Iroppoi Twilight Game

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

Maho Aikawa bids farewell to H!P

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So after nearly a year of silence from Aiai, it was finally announced on the last day of 2017 that she has indeed decided to leave ANGERME and H!P today.  Considering that this took forever to find out because she had the hope to push through, it just wasn’t enough and she didn’t want to have panic attacks performing with the group.

Personally, it’s kind of here and there for me as she wasn’t a big member in the group (the worst vocally between her and her gen mates, Rikako and Mizuki) and she only lasted about 5 singles (and a best album) worth which didn’t cement much considering she barely got solos as well.  It’s a loss indeed, but I’m not quite sure she left too much of  a mark on me.

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Petit Best 18

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Track Listing

  1. Zenbu Owatta Kaerimichi / °C-ute
  2. Momochi! Zutto Otomomochi / Momoko Tsugunaga
  3. BRAND NEW MORNING / Morning Musume ’17
  4. Ai Sae Areba Nanni mo Iranai / ANGERME
  5. Jidanda Dance / Juice=Juice
  6. Peanut Butter Jelly Love / Country Girls
  7. Shalala! Yareru Hazu sa / Kobushi Factory
  8. Hatsukoi Sunrise / Tsubaki Factory
  9. Gobaku ~We Can’t Go Back~ / Reina Ichioka, Ruru Danbara, Ayano Kawamura, Kurumi Takase, Momohime Kiyono
  10. Real☆Little☆Girl / Hello! Pro Kenshuusei Hokkaido
  11. Furusato no Yume / Kamiishinaka Kana
  12. Yami ni Nukegake (Movie Version) / Kobushi Factory
  13. Pharaoh no Haka / Morning Musume ’17
  14. Yumemiru Television / ANGERME
  15. Miss Henkan!! / Haruka Kudo & Masaki Sato
  16. Inoue no Uta / Rei Inoue & Hikaru Inoue
  17. Obaka Neko to Obaka Neko Baka no Uta / Haruna Iikubo & Tomoko Kanazawa
  18. Minmin Rock’n’Roll! / Musubu Funaki & Reina Yokoyama

1. Zenbu Owatta Kaerimichi

While I’m not surprised that once again °C-ute opens the album up, but I’m more surprised of the song they chose to open this compilation with because it was one of three new songs that was found on their “°COMPLETE SINGLE COLLECTION” best album prior to their disbandment.  That said, unlike Berryz’ final track, this also wasn’t promoted much so I thought they would’ve pulled “Final Squall” or even “To Tomorrow” (the latter being on the Blu-ray, ironically).  The song itself I’m kind of torn about.  I love the intro with the swerving synths and subsequent areas of the song.  Though right after, the song goes into this hokey, cutesy track that might’ve worked for the quintet back during their first three albums, not this far in their careers and their vocals seem a bit too mature (especially Maimi).  Actually, just from the chords, it gives me this odd feeling of 2008/09 when H!P was doing their run with anime themes like some Guardians 4 stuff.  It’s OK, but definitely wasn’t expecting °C-ute’s pick to be this one.

2. Momochi! Zutto Otomomochi

The other song I was quite surprised, but not really to see was Momoko’s solo song that was found on her solo final album best?  It’s odd, but yeah this was technically the only new song from her (disregarding the Country Girls disc).  The song is a bit slower and luckily not a super genki track that Momochi has definitely done in the past >.>.  This song is kind of nice taking for a lighter acoustic pop/rock style and while I never thought Momoko was an amazing singer, she held her own here.  Unlike °C-ute’s track, this definitely feels like a sentimental goodbye track.  Not bad!

3. BRAND NEW MORNING

The rest of the album were easy guesses for me to be included here (H!P hasn’t released a WHOLE ton of things this year).  Anyways as per normal we’re continuing on this leg of the album of songs released by groups tenure with Momusu’s pick.  Really though it wasn’t much a shock to me.  BRAND NEW MORNING marks as the debut for the newly hatched 13th Generation members; Kaede Kaga and Reina Yokoyama, but at the same time it was released when Maachan was on hiatus due to physical injuries.  The tune is a lot more aggressive than the previous two tracks and I wholly welcome it.  The whole marching feel is strong and all the members seem to give off this very in-your-face performance as well, especially for both newcomers!  Really awesome song and definitely made it known that this was a ~brand new Momusu~ here!

4. Ai Sae Areba Nanni mo Iranai

Next up is ANGERME’s selection and it doesn’t feel like it was that long ago it released (June actually).  Though in my mind, it just doesn’t feel old to me, but in reality it kind of is.  After I reviewed the single initially, I still feel like the song belongs back in 2011/12 due to the mish-mash of ideas and shifts in composition from a darker EDM sound to a waltz and to a general pop feel in the chorus.  I do like that the elder members (Ayacho, Rinapuu, Kanana, and Takechan takes the center vocals here), and the remainder were sitting back a bit (plus Maho was on hiatus due anxiety).  I’ve gotten used to the herky-jerky arrangement and such so the tune has grown, still not their best, but it’s decent enough for them.

5. Jidanda Dance

Juice=Juice comes next and it’s literally their only physical single they released this year.  Jidanda Dance is quite something as it’s crazy upbeat and silly to listen to.  Little bit surprised that “Fiesta! Fiesta!” wasn’t included but Jidanda Dance is a fine choice considering it’s the last song to include the 5 of them before new members joined.  I really like the bright atmosphere of the song and I love the chorus here, but like a couple of other tracks, wasn’t expecting an Ondo-styled breakdown.  Other than that, this was exciting and was impressed at everyone’s vocals!  It’s a song that really leaves itself as an earworm of a song and Juice=Juice hasn’t had a song like this in a long while!

6. Peanut Butter Jelly Love

Of the 2 A-sides they could’ve chosen, I think this one was the more popular one between this and “Good Boy Bad Girl”.  It does strike a similar sound to other songs in their discography, but it’s pleasant enough.  I also love Momoko’s introduction as her higher register has this cooing feeling before the tune turns into something like “Wakatte Iru no ni Gomen ne”.  There was a whole lot of Momoko, but it seems there was some showing of Yamakki, Chiichan, and Ozeko here so that was nice to see and even Yanamin and Funakki.  It’s a lighthearted and breezy track, sucks that it might be the last Country Girls PV (and physical single) for quite a while…

7. Shalala! Yareru Hazu sa

Just like Country Girls, it seems Kobushi Factory was only able to squeeze out on single this year (too busy with JK Ninja Girls and the fact they lost both Riorio and Renako).  At least they managed one more single with the original 8 members with Shalala! Yareru Hazu sa (which wasn’t involved with the stageplay/movie).  The song continued to show the group as a pop/rock sound but this time has a ska-like feel to it.  Not quite sure why, but the song gives me a goodbye vibe, but the positive lyrics reinforce its place to show perseverance.  It seems that the only solos here though were for Hamachan, Ayapan, Reirei, and Minamina.  Yeah, neither Rena or Rio got spotlight (then again one got fired and the other left for “anxiety”)…what a bad year for Kobushi to have…

8. Hatsukoi Sunrise

On the other hand, Tsubaki made big strides in 2017 starting with 3 new members; Mizuho Ono, Mao Akiyama, and Saori Onoda and the fact they had their major debut this year!  Of course bring in the leading A-side of said major debut here!  Hatsukoi Sunrise is probably one of the best songs from H!P this year hands down!  It’s powerful, energetic, lots of great moments to be had as well.  It feels like after “Hitorijime” the original 6-nin got a lot better vocally and could stand tall (maybe not so much Riko and Ami) but adding the new members gave a stronger foundation to build on.  Great song and a good way to kick things off in the year!

9. Gobaku ~We Can’t Go Back~

I have to say of all the tracks that were shown off during the Summer tours, Gobaku was the one I was expecting of them to make its way here because it featured the newly debuted girls (Reina Ichioka, Ruru Danbara, Ayano Kawamura, Kurumi Takase, and Momohime Kiyono) well I say mostly because Ichioka is a leader of a currently unknown group of girls and Takase and Kiyono are kind of just floating around, doing stageplays at the moment.  The song itself is funky and screams cool.  Of the 5 girls though, I think Kawamura is the weakest as her voice is a bit squeaky where as everyone else got a lower timbre.  Definitely a grouping I didn’t see coming, but I appreciated this a whole lot!  Awesome song!

10. Real☆Little☆Girl

So the Hokkaido branch of KSS was technically the first to release in 2017 and that surprising to see them release a physical single apart from the actual Kenshuusei.  I thought the song was bright and fun to listen to and in some ways made me think of Country Girls’ more rockabilly stuff.  It was also awesome to hear the 7 of them manage solos throughout the track as well!  It’s pretty youthful and the song has quite an earworm tone about from those ~utae, utae, utae~ and similar lines.  Fun little ditty overall!

11. Furusato no Yume

Did everyone forget that there was a SATOYAMA release this year?  Yeah, I have to raise my hand too because this went under the radar for the most part during the year (it was performed at HinaFest, but Nakky left the group shortly after because C-ute disbanded and whatnot).  A group formed of Moe, Ayumi, Tomoko, and Saki, I wasn’t quite sure how it’d turn out between two decent singers (Moe, Kanatomo) and the lesser sounding singers (Nakky, Ayumi).  Though in the end, it didn’t really matter because the song was just a snoozefest all-around.  The arrangement is pretty standard piano/strings with light synths and percussion.  Yeah this was just not all that memorable to me.

12. Yami ni Nukegake (Movie Version)

Moving onto stageplay songs it seems we start off with Kobushi and their JK Ninja Girls song although I think it’s just an insert song though (considering it was a B-side on their actual single).  Now concerning the movie version, it’s a bit shorter than the one from “Shalala! Yareru Hazu sa / Eejanaika Ninjanaika”.  Mostly due to a different ending.  With Yami ni Nukegake being promoted quite a bit (especially on tours), I can see why Kobushi likes performing it a lot because it’s loud and features their growling.  I just liked how everything sounded for them and a much more preferred song than the one found earlier on this compilation from them.

13. Pharaoh no Haka

Moving to Momusu’s stageplay of the same name, I actually hadn’t listened to the OST quite yet and I was intrigued they were going to tackle Egyptian-like songs and Pharaoh no Haka doesn’t disappoint in that respect.  Actually the tune sounds just as grandiose as their last stageplay song, “Higashi no Chihei, Nishi no Towa”.  However it’s only a little over 2 minutes so the epic growth doesn’t quite reach, but it’s a nice concept and the theme song makes me curious to what the rest of the OST is like.

14. Yumemiru Television

Of the 3 stageplay songs, I kind of wasn’t expecting ANGERME’s song to pop up, simply because of all the songs on the compilation, this one came out last (October) and that said was also the first time hearing their new members (Funaki & Kawamura) being a part of the group.  The song itself sounds kind of cheap sounding (those CASIO synths really seem to make that a thing).  I do like that it’s a fuller song than “Pharaoh no Haka”, but it’s kind of lame-ish to me.

15. Miss Henkan!!

The remaining 4 songs on the compilation were released during the summer months as digital singles and all are duets with various H!P members.  The first to be released was between Maachan & Duu for this quirky ditty so to speak.  With a slight rockabilly vibe, the tune is more or less a joke tune as most of the time the song is Duu saying one thing and Maachan kind of warping it around.  I wasn’t too interested in the song because of its shtick, but it’s nice to see the two having fun with this one.

16. Inoue no Uta

Next up is the duet between Kobushi’s Reirei and KSS leader Hikarun as they have the same last name as one another, Inoue no Uta!  At first I was surprised of the two performing together, but it’s a pretty cool song and my favorite of the 4 because it’s pop/rock and gives nods to various 80s classic rock songs!  A little bummed it’s only a little over 2 minutes in length, but it’s catchy and fun (plus as a huge bias towards Hikarun, it’s great to see her get this kind of promotional material).

17. Obaka Neko to Obaka Neko Baka no Uta

Following that rockin’ experience we tone it down immensely with a song about cats, a duet from Harunan & Kanatomo this time.  Unlike the other 3 digital tracks, this is an actual full track (almost 5 minutes) and I was left confused and slightly bitter.  The song itself is a very café friendly tune with simple instruments led by acoustic guitar.  I will say, Haruna sounds pleasant here and Tomoko as well, but together…it’s not quite graceful but it’s enough.  Still a song about cats…how random!

18. Minmin Rock’n’Roll!

The final track on the compilation is a track between Funakki & Yokoyan and I also kind of dug the surfer rock vibes I get from this.  Once again, I was happy to hear Musubu showing off her vocal chops here and she sounds great all-around and we get a better grip with how Reina sounds and she’s got an interesting, husky voice.  On top of that, throw in the “cicada” voices and you get this goofy and silly song and yet it’s just cute to listen to.

Tracks Recommended

  • Hatsukoi Sunrise
  • BRAND NEW MORNING
  • Gobaku ~We Can’t Go Back~
  • Inoue no Uta
  • Minmin Rock’n’Roll!

What a crazy year 2017 has been huh.  Just going from the compilation this year, there was a lot of variety in the songs we got despite not having too many releases ironically.  I would say this has a lot of the -do listen- songs and there were some surprises (C-ute, Momoko and the digital singles).  Not bad, could’ve been tweaked better, but this was a decent year it feels like.

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Strike 3! Kobushi Factory….

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So it seems Kobushi just can’t win this year huh.  With Rio and Rena gone it seems lightning has struck a third time with Natsumi Taguchi being dismissed from her contract and therefore is not in Kobushi and moreso H!P anymore…It seems that she had some scandalous pictures leak on top of some problems within her family which led to the decision.

Though on my end, Taguchan wasn’t a front girl and her big spot was in “Sakura Night Fever”, but she’s been in H!P for a long time if you include her Kenshuusei days.  I liked her a little bit back then, then there was that short hiatus she took away back then and I was a bit surprised she’d come back and join Kobushi…It’s just strange that she’s leaving now I guess (stranger enough that the 3 members left on the 6th of a different month.

Not a big loss IMO, but a loss indeed…Kobushi slow your rolls!

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