Iroppoi Twilight Game

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

H!P Profiles: Juice=Juice

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At debut L to R: Yuka Miyazaki, Sayuki Takagi, Aina Otsuka, Karin Miyamoto, Tomoko Kanazawa, Akari Uemura

After a long drought of no new permanent groups (was stuck with Mobekimasu for so long), Tsunku surprising announced in February that we would FINALLY get a new group that consisted of 5 Kenshuusei (which some were of popular choices) and Yuka Miyazaki who at that time was under Up-Front and not H!P until this announcement.  Later on, we would learn of the group’s name Juice=Juice as a way to make H!P seem more fresh and nice, but Tsunku also wanted to make the group “cool”.  Of course like S/mileage, they begun their careers as an indies group and released three singles until Aina Otsuka shockingly announced she was leaving H!P right when they were going to debut as a major label group.  Initially, it was said it was because of contract issues, but she left because of her self-esteem of her vocals (according to her directly).

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L to R: Yuka Miyazaki, Sayuki Takagi, Karin Miyamoto, Tomoko Kanazawa, Akari Uemura

After Aina’s departure, Juice=Juice would continue on to fully debut in H!P and since then has really opened up to different genres.  Also, have really came out into the open to really fit in amongst the H!P groups!  They have been the longest tenure so far, but until 2017, everything changed it seems.

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L to R: Tomoko Kanazawa, Akari Uemura, Nanami Yanagawa, Ruru Danbara, Karin Miyamoto, Sayuki Takagi, Yuka Miyazaki

2017 brought us some rather surprising news with the addition of Ruru Danbara & Country Girls’ Nanami Yanagawa to add some life into Juice=Juice bringing them to 7 members (the current highest number they’ve got).

Style of Music: Initially, Tsunku wanted to make them a cool group so their first few songs were just that, cool songs that had punch and energy. Since then, they’ve broadened their genres to the point where they have cool songs, but also ethnic and cute songs!

Discography

Singles

  • Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne (indies)
  • Samidare Bijo ga Samidareru (indies)
  • Ten Made Nobore! (Aina’s last single, indies)
  • Romance no Tochuu / Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne (MEMORIAL EDIT) / Samidare Bijo ga Samidareru (MEMORIAL EDIT)
  • Ijiwaru Shinaide Dakishitmete yo / Hajimete wo Keikenchuu
  • Hadaka no Hadaka no Hadaka no KISS / Arekore Shitai!
  • Black Butterfly / Kaze ni Fukarete
  • Senobi / Date ja nai yo Uchi no Jinsei wa
  • Wonderful World / Ça va? Ça va?
  • Next is you! / Karada Dake ga Otona ni Nattan ja nai (1st single as NEXT YOU)
  • Dream Road ~Kokoro ga Odoridashiteru~ / KEEP ON Joshou Shikou!! / Ashita Yarou wa Bakayarou
  • Jidanda Dance / Feel! Kanjiru yo

Albums

  • Engeki Joshi-bu Musical “Koisuru Hello Kitty” Original Mini-Album (stageplay mini-album)
  • First Squeeze!

This is the group’s debut PV, I fell in love with the song and really worked with showing the group off.  Also, one of two PVs where Aina is seen…(yeah she was my favorite member, but that’s different now…Kanatomo took over that role XD)

This is Senobi, their recent A-side, it still shows the group pulling off cool songs, which is like every other current H!P group, but hey, I like it 😛

Overall: When I first heard the announcement of the group, I was floored and happy because a lot of my favorite members were here (Karin, Aina, and Akari).  Plus the fact they would be treated as a “cool” group meant a lot of awesome songs would be coming from them and initially it was true (the exception would be “Ten Made Nobore!” simply because I felt that was more of a Kenshuusei song).  Yeah, I was really sad to see Aina leave, but I grew to love the group as time went on, plus Tomoko and Sayuki have become really strong singers.  I do wonder if and when a new generation will happen, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

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Review: Petit Best 13

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Track Listing

  1. Renai Hunter / Morning Musume
  2. One Two Three / Morning Musume
  3. Be Genki <Naseba Naru!> / Berryz Koubou
  4. cha cha SING / Berryz Koubou
  5. Kimi wa Jitensha Watashi wa Densha de Kitaku / °C-ute
  6. Aitai Aitai Aitai na / °C-ute
  7. DokiDoki Baby / Erina Mano
  8. Song for the DATE / Erina Mano
  9. Dot Bikini / S/mileage
  10. Suki yo, Junjou Hankouki. / S/mileage
  11. Egao ni Namida ~THANK YOU! DEAR MY FRIENDS~ / Risa Niigaki
  12. Chou HAPPY SONG (Single Ver.) / Berryz Koubou×°C-ute
  13. Hatsukoi Cider / Buono!
  14. CAT’S♥EYE / Cat’sEye 7
  15. Momochi! Yurushite Nyan♡Taisou / Momoko Tsugunaga feat. Berryz Koubou
  16. The Matenrou Show (TYPE 0) / Morning Musume

1. Renai Hunter

Not surprised that Momusu opens up the album with Renai Hunter (thank god because “Pyocopyoco Ultra” would’ve been a terrible choice, plus this and the next song were milestone songs).  As Renai Hunter is the final single to include member Gaki and Aika, I thought it made a pretty cool song for the former to end things because she had lead lines while Aika didn’t (hell, she didn’t even have solo lines).  The song itself is pretty quirky and different taking a dubstep-ish route with EDM filling in the rest of the spaces.  It’s a pretty awesome song and while I think the next song would’ve made a better opening track, this was setting up for what would be a long line of Momusu songs.

2. One Two Three

Yup, wasn’t surprised one bit with the next song being included, being as it’s their 50th single and all!  One Two Three was a hard-hitter of a song in sales and really begun this reemergence of Morning Musume and I was so happy they were able to escape their slumping of sales during the Platinum Era (even though those songs were amazing!).  One Two Three took the EDM sound further and included a lot of auto-tune in various members.  Although, I wasn’t too happy with the fact that Reina and Riho were the only substantial singers here (while the other members had a minimal of a syllable as their solo line which felt like Tsunku totally underutilized their members here.  Of course, the Updated version exists, but the original is still a pretty epic song despite its shortcomings.

3. Be Genki <Naseba Naru!>

Onto Berryz, the selection was alright.  Starting with the first single released in the year, Be Genki is a pretty odd song coming back to it.  Initially, I was pretty happy with it, but now I’m kind of like this is a pretty weird song.  The tune was cute and yet had this superhero kind of feeling (especially that chorus!).  I do love the amount of synths here and it wasn’t going fully into that EDM direction that Momusu was going towards.  Overall, it’s a pretty good song, but not amongst the group’s best songs.

4. cha cha SING

Weird because if “Be Genki” was supposed to be that upbeat, then cha cha SING trumped it by a long shot.  After how well “Dschinghis Khan” did, Berryz sough to strike gold again and honestly this was a BETTER cover than the aforementioned song.  There wasn’t some weird twang in their voices and the energy was always on high.  I take that back, there was some strong vibrato going on, but I think it was to add that Thai flavor (which is where this song originally from).  I would declare this song the earworm of the year because it was just nothing but hooks anda fun atmosphere meshed into one.  Awesome song!

5. Kimi wa Jitensha Watashi wa Densha de Kitaku

Damn, long title there!  °C-ute to me that year really didn’t do much for me in the music department.  I don’t know why it didn’t take until recently that the releases they did for the year popped out until much later.  This was the case for this track which is pretty much known for the bizarre amount of PV versions it got…like what…30 different versions?  H!P were definitely promoting this dry and it’s probably why it stuck on me since.  Not being a huge fan of ballads (more or less from idol groups) Kimi Chari (the nickname, given for the song) did a pretty nice job and showcased the ladies well.  If only “Kono Machi” had this effect but this song did pretty well and they even have solo versions of the song (and S/mileage covered it too!).

6. Aitai Aitai Aitai na

At least the group came back in full force with the only other A-side they released that year with Aitai Aitai Aitai na.  At first I dismissed the song being really messy and couldn’t keep itself together. Thanks to Tsunku’s curse though, the tune heavily locked on me and it’s another favorite of mine from the group even though there’s plenty of other dance-centric songs outdo it.  I really do love the high-energy arrangement of the track and the group equally matches it.  I will say the pipe organ/chorale section in the mid-8 section was a bit strange and weirder it leads into a guitar solo…that kind of was over my head, but the rest of the song is just awesome!

7. DokiDoki Baby

Entering ManoEri’s selection, I totally forgot what this song sounded like because I was pretty much invested in the other A-side “Tasogare Kousaten” at that time.  What I can appreciated is that it’s a lot happier than what we’ve gotten in A-sides from out soloist.  Erina’s vocals are alright, but they still are lacking in power, but she aces the cutesy side here.  While I don’t think it’s her best A-side, I do prefer than a lot of her other songs.

8. Song for the DATE

However, when it came to the other A-side she released, Song for the DATE was pretty epic all things considering.  I still am unsure where this fits genre-wise because it’s full of electronic riffs and all, but doesn’t feel like a dance track either!  I don’t know why but something about this song just made my jaw drop and that was weird that it came from ManoEri.  I thought this was going to lead into amazing songs from her, but unfortunately shortly after she would announce her graduation basically cutting that dream short.  Still this song is pretty much her magnum opus to many people and I can’t blame them…it’s that good!

9. Dot Bikini

After the crazy changes S/mileage had to go through the year previous, it was nice they were settling as the 6-nin.  While not the first single after Yuuka’s graduation, Dot Bikini was a lighthearted summer song for the group (even though the PV was a little out there).  I don’t know why people dislike the song because I find it refreshing and fun to listen to and hearing the group kind of gelling together here, it was a nice thing.  I even laugh when I hear the ~kekekekekeke, natsu bikini~ (AKA the chorus).  Though there was a lot of Takechan here wasn’t there?  Still it’s a good song (later songs would push it down the ladder, but it’s a good summer H!P track in my eyes).

10. Suki yo, Junjou Hankouki.

I felt like S/mileage had a pretty busy year though regardless of the member changes, 4 singles and a best album…wow.  Anyways, Suki yo, Junjou Hankouki. was following in the footsteps of the other H!P groups that were heading towards that EDM style.  I do like the sound of the track and the repetition of the whole ~suki yo, suki yo, suki yo, daisuki yo~ was something that was left in my mind.  Also, Rinapuu and Kanana had a lot more presence than they have had in their time in the group yet.  While I do think that this song like “Dot Bikini” has been surpassed by songs released after, I do think it’s a pretty solid track for the group (though I wonder what’d be like if it was sung in a lower register.

11. Egao ni Namida ~THANK YOU! DEAR MY FRIENDS~

Moving onto songs that were out there away from the main groups, like Ai-chan, Gaki’s solo was also put on here.  I know I’ve reviewed this song a couple times already, but hey it’s a Petit Best.  Covering an Aya Matsuura track, Egao ni Namida was never a song I truly cared for, but could appreciate it’s placement within H!P’s history.  This is the 2nd time Gaki covered the song (the first time was a part of the Hello Cover series where it had a different arrangement from the one found here).  This one seems like a little more effort went into it and Risa’s vocals are pleasant and tbqh, I prefer this over Aya’s version (don’t kill me! x.x).  I think it’s the fact I love the bass here and the strings playing with the funk-styled guitar just sounds right.  Overall not bad, the song is slowly growing on me, but not to favorite song level.

12. Chou HAPPY SONG (Single Ver.)

I know I’ve talked about this song a lot on this blog alone, but here we are again!  Short story, Chou HAPPY SONG is essentially a Berryz song and a °C-ute song fused together (“Because happiness” and “Shiawase no Tochuu” respectively).  Though this is actually based on the single version.  Meaning that there was some musical glue to make the song seem more finished and composed rather than the two songs just put together.  Funny enough you really don’t hear what’s left of the latter track because of the former’s arrangement (“Shiawase no Tochuu” was the ballad while “Because happiness” was the dance/pop track).  Regardless, I love how Tsunku thought of this idea because it came out nearly flawless and showed the H!P Kids correctly in a smart way unlike “Amazuppai Haru ni Sakura Saku”.  It was a pretty great song and definitely one of the highlights from that year.

13. Hatsukoi Cider

Man, I wish Buono! had decided to include “DEEP MIND” and not this one, even though I do like this one lol.  I know I’ve reviewed this song already on one of the Atsumechaimashita! albums.  I mean, this was a solid song for Buono! but definitely didn’t catch the same power as the mentioned song above OR “Zassou no Uta”.  It was a bit lighthearted and I do love the trio here singing quite strong if I may say.  Not much else to say really.

14. CAT’S♥EYE

I was surprised they’d include this song (and not “Reborn ~Inochi no Audition~) as this was a release from a group made for a stageplay which included: Maimai, Maimi, Risako, Nakky, Captain, Yurina, and Maasa.  They covered a classic song from ANRI and I thought it was going to be as awesome as MAX when they covered the song maybe a year previous to the Cat’s♥Eye 7 version.  Boy was I wrong.  I do love it was another song that had beats and synths, but good lord did the auto-tune kill MOST of the song.  Some of the girls (actually everyone but Maasa and Captain) shouldn’t have even gotten close to that as they sound horrid.  Maasa sounded good though and Captain didn’t have any as she was rapping with no voice changing which is like only one of the GOOD things to come from the song is Captain rapping 😛

15. Momochi! Yurushite Nyan♡Taisou

Oh lord, I have to listen to this huh.  Yeah, this was a thing.  The B-side from “cha cha SING” was a Momoko solo (with the rest of the group as kind of background singers).  If you thought H!P couldn’t get anymore cuter than some of their older songs, here’s Momochi with this tune and it’s sugary in every single way.  Momoko is singing in a way where my ears are getting diabetes from listening to this.  The group isn’t helping as they sound like they were debuting again >.<.  The arrangement is just as much, but there’s some nice part with strings towards the end which fortunately ends under 2:50.  Yeah, this song wasn’t my cup of tea that’s for sure!

16. The Matenrou Show (TYPE 0)

Yup, I already reviewed this one numerous times.  If you don’t know, this is the other A-side to compliment “One Two Three” but a new version (or old depending on the outlook).  This is the version that includes Gaki and Aika alongside the remainder of the group.  Minus the fact that Gaki has tons of solo lines to kind of dilute the hatred from the original (which was strictly a Reina and Riho show), this was a lot easier to swallow.  Plus, it’s friggin Gaki!  The song itself is in the veins of the disco feels that H!P was going through the year previous, so I do feel this song would’ve been better placed on the last Petit Best lol.

Tracks Recommended

  • Song for the DATE
  • cha cha SING
  • One Two Three
  • Renai Hunter
  • Aitai Aitai Aitai na

Finally made it to the 13th iteration of the PB series.  At this point, it was easy guessing what would’ve been included on the album, sucks because there was surprises with each (to be fair I guess CAT’S EYE and The Matenrou Show (TYPE 0) were surprises).  Petit Best 13 was a pretty solid release and had a lot of great songs through the year (minus 2 tracks).  Not much else to say in this review though, which is sad because I thought I would have more to say, but this was a good release. (7/10)

 

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Whoa, More new people in a NEW GROUP?!?

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Remember when I made that pretty upsetting post about how the Country Musume auditions ended and there wasn’t any real winners, well I guess we were punk’d a bit because today it was announced that there actually was winners, but was held off to kind of scope out the talent from 12 Gen auditions and we have 5 winners!: Manaka Inaba and Risa Yamaki from the Kenshuusei and Chisaki Morito, Uta Shimomura, and Mai Ozeki.  They are called Country Girls to kind of have an appeal outside of Japan.  Though that’s not all!  It was also announced that Mai Satoda would be the General Manager and Momoko Tsugunaga from Berryz Koubou will be also added to the group to kind of teach them the ropes and everything.  So what do I think?

For the KSS chosen, I think Manakan was a great choice as she kind of has this thread to the original trio of Country Musume (being the only one from Hokkaido) though I think from the looks of it, she’ll have the higher voice of the group as the performances we’ve heard, she’s got S/mileage down nicely.  As for Yamaki, I was worried since she was kind of the older one and she REALLY wanted to join Morning Musume.  I think she’ll do fine in the group and add a nice voice into the group.

The new members, I really don’t know much about besides that Morito was in CoCoRo Gakuen (a Gunma idol group).  Also the three took part in the 12th Gen auditions (finalists, who knows).

Now about Momoko, with her being the mentor for the group this sounds almost exactly like Mari Yaguchi when she joined up with ZYX mentoring the 5 H!P Kids. I hope it’ll last longer than the aforementioned group at least.

Overall happy and hoping they will at least not fall into Tsunku’s EDM craze (plus Tsunku isn’t producing them!)

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Though earilier in the day, it was also announced officially that Tanapyon and Kurumin had finished their training. Kurumin isn’t surprising as she’s been missing from the KSS for a couple of months while Nanami’s is a lot more sudden and shocking because she was the eldest and had a LOT going for her.  Sad because these were another set of favorites of mine and now with other choices actually debuting now it’s down to Kaga, Wada, Danbara, and Funaki as my KSS oshis *sad*

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