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.
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).