Hello! Station 16- a Viewer’s Guide

Another week of Nakanishi Kana! This edition is packed with performances, and like last week, Kanana keeps the action coming at a decent pace. These performances seem to all come from Hello! Project’s recent Premium Live at Hibiya.
Opening to Hibiya premium live. Not much to say.

5:05 things get rolling with the new Kenshuusei/Juice single. I didn’t expect the next Juice=Juice single to be a collaboration with the rest of the Kenshuusei. I think we should just consider this a Kenshuusei release. I really think that Hello! Project have finally caught on to how important releases from all of their members. Also, since they seem to be serious about promoting through their ranks (finally), this experience is nothing but positive for all involved. How is the song? It’s a sing-along number punctuated with a nice trumpet. The choreography consists of a lineup of girls line dancing their way through. The inconsistency in performance level is obvious, but unexpected.

10:30 S/mileage perform new single, “Atarashii Watashi ni Nare!”. The song reminds me of a C-ute song. This is not unwelcome. I’m still not 100% sure I want a mature S/mileage, but I enjoyed this performance and song. A change of pace for these girls is welcome. Anything to keep Druacula-chan from being so damn hyper!

14:48 C-ute perform new single, also a double A-side, “Adam to Eve no Dilemma”. And, wow, those outfits are green and off the shoulder. The synth lead is back for this song- love it or hate it. I like the chorus of this song even if it ends with the strange robotic/dubstep sounds. And I just got distracted by Airi’s shoulder.

19:58 mitsui aika performs “Watashi no Miryoku ni Kizu” from Morning Musume’s “Platinum 9 Disco” album. This was a bit of a surprise. Other than Green Fields, we haven’t seen much of Mittens performing. She’s not my favorite performer, but I confess that I didn’t fast forward this immediately. Mitsui still sounds like off-pitch self. I know she’s probably out of practice, but then again she has never blown me away with a performance before.

Berryz Kobo’s latest double-A side, “Sayonara Usotsuki na Watashi” is performed next. I watched this performances closely to see if there is any difference between this Berryz and the pre-Miya co-captain Berryz. From the camera angles it was difficult to see much of choreography. Vocally, we seem to have returned to the Risako/Mia/Momoko Berryz lead- with a splash of Yurina. Maybe this is because I was concentrating on it too hard, but there seems to be more Miya than normal. Also, the singing parts are more challenging than we have seen in the recent releases. I’m sure I’ll be writing about this more, so I’ll stop here.

We get the beginning of “Chou Happy Song” abruptly cut short by Tsunku himself! The girls are seriously scared of this announcement! When Tsunku separates Berryz and C-ute, the girls’ confusion grows even more. We all know by now that this announcement revealed Berryz Kobo’s upcoming performance at Nippon Budokon.

Morning Musume performs “Resonant Blue” next. It’s very interesting to see this lineup perform the song from the Ai/Reina years. Riho, as expected, seems to have inherited all of the Ai lines in the song- and I imaging that Sakura should get the Reina lines now that Reina has graduated. I particularly enjoyed the prechorus part of this song where Sayumi and Mizuki take the Gaki/Eri choreography in the center. From the angles we get to see, the Michishige 11 do a great job with this song- not surprising since this group of girls and this song are very dance-centric. This was a highlight of the show (for me).

Finally, all the girls come out and sing “Love Machine”. I’ve seen this song performed so much, that I don’t know what to say. I’ll leave some stream of consciousness, how about that?
…whoa, Haruna in the center?…that’s a lot of girls…Hello Kitty again?…I might like the S/mileage outfits the best…oh, they’re still squeaky sounding…Mizupon line!…wait, what are those S/mileage shoes?…oh, hey there stage left Juice=Juice!…Did Uemura Akari just miss her cue?…yes, love is SO wonderful….Hello Kitty looks like she’s dressed like a granny in comparison…(spoiler tag) Kudo gets the final “Love Machine”

As befitting, we get a S/mileage song to close this extremely performance centered Hello! Station. In a remarkable change of mind, I find that I enjoy Dracula-chan’s voice more than I enjoy Takeuchi’s voice. I remember when the 2nd gen started, I figured that Akari would be the vocal standout when she learns to control her voice more. This hasn’t happened, and Meimi has improved dramatically. Kanyon’s still my favorite, though.

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