Notes from the Idol PV Couch– Week 6 2017 (0212 – 0218)

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 have Promotional videos from:

X21 – Beautiful X

Ahead of their 2nd album, X21 release the promotional video for “Beautiful X”. The PV completely envelopes the girls in a white cyc (that white stage with no corners), where the girls either perform their choreography or mug lovingly for the rotating camera. The sense of perspective slowly fades as the girls move towards and away from the camera’s viewfinder. Eventually, I didn’t know which way was up anymore. “Beautiful X” really shines when the girls are given their solo close-ups. True to the Bishoujo Contest origins of the group, X21 members are all pretty in a way that outpaces most other idol groups. With soft lighting and a gentle breeze, you’re sure to find a girl that suits your fancy.

Beyond the Couch

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Notes from the Idol PV Couch– Week 5 2017 (0205 – 0211)

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 have Promotional videos from:

Tsubaki Factory,
HKT48,
Team Syachihoko,
Fairies,
Faint★Star [1] and [2],
Why@Doll,
J☆Dee’Z,
HR,
Star☆T, and
243 to Yoshizaki Aya

Tsubaki Factory – The Magnificent Camellia

Well, I’ll be darned. Tsubaki Factory release the promotional video for “Urawashi no Camelia”, and it’s right up my proverbial ally. Starting with a a bit of ragtime from the Victrola and drenched in a faux sepia process, our girls party like its 1899. And, when the girls wake up to 2017 they still Charleston their way through the school yard like rebellious Meiji era teens. When the girls mug their way through the school corridors they look like they are having the time of their lives! For my part, I don’t think we get to see the Tsubaki Factory girls having this much fun together nearly enough. For its incredible fun and cute blend of new and old, I’m giving “Urawashi no Camellia” a 244 badge of distinction. You can find “Urawashi no Camellia” on the group’s debut single (linked below) on February 22, 2017.

Beyond the Couch

Yes, I’m still over the moon with this song. I cannot wait to get it in my hands and onto my iPod! A refreshing change from the electro-pop that permeates these releases, “Urawashi no Camellia” still manages to sound fresh and youthful even though it mimics the musical styles from over 100 years past. Given their brief history, I don’t think Tsubaki Factory will stay with the retro jams for very long, making this song a jewel in their repertoire. Keep blooming, you magnificent camellia! Continue reading

Be Kind, (Promotional Video) Rewind – 20170122 to 20170128


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: Morning Musume ’17, Country Girls, Tsubaki Factory, Houkago Princess, 2o Love to Sweet Bullet, FES☆TIVE, Ohara Sakurako (Rewind Exclusive!), PREDIANNA, Ogon Jidai, Yes! Happy, and Sugar & Solt

Morning Musume ’17 – Morning Miso Soup



The first video from Morning Musume ’17 comes in the form of a prootional tie-in with Marukome Miso. “Morning Miso Shiru” is a remake of the group’s 1998 single, “Morning Coffee” re purposed for this 2017 application. The song also marks the debut PV for the new 13th generation: Kaga Kaede and Yokoyama Reina. Things get cozy for the girls as we see them camping in the most glamorous fashion. Decked in fuzzy sweaters and caps, the girls sing along at the campfire, fire up the sparklers, and engage in late night pillow warfare. Of course there’s plenty of Morning Miso Soup to go around. In the first time in quite a while, the Morning Musume seem to be having a lot of fun just being girls in a promotional video, which makes “Morning Miso Shiru” a very refreshing change of pace for the flagship Hello! Project group.

Rewind+

I don’t want to say that Morning Musume ’17 can do no wrong, but really Continue reading

Hello! Project Power Rankings November 2016

morning-musume-16-power-rankings-november-2016


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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Tsubaki Factory reloaded!

tsubaki factory

Tsubaki Factory, the Hello! Project indies group, received extra reinforcements on August 13, 2016. Three additional H!P Kenshuusei (trainees) were announced as the second generation of the Factory group that is meant to continue the spirit of Berryz Kobo. The new members, Ono Mizuho (15), Onoda Saori (14), and Akiyama Mao (14), received their introductions at a fan club event held on August 13.

Tsubaki Factory got their start on April 29, 2015 with six Hello! Project Kenshuusei as initial members: leader Yamagishi Riko (17), sub-leader Ogata Risa (17), Niinuma Kisora (16), Tanimoto Ami (16), Kishimoto Yumeno (16), Asakura Kiki (15). After initial mixed reception, Tsubaki Factory’s increasing skill caught attention at their recent performances at Tokyo Idol Festival 2016. Tsubaki Factory recently released a DVD mini-album titled “Tsubaki Factory SOUND+VISION Vol. 1”. The general thought is that new members will provide the final push needed for Tsubaki Factory’s major debut.

Let’s meet the new members!

Ono Mizuho
Name: Ono Mizuho (小野瑞歩)
Birthday: September 29, 2000
Hometown: Tokyo
Blood Type: O
Height: 163 cm
Specialty: Dance, flute
Introductory video (2015)
Notes: Mizuho joined Hello! Project on April 1, 2015 as a member of the 24th generation of Kenshuusei. In the drama “Budokan”, she was shown as a 13th generation member of the fictional group NEXT YOU in the year 2028.
Name: Onoda Saori (小野田紗栞)
Birthday: December 17, 2001
Hometown: Shizuoka
Blood Type: O
Height: 152 cm
Specialty: Piano, abacus
Introductory video (2015)
Notes: Prior to joining H!P, Saori was a member of the idol group Princess♪Ribbon. Saori joined Hello! Project on November 29, 2014 as a member of the 22th generation of Kenshuusei. Last year, Saori was announced as the vocalist of the 10th Kopinks! opening song. Saori currently voices one of the two main characters of Kopinks COSMOS (the other is voiced by SUPER☆GiRLS’s Abe Yumeri).

Onoda Saori
Akiyama Mao
Name: Akiyama Mao (秋山眞緒)
Birthday: July 29, 2002
Hometown: Osaka
Blood Type: B
Height: 153.5 cm
Specialty: Dance
Introductory video (2015)
Notes: Mao joined Hello! Project on April 1, 2015 as a member of the 24th generation of Kenshuusei. Mao participated in the Morning Musume 12th Generation (Golden) Audition.


Buy Tsubaki Factory’s SOUND+VISION Vol. 1!


Sound+Vision Vol. 1

CD+DVD
Amazon.jp | CDJapan


Tsubaki Factory Official Links
Web Site | Blog | Twitter | YouTube | Facebook | Google+

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!
–Read More–

Changing the Guard


Michishige Sayumi – November 2014
Berryz Kobo- March 2015
Shimamura Uta- June 2015
Fukuda Kanon- November 2015
Sayashi Riho- December 2015
Tamura Meimi- May 2016
Suzuki Kanon- May 2016

Look at that list. This 1.5 year span from November 2014 to May 2016 sees the loss of 13 girls from Hello! Project. Some real prominent names occupy this list as well. Girls who anchor their respective group in some form suddenly drop from the scene in droves. The last time I remember such a large exodus from the projects was the Elder Club mass graduation in 2009.

I don’t think this particular batch of departures signifies anything as sweeping as the Elder Club graduation. Some key positions opened up, and it’s interesting to see who will fill the void. Let’s go down the line?


Michishige Sayumi
Sayumi makes some strong argument for the most productive Morning Musume Continue reading