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

H!P Profiles: SATOYAMA pt. 3

On today’s post, we’ll talk about the 3rd wave of SATOYAMA (surprise like the previous one, this one also didn’t get too much hype around it besides that a lot of this was interesting because most of the units in this batch had new members that haven’t had a a chance to tackle it.  Shall we take a look?

Sato no Akari – Aa, Subarashiki Hibi yo

satonoakari

L to R: Masaki Sato, Rina Katsuta, Akari Uemura

The first up, we have Sato no Akari (which combines their names into it).  While I don’t think any of them are the focus in their groups (especially in the case for Rinapuu & Aarii as they don’t have many lines in comparison of the other girls in their respective groups).  Their song, Aa, Subarashiki Hibi yo is a cutesy poppy song which I mean is OK, but nothing terribly memorable to me!

Personally, I have not really watched the full PVs of any of the 3 songs so this is a new experience.  I mean for what it’s worth the PV is cute to watch but damn is it a bit lifeliss otherwise beyond the solos shots of the trio.  I mean they are having tea together which is cute, but that’s about it…

Triplet – Dream Last Train

triplet

L to R: Chisato Okai, Haruka Kudo, Sayuki Takagi

Next up is a grouping that I was really excited to hear from!  I mean besides the fact they have the more scruffier vocals within H!P, I was hoping they’d get a pretty cool track and to be honest, is the best one of the three groups.  Dream Last Train (excuse the Engrish-y title) is a pop/rock hybrid and features Duu quite a bit.

I actually felt that there was more use with the camera than in Sato no Akari’s track that’s for sure.  Most of the time it’s circling around the trio and short scenes of them running.  I mean it’s a good song don’t get me wrong, but these PVs have so far been really boring to watch (at least there’s a lot of my two favorite members!

ODATOMO – Kodachi wo Nukeru Kaze no You ni

odatomo

L to R: Tomoko Kanazawa, Sakura Oda

Figures they’d take the two strongest vocalists and pair them together for this unit (a combination of Tomoko and Oda XD).  I mean it was a match made to happen that’s for sure.  Not surprised that they were given a ballad though either since they were suited for that setting.  It’s a nicely sung song and definitely knew it was going to be a good track for them.

Besides the blowing sand effects, this PV is just as standard as the other two tracks if not made much worse because there’s not much else to the PV except for the duo singing.  Very plain!

Ranking by me: Dream Last Train >>>>>>> Kodachi wo Nukeru Kaze no You ni >>>>>>> Aa, Subarashiki Hibi yo

Overall: When it comes to the 3rd wave of SATOYAMA, I felt this set was tarnished by such plain PVs when the other waves had nice settings or something that caught my attention.  I feel as if H!P lost interest fully in this set despite releasing nice songs.  Plus the groups had nice combinations within (though Masaki being utilized for the third time is overkill.  It’s definitely not my favorite groups, but it was nice to hear something (just wondering if 2015 is going to continue this or not).

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Nyon to graduate in the fall!

kanonfukuda

On today’s Hello! Station, there was an announcement from Kanon Fukuda herself which stated she’ll be graduating from H!P & ANGERME sometime in Autumn to focus for University, so I assume there’ll be one more single with her involved before then.

Honestly, I felt like the original members were just callin’ it in for a while which is no surprise because they do have pride for their S/mileage past and adding more new members made them kind of distance themselves (more from Ayacho because she has said she’d leave if there were more new girls involved, so I feel like Ayacho is probably going to come soon as well).

As for Nyon, I thought she’d at least outlast her gen-mate, but she’s been kind of half-assing it in performances too.

Though I’ve followed Kanon since her first days in Shugo Chara Egg! and she’s always reminded me of Momusu’s Ai Kago, I was entertained and her Cinderella complex was unique but got annoying (luckily she grew out of it).  Still, I would have placed her 2nd best in S/mileage (of the original girls).  Hope everything turns out well for her once she leaves.

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Morning Musume PVs through the years!: Time for the Sayu Wave! pt. 1

On today’s post we will be covering 5 PVs (covering 2 singles) yeah, this was where things started to really depend on multiple A-sides (and no B-sides unfortunately).  It’s also fun to notice that in this post, there were no graduations nor were there new members added because Tsunku really wanted to focus on these 10 members (Sayu, Riho, Fukuchan, Zukki, Eripon, Harunan, Maachan, Duu, Ayumi, and Sakura).  So the 5 PVs in question in this post are: Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke, Ai no Gundan, Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa, Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai, and What is LOVE?.  So let’s dive right in!

Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke

The Song: Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke was the first single without Reina Tanaka in the front and left many wondering what would come for the first single.  To be fair, it wasn’t surprising that Sakura ended up taking front row seats and Fukuchan, Ayumi, and Maachan also got some recognition as well.  I also really enjoyed how straightforward the song was and how it didn’t sound like a bunch of songs meshed together.

What Genre is it?: Pretty much an EDM song (like all the other songs on this list).

The Premise: Nothing really…

The Setting: Most of the PV is centered around a stage in a theater which is pretty neat and makes sense as they’re a performing group right?  Most of the other shots (the mini-group shots, and the solo shots) are shot on the stage but elsewhere…pretty simple set, but a nice one regardless.

The Outfits:  They actually have two outfits for the PV as well.  Both of them are used throughout the dance shot and group/solo shots so there’s no specific outfit.  The first one we see makes them look like jailbird girls with the striped black & white dressed.  The other is an all black attire that really gives off this cool vibe from them.  Overall, once again a bit simple but nice nonetheless.

The Choreography: Probably the most memorable thing about the PV is the dance!  It’s got a lot of cool movements and the whole formation thing definitely works in their favor and with the song not being so jagged, it flows a LOT better than previous videos too.  One of my favorite dances from Momusu.

PV as a whole: After all that green-screen and mad editing, we finally get a break here and Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke was a pretty big hit with fans!  Everything just worked well together and made for a good PV….alsooo….

There were these versions that got (sort of PVs), it was a competition to see who could make the best PV and the 3rd one, was the winner (the director would go on to film their future PV, “Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru”).  Also shoutout to the fact that the song was slightly changed where Haruna took Sayumi’s parts (as she was graduated when this happened).

Ai no Gundan

The Song: Whereas the above PV was used as the main promotional song, Ai no Gundan was a nice surprise to get a PV.  The tune is more or less fashioned like all the other EDM songs but has a nice twist with the addition of saxophones (which might be done by computers).  Once again we see the lines spreading out a little with Maachan and Fukuchan getting the lines so that’s always nice.

What Genre is it?: EDM of course

The Premise: None

The Setting: While I feel like the budget went to Wagamama, Ai no Gundan felt more cheap than what I was expecting.  Most of the PV is on set where it’s quite black (though it looks like it’s supposed to represent the night) and they threw in some trees to give it some nature life (odd) and there’s some sparkles all thx to editing.  The other set is a bit opposite where it’s daytime, but it’s the same set otherwise.

The Outfits: There’s once again 2 different outfits for the PV.  The first is used primarily for the night scens (AKA the dance shots) and it looks like a cool military-esque outfit, but colored red and black.  I do love the outfits and a lot of the members look so cool.  The other one (for the daylight scenes) have them in simple white dresses (except for Duu, who is wearing shorts and a throw-on), very basic, but slightly elegant.

The Choreography: The last time they did something march-like was “Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai” and that was a tragic mess so seeing Ai no Gundan’s choreo was a blessing.  They looked so good and together and the formations they did were pretty cool (plus they had a march sequence) and the bridge solos for Riho, Sakura, Mizuki, and Ayumi was pretty awesome (like how it was in “Brainstorming”).

PV as a whole: Like I said, the budget difference between the 2 A-sides was pretty damn obvious and we were back to having a boring set to using effects in the video.  I will say the daylight sections were nice and all the members looked heavenly there.  Love the song, the PV is meh.

Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa

The Song: As the first single released by the renamed Morning Musume ’14, Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa was the first PV released and funny enough (came out before the name change ironically).  It’s a different kind of song totally separate from the previous EDM songs by having a lighter sound, but bringing in some elements like triplets in the vocal melodies and some boom-claps.  I don’t recall too many solos, but it is known for the Riho is god meme lol.

What Genre is it?: EDM

The Premise: None

The Setting: Seriously, it’s nothing but green-screen here, though it looks amazing unlike some previous tries

The Outfits: Another PV where there’s two outfits.  The main one used (for the dance) is a pretty basic white dress though it comes with a white shawl and a big black belt…I found it kind of annoying because most of the PV is against a white green-screen (meaning the outfits fade into the background, but the black belt was there to kind of make up for it.  The other is just casual clothes (in the mini-group shots).

The Choreography: Luckily the star of the PV is once again their formation dances and its on full display here even the green-screen amplifies a lot of it by popping designs on certain actions and movements (or the direction the girls are pointing) even the chorus has a difficult area where they have to keep in the same movements.

PV as a whole: When it came to Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa, the PV was OK, somewhat reminded me of “Wagamama” with the grouping together and having fun to a dance-shot.  Though I’m surprised they went full-on green screen, but strangely in the end, it worked and the tune was pretty interesting (still can’t get behind the lyrical smushing) but it’s a bright and happy EDM tune.

Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai

The Song: Mostly known as the song used to promote the Sochi Olympics, Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai is a pretty cool cheer song and something to make the people of Japan more energetic.  Vocally it seems more like a Riho/Sakura fest, but I suppose it works haha.

What Genre is it?: EDM

The Premise: none

The Setting: Like “Ai no Gundan”, the PV is basically on a studio set with a lot of focus on the dance itself.  I do like that the whole thing is like the inversed colors of the Japanese flag (the floor is white, while the background are red drapes.  The interesting thing though are the solo shots where the members are standing in front of the flowing (flags? drapes?) whatever and it seems the effects also have them waving in front of the camera seemingly.

The Outfits: Wow a one outfit PV huh?  Yup, the PV’s lone outfit is a blue outfit covered by a mesh top so it looks cool and blue & black.  Interestingly enough Erina, Masaki, and Ayumi are the only ones wearing pants whereas everyone else was rockin’ shorts.  Not bad and a little more memorable than “Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa”

The Choreography: I don’t think the choreo had as much visual showing like the other A-sides from this single, but at the same time, I don’t think this dance was as intriguing as them either.  I do like they incorporated the olympic rings in the dance and once again the whole Riho/Ayumi rivalry is up there too.  Not bad, but probably one of the weaker ones.

PV as a whole: As the last PV shown off, Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai did feel weak as a PV though not the weakest of the single sadly enough.  It felt like a stylized dance-shot since there wasn’t a whole lot of depth.  I do like the dance when I can see it and there’s a lot of epic solo moments…but otherwise it’s just a normal H!P PV.

What is LOVE?

The Song: As the first song we actually heard before the single’s release, What is LOVE? is a tune made for a show, J-MELO, a show where it kind of gets Westerners into J-pop and such.  It’s pretty hyperactive and the BPM is just as such.  I tend to remember it more because of the English in the song (done by Masaki and Sayumi).  Still a pretty high action song.

What Genre is it?: EDM

The Premise: None

The Setting: Sadly the setting is a live performance from “Morning Musume Concert Tour 2013 Aki ~CHANCE!~” so it’s just a stage setting.

The Outfits: Despite being a live performance, the outfits helped a lot here because they’re all in sparkly dresses based on their member colors.  Though while not surprising to see Duu in a hat, Harunan is wearing a cowboy’s hat…strange for sure.

The Choreography: Probably the best thing about the song is the dance that goes with it because it’s just as crazy and fast as the song itself.  My favorite part is the intro part and the pre-chorus…just really interesting.

PV as a whole: Definitely the laziest PV I’ve seen Morning Musume has ever done (yeah even surpassing “Chokkan 2”!).  The reason why it’s just a live performance is because Sayumi wanted all the fans to be involved.  Honestly, I wish they just made an actual video for this because I do love the energy from the song and the dance is quirky.  Still, bad PV, good song!

NEXT TIME: PT.2!!!

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Petit Best 14

petitbest14

Track Listing

  1. Help me!! / Morning Musume
  2. Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke / Morning Musume
  3. Asian Celebration / Berryz Koubou
  4. Golden Chinatown / Berryz Koubou
  5. Crazy Kanzen na Otona / °C-ute
  6. Adam to Eve no Dilemma / °C-ute
  7. Tabidachi no Haru ga Kita / S/mileage
  8. Yattaruchan / S/mileage
  9. Romance no Tochuu / Juice=Juice
  10. Rock no Teigi / Reina Tanaka
  11. NEXT MY SELF / Erina Mano
  12. Cabbage Hakusho ~Haru-hen~ / Peaberry
  13. Tokainaka no Kare / GREEN FIELDS
  14. Hotaru Matsuri no Hi / Jurin
  15. Lady Mermaid / Dia Lady
  16. Eiya-sa! Brother / Mellowquad
  17. Kaigan Seisou Danshi / HI-FIN

1. Help me!!

So the 14th iteration of Petit Best begins with Help me!! which is quite known for being 11th Gen’s Sakura Oda’s debut single!  Honestly after following what became 2012’s beginning of Tsunku’s love for electronic music, Help me!! kicked off starting 2013 with not a lot of musical changes.  That isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy it because it’s still a pretty wicked EDM tune that’s for sure.  I do wonder if the song title is from something Sayumi has done twice before (“Resonant Blue” and mouthing it in “Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai!”) seems to be a small theme for Sayu.  As for Sakura, she had pretty big lines in the song (two long solos).  Overall, not bad and a good start to the album.

2. Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke

Then we move all the way to the end of the year (October actually) to the primary A-side that rounded their final single of the year.  Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke was a pretty big deal when it was released and was the first single without Reina which had many fans wondering how the group will sound (since up to this point it was mostly a giant Reina/Riho fest.  At least this time, the song flows a lot more smoothly and didn’t feel like multiple ideas thrown into a blender.  That being said, it was nice seeing Fukuchan, Maachan, Sayu, and Sakura joining the front lines in this tune.  It’s very fast-paced and has nice full beat to it that I can get behind.  Definitely one of my favorites of the year!

3. Asian Celebration

Opening with a Miyabi monologue, Asian Celebration was an odd song for me.  I mean, I do like the whole EDM/Disco fusion here and all, but there’s some ideas that does not work like the trying to make your voice sound like disc scratching (I was left scratching my head for most moments where that occurs, plus Yurina sounded terrible trying to tackle that).  Plus the cut n’ pasting parts in rapid succession was just tacky…yeah I just didn’t care for this one.

4. Golden Chinatown

Which left me confused why this song got panned more than “Asian Celebration” was.  I actually was one of the few that really enjoyed this tune.  Taking a more Chinese sound for its arrangement and mixing that up with synths and such, Golden Chinatown was a pretty funky tune, no lie.  It’s got some great elements plus the bass line is kicking!  On top, the vocals weren’t as tragic as the aforementioned song as well which is already a plus in my book.  Still, I think it’s rather underrated as a Berryz A-side.

5. Crazy Kanzen na Otona

Onto °C-ute’s selections, their first is Crazy Kanzen na Otona and boy was it a song that I desperately wanted to hear the quintet do again.  After loving the crap out of “Kiss me Aishiteru”, I was just blown away by this song.  Once again it does share its music genre with just about every group in H!P was doing at the time.  Of course it’s mostly Airi, Maimi, and Chisato at the front which is OK, quite the standard for °C-ute nowadays.  Definitely was an interesting song to throw out there giving the fans a much sexier look for them.

6. Adam to Eve no Dilemma

Which also followed them onto the next single after it (though it was the secondary A-side of that single).  Adam to Eve no Dilemma is really more of the same style that we heard in “Crazy Kanzen na Otona” which is great because I thought °C-ute rocked 2013 with their singles for the most part.  I have a hard time trying to decide which of these two songs owned it better because they both have such strong melodies and the dance is pretty amazing too…AHHHHH.  Yeah, basically these two songs were huge favorites this year for me.

7. Tabidachi no Haru ga Kita

Onto S/mileage’s selections, we get Tabidachi no Haru ga Kita and honestly, I couldn’t really remember too much of it, even now (only 2 years later).  This was a pretty forgettable A-side for them and I could almost say rather bland of song too.  It did feel like song that would’ve came out back in 2010 from them and I love the opening of the track as well, but the main basis of the song felt almost lifeless to me.  I get it that it’s supposed to be a Spring song, and the added fluttering violins passages are fitting, but there’s just something rather off about it.  I still of all the 6-nin songs S/mileage put out as A-sides, it’s still the weakest of the bunch.

8. Yattaruchan

I was expecting something from “Ee ka!?/”Ii Yatsu”” to have been their 2nd choice, but due to that single basically being released a week after this album dropped we were relegated to the other single they released during the summer.  I will say both songs (this and “Atarashii Watashi ni Nare!”) were both great songs so either or would’ve kept me happy.  Funny enough, this song has a WHOLE LOT of Kana here which is amazing considering she was a back girl alongside Rinapuu.  Plus this was the first time I started to notice Meimi in a different light as her vocals started to deepen quite nicely (as well as Kanana’s).  Very fun and VERY S/mileage of a song…great tune!

9. Romance no Tochuu

Next up is the major label debut from H!P’s newest group, Juice=Juice who was at the time dealing with a loss of a member.  Romance no Tochuu was a very curious song for many fans wondering what their sound would be after their 3 indie singles.  This song is VERY discotheque-friendly and has a great and catchy hook to it (actually most of the song was REALLY catchy).  I was loving Sayuki and Tomoko the most in this tune and even Karin was happily impressing me (Yuka and Akari didn’t really have memorable parts sadly).  Still, the song was another one that topped my listen charts that year.

10. Rock no Teigi

I wasn’t surprised to see that the graduating member from Momusu had her solo track be a part of the Petit Best.  I wasn’t sure what to expect but with rock in the title, maybe it would’ve been an edgy rock song.  Unfortunately, Rock no Teigi is kind of a mix of the EDM style of the year and some guitar riffs.  To be honest, this was another song that kind of flew over my head.  I don’t know why, but it just didn’t leave much of an impression and Reina didn’t totally sound into it very much (though I think she was already done with her idol image by this point).  Not much of a fan of this one.

11. NEXT MY SELF

Strange, I thought they’d only pick songs from the year.  To find out that ManoEri’s final single in H!P was placed on this was odd (2012 single).  After Erina released “Song for the DATE”, I thought that was going to lead into bigger and better songs, but then she just out of the blue announces her graduation and released NEXT MY SELF which while not bad of a song, it’s a bit underwhelming as a goodbye A-side.  This song sounds like something that could’ve EASILY come off her first album.  It’s upbeat, poppy, and cute rolled in a song (and on this PB, bridges to the lighter songs of the album).

12. Cabbage Hakusho ~Haru-hen~

Then we enter our final stretch with all of the SATOYAMA/SATOUMI units from 2013 starting with Peaberry (Riho & Ayaka).  I’m rather surprised that they chose to redo Cabbage Hakusho considering it wasn’t entirely a favorite amongst fans.  Though this time they brought in something new to the table.  Alongside a new arrangement, they inserted an OLD song, “Furusato” after the 2nd chorus.  I didn’t find the addition to add good to the song because it felt almost TOO out of place and considering it isn’t even sung by the duo (actually sung by the former Prime Minister of Japan’s wife) it just felt like unneeded padding.  The song otherwise still sounds like the original so if you liked (or disliked) it’s mostly the same…for me…pass lol.

13. Tokainaka no Kare

The only song on PB14 that did not get a PV (for some odd reason) we also see a return of GREEN FIELDS (Aika, Captain, and Yuka).  I quite enjoyed how silly and upbeat this song was from the low brass and kazoo that’s heard throughout the song.  Plus the members sound lively and cute as well.  It’s just a fun song and considering it is the only upbeat song from the 2nd wave of SATOYAMA songs, this was the only tune that I mostly enjoyed.

14. Hotaru Matsuri no Hi

Though it was rather interesting that there was ONE new announced group during this 2nd wave and that’s a duo of Masaki and Karin to form Jurin.  I actually think it was quieter than “Cabbage Hakusho ~Haru-hen~” and I was worried because both members have higher tones in their vocals.  There are some elements of Country music also which is nice, but I find myself bored with the song (I think it’s just the melody is so one-note most of the time).  Eh, I know it was obvious but Karin definitely sounded better here than Maachan.  This was just eh…

15. Lady Mermaid

Moving to the SATOUMI units, we begin with the mix of Risako & Airi of Dia Lady and their quirky tune, Lady Mermaid.  This cool tune was a surprise for me, but not really because I figured since it was Risako and Airi their vocals would work together.  I especially love when they split the vocal melodies (as in Risako dives and sings lower notes than Airi does).  What an amazingly catchy song with a cool rockabilly-type of arrangement to give it some energy.  Another favorite this year!

16. Eiya-sa! Brother

Next up is Mellowquad’s (Miyabi, Chinami, Maimi, Chisato) song, Eiya-sa! Brother.  I feel like in this song they were trying to bring some “Dancing! Natsu Matsuri” feelings back but throw in some of the more modern sounds of the time.  Besides the questionable lyrics, the song is a pretty strange one not only in that respect but the vocal melodies were I don’t know…just as questionable.  A lot of high notes though were used though.  It’s not my favorite and honestly I tend to only remember the hooks and forget most of the rest of the track.

17. Kaigan Seisou Danshi

The final track on the album, Kaigan Seisou Danshi is sung by HI-FIN (Maimai, Ayumi, Nyon, Eripon, and Nakky) and for having some of the more weaker voices, this was a nice relaxing pop tune.  I am a little bit thrown off with the song’s need of mid-section monologues, but when the quintet are singing the verses and choruses it sounds really nice ironically.  A lot of different notes and chords that just sound pleasant.  Might not beat out “Lady Mermaid”, but it’s really decent of a song.

Tracks Recommended

  • Crazy Kanzen na Otona
  • Adam to Eve no Dilemma
  • Lady Mermaid
  • Romance no Tochuu
  • Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke

Like Petit Best 13, the pattern of these albums have gotten really predictable and especially this one there were no surprises (well, maybe NEXT MY SELF making the cut despite being a 2012 single).  This one was full of songs that I’ve come to listen consistently.  A couple were rather forgettable (I’d say the album started to lower a bit once we hit ManoEri’s song) and the SATOYAMA songs were mostly bland.  I’d say it’s really good, but the tracklist was just too easy to guess.

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2015’s Kenshuusei Test Recital Test!

Welcome to the 3rd annual Kenshuusei Recitals! A lot has changed from last year (basically everyone but 6 members: Kaga, Ichioka, Inoue, Danbara, Yokogawa, and Funaki had either become members of groups or left the program).  Talk about a huge wave of differences but we have a GIANT list of new girls to actually listen to this time around.  So let’s get to it shall we?

oh BTW, Kobushi and Tsubaki Factory performed (the latter covered a Chisato Moritaka song, “17sai”.

Hikaru Inoue

Song of Choice: Nakamushi Shounen (2010 mix version)

As the first girl to perform, I wasn’t expecting Hikarun to sound as amazing as she did (honestly, this is so similar to Karen Tanaka (though we’ve seen Hikaru actually train to become better and it’s paid off in spades).  I was surprised she did choose the updated version of Nakamushi Shounen, but it really worked out as her voice suited the rockin’ atmosphere and she just gave it her all…Probably my favorite performance of the recital!

Honoka Okamoto

Song of Choice: Be Genki <Naseba Naru!>

One of the new members (and the youngest of them), Honoka chose a pretty interesting Berryz song to perform.  Sadly, I think for her being just 11 years old, her performance definitely wasn’t the greatest, luckily she’s got a lot of time to learn and become a better singer overall.  Though I will say, her tone, timing, and note-hitting was rather all over the place.  Really, maybe someone should’ve said this song might’ve been a bit too difficult…>.>

Momona Kasahara

Song of Choice: Haru Beautiful Everyday

Covering the Eri/Aika duet from “SEXY 8 BEAT”, this was another song choice I wasn’t expecting from a new Kenshuusei here but there it is.  To me, Momona’s voice was a bit flat throughout the track and her holding notes made it somewhat worse in the long run.  Better than Honoka, but her voice was quite strained through her performance.

Ruru Danbara

Song of Choice: GOOD BYE Natsuo

Ahhh, the strong singer and winner of last year’s test, Danbara came back in a fury by performing one of my favorite Aya Matsuura tracks.  Honestly, despite having some shouty parts and some parts where he voice cuts because of what I think is from dancing, Ruru pulled off the song very well and the chorus was powerful (especially at those certain parts where it’s high and powerful).  She’s definitely still a powerhouse and an impressive singer.

Kizuki Horie

Song of Choice: Shabondama

I know she was already in a PV this year, “Tsugi no Kado wo Magare”, I was curious to what these ex-NGP girls were capable of and we’ve seen it so far from Rei Inoue and Ayaka Hirose so I was definitely expecting some firepower.  Though with a song like Shabondama, it made me so curious!  I have to say, Kizuki pulled it off with flying colors (maybe the grunting was a bit much) but she was on point through most of the song (the ad-libs are prolly the weakest parts, actually).

Saori Onoda

Song of Choice: GOOD BYE Natsuo

A girl I was quite curious about (I was also with Ami Tanimoto and Kiki Asakura but both became Tsubaki Factory members).  Also choosing to perform GOOD BYE Natsuo, I was worried she wouldn’t quite stack up against Danbara who for all purposes is a fantastic singer.  So I was happy to hear that Onoda kept up as well.  In some ways she was better than Ruru, but other times not so much.  Saori’s voice a little deeper too so it worked in her favor in the verses, though the chorus was a weakpoint.

Nanami Yanagawa

Song of Choice: Romance no Tochuu

Another brand new KSS member, Yanagawa chose a more recent entry, Juice=Juice’s major debut tune.  Since I have no idea what to expect out of this gal, I was wondering if it was good or not.  To me, she’s a bit loose on her vocals but there are times where I find myself hearing Karin in her voice (though there are times where she sounds younger too).  There’s a lot of potential here and with some work she could pull the Karin voice (plus, I did chuckle when she tried to do Sayuki’s dive notes before the chorus).  Not too bad, but potential is there!

Momoko Shimano

Song of Choice: Suki-chan

I’ve had my share of curious of worries for Shimano and performing Suki-chan wasn’t exactly helping.  Shimano’s performance was OK, I was surprised more at the fact that her voice is more on the cuter side of things, but sadly it didn’t feel like she felt confident enough for this song (which is probably why I also felt that it was slightly one of the weaker performances too).  Maybe a song of a lower range would fit her better.

Nagisa Hashimoto

Song of Choice: FOREVER LOVE

Hey! Someone that performed a C-ute song here.  As the eldest KSS, I had high hopes for her also because she was an NGP KSS.  Honestly, her performance is alright if not slightly messy and not tight like I was expecting.  I mean she also has a lot of potential because she hits some clearly epic spots, but that’s surrounded by quite a lot of missed notes too.  People have said it’s a bit disheartening because of her age and this could be the final axe (but I hope not, she seems so mature and reminds me of Maimi).

Yumei Yokogawa

Song of Choice: Motto Zutto Issho ni Itakatta

As one of the worst performances last year, I was hoping that Yumei would get better and after her mehness of “Bagel ni Ham & Cheese”, I was surprised she chose a more raw song from Berryz.  Unfortunately, while she has improved slightly, she is still one of the worst of the KSS.  Her voice this time was so nasal and she really couldn’t stay on most notes (though the fact she tried to use vibrato is risky even for her).  Yeah…sadly once again a pretty poor performance (she’s still a stunner though).

Kaede Kaga

Song of Choice: Love take it all

Kaedy comes next with her performance of Love take it all and I thought that was a shockingly advanced choice for her but hey I have to say for being one of the most popular KSS.  Her take on Love take it all is pretty strong though I feel like she’s shouting a lot through the song, but she has an unwavering power about that really shows her skills.  Honestly, this was a pretty great offering (a lot better than last year’s “FIRST KISS” performance).

Rion Nakano

Song of Choice: Yuugure Koi no Jikan

Another new member, Rion’s choice to do the kind of cutesy album song from S/mileage was interesting.  Though I have to say, Rion’s performance was a bit all over the place.  I also heard a LOT of nervousness in her voice as it was wavering all over as well.  Though she did slightly get better in the chorus (plus the high note quips are cute too).  I think once she gets over those hurdles and strengthen her voice better, Nakano could have a very adorable voice on her (such a baby voice!).

Kurumi Takase

Song of Choice: Senobi

I still think being the lone addition of her generation, Kurumi chose a STRONG Juice=Juice song to perform and she aced it almost perfectly.  She’s got a strong voice and her vibrato sounds really nice to listen to as well.  There were some shaky spots, but Senobi was a great choice for her and shown off her potential (plus it helps with being in an indies idol group prior as well).

Miu Takemura

Song of Choice: Dream Last Train

Interesting choice of picking a SATOYAMA song to perform (more or less Triplet’s song).  Considering the song’s melody used more of a lower tone, Takemura tried to match it as well and she didn’t do half-bad (the lower notes were a challenge and she lost rhythm in a few spots) and it kind of lost fire the longer it went.  I think with some more training, she could fix these problems up easily.  Not the best, but definitely not the worst.

Reina Ichioka

Song of Choice: Nakimushi Shounen (2010 mix version)

So Reina chose the same song Hikarun opened this test up with?  Interesting!  I can’t help it, but Hikarun performed better than Ichioka sadly though she’s gotten better as a singer as well (reminds me of someone with a stronger lower tone).  I think she could learn a little more, but she’s sounding passable now.

Mao Akiyama

Song of Choice: The Power

Then comes a string of brand new KSS members starting with Mao.  Interesting song choice of C-ute’s, The Power, as it’s another risky and advanced choice of song.  I actually thought Mao did well with what she got and really kept up with the song (of course, her voice does need work as it lacks a full sound right now, but she was hitting the notes…it’s just stamina that needs work).

Mizuki Kanatsu

Song of Choice: Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai

Ok, I definitely know that this Momusu song is a bit more difficult (to be honest, shouldn’t have been a choice) but here we are with Kanatsu trying here.  Like I said, it’s a bit too much for her to handle, but she tried her hardest here and at some points she got notes right, but her voice escaped from the mic and I think she was more focused on the dancing (which could be the reason she sounded winded and far from the microphone).  OK performance, but maybe an easier to handle song next time.

Mizuho Ono

Song of Choice: Daisuki 100 Manten

I definitely remember Kisora Niinuma performing this last year, so interesting to see it come up again for Mizuho.  There’s really not much for me to say here.  Ono’s performance was pretty nice and she has a nice clear tone her voice and with some work here and there, she could be a strong performer.  Of the new batch of KSS, I think I will follow Mizuho’s journey as she’s the best of the newbies.

Musubu Funaki

Song of Choice: 21-ji Made no Cinderella

I think the girl that I was most looking forward to hearing is definitely Funakki and she delivers a great performance with this Berryz classic.  She has a lot of personality in her voice and already sounds like a sheer ace with how nice her voice sounds and the emotions she puts behind.  Definitely a voice I want to hear in Hello! Project prime!!!!  Shame that it was so short!

Kokoro Maeda

Song of Choice: Suki na Senpai

Ending out the test, we get Kokoro (btw cute name) performing Suki na Senpai (a song that’s synonymous with girls debuting in H!P).  It’s not bad, but it’s nothing totally special and Kokoro’s voice needs some work as she’s missing notes or ends up being flat.  Not the most memorable performance

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So the results are in as well so let’s see

BEST SINGING: Funaki (Runner-up: Danbara) – Surprised actually to see Funakki win this award!  She did sound the best and definitely suited the position but beating Ruru?!? Wow, stroke the ego XD.

BEST DANCING: Ichioka & Hashimoto – While we wait for visuals of the performance, I was pleasantly surprised by these two (might explain the not-so-amazing vocal performances) but this is great for Reina especially.

CHARACTER AWARD: Horie – Not sure what this means, but it’s perhaps the idea that Kizuki owned Shabondama like she did that might’ve caught the judges attention.  Still very awesome!

SHIMIZU AWARD: Inoue – I am even more confused with what is with this award (Captain wasn’t even a judge though Chinami was >.>).  Still, this must mean something hinting and I’m happy that Hikarun won this (not sure why, but hopefully we get an explanation).

BEST PERFORMANCE AWARD: Kaga – YESSSSS, it seems like Kaga is getting a break here and the fact she won big a HUGE margin says a lot for Kaedii.  Would love to see what she wins from doing so (I don’t think they announced what the prize is yet, maybe a solo for Nana Tamago?  Maybe a first slot position for another new unit???  CONGRATS KAGA!!!!!!

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My personal thoughts on vocally who did the best are: (top to bottom)

  1. Funaki
  2. Inoue
  3. Horie
  4. Takase
  5. Kaga
  6. Danbara
  7. Onoda
  8. Yanagawa
  9. Hashimoto
  10. Ono
  11. Ichioka
  12. Akiyama
  13. Maeda
  14. Takemura
  15. Kanatsu
  16. Kasahara
  17. Nakano
  18. Shimano
  19. Okamoto
  20. Yokogawa

kanasaito

Also announced a couple days prior, Kana Saito had left the program…unfortunately I had no real opinion about her as there was very little of her to be heard…so I’m not too broken up about it.  I will say it makes me wonder how her generation even happened (herself, Miu Takemura, and Maho Aikawa)…they aren’t all that great (though Aiai is in ANGERME so who knows).

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H!P Profiles: SATOUMI

On today’s post, we’ll be talking about something else that happened in 2013 that focused on keeping environmental awareness a thing with the SATOUMI units (which unlike their SATOYAMA sisters, focused more on keeping the oceans clean).  That being said, it was inevitable that we were going to get musical units from this happening and we ended up with Dia Lady, Mellowquad, and HI-FIN.

Initially after coming off the 2nd wave of SATOYAMA, I felt like H!P wasn’t into it, but how wrong was I…Shall we start?

Dia Lady – Lady Mermaid

Dia_Lady

L to R: Airi Suzuki, Risako Sugaya

Great to see Airi and Risako together as a duo unit considering they weren’t doing anything for the SATO series yet.  Both of them have strong voices and you could easily tell them apart.  A lot of fans really took to this group because of their places in their respective groups, even I was curious about it all.

Now, the PV is something else.  Considering that SATOUMI was about the sea, I wonder how much of the PVs would be about saving the seas.  Now, lyrically it makes the most sense because it’s about love and tying those thoughts to the sea.  Though I can’t help but think of why, the setting was inside a diner then it feels like it’s a dual between Airi, Risako, and a guy…talk about competition!  Lady Mermaid though was a great song and I was surprised at how well Airi and Risako sung together.

Mellowquad – Eiya-sa! Brother

Mellowquad

L to R: Chinami Tokunaga, Chisato Okai, Miyabi Natsuyaki, Maimi Yajima

If there was a poster group for the movement here, Mellowquad would definitely have the other groups beaten.  I mean look at them!  They’re in matsuri outfits with such vibrant fish posters.  Now I’ll say that it is the 2nd time Chinami, Miyabi, and Maimi were involved in a SATO____ unit though the first for Chisato.  Their tune, Eiya-sa! Brother was just as exciting being a matsuri-esque kind of tune.

Even the PV is pretty much things you would do at a matsuri from eating to playing games.  Though I do lulz at the mascots making an appearance here.  It’s a funky song and lyrically can be taken the wrong way real quickly, but it’s fun.  The dance is a little weird for me but it is from the H!P Kids so they can make it their own.

HI-FIN – Kaigan Seisou Danshi

HI-FIN

L to R: Mai Hagiwara, Ayumi Ishida, Kanon Fukuda, Erina Ikuta, Saki Nakajima

The last group announced is the one that caught my attention. When the groups were first announced this one in particular was called Plumeria, though a few weeks before its release, they changed it to HI-FIN (the first letter of their last names are all used).  I feel like with HI-FIN they were the beach-friendly group because of all the pastel colors and lighter side to their music as well.  Everyone but Maimai and Nyon were involved in SATOYAMA previous so it was nice to see them back. Their track, Kaigan Seisou Danshi is a lot fluffier sounding and just is happy.

So the PV for Kaigan Seisou Danshi is also a lot lighter and cute (and seemed like a lot of the budget was used here).  It’s still a bunch of solo shots, but each member got a lot of facetime as well.  Even the spoken dialogue sections of the song is just adorable.  Now if there was a PV that solidified the meaning of the movement, it would be this one (whereas Mellowquad’s tune is more of the less serious side).  I know this song is about crushing on a beach cleaner (what?) but still.

Ranking by me: Lady Mermaid >>>>> Kaigan Seisou Danshi >>>>> Eiya-sa! Brother

OVERALL: When SATOUMI was announced a lot of people were groaning over that the 2nd wave wasn’t quite a successful at gaining fans (or interest).  I will say these 3 units actually had decent songs and were grouped together nicely.  I do wonder why we haven’t had a 2nd wave (though SATOYAMA had 3 waves).  Overall not bad this time around!

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