Top Row L to R: Momoko Tsugunaga, Manaka Inaba, Risa Yamaki
Bottom Row L to R: Chisaki Morito, Uta Shimomura, Mai Ozeki
Let’s begin at the beginning, the only real remaining member of Country Musume, Mai Satoda, had came out of nowhere and desired that the group to be revitalized and brought back from the unknown (even though we all knew CM was disbanded when the Elder Club graduation had happened). So from March to August, there were auditions held but for some reason bore no fruit from it. Surprisingly enough a couple months later, there was a surprise announcement of the creation of the group. Two Kenshuusei (Inaba and Yamaki) and 3 new girls came together. It was also announced that Momoko from Berryz Kobo would be their senpai for a while until she felt it was OK to let them go on their own. Initially, they were to debut as the 5 (w/o Momoko) for an indies single, but was scrapped and they waited til Berryz went on hiatus to begin their career with their first major label…howeverrrr…
L to R: Momoko Tsugunaga, Manaka Inaba, Chisaki Morito, Mai Ozeki, Risa Yamaki
After their first single, things started to become worrying after Uta Shimomura started to be missing in events and other things like promoting the single still. It turns out like Aina Otsuka from Juice=Juice, there was some contract issues and she basically said sayonara to the group in early June 2015 and that brings us to most of 2015 as a whole until November.
Top Row L to R: Momoko Tsugunaga, Manaka Inaba, Mai Ozeki, Risa Yamaki
Bottom Row L to R: Nanami Yanagawa, Chisaki Morito, Musubu Funaki
Once a year had passed by since the group’s announcement and beginnings, the group celebrated their anniversary by announcing two new members: Nanami Yanagawa & Musubu Funaki (two KSS). Though after their first single together, member Manaka Inaba had announced she had to take a hiatus due to her asthma acting up, sadly in August, she announced she was graduating from the group to the struggles with her affliction.
L to R: Momoko Tsugunaga, Mai Ozeki, Musubu Funaki, Nanami Yanagawa, Chisaki Morito, Risa Yamaki
Which leaves us with the current iteration back to where it began as a 6-nin group (meaning “Itooshikutte Gomen ne / Koi Dorobo” will go back to its original choreography. At least until June of 2017 when Momoko Tsugunaga will graduate out of the group.
Style of Music: Seems like they’re going for the fun, cute side of H!P and plus we’ve seen them perform some older Country Musume ni Ishikawa songs as well so that’s pretty much set in stone currently.
- Itooshikutte Gomen ne / Koi Dorobo (Uta’s final single)
- Wakatte Iru no ni Gomen ne / Tamerai Summertime
- Boogie Woogie LOVE / Koi wa Magnet / Ranrarun ~Anata ni Muchuu~ (Nanami & Musubu’s debut single; Manaka’s final single)
- Dou Datte Ii no / Namida no Request
- Good Boy Bad Girl / Peanut Butter Jelly Love (Momoko’s final single)
This is part of their debut single, Itooshikutte Gomen ne. You can really tell how fresh they wanted to make this group (especially being a revival unit and all). Also notice how much facetime Uta has…shame she’s gone!
Overall: When I first heard the group announcement, it was coming off the heels of the recent additions to Morning Musume and S/mileage so this was out of the blue, but exciting. I also worried because half the girls are brand new and unknown, two were KSS, and Momochi. When their first single was performed, I was excited for how catchy and bright the group was and Uta was heavily being shown off as the group’s ace.
Though, it’s quite unfortunate that Uta left the group leaving a HUGE hole where she used to be as the face & ace, but it seems like with the next single, Chisaki and Mai are going to step up their game (as if they weren’t pushed enough). Yamakki and Manakan to me feels like back girls at the moment as well as Momoko, but the latter is on purpose. Overall, I’m curious to see where the group goes.