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!
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.
If you listen to the HaroWota at all, you probably heard the screams over Kobushi Factory. Starting with their indie single, “Nen ni wa Nen / Survivor”, there’s been a collective gasp at the tightness and performance level of the group. For the many who follow the Kenshuusei (Hello! Project Trainees), Kobushi Factory makes good on the promise of quality girls coming up through the system. The debut single, “Dosukoi! Kenkyo ni Daitan / Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san no Uta / Nen niwa Nen (Neniri Ver.)” charted an Oricon Weekly no. 3 with 34,639 units sold. Using an antiquated metric of sales, the single performed better than five Morning Musume singles (in the Platinum Era).