Iroppoi Twilight Game

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

Warp back to 2005…Year Recap!

Yup, it’s 2005 now and we have a quickly growing roster after the inclusion of the Hello! Pro Egg!  So let’s see how well 2005 was!

Morning Musume

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Huh, while it may look like Morning Musume had a more slower year, it is further from the actuality.

The year began in January with their single, THE Manpower!!!, which was also Kaori Iida‘s final single with the group and then she graduated at the end of the month.

Cut to their next single in April with Osaka Koi no Uta. This would be Rika Ishikawa‘s final single and she would graduate the next month to focus on v-u-den.  HOWEVER, a couple weeks prior to the single’s release, magazine FRIDAY put out some photos that showed Mari Yaguchi with a man and sadly because of the scandal, she had to graduate fully from Morning Musume (she was a leader for a little over two months, but with the scandal, leadership was moved to Hitomi Yoshizawa)

During all this chaos, the 2nd try of auditions found another winner, in Tsunku terms, he found the “miracle ace” in a young Koharu Kusumi and she would debut with the group in July’s Iroppoi Jirettai.

Then we get to their last single of the year and it was originally going to be “Koi wa Hassou Do the Hustle! and release in October, but due to the low interest from the fans, they had to scramble for a new A-side and redid a song they released last year, “Chokkan ~Toki no Shite Koi wa~” to Chokkan 2 ~Nogashita Sakana wo Ookiizo!~ and released it in November.

GREAT SONGS

  • THE Manpower!!! – I was so confused with the group’s first A-side of the year as it wasn’t typical of a song for the group instead going for more of a chanting feel with its chorus and this odd robotic feel with a slight march feel to it too.  Still, after hearing Ai-chan’s and Yossie’s fakes, I was completely into the song and dug the beats and sass all over.  The only two disappointments were that it was Kaori’s last single with the group and the fact that the PV was just a measly dance shot.  Otherwise, this was a great way to kick off 2005 for the group!
  • Iroppoi Jirettai – After the loss of three members in the last two singles, we finally leveled out a smidge with a new member in Koharu.  That said we do get a spoken intro from both Eri and Koharu before the tune dives into its Latin-esque arrangement.  I really love the arrangement and fire behind it all and despite we don’t really get to hear Koha (she has the opening line and one other solo).  It’s just a powerful song and I’m happy to hear Ai-chan, Mikitty, and Reina lead (although Miki’s line at the end of the 2nd chorus is a bit honky and odd) but this is still an awesome song!
  • Ai to Taiyou ni Tsutsumarete – I really wasn’t ready for “Iroppoi Jirettai’s” B-side but this track is definitely a nice change of pace for them.  With a rather slow tropical sound, I kind of fell into it’s laidback feel pretty quickly and we get solos from all the member which is pretty awesome too!  The only qualm I have is the filters they placed during the verses, but otherwise this was a nice B-side to have.  Also, no surprise Koharu doesn’t sound bad here which says a lot going forward (I hope…)

OK SONGS

  • Love & Peace! HERO ga Yattakita. – With the leading song (“THE Manpower!!!”) being a cheer song for the Rakuten Eagles, I was surprised that this song felt moreso if not more of one here.  It’s got a bit more oomph and the tune has a bit more of a rock arrangement here too.  I do like that Mikitty, Ai-chan, Yossie, and Reina have most of the main vocals, but it doesn’t highlight much of anyone else, more importantly, Kaori (though I think because she had a solo career she didn’t need/want that spotlight despite being the group’s leader since Yuko left.
  • Osaka Koi no Uta – As the single to last feature Rika and Mari, I was curious to hear how it all went down.  Not sure what style this track is, but it was a little more mature for the group, but still kept that dance feel.  I mean considering it was Rika’s final single she had quite a bit of spotlight alongside Ai-chan and Mikitty (Mari’s sudden departure was after the song’s completion hence no limelight, but she did have some recognizable lines).  It’s a frantic song I feel and it just doesn’t let up until the ending.  Not their best entry, but I kind of enjoyed it.
  • Chokkan 2 ~Nogashita Sakana wo Ookiizo!~ – Being a rushed song, Chokkan 2 slightly ended up being better than its original track its based off of.  Changing the lyrics and the fact that Kaori, Rika, and Mari were gone and Koharu filled in a spot made things a little more interesting.  The arrangement also was updated and feels more complete too.  Though I did dislike the half PV/half live performance route it took to promote it (while its B-side got a full PV).
  • Koi wa Hassou Do The Hustle! – So here is the original A-side (before “Chokkan 2” took over) and quite honestly, I would say it wasn’t quite up to par after the other 3 singles the preceded it.  It’s pretty poppy and has funky guitars mixed in with a fun chorus, but there’s just something slightly generic about it too that really doesn’t sit well.  Still I like that it did get a PV and here all the members stood out in it for me~

MEH SONGS

  • NATURE IS GOOD! – Is this somehow connected to Ecomoni?  I don’t know but this B-side from Rika/Mari’s last single is a bit too chintzy for my interests.  I mean Rika did get the first line which made sense.  Surprised that solos were only given to Rika, Mari, Makoto, Hitomi, Risa, Reina, and Eri which most were shorter lines.  Though what gets me is the kind of corny feel I get from the lyrics (most importantly that vapid chorus).  I do like the pop/rock, but I just couldn’t stand how preachy it was.

Overall: Morning Musume in 2005 was a bit of a rocky one that’s for sure.  It’s also probably the lightest year of content from them since their debut strangely enough and the graduations of Kaori & Rika (and sudden departure of Mari) was just fuel to the fire here and Koharu wasn’t quite what the group was needing.  Maybe 2006 will be better for them.

Melon Kinenbi

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Short year for the group for some reason, but they only managed one single this year in February’s Nikutai wa Shoujiki na EROS.

GREAT SONGS

  • Nikutai wa Shoujiki na EROS – I was not ready to hear Melon Kinenbi be super sensual and sexy for this A-side (which apparantly was the last song done by Tsunku).  There’s just something so right with Melon pulling this song because it just sounds so right for them.  Props to Hitomi and Masae for owning the sexyness throughout and Ayumi and Megumi for adding a bit more of a lighter side to it all too.  Really it’s one of their best songs in their discography for sure!!

OK SONGS

  • Hotondo ga Anata Desu. – As the single’s B-side, Hotondo ga Anata Desu. has a lot of the same vibes from its leading track with some new buzzy synths acting as the melody with some acoustic guitar thrown in for the mix too.  It’s a little quicker than EROS, but there’s just something that feels like it could’ve been leftover from “THE Nimaime”.  Not bad, but after the legendary Nikutai wa Shoujiki na EROS, this kind of pales in comparison.

Overall: I’m pretty curious as to why Melon Kinenbi only had the one single this year, it just felt empty without them.  Granted they did have the best A-side of the year so I mean that’s pretty interesting to say the least.

Maki Goto

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Maki had a pretty interesting year for 2005 beginning with her 3rd album, 3rd Station in February.  Time went by and she released a single in July with Suppin to Namida..

Time would go on further until December where she released two best albums, one officially, Goto Maki Premium Best  and one for Hawaiian stores with Goto Maki 2005 Nendo Genteiban Single Best and that was her year!

GREAT SONGS

  • Rairai! Shinfuu – I was wondering what this 3rd album could bring and as the 3rd of the new songs, Rairai! Shinfuu is definitely something new and unique for Gocchin with having a bit of a Chinese sound to it (considering in two parts Maki actually counts in Mandarin) so that’s pretty cool and the tune itself is upbeat and bouncy and actually brought some life to the album!  Probably my favorite from the album!

OK SONGS

  • Singapore Transit – Did Gocchin get a song that was meant for Yuko by accident or even Ayaya?  Yeah, I was feeling a little bit of dejavu when I first listened to this track because of the overall acoustic pop feel of it all which is a broad change coming after “Yokohama Shinkirou”.  It’s nothing too particularly special on the album, but it’s nice regardless and Maki sounds lovely so it works.
  • Positive Genki! – It seems that all H!P artists are going to need these exciting tracks to amp up the crowds at lives and Gocchin has obtained hers with Positive Genki! and I find it pretty cool that she’s singing in a different tone than before and her aggressive, but lively energy works well with the song.  It could’ve been a bit more heavier, but this is a good song!
  • Station – Huh, we really went back to her debut era with Station huh?  Yeah, it’s a LOT like “Ai no Bakayarou” and “SHALL WE LOVE?” with the dated 90’s glittery R&B sound.  At this point, it does seem quite out of place and weird with the times but there’s something neat about it at the same time.  It may be odd with Maki singing slower than the beat, but it added some variety to the album.
  • Moshimo Owari ga Aru no Nara – As the B-side from the lone single, Moshimo Owari ga Aru no Nara follows a similar path like “Station”, but it’s much less serious in tone and Maki vocals gives this uplifting feel to it.  It is a little confusing in the prechorus, but it cleans up with its nice chorus.  Definitely a unique song for Maki that’s for sure.
  • Ai no Bakayarou (Bakayarou Version) – As I get into the updated tracks from her best album, I really had a hard time pinpointing what was so different in this version, but I believe she resung it perhaps?  Those really high notes in the chorus don’t seem so painful to listen to here.  Really, though I couldn’t tell…
  • Suki Sugite Baka Mitai (Goto Version) – While I haven’t talked about this song originally done by DEF.DIVA in this post yet, I won’t say too much because the arrangement remains the same and we’re left with Maki singing the song without the other 3 members.  I don’t mind this actually and she could’ve released this as an A-side if she wanted to, but that wasn’t the case.  The dance-pop style just works here!
  • Daite yo! PLEASE GO ON (2005 Natsu Hello! Version) – Interesting she decided to include this song as a live cut and not the studio version here.  Of course this song is always a good time to listen to and Maki gave a pretty powerful performance though I’m slightly disappointed it’s a shortened version (no 2nd verse/chorus).  Still, it’s a pretty good performance here!
  • Olivia wo Kikinagara (2005 Version) – At first I had to think because I knew I haven’t came across this song in her discography, but this is actually a cover of a pretty old ANRI song of the same name.  While it’s another ballad this year that kind of had similar instrumentation, but I think this one stuck to me and Maki gave a decent cover here and the chords are just pretty!
  • Afurechau…BE IN LOVE (Premium Version) – I REALLY LOVE the introduction to this version of Maki’s 2nd single and I love that this new version of the song twists it to a more sensual and intimate song with heavy bass and a more sultrier tone.  I will say the chorus is a little weird, but the rest of the song just sounds amazing in my earphones!
  • PLEASE GO ON (Korean Ver.) – As I said with the Korean version of “Suppin to Namida.”. Daite yo! PLEASE GO ON also suffers to the same extent with the weird tone Maki sings throughout as if it’s less powerful and weak.  Though it still is the song I can’t hate it too much, but this definitely is a weaker version and I can definitely tell the weird accent going on (and the bridge….talk about a missed opportunity).

MEH SONGS

  • Watarasebashi (Goto Version) – It wasn’t that long and yet we get another H!P artist covering this Chisato Moritaka ballad?  Likewise with Aya’s last year it’s in no way a bad ballad, but I don’t think Maki needed to cover this so soon after Aya’s if you get me.  Even then, I think Gocchin has much better ballads out there.  Though I do like the acoustic solo in the bridge, but otherwise not that interesting to me.
  • Renai Sentai Shitsu Ranger (Goto Version) – Maybe it’s just me but I was curious to this version of last year’s Nochiura Natsumi single getting covered, but I spose it’s similar to when the Gomattou girls did their own version of “SHALL WE LOVE?”.  That said, this solo cut feels weaker than the original mostly in the arrangement (and the curiosity of why it’s longer?).  Maki sounded fine though, it just lacked the oomph the original had…
  • 19sai no Hitorigoto – Appropriate enough, the album closes out with a ballad in 19sai no Hitorigoto and it does sound more grander than other ballads on the album, but these are the ones that pretty much put me asleep.  I will say Gocchin gave a great performance and the strings/piano/drums are doing a good job, but this wasn’t my kind of song.
  • Suppin to Namida. – Which hurts moreso because Suppin to Namida. was the A-side to come out after her 3rd album and it carries a lot of the same instrumentation found in “19sai no Hitorigoto” which really killed the mood for me.  The only difference is the melody which is fair, but like two similar songs one after the other just didn’t help me.
  • Sayonara no LOVE SONG (Junjou Version) – So right from the beginning, I knew that they changed the arrangement a bit for this A-side.  Instead of strings and whatnot, it’s more like this odd harpsichord and it kind of adds this classy feel to it that seems to feel odd with the drums and bass that enters further in the song.  Still, doesn’t make me enjoy the song better or less.
  • “Hatachi no Premium” – As the other new track on the album, “Hatachi no Premium” ends off her best album in a more exciting and upbeat way.  It does feel weak of a song to me as it just reminds me of “Ganbacchae!” in the weirdest way but it lacks the arrangement’s exciting glow.  This just feels cheesy and doesn’t quite fit?
  • THANK YOU MEMORIES (Korean Ver.) – So when the best album released in Korea, it came with two more tracks which were Korean versions of two of her A-sides.  I wasn’t surprised with Suppin to Namida. getting the treatment as it was her most recent single.  Now I can’t fully say, but I’m not as impressed with her Korean, but I can’t totally say it doesn’t sound terrible either.  While vocally it does make Maki seem weaker singing this ballad, but that’s just me.  Not really all that great IMO still.

ICKY SONGS

  • Ekizo na DISCO – Not really sure what was being passed around the offices the they decided to make this song the opening track for Maki’s 3rd album, but it’s just annoying and really creepy all-around with the demon Tsunku lyrics and Gocchin’s odd try being sexy and whispery which was more distracting than anything (honestly the arrangement isn’t bad, but everything else is terrible!).

Overall: I’m not sure what to say about Gocchin’s 2005, it was kind of not as busy as last year that’s for certain but like her releases were all over the map.  I mean her 3rd album was kind of middle-of-the-road as well as her single but two best albums is bizarre and I really wasn’t sure if H!P knew what they wanted to included in Premium Best XD

Aya Matsuura

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Like Maki, Aya had a break year too, but even moreso!  She did begin the year in February with her single, Zutto Suki de Ii Desu ka before releasing two best albums (like Maki), Aya Matsuura Best 1 & 2005 Nendo Genteiban Single Best at the end of March.

The last thing she did was another single, Ki ga Tsukeba Anata in September.

GREAT SONGS

  • Yume – Ahhhh, I was hoping Ayaya would return with something more sassier and with Yume, she tackles a more Soulful side to her music and I really dug the groove and the jazzier setting.  Figures also that Aya really puts on a show with this song and to no surprise it ended up being more memorable than its A-side!

OK SONGS

  • Zutto Suki de Ii Desu ka – As the single preceding her best album, Zutto Suki de Ii Desu ka is such an interesting tune as I feel like it could be an anime theme in a strange ay especially with the chords and the additional sax melody but also with the deep bass throughout.  I also really fell in love with the guitar solo in the bridge too.  Yeah, this is a pretty nice song and makes up for the last couple.
  • Sougen no Hito (TSUNKU♂Mix) – So unlike Maki’s best where there was a lot of new versions of old songs, Aya only got two new versions.  Sougen no Hito was a pretty big hit for Aya and it’s no surprise it got a new edition, but this new Tsunku cut (he also worked on the original), but it does feel like a single recording as Ayaya’s vocals sound more live than in the original studio version.  I suppose it’s nice but nothing special?
  • Ki ga Tsukeba Anata – Her first A-side after her best albums and I’m finding myself happy with what we got which is a little more upbeat with some rock elements about it.  While it doesn’t show that Aya is going back to more silliness anytime soon, this might come close with its lightheartedness.  It’s pretty good overall!
  • Yuujou ~Jou Kalbi~ – I kind of was hoping for another jazzy track for its B-side but Yuujou kind of takes similar instrumentation from “Ki ga Tsukeba Anata” and took it a little slower and we got this track.  Not sure where I stand with it because while the arrangement is a bit sleepy, Ayaya sounds nice here too….

MEH SONGS

  • Kanousei no Michi (2005 Version) – I am pretty curious to why this song was chosen as I don’t recall seeing this being much of a popular song (since it’s not performed much currently).  This new take on this track from her 3rd album features more of Aya in the front and yet less instrumentation leaving with acoustic guitar and strings.  Unfortunately it doesn’t stand out and really bores me sadly.

Overall: It seems like Aya made this year the one to release the best album, but I think she got the short end of the stick with just 6 tracks to look at this year.  Though the mood of her music has seriously matured and I feel like she’s left the idol-pop side of her behind.  Not sure if I like it entirely though…

Kaori Iida

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So the only release Kaorin did for 2005 was her 4th album, Plein D’Amour ~Ai ga Ippai~ which she released in December.

GREAT SONGS

  • IRRESTIBLEMENT ~Anata no Toriko~ – Oh hey, it seems Kaori is doing something a bit more progressivly upbeat and more interestingly, she’s singing this entirely in French and I kind of like the change of pace on the album (which is about midway).  While I can’t exactly comment on Kaori’s pronunciation here, it seems like she did as best as she could and her light voice works with the more upbeat arrangement fronted by strings.  Yeah, this was pretty nice!
  • Eureka no Kaze – Hey, another upbeat track to listen to!  I really like the ethnic opening to the track before Kaori begins singing for sure but even when she does start singing the track really catches my attention.  Not sure what else to say, but it’s just a really good track here.

OK SONGS

  • Sakura no Hana ga Saku Koro – It seems this was the song that promoted the album (I’m only guessing because it was on Petit Best 6 of all things).  This tune seems to follow a lot of what her last album had which is more of a dramatic strings angle like “Aegekai ni Dakarete” did.  It’s not a bad tune and feels more of the same good things that were from her previous album.
  • Onaji Basho de – I feel like Kaori is bringing back that Mediterreanean feel back on this album with the return of the accordion alongside the rather soft arrangement with acoustic guitar and bongos.  Kaori though sounds really nice and tune’s overall melody is just hypnotic and pretty to listen to.  Another sweet song!
  • Souvenir – More of that shuffling, airy light feel continues on the album with Souvenir and while it lacks the accordion that “Onaji Basho de” has, the song instead has a fluttery flute instead and I just feel like I’m sipping coffee outside in Italy or Greece.  It’s just that chill and such a moodmaker.  Not bad!
  • Hirahira to – Next song up, Hirahira to is one of the more middle-of-the-road songs from the album as while it does give me gondola vibes while listening to it, it also doesn’t quite stand out like most of the other tracks found on the album.
  • Ai no Kotoba – I think what catches my interest about Ai no Kotoba is that it’s a LOT like “Souvenir” with the same relaxed and laidback arrangement (even including that lovely flute).  I guess it’s pretty much a clone of a song, but these kinds of songs really somehow works with me.

MEH SONGS

  • Bloom – As the opening to the album, Bloom was such an odd song to listen to that’s for sure.  It feels like Kaori jumped back a couple decades for this song.  It feels like some fluffy 60’s song with some oldie flute melody.  I mean Kaori does sound really pretty in the song, but otherwise the song just doesn’t work for me.
  • LA NOTTE DELL’ADDIO ~Wakare no Yoru~ – So after the French song, we jump into a song sung in Italian and honestly, this like “Bloom” feels like it’s a style that was lost a long time ago with this CASIO-heavy keyboarded ballad.  Yeah there’s just something rather cheaply made about this track and with the fact it’s a cover doesn’t quite make it better either.  At least Kaori sounds nice.
  • Mirai Yohou – Another slower song on the album, Mirai Yohou is kind of a completely sleepy song for me.  Initially, the harmonica was helping from the intro, but the rest of the song is very lowbrow and just kind of very boring (even when the chorus happens).  It’s just rather plain.
  • Mikka Okure no Christmas Card – I figured as much when I saw the title of the song, it was going to be more of a ballad and have some kind of Wintry feel to it.  Though I’m not sure if I’m into the keyboards being a main part of its arrangement and the jingle bells was making it more slower too.  Yeah, just a bit bland of a song.
  • Papillon – As the finale to the album, Papillon was kind of more of a bummer as a closing to the album as it’s another kind of straightforward mid-tempo track from Kaori.  I mean it’s fair enough being the closer. but there’s just nothing really sticking me to the song either.

Overall: Kaori really had a very quiet year for 2005 with just this album (which released towards the end of the year) and her only other appearance is in the Shuffle Unit for the year.  Still, nothing to interesting otherwise besides the album.

Natsumi Abe

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After the drama that happened the year previous, Nacchi recharged and returned in April with the single, Yume Naraba.  Then followed up with August’s Koi no Hana and a Hawaii-only best of mini-album, 2005 Nendo Genteiban Single Best.

Then she leaves us with Takaramono in November, which is curiously credited as “Sen” as that was the main character of the drama the song was tied to.

GREAT SONGS

  • Koi no Hana – After the sleepy A-side previous, Koi no Hana does a little better of a job at catching my attention, but it skates across that 90’s R&B feel that Maki is more known for.  It is pretty different and maybe would’ve been better as the A-side after “Datte Ikitekanakucha”.  It’s glossy and Nacchi sounds cute if not slightly thin, but it’s a decent A-side!
  • Aozora – I was surprised a lot that I ended up really liking the B-side to “Takaramono” a lot more than the main track and it’s mainly the feel that Aozora is more folksy and more easy listening than I thought it’d be.  Though I really love the verses, it ives a mystical vibe to the song and it really caught my attention.  Yeah, this was pretty great!

OK SONGS

  • Yume Naraba – As the first A-side released in the year, Yume Naraba was more of what I was expecting with the tune being a mid-tempo R&B track with some pretty sweet vocals from Nacchi.  Like many of the songs this year though, it’s pretty much in the middle for as it’s not one of her more standout A-side, but it isn’t a bad track overall.
  • Ai Hitohira – As the B-side from “Koi no Hana”, Ai Hitohira takes a more chilled out respones as it’s got some jazy guitar with a more mellow tone that kind of is soothing and really works with Nacchi’s light vocals too.  I do think the solo in the bridge is the olnly strange part, but otherwise I quite dug this one!
  • Takaramono – So this A-side really pulls things back for Nacchi as it’s a ballad for her. Initially, I wasn’t really into the strings/acoustic guitar approach for the song, but it does somehow grows as things move by and the arrangement grows to add some more instrumentation.  While it isn’t a song I would personally go back for, this is one of the better produced ballads in the year.
  • Takaramono (another side) – So the single came with an alternate version of the leading track where it’s even more laidback and quiet with light acoustic guitar and sounds of nature playing in the background.  Even Nacchi sounds more calmer here making the song feel a bit more sleepy.  It does grow like the original, but the instrumentation is different to fit this version.  It’s an interesting version to say the least and I might come to like it more than the

MEH SONGS

  • Sora LIFE GOES ON – What is up with the ballads this year?  It feels like they’re all rather throwaway and rather forgettable.  This B–side from “Yume Naraba” slows things down even further and kind of just feels like another ballad in H!P for me and with the only nice feature is the electric guitar that kicks up during the 2nd verse.  The kind of adds a little something, but not enough to make me remember more.

Overall: With kind of the same route that Aya took with her year, Natsumi’s 2005 was pretty light in releases, but at least the releases were solid and makes up for that space she had in the later half of last year.  Pretty good year!

Berryz Kobo

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A lot of interesting things happened for Berryz this year oddly enough.  So they released three singles to kick things off with Special Genera~tion (March) , Nanchuu Koi wo Yatteruu YOU KNOW? (June), and 21ji Made no Cinderella (August).

Though in September, it was shockingly announced that Maiha Ishimura was going to be graduating from the group to go back and focus on studies and left the group in October.

Though at the mid of November they did a trilogy of releases in a month’s time.  Starting with the group’s sophomore album, Dai ② Seichouki, a new single in Gag 100kaibun Aishite Kudasai, and a weird mini-album, Special! Mini Best ~2.5maime no Kare~ to round the year off.

GREAT SONGS

  • Special Genera~tion – Why am I not surprised that Special Genera~tion would go onto become one of Berryz’ most popular hits in amongst the A-sides they released.  I love the energy and how relentless the group sounds in the track (considering Miyabi, Risako, Yurina, and Momoko has the most standout solos throughout).  It’s just a song that really sticks to you and it’s just ridiculously awesome!
  • Nanchuu Koi wo Yatteruu YOU KNOW? – The follow-up single after their big hit was surprising because they went back to mature vibes for this one, but with a heavier electronic arrangement here.  It was an instant like out of me despite that the front 4 only having lines.  Regardless, the tune is upbeat and something I really needed from H!P in 2005.
  • Sabori – I think of the songs from the album, Sabori really stuck out to me with it’s really unique arrangement and slight 80’s feel to it.  Plus it’s just nice to hear everyone singing together and they sound as powerful as they did in “Nanchuu Koi wo Yatteruu YOU KNOW?” and I appreciates that.  The chorus could’ve had a bit more tempo added, but the song is really nice!
  • Gag 100kaibun Aishite Kudasai – When this trilogy of releases happened with Berryz, I was wondering what they could do with the knowledge that it’d be a song tied to the rather popular Precure series and the first A-side post-Maiha as well.  Though we did get a clear direction from their 2nd album.  Gag 100kaibun Aishite Kudasai was just out of left field being incredibly cutesy and goofy and it helped with Momoko leading the song (with the other girls playing roles behind).  Just a great song overall and Berryz doing goofy fun right!

OK SONGS

  • Yume de Do Up – This laidback B-side from “Nanchuu Koi wo Yatteruu YOU KNOW?” is a bit different for the group giving us a lighter affair of a song with it’s tropical feel and it’s pretty unique for them.  I do like that the group evened out the lines (to the point where Maasa, Chinami, Maiha, and Saki gets lines in the verses).  It’s a pretty good B-side though and makes me want more songs like this…actually it oddly reminds me of “Ai to Taiyou ni Tsutsumarete” from Momusu too!
  • 21ji Made no Cinderella – Something retro comes this way with 21ji Made no Cinderella, but it was more felt like a cutesy girly track which makes sense with the title.  Of course like the other A-sides the main 4 lead (but curiously Chinami got a solo in the 2nd verse).  That said, it doesn’t quite reach the levels like the previous two singles managed to do and once again doesn’t feel like Maiha left much of an impact as this was her final A-side.
  • Joshi Basketbu ~Asaren Atta Hi no Kamigata~ – As the first new track off their album, Joshi Basketbu is of course something a bit more youthful for the group and might remind me of “21ji Made no Cinderella” in a couple ways but this time the focus is on Saki, Chinami, Maasa, and Yurina here while the other three have more minor roles in the song.  Not bad and keeps the group going…good song!
  • Ohiru no Kyuukei Jikan. – Slowing things down for a rather mid-tempo and relaxing tune, Ohiru no Kyuukei Jikan. is kind of like the song that’s almost filler, but it’s like a happier “Bye Bye Mata ne” in the way it’s got that nice togetherness about it.  I do like conversation with the back girls and having the main 4 song is nice too.  It’s just a feel good song.
  • Nigiyaka na Fuyu – When it came to the B-side from the Precure single, I kind of thought it was just bland and kind of boring.  I did like that it was upbreat and whatnot but after listening to “Gag 100kaibun Aishite Kudasai”, this was tame in comparison.  Add on that there’s no solos and I was ready to write it off.  Though I did learn that Mari Yaguchi was in the song (her first time singing in a H!P song since her leaving Morning Musume back in April (this single was in November).  Still, the fact she didn’t get no solos either kind of bummed me out a bit.  It’s OK, but nothing spectacular.

MEH SONGS

  • Koishiteru Toki wa Itsumo… – With the B-side from “Special Genera~tion”, I wasn’t quite sure what they were going for here.  I mean I’m liking more of an equal line distribution well mostly (curiously why Risako got one solo and Maasa didn’t get any at all).  Add on that the song really didn’t leave much on me, but I do like the high notes Captain and Momoko try for together in the chorus.
  • Himitsu no U・ta・hi・me – I think I get the same feelings with this B-side as I did with “Koishiteru Toki wa Itsumo…” with being more of a middle track that’s supposed to be more cuter for the group.  I will say I do like hearing more of the back girls and Maiha got a lot of presence in the song too.  Though I’m not too fond of the way they sing the chorus so mechanically.  Just kind of a bland song here.
  • Aisuru Hito no Namae wo Nikki ni – One of the more forgettable songs from the album, Aisuru Hito no Namae wo Nikki ni would be best described as a country ballad (like early Country Musume style) with acoustic & slide guitars with light drums filling the rest.  Maybe it’s just me, but like younger ladies like Berryz stick out like sore thumbs trying to be (in love) and given such a slow-moving tune.  Yeah, it’s just meh…
  • Berryz Kobo Koushinkyoku – For being titled a March, this song does not quite fit that bill here!  The tune is pretty much the last track and fair enough it’s kind of celebratory with the girls chanting and being so lively.  Though likewise, I’m kind of annoyed by it and just doesn’t really leave much of an impression otherwise.
  • Arigatou! Otomodachi – As part of the last in the trilogy, the group released a weird best mini-album to kind of bring in the Holiday season, which only included one new song out of the 6 on the mini-album and Arigatou! Otomodachi kind of fits that Wintry feel.  Although I can’t help that it reminds me of “Nigiyaka na Fuyu” off the single prior to this release minus Marippe and actually having solos.  I know it’s one of the more popular songs Berryz had, but I just didn’t get it.

ICKY SONGS

  • Special OP – It’s basically the intro to their sophomore album, but it’s roughly 50 seconds long and honestly reminds me something Minimoni would’ve for an intro.  Lots of brass in a fanfare-like way and it does play a melody (not sure from what song though, it that’s the case…well probably “Berryz Kobo Koushinkyoku”).  I guess it makes sense, but doesn’t really work with “Special Genera~tion” right after.
  • Special END – I suppose, the way the album ending with a relaxing melodic lullaby using the melody from “Berryz Kobo Koushinkyoku” is cute and all but with the group having conversation over it is a bit distracting since it’s so jumbled and unclear what they’re talking about.  It’s an ending I suppose…

Overall: When it came to Berryz, they had a pretty interesting year with their releases especially that smushed schedule towards the end of the year.  Sad to see Maiha graduate (Future talk: luckily no one else left the group after this) but after thinking about it, she was a back member and really didn’t have a LOT of highlights, but still sad nonetheless.  Curious to see where Berryz go after such a strong year in releases!

W

W2005

koinofugueAi no Imi wo Oshiete! 40misslovetantei2nd W 3

W had a pretty straightforward year I’d say in 2005.  They kicked off the year with February’s single Koi no Fuga before releasing their sophomore album, 2nd W a month later.

The rest of the year only had two singles from them; May’s Ai no Imi wo Oshiete! and September’s Miss Love Tantei.

GREAT SONGS

  • Koi no Fuga – I mean I wasn’t surprised W would return to do another cover song for an A-side and it shows heavily with Koi no Fuga.  There’s just a lot of like 40’s/50’s big band sound and I’m just loving the swing of things and Aibon and Nono sound really nice especially together (helps that I really liked it after their first album).  It’s just slick and cool and great albeit surprisingly short too…so sad!
  • Dekoboko Seventeen – What I wasn’t expecting was after the intro, they turned the dance beats up even further and boy this song was just punchy and really aggressive for a song from W.  I really liked arrangement here and it’s just fits well after stuff like “Sentimental Boy” and “Samishii Nettaigyo” but the difference was that it was an original track so it was a nice surprise!  Plus, Ai and Nozomi are just killing it.  Yeah, loving it!
  • Ai no Imi wo Oshiete! Back to original A-sides again, I’m pretty happy with that.  I really don’t know why they chose to once again the technopop route for this A-side, but the video game-esque sounds and groove really caught my attention and boy they really cake it up for this one and I’m here for it.  Ai and Nozomi sound so adorable and suits the style of the song entirely.  It’s definitely one of my favorite A-sides from them.
  • Miss Love Tantei After the cuteness of the previous single, Miss Love Tantei is more dance-focused and the beats are pretty cool and the duo sounds sassy and cool (especially that rap section with mostly Tsuji at the front).  It’s just a cool track and really showed off some versatility between the two so it’s another winner here!
  • FRIENDSHIP – Kind of surprised that the B-side to “Miss Love Tantei” kind of had a similar genre going on, but unlike the sassiness of the leading track, FRIENDSHIP is happier and has some really nice vocals (mostly from Aibon here).  It’s just catchy and the energy is there too!  I was pretty surprised with this one!

OK SONGS

  • Furimukenaide – With the B-side from “Koi no Fuga”, Furimukenaide sounds also like a cover song as well since it’s got an oldie kind of groove to it and it’s a bit more playful with the duo using their higher range throughout.  It’s a nice ditty of a song but not quite as punchy like its A-side which really stood out to me.
  • Samidare Renka – Sandwiched between “Robokiss” and “Aa Ii na!”, we have Samidare Renka and it was a bit bizarre being as the album’s first ballad.  I actually was intrigued by its placement but was ready to listen to them tackle it and it feels more like Aibon led the song while Nono was kind of backup here.  Though I am happy that Ai is leading as her vocals work in such a lighter setting.
  • Dakishimenaide ~Nikkitsuki~ – Another lighter track from the album, Dakishimenaide is a little more interesting than “Samidare Renka” by being a bit more like a lighter R&B track.  It’s not bad, but it does remind me of something that could’ve been featured back on Minimoni’s last album.  It’s almost crossing into meh territory, but it’s still got something relaxing about it.
  • 18 ~My Happy Birthday Comes!~ – After that odd March, we get into 18 ~My Happy Birthday Comes!~ and I was instantly hooked with the kind of funky/disco-ish arrangement and bright atmosphere.  Once again, the duo’s vocals bring a lot of color to the song and together, 18 was just a really solid track!
  • Juushichi no Natsu – While quite not as heavy as “Dekoboko Seventeen”, Juushichi no Natsu is kind of a technopop track and it’s much more of a cuter approach as well.  I definitely get reminded of some of the other technopop tunes around this time and while Nono & Aibon sing pretty decently, it’s kind of in the middle for me.
  • 17sai yo Sayonara (ARRIVERDERCI) – I was wondering what was coming with this track which had a capitalized Italian word in its title, but it seems like this is another cover song (like “Juushichi no Natsu”) but unlike the mentioned song, this one is slowed way down to a more softer, jazzier song and I can appreciate this a lot as both members sound really nice and the mood is super relaxing!  One of the more surprisingly good songs from the album.
  • Jinx – What an interesting B-side that “Ai no Imi wo Oshiete!” had as it’s a total 180 from the leading track.  In some ways it reminds me of “Robokiss” with the whispy singing in the verses, but then the chorus is a bit more darker?  I think the song is unique and keeps my attention throughout.  Yeah not bad!

MEH SONGS

  • W no Theme – No surprise when I find out there album opens with a introduction track and it seems this may be a theme W could use for performances.  The first half isn’t quite all that interesting, but once the dance beats enter and W start to sing, I was slightly intrigued but at the same time annoyed at how repetitive things was.
  • Mada Mou Chotto Amaete Itai – As the album’s closer, Mada Mou Chotto Amaete Itai doesn’t seem like the song to close the album (honestly would’ve preferred “17sai yo Sayonara” to have closed the album out) and it’s kind of a weaker song from them because the style just feels Western and sort of forgettable in a way.  I don’t know, I just didn’t connect with this one.

ICKY SONGS

  • Daburuyuu Joshi Koutou Gakkou Kouka – Boy, I was NOT expecting the duo to really return back to those Minimoni days for this track and this really threw the album off track with how ridiculously kiddy it came off.  Plus, the background vocals don’t really help the situation, but at least unlike “Berryz Kobo Koushinkyoku”, this IS in fact a March.  Still, I really couldn’t understand why it was on the album if anything.
  • INTERLUDE – Seeing as it kind of a weird 25 second transition track, I was pretty thrown off by it because “Koi no Fuga” fades out for its ending it leads into INTERLUDE with the duo kind of being super excited and loud while “Juushichi no Natsu” kind of begins.  Pretty useless though otherwise and makes me question its inclusion to the album.

Overall: I would say W had a pretty good 2005 (which I can’t really say much to other acts of the year).  They had 3 rather strong singles and a fun sophomore album to throw too, it seems they really got their style going and I can’t wait to see what 2006 brings (*cough*).

v-u-den

vuden05

kacchoizeajisaiaiaihitorijimekurenainokisetsuSuite Room Number 1

So it seems v-u-den had a pretty straightforward year it seems and was happy to see them release more after “Koi no Nukegara”.  So their year had 4 singles; Kacchoii ze! JAPAN (in March), Ajisai Ai Ai Monogatari (in May), Hitorijime (in August), and Kurenai no Kisetsu (in October)

Then at the end of October, the trio would release their first album, Suite Room Number 1.

GREAT SONGS

  • Ajisai Ai Ai Monogatari – With their 3rd single, v-u-den seemed to take things a bit more seriously with Ajisai Ai Ai Monogatari and it’s pretty cool, but I could also see people thinking it’s a little strange.  It’s mostly due to the tick-tock/snap effect played in various places like the pre-chorus and choruses.  Also REALLY happy to see a lot of Erika in the track too!  There’s just something interesting about the song that really stood out (besides the herky-jerky moments) but this song flows so nicely otherwise.  Great song!
  • Aimai Me MIND – I definitely wasn’t expecting Aimai Me MIND to be more danceable than it’s A-side, but I was happily taken aback by the different feel of the song being more darker and sullen.  Plus all 3 members just get solos left and right which felt great to hear.  I’m starting to see that members are slightly unique in vocal tone and easily could tell them apart.  Another underrated gem to be quite honest.
  • Kurenai no Kisetsu – As the group’s 5th single, it’s been always something different with each release so I was so interested to hear this and this one is a little closer to “Kacchoii ze! JAPAN” with it’s tone and style, but it’s a little more romantic in a way.  It’s not a typical song and I’m liking vocals here a lot with the harmonies and back and forth stuff that happens in the prechorus.  Yeah, this was neat too and a song that’s quickly growing on me.

OK SONGS

  • Kacchoii ze! JAPAN – As the trio’s 2nd single together, Kacchoii ze! JAPAN is definitely not like their debut, instead being upbeat and danceable and less rockin’!  I will say, I adore the addition of some traditional Japanese elements, but there’s just something odd about the song maybe from Rika leading most of it to the weird English lyrics in the verses.  Even the PV was kind of a bit random as well.  Just an odd A-side for them!
  • Bi ~Hit Parade~ – So the B-side from “Kacchoii ze! JAPAN” is also kind of a weird one for me to listen to but it’s in no way a bad song.  I’m liking the better line distribution (both Rika & Yui have the most lines) and with Yui having a bit more edge in her voice than before, but the arrangement is a bit thin, especially with the verses.  There’s a lot of bass, but not much else involved and the chorus isn’t much improvement as well.  Maybe not as strong as its leading track, but I suppose it’s fine.
  • Hitorijime – After the really impressive “Ajisai Ai Ai Monogatari”, I was curious to see where v-u-den would go next and Hitorijime wasn’t quite the direction as this time they follow more to the 90s R&B sound for this track.  I can’t quite say it’s the most interesting A-side they have because it doesn’t quite bring much to the table and I guess seeing the line distribution be this even is great!  Still, kind of plain otherwise.
  • Ai ~Suite Room~ – In one of the few rare occasions, they gave a PV to an album song and in this case it was this song for v-u-den.  We return to more of that cutesy style for Ai, but this is more dance pop in a way and a little more refreshing for the group.  I could’ve lived without the English background singers, but I still find myself enjoying the tune!
  • Tea Break – Maybe I put a little too much hope for this one because the introduction was giving me some nice 80s vibes and the beat was heavier and cooler, but once the trio comes in, the song lightens up a fair bit.  That’s not to say its bad though because it’s another song that does a good job highlighting Rika, Erika, and Yui.  I think it could’ve been better but what we got was decent.
  • Kuchibiru Kara Ai wo Choudai – Of the album songs, I think Kuchibiru Kara Ai wo Choudai has the most intriguing arrangement going for more of an Arabian tone and with the vocal stylings from all 3 members.  It’s suppose to be a little more silly but it contrasts with its broad sounding chorus.  Yeah, I’m really enjoying this song too!

MEH SONGS

  • Owaranai Yoru to Yume  – With Owaranai Yoru to Yume, I think slowing down and making it kind of pop/rock but not really is an easy way to make things boring and plain and unfortunately, while “Hitorijime” was OK at the end of the day, its B-side is pretty forgettable.  I even think the trio sounded a bit dead too and didn’t work with the arrangement.
  • Naishin Kyaakyaa da wa! – Wow, I didn’t expect another B-side to essentially disappoint me, but I immediately knew that with how bubbly and upbeat the arrangement was, it wasn’t going to last long with me.  I think the keyboards of the song make it sound older than it should and has a certain old H!P feel to it.  The trio doesn’t sound bad, but there’s been better songs.
  • Kurakura Dinner Time – Another album song, Kurakura Dinner Time kind of suffers the same fate as “Naishin Kyaakyaa da wa!” with its kind of bland cutefulness here.  I mean the clapping rhythms are nice, but why do I get this odd feeling that it sounds like that damn Ecomoni song…?  I really couldn’t be bothered with this song and it’s just weak for me.
  • Magokoro no Michi – After the catastrophe that was “Pajama na Jikan”, Magokoro no Michi marks as the final track beore the outro and once again we’re dealing with a ballad, but it’s not as crap as the aforementioned track.  There’s the typical instrumentaion (strings & piano) and a softer presentation from the trio.  That said though, it’s not my kind of song so it’s just blah to me.

ICKY SONGS

  • Check-in –  The opening to their album is a 50 second track that only has the them arriving to a hotel (makes sense with the album’s theme), pretty much a conversation, little odd that it leads into “Kacchoii ze! JAPAN” but it’s whatever.
  • Pajama na Jikan – I think the only song that really disappointed me was the tune which is supposed to be a lullaby which is nice on paper, but how they did this song was just a bit terrible here.  The song itself is a bit too slow for me and it pretty much drags on, but I think what’s worse is that in the prechorus, Yui has these incredibly high notes she’s singing for like 8 measures and they are just too much for me to handle and ruins the song if not already from the arrangement.
  • Check-out – So v-u-den’s album ends with the outro kind of tying together with the intro by having an alarm waking up and the Front Desk telling them it’s time to go as the trio start panicking to get ready to leave.  I mean it makes sense, but just odd?

Overall: I really liked v-u-den’s 2005 as there was a LOT of variety with their music and they’ve been pretty decent, they hotel-themed album was pretty interesting even if some of the songs were lukewarm.  I feel like with more time they’ll be even better and just have energy and power and a great look to them for the future!

DEF.DIVA

defydiva2005

Suki Sugite Baka Mitai

Interestingly enough in September, it was announced that a new group would be created with 3 of the soloists, (Natsumi AbeMaki GotoAya Matsuuraand Rika Ishikawa to form DEF.DIVA!  They only did release their one single for the year, October’s Suki Sugite Baka Mitai.

GREAT SONGS

  • Suki Sugite Baka Mitai – As the group’s debut, Suki Sugite Baka Mitai was a really interesting song feeling a bit more of an 80’s pop song with some dance beats and interestingly smooth vocals.  There’s just something about this that really catches my attention and it doesn’t help that all these vocals are all over the song.  It’s cool and catchy and fun to listen to, one of the best songs to release this year.

MEH SONGS

  • Suki Sugite Baka Mitai (CRAZY J-G JAZZ Remix) – So the single came with 2 remixes of the song and the first one is a jazz remix and it’s a little too freeform for me to really make this song work together.  I feel like the two ideas clash really harshly and it’s hard to focus on both the melody of the lyrics and the melody of the jazz instruments.  Yeah, it’s just a tad bit messy here.
  • Suki Sugite Baka Mitai (Joou Remix) – Oh?  Are we trying to recreate “SHALL WE LOVE?” with this remix?  Yeah, it seems that this remix brings in that old and tiresome 90’s R&B for this remix and while it definitely mixed the two ideas better than the Jazz mix, it’s still rather weak and kind of makes the song more bland ironically.

Overall: I kind of wonder why they keep beating a dead horse by grouping these members together repeatedly.  Though the twist in this one is Rika is a part of the group.  I guess it’s fine because their one A-side this year was really good!  Though I think the remixes are just no.  Curious to see if they continue into the next year!

Hello! Pro Egg

800px-Hello!_Pro_Egg_July_2005

The trainees this year weren’t all that active really, just maybe some concerts and what not but a couple things happen.

Maho Ohyanagi (July) and Miyuki Kawashima (September) left the program.

Then in October, the first Egg unit was created with Tomoiki Ki wo Uetai that included Yuuka Maeda, Arisa Noto, Konatsu Furukawa, Kanna Arihara, and Kaede Oose and debuted at the Culture Festival for environmental purposes (like Ecomoni beforehand).  Though they didn’t release any music in the year.

Other H!P Releases

OnnaKanashiiOtonaPetit Best 6 12

Quite a short list at the end huh?  Yeah, for some reason there weren’t many releases that were outside of the groups so all we ended up with the shuffle unit single which was unique because this time majority of H!P was not involved in it!

  • Sexy Otonajan (Fujimoto, Murakami, Natsuyaki) – They were given a sultry, bossa nova track, Onna, Kanashii, Otona.
  • Elegies (Shibata, Takahashi, Satoda, Tanaka) – This quartet had the danceable cool song, Inshouha Renoir no You ni.
  • Puripuri Pink (Nakazawa, Iida, Inaba, Yasuda) – With these 4, they were given the Autumn ballad, Hitoshirezu Mune wo Kanaderu Yoru no Aki.

And as always, we have Petit Best 6 which would be found at the end of the year.

GREAT SONGS

  • Onna, Kanashii, Otona – When it came to the shuffle units of 2005, I was pretty surprised that it was cut down to just 11 of the H!P members being involved, but things were settled in with the first song from Sexy Otonajan.  I really wasn’t expecting the song to be super sultry and have a sly and sexy glow to it, but I think it was more made by the fact by the vocals.  While I had no doubt Mikitty would kill it, I was more blown away by Megumi who just kind of owned it here.  Miyabi though kind of was the oddball of the three.  Still, this was a pretty nice song and definitely made me want Megumi to debut BADLY!
  • Inshouha Renoir no You ni – Though Elegies were definitely not slacking either for this single.  As the dance track of the single, Inshouha Renoir no You ni was just a cool and pretty neat track here.  With Ai-chan, Ayumin, Mai, and Reina in the song, I was quite surprised to just see this powerhouse (almost as if it’s like DEF.DIVA 2 with the great vocalists).  It’s just an awesome track and I really love the hooks in the song the most!  Another great 2005 song!

OK SONGS

  • Chokkan ~Toki to Shite Koi wa~ (LIVE Ver.) – Kind of odd that Petit Best 6 included a live version of the first Chokkan and not the 2nd one because that was the one promoted.  I mean, I’m not entirely sre what to say other than it’s a good live cut, but really why was this included?

MEH SONGS

  • Hitoshirezu Mune wo Kanaderu Yoru no Aki – Seeing the four members involved (Yuko, Kaori, Atsuko, and Kei) I was kind of hoping it would’ve been on par with the Elegies song, but for some reason that was a MISSED opportunity here.  First of all, it’s a ballad which is already kind of a bad sign, but it’s moreso when you learn that the song is sung entirely in unison so it kills interest altogether.  I don’t know, but the fakes in the background (not sung from the members, mind you) is just really odd too!

ICKY SONGS

  • HELP!! ~Ecomoni no Acchi Chikyuu wo Samasunda. 2005~ – Like I said, there’s just no hope for this song to really make much more of an impression, but since this is the 3rd take of the song, the magic is still not there and the song is more funny than serious as it should be.  Not sure what’s all different from this and the last time (maybe the raps?)  I don’t know, but this song just still is rather bad to me.

Gains and Losses

Gains

  • Koharu Kusumi
  • Tomoiki Ki wo Uetai
  • DEF.DIVA

Losses

  • Kaori Iida (from Morning Musume)
  • Rika Ishikawa (from Morning Musume)
  • Mari Yaguchi (from Morning Musume)
  • Maho Ohyanagi
  • Miyuki Kawashima
  • Maiha Ishimura

My H!P Ranking for ’05

  • 47. Mai Hagiwara (-3)
  • 46. Saki Nakajima (0)
  • 45. Chisato Okai (+2)
  • 44. Maimi Yajima (+1)
  • 43. Erika Umeda (0)
  • 42. Airi Suzuki (-13)
  • 41. Ayaka Kimura (+1)
  • 40. Asami Kimura (-10)
  • 39. Miuna Saito (-18)
  • 38. Yuki Maeda (-26)

(38-47 did not appear in any releases in the year)

  • 37. Atsuko Inaba (-26)
  • 36. Kei Yasuda (-18)
  • 35. Yuko Nakazawa (-10)
  • 34. Sayumi Michishige (+6)
  • 33. Koharu Kusumi (NEW)
  • 32. Maiha Ishimura (+6)
  • 31. Chinami Tokunaga (+10)
  • 30. Megumi Murata (+7)
  • 29. Asami Konno (-7)
  • 28. Maasa Sudo (-4)
  • 27. Saki Shimizu (+9)
  • 26. Mari Yaguchi (-9)
  • 25. Risa Niigaki (-6)
  • 24. Risako Sugaya (+10)
  • 23. Eri Kamei (+5)
  • 22. Momoko Tsugunaga (+17)
  • 21. Natsumi Abe (-19)
  • 20. Mai Satoda (-6)
  • 19. Yui Okada (+12)
  • 18. Makoto Ogawa (+5)
  • 17. Yurina Kumai (+16)
  • 16. Hitomi Yoshizawa (+16)
  • 15. Miyabi Natsuyaki (+20)
  • 14. Ai Kago (-10)
  • 13. Maki Goto (-8)
  • 12. Aya Matsuura (-6)
  • 11. Ayumi Shibata (+5)
  • 10. Reina Tanaka (+10)
  • 9. Megumi Murakami (+17)
  • 8. Hitomi Saito (+1)
  • 7. Kaori Iida (-4)
  • 6. Nozomi Tsuji (+4)
  • 5. Ai Takahashi (+2)
  • 4. Masae Ohtani (-3)
  • 3. Rika Ishikawa (+11)
  • 2. Miki Fujimoto (+6)
  • 1. Erika Miyoshi (+14)

So there you have it, probably one of the weakest years in Hello! Project in releases it feels like.  Here’s hoping the next year will impress better!!

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