In the “better late than never” category, we’re going look at Kobushi Factory’s latest release “Sakura Night Fever / Chotto Guchoku ni! Chototsu Moushin / Osu! Kobushi Tamashii”. The sophomore single from the young group performed well selling 33,903 copies and hitting number one on the Oricon weekly charts. To date, the only other groups in the Hello! Project to place at the top spot are Morning Musume and Juice=Juice. Their achievement keeps the group in contention for best third fiddle in Hello! Project. Perhaps more diplomatically, I should say Kobushi Factory‘s second single raises the consistency and general level of Hello! Project. Looking at the H!P stable now we have Morning Musume clearly the flagship with sales over 100,000; C-ute consistently selling 60,000+ copies; Angerme at the 40,000 unit level; Juice=Juice surging to 40,000 units with a weekly number one; Country Girls hitting the 40,000 unit level; and Kobushi Factory at the 30,000+ level with a weekly number one. For H!P, if their lowest selling unit is still placing at the top of the charts, then things look pretty good.
Back to the single, Sakura Night Fever expands the sound of the Factory with an uplifting and energetic disco-inspired dance track. The chorus hooks listeners with the cheer “Fever! Fever!” As the group cheers, Kobushi Factory’s unified presence impresses me greatly. One gets the sense that the girls in the Factory enjoy each other’s company and work together well.
Spring is in full bloom, and the girls open up their smiles like … well cherry blossoms. This is probably the girliest we’ve seen from Kobushi Factory. The spring theme brings out pastel colors and floral patterns.
Oh a valentine for me?!
The girls also do a great job striking alluring poses. My twitter recently exploded with some Ogawa Rena fanboying. And I think rightly so: in my eyes she looks the best in these solo shots.
Suddenly, an Enka Inoue Rei appears
OK, Fujii Rio can play, too
Then there’s Taguchi Natsumi and her tree persona. The “face-in-th-whole” shtick works hilariously. I especially love Inoue Rei and Hamaura Ayano playing with and teasing the tree.
The tree don’t like it
A jealous tree watching the picnic people
It’s enough to drive a good tree to drink
Weirdest night viewing ever
The second song from the triple a-side serves up a more obviously groovy “Chotto Guchoku ni! Chototsu Moushin”. The bass impressively funks things up with not only tasty licks but with enough space between notes to let the groove really breathe. Even better, the bass guitar serves an integral melodic role for the main “Chototsu Moushin” melody. Additionally, a fun organ part really brings things together with the brass accents. But really, take a listen to that organ in the instrumental sections. It’s wicked!
This particular song raised eyebrows for its pedigree with Maeyamada Kenichi (Hyadain) providing the lyrics and composition. There was a while when I was begging for a Hyadain x H!P project, and now I finally have one! Speaking musically, “Chotto Guchoku ni! Chototsu Moushin” delivers the most pure instrumental arrangement of the three, which I would not have expected given Hyadain.
Boom! Wada Sakurako!
Like everything Kobushi Factory does, the vocal delivery for “Chotto Guchoku ni! Chototsu Moushin” doesn’t hold back. Attitude laden growls fill the song’s verses and choruses. Shockingly, none of the attitude sounds forced or faked. H!P took a big chance with the vocals: a group with less spunk would have turned the song into a parody.
For this outing, the girls wear monochromatic skirts and blazers which either makes them look like waitresses or game show hosts. Seeing the outfits in front of the sparse set accented with only red lights makes sense.
A wall constructed from cubical foam blocks serves as the main set piece for “Chotto Guchoku ni! Chototsu Moushin”. One by one, the girls break through the wall in probably the most obvious metaphor in recent memory. For that, you should probably cue up some Doors.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the close up shots. There are some seriously pretty things going on here … and I’m not just talking about Renako anymore!
“Osu! Kobushi Damashii” sparkles with the kind of high concept goofiness that endear many to Hello! Project. Excessively color-keyed Ouendan costumes accented with leopard spots give the entire project a comic feel. Added to the boardroom scene, the promotion video becomes ripe for fantasy. In keeping with the Factory theme of the groups, “Osu! Kobushi Damashii” reminds me most of Berryz Koubou’s MADAYADE from 2008. It’s the same goofy fantasy on a theme.
The intensity level stays elevated as Kobushi Factory splits into to two opposing factions for the PV. The two sides sit opposite each other and interject animatedly with table slams and heated risings. I don’t know what they are arguing about, but there are allusions to mistakes made in the past. The conceit of the song seems to be an urge to carry ahead spiritedly despite past. Eventually the groups line up opposite each other and get into each other’s faces. The girls seem to really get into character with some priceless facial expressions.
While I love the board room set, these rows of chairs and the seated choreography also shine for this song.
It’s difficult for me to pick a favorite from these three songs. Kobushi Factory handle these three very different songs admirably. Consistent and intense, Kobushi Factory’s pace will lead them to great heights. While it’s only been two singles, let’s all wish for Kobushi to fight their way to the top once again.
You can buy Kobushi Factory’s “Sakura Night Fever / Chotto Guchoku ni! Chototsu Moushin / Osu! Kobushi Tamashii” at CD JAPAN