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

Sayumi announces her graduation…

Michishige_Sayumi_241

So our great leader of Morning Musume announced she was leaving at the end of the Autumn tour this year and it’s rather shocking but at the same time, it was bound to happen.

Now, this marks as a bit turning point (at least to me) because when I came into MM, it was the beginning of the Platinum Era with Ai-chan, Gaki, Kame, Reina, Sayu, Koharu, Aika, Junjun, and Linlin and now the final member of the original lineup I started to follow is leaving…it’s a pretty big deal for me.  Yeah, I bagged her voice and dancing capabilities but she exploded from this shy Shige to the poison-tongued Sayu to the awesome leader she became (which let’s be honest, no one could’ve guessed she would’ve been the leader to pick the group up after the Platinum era’s low sales.  Of course she also became so unique with her voice being cute (or auto-tuned)…it’s been a great run for her and I’ll root for her til her final day!!!

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Review: Petit Best 10

petitbest10

Track Listing

  1. Shouganai Yume Oibito / Morning Musume
  2. Seishun Bus Guide / Berryz Koubou
  3. EVERYDAY Zekkouchou!! / °C-ute
  4. Pira! Otome no Negai / Petitmoni V
  5. Umbrella / Tanpopo#
  6. MY BOY / Buono!
  7. Otome no Inori / Erina Mano
  8. Yume no Genjitsu / Aa!
  9. Pen Pen Kyoudai / Shin Minimoni
  10. DESTINY LOVE / High-King
  11. Omakase♪Guardian / Guardians 4
  12. Shugo Shugo! / Shugo Chara Egg!
  13. Hapi☆Hapi Sunday! / Kirari Tsukishima starring Koharu Kusumi
  14. aMa no Jaku / S/mileage
  15. Screen / Natsumi Abe
  16. Chocolate Damashii / Aya Matsuura
  17. Seishun Boku / Mari Yaguchi
  18. Bye Bye / Mai Satoda with Goda Kyodai

1. Shouganai Yume Oibito

Momusu opens up the next Petit Best with what would be coined the beginning of the emo-musume stretch of singles.  At the time this single released, I was starting to finally get the names down of the girls during this period and this song was a great song to really figure things out.  I really do like the serious tone of the song and all the members sound lovely here (even Sayumi!).  Though big props for Eri, Ai-chan, and Gaki for making this song sooo damn good.  Definitely one of the brighter moments for the group!

2. Seishun Bus Guide

I was happy Berryz chose this song over “Rival” since I wasn’t (and still not too into the song today).  Seishun Bus Guide did have to grow on me because it was a bit more forward and energetic song (with an odd PV to boot).  Of course most of the time it’s Risako, Miyabi, and Momoko leading the track and while that’s pretty normal of Berryz at the point of time, it was a little on the meh side, mostly because some of those vocals sounded rough (lookin’ at you Risako!!!)…It is one of those songs that will have to grow on you.

3. EVERYDAY Zekkouchou!!

°C-ute brought EVERYDAY Zekkouchou!! to the Petit Best and the group was going through some changes.  Since the last PB, the group had lost Kanna to some random bunion (though I’m sure that was just a cover up) and this single was also the final single for Erika who would graduate to focus on fashion.  For °C-ute, this song passed up some of their edgier stuff they had, but was probably the best they could do (plus it did kind of send-off Erika well).  It’s a poppy track with a lot of synths and bright lyrics.  Not a bad song overall.

4. Pira! Otome no Negai

So during the year, Tsunku decided to bring back a lot of former groups for a short while.  All but two of these ‘revived’ groups do appear here starting with Petitmoni V which was Nakky, Maimai, and ManoEri.  Their song, Pira! Otome no Negai was rather annoying to me lol.  I mean at that time, they were three of the weakest vocalists in H!P (that could be argued, I know) but this song didn’t work for me.  The whole ~pira-pop~ overdose annoyed me to no end and Tsunku’s voice in the song also kind of bothered me lol.  I don’t know, it just didn’t do anything for me.

5. Umbrella

Next up is the revived Tanpopo# (which was Kame, Aika, Chisato, and Yurina) and I was hoping they’d get a good song.  Umbrella to me sounds like a Momosu album song with the kind of cutesy lyrics/vocals but with a different kind of arrangement.  I do like the voices here at least and they’re so seperate from one another that it’s REAL easy to tell who’s who.  It’s not bad, but kind of run-of-the-mill.  Not much else to really say.

6. MY BOY

I definitely remembered getting into Buono! fully round this time and MY BOY was the best reason.  Unlike their various other singles, MY BOY was (and I think still) is the edgiest Buono! song out there!  The arrangement is explosive and the trio is pretty damn strong and bringing it all in an awesome way.  Even Momoko was just all kinds of badass….ugh this song might be one of my favorite H!P songs out there!

7. Otome no Inori

Then we move onto ManoEri’s first major single, Otome no Inori and it took me a while to remember this one because I wasn’t the big Erina fan back then (still kind of not, but she did get better as time went on).  Also fitting that this song kind of shines the light on Erina’s piano skills right from the intro.  I will also say, early Mano was not very apt at singing and many people were still kind of baffled why she was given a solo career within the company.  To me, the song is definitely not among her bests and her kind of flat and sort of toneless voice made the song a bit of a chore to get through.

8. Yume to Genjitsu

Back to the rest of the Revival Units we get Aa! which in this song was Miyabi, Airi, and H!P Egg member Akari Saho who took over Reina’s position (because the latter was with High-King who was also revived…well not really XD).  I was surprised with this song because I came in from the whole Revival Unit experience mostly disappointed, but Aa! knocked this song out of the park and remains the BEST song from that short time.  It’s great to hear Airi and Miyabi owning the song (as they should as they were rising on my fav voices).  Akari also held her own here and actually suited the group (if only they had let her join Buono!).  The song itself is energetic and has a really cool sound to it, plus the ~WAHOO~ is just too perfect lol.  Like I said, it’s a must listen!

9. Pen Pen Kyoudai

Then we move to the revival of Minimoni which included Linlin, Kanon (S/mileage) and two Eggs: Akari Takeuchi and Karin Miyamoto and they were given Pen Pen Kyoudai which is kind of a callback to their cuter image (ala before “CRAZY ABOUT YOU” Minimoni lol).  The song is very cute and true to form, but like “Pira! Otome no Negai”, it has a lot of repetition and Tsunku is all over the place here.  The vocals here are sort of fitting (except Linlin whose appearance here makes sense but her voice isn’t as at the level here like Kanon, Akari, and Karin’s….could you imagine the four singing this today?  Weiiird…This song just didn’t connect with me lol.

10. DESTINY LOVE

Finally, we get into the last quote on quote revived group in High-King (what I mean is that High-King didn’t have any member changes and the last thing they released was only a couple months before the revival happened XD).  DESTINY LOVE suited the group in a way that it gave them a more sexier song to tackle and for the most part it worked and seeing a Captain/Maimi rap section was nice.  The only thing that didn’t work is of course Yuuka who’s squirrely vocals felt so out of place (like it does in all of the other High-King songs).  Cool song though!

11. Omakase♪Guardian

Moving on, we get into the Shugo Chara! groups starting with Guardians 4 and their first single!  I almost had thought that it would’ve been a group that would’ve survived after the anime but guess it didn’t.  Being Aika, Risako, Yurina, and Nakky, thinking about it today…this pairing is so weird to me.  Yurina and Risako has deeper vocals while Aika and Nakky had the cuter tones so it was a mish-mash of strange proportions.  As expected, Omakase♪Guardian is definitely one of the more cutesy shoujo fairy-esque track and initially I wasn’t too fond of it but going back, I could appreciate it more and Risako and Yurina didn’t sound as strange as I would’ve thought (doing it today would probably sound weird…although the group did perform on New Years of ’14).  Not a bad track ^_^

12. Shugo Shugo!

Then we get to Shugo Chara Egg!’s 2nd single (and the last for members Yuuka, Kanon, and Ayaka as they transferred to S/mileage mode during the year).  Now I loved “Minna no Tamago” but I was feeling lukewarm towards this one.  Like with the previous track, it’s cutesy as well but moreso because of the voices.  I just wasn’t a fan of anyone here and the song wasn’t all that memorable to me either.  It’s just one of those songs that just kind of flew over my head on this album.

13. Hapi☆Hapi Sunday!

Then we come into Koharu’s track….and luckily it’s her last contribution to a Petit Best (so happy) and that’s saying something because this is my least favorite song on the compilation.  Boy did she up the ante on this super sugary sound here and adding on her very bad vocals…made this REAL impossible to deal with lol.  Hapi☆Hapi Sunday! is kind of the pinnacle of Koharu’s movement towards such a bad vocalist…but I don’t know, some of the arrangement kind of works, but I still can’t really stomach the tune.

14. aMa no Jaku

Then we move into H!P’s newest group (as of this release), S/mileage and their indies debut, aMa no Jaku.  Funny how of their A-side as a 4-nin this one comes off the most sentimental and it was just their start.  It is kind of weird to say that I can handle this song but not “Shugo Shugo!” when talking about their vocals…then again, this tune wasn’t sugarcoated.  Back then, I didn’t know the voices to the girls, but nowadays it’s rather easy and even though I rag on Yuukarin and Ayacho….they weren’t too bad….though I think Saki Ogawa (the unique member) had a much better voice than the 3 presented here.  Today, the song is good in doses, but still a lil high-pitched for my tastes.

15. Screen

Then we get into our soloists section for the final stretch starting with two of our older members and their singles (as both of their songs are also the final songs they have for Petit Bests).  There’s something about Nacchi’s song, Screen that just sounds so cool and different than what we’ve got from her in the past.  It’s upbeat but has a rather interesting arrangement with that kind of oriental feel.  It’s nice and Nacchi sounds really pleasant in the tune.

16. Chocolate Damashii

We move into Ayaya’s last single she released (she’s released albums after this) with Chocolate Damashii and with the amount of mid-tempos and ballads she’s had, it’s nice to get a track that has a little more oomph to it!  The song is cute and fun to listen to occasionally, it still isn’t among her bests, but this was something many Ayaya fans wanted to hear ever since “Kiseki no Kaori Dance.”.

17. Seishun Boku

The last two tracks were kind of random inclusions but made sense as they’re ex-H!P.  First off is a song from Marippe who here collaborated with Air Band (which is a band made exclusively for Quiz! Hexagon II).  For Seishun Boku, this song has a more rockin’ feel and being it’s Mari’s first single I was curious to how she’d handle it…and well her voice was a little too over the top here.  Very throaty and pinchy.  Meh…

18. Bye Bye

Back then, I had no clue who Mai Satoda was and why she was brought up when she started her Hexagon unit with Goda Kyoudai (who are misono and Toshifumi Fujimoto) and this was the 2nd single released by them.  Bye Bye does sound like an anime theme and I was surprised how well Satoda and misono sounded together.  The third member….I don’t think he was in the song (unless he’s the saxophonist) but otherwise…it was just the two ladies.  The tune is a good enough track and wasn’t as chaotic as Mari’s track.

Tracks Recommended

  • MY BOY
  • Shouganai Yume Oibito
  • Yume to Genjitsu
  • Screen
  • Omakase♪Guardian

So Petit Best 10…getting into the double digits now huh?  After the last couple PBs having problems, I found myself kind of pleased with this one.  I mean we get 5 exclusive tracks on the album (even though to me, only 3 were pretty good) and we got some of the more recent hits.  I was surprised they had included Mari and Mai’s songs as they weren’t guessed beforehand.  Overall it was a solid release with a couple bad choices (lookin at you Petitmoni V and Koharu >.>). 7/10

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H!P Profiles: S/mileage / ANGERME

Uchouten_LOVE_Promo

L to R: Saki Ogawa, Ayaka Wada, Yuuka Maeda, Kanon Fukuda

Finally, Tsunku actually announced a new group that wasn’t going to last one single or be a part of UFA’s whimsical Asia ideas.  Initially the announcement was made with these four girls but they didn’t have a name really.  3/4 of the group was already busy with Shugo Chara Egg! so when this news happened Nyon, Ayacho, and Yuukarin had to leave the group.  Of course they started with 4 indies singles and during that time, Tsunku had given them a requirement if they were to have a major debut and it was to have 10,000 pictures of people smiling (because the group’s name was as such).  Luckily, they met the mark and finally were able to graduate from H!P Egg and have their major debut, Yumemiru 15sai.  They would go on to have 5 more singles and an album before Tsunku dropped a bomb on them!  Two years later after their formation, he would announce that there would be a 2nd audition for the 2nd generation of S/mileage.

uXaSA

Back Row L to R: Saki Ogawa, Yuuka Maeda, Ayaka Wada, Kanon Fukuda
Front Row L to R: Akari Takeuchi, Meimi Tamura, Fuyuka Kosuga, Kana Nakanishi, Rina Katsuta

The auditions went on and we ended up with quite a number of finalists (actually I think all but two became H!P members in some fashion) and everyone was shocked that there were 5 winners!  Three of them (Meimi, Fuyuka, and Kana) were new and the other two were H!P Eggs (Akari and Rina).  Though there was a different reason as Tsunku announced they were just sub-members to the other four and were still being tested.  However this 9-nin lineup lasted VERY short because a week later original member, Saki Ogawa, announced she was suddenly graduating to go back to a regular life.  Though a lot of wota and fans alike believe that I think she (and Yuuka) weren’t too onboard with new members at all….plus Ayacho has gone off to say that she’d quit if more was added to the current lineup.

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Back Row L to R: Kana Nakanishi, Meimi Tamura, Fuyuka Kosuga, Rina Katsuta, Akari Takeuchi
Front Row L to R: Yuuka Maeda, Ayaka Wada, Kanon Fukuda

Then another setback happened when Fuyuka Kosuga two weeks after Sakitty’s sudden graduation also had to leave because she became ill and was announced that she had severe anemia, but was allowed back into the Eggs when she felt better.  Though unlike Sakitty, Fuu-chan was involved with S/mileage’s first single as an 8-nin, “Tachiagirl” and was going to be in Mobekimasu’s “Busu ni Naranai Tetsugaku” but unfortunately was canned when she left.

MiniskirtPostwomanPromo

Back Row L to R: Rina Katsuta, Meimi Tamura, Akari Takeuchi, Kana Nakanishi
Front Row L to R: Yuuka Maeda, Ayaka Wada, Kanon Fukuda

Thought we were done with changes?  Nope!  Well, it first started as the sub-members were FINALLY announced as the new 2nd generation and everyone was happy and letting go of their held breaths until Yuuka Maeda announced that she was graduating at the end of 2011 to focus on school.  She of course ended her idol career in S/mileage with the single, “Please Miniskirt Postwoman!”.

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Back Row L to R: Kana Nakanishi, Kanon Fukuda, Rina Katsuta
Front Row L to R: Meimi Tamura, Ayaka Wada, Akari Takeuchi

Even since the turbulent year 2011 had brought, the group slowly recovered and were at that of these 6 members when 2012 started.  They’ve been the most stable lineup well at least so far.  It seems since then they’ve been strengthing their vocals and teamwork and really has started to feel like a stronger group because of it.  HOWEVER, it wasn’t the last change to happen!

ANGERME

ANGERME: Top Row L to R: Akari Takeuchi, Maho Aikawa, Kana Nakanishi, Rina Katsuta
Bottom Row L to R: Kanon Fukuda, Rikako Sasaki, Ayaka Wada, Meimi Tamura, Mizuki Murota

In 2014, the remaining, original two members, Ayaka and Kanon had decided that to preserve the group for the future, they had to find new members which they decided would be upon the Kenshuusei and a week later they chose Maho Aikawa, Rikako Sasaki, and Mizuki Murota to take up the positions!  To top that off, the group also changed their name (a rather startling and unexpected one at that) to ANGERME (courtesy of Kana) and have started performing as a 9-nin.

Unfortunately, only two singles later, it was announced NOT ONLY that Kanon would be graduating near the end of the year, there’s a 4th audition going to be held!

angerme

Top Row L to R: Rina Katsuta, Kana Nakanishi, Akari Takeuchi, Meimi Tamura, Mizuki Murota
Bottom Row L to R: Maho Aikawa, Ayaka Wada, Moe Kamikokuryo, Kanon Fukuda, Rikako Sasaki

Of course this led to the winner of the 4th Gen audition, Moe Kamikokuryo being added to the group, though this 10-nin lineup didn’t release anything during this short time before Kanon graduated out!

ANGERME_-_Tsugitsugi_Zokuzoku_promo

Top Row L to R: Rina Katsuta, Maho Aikawa, Akari Takeuchi, Mizuki Murota
Bottom Row L to R: Kana Nakanishi, Ayaka Wada, Moe Kamikokuryo, Meimi Tamura, Rikako Sasaki

From then we had the 9 members for an AMAZINGLY short time before an announcement was made from Meimi Tamura who wanted to pursure theater and so decided to graduate mid-2016.  At least we had one single to celebrate Meimi’s leaving and Moe’s first appearance!

angerme5

Top Row L to R: Rina Katsuta, Maho Aikawa, Akari Takeuchi, Mizuki Murota
Bottom Row L to R: Kana Nakanishi, Ayaka Wada, Momona Kasahara, Moe Kamikokuryo, Rikako Sasaki

Shortly after Meimi’s graduation (technically a couple months) we start on with the Summer concerts and we get a surprise reveal of ANOTHER member joining the group with a rather interesting Kenshuusei choice in Momona Kasahara.  Of course it wouldn’t be too long for some more things to happen

angerme17

Top Row L to R: Rina Katsuta, Mizuki Murota, Rikako Sasaki, Moe Kamikokuryo, Akari Takeuchi, Momona Kasahara
Bottom Row L to R: Ayaka Wada, Musubu Funaki, Ayano Kawamura, Kana Nakanishi
(Not Pictured): Maho Aikawa

In 2017 quite a number of things happened with the group starting with the unfortunate hiatus for Maho Aikawa.  Though things seem to change further during the summer!  Ayano Kawamura was one of the three Kenshuusei to debut and she landed a gig in the group and then we also had the semi-hiatus of Country Girls and Musubu Funaki was moved to ANGERME.

Style of Music: The original 4 members were really young when they started this group so the music reflected a lot of their youthfulness by being cute and silly and wild.

After the mess that 2011 brought the group started to mature in their music and style and since they were older, getting into more dance-heavy songs with the rest of H!P but retaining their youthful style.

With ANGERME, the sound hasn’t exactly changed much for them, but it’s more of the name change really, so there’s no need to worry!

Discography

Singles

  • aMa no Jaku (indies)
  • Asu wa Date na no ni, Ima Sugu Koe ga Kikitai (indies)
  • Suki-chan (indies)
  • Otona ni Narutte Muzukashii!!! (indies)
  • Yumemiru 15sai
  • ○○Ganbaranakutemo Eenende!!
  • Onaji Jikyuu de Hataraku Tomodachi no Bijin Mama
  • Short Cut
  • Koi ni Booing Buu!
  • Uchouten LOVE (Saki’s final single)
  • Tachiagirl (Rina, Akari, Kana, Meimi, and Fuyuka’s first single; Fuyuka’s final single)
  • Please Miniskirt Postwoman! (Yuuka’s final single)
  • Choto Mate Kudasai!
  • Dot Bikini
  • Suki yo, Junjou Hankouki.
  • Samui ne.
  • Tabidachi no Haru ga Kita
  • Atarashii Watashi ni Nare! / Yattaruchan
  • Ee ka!? / “Ii Yatsu”
  • Mystery Night! / Eighteen Emotion
  • Aa Susukino / Chikyuu wa Kyou mo Ai wo Hagukumu
  • S/mileage’s JUKEBOX-MUSICAL “SMILE FANTASY!” no Theme Kyoku “Smile Fantasy!” (stageplay single)
  • Taikibansei / Otome no Gyakushuu (Mizuki, Rikako, and Maho’s first single; ANGERME’s first single)
  • Nana Korobi Ya Oki / Gashinshoutan / Mahou Tsukai Sally
  • Desugita Kui wa Utarenai / Dondengaeshi / Watashi (Kanon’s final single)
  • Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku / Itoshima Distance / Koi Nara Tokku ni Hajimatteru (Moe’s first single; Meimi’s final single)
  • Umaku Ienai / Ai no Tame Kyou Made Shinkashite Kita Ningen, Ai no Tame Subete Taikashite Kita Ningen / Wasurete Ageru (Momona’s first single)
  • Ai Sae Areba Nanni mo Iranai / Namida Iro no Ketsui / Majokko Megu-chan

Albums

  • Warugaki ①
  • S/mileage Best Album Kanzenban ① (best album)
  • ② Smile Sensation
  • Engeki Joshi-bu Musical “LILIUM -Lilium Shoujo Junketsu Kageki-” Original Soundtrack (with Morning Musume)
  • S/mileage / ANGERME SELECTION ALBUM “Taikibansei”
  • Engeki Joshi-bu Musical “MODE” Original Soundtrack

This is the group’s first single, aMa no Jaku…Don’t they look so damn young and humble about being together as a group? (despite the fact Ayaka, Yuuka, and Kanon had been working together in SCE!)

This would be Tachiagirl, the first single without Saki and the first with the whole sub-member system (in which this was the only single involving it).  It’s weird to see that only Kanon, Yuuka, and Ayaka getting the lines only while the other FIVE members were just background fodder (and with lil shouting chants).

Finally, this is their most recent release as of this post, Mystery Night!  Doesn’t it surprise you they’ve matured this quickly?  Though I’m loving the synergy in the group though!

This is Taikibansei, ANGERME’s first single!  I have to say that I’m very impressed by the new members as they bring in a fresh and exciting look to the group (not saying the elder 6 weren’t but hey).

Top 10 Favorite Songs

  • Atarashii Watashi ni Nare!
  • Mystery Night!
  • Yumemiru 15sai
  • Shin Nippon no Susume! (album song from “② Smile Sensation”)
  • ○○Ganbaranakutemo Eenende!!
  • Samui ne.
  • Jitensha Chiririn (B-side from “Uchouten LOVE”)
  • Hatsukoi no Anata e (B-side from “Koi ni Booing Buu!”
  • Asu wa Date na no ni, Ima Sugu Koe ga Kikitai
  • Smile Bijin (B-side from “○○Ganbaranakutemo Eenende!!”)

Overall: I will honestly admit when S/mileage was announced and they started in with their indies singles, I wasn’t interested at all because I didn’t know who was who and was more turned off by the squeaky vocals by all the members (mostly Yuuka and Ayaka).  I did change my tune a little bit when Yumemiru 15sai came out and followed a while longer til I kind of fell out of them around the time Short Cut came out.  The 4-nin S/mileage while being a real great group to grow together, I felt a bit polarized because their sound was here and there for me and the voices were killing me back then (idol voices were hard for me to get into…it’s easier today though) and I even called ○○Ganbaranakutemo Eenende!! THE WORST SONG from them…and now it’s one of my favorites (funny how that works huh…TSUNKU’S CURSE!).

When the auditions came around I was quite excited (since this was the 2nd audition I was around for, the first being Momusu’s 9th Gens) and was pleasantly surprised by all the finalists (most did become H!P members down the road).  I remember being shocked that S/mileage went from 4 members to 9 members like that, but that was overshadowed by Sakitty’s sudden departure (and on a lesser scale, Fuu-chans).  Though when Yuukarin announced her graduation, I was worried that the other two original members would jump ship to but the 6 of them today are so strong and they bring a lot to the table that I personally thought the original 4-nin couldn’t do so it gave them a more well-rounded balance.

Though I wasn’t expecting a 3rd Generation two years later and an identity shift with the group moving away from S/mileage to ANGERME.  Murotan and Rikako have been fan favorites so seeing them debut here is a breath of air for many people that wanted them to debut.  Maho is a bit of a wild card but she seems cute enough to keep up with the group so all-in-all, impressive!

Then with Kanon and Meimi gone and Moe and Momona joining the group, it’s really interesting how ANGERME is going to stick with 9 members, but it makes for nice things!

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