto’s early solo career / Gomattou. Chisa’s voice is surprisingly suited to this style and the whole song was a solid listen, the best of the three solos on the album to be honest.
- Kimi wa Jitensha Watashi wa Densha de Kitaku – What is it with C-ute and LONG TITLED SONGS…anyways, I wasn’t expecting the group to release a ballad as an A-side but damn did they do it well enough this year. I mean they even pushed it where there were so many PVs just for this one song! It’s a lot more engaging than their other ballads this year so I’m pretty sure this was a win!
- Kimi wa Jitensha Watashi wa Densha de Kitaku (Suzuki Airi Ver.), (Yajima Maimi Ver.), and (Okai Chisato Ver.) – Solo versions of the song essesntially…the arrangement hasn’t changed but it’s just one member singing it…these three I’d say did the best (maybe Maimi a little less).
- Aitai Aitai Aitai na – Even though they released only two singles within the year, I LOVED Aitai Aitai Aitai na, well after I got used to it’s hardcore sound. It’s pretty much like the “Kiss me Aishiteru” of the year, though it had just as much punch to it that I remembered! Plus it had a lot of Maimi here which was a pleasant change for me (though I love Airi too!). Awesome song from them!
- Kanashiki Heaven – I was surprised that of the two B-sides, Kanashiki Heaven was going to be the duet for Airi and Chisato. I loved the acoustic feel of the song and the vocal melodies between the two members. This was just an epic song and it even got a PV to go along with it, how cool is that?!?
- Saikou Music – The other B-side from that single was pretty good as well. I will say when I first heard it, it reminded me of Sonic the Hedgehog music with it’s pseudo 8bit sound with the regular synths added as well. It’s one of the cuter songs in their collection, but I quite enjoyed it hahah.
- Massara Blue Jeans (2012 Shin Seinaru Ver.) – Going into the redone songs from their album towards the end of the year we begin with their debut single! I do like how the song was transposed to have the girls be able to sing it better first of all, but the arrangement was given a makeover and while I miss the slap bass, and the 3 extra members…this version is still pretty awesome!
- Sakura Chirari (2012 Shin Seinaru Ver.) – I actually don’t think too much had changed between the updated and the original besides the vocals. I already love Sakura Chirari so this just made me much happier especially since the lack of Kanna and Erika isn’t noticeable (or missed >.>).
- JUMP (2012 Shin Seinaru Ver.) – I was surprised they would choose the B-side from “Sakura Chirari” to be resung but it’s a great song in concerts and I was expecting to really mirror the energy it gets at lives. It does it in flying colors to be honest heh.
- Tokkaiko Junjou (2012 Shin Seinaru Ver.) – Like “Sakura Chirari” the arrangement doesn’t change too much, but instead of Maimi having the spoken dialogue, it actually goes to Maimai as she’s the youngest of the group. Still the song is another one of my favorites and if it didn’t change too much in the arrangement it’s still a great song!
- Namida no Iro (2012 Shin Seinaru Ver.) – I know they took out the strong latin elements and threw in synths into the song, but these new touches plus the updated vocals really sound amazing here. I also love the castanets to kind of make up for the acoustic guitar sitting back a little more. I would go and say this is better than the original (and “Juliet Juliet”).
- Edo no Temari Uta II (2012 Shin Seinaru Ver.) – Jeeze, the original was great because all the members had solo lines, although it was short. The updated version just gave Airi the lines here and I was surprised at how good she performed this song. It is a bit faster and the arrangement is definitely a LOT more synthed, but it was a pretty nifty update!
- Seishun Song (2012 Shin Seinaru Ver.) – Original a Maimi solo from their “4 Akogare My Star” album, I would say this was my favorite of the updated tracks! I mean hell, it opens up with a piano and Airi singing the chorus before the tracks opens up with its rockin’ arrangement and the remainder of the members take up the lines (funny that Maimi has the least amount of lines despite this being HER solo originally). Still, it’s a perfect live song and better than the original!
- Shiawase no Tochuu – While I frowned upon “Because happiness”, I feel like Shiawase no Tochuu wasn’t as awkward sounding. I mean the arrangement does get covered entirely by the aforementioned song when put together, but by itself, it’s not bad and the 5 sound soothing against the simple and slow ballad arrangement (oh yeah, it’s a ballad wtf).
- “Ai wa Itsumo Itsumo” – At least we get something electronic as a B-side from the single. It’s just so synthy and roboness that I couldn’t help but be attracted by this…plus it helped that it was surrounded by nothing but “Kimi wa Jitensha wa Densha de Kitaku”. It might not be the strongest, but it definitely attracted me after listening to a ballad 6 times.
- “Daisuki” no Imi wo Oshiete! – The lone new song from their self-cover album, a lot of people seemed to kind of gloss over this song, but when I listened, the song seriously gave me some Gomattou vibes for some reason. It could be the boppy R&B intro though. Once the chorus kicks in, it’s mysterious and fast as well hahah. It’s a bizarre song though lol.
- Soku Dakishimete (2o12 Shin Seinaru Ver.) – Like a couple songs on the album, the arrangements nearly stays the same, but the vocals are updated. Soku Dakishimete is a song I like, but the original is just so much better, just for that rawness (plus that Megumi).
- Wakkyanai (Z) (2012 Shin Seinaru Ver.) – I mean I’m not the biggest fan of the original (considering it didn’t even get a PV), so this song is kind of in the back of my mind. The updated version is synthy and cute, but nothing that just makes it awesome.
- Yuke! Genki-kun – As the only solo to get a PV from the album, Maimai’s solo song is just a hard listen because she doesn’t have a pleasant tone to it and her ~OH YEEEA~ is the most laziest sounding ones I’ve heard xD. Her cute shpeel just didn’t do well for me.
- Kagayake! Houkago – The cute shpeel for Nakky didn’t work either and her solo was so forgettable that the remaining members had to help this mess out. The CASIO synths are also kind of making this song sound cheap too…though it didn’t make the ICKY section…
- Seishun Gekijou (°C-ute Ver.) – I have to say, you have to try hard to make me dislike a song even more than before and °C-ute managed to do that with their version of Seishun Gekijou. Unlike Berryz (and the original), they decided to make it sound more Country and boy was that bad. The metal guitar and acoustic guitar mixed with the melody just doesn’t go together and the voices were more split from the male singer too…yeah no thanks.
- Kimi wa Jitensha Watashi wa Densha de Kitaku (Hagiwara Mai Ver.) & (Nakajima Saki Ver.) – Yeah, do we even need to talk about this…Maimai and Nakky solo songs already a low on my list to be honest and giving them Kimi wa Jitensha…was a poor choice (even if we got 3 good ones).
- LALALA Shiawase no Uta (2012 Shin Seinaru Ver.) – I already don’t like the song originally (and the Wonderful Hearts version didn’t help either) so an updated take wasn’t high on my list. Being a Maimi and Chisato duet, it isn’t as grating as the other two, but the song itself and the random slips of that creepy male voice still pushes me away.
- Ooki na Ai de Motenashite (2012 Shin Seinaru Ver.) – The only song that I refuse to listen to is the remake of this classic °C-ute song! As a duet for Maimai and Nakky (I already dread that pair) the duo are given the CUTEST song in their collection and I love the original with Airi as lead. Throw in some cute synths and overbearing auto-tune on the duo and I’m just puking…it was too much.
I think one of the more shocking things is ManoEri this year. Well, she begun normally by releasing her single Doki Doki Baby / Tasogare Kousaten before leading up to her 3rd album, More Friends Over. However, after her release of the super awesome Song for the DATE, she announced that she was graduating in 2013 (a little before Reina does) and that her final single would be the December release, NEXT MY SELF. Pretty saddening thing to hear and with her leaving, we have no soloists left (unless between now and when she leaves Tsunku announces something, that’s how it’ll go).
Predictions: Well, with her graduating and having three album eras + the two singles she released after, I assume there’ll be a best-of album to chronicle ManoEri’s singles.
- Tasogare Kousaten – Erina’s first single was pretty nice overall, but I really took more to the 2nd A-side, Tasogare Kousaten more. ManoEri’s voice wasn’t too stressed out from the tune. Plus it sounded like there was some emotion behind it (there was in “Dokidoki Baby” but this was more serious) at least that’s what I took away from listening to it. Still a pretty solid song for the year!
- Glory days – The closest ManoEri got to entering H!P’s electro style was an album song from her third album. I was surprised when I heard the instrumental of the tune because it sounds like a cool 70s anime, with Erina’s voice light and yet striking too. I do think her pronunciation of the title is poor, but the song is still pretty cool.
- Eien ~Tasogare Kousaten time goes by~ – Same as the original in arrangement but different lyrics overall. Really, there’s not much to really compliment that I haven’t already, but the song is still the same overall, so I really enjoyed this even if I had to relearn the lyrics lmao.
- Anata ga Iru Kara – As one of the few ballads this year, I actually thought throwing electric guitar in one would be weird, but the odd mix worked for some reason because I remember this song with ManoEri’s light vocals. It definitely changed what could’ve been a boring ballad to a rather unique ballad (for her).
- Song for the DATE – Let’s be honest though, I think for her fans, this was her magnus opus because it was edgy and synthy and Erina gave a very awesome performance here. Yeah, the EDM did touch Erina (if it wasn’t apparant from “Glory days” already), but this stuck out to everyone and for the fact its PV was just as cool!
- Aozora ga Waratteru – The B-side from that single though was pretty cool too! Taking a more pop/punk sound, it was solid (though could’ve been done better with Buono!) While I do think it’s the lowest of the great songs here, I find myself humming to it once in a while.
- Seishun Rainbow – As her final B-side, Seishun Rainbow continues to have that kind of guitarwork in her songs, but more akin to something from her third album too. It was a fun song and was sad to find out it was her last B-side ever >.<
- Dokidoki Baby – This A-side was pretty catchy overall and even when “Tasogare Kousaten” became the favorite out of the two, this one was a fun listen and the chorus is an earworm for me hahah.
- Junjou Keisatsu K・I・S・S – The opening track from her third album, Junjou Keisatsu K・I・S・S starts with cop sirens which made me laugh a lot xD. Though once the song kicks in, it really does sound like some cop theme (in the 70s) so there’s some interesting things like guitar strums and background vocals. Funky song, but the synths do sound a bit dated to me…the rest of the tune is catchy though.
- Nekketsu Sensei – There’s something really playful with this song and I enjoyed that aspect about Nekketsu Sensei and the chorus is pretty good especially for ManoEri’s vocals, but it could’ve used something more in the arrangement, but the synth horns >.>
- Tenkiyohou ga Attatara – Yeah, the guitars once again made an otherwise blah upbeat track a lot more exciting! It does have a certain anison feel to it, but I enjoyed this song a lot!
- I have a dream – Call this a VERY weak try at being “Shining Itoshiki Anata” because while I love how doo-whop this is, but ManoEri’s vocals are so shaky and pinchy here that I just can’t help but feel a little like this shouldn’t have happened. She just doesn’t have Mikitty’s punch…it just felt diet…
- Banzai! ~Jinsei wa Meccha Wonderful!~ – The synth horns of this one was so bad and to make it a march and then try to make it cute just didn’t work. Plus with ManoEri repeating ~banzai!~ over and over in the chorus just gave me a headache after a while.
- Kaze no Bara ~Aruite Chizu wo Tsukutta Otoko no Uta~ – What’s with the cheap CASIO synths for ManoEri? It’s really making her songs feel so poorly made. Though it did add glockenspiel which is a nice change of sound, but the song is still kind of a miss and almost childish and that ending is sooooo badly done…wtf.
- NEXT MY SELF – Her final A-side and it was a TOTAL downgrade from what was “Song for the DATE”. Beyond the Engrish title, the tune just felt like something that came from her second album and that’s not a good choice here.
- ~”Shinkou wa Michiko” wa Jikan ①, ②, ③ & ~”Shinkou wa…”~ – Honestly, these had to go somewhere and probably even being a Japanese fan of hers, you got to admit…this was stupid for interludes. I mean, yeah it was like a radio talk show, but it was pretty lame and props for ~”Shinkou wa…”~ for giving us an EVEN dumber ending to the album…what was the point of that anyways?
After the year they had last year, S/mileage needed to find their place and they somewhat found it, but still haven’t exactly gotten the same love that they did when it was just Ayaka, Kanon, Saki, and Yuuka. They begun the year with the quirky Choto Mate Kudasai! and then their summer ditty, Dot Bikini before releasing their first best-of album (which was a bit odd to release) S/mileage Best Album Kanzenban 1. Then they rounded out the year with two more singles: Suki yo, Junjou Hankouki., and Samui ne. They also announced their sophomore album for 2013, so I’m getting excited for that.
Predictions: I think very little will happen with S/mileage next year besides their 2nd album…if anything maybe a new generation will join in? I don’t know but I highly doubt that’ll happen either.
- Smile Blues – As the B-side from “Dot Bikini”, Smile Blues is actually a duet between Nyon and Meimi! since we haven’t heard too much from the new 2nd Generation since their debut, I was happy to hear how Meimi was and she surprised me with her lower tones in this song, besting even Nyon (but is that too much of a surprise?). The duo sang that enka track real smoothly and it was one of the standouts this year.
- Koibito wa Kokoro no Ouendan – Their cover of the classic Country Musume ni Ishikawa song honestly was much better than I was expecting. As one of the B-sides from “Dot Bikini”, this song was what I wanted to hear since it captured the nature of the group and it was a cute and fun song to listen to.
- Suki yo, Junjou Hankouki. – After their best album, they came back quickly with Suki yo, Junjou Hankouki. and it felt like a lightbulb was switched on with the group because it was a more mature vibe with this and “Samui ne.”. This track really pushed the 2nd Gen members a lot and I loved it! This was electro done right and the group gave a catchy song!
- Kimi wa Jitensha Watashi wa Densha de Kitaku – I thought it was too soon to be covering this song especially being a couple months apart, but S/mileage is known to cover songs regularly. I loved that all the members got solos in this track though and they sound so young and green. Made the song come off so much differently even though the arrangement stayed the same.
- Samui ne. – The group did end the year off with Samui ne. and this was their Winter single, but it was also under the guise of the EDM phase. I do love the song despite it is one of Ayacho’s worst performance IMO…but this song is just so warming even though it’s the total opposite LOL.
- Choto Mate Kudasai! – After the crazy 2011 they had, it was time to put some feet down and actually be a group again. Their first single after Yuuka’s graduation, Choto Mate Kudasai! was a cute song if not because of Kanana’s slow timing (on purpose). My only issue with the song is the absurd high note at the end of every chorus (which is sung between Takechan, Meimi, and Nyon). Hurts my ears everytime!
- Namida GIRL – Their Mikitty cover comes next and it was an OK cover, but covering Miki is just hard to do because she’s got pipes so having a group like S/mileage covering it is questionable. This song is OK, though and the group’s energy is there so I’m not too worried.
- Dot Bikini – Weird that I found the B-sides from this single to be better than it’s corresponding A-side? I won’t say it’s a poor song though because I do play this song a lot, just it was an odd time for the group and this tune just kind of came out with its strange PV and all haha. It’s a goofy track though and I do get the feelings of summer through it (plus Takechan was just the one that stood out in the song).
- Kiiroi Jitensha to Sandwich – Like with the other best this year, S/mileage’s came with one new song and Kiiroi Jitensha to Sandwich, like “Dot Bikini” isn’t totally special, but I love how cute this song comes off. Plus the members have some fun here. The chorus though is soooo adorable though…refreshing~
- Watashi, Choito Kawaii Urabanchou – The B-side from “Samui ne.” ended up here and it was a surprise! It’s a rockin’ track from the group and it was just cool and the members got to show off their vocals in a heavier way.
- Chance Tourai! – The only true song to be meh, Chance Tourai! was off “Choto Mate Kudasai!” and I felt it was a little too young for them to pull off anymore. The weird Nick for Kids feel I got from this one just felt strange (what was that sound…accordion?…blow-in keyboard?). Whatever it was…it just sucked. The chorus is better, but didn’t save it.
- S/mileage Singles Gekiatsu Remix – I was so happy to find out that this was the final one they would do (they already did two previously). Including 3 of their longest titled songs, this one did nothing for me…just kind of a meh medley that didn’t work well together.
It feels like Buono! did even less than what they did last year! They released one single Hatsukoi Cider / DEEP MIND in which the first track was the ending theme for Suugoku Joshi Gakuen! Shortly after they went to Paris! and released Buono! Paris Collection which was solely released there and featured ALL of their A-sides. Then came back to Japan to release their 2nd mini-album SHERBET.
Predictions: I feel like somehow we’re almost at the end of Buono!’s life as they seem not to be as interested in this as they used to be, plus I think the trio would rather focus on their main groups before either starts losing members…we might get more from Buono! but it’ll probably be just a single or a mini (not both).
- Hatsukoi Cider & Hatsukoi Cider (Album version) – As the only single released of the year, the first A-side Hatsukoi Cider to me is most memorable because it was the ending theme for Suugaku Joshi Gakuen (made much more sense than “Pyocopyoco Ultra” did at least). The song isn’t too hard rock, but it makes for a good closing theme and the inclusion with acoustic guitar is pretty neat too. The version from “SHERBET” makes the instrumentation sound like they’re performing live which adds a nice twist to the song, but ultimately either version works for me!
- DEEP MIND – I will never understand why DEEP MIND was left off the mini-album, but DEEP MIND for me represents their stronger hitting rock songs and I’m loving that I get to hear Momoko and Miyabi hitting some good low notes alongside Airi. Definitely was the preferred A-side that’s for sure!
- Mirai Drive – I’m loving the lighter feel from Mirai Drive that really split the energy from the mini-album as it did! Plus it means the trio gets to sing in a much softer tone which was also a nice change of pace. There’s also this kind of space-like feel to it (from the synths) that really caught my attention.
- FEVER – Being the first track from “SHERBET”, FEVER definitely reminded me of a lot of stuff from their 2nd and 3rd albums and that’s actually a good thing after their odd route that they took for “partenza”. The kind of idol punk rock is just nice and FEVER hit the right spots even if it’s a lot like older songs they’ve performed.
- GO! GO! Gouda – I can definitely see the group making this song work in live performances as it’s really catchy and the group sound. Though I can’t say I was too ecstatic for the vocals in this as they’re more high-pitched (though the hook is cool). What really caught me off guard though was the less than 2 minute mark this song has…TOO SHORT!!!
- Natsu no Hoshizora – As the eponymous ballad for the mini, Natsu no Hoshizora isn’t a totally special song for the group as they’ve had nicer ballads. At least the arrangement is simple and pretty and the group is really pleasant to listen to. Safe song for them though.
- Never gonna stop! – Being the main promotional track for the mini-album, I found it surprising how much I wasn’t into this one. Like “FEVER”, Never gonna stop! harkens back to their 2nd/3rd album for inspiration, but there’s something that didn’t work quite as well as it did for those albums and I can’t quite place my finger on it…
- BELIEVE★★★ – I’m not sure why, but I wasn’t a big fan of this song, but I think it’s a grower for some reason. I think behind the weird guitar riffs, there could be a good song behind it but it comes off as more of a distraction…I think it could’ve been a great song without it…although it might’ve been a little too cute for the group at this point.
Other H!P Releases
Starting with the other H!P releases, a VERY quietly released cover album was released by Gaki to kind of send her off. It is based off of the covers she released in 2011 but this had a different tracklist. One song was taken off (Egao ni Namida because it was on Ren’ai Hunter) and was replaced by three new covers: Chu! Natsu Par~ty (3-nin Matsuri), My Days for You (Erina Mano), and 25 ~Vingt-Cinq~ (Natsumi Abe). Might not be the best choice to get but hey Hello Cover was a good send-off for Gaki!
The next was a release that took a lot of people by surprise. When Berryz and °C-ute released their albums earlier this year it went unnoticed that a song from each of the albums Berryz’ Because happiness and °C-ute’s Shiawase no Tochuu when played together would form a complete song. It was initially supposed to be a surprise during the Summer concerts but someone had found the trick and it was known…though the name was still kind of unknown as well XD. Tsunku finally announced that Chou HAPPY SONG would be the official title song and was released as the second single for this Berikyuu mash! Definitely one of the tricks Tsunku has done in recent times!
The next is actually something that probably should’ve happened WAY before now, but the trainees FINALLY get their first single with Kanojo ni Naritai!!! but on the CD version, only five of the trainees appear in the song: Karin Miyamoto, Nanami Tanabe, Natsumi Taguchi, Ayano Hamaura, and Aina Otsuka! It’s kind of grown to be the entity of the group as it’s performed at every concert the Kenshuusei has done since the release. Hope to see more of this going on next year since we’re getting a LOT of new girls.
In October, a stageplay unit was formed with many of the Berikyuu members, Risako, Maasa, Captain, Maimi, Yurina, Nakky, and Maimai to form Cat’s♥Eye 7 and released their only single (which is a cover of the classic ANRI tune), CAT’S♥EYE. If you wanted to hear a song drowning in auto-tune then here is your song…but otherwise this was a worthy cover.
November came around and there was a boost of sub-units. Earlier in the summer when ManoEri announced her graduation, two units were shown off and then near the singles release date two more units were created. This was all for the SATOYAMA promotion to be more Earthy and nature-happy (hippie music? XD). At the end of the day, Peaberry and Harvest released their single together and DIY♡ and GREEN FIELDS released theirs together.
- Peaberry is the unit of Riho and DAWA and they released a ballad with Cabbage Hakusho which wasn’t terrible but it’s Riho and DAWA…that’s already a red flag 😄
- DIY♡ is the dance unit made up of Chinami, Miyabi, Maimi, Haruna, and Nakky. Their song Forefore ~Forest for Rest~ was probably my favorite of the four!
- Harvest is the youngest unit of the four consisting of Momusu’s Erina, Masaki, and Ayumi with S/mileage’s Akari…their tune, Forest Time was the peppy cute song of the bunch and it was cute in a way.
- Finally, GREEN FIELDS is probably the most random coupling because we had Captain (who was no surprise), Aika (which was her first singing moment since graduating from Morning Musume, and Yuka Miyazaki who at that time was pretty unknown to me (still kind of is…>.>). BUT SHE’S NOT AN H!P MEMBER!? Yeah, a little strange. Their track, Boys be ambitious! is a ballad but kind of cute in a way.
Last but not least, we get out yearly release of Petit Best 13 which I will review when the time gets there! This year’s selection was quite nice though it could’ve have more incentive than the new version of The Matenrou Show that was used in the Pachinko game.
- 25 ~Vingt-Cinq~ – I love Nacchi’s original version, but hearing that Gaki was covering this on her cover album (which I still think it’s funny she got a physical release of this). Gaki’s voice is just majestic and suits the orchestral and sort of jazzy arrangement. I’ve always enjoyed Gaki’s voice when she would do ballads and this is a clear reason why!
- My Days for You – Strange to see Gaki cover a more recent song (a cover of ManoEri’s song) and once again she impresses here. I’m loving her voice here and she makes the song a LOT more memorable than when I first heard Erina’s version for sure…this is the preferred version!
- Chou HAPPY SONG & Chou HAPPY SONG (Single Ver.) – So after hinting at it above, let’s talk about it! This is the combined forces of Berryz Koubou’s “Because happiness” and C-ute’s “Shiawase no Tochuu” and we get the initial mix-up first as a digital single! I really enjoyed this kind of trickery Tsunku pulled and together the groups sound so much together! As for the single version…it added more musical glue to make it sound more together and right…really we didn’t need it, but the song still sounds so good and the additions just add glitter to an already enjoyable song!
- Forefore ~Forest for Rest~ – I was expecting every group to have just released a breezy pop song to show awareness and such and when it came to DIY♡’s track, I wasn’t expecting a totally different experience. Yeah, it’s a dance track and features Miyabi, Chinami, Maimi, Nakky, and Harunan which is pretty surprising on the latter but it worked. The tune is pretty cool and the group sounds steady (and I love the ending passage with Miyabi singing behind the group). Definitely my favorite of the SATOYAMA songs this year!
- The Matenrou Show (TYPE 0) – I wasn’t expecting Petit Best 13 to be hiding a bonus track, but it’s a revisioned take on The Matenrou Show (that includes Gaki and Aika!). Damn though if this track is leagues better than the version we got from “One Two Three / The Matenrou Show” since this relieves the listeners from an overload of Riho and Reina…Damn Gaki…this is DEFINITELY a song that screams your name and it so works! Yeah much better!
- Chu! Natsu Pa~rty – Of Gaki’s new covers, I didn’t think covering this 3nin Matsuri was really making the tune work for Gaki. I do enjoy hearing her voice though, but it doesn’t seem to suit her too much. Cute, but not as sugary as the original (which might be good or bad, depending).
- Shiawase no Tochuu – Might be surprised to see this twice right? Well this is actually Berryz’ version of the song (as the “Chou HAPPY SONG” single flip-flopped the two groups on the split songs). For the most part I seem to feel the same way as I do for C-ute’s version albeit with more girls involved…otherwise, nice ballad and hearing all 7 members singing is really pleasant.
- Kanojo ni Naritai!!! – I was pretty surprised to see that the Kenshuusei would finally start releasing singles…though I’m a bit perplexed at why only 5 of them got to sing their first single (Natsumi Taguchi, Ayano Hamaura, Karin Miyamoto, Aina Otsuka, and Nanami Tanabe). The song itself is pretty happy hardcore (although it’s really taking a lot from S/mileage’s “Uchouten LOVE”). The vocals aren’t exactly all that great, but the energy of the song caught my attention the most.
- Forest Time – The song that was sung by Harvest (Ayumi, Maachan, Eripon, and Takechan), of all 4 SATOYAMA songs, I felt this one took the safest route, but it sounds really cute and the quartet sounds good together if not a bit squeaky here and there.
- Boys be ambitious! – Being the trio of Aika, Captain, and UFA member, Yuka Miyazaki, I wasn’t expecting this grouping to be together because this was also after Aika graduated from Morning Musume. It was a nice treat to listen, the song itself is like “Cabbage Hakusho” with a light acoustic guitar to help pace things along. I do like all 3 voices for sure and makes me wonder more about this Yuka girl…very random inclusion.
- Because happiness – Unfortunately, the same is felt the same way with Because happiness from C-ute. The song still sounds very awkward with the wide open spaces and while I do feel that C-ute suited this song better than Berryz…it still sounds herky-jerky. Reminds me…why isn’t there a version of “Chou HAPPY SONG” with the reversed vocals? I’m surprised it never happened >.< Also…Maimai leading…that’s not exactly good…
- Cabbage Hakusho – I know that beginning melody! Anyways, the duet between Riho and Ayacho did turn out better than I thought it would because of my dislike of Ayaka’s voice and Riho’s sort strange/strained voice. Though being a ballad, the song still managed to fly over my head.
- CAT’S♥EYE – I figured that the stageplays might’ve become a little more important because a unit was created here. I was expecting the group to really have done some justice to this song because I was really impressed with MAX’s cover a year before. Oh, how I was wrong because this was bad. I mean the electronic arrangement was cool, but laying auto-tune on everyone (except Captain) was a bit too much for me. It just didn’t feel comfortable to listen to…meh…Though props to Captain with her rap lines, that was BADASS!
Other Releases from Ex-H!P
- The biggest I think this year is definitely from Up Up Girls (Kari) who released a grand-slam of 8 singles just this year! I won’t name them all, but their recent single Chopper☆Chopper / Survival Girls is their first single on T-Palette (though they are still indies).
- H!P Kenshuusei member Karin Miyamoto released three digital singles: Carina Notte, Saikou Shikando and Usagi tocome.
- Dream Morning Musume released their only single, Shining Butterfly this year before returning to hiatus-land
- Rika Ishikawa and Hitomi Yoshizawa created another unit, ABCHO and released Me wo Tojite Gyuushiyou (though let’s be honest it was really HANGRY & ANGRY).
- THE Possible released their second album, 2 Shiawase no Akashi, left TNX to join Victor and released their first single under the label, Nanja Korya?!
- Ex Sheki-dol member, Mami Suenaga released her second single (as Rin), Jounetsu-ism
- Ex Melon Kinenbi member, Ayumi Shibata also released her second single, Setsuna.
- Ex T&C Bomber member, Miwa Kominato was featured on a Linked Horizon album (I think it’s connected to Sound Horizon, but not sure).
- There’s prolly more I missed….x.x
Loss and Gain?
- Risa Niigaki
- Aika Mitsui (though technically she’s still a H!P member)
- Kanae Yamaga
- Minami Mogi
- Sakura Oda (Morning Musume member)
- Fuyuka Kosuga (though she returned is the better term for her)
- Akari Uemura
- Mizuki Murota
- Rise Okamura
- Riko Yamagishi
- Minami Nomura
- Tomoko Kanazawa
- Kaga Kaede
- Reina Ichioka
- Yumeno Kishimoto
- Maria Makino
- Sakurako Wada
My Member Rating for 2012!
So like last year on my KM blog, I decided to once again rate the members. I also included Gaki since she performed in H!P this year despite her graduating this year. Though it’s going to be by 5’s
- 32. Ayaka Wada (-3)
- 31. Mai Hagiwara (+3)
So starting off with the two worst of the year IMO…It’s official, I really don’t like DAWA’s vocals. I know they were sweet and such and she did somewhat sound nice in “Cabbage Hakusho”, but she’s been grating my life everywhere else and I just couldn’t stand any of it! Same for Maimai. She’s also kind of been icky-ing up things this year for me but she made it worse by standing out. I want to like Mai, but her vocals are so meh that I just can’t get behind it…these two are kind of hopeless for me at this point of how long I’ve been listening to H!P.
- 30. Momoko Tsugunaga (+3)
- 29. Haruna Iikubo (-21)
- 28. Saki Nakajima (+3)
- 27. Kana Nakanishi (-9)
- 26. Erina Ikuta (-5)
I’m surprised that Momoko wasn’t the worst of the year, but she’s been slightly good this year with her vocals and her stint in Buono! also helped her situation. HOWEVER, when she released that Momochi! Yurushite Nyan♡Taisou, she just bombed whatever she had going good this year for me. She just ruined my appreciation this year of her…you’d think you got it good and then this happened! Though I think the biggest drop for me was Harunan. I mean yeah, she changed from that Chocolate to a more easier to handle Honey, but that’s really the only big thing (minus that she’s really good at talking). Her singing is the worst in Morning Musume currently and she’s quite sloppy in dancing too, but I still have hope that she’ll get a lot stronger! Like Mai, I’m still not sold on Nakky’s voice, but she’s slightly grown on me this year. Otherwise she hasn’t really done much to stand out this year for me. Kanana is kind of like the situation with Harunan, she’s a poor singer and her dancing is slightly off (but she’s been getting better at both) though I think she stood out better because of her role in “Choto Mate Kudasai!” she was actually the stand out in a good way. Then there’s Eripon who dropped quite a bit, I think her Gaki-love is kind of getting a bit strange for me (even changing from the lovely Purple to the Yellow/Green was a bit strange, but y’know she loves her Gaki-san). She’s gotten better at poses and her look in “One Two Three” was FLAAAAWLESS.
- 25. Sayumi Michishige (0)
- 24. Masaki Sato (-1)
- 23. Risako Sugaya (-13)
- 22. Meimi Tamura (+13)
- 21. Riho Sayashi (-12)
Our fearless Momusu leader plops up here simply because she’s still not a great singer so essentially the thing I criticize Sayumi most is her lack of vocal talent (plus this year she was all over the place with the auto-tune). Still she’s a great leader right now and I hope this lasts a bit longer. Maachan appears next and I’ve started to fall for her cute antics in the group. Plus she’s kind of taken up as the naive yet KY girl of the group (especially how she just does her own thing in PVs). Risako is someone that I try to enjoy and sometimes she’s great (“Aa, Yo ga Akeru” anyone?) and then she just kind of fails otherwise…this year her hair bothered me…all those colors didn’t work and she looked BIZARRE in the “Loving you Too much” PV. Though she was on the good spectrum this year. Last year, I loathed Meimi as I felt she was pushing herself too much and was coming off very brash and uncontrollable, this year she surprisingly showed off skills that I didn’t know she had like “Smile Blues” with Kanyon? She was GOOOD, but what was better was that when she sung “Osaka Koi no Uta”…GOOD LORD SHE HAS SKILLZ!!!…I want to hear more of this Meimi in the future. Riho has somewhat kind of grown less on me this year, I feel like she needs to be pushed back so she won’t ruin her vocals even more than she is now. When I heard “Shinnen Dake wa Tsuranukitoose!” my rating for Riho dropped immensely, that was the worst I heard her all year!
- 20. Mizuki Fukumura (-6)
- 19. Chisato Okai (-16)
- 18. Reina Tanaka (+2)
- 17. Ayumi Ishida (+5)
- 16. Erina Mano (+16)
I still can’t get a good read on Mizuki besides now knowing she’s a big H!P wota girl. This year she has really done nothing to really stand out to me, though she does have the most steady vocals of the 9-ki’s, but otherwise…she still needs some sort of personality besides the pretty girl (even Rika-chan has done better). Chisato dropped a lot this year for me because like Fukuchan, she really hasn’t done anything HUGE like she did last year to impress me…probably the biggest is her awesome demeanor in “Kanashiki Heaven” with Airi. Besides that she and the other girls of °C-ute really haven’t done too much to impress me this year. With Reina’s upcoming graduation, she’s kind of shown boredom of the group but as the main vocalist she’s gotten better as a vocalist too which is a definite good sign to have when she starts up her band. Ayumi for some reason has grown on me, but I think it’s because she’s still such an amazing dancer and she knows how to work the camera with those sharp moves. There’s just something about her that I love though >.<. Also another great singer that’s departing the H!P family, ManoEri jumped up a LOT this year for me just by with her releases which were mostly good releases! I’m sad she’s leaving the company as the lone soloist, she’s stuck it out for a long time and I respect that. Definitely worth the jump this year!
- 15. Maimi Yajima (+1)
- 14. Miyabi Natsuyaki (+5)
- 13. Aika Mitsui (-8)
- 12. Kanon Fukuda (+5)
- 11. Akari Takeuchi (-8)
Like I said last year about Maimi, she’s kind of where she is, she’ll prolly won’t go any higher (unless there’s a serious mass graduation of the top 14, but I think she’s going to be at the place where I like her, but she’s not making me having major feels. Miya is kind of the same way like Maimi in that she’s a great singer, but I think she’s kind of at her point with me. Though she was surprisingly good this year especially with Forefore and Buono! (stood out a lot actually). The only reason Aika is lower than she was last year is because she didn’t do much this year. I mean PPU and Ren’ai Hunter yeah and it was great to see her there but she graduated and did SATOYAMA until doing GREEN FIELDS…I want her in a more upbeat setting but not dancing…strange right? As for both Kanon and Akari, they did a great job this year (Kanon more because she sounded great with most songs she was involved in). Akari fell because a lot more members stood this year, but she was great too (“Dot Bikini” was the best thing for her, that PV was definitely her shining moment of the year).
- 10. Sakura Oda (NEW)
- 9. Saki Shimizu (+3)
- 8. Airi Suzuki (+16)
- 7. Maasa Sudo (-5)
- 6. Chinami Tokunaga (+1)
Even though she’s the new girl in town, Sakura has already blessed me with her vocals that she can easily mimic Mikitty and Konkon, and almost sound like Ai-chan too, she’s definitely going to someone to look out for more in 2013. Captain this year actually showed off a spiffy new skill that I would LOVE to see utilized more next year and that’s her rapping skills, using it in both Loving you Too much and CAT’S EYE, she might have found a secret skill to make up for her not so stellar singing vocals…hmmm IDEAS. I have no idea why but Airi has grown on me immensely this year, but I have zero clues as to why she’s up 16 spots from last year. It could be the new girls were mostly above and I found out how meh some are lol. Maasa might’ve dropped a little but she’s still amazing in my book. So pretty and she rocked the hip movements from “cha cha SING”. Plus leading Cat’s Eye 7? YEAH, slammin’! However, Chinami stole the show from Maasa this year, her personality and style just stood out so much this year and good lord is she adorable. Her derp face in “cha cha SING” to seeing her FINALLY being in a sub-unit that made her pop out more…PLUS she lead a Berryz song with “Mou, Kodomo ja nai Watashi na no ni…”…super year for Chii!
- 5. Kanon Suzuki (+1)
- 4. Risa Niigaki (+9)
- 3. Haruka Kudo (+24)
- 2. Rina Katsuta (+26)
- 1. Yurina Kumai (0)
Zukki might not have looked excited, but I think she’s still got that personality in her to pop out with people because she’s getting better all-around. I find that she’ll be a lead vocal one day because she sounded great in “Aisaretai no ni…”. Gaki might have left H!P, but she did do two singles and a cover album before she left and once again she’s grown from being an awkward mess at debut to this powerful singer (who did get slightly underpushed in her days). Ren’ai Hunter though…badass!. Haruka is definitely my favorite of the 10th Generation! Her scruffy voice has pushed its way through and in “Fuutsu no Shoujo A” even tried to sound like Miki! Now, I wanna hear what she can do with the group (if they let her…). Rinapuu has also immensely grown on me this year. She’s not the most attractive nor her personality is about as random as Meimi’s but she has THE best vocals of S/mileage and it’s a shame that Tsunku doesn’t take advantage of that. Plus, I think Rina is growing into her face and she doesn’t look as tragic as she did when she was introduced as an Egg/Kenshuusei. WHEN IT ALL COMES DOWN TO IT THOUGH…Yurina remains as my favorite of the year. She actually managed to stand out MORE this year than last year with the PVs…she’s just a blowout gal and she’s just prettyful!!! Ahhh my bias is showing now huh? 😄
Soooo, this was my amazingly long-written post…I;ll see you next year!