1st Lineup L to R: Mika Todd, Ai Kago, Mari Yaguchi, and Nozomi Tsuji
Wow…the oh-so famous Minimoni right? Well Minimoni was actually an idea thought of by Marippe when she thought to make a group consisting of members that are 4’11” or shorter in height which eluded to Aibon and Nono to be added as well. After performing a little bit in concerts Mika was added and we got the full team! This quartet went on for quite a long time and is mostly the lineup everyone thinks of when the name is mentioned. 7 singles and an album together, these four were essentially one of the most well-known sub-groups for all the weird reasons. They were a rowdy group (well Tsuji and Kago was against Marippe). However, 2002 came and Mari was going to graduate from Minimoni to front ZYX but before she left they made a movie pertaining on how she leaves and how we ended up with the next lineup.
2nd Lineup L to R: Nozomi Tsuji, Ai Takahashi, Ai Kago, Mika Todd
When the movie came out it seemed like Takitty would actually replace Mari in the group but the leader position was handed off to Mika. Now the way the singles were handed were a little unusual because Ai was involved in “Genki Jirushi no Oomori Song” but wasn’t involved in the Minihamuzu single after that and then started as a full member on “Rock ‘n’ Roll Kenchoushozaichi ~Oboechaina Series!~. Couple more singles were release (4 more after the previously mentioned song and an album) and then Mika Todd announced her graduation from H!P and the group went into hiatus.
Shin Minimoni L to R: Akari Takeuchi, Kanon Fukuda, Linlin, Karin Miyamoto
That is until the revival units of 2009 appeared and Minimoni was brought back from the dead with new ladies. We have at the time Kanon who was just starting her career with S/mileage and Linlin who was in Morning Musume together and then future S/mileage member Akari Takeuchi and STILL H!P Kenshuusei (then Hello! Pro Egg) member, Karin Miyamoto. They weren’t meant to stay together for long, released two tracks and went under (Linlin graduted).
Style of Music: Minimoni first generation was definitely geared at children especially the first couple of singles. It was different genres yes, but they were heavily genki and child-like. They also went by Minihamuzu also (which was they’re Hamtaro-shtick for a couple of singles) as well. It came to a head with Genki Jirushi no Oomori Song when 4KIDS and Takitty were involved and that was freaky…but then again, the previous single “Ai~n Taisou / Ai~n! Dance no Uta” was also beyond freaky XD. It was different from ANYTHING before this.
Once Takitty joined the group, things went in so many directions. Added to the childish nature of the group, Minimoni’s first two singles were actually educational songs and those were quite unusual and not really what I would perceive as Minimoni. However, the final two singles (disregarding the Minihamuzu single) were mature and hip-hop friendly…something that’s SOOO far away from Minimoni’s shtick. It wasn’t what I expected but it’s cool I guess.
Shin Minimoni’s style was more of going back to the good ole days when it was cute and catchy songs which works. Though I can’t seem to fathom why Linlin was in the group because it was just kind of out of left field but they did need an “outsider” so I guess it was her or Junjun.
- Minimoni. Jankenpyon! / Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu Daisukki!
- Minimoni. Telephone! Rin Rin Rin / Minimoni. Bus Guide
- Minihamuzu no Ai no Uta (first single as Minihamuzu)
- Minimoni. Hinamatsuri / Mini. Strawberry~ Pie
- Ai~n Taisou / Ai~n! Dance no Uta (collaboration with Bakatono-sama)
- Genki Jirushi no Oomori Song / Okashi Tsukutte Okkasui~! (first single with Ai T., collaboration with 4KIDS)
- Minihamuzu no Kekkon Song
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Kenchoushozaichi ~Oboechaina Series!~
- Minimoni. Kazoe Uta ~Ofuru Version~ / Minimoni. Kazoe Uta ~Date Version~
- CRAZY ABOUT YOU
- Mirakururun Grand Purin! / Pi~hyara Kouta (collaboration with Natsumi Abe, final Minihamuzu single)
- Lucky Cha Cha Cha!
- Together! -Tanpopo, Petit, Mini, Yuko- (joint release)
- Minimoni Song Daihyakka 1 Kan
- Minimoni Songs 2
I decided to put up Ai~n Dance no Uta up to show the first generation because while it’s not the group’s most popular song, it shows how random and crazy these girls are when they were active as Minimoni.
With the second lineup I was more inclined to show the immediate change the group’s sound went through when Ai-chan was added. It was pretty absurd and leaving the “child/educational” songs for this was a wake-up call to Minimoni’s fans!
I can’t believe that Shin Minimoni never really performed Tentoumushi no Samba. Anyways, this is Pen Pen Kyoudai and I don’t really enjoy hearing the song sung live since it’s yelled by 3/4 of the group…It does suit the group however lol.
Top 5 Favorite Songs:
Ai~n Dance no Uta
Genki Jirushi no Oomori Song
Vitamin Fusoku Kaishou Koukyoukyoku (album song from “Minimoni Song Daihyakka 1 Kan
CRAZY ABOUT YOU
Mini. Strawberry~ Pie
Other Things to Mention:
Well, Minimoni would be the first group/sub-group to have it’s own sub-group in Minihamuzu which is all four (and later on Ai) singing as their Hamtaro counterparts. Even 4KIDS and Nacchi seemed to have their own character in the series.
They would also be the first group to collaborate with someone that isn’t a part of H!P (Bakatono-sama in “Genki Jirushi no Oomori Song”).
I think Minimoni is the only group that has educational songs, if I’m not mistaken…?
Unusual to take notice but the entire time of Minimoni (not the revival unit) Mika has always dressed differently against the three other members of the group…just to point out that she was American. Isn’t that kind of racist? I also found it weird that Linlin was also the oddball because she was Chinese while Akari, Karin, and Kanon were Japanese…VERY ODD INDEED.
Overall: Personally, I never intially got into Minimoni because they were targeted towards little kids but certain songs have a certain spark that anime groups of today seem to lack and that’s fun! They were such an upbeat group and full of life and really did have 4 great ladies in it. I was a little disappointed but kind of charmed during Ai-chan’s days in the group but it was like two different ideas clashed and it didn’t make sense to me…though the Minihamuzu song was to me normal Minimoni-ness. While I love Shin Minimoni’s members, I only liked Tentoumushi no Samba…and disliked Pen Pen Kyoudai…but they brought back that youthful energy the original members had…I do miss this group amd thier songs are nostalgic and cute!