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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NEXT YOU “Next is You” PV


Before we start, you should know that this is actually Juice=Juice performing as their alter egos “NEXT YOU” from the drama “Budokan”. As such, surely some connection between the visuals of “Next is You” and the drama exists in the digital signature waiting to be unearthed. I would be bad person if I didn’t give an excavation my best efforts.

Tsunku masterminds the entire NEXT YOU project, and the music isn’t an exception. The electric piano lead-in builds initial intrigue visualized with floral arrangements composited over images of the NEXT YOU members. A quickly paced arrangement pops in and sings with synthy brass melodies that lead into on-beat accents. Instrumentally tight, handclaps and jangling guitars provide texture to a the short repeating melodic lines. The sound gives an air of determination and concentration.

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Juice=Juice “CHOICE & CHANCE” [PV]

Pushing things to the max, Juice=Juice release a second promotional video for their “First Squeeze” album barely days after “Tsuzuiteiku STORY“. With “CHOICE & CHANCE”, Miyazaki Yuka, Kanazawa Tomoko, Takagi Sayuki, Miyamoto Karin, and Uemura Akari flex their muscles with an aggressive number that maximizes their vocal power. And, like “Tsuzuiteiku STORY”, “CHOICE & CHANCE” seems like a PV that didn’t needed to be made, but I am sure glad it’s around.

The uniformity of it all

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Juice=Juice “Tsuzuiteiku STORY” PV


What happens when an idol promotional video strips bare? Will the lack of props, costumes, and setting unsettle you? Or, will it focus your gaze?

The recently released “Tsuzuiteiku STORY (Everlasting Story)” promotional PV does just that: five girls and nothing more. The ballad drips with emotion and signals farewell, thank you, and anxious expectation in one action.

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Juice=Juice “Wonderful World / Ça Va? Ça Va?” [PV]



Oh, it’s double feature PV review time here at TheNumber 244. I have been concerned about Juice=Juice since their last release “Senobi / Date ja Nai yo Uchi no Jinsei wa”. The future of Hello! Project looked like they could do no wrong for a good year-plus stretch. And, while most expected the group to land back on earth eventually, I don’t think anyone expected as rough a landing as their last single. With “Senobi / Date ja nai yo Uchi no Jinsei wa” touching down with under 30,000 units and out of the top three slots, red flags and May Day calls went out to the appropriate services.

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Toobin #3- Hello! Station 62, The Girls Live 13

Hello Station 62

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Toobin #2- Hello! Station 60, UF Licks 58

Another week, another edition of Toobin. This week, I’m treated to some LoVendoR, Bitter & Sweet, Sato no Akari, Morning Musume ’14, and S/mileage. Along the way we have some KanaTomo the sadist, Hatsune Miku for Juice=Juice gen 2, and Eripon choosing disgusting canned food.

Let’s GO!

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Juice=Juice “Hadakano Hadakano Hadakano Kiss”

When I first saw the promotional frills for “Hadakano Hadakano Hadakano Kiss”, it should have been obvious.  A stark black and red palette.   Frills.  Subtle polka dot patterns.  I don’t know why I didn’t prepare for the Spanish sounds of the third single release.  Let’s get a few things out of the way right here.  The title, at least in English, is meant to titillate.  No one will argue that the girls not hand-picked to  attract an audience, and this title is a logical extension of that idea.  It doesn’t bother me too much that this single plays with some highly charged words.  And, before I start to hear the moral majority attempt to chastise me for condoning the use of words like “naked” and “breast” by children, might I remind the reader that Juice=Juice are probably not as young as he/she thinks.  Trust me: 15 year-old Karin and Akari know all about their bodies by now (as did the reader, I assume).

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