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?
Sayumi makes some strong argument for the most productive Morning Musume Continue reading
Let’s get the elephant out of the room first: Shimamura Uta would have been perfect in this release.
Now that I have exorcised the demons, or at least the adorable former H!P idol, we can talk about “Wakatteiru no ni Gomen ne” properly. Country Girls stick to their guns and hit us with another irrepressibly adorable concept. On their second release, Yamaki Risa, Inaba Manaka, Morito Chisaki, Ozeki Mai, and Tsugunaga Momoko show off more of their talents set to an upbeat tune.
Let’s lay down the facts first: Shimamura Uta parted ways with the Country Girls and with Hello! Project. Her official end date with the company is June 12, 2015.
Now, Uta-chan didn’t die. If all of this reads like an obituary, that’s not my intention. I’m just trying to clear my head of the mess left behind. Before you read my thoughts, you might want to read the official press release from Hello! Project, or the translated press release from blog! project. You may want to also read playing manager Tsugunaga Momoko’s thoughts on the Shimamura Uta affair (EDIT) or blog translations from Yamaki Risa, Morito Chisato, or Ozeki Mai. Fair warning: Yamaki and Ozeki’s blogs will crush you.
Hello! Station introduced the world to little Utachan on November 12, 2014. At the time time, Country Girls and Uta made a big enough impression on me that I went to great lengths to learn all about these fresh young faces. Shimamura Uta shared a scant 219 days of her life with us idol fans and HaroWota. In this short time, Uta rose to the forefront of Hello! Project as one of the faces of the new generation of idols. For a couple of months, it seemed like EVERYONE was mad about Uta. You name it: wota and idols alike were taken by Uta’s innocence and charm. I personally spent a few nights tweeting nothing but pictures of Shimamura Uta. Even if she wasn’t my clear favorite in the group, I enjoyed her charm and presence. Let me make this clear: I LOVED Shimamura Uta. I know many wota invested heavily into Uta-chan.
The new faces of Hello! Project feature in a new set of magazine photos from Weekly Playboy Magazine. Here’s a printed indication about the way the wind blows. So, PAY ATTENTION! These are the girls you are going to see again and again. Learn their names!
In Morning Musume, we have Kudo Haruka, Sayashi Riho, and Makino Maria.
Juice=Juice sends the #Karinfection herself with Miyamoro Karin pairing nicely with Uemura Akari
The new Kobushi Factory sends the colonol! That’s right, Hamaura Ayano.
Country Girls send in Shimamura Uta, the last viral infection from H!P. But, really they could have sent any of those cuties, right?
Finally, and I can’t believe she would be last in anything, Angerme’s Sasaki Rikako brings the pain.
Duu, RihoRiho, and Maria
UTACHAN KAWAII (did you know she was 1/8 Italian?!)
You can probably subtitle this PV “How I Learned to Love the Color Pink” or maybe “A Study in Pink”. “Koi Doboru” ‘s color palette deals exclusively in shades of pink, or maybe more correctly shades of red. Too bad the PV couldn’t make a release date a month and a half ago, since the PV would have been a slam dunk during the days leading up to Valentines’s Day. No matter, the cute, pastel hued “Koi Doboru” further advances the Country Girls’ agenda by providing more 1950’s pop sounds delivered in with youthful exuberance.
We don’t get a Momoko gag, but this is a nice start, right?
Some adorable Uta-chan never hurt nobody