Notes from the Idol PV Couch– Week 21 2017 (0528-0603)


Over at New School Kaidan, I write a few words about some of the recently released promotional videos. At times, this is a bit of a grueling task, and all of my thoughts can get a little scattered when multiple PVs are released on the same day. But, I always try to present the promotional videos in the best light possible, and I try to remember that each of these pieces of entertainment for your a me is actually the manifestation of a dream for some young girl or girls out there in Japan. Here then is a collection of those write-ups, with a few words sometimes added after a week+ of viewing.

This week, we come back with a vengeance with Promotional videos from:

Kobushi Factory – Sha la la! we can do this

From the first frames of the new Kobushi Factory, you can tell how “Sha la la! Yareru Hazu sa” will be themed. September 2 is Fujii Rio’s last date with the group, and this promotional video somewhat fictionalizes how those last few days will look. There are no teary goodbyes; instead there’s work, work, work! As the Factory girls plan their live from rehearsals to costumes to choreography, it’s clear that the drive of the group is the reward for Rio’s years in the Projects. I suspect that Rio wants to be remembered for her part of that brilliant rise of Kobushi Factory more than any individual accolades. This just seems to be the Kobushi way. Say goodbye to Rio when “Shalala! Yareru Hazu sa / Ee ja nai ka Ninja nai ka” is released on June 14, 2017.

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Kobushi Factory’s Fujii Rio announces her graduation

Fujii Rio (18), sub-leader of Kobushi Factory (こぶしファクトリー), announced her intention to graduate from her group and Hello! Project this morning. Via a translated statement, the founding member of Kobushi Factory expressed desire to follow her childhood dream of working as a teacher or nurse. Rio, who is from Aichi, plans to graduate this summer with the Hello! Project Summer Concert Tour, which runs from July 15 in Osaka to September 2 in Hiroshima (the tour will stop in Aichi on August 26 and 27). Rio will continue activities with Kobushi Factory and participate in the “Live Tour 2017 Spring ~PROGRESSIVE~“, the 4th Kobushi Factory single release “Shalala! Yareru Hazu sa / Ee ja nai ka Ninja nai ka” (June 14), and the release of the “JK Ninja Girls” movie (July 17). Continue reading

Hello! Project Power Rankings February 2017



Hello everybody, guest contributor TheNumber244 here to bring you up to date with the new month of Hello! Project Power Rankings. I’ll thank you very kindly for indulging me in my annual vacation, which explains the lack of H!P Power Rankings in January. Hawaii was wonderfully restorative, thank you for asking.

January always puts the girls of Hello! Project through the wringer of the company-wide Winter Concerts. This year brought two different productions: ~Crystal Clear~ and ~Kaleidoscope~. As for comings and goings, one group was suspiciously absent from the annual concerts: a prelude to the future of Hello! Project. Along those same lines, a couple of familiar faces announced their hiatus from the projects- both for health reasons. Of course, we will get to those absences in due course.

In concert news, Buono! will get a last hurrah after all! Tsugunaga Momoko, Natsuyaki Miyabi, and Suzuki Airi make a date with Yokohama Arena on May 22, 2017. No details about the performance have been made public, so you’ll have to wait for more info. For now, you can just mark your calendars.

In other news, Michishige Sayumi finally unveiled some plans for 2017. “SAYUMINGLANDOLL ~Saisei~” will run for 17 performances for M-Line Club members from March 19 through April 2. As yet there are no indications as to what will actually comprise these performances. Also, as a member of M-Line, I probably will not be reporting Sayumi’s latest news in this column after this month. Please follow her blog or Up Front Promotion to stay up-to-date.

And with that,
Rankings come on!

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Hello! Project Power Rankings December 2016



Hello everybody, TheNumber244 here to bring you up to date with the new month of Hello! Project Power Rankings.

It’s been an eventful month in the projects. November spawned two single releases, an album release, a graduation announcement, a first-time Nippon Budokan concert, and a new generation announcement! And, if that isn’t enough news, Michishige Sayumi revealed (after some numberplay and wordplay) her comeback to the entertainment industry on November 26, a full two years after her graduation. The only thing for certain now is that the pink one will return next year. Details will be announced, so look out for Yummy Sayumi!

And now,
Rankings come on!

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Be Kind, (Promotional Video) Rewind 20161120 to 20161126


Over at New School Kaidan, I write a few words about some of the recently released promotional videos. This is a collection of those write-ups, with a few words sometimes added after a week+ of viewing.

This week we have Promotional videos from Maplez, Tacoyaki Rainbow, Yumemiru Adolescence (REWIND EXCLUSIVE!), Oomori Seiko feat. Namahamu to Yakiudon, You’ll Melt More! , Rock a Japonica, Kobushi Factory, Tokyo Girls’ Style, and Pax Puella.


Maplez – Authentic Invention to Romantic Paranoid


Slated for a November 29, 2016 release, the seventh single from the newly christened Maplez’s (a.k.a. the idol group formerly known as Hiroshima Maple★S) 7th release receives a promotional video filled with cheer. Of course, I mean this literally since “Authentic Invention to Romantic Paranoid” shoots the girls’ dance performance using the pompoms like they were the Laker Girls. OK, that analogy is a bit of a stretch. The music is top notch, of course, with guitars crashing against Moog keyboards. Hopefully the name change will bring a national and international audience with it.

Rewind +
This one didn’t grow on me as much as I thought it would. I really like the keyboard sounds, but apart from that I’m not particularly enamored with the song. Perhaps the chorus isn’t catchy enough for me, or maybe there isn’t a member I could latch onto, or maybe the cheer motif doesn’t grab me as much as it might. Whatever the reason, Maplez “Authentic Invention to Romantic Paranoid” is just ‘fair’ in my book.

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Hello! Project Power Rankings November 2016

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Hello everybody, guest contributor TheNumber244 here to bring you up to date with the new month of Hello! Project Power Rankings.

October brought with it three single releases, the expectations for two more single releases, overseas concert performances, idol Halloween costumes, and more. But, even with that flurry of activity the news that dominates the here and now is Tsugunaga Momoko’s graduation from Country Girls, Hello! Project, and public life. You saw that correct: Momochi is hanging up the musubi. Technically, this news should belong in next month’s Power Rankings, and it still will appear there. But, in the here and now there is no bigger news. Momoko still has a few months with us- Momoko officially calls it quits on June 30, 2017 – exactly 15 years from the debut of Tsugunaga Momoka and the rest of the Hello! Project Kids.

And now,
Rankings come on!

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Hello! Project Power Rankings September 2016



H!P Power Ranking 201608

Hello everybody, guest contributor TheNumber244 here to bring you up to date with the new month of Hello! Project Power Rankings.

In Hello! Project news that doesn’t fit in these rankings, Tsubaki Factory gained three new members! The other Factory Girls picked up H!P Kenshuusei Ono Mizuho, Onoda Saori, and Akiyama Mao. These girls are some real jewels in the KSS system. Onoda Saori is an experienced idol having been a part of the local Shizuoka idol group Princess♪Ribbon and is also the voice of one of the main characters in Kopinks COSMOS. Akiyama Mao, meanwhile, is a noted skillful dancer whose KSS rival is/was … Ono Mizuho! Read more about the new members at my blog. Look for this group to accelerate forward in the coming months.

The other monumental event in August took place at Nippon Budokan. After about four years, the super group of the Hello! Project Kids reunited on their biggest stage. Along for the ride were Tsugunaga Momoko’s Country Girls and Suzuki Airi’s C-ute. Natsuyaki Miyabi probably had the biggest day, though. Not only did the August 25 event take place on Miya’s birthday, but the “New Natsuyaki Miyabi Group” finally received it’s name: Pink Cres. (that’s short for Pink Crescendo). Crescendo is a music term that directs musicians to gradually increase volume, which is the hopeful trajectory for this new group with new girls Nihei Yuuka and Kobayashi Hikaru. Best of luck girls!

Take the good with the bad, though. August saw a major announcement in the world of Hello! Project that flavored Buono! Fest with a bit of the bittersweet. We will get to that news shortly, but before we do, let’s look at Tsunku’s Aflac commercial.

And now,
Rankings come on!

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Hello Project Power Rankings August 2016

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Hello everybody, guest contributor TheNumber244 here to bring you up to date with the new month of Hello! Project rankings. This month in Hello! Project saw a new addition, a future foursome, and a TV Summer Spectacular. In addition, July saw nine performances of the Hello! Project 2016 Summer Tour- “Sunshine Parade” and “Rainbow Carnival”. Throw a new release on top of the mix, and it’s a wonder who will fall on top of the heap! Well, I did some of that work for you, so ease your seat back and get ready for the August Hello! Project Power Rankings!

And now,
Rankings come on!

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Kobushi Factory in Seventeen


Just a very quick visual post here. I just love the way the magazine styled our Factory Girls. H!P should take notice!

The Future of Hello Project Weekly Shounen Sunday 2016 no. 24


Always be wary of such a sweeping title. But, in this case Weekly Shounen Sunday may have things just about right with this selection of girls from Hello! Project.
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