Iroppoi Twilight Game

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

Farewell Buono!

buono16

As we’re getting closer to seeing both C-ute and Momoko graduating, we also have to see that Buono! the epic trio of former Berryz Kobo member Miyabi Natsuyaki and Airi Suzuki & Momoko Tsugunaga closing a chapter for themselves as Buono! members

The group began as a unit to promote Shugo Chara!, an anime that had many many H!P sub-units involved as well as Koharu at the helm of it all.  Buono! at that time was quite into doing rockin’ music to stick out amongst the other units (Guardians 4, SCE!, KiraPika).  After the anime ended, the group was the only one to really strive on continuing their releases and after a couple more singles and mini-albums, they kind of went away and was worried even moreso when Miyabi graduated from H!P.

They came back last year to a surprise of many with a new DVD single to promote a performance at Budokan….

Though they went quiet again for a bit until Monday when they had their final performance at Yokohama Arena…a great 10 years running, coming to a close.

I feel like with Buono! closing it’s doors, the feeling of dread of the upcoming graduations of Airi, Chisa, Nakky, Maimai, Maimi, and Momochi is starting to ooze into my mind and I’m a bit bummed as they represented a LOT of my time with H!P (alongside Berryz).  So it really feels like an end of an era…it’ll be interesting to watch H!P continue after these losses in the ranks.

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Rio Fujii to graduate at the end of the H!P Summer tour.

fujii

Announced back on Friday, Fujii announced that she’ll graduate from Kobushi Factory & Hello! Project at the end of the H!P Summer Tour to focus on becoming a nurse or a teacher.

Wow, it didn’t take very long before we would lose our first Factory member and I was actually caught off guard by this announcement just coming so soon after Kudo’s announcement too.

I’ve been following Rio’s tenure since her audition for the 2nd Gen S/mileage addition and she was a wildfire back then and it was great watching her change and make it into the Kenshuusei before finally making her stamp in the idol world in 2015 when she was announced to be a sub-leader for Kobushi Factory.  So I didn’t really see this coming, but it does make sense at her age as this is a good time to decide what to do for the future so congrats to her for making a decision…

Though with the recent KSS news, makes me wonder if they’ll be a replacement for Fujii if the 3 girls choose to go into separate groups.

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H!P, you have some things to explain!!!

So I just did the post for the Test Recital and boy it was a strong test filled with great performances and presence on top of hearing from Kobushi & Tsubaki as well.  Though as it seemed like it was coming to an end with the award ceremony and last performances…the audience was surprised by an appearance from Nishiguchi (UFP Representive and he dropped 2 big bombs and one that was well kind of big, but it’s a title…so let’s talk it!

Kurumi Takase & Momohime Kiyono to start a branch

takasekiyono

The first announcement was that Takase & Kiyono were chosen to be a part of a KSS Project that focuses on Stageplays (which is strange considering Engeki exists already, unless they wanted to have an H!P-branded branch.  Still, it is with two of the stronger vocalists here.  Not much info was give beyond the company will have to sit with their parents to get something going.

Hikaru Inoue as leader of KSS

inoueh

Yup, the 2nd announcement was that now Hikarun was the de facto leader of the Kenshuusei.  Which we haven’t officially had since Arisa Noto, so this is pretty interesting this is becoming a thing again!

Ichioka, Danbara, and Kawamura to debut

ichiokadanbarakawamura

The last announcement made is that Ichioka, Danbara, and Kawamura would debut, but the decision between a new unit or spreading to existing units hasn’t been decided yet which is a bit strange to announce straight up (yeah, these announcement were just literally out of the blue and from Nishiguchi’s mouth).  Granted, since there’s no news beyond what I said, we’ll just have to wait to see what the girls’ parents with think.

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2017’s Kenshuusei Shindan Test!

Well here we are at our 5th annual Test Recital for the Kenshuusei and for the first time, the Hokkaido branch as well!  Add that there’s a LOT of new members who are going through this the first time, so shall we get started?

Kanami Ishiguri

Song of Choice: Only you

Being the first girl up, Ishiguri from the Hokkaido branch kicked the test off by covering this rather difficult Momusu song.  Just from the song itself, its difficulty comes from its frantic speed and major lean on triplets all over the tune.  Kanami herself sounded OK at first especially tackling the chorus, she was shaky in holding her notes, but when she tapped into it, she sounded nice!  Towards the end, she did start to sound a bit more rough, but I’d say it’s a good start for her!

Mei Yamazaki

Song of Choice: Chu! Natsu Par~ty

Next up is another from the Hokkaido girls, Mei Yamazaki and she decided to tackle 3nin Matsuri’s super cute song.  I do think her voice suited this song quite nicely and she had a nice spin to it.  My only issue was that the microphone got away from her a couple times leaving her voice to sound too quiet in some sections.  Though, she was valiant in this track and managed to sound decent throughout~

Rika Shimakura

Song of Choice: Be Alive

One of the newest KSS members to join (right around the last KSS concert), I was really wondering how those new members would stand out and holy crap, Rika sounds soooo good doing this Momusu album song.  Be Alive is a bit more mellow than what I was expecting but Rika’s lower voice is suiting and while it’s a smidge flat sometimes, she rather impressed me for first impressions!  I might have to keep an eye out for her!

Marina Hibi

Song of Choice: Glass no Pumps

Another from the newest batch, Hibi tackled Gocchin’s sexy track and Glass no Pumps seems to be a little more of a struggle for Hibi.  It does sound like nerves hit her a bit, but I feel like with some work, she could become a force as her tone is powerful and towards the end she gave a surprising amount of punch so, she’s a wild card after her first performance.

Ayano Kawamura

Song of Choice: Mugen Climax

I guess to impress Maimi (who was one of the judges), Kawamura decide to perform Mugen Climax and that kind of threw me because that’s just a difficult song altogether (especially the high energy and powerful vocals needed to tackle it).  While I felt like her focus might have been on the dance, hence the shaky vocals at times, but while her voice is a bit higher than I expected, she also has character in her voice and I was impressed by how clear she was and the emotion behind it!

Yume Kudo

Song of Choice: Chotto Guchoku ni! Chototsu Moushin

Back to another Hokkaido girl, Yume chose a rather recent Kobushi Factory song and right from the getgo, she sounded like she was one of the Kobushi girls.  I’m surprised she was able to pull off the growls as much as she could, but the song itself is difficult mostly because the lines slide from the 8 girls in succession and Yume is just one girl.  There were times where she lost her timing lines because she was focusing on some of the more expressive lines, but she sounds rather good attempting a song like this.

Ryou Kitagawa

Song of Choice: Dance de Bakoon!

One of the most recognizable members from the Hokkaido branch, Kitagawa chose a C-ute song and I was surprised at how mature her voice sounds as well!  Though I do say for a song that asks for energy and brash vocals, Kitagawa’s voice doesn’t quite work in this setting and she did struggle on the higher notes, but like many other girls in the test, she has a LOT of potential!

Riai Matsunaga

Song of Choice: SONGS

Another newbie, I was shocked to see Matsunaga decide to tackle this Momusu album track, albeit ANOTHER super difficult track due to how frantic it can get and how busy it is.  Riai though does try and her voice is quite deep too, but unlike Shimakura, her voice does break here and there and doesn’t really come out as powerful until the pre-chorus.  I think with a little bit more of training she’ll become a great singer too!

Saya Eguchi

Song of Choice: What is LOVE?

Considering that this Momusu is sung mostly in group lines, I was curious to see how Saya would able to handle a song like this.  At first, she was surprisingly on point, but then after a while, her voice would struggle with some of the higher notes (which is odd since her voice is high lol).  I think of the new girls, this one is going to need some training to be able to widen her range in vocals.  Though she could go the lower route as well…so we’ll see next year what comes of the training (if she stays).

Rena Doi

Song of Choice: Ima Sugu Tobikomu Yuuki

Another girl that’s tackling a more recent song, Rena sounded quite confident in this track and she should be because she sounded quite nice if not slightly wary.  She also tried to add vibrato to things which surprised me coming from a newbie in the KSS.  There are times where she sounds great, but other times missing notes (or sounding flat).  I think she’s got potential because the chorus was where she shined the most!

Yuhane Yamazaki

Song of Choice: Magic of Love (J=J 2015 Ver.)

I wonder why she chose this specific version of Magic of Love to perform (the original Taiyou to Ciscomoon version is leagues better).  Still, props for Yuhane for going towards a more older song to sing.  Seems like the wota were looking forward to this because they were saying she had an amazing voice.  They weren’t wrong as she had such control and feistiness that really caught on with me and she reminded me of someone in H!P currently.  For a girl that just came into the KSS program about a year ago, she’s already blown right passed MANY of the girls in the program, I’ll definitely be keeping watch on her progress that’s for sure!!!

Hikaru Inoue

Song of Choice: My alright sky

Following up after the rather surprising performance from Yamazaki, we have Hikarun who decided to tackle a Buono! song (specifically, the Airi Suzuki solo from “partenza”).  It has been a while since I’ve listened to that so I had to return and take a quick listen to it before hearing Hikaru’s take.  Did she do the opening dialogue?  She sounds GOOD in English!  After that, the ooo was a bit shaky, but she quickly shook it off and then she just sung like a pro!  She just keeps getting better and better, even though Yuhane did better, she didn’t let that get in the way.

Kirara Yonemura

Song of Choice: Tokaikko Junjou

I was happy to see we were finally getting veterens of the test after Hikarun went.  Kirara initially kind of scared me with last year’s performance of “The Matenrou Show” because she showed potential with a somewhat hard song, but I thought Tokaikko Junjou might’ve been harder, but somehow she got a lot better and her voice has gotten a bit deeper since last year too!  Impressive performance and she has room to grow still!

Shiori Nishida

Song of Choice: Take off is now!

I thought we would escape having duplicate performances, but nah, though it is over only one song this year and it’s this Momusu song.  Another track I had to go back and relisten to, Take off is now! is a song between Reina Tanaka, Risa Niigaki, and Ai Takahashi so I was curious to see how Nishida (and later on Noguchi) would carry themselves.  She sounded pretty good for the most part and was comfortable with her performance, though I can’t say if there was much to remember it by between 30 other girls, so it was decent for me, but she also has room for improvements.

Ichigo Yamada

Song of Choice: MY BOY

Back to a girl from the newest batch of KSS, another song where I felt it was a make or break kind of song because MY BOY asks for a LOT of the girl(s) performing.  While Ichigo tried her best, she just didn’t strike me very much in the long run.  There were spots where she was nervous and that affected her singing…and her breath control was everywhere…it was just maybe a bit much for her.

Kokoro Maeda

Song of Choice: Suki Sugite Baka Mitai

I was wondering what she’d follow up with considering she was decent enough last year.  She did choose another dance-y track, but a good one since it is DEF.DIVA and all.  Kokoro though sounds a lot better than she did last year which is great.  She still has room to grow too, but her confidence and tone of her voice is starting to come together in a great way!

Sakiko Kodama

Song of Choice: Rottara Rottara

I wonder what was up with Sakiko’s opening dialogue, it was so random xD.  Anyway, her take on Buono!’s Rottara Rottara was pretty rough and considering she was just as much last year when she did “Yumemiru Fifteen” was disheartening to say the least.  At least she remembered her lines, so in a way she has gotten slightly better, but vocally…she’s still not quite there yet for me.

Hikari Sato

Song of Choice: One Two Three

Really, tackling One Two Three are we?  Even though I feel like it’s another song that’s kind of difficult due to the back and forth between Reina & Riho, I felt like Hikari tried her best with what she got.  What I can say is that maybe this isn’t a song that’s really good for determining if a girl is good or not because it suffers from one-note repetition so it doesn’t feel like a melodic song for singers to showcase their vocals…maybe it’s better for dancers.  Hikari herself didn’t do too bad and she kept up with the song so that’s always good to see…otherwise…just hard to place…

Mizuki Kanatsu

Song of Choice: Arekore Shitai!

What a surprise that Mizuki chose a song that isn’t from the Golden Era of Morning Musume and instead chose a Juice=Juice track to tackle.  Wow, she’s actually improved this year, but her voice is a little squeaky and adopted a rather cutesy style to it which luckily worked in her favor for a song like this.  Though I can’t help but wonder if she’s still struggling underneath it all…

Momohime Kiyono

Song of Choice: Mr. Moonlight ~Ai no Big Band~

After impressing many last year with her rendition of “Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi”, Momo returns to cover an older Momusu track that had Yossie, Nacchi, and Gocchin as leads but now it’s one girl :D.  She actually handled it quite well, but that was to be expected, she sounded great with Gaki’s intro and tackling the more boyish verses also sounded awesome.  Really though, she’s just a really good performer and I’m fully expecting her to be utilized real soon!

Minori Kawano

Song of Choice: Oh my wish!

Seems like this Momusu single is popular for the KSS right?  I was a bit perplexed with the performance because she was hot or cold throughout the song from sounding really nice to stressing her voice in random places and messing up holding notes.  Her voice has potential, but she might be the weak link in the Hokkaido girls after this test, so she’ll be the one that needs training to really do well next year!

Kurumi Takase

Song of Choice: BABY! Koi ni KNOCK OUT!

Ooooh, seeing Takase tackling this amazing Petitmoni song just had me excited right from the start!  I mean she has a lot of power in her voice and yet she somewhat keep certain parts kind of cute which is a nice twist and such, but I felt like she was a little bit loose in parts, kind of like shouting, but yet she still commanded the crowd in a way that wasn’t offensive.  Still can’t say she was vocally better than Inoue, Horie, Kiyono, Danbara, or even newcomer Yamazaki though.

Kizuki Horie

Song of Choice: Wasurete Ageru

Probably the most recent track, I was happy to see Kizuki tackle this ANGERME track as it was one of the more interesting songs the group released last year.  Kizuki though blasted through it without any slips and just sounded amazing (even better than the original!!!).  I have to say, ever since she joined the KSS, she was non-stop impressive…Good lord they’re missing out…one of the bests of the night!

Kotomi Ono

Song of Choice: Akai Nikkichou

Last year, if it wasn’t for Yokogawa’s misfortune, then I’d say Kotomi was the worst last year.  Since Yumei is now gone, I was expecting to hear if the KSS program worked on some things in a years time.  I’d say giving her Akai Nikkichou was a risky choice, but with her limited range and power, it does sound like she’s gotten a LOT better, but she’s still got a long ways to go.  Not sure if there’s a way to work around her nasally sound, but it’s a much more stronger performance than the year before.

Rin Hashisako

Song of Choice: Massara Blue Jeans

Hearing that she was donning glasses akin to Maimai in the PV of this song, I wonder what was going to happen.  I have to say while I can say Kotomi did much better, Rin probably has my least favorite performance.  Despite being so yoooung, Rin tried her hardest to keep up with the song, but her voice was all over the place and her breath control was also kind of a wreck. For someone who has been in the program, nearly a year, I feel like time will tell if she’s gonna be awesome.  It’ll be interesting to see where she’ll be in a couple of years.

Minami Okamura

Song of Choice: Tropica~l Koishite~ru

I was happy to see that someone remembered Matsuura this year like Saori Onoda and Yumei Yokogawa did last year.  Minami’s take of the song is a bit rough, but I was more surprised by her vocals being so cute and high-pitched.  She does seem to have this idea of shouting the lyrics which can easily be fixed through some training.  She’s got potential if she learns to tone it down a little.

Natsume Nakayama

Song of Choice: Aisuru Hito no Namae wo Nikki ni

This was another song I actually had to go back and listen to because I had totally forgot how it went xD.  Probably the most random choice this year at the Test, Nakayama must have had a good reason to perform this one.  Even the audience was a bit surprised too apparently.  As a relaxing country ballad, Nakayama had a bit of a hard time since its obvious that she doesn’t have a good voice right now as she’s kind of lacking support or…something to really make her voice sound rounded out.  I guess you can say it was a bit hollow-sounding.

Kurumi Noguchi

Song of Choice: Take off is now!

So here we are with the other performance of Take off is now! but with Noguchi at the reins.  After being slightly impressed with her “Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe” last year, she’s sounding more or less the same I feel, but she does have a bit more sass and skill here.  Comparing this and Nishida’s performance is equal in different ways, but there’s no denying both are heading in the right direction.

Haruka Ota

Song of Choice: Chokotto LOVE

Ahhh, the ever popular Petitmoni debut makes its way as a track performed by the last Hokkaido member of the night.  I guess she has a cute intro, but I feel like the rest of the song was just her singing offkey.  I do think she gradually gets better as the song goes on which I suppose is nice, but I feel like she was just weak throughout the whole ordeal.  Not the best for sure…

Reina Ichioka

Song of Choice: Hitorijime Shitakatta Dake na no ni

Wow, Reina doing a C-ute album track.  Being the eldest of the current KSS, I was expecting something different, but she somehow ended up working this track well and she sounded stronger than she’s ever had years previous.  Something about her lower/huskier voice intrigued me and she stayed on point through the entire track!  Definitely her best performance in these Shindan Tests!

Ruru Danbara

Song of Choice: Give me Love

Ending the test recital, we have last, but not least, Danbara who performed an album track from Momusu.  She definitely didn’t back down for this bombastic performance.  While I do think she’s still shouty throughout, it’s hard not to notice her skills and everything.  Just a powerful way to end things off and I was impressed.

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HERE’S THE RESULTS (Though they said that the new KSS and Hokkaido girls were omitted from winning this year)

BEST DANCING: Kokoro Maeda & Kizuki Horie (A bit surprised by both actually because if just going by the audio, they both managed to sound really good with what they had, especially Kizuki who sounded perfect in her performance!

BEST SINGING: Yuhane Yamazaki & Hikaru Inoue (With the other strong singers this year, it was actually difficult to see who would be top vocalist, but finally Hikarun won an award for her singing talent.  Yuhane, for being a newcomer definitely shocked people and it’s good that she won.

BEST CHARACTER: Rin Hashisako (is this a pity win?  Is it for the glasses she wore?…I don’t know anymore…

BEST PERFORMACE: 2nd Place: Ayano Kawamura (nice! Mugen Climax was really good and even if her voice isn’t quite fitting for the song, she sounded mad professional

1st Place: Ruru Danbara (she’s definitely a popular member so it’s no surprise to me).

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Here’s my Worst to Best list!

  1. Hashisako
  2. Nakayama
  3. Yamada
  4. Ota
  5. Hibi
  6. Kawano
  7. Eguchi
  8. Ishiguri
  9. Kodama
  10. Sato
  11. Kanatsu
  12. Ono
  13. Okamura
  14. Kitagawa
  15. Kudo
  16. Maeda
  17. Doi
  18. Matsunaga
  19. Nishida
  20. Yamazaki M.
  21. Noguchi
  22. Takase
  23. Yonemura
  24. Shimakura
  25. Kiyono
  26. Danbara
  27. Kawamura
  28. Ichioka
  29. Inoue
  30. Yamazaki Y.
  31. Horie
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