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 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.

Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

Hello! Project Power Rankings March 2016


Hello everybody, TheNumber244 reprinting my article from New School Kaidan here with the intention of bringing you up to date with the new month of Hello! Project rankings. With only one proper release on the schedule for March, it’s pretty clear who is perched atop the rankings for the month. Still unseen on the rankings is Tsubaki Factory, who released an indie mini-album in March titled “Tsubaki Factory SOUND + VISION Vol.1” during the Satoyama/Satoumi/HinFes event mid month. Having not heard the release myself, I can’t tell you much about it other than it contains their previous singles, “Seishun Manmannaka!” and “Kedakaku Sakihokore!”, and covers of “17sai” by Moritaka Chisato and “Cabbage Hakusho ~Haru Hen~” by Peaberry.

Speaking of the HinaFes, the events of March centered around “Hello! Project Hina Fest 2016” on March 19 and 20 at Pacifico Yokohama. Coinciding with the Satoyama/Satoumi event at the same venue, HinaFes has become a sort of “Spring Road Show” for the Projects as the groups showcase their upcoming Spring singles. Solo and small group performances with participants decided completely by lottery add a specialness to the performances as the member combinations can be completely unpredictable yet surprisingly sensical. Spread among the four performance dates this year we got solo performances from Juice=Juice’s Takagi Sayuki, Morning Musume ’16’s Fukumura Mizuki, Kobushi Factory’s Ogawa Rena, and Angerme’s Wada Ayaka. The small group performances brought us “trugranful” with Miyamoto Karin, Tamura Meimi, and Nakanishi Kana; “AAAa” with Uemura Akari, Suzuki Airi, Haga Akane, and Hamaura Ayano; “Tsubomi Factory” with Taguchi Natsumi, Nomura Minami, Niinuma Kisora, Inoue Rei, and Kamikokuryo Moe; and “6 Pack” with Katsuta Rina, Ogata Haruna, Yajima Maimi, Kishimoto Yumeno, Ishida Ayumi, and Kudo Haruka.The success of the event warranted another HinaFes in 2017, so I’ll see you next March when I describe the next set of lottery-chosen performances.

And with HinaFes 2016 out of the way,
Rankings come on!
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