Iroppoi Twilight Game

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

H!P Profiles: ZYX / ZYX-α

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Back Row L to R: Erika Umeda, Saki Shimizu, Maimi Yajima, and Megumi Murakami
Front Row L to R: Mari Yaguchi and Momoko Tsugunaga

Let’s go back a little back to when Marippe was in Minimoni.  I had mentioned there that during the last Minimoni movie, she had left with 4KIDS to help them out.  Strangely enough the idea ended up that Mari would lead ZYX (which interestingly enough had none of the members from 4KIDS (bahaha)).  Instead she was given 5 others from the collective H!P Kids and started up.  What was good about this looking back now is how much Erika and Captain lead the group with everyone else kind of backing them up (even Mari was back there).  At first I thought the group was going to go far, but after two singles…they became inactive…no reason why was stated but with Megumi and Mari leaving before the group was revived…one can say that things got too busy with Berryz and C-ute forming up.

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Top L to R: Risa Niigaki, Koharu Kusumi, Erika Umeda, Momoko Tsugunaga
Bottom L to R: Maasa Sudo, Chinami Tokunaga, Ayaka Wada, Saki Ogawa

Yup another group that was a part of the revival units, ZYX-α was a strange group to be brought back (especially with only two of the original members, Erika and Momoko being in the group, even though Maimi and Captain were still active at the time.  In replacement we get two Momusu members: Gaki and Koha, two other Berryz: Chinami and Maasa, and newly formed S/mileage members: Dawa, and Sakitty.  However this group was shortly lived (moreso than the other revival groups because they only released 1 song, Mirai Yosouzu II.  Then Erika and Koharu left and the group just faded out.

Style of Music: ZYX’s sound to be honest didn’t exactly have a concrete style.  I mean their first single was dance-heavy while Shiroi TOKYO was a bit more cutesy pop.  B-sides were merely covers of old H!P songs so that doesn’t really count.

Even less so when ZYX-α came to be because their only song is a damn ballad and there was no solo lines to be found…yeah, it was sung together…yeah noooo.

Discography

Singles

  • Iku ZYX! FLY HIGH
  • Shiroi TOKYO

Here’s the group’s first single, Iku ZYX! FLY HIGH.  I just love the energy of the group and omg Saki is just so tiny and seeing all that Erika-ness is just such a nice surprise (especially how she’s treated in the future…>.>).  I was also quite impressed with Megumi and of course Marippe.

Here is the lone song that ZYX-α did which is a DREAMS COME TRUE cover.  Sadly it really is the only song from the revival units that didn’t suit the group at hand.  Considering ZYX was a dance-unit, this was quite disappointing, even moreso of the fact that the song was sung entirely in unison.

Overall: You know, I have to say that ZYX was a great way to truly introduce us to the H!P Kids as they really took the spotlight here and not Mari, though I did question why she was here, they were capable of leading it by themselves.  I still love this group for the attention given to Saki and Erika because after this they kind of fade to the background as well as Megumi in their second single.  I did wish they had continued but as we know the Kids went into either C-ute and Berryz and history went on its way.

As for ZYX-α, this showed promise even though there were two more members than the original.  I mean this could’ve been interesting (even though it’d be heavy with high vocals since Chinami, Sakitty, Dawa, Koharu, Erika, and Momoko all have that high tone.  I just wish Tsunku/UFA had given them a song to show their talent and not such a vanilla and bland song that is VERY un-ZYX-like!

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H!P Profiles: 2003 Shuffle Units: SALT5, 7AIR, 11WATER

SALT5 – GET UP! Rapper

SALT5

Top Row L to R: Makoto Ogawa and Yuki Maeda
Bottom Row L to R: Aya Matsuura, Ai Kago, and Natsumi Abe

Starting with the smallest of the groupings, SALT5 had a very interesting lineup for sure!  I mean Aibon and Nacchi were the popular ones with Makoto tagging along here.  Then we have the awesome Ayaya and Yuki Maeda’s first appearance in a shuffle.  They were given something totally off the wall from Tsunku, but it definitely had such impact for them.  GET UP! Rapper isn’t totally rap, but more hip-hop and urban as well.  It was really strange because maybe besides Aibon and Ayaya, no one has worked in this style (ESPECIALLY Yuki who was the companies Enka gal)…it was strange…but they looked really into it and all of them fit!  Though some of the vocals were a bit strange…mostly Aya’s because she was kind putting up this strange tone in her voice (I wonder why?)

As for the video, I’m happy they stopped doing half of the song for the PVs!  The video itself is pretty much a lot of close-up shots and scenes with the ladies training for a battle and doing the choreography (which Yuki again surprised me with how good of a dancer she was here) and at the end the girls pose and look they’re ready xD.  Not the most driven, but the energy of the girls’ perfomances and the awesomeness of the song just seemed to fit!

7AIR – Kowarenai Ai ga Hoshii no

7AIR

L to R: Mika Todd, Masae Ohtani, Risa Niigaki, Ai Takahashi, Rika Ishikawa, Mai Satoda, Atsuko Inaba

Our next group seemed to be like the vocal-greats group (sans Rika tbh).  I mean this is a great vocal line-up and what’s this Atsuko Inaba returns to singing in a shuffle?  Where have you been?!?  However, this grouping got such ill treatment it seems.  Even though they were a group of 7 members, it seriously felt like it was segmented even further!  What I mean is that Masae, Ai, Rika, and Mai really go to do the singing in the song while Mika, Gaki, and Atsuko got the pseudo rap parts…it was just a bit saddening to see that and this R&B track holds no candle to “Shiawase Desu ka?”.

The PV is also quite boring, even though there’s some extras floating about in the song.  There’s also some dancing and quite a bit of moping going around in the PV as seen on the faces of all of them lol (especially Atsuko’s scene xD).  I don’t know, this didn’t do much for me 😄

11WATER – BE ALL RIGHT!

11WATER

L to R: Ayaka Kimura, Hitomi Saito, Asami Konno, Nozomi Tsuji, Miki Fujimoto, Mari Yaguchi, Ayumi Shibata, Hitomi Yoshizawa, Kaori Iida, Asami Kimura, and Megumi Murata

As the kind of throwaway group, this had a lot of interesting vocals here and luckily this biggroup didn’t get a weird track, but a lot more straightforward pop track!  Now being the big group they are, it was no surprise that most of the lines were given to the Morning Musume (and to a slightly lesser extent, Ayumi as she was one of the bigger faces of H!P).  which left the other 4 with like small lines here and there.  It wasn’t bad as wasn’t as tragic as 7AIR’s song.

The PV actually looked like a lot of the budget went here (somewhat) with the space theme, flying about in a spaceship and some of those camera angles and greenscreening of those nature-places xD.  We got to see everyone quite a bit so it wasn’t terrible…it looked like it was a fun PV right?  It definitely looked like it was XD.

Ranking by me: GET UP! Rapper ——> BE ALL RIGHT! ——> Kowarenai Ai ga Hoshii no

So who’s new?

There wasn’t a lot this year to be honest…truly only one new person joined 😄

  • Yuki Maeda – Yeah, I definitely feel like she made a name for herself when she joined SALT5 (even if it’s WAAAY out of her comfort zone…she still worked it.
  • Atsuko Inaba – Even though she was involved in the first shuffle units, she hasn’t been seen since until now…I thought it was pretty awesome she returned even if her role wasn’t terribly big.

Who left from the last shuffle units

  • Kei Yasuda – She had graduated at this point
  • Maki Goto – I’m not entirely sure why she didn’t participate in the 2003 units considering she was still in H!P at the time >.>
  • Rinne Toda – Had graduated/left
  • Michiyo Heike – Had left prior
  • Rika Ishii – Had left prior

Who was missing?

  • Yuko Nakazawa – Really?  Still H!P and not doing this what is up?
  • Maki Goto – Like I said, kind of wondering why she skipped it this time around
  • H!P Kids – Still too young for this I bet

Wow…short, but since the format of releasing changed there really isn’t much else to talk about…to me this is kind of the weakest the units have been sounding but who knows when 2004 comes up!

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You tell us that you guys have a surprise announcement in March and then a day later THIS HAPPENS?!? Squeeee~

Yup as we enter February, we get some awesome news…well actually two…but one is SOOOO much more exciting than the other…So let’s get the less impacting one outta the way.

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So this news has been wanted for a while, but we finally have a name for Reina’s band project and it’s LoVendoЯ.  Granted, I’m not feeling the name of the band at the moment but since it’s pronounced as Lavender, I can see a bit of cleverness going around.  Beyond that, they announced lives, makes me curious as to what they’ll do for a debut ^_^.

The other big news is that…

WE GET A NEW GROUP, FINALLY H!P!!!!!

Yeah, it was also announced that we get the first of “many” new units this year (which is probably 2 or 3 at best).  So let’s meet our new members shall we?

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Our first member is one MANY, MANY, MANY people were complaining over and it’s for a good reason.  Karin Miyamoto is arguably the most popular of the Kenshuusei and she also has the most appearance value as she was in Shin Minimoni & had a solo career (even if those were digital singles).  It’s finally time that Tsunku put her in an actual group because she’s bright and very energetic!  Considering that she’s one of the oldest members (with Rie Kaneko) and one of four that have been called “Eggs”, it’s definitely her time to shine!

Her place in the group?: I feel that since she’ll be the recognizable member of the group, she will be a lead no doubt about it!

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I kind of wished I knew more about Sayuki Takagi as another of the 4 that were present before the name change, she never really popped on my radar.  She never had the sub-units/solo releases that Karin did, but I assume Tsunku sees something great!

Her role within the group?: After doing some research and listening to her, I feel like she will also be a vocal powerhouse as she has a slightly stronger voice than even Karin does 0.0

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This girl is just epic win!  I’ve always loved Aina Otsuka even in the 9th Auditions where of course she didn’t make it later on joined alongside the other girl who didn’t pass, Minami Mogi.  I’ve been watching her a bit and she’s seriously has grown so much from her time in the Kenshuusei that it surprises me that Tsunku didn’t add her alongside Sakura.  I’m really excited about her in the group and what she’ll bring!

Her role within the group?: I can easily see Aina taking the lead role alongside Karin and Tomoko because her strongest ability is her voice (I personally think her voice is the best of the current Kenshuusei, sans the 6 new members we haven’t heard yet).

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This was a pretty awesome surprise.  After my favorite Aina, Akari Uemura is probably my second favorite of the current Kenshuusei!  The first thing I notice is that she’s really pretty and her first photo for H!P had her looked smug and kind of a badass in a way.  Her vocals are pretty good, not in the same league as Karin and Aina but I feel like she’ll grow to being it.

Her role within the group?: I actually have no clue what Aarin will be like in the group, I think she’s gonna get stronger as a vocalist, but I feel like she’s going to lie somewhere in the middle.  I wonder if she dances amazing or something? Still…I feel like she’s gonna fit nicely!

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Y’know, I’m not surprised Tsunku whisked Tomoko Kanazawa off to be in this group.  If you don’t know she’s a part of the recent additions made to the Kenshuusei family but we already knew her for being a finalist to the OCEAN MUSIC AWARD by singing C-ute’s “Kimi wa Jitensha”.  I personally find this girl and the last girl being pulled in as a bit odd since they have 2-3 years between the other members of the group.

Her role within the group?: Considering she almost won an award with her voice, I assume she’ll join Karin and Aina in the front which isn’t a bad thing (I still haven’t heard her sing, so I can’t really judge anything yet).  Though my curiosity lies on the fact that her and Yuka play piano/keyboard…I wonder if that’ll mean anything!

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The final girl added is a bit of a random addition. Yuka Miyazaki is the oldest member of the group (at 18) and she’s not even a Kenshuusei which adds more to the randomness (really even Tsunku said “isn’t it fun”).  Granted, we’ve already heard her in GREEN FIELDS and there…her voice is sweet, but it lacks power from where Karin and Aina put out more.  It’ll be interesting how she’ll fit the puzzle, but I’m excited

Her role within the group?: We haven’t seen her dance, so that might be a factor, but her voice isn’t the best of the 6, so it’s really unknown where they could effectively use Yuka…though I’m sure she’ll love being in a group and get some extra training for her voice.

THERE YOU HAVE IT, I think this group has an amazing lineup of girls and I can’t wait to see what they can do…though they are starting out like S/mileage (as an indies group).

So what do you make of the fact there’s more coming?

I actually am excited, but with 5 out of the list there’s not very many Kenshuusei (unless there’s another big addition).  I’m curious as to who might be in the next group announcement.

– I will say that I feel like Asahi Tasaki might become H!P’s soloist since ManoEri is leaving and all.

-As for the remaining Kenshuusei…I really don’t know because besides Rie Kaneko and Nanami Tanabe, the other girls don’t really seem like they’re really ready yet.

-ACTUALLY, I really think Ayano Hamaura should be added to S/mileage..she just fits that persona SO WELL!

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