Iroppoi Twilight Game

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

Hello 2013! What have you brought us this year? RECAP!!!!~~

Phew there was a whole lot that happened in the year that was 2013! This time around unlike last year I will also talk about the songs from the group that was as well giving a more broader post (also I will rank the members into two groups, the main H!P members and the Kenshuusei (as I’ve been able to follow them this year a lot better than years before).  So let’s get going!

Morning Musume

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Starting with our beloved main group Morning Musume.  They didn’t have as much changes as they did in the last couple of years.  The year begun with Help me!! which was the debut single of their 11th Gen member, Sakura Oda who pretty much kicked down the doors immediately with her voice.  Shortly after, another audition was announced for the 12th generation but it was truly dealt with after 6th gen member, Reina Tanaka had graduated after her final single, the ever edgy Brainstorming / Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai.  With Reina graduated, many were left wondering how the group would sound without her (plus Mizuki and Haruna becoming sub-leaders) hence the curiosity with Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke / Ai no Gundan came through and many fans were happy with this and it showed since all three singles mentioned were #1’s on ORICON!  After that the auditions came to the front and well, Tsunku chose no one as winners and turns out the 7 finalists all became Kenshuusei.  The final release of the year was a surprise but cool with The Best! ~Updated Morning Musume~ in which they did self-covers of various songs and included one new track.  Then it became quiet unil December when Tsunku announced that the group’s name will be changed into Morning Musume ’14 at the beginning of 2014.

THE SONGS

So how this is going to work out is this is going to be separated into 4 sections, basically great songs, ok songs, meh songs, and icky songs and only songs this year so you won’t be seeing stuff like “WANT!” or “Aitai Aitai Aitai na” and the like and remixes will be counted for this year too.

GREAT SONGS

  • Aishuu Romantic – Ahhh the great return of Sayupon!  I loved “Suki da na Kimi ga” and was overly excited to see the two going at it again.  Initially, I didn’t like it too much, but honestly over time, Aishuu Romantic grew and it has so many levels to it that I just can’t help but love it to death!
  • Brainstorming – While in the same vein as “Wakuteka Take a chance”, Brainstorming excelled at working the problems out and giving us this pretty edgy song.  Plus Sakura sounded epic in the song.  It was a pretty cool song and the dance wasn’t half bad either!
  • A B C D E-cha Echa Shitai – There was something so good about Tsunku’s electro skills this year (which is why most of the great songs this year were pretty much in the genre).  The B-side from the aforementioned song’s single, A B C D E-cha E-cha Shitai might be lyrically bare and vapid, but the song was kind of techno-y goodness that caught my attention more than the other B-sides did!  Definitely a solid track this year as well!
  • Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke – I was one of the people that was wondering where Morning Musume would go without Reina being their voice and luckily this song calmed my ass down XD.  They even broke out from the jagged direction of songs like “Wakuteka” and “Brainstorming” and gave us a really solid EDM song.  Plus it’s great to see Mizuki, Masaki, and Sakura come forward way more in the group.  Awesome song!
  • Ai no Gundan – It even showed with the other A-side.  Ai no Gundan might be have been kind of more of Tsunku’s safety zone, but it had saxes, melody building, and cool choreography xD.  Definitely an impressive song from them
  • Bouya – Then we get into a split track between Haruka, Haruna, Sayumi, Masaki, and Mizuki and like “Aishuu Romantic” it’s kind of a glossy EDM song but it’s so incredibly catchy and Haruka REALLY sounded great here.
  • THE Manpower!!! (updated) – Of all the songs from their self-cover album, I thought this was the best handled of the bunch.  In some ways, I actually enjoy it much more than the original, though on the flipside of the coin…the original had some amazing vocals in it.  Still, can’t help but commend their reworking for this tune in particular ^_^

OK SONGS

  • Help me!! – Ahhh Sakura’s debut song!  At the time, I actually fell in love with this song because it was cool (a word I’ll be using a LOT more), and the video was nice (if not a bit too green-screened).  Though after a while, I learned something.  This song should never be performed live anymore…it’s nearly impossible for me to sit and listen to all that wailing and screams in the chorus.  Just not as cool as the studio version is.
  • Happy Daisakusen – I feel like recently this song popped up more on my radar.  I fully remember it being used as the final song in Reina’s graduation which is a good start.  I also love the line distribution, giving members a word or two in chronological order.  It’s definitely a great ending for concerts…at least for me better than “Namidacchi” though that’s a fan favorite…I’ve never got into that.
  • Nani wa Tomo Are! – I have no idea why I like this song the way I do, but it could be because there’s so much Zukki in this song!  Then again, it sounds like an opening to a shoujo anime which I guess works in its favor as well.  It’s cutesy but done well imo.
  • Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai – Maybe it’s the PV it got, but I wasn’t as big of a fan of this song as I was with “Brainstorming” even though this had got some pretty good solo lines from a lot of members.  There’s still something that reminds me of the Emo-Musume days which is great, but was it enough to be A-side material?…probably not IMO.
  • Itsumo to Onnaji Seifuku de – When the single above came out, I kind of threw this song out because it didn’t fit with the other songs which were electro tunes and this wasn’t which stuck out like a sore thumb.  Sung by Riho, Sakura, Masaki, Kanon, and Haruka…it sounded like a good mix on all accords.  I do love the hooks of the song and the chorus is cute too.
  • Tokimeku Tokimeke – The other B-side from the “Brainstorming” single was sung by the other half of the group: Erina, Sayumi, Haruna, Mizuki, and Ayumi and is once again a glossy synth pop tune but kind of cool at the same time, but not at the same level as “Aishuu Romantic”.  It is a bit frantic sometimes, but it’s still a good track nonetheless.
  • Makeru Kishinai Kon’ya no Shoubu – With the Wagamama B-side, Makeru Kishinai Kon’ya no Shoubu is like the other Momusu electro tracks out there, but this one kind of stuck out with it’s ~whoa-oh-ohs~ that are dominant throughout the song.  Still for a B-side it’s good.
  • Wolf Boy – As the only new song from “The Best! ~Updated Morning Musume~”, it had a lot to pick up after how that album turned out for me.  I love the spookiness of the song a lot but the chorus kind of squeaks by but this song was overall a solid dance track and would’ve LOVED to have seen a PV out of this one.
  • LOVE Machine (updated) – I didn’t think too much was going to change for LOVE Machine (as well all know it’s their big hit and all that).  It’s just a lot more electro than the original and has more auto-tune splattered throughout, but somehow this edit sounds a bit refreshing.
  • Renai Revolution 21 (updated) – I can say the same thing for the updated take on Renai Revolution 21 because it was changed from a disco track to more of an electropop song.  Though I could’ve used less auto-tune here, the song still sounds good and sticks to the original melody closely which is a pretty damn good thing.
  • Renai Hunter (updated) – Love the new intro and new splotches of ideas and suited Renai Hunter.  However, I was slightly skeptical because this updated version is lacking Reina, Gaki, and Aika and has Sakura included.  Might not be as great as the original but I think they held it well.

MEH SONGS

  • Daisuki Dakara Zettai ni Yurusanai – This Sakura and Riho duet from “Help me!!” originally a good song for me and worked for people who didn’t really know what Sakura sounded like besides the A-side.  Though after time, the song kind of grew less on me because while the melody in between the two are interesting, they weren’t sounding good.  It’s pretty hard to say, but it just kind of drove a wedge into this B-side.
  • Rock no Teigi – Yup, Reina’s graduation song.  When I heard the title, I thought it was going to segue into where Reina was going.  Sadly, the song is kind of a another synth track and didn’t come off as very rock oriented to me.  I rather hear a new version from LoVendoЯ.
  • I WISH (updated) – Hearing all the members (sans Sayu) perform this and I was curious to how it’d end up.  Unfortunately, it took a lot of the spark away from the original and came up with this chilled back almost diluted version and I wasn’t exactly enjoying it a lot.  I can enjoy it sometimes, but I prefer the original.
  • The☆Pea~ce! (updated) – I can almost same the same thing here, but it’s a bit too electro for me to take in, especially with the heavy amounts of dubstep in this song’s intro.  To me it’s just a little too much overdone and didn’t have that same feeling the original had.
  • Aruiteru (updated) – I know Sayu was chosen because she was the only remaining member that partook in the original version.  Figures the same would be a little more techno-glossed for the self-cover though.  Sometimes it even reminds me of “Lalala no Pipipi” and that’s not exactly a good thing.  Plus too much auto-tuned Sayu kind of ruined it for me…meh!
  • One Two Three, Wakuteka Take a chance, Help me!!, Brainstorming, Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai (updated) – I paired all of these songs together because it really all came down to the same thing.  Were these necessary?  I mean I love the originals for these songs, but was it really needed to just take out Reina and put the girls into her spots?  I just couldn’t get myself accustomed to these new takes even though the arrangements were left alone.

ICK SONGS

  • Watashi no Dekkai Hana – Ah, the trio of Ayumi, Haruna, and Reina…They might has well just made this a Reina solo because Ayumi’s rapping skills aren’t all that great here and Haruna just sounded awful in this song lol.  The feeling of the song also kind of didn’t impress me as well…kind of empty almost.
  • Funwari Koibito Ichinensei – This song from the Wagamama single sung by Erina, Riho, Kanon, Ayumi, and Sakura missed the mark for me as well.  I mean the singing is left to Riho, Sakura, and Kanon while the other two raps and while Ayumi did get better at her skills, we had to deal with Eripon who wasn’t all that good.  Add that this is a pseudo-hip hop song and I just wasn’t liking it at all!
  • Souda! We’re ALIVE (updated) – The only song from the self-covered album that I loathed, Souda! We’re ALIVE just did not work at all!  It lost all the power of the original and it didn’t sound good with its new instrumental IMO.  Definitely is the worst song from Momusu this year, and to say it’s just a self-cover prolly shouldn’t count but oh well xD

Predictions from last year to predictions for next year!

Last year, I had made predictions and wonders so let’s see if they came true or not!

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.

Actuality: Well, no 12th generation yet and Sayu didn’t graduate as well!

Predictions for 2014: Well, I definitely think there’ll be a new member at some point next year, but I also think Sayu will stick around for 2014 if not, at least to the end of the year.

Berryz Koubou

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In comparison to the other groups this year, it felt like Tsunku but the backburner mostly on Berryz Koubou this year.  They begun the year with their 9th album, Berryz Mansion 9kai to which it didn’t really gain a lot of fans surprisingly.  Granted, that didn’t stop them and they released Asian Celebration, Golden Chinatown / Sayonara Usotsuki na Watashi, and Motto Zutto Issho ni Itakatta / ROCK Erotic to close things out this year.  They also did make Budokan, but so did two other groups.  Otherwise, nothing major happened this year.

THE SONGS

GREAT SONGS

  • Golden Chinatown – I think I’m one of the few that actually really like this song.  I mean it has a nice Chinese element to it and the bassline is banging in this song.  It was a bit gimmicky to rhyme it up with China so damn much…but it’s still a pretty funky and cool song that I can’t help but love it!
  • Sayonara Usotsuki na Watashi – I’ve said on my single review (on my other blog) that I actually didn’t enjoy it but that’s because I review at first listen.  After some time with the song, it has grown considerably on me and while it is a bit messy like “Aitai Aitai Aitai na” and “Kanashiki Amefuri”, this kind of works in a pretty nifty way.
  • ROCK Erotic – Yeah seems like the group only excelled through their A-sides.  ROCK Erotic kind of changed it up from the electronic for a mix of that and rock and it sounded quite awesome.  Plus Risako and Miyabi rocked the hell out of this song even though they might not have showed all that interest.  Still one of the cooler songs this year!

OK SONGS

  • Succha ka Meccha ka~ – I kind of like when Berryz has that hyper and cute song and this year it was the promotional song from their album.  It’s peppy fast and lord did Captain get fast lines here.  Just all that rolled into one song is pretty good, but I tend to forget about it (though I tend to do that with songs from Berryz Mansion).
  • Otoko Mae – Yup, that duet between Momoko and Yurina made it this far haha.  I will say that I loved that introduction piece and how it grows into a dance track won me over.  I did say originally that I couldn’t believe they paired the deepest voice with the highest voice but luckily Momoko didn’t sing in her high pitched style so it made the song work a lot better than I originally thought.
  • Koi Itoshiki Kisetsu – Another of the songs that were a shuffle unit, the mix of Miyabi, Risako, and Saki was one of the odder songs from the album, but something about it caught my eye.  Plus the part with them singing the title (chorus?) was so mysterious and a departure from the verses.  Mysterious, but quite nice of a song overall.
  • Anata Nashi de wa Ikite Yukenai (2013 ver.) – Of course I had to put this here, as much as I enjoyed the debut song from Berryz, the remake actually vocally sounded way better (even without Maiha).  Add that they kept the original arrangement and it’s a solid song still!
  • Sekai de Ichiban Taisetsu na Hito – I also find myself loving the intro of the song a lot, even though it becomes more of a cuter song to listen to.  Though it’s nice to see the members sounding a bit more alive.  It might be at the bottom of this OK list IMO.
  • I like a picnic – It seemed like the group wasn’t done covering Bird Thongchai and covered ANOTHER song of his for this “Asian Celebration” single.  It might not stand up to the likes of “cha cha SING” and “Loving you Too much” but this song surprisingly catchy and has such a fun vibe even though goofy that the song goes in its verses to scream the title before the chorus…kind of hilarious to me haha.
  • Koisuru Technique – This song sounds like it would come from Momusu IMHO which kind of caught me off guard that Berryz would get a song like this.  It’s surprisingly good and surprised it wasn’t chosen for A-side material because I would’ve been happier with than “Motto Zutto Issho ni Itakatta”.

MEH SONGS

  • Massugu na Watashi – It’s commonplace for me to not really enjoy ballads (unless they’re really going out of the way for them when dealing with H!P).  Sadly, Berryz missed the mark with Massugu na Watashi.  I will say the vocals are surprisingly nice (cept for Momoko IMO).  I think that’s what saved it from being icky is the good vocals here.
  • Asian Celebration – At first I kind of enjoyed Asian Celebration, but then it quickly went downhill for many reasons.  The PV is got was such a “Dakishimete Dakishimete” ripoff that it wasn’t even funny anymore.  Also with some of the singing, the whole vocally trying to replicate a disc scratching is godawful with my oshi Yurina messing that up the worst…girl don’t do that!  Yeah this song just didn’t work for me.
  • Motto Zutto Issho ni Itakatta – Wow, two A-sides that I didn’t really enjoy.  There’s just something awkward for me listening to this song and it might be that mix of aggressive synths mixed with a slower tempo song and it was just not connecting to me.  Plus, that dance was awkward as hell too.  Meh lol
  • I’m so cool! – I tend to forget this song was on Berryz’ single.  One of the B-sides from their last single of the year, it just tried to mix those aggressive sounding synths and conbine with a more peppier side like “Sekai de Ichiban Taisetsu na Hito” and it didn’t work here…it sounded like a total mess in my ears.  Actually it sounds more like something S/mileage would’ve loved.

ICKY SONGS

  • Nandakanda de Ii Kanji! – The other shuffle song from their album, (sung by Chinami and Maasa) was kind of a failure all-around.  I mean it’s like “Otoko Mae” in where the two voices couldn’t be any more opposite to each other and the song is a country idol tune that sounded really wrong to listen to.
  • Momochi! Yurushite Nyan♡Taisou (Yurusanyai Remix) – I already hated the original version so a remix was only going to do more harm than good.  I mean Berryz are in it too but they sound like 5 year olds and add the new technopop sound layered upon this song just was wrong in so many ways.  Ooph definitely the worst H!P song of the year!

Predictions from last year to predictions for next year!

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).

Actuality: Well clearly they’re still together, but they definitely suffered a lot this year for the fans since all the other groups (maybe not S/mileage) had a much lucrative year.

Prediction for 2014: I expect Tsunku will switch to paying attention to Berryz and they’ll have some pretty good singles, though I still wonder when that graduation announcement will happen.

°C-ute

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This year for °C-ute was just amazing for them.  They get their best highest sales as a group yet, and was the first of the year to get to perform at Budokan!  They begun the year with a single celebrating Chisato Moritaka, Kono Machi.  Soon after, they released Crazy Kanzen na Otona in which shortly after they got the news of performing at Budokan.  With that and going Paris they had their next releases set.  For fans in France, they released a sort-of best album, Cutie Selection ~A nos Amis de France~ which included a lot of songs they performed at this performance and a preview of their next single, Kanashiki Amefuri / Adam to Eve no Dilemma.  All that culminated into their 8th album aptly titled, 8 Queen of J-POP.  Finally, closing the year out for them, they released one more single, Tokai no Hitorigurashi / Aitte Motto Zanshin and on the final day of the year, released a digital mini-album, “COUNTDOWN JAPAN 13/14” Shuutsuen Kinen! °C-ute 12/30 Setlist Album but that didn’t really have anything special to it anyways.

THE SONGS

GREAT SONGS

  • Hae Otoko – Is it just me or whenever I hear the opening for this song, I get this Halloween kind of feeling?  I mean the darker chords and the scream…it makes it sound a lot darker than it should haha.  Even though it stuck out as the only good Moritaka cover to come from the single, Hae Otoko was pretty banging and I pretty much thought maybe it was the only reason that single was good.
  • Kono Machi (Dance Groove ver.) – Wow, there’s a remix that pwned the hell out of the original.  I really like the hyper synths out of this one and really made the song 100% better than it’s generic ballad take.  Though my only gripe is they could’ve took out the spoken dialogue…it just didn’t work with the arrangement (especially since it’s so synthy).
  • Crazy Kanzen na Otona – Ahhhh, this song!  It was once again another one of those songs that sounded great because there were a lot of synths.  I also loved the outfits that were used for the song as well which might have made this song even better to me xD.  Definitely a jam and a half!
  • Kanashiki Heaven (Suzuki Part Ver.) – It seems strange to really include the seperated performances of Kanashiki Heaven (a B-side from “Aitai Aitai Aitai na” but whatever.  Airi’s version takes the lower melody and she sounds AMAZING.  Like she was giving her all in this one and it doesn’t seem awkward without Chisato.
  • Adam to Eve no Dilemma – It’s like the group had a second bout of awesome cool song-itis because Adam to Eve no Dilemma was just as strong of a song if not better than “Crazy Kanzen na Otona”.  There was also a sense of mystery about it but totally different from the previous track mentioned.  Another awesome jam!
  • Attakai Ude de Tsutsunde – Breaking the dance tracks off, I thought Attakai Ude de Tsutsunde was a genius song to put out for the group.  I mean it sounds sexy and yet perfect to chill down with its cafe-like atmosphere.  Probably the biggest surprise this year was this song because I was expecting more electro from that single and instead we got this super smooth song…so good!
  • Namida mo Denai Kanashiku mo Nai Nanni mo Shitakunai – Going into the songs from “8 Queen of J-POP”, Namida mo Denai… fits in amongst the crazy amount of dance tracks the group had this year!  The album’s new songs focused on one members (minus one track) and this one focused on Maimai and she actually got a pretty cool song (because I just can’t listen to Mai doing sugary songs anymore lol).  Definitely was what made me focus on Mai this year (well and “Adam to Eve no Dilemma”.
  • Abiru Hodo Ai wo Kudasai – Another great track was focused on Chisato and I firmly believe she should lead more songs if the track is a bit more rock-oriented because her vocals seem to really bring that punch to songs, especially Abiru Hodo Ai wo Kudasai!  It’s edgy and a total switch from all the electro we’ve got this year, shame it’s an album song xD.
  • Aitte Motto Zanshin – Finally, the secondary A-side from the last single they released for the year, Aitte Motto Zanshin kind of mixes rock and the electro bits to create this kind of grittier dance track.  The song just screams energy and even though the chorus really doesn’t suit the atmosphere of the song, it’s still pretty much catchy all-around.

OK SONGS

  • Kanashiki Heaven (Okai Part Ver.) – I will say that even though Airi did her part better, Chisato did a pretty bangin’ job here and she’s also putting a lot of energy in her solo version of Kanashiki Heaven.
  • Kanashiki Amefuri – I’ve already mentioned this but this song fits along “Aitai Aitai Aitai na” & “Sayonara Usotsuki na Watashi” in the fact that the arrangement is a bit wild and chaotic, but also leaves room to really grow on you.  I’ve said when I reviewed this song that it kind of reminds me of fashion (strange right)…must be the PV.  Definitely grew on me, but not enough to be like OMG YES!
  • Nichiyoubi wa Daisuki yo – Something about this song remind me of stuff from last year which is odd right?  As the Maimi-led tune from the album, I was enjoying that it kind of sounded electro but sounds cute like “Momoiro Sparkling”.  I don’t know why, but it’s a fun song to listen to for sure.
  • Tokai no Hitorigurashi – Same could be said about Tokai no Hitorigurashi though I think it could’ve lived without sounding like many other songs from the last couple of years with the synth horns and similar chord styles.  Though it did grow on me and the chorus is actually really good!  Still those horns >.>
  • Please, love me more! – I might not have had a long time to digest the B-sides, but I have to say that °C-ute has just been solid with their dance tracks and while this one might not be strong as others, it’s still quite strong.  I’m not sure how to explain, but the arrangement was a twist for me and I kind of enjoyed it’s almost anison-ish sound.
  • Yuuwaku no Kyuujitsu – I suppose I could say the same for this song which was on the same single lol.  Though it does suffer the same like “Aitte Motto Zanshin” in the fact that the chorus does not suit the verses.  Though I do like the aforementioned song more.  The verses is what sold me the most.

MEH SONGS

  • The☆Treasure Box – The song would’ve been easily an OK song if the track didn’t include ~oi oi oi~ chants.  Those are so fuckin annoying and ruin my enjoyment for the song because it really isn’t a bad track and the energy is really awesome to hear, plus Airi just owns with this song!
  • Bagel ni Ham & Cheese – As the promotional song from their studio album, Bagel ni Ham & Cheese might be a good Airi-led song, but it was kind of generic-sounding to me, but it could just be me haha.  I don’t know the song really didn’t leave much of an effect on me.
  • Tadoritsuita Onna Senshi – It’s another one of those cases where ballad songs just flies over my head.  Added that °C-ute’s track record with ballads this year has been pretty bad for the most part IMO, I wasn’t feeling this song though it seemed like it was created for lives so the studio version loses that aspect here.
  • Watashi ga Honki wo Dasu Yoru – At first I actually liked the song with its intro…then the banjo came in and so did Nakky and I was kind of mindblown with this song and not in a good way.  It sounds like something could’ve been good if Country Musume was still active!  I just don’t think mixing that cute electro with banjos are a smart decision and honestly I was kind of torn between putting this in the icky or not.

ICK SONGS

  • Kono Machi – Yeah, I was definitely not a fan of this song.  I mean I like Moritaka’s original but Tsunku decide to make it a ballad (and lord it didn’t sell very well).  It just seems to drag the entire time and I was finding myself listening to “Kimi wa Jitensha Watashi wa Densha de Kitaku” again lol.
  • Ame – The exact same thing can be said here as well.  Maimi’s solo song, Ame just was a total bore and could’ve been done without…though nice Maimi did even get a solo on a single release lol.
  • Chikyuu Kara no Sanjuusou – On the “Crazy Kanzen na Otona” single, we got split groups and this one was sung by Maimi, Airi, and Chisato.  I can’t exactly say why I wasn’t a fan of this one…but I think the vocal chords has a certain Country vibe to it..but still no reason, it’s just not my cup of tea lol.
  • Watashi wa Tensai – In a way it does slightly remind me of “Nichiyoubi wa Daisuki yo” with the cuter electro vibe…but Maimai and Nakky seem to take the cute vibe just a little too much and I just kind of couldn’t get past those vocals.
  • Dare ni mo Naishou no Koishite Iru no – To me this song sounds a LOT better live than in the studio version just because the group can really have fun with this.  However, the studio version sounds odd to my ears…like it lacks the energy and the group is singing in an odd pitch (though it seems right for Maimai…>.>.  Still, not a song I’d come back to.

Predictions from last year to predictions for next year!

Like Berryz, but less so 😄  Though with their raising sales, I’m hoping they get better ^_^

Actuality: Well, they didn’t graduate and their sales have risen further and had the best year of their careers!

Prediction for 2014: Bigger sales and stronger appearance!  Hopefully another year of no worries ^^.

S/mileage

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At least this year, S/mileage cooled down ever further than in 2011.  Like Berryz, S/mileage wasn’t given a whole lot of importance this year and it showed.  They begun the year by releasing Tabidachi no Haru ga Kita before FINALLY releasing their sophomore album, ② Smile Sensation.  Then to round out the year they released two more singles Atarashii Watashi ni Nare! / Yattaruchan & Ee Ka?! / “Ii Yatsu”. Yeah I think maybe they did have the least amount of attention this year, since Berryz got Budokan and they didn’t. 😛

THE SONGS

GREAT SONGS

  • Shin Nippon no Susume! – Man the first song from their sophomore album just blew my mind!  It started with a pretty cool royal intro and Nyon and Fangs singing in a tone you normally don’t hear either of them singing in.  Then we suddenly seque into this quick-paced pwness of awesome!  This song really cemented my surprising enjoyment to Meimi!  Yeah, this song was a pretty amazing song from them!
  • Otona no Tochuu – Another one of Tsunku’s great electro songs, but another rare case of awesome album song, Otona no Tochuu was high-energy the entire way and I love the whole syllable by each girl with saying the title!  Not as crazy as the song above, but it’s still a really awesome song!
  • Atarashii Watashi ni Nare! – I was curious to what the group would do after their 2nd album and well they went a lil more scandalous with this song (though mostly it’s the PV).  The song continues a more mature style and with Tsunku’s electro love.  Great song!
  • Yattaruchan – I guess to even the sound of the group, Yattaruchan was the wacky fun song from the group and actually I sometimes tend to like it more “Atarashii Watashi ni Nare!”.  It’s such a fun song to listen to and once again Meimi stood out, but Kanana as well!
  • “Ii Yatsu” – It seems they dove into the emo-musume era with “Ii Yatsu” and actually I quite like it!  There’s something really awesome about this style (and sound) so I really took to this one quickly.  Plus gotta love Takechan’s high note…oooh she’s going to be great once she’s older!

OK SONGS

  • Doushiyou – Ahhh the only B-side released this year for S/mileage (isn’t that surprising?).  Doushiyou had a pretty cool groove about and I’m loving the layering they did in the verses.  There’s a lot of pretty awesome moments and was surprised they couldn’t have just added it to the album (then again there were other B-sides missing but those are songs from last year).  Still a cool song!
  • Nee Senpai – I actually felt it was a lot like “Otona no Tochuu” in the same energy levels.  Though, I still like the aforementioned track a lot more and this one slightly grew less on me, but it’s still a pretty good song.
  • Sayonara Sayonara Sayonara – I still am unsure how to take the song because I do like the pseudo hip-hopish feel of the song and that little bridge before verses is quirky in a way.  It’s a different kind of song for the group and once again Kana has been getting better at singing all of a sudden!  I approve!
  • Ee Ka?! – The primary A-side of the last single of the year, like many songs I’ve mentioned back with °C-ute, the song is really good up until the chorus which REALLY doesn’t fit the song’s image IMHO.  I wish Tsunku would stop with this kind of segmented arrangement.  Still everything else is pretty cool to listen to and the group really pulled off more of a rapping vibe here.

MEH SONGS

  • Tabidachi no Haru ga Kita – The first thing that comes to mind with this song is that it sounds surprisingly generic as a H!P song, but there’s nothing to really compare it to.  I mean the intro is pretty cool and all, but the song seems like something I’ve heard before.  Just something I wasn’t really into.
  • Watashi no Kokoro – I should just be like ~ballad, ’nuff said~ because it’s another one of those dragging ballads.  Though it’s not as tragic as °C-ute’s ballads lmao.  The vocals aren’t still exactly ready to be tackling ballads but I spose it was a risky tradeoff.
  • Yuugure Koi no Jikan – This song also felt a little too vanilla for my interests as well though I do enjoy that the focus is mostly on Kanana and Rinapuu (who are usually the back girls, but recently standing out).  I don’t know but this is kind of bleh even with those facts.

ICKY SONGS

  • Tenshinranman – Honestly, if anything sounded like a generic mess, it’s definitely Tenshinranman because it sounds like it took everything from “Tabidachi no Haru ga Kita” and just made it less interesting.  Though congrats to Kanana for getting a lot of lines here.

Predictions from last year to predictions for next year!

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.

Actuality: I kind of was spot on this year.  I mean nothing major did happen and their 2nd album was released.  The 2nd half though was unsure and it didn’t happen so that’s pretty good.

Prediction for 2014: Maybe a Budokan performance that’s all about them?  Maybe make 2014, the year for Rinapuu to shine since Kanana did this year?  Maybe, JUST MAYBE a 3rd gen?  We’ll see!

Juice=Juice

JuiceJuiceijiwaru

watashigaiusamidaretenmadenoborejuromancenotochuuijiwarushinaidedakishimeteyo

Yay H!P finally debuted a new solid group!  They were announced pretty early in 2013 and debuted shortly after that!  They started with three indies singles: Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne, Samidare Bijo ga Samidareru, and Ten Made Nobore! (with the Kenshuusei).  Then it was announced they would finally have a major debut.  Sadly before it happened, Aina Otsuka suddenly departed from the group because of her parents and her contract.  Still the group continued on and released the whopper of a single, Romance no Tochuu / Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne (MEMORIAL EDIT) / Samidare Bijo ga Samidareru (MEMORIAL EDIT) and closed off the year with one more single in Ijiwaru Shinaide Dakishimete yo / Hajimete wo Keikenchuu.  Busy year for our new group huh?

THE SONGS

GREAT SONGS

  • Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne – This is probably WAY up there as my favorite debut song (next to “Massara Blue Jeans”.  I love the saxophone love in this song and it’s so fantastic in its own right that it just caught my eye.  Plus it definitely lent itself for me to seriously enjoy all the girls voices (especially Tomoko…Tsunku really got lucky with her).  Like I said a very AWESOME way to kick their careers off.
  • Romance no Tochuu – I will always wonder what this song would sound like with Aina in it, but what we got this song it’s a lot more mature than anything the released prior, but also continued with their concept of *cool*.  I think this song made me pay attention to Sayuki a lot more than I initially was aware of.  It’s a lot of fun singing it too, I can’t forget that!
  • Ijiwaru Shinaide Dakishimete yo – Discounting Ayumi being in the PV, Ijiwaru Shinaide Dakishimete yo sounds like another pretty cool song and in the same vein as “Romance no Tochuu” but the song has a little more deeper sound that stood out a LOT!  Plus, Tomoko just owned this song.

OK SONGS

  • Samidare Bijo ga Samidareru – For the 2nd indies single, they released Samidare to which in replace of the saxes, it was more horn and guitar-laced.  Honestly, I actually kind of liked it slightly less than their debut but I thought the girls sung better here (especially Aina, Sayuki, and Tomoko).  There’s just something edgy the group was trying to get here.  I still did end up enjoying it overall!
  • Samidare Bijo ga Samidareru (MEMORIAL EDIT) – Which in turn led into this edited version.  I mean it’s extended and has no Aina in it.  The changes in the arrangement were minor and the extra additions were interesting to keep the song going AND they resung the song which is a plus since Akari and Yuka are getting better and singing.
  • Hajimete wo Keikenchuu – I don’t know why but it was so weird to see Akari and Yuka slide in as the main singers for their 2nd major single (secondary A-side).  It was also a change because it was more of a cutesy song which I guess stood out in the group’s growing discography.  My only qualm about this song is the male voice in the background…what in the world were you thinking Tsunku?!?

MEH SONGS

  • Ten Made Nobore! – I’ve really started to just get more annoyed by how much this song is performed by the Kenshuusei nowadays so in a way I do blame that on me not liking Ju=Ju’s version.  Granted this version only had solos from Aina, Karin, Sayuki, and Tomoko…the song really doesn’t suit them IMHO…I like the KSS’ take just a tad bit more.
  • Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne (MEMORIAL EDIT) – I liked the edited version of Samidare Bijo ga Samidareru a lot, but when it came to the edited tak of their debut, that was a bit too much for me to take in.  Though hearing Yuka and Akari sound way better in this version I suppose is a win, but screwing up the mid-8 section was just horrid.  Plus, I missed Aina’s voice so I already was coming in with a meh face lol.

Predictions for 2014

Since they didn’t exist in 2012, time to start the tradition for the new group.  Honestly, I feel like they’re going to fill that space Aina left…though I don’t know who.  Also, debut album definitely has to happen.  Other than that, who knows…

Other H!P Releases

bestfriendscabbagehakushoharutokainakanokaretenmadenoboreladymermaidHotaruMatsurinoHipetitbest14ohesonokunikarakonnichiwahelloprojectzenkyokuhelloprojectzenkyoku2

First off, sad no Buono!.  Anyways, the year began with ManoEri releasing her final album which is a best of album…hmmm

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.

That was my prediction last year and I WAS RIGHT!  She released BEST FRIENDS (of course she would choose that title) and graduated from H!P to focus on acting.  Suffice to say…It was a good way to send her off and include 3 new songs! (though left off her indie singles >.> “Lucky Aura” man…).

The next two singles were released by the whole SATOYAMA Movement.  Peaberry and GREEN FIELDS got the pass (sad that DIY was just left behind (and in a lesser amount, Harvest)).  Peaberry’s was just an touched up version of their first song called Cabbage Hakusho ~Haru-hen~ to promote Spring while GREEN FIELDS got two original songs on a single, Tokainaka no Kare.

The next was the Kenshuusei who are quickly becoming more and more noticeable each day and they released their 2nd single, Ten Made Nobore! (which was a joint single with Juice=Juice).

Earlier in the year, Tsunku announced another Movement called the SATOUMI movement which focused on the oceans and such.  First was Dia Lady which consists of Risako and Airi (argubly the faces of the group), Mellowquad, which consisted of Miyabi, Chinami, Chisato, and Maimi and Plumeria (later switched to HI-FIN) which consisted of Ayumi, Kanon F., Mai, Saki N., and Erina I.  It took a long time before they finally had their single release all in one singluar disc: Lady Mermaid / Eiya-sa! Brother / Kaigan Seisou Danshi.

Then a random new SATOYAMA unit was created during the hubbub in Jurin which was a duet unit of Masaki and Karin and released a DVD single called Hotaru Matsuri no Hi

As we got near the end of the year, we get out annual Petit Best, Petit Best 14 and honestly did not include ANYTHING new musically that hasn’t been CD available which is very disappointing. Shocking they included a 2012 song on it though (“NEXT MY SELF”)…>.>

Even closer to the end of the year, the Kenshuusei also announced a single to close 2013 for them, a DVD single for Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa / Ten Made Nobore!.  However, the single was only available from events…it isn’t until 2014 until the single was released publicly in stores.

Though it doesn’t beat THE FINAL release of the year, which is a surprisingly odd release from TOWER RECORDs.  It’s a two album release called Hello! Project no Zenkyoku Kara Atsumechaimashita! Vol.1 & 2.  The first disc contains tracks chosen by NakaG and and TOWER’s president, Munehiko Ikou.  This disc seems to be a little more towards spreading from H!P’s history of great funk songs from Taiyou to Ciscomoon all the way to Juice=Juice.  The 2nd disc, chosen by celeb interviewer Yoshida Gou contains more of the lesser known and more rare songs that H!P released (I mean Momusu’s Fankora album, FOLK SONGS, and even a new track sung by Riho from the Stacy’s musical.  I mean this might cater to more people who haven’t heard this side of them.

THE SONGS

GREAT SONGS

  • Tokainaka no Kare – I wasn’t expeting GREEN FIELDS to return with their first single to themselves.  Plus its always great to hear Aika sing SOMETHING in 2013.  It’s such a feelgood song and I really like the sort of goofy vibe I get from the moments I hear the kazoo and towards the end.  Though Captain and Yuka lead a lot, Aika has good moments too.  Definitely that fun song to listen to pick you up.
  • Lady Mermaid – When I saw the SATOUMI units announced, I was kind of shrugging with Dia Lady because I knew it was a good match, but to see if they get a cool song left me wondering.  Boy, Lady Mermaid is a jam and I love hearing the melodies they pull off in this kind of rockabilly tune.  Plus I find myself singing ~One, for the one~ so much 😄
  • Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa – Took them long enough to finally announce this was going to be released in 2013.  The Kenshuusei’s 3rd offering, Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa fits within the realm of the electro songs smoothly, but the song is so catchy and yet weird (the title comes out to be something like Hello from the Land of Bellybuttons.  I also love that 8 of them got solo lines (especially Kaede and Rena….though where’s Natsumi??).

OK SONGS

  • Minna, Arigatou. – It seems that there was really only one good ManoEri song that came this year.  Even though it’s a mid-tempo track, Erina’s voice sounded sweet and the arrangement sounded like it was a good sendoff for her graduation, but it did kind of lost itself amongst the A-sides from the album.
  • Haru wa Kuru – Something folksy comes this way and its from GREEN FIELDS?!?  Yep, the B-side from the single Haru wa Kuru is slower than any of their other songs but it gave us a chance to let us hear the trio in a slower setting and they sound surprisingly well together.  Simple track, but still quite nice.
  • Ten Made Nobore! – The song is slowly losing its luster on me because I hear it way too much than I should (not as bad as “Kanojo ni Naritai!!!” but can grow into that REAL quickly).  The Kenshuusei version sounds a bit more appropriate and there’s no worry on line distribution (add that it has two different PVs) and it’s kind of a song that you can’t escape (and won’t be for a while).  Also, first it’s paired with Juice=Juice and now a secondary A-side when “Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa” releases?  Lawd.
  • Eiya-sa! Brother – Mellowquad’s song might be the lowest in this section but it’s got catchy stuff going on.  I mean the hooks are easily found and can get stuck in your head after a while.  A little sad that Chinami got shafted here but it’s whatever.  It’s just a cool reggae-ish tune but a little strange lyrically and in the PV as well…weird all-around!
  • Kaigan Seisou Danshi – A little surfer vibe for HI-FIN’s song!  I was worried because honestly Nyon was the only good voice (at least in my mind) but it seems they seem to tried focus on harmonizing and they hit some pretty good chords in the song.  The spoken dialogue is a bit hokey for me so it did take me out and only Nyon, Nakky, and Maimai got solos…no surprise.  It’s a good song for what it is I suppose lol.
  • Kimagure Zetsubou Arigatou – As the exclusive track from the Atsumechaimashita albums, Riho’s solo from the musical is actually surprisingly nice to listen to.  Even with the rest of the 9th Gen and all of 10th Gen backing her up, it’s still a pretty haunting ballad from a musical (though it is about zombies) soooo…and the ending with the gun shots are a bit random to include.

MEH SONGS

  • Zenbu Daisuki – I don’t know why this song reminds me of “NEXT MY SELF” but it does.  Another ManoEri song, Zenbu Daisuki sounds like a lot of her songs (particularly around her first two albums).  I mean I hear traces of guitars in the song but they are kind of not the important instrument.  It just seem to lack in places for me.
  • Cabbage Hakusho ~Haru-hen~ – I really didn’t like they chose Peaberry to get a single just to themselves and was even more disappointed that the leading track would just be an edited version of their first song.  What’s new, not much new arrangement-wise but the biggest change is this RANDOM addition of “Furusato” (and not the Nacchi-hax) the old 1913 Children’s song and it’s sung by Kayoko Hosokawa in Peaberry’s version.  Honestly, this was random and the segueing between the two was uber jarring.  Though I can say Riho sounded sweet in this and Ayacho is just herself XD.
  • Niji no Sesaragi – Which brought me to the B-side from Peaberry’s single.  Most of this song sounds like the two in front of a choral line which sounds nice and honestly if I didn’t know this was Wada and Sayashi…I would’ve thought it was some other group.  It was one of the more interesting ballads H!P did, but still not all that great.
  • Hotaru Matsuri no Hi – Then we get into Jurin’s song and I kind of wished it wasn’t a ballad because this is Karin and Maachan…you’d think they’d be given something exciting.  Hotaru Matsuri no Hi has slide guitars and I already tuned out from those Country music vibes.  I don’t think either voice really suits the style either..meh.

ICKY SONGS

  • Nerima Calling! – I thought the song was going to be a nice pop/light rock track from ManoEri but good lord Mano’s vocals sound rough and shaky and she seemed to be really all over the place in tone which is a surprise because she sounded nice in the other two new tracks from “BEST FRIENDS” and then the middle of the song where she just kind of goes on this off vocal tangent lol…yeah might be the worst H!P song of 2013.

Other Releases from ex-H!P this year!

  • Current H!P member Karin Miyamoto released a mini-album compiling her Kopink works, “Kopink’s Melodies ~star chart~”.
  • Ex-Morning Musume member, Linlin released a Chinese EP this year titled “Zhan Dou”.
  • Ex-Melon Kinenbi member, Ayumi Shibata released a single this year, “Hito Kakera no Kakera.
  • Ex-Country Musume member, Azusa Kobayashi released her debut mini-album, “Distance”.
  • Ex-soloist, Rika Ishii surprisingly released TWO albums this year in “Slow Love” and “la mer”.
  • Ex-Hello! Pro Egg member, Mirei Hashida released her debut single, “My Love” under her penname, mirei.
  • Ex-Hello! Pro Egg member, Arisa Noto released her first full length album, “Hello, little monsters” and her 5th mini-album, “Rainbow Drops” as well as two albums and a single with her group, StylipS.
  • Ex-Hello! Pro Egg member, Yuu Kikkawa released a triple A-side, “Sekaijuu ni Kimi wa Hitori Dake / Valentine’s RADIO / Chocolate Damashii” before releasing her sophomore album “Two YOU” and a best album, “Best of YOU!”.
  • Ex-Hello! Pro Egg member, Sayaka Kitahara released her first album, “Haru no Gradation”.
  • THE Possible released two singles, “Zenryoku Banzai! My Glory!” and “Otome! Be Ambitious” with a best-of album, “Aratamemashite, THE Possible Desu! ~Nyuumon-hen Best~” in between releases.
  • Da Xiao Jie released their 3rd album, “Follow Me”.
  • Up Up Girls (Kakko Kari) released a staggering 8 singles AND before all that, released their debut album, “First Album (Kakko Kari)”.
  • After Reina graduated, UFP formed LoVendoЯ and the quartet released a cover album as their debut titled “LoVendoЯ Cover the Rock”.

Gains and Losses

Gained

  • Technically Juice=Juice but 5/6 were already Eggs so they don’t fully count.
  • Yuka Miyazaki
  • Rikako Sasaki
  • Karen Tanaka
  • Hikaru Inoue
  • Rio Fujii
  • Kana Mikame
  • Manaka Inaba
  • Ruru Danbara
  • Musubu Funaki
  • Kisora Niinuma
  • Akane Haga
  • Yumei Yokogawa
  • Risa Yamaki
  • Hirona Oura

Losses

  • Erina Mano
  • Reina Tanaka
  • Aina Otsuka
  • Jang Da Yeon (officially)
  • Rise Okamura
  • Kana Mashiro
  • Rie Kaneko

My H!P Member Ranking for 2013

You know the drill, I’ll be talking about them by 5’s…also included are ManoEri, Reina, and Aina since they’ve performed and released stuff with their groups, or by themselves! The numbers are how many places they gained and lost from last year!

  • 37. Mai Hagiwara (-6)
  • 36. Haruna Iikubo (-7)

Honestly, I think Maimai will just NEVER appeal to me.  Her voice just is too nasally for songs and even though she did catch me off guard with the album song that was focused on her, she still did sound uber nasally everywhere else.  Harunan is trying to become better, but it’s really showing in the dancing and not so much the singing (although props for her getting a solo in “Brainstorming”).  It just seems like both of these ladies should focus on their voices (though it’s going to take a LOT for Mai to get her voice well).

  • 35. Ayaka Wada (-3)
  • 34. Erina Ikuta (-8)
  • 33. Momoko Tsugunaga (-3)
  • 32. Erina Mano (-16)
  • 31. Masaki Sato (-6)

With these 5 there was a lot of loss.  Ayacho, like Maimai will probably never change her voice though I can at least handle it better than the latter.  Minus the Peaberry single, she’s sounded more catty than usual which is a total surprise to me.  Eripon‘s voice has also kind of grown on me less this year, but at least she did slightly tone down the Gaki fest.  I don’t know she didn’t seem to really stand out this year for me like she did last year.  I’m so happy that Momochi lessened her annoying character this year and she sung quite well with the songs she was given, though those pigtails NEED TO GO.  It’s time to drop her for good!  ManoEri initially was going to be in the middle of the pack, but with the lack of music coming from her and the godawfulness of “Nerima! Calling” kind of pegged her down levels.  It seems like Tsunku decided what to do with Maachan and I’m not happy he’s choosing to use her overly cute vocals vs. her actually good deeper tone.  Time to refocus there bro!

  • 30. Saki Nakajima (-2)
  • 29. Yuka Miyazaki (NEW)
  • 28. Reina Tanaka (-10)
  • 27. Akari Uemura (NEW)
  • 26. Rina Katsuta (-24)

Nakky actually didn’t sound half bad (when she wasn’t pulling off cute) and she was pretty memorable in most of the PVs she was in this year which is definitely a plus, but she’s still not as good as the 3 greats lol.  I could’ve included Yuka last year, but she wasn’t an official H!P member until she joined Juice=Juice.  Her voice is OK and she sounded pleasant in both the mentioned group and in GREEN FIELDS so she’s done well.  I’m not sure if it’s me or not, but Reina looked so over being an idol by the time she graduated after the “Brainstorming / Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai” single.  Plus, her band hasn’t really done anything great yet…so it feels like she was just going through the waves.  Another new member in Juice=Juice, Aarii was such a great addition to the group, even though she’s really only shown her nice vocals in “Hajimete wo Keikenchuu”.  Yeah, I know Rinapuu was my #2 last year, but she was an underdog and now I think she’s the weakest member in S/mileage now it’s sad because its showing that she’s more quiet and laidback and her dancing doesn’t have that snap like everyone else does…I hope 2014 fixes this!

  • 25. Ayumi Ishida (-8)
  • 24. Chinami Tokunaga (-18)
  • 23. Sayumi Michishige (+2)
  • 22. Aika Mitsui (-9)
  • 21. Risako Sugaya (+2)

Ayumin, I feel like she kind of digressed in some way but showed off as well, it’s a bit weird.  She once again showed a lot of awesomeness in her dancing prowess, but her singing has a little more to go, but once again solos this year did help her out.  Another that has fallen a big amount, Chinami kind of went by me this year with not a lot to go by, though she’s gotten a lot of view time in PVs.  Hopefully 2014 will boost her again.  Our leader Sayu has slightly risen this year.  I think it’s just that while her voice is probably at this point going to stay the way it is, its her perserverance with Morning Musume that impressed me a lot, plus she’s such a beauty now!  Even though she hasn’t done much this year, Mittsi still has it going on.  Plus, her version of “Datte Ikitekanakucha” with Momoko and Mizuki was stellar!  I hope she does more next year.  Rii might have went up, but she still has her problems like this year she’s resorted to shouting lyrics and they sound quite horrid.

  • 20. Riho Sayashi (+1)
  • 19. Kana Nakanishi (+8)
  • 18. Aina Otsuka (NEW)
  • 17. Saki Shimizu (-8)
  • 16. Maimi Yajima (-1)

Riho slightly managed to go up a slot this year, but she’s still got her issues within her singing that still split up a fandom.  I mean she can sound pretty good when she wants to, but sometimes she can really sound off as well.  I don’t know what else to say, but she would sound better doing lower songs if you know what I mean.  2013 was definitely a good year for Kanana as she’s gotten considerably better in most accounts plus she had a lot of fun promoting “Yattaruchan” as well.  Even though Tsukapon only contributed in 3 singles, she surprised me by being at the same line count as Karin almost rivaling her before her untimely departure.  Sad that she left and I’ll be honest, she sounded way better live than in studio versions of songs.  Captain, like Chinami also lost some points because there just wasn’t a lot of things that were standing out this year.  Granted, more lines in songs is awesome, but not a lot of rapping to be found unlike last year.  At least she still dances powerfully.  With Maimi, I think she’s pretty much stuck where she is.  She’s not bad, but she’s not a member that will stick out fully..unless she does something really eye-catching lol.

  • 15. Karin Miyamoto (NEW)
  • 14. Akari Takeuchi (-3)
  • 13. Mizuki Fukumura (+7)
  • 12. Sayuki Takagi (NEW)
  • 11. Kanon Fukuda (+1)

Finally after all these years, Karin finally gets to join H!P full-time in Juice=Juice and she already screams ace in the group.  Even though a couple others do sound better than her, she’s definitely got that star quality down pat.  Takechan might have dropped a couple but she hasn’t gotten worse.  She’s still one of the stronger vocals in S/mileage and she actually did step her game up a little bit for 2013.  Something about Fukuchan must’ve of done something, but as she’s a sub-leader she’s suddenly got all this confidence and power and she really surprised me with her appearances this year…hope she continues this awesome streak!  Sayubee might be new in a H!P group but she’s also got a lot of spunk in her performances.  Her voice always seems to stand out well, but then again most of the Ju=Ju members do too…she’s got some ood style though.  I tend to think Nyon is also kind of at her spot (like Maimi).  She’s still pretty solid performer, yet this year I feel like she took a seat back against other members in S/mileage.

  • 10. Maasa Sudo (-3)
  • 9. Meimi Tamura (+17)
  • 8. Haruka Kudo (-6)
  • 7. Miyabi Natsuyaki (+7)
  • 6. Sakura Oda (+4)

Beginning with my top 10 members, Maasa, like the other Berryz might not have stood out much to me this year.  Though her new short hair is pretty nifty and really fit “ROCK Erotic’s” PV, that’s for sure.  Still very underrated though in H!P they should have her sing a lot more!  Probably the biggest jump this year is Meimi who just really found her voice this year and REALLY loving her more deeper tone than her squeakyness of last year.  Let’s hope she keeps this going!  Kuduu might not have done a lot, but she’s a favorite of mine and she’s had some pretty good one-liners this year that’s for sure.  Hope Tsunku gives her a chance next year!  I’m surprised that Miyabi jumped a bit this year, but she’s still the same gal but she still has a pretty great voice and still has it in her.  Odasaku definitely made herself worthy to be the so-called ace.  Her voice is definitely one of the strongest in Morning Musume!  I wonder what amazing things will come out from her next year!

  • 5. Airi Suzuki (+3)
  • 4. Tomoko Kanazawa (NEW)
  • 3. Yurina Kumai (-2)
  • 2. Chisato Okai (+17)
  • 1. Kanon Suzuki (+4)

It just seems with every year Airi gets even better than the year before! Her voice is just continually getting stronger and even more powerful with each release and she’s really become a fierce force in H!P.  Kanatomo was such a surprise because she wasn’t a Kenshuusei for very long before being placed in Juice=Juice but good lord Tsunku did something great choosing her.  Her voice is definitely the best in the group and she’s got a lot of talent in her.  My oshi, Yurina has fallen a bit this year…and it’s really because of how Tsunku has been treating them.  I really didn’t like her in “Asian Celebration” and the other songs, she wasn’t a BIG face in comparison to the others.  Chisa REALLY brought it this year, it seemed like she was proving herself everytime in every PV and performane, plus her voice has really gotten badass so it’s definitely no way to not notice her in °C-ute.  My #1 this year though goes to Zukki because she’s back to being our happy member and she’s getting a lot better…hopefully to the point where Tsunku actually gives her solo lines!!!!

Kenshuusei

  • Hirona Oura
  • Kisora Niinuma
  • Hikaru Inoue
  • Ruru Danbara
  • Karen Tanaka
  • Ayano Hamaura
  • Maria Makino
  • Yumeno Kishimoto
  • Kana Mikame
  • Reina Ichioka
  • Natsumi Taguchi
  • Fuyuka Kosuga
  • Akane Haga
  • Rio Fujii
  • Musubu Funaki
  • Minami Nomura
  • Manaka Inaba
  • Sakurako Wada
  • Rikako Sasaki
  • Riko Yamagishi
  • Rena Ogawa
  • Yumei Yokogawa
  • Nanami Tanabe
  • Kaede Kaga
  • Mizuki Murota
  • Kurumi Yoshihashi

Most of the girls on this list are members I can’t really say too much because most of them are still pretty new to this.  The top 10 though really stood out in some way (though Yumei has just caught my eye pretty heavily).  Some like Hamachan and Fuuchan just don’t impress me much.

THAT’S IT FOR 2013, CAN WE GET 2014 GOING ALREADY?

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Morning Musume PVs through the years: *Insert witty comment here*

Today on this next batch of PVs we will be talking about the rather slow section of Momusu.  To me it feels like Tsunku wasn’t totally sure what to do with the group at this point and the releases also showed that as well because while SEXY 8 BEAT did release, they released a Christmas themed mini-album in between that and “Rainbow 7”.  Also they had another audition and out came a rather controversial decision with Aika Mitsui.  Though in between the fog they managed to get a #1 single (which has been quite a while since they had one with “Aruiteru”.  Anyways the PVs I will be talking about are: Aruiteru, Koi no Dance Site (Morning Curry Ver.), Egao YES Nude, and Kanashimi Twilight.

Aruiteru

The Song: Aruiteru comes off the recent graduations of both Ogawa and Konno and while the loss isn’t too big musically (they both were back girls), it was time to move on.  Which I guess in retrospect sounds like the perfect time to release a song like this.  It is was also the leading track for their random as hell winter mini-album and also was included on SEXY 8 BEAT (albeit with an album mix).  Weird though that the only solos in this song belonged to Miki, Ai, Reina, and Koharu while everyone else was just in the back XD.

What Genre is it?: It’s a mid-tempo, heartwarming pop song…almost a ballad but not quite.

The Premise: Most of the song is just of the group walking along a path and towards the end sit around the campfire and being happy (though some of that looked VERY fake XD).

The Setting: When was the last time, Momusu actually shot a video outside a studio to be honest?  Basically “Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari” right?  So this was great to see the group actually outside for a PV.  I found this to be a lot more personal and nice to see things like this and while the happiness was a bit too caked on, the campfire scenes were nice as well.  The weird thing is that y’know 7 of the girls were walking in pastures or something like it, but you have Koharu walking on a beach…that seemed kind of odd to me that she was the only one pulling that XD.

The Outfits: Casual of course, there’s no real uniform with this PV, just the girls chilling out with the stuff they normally wear (I suppose).  A lot of pastel colors for many of the girls, some with bolder colors.

The Choreography: For a song like this to have choreography is strange, though they do lean back and forth, but I don’t consider that to be actual choreography.

PV as a whole: I’m probably going to be the only one that says this, but I was a never a fan of this song though I was happy to know that it did get #1 on ORICON.  I mean, the song is a very calming song and has a good message throughout it, but the PV felt almost a bit tryhard at least in the last half with the girls definitely pushing their camaraderie like that. Especially Reina…she to me was showing the most amount of BS happiness I’ve seen yet XD.  Though I think Mikitty was too and Gaki was awkward XD.  Still, I can’t blame them for putting this song out…it’s not a bad song, but I just can’t with the PV lol.

Koi no Dance Site (Morning Curry Ver.)

The Song: I think we all know that Koi no Dance Site was Momusu’s 8th single and all, but it seems like we get a new version of it during this time period.  This version is found on the 2006 Autumn Concert ~Odore! Morning Curry~ DVD and the Morning Curry came from one of their songs “Odore! Morning Curry” (B-side from “Aruiteru”).  Of course it was resung with the members at the time of release (which is why I placed it here).

What Genre is it?: It hasn’t changed musically from the original so basically it’s still the same Bhangra-esque sound.

The Premise: I guess in a weird way, the PV is you focus on the background enough, the group is making curry!  Strange, but I guess it fits with everything and maybe on the tour, this preceded “Odore! Morning Curry”.

The Setting: The PV seemed like it was played as the backdrop of the performance of the song which makes sense because all of the PV is done with green screen of the making of curry or some 70’s hippie background on the close-ups.  Also, the ladies looked like paper cutouts (which we would see again with “3, 2, 1 BREAKIN’ OUT!”) AND they’re using stopmotion on these scenes which is meeeeeeh and on the hippie background the ladies are actually moving with no stopmotion.  I mean it is a bonus incentive, so I wasn’t expecting something as nice as “Aruiteru” but this looked cheap as hell xD.

The Outfits: Though they did hike up on the outfits because they look like actual Indian outfits which I quite liked.  Though it seemed like they had two different outfits.  For the storybook cutouts, they look like they have their own look and different colored garbs, while in the actual closeups and group shots, they have yellow dresses with a purple scarf? (don’t know women clothing sorry XD) draped around their left shoulders.  Also, they all wear bindis on their head too…cute little addition.

The Choreography: There are times were the girls are doing SOME of the moves of the original song (though it’s not sharp and kind of last minute movement).  Other times we really don’t see much of anything dancing here.

PV as a whole: Even though it’s a self-cover, I kind of found it weird they chose to do this one.  It’s sort of cute how they’re making curry (even though you don’t grasp the concept until the end…well at least I didn’t grasp it).  I’m a bit surprised they never released this song on a CD release but I suppose it’s nice even though the PV was quickly done and dealt with.

Egao YES Nude

The Song: Well as we all know, Egao YES Nude was the debut for Aika Mitsui who was already in a bit of hot water with the fans because she was the least expected auditionee to have won (she was going against fierce competition like Sumire Sato, Ayami Masuda, and Yuu Kikkawa) notice how those 3 names are rather known nowadays (AKB48, avex, and well Kikka was turned into an H!P Egg, but went solo).  Anyways like Koharu, Aika got stuck debuting with a rather suggestive song which is a bit creepy (moreso this time around xD).  I like it, but the album mix on SEXY 8 BEAT fixed a lot of things up for me.  Oh and Coconuts Ayaka did the whole ~HEY DJ~ line hahaha.

What Genre is it?: Pop, but kind of sexy thrown in…maybe a little Soul but who knows.

The Premise: None to be really found here.

The Setting: Well, there seems to be only two sets found here.  The Dance-shot of course with ensuing shiny streamers and a giant disco/lightbulb in the middle (made me worry that one of the girls was going to punch the hell out of it).  Then there’s the scenes with the girls laying around…yeah pillows, chairs, yeah…>.>.  To me, those streamers were way too much in use for the PV and the laying down scenes we didn’t get a clear view of what it was consisting of because those shots went by fast and most were close ups.

The Outfits: I mean the outfits (only 1 of them) consisting of scantily clad  pink shorts and shirts (with black borders) showing their midriffs.  Kind of provocative if you ask me.  Though you can tell UFA was gonna block that cleavage so many of them had undershirts involved.  Coming from their casual PV from “Aruiteru” (going by last single)…this was a sudden change of pace…simple and it looked good on a lot of em.

The Choreography: I will say this choreo isn’t as dynamic like how “Ambitious” was and seemed like the group were just chillin with this dance…though I do like how together they are doing it.  Not their most exciting dance but at least it is one hahah.

PV as a whole: To me, in this period, Egao YES Nude really came out of left field for me.  I mean it was scandalous and very showy and even though I’m happy Aika really got some love here, this was pretty awkward of a song to debut in.  I kind of like it, but the timing is so odd to me.  One of the weirder Momusu songs.

Kanashimi Twilight

The Song: Ahhh, finally we’ve come to my all time favorite Momusu song!  Kanashimi Twilight marked a lot of big things.  We learned before this single that Yossie was going to graduate from the group (to end up basically doing Ongaku Gatas) XD.  That’s pretty awesome to know because this was a great song to go off on because she has such a big line.  However, after the release of the single, Mikitty found herself into a pretty big scandal in which she was caught with a man and that unfortunately meant she had to leave Momusu as well in.  Sadly, she was appointed leader after Yossie left…(Yeah 5th Gen could’ve took over but Fujimoto was in H!P longer).  After this it kind of just ended the era on a low note and we had no clue where Momusu was going after losing two of their stronger singers, well lower-toned singers.

What Genre is it?: It’s a punk rock song, not as heavy as “Shabondama” but still very badass.

The Premise: Not really much of a premise here either/

The Setting: There’s a lot to be said here, sort-of.  Most of what you see is the dance-shot which is set in a white room with a rectangular block of pink (weird).  Then the group is split in 3 groups standing in a pink tube which was Yossie, Sayu, and Mikitty as one group, Koharu, Eri, and Ai-chan in another and Gaki, Aika, Reina in the other (yeah hmmm…) the last one is actually another split grouping shot of them sitting on steps which was this time around Miki, Ai-chan, Sayu, and Eri together though next scene it’s Eri, Koharu, and Ai-chan together and the 3rd was Reina, Yossie, Aika, and Gaki.  Last but not least, there was the basic close-up shot (though the camera is sometimes a bit too low XD).

The Outfits: They actually have two outfits.  The main one used for the dance-shot kind of looks like they raided Avril Lavigne’s closet and kind of pulled off this teen rebellion punk look that was kind of big for the time.  It actually looked really good on all the members.  The other is the more feminine dresses (actually looks zany too) during the pink tube scenes.  Kind of cool, but I can’t tell what they were aiming for that outfit.

The Choreography: The dance here had a lot more force than what “Egao YES Nude” and was a lot more dynamic on movements and formations here which is nice!  Though it seemed a lot of the choreography was focused upon Yossie, Mikitty, and Ai-chan which kind of surprised me in a way.

PV as a whole: All in all, I really enjoyed Kanashimi Twilight and like I said is my favorite Momusu song (and was basically when I joined listening to Momusu full time).  I love how much of a swan song this is to Yossie and she sounded GREAT!) though to learn that this would also be the final single for Miki also seemed like it did moderately well for her as well.  The PV was cool, basic but enough to fit the punk feel of the tune.

NEXT TIME, PANDAS, DISCO, and PEPPERS!

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