Katsuta Rina is a girl who is currently growing on me like a bug bite. There’s no denying her work and talent have paid off for her. Her perpetually tired “energy conservation mode” throws me for a loop, but that’s just fun character, right? I’ll also mention that she’s got the goods. I particularly like the third picture in the series (after the jump)
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 audition that nobody wanted, the winner is a girl from outside the Projects named Kamikokuryou Moe. That sound very harsh, but I think it rings true. At least, it rang true last week. Now that we’ve seen and heard her, Moe is very welcome to the clan of gremlins known as
S/mileage Angerme. Vital details follow:
Name: Kamikokuryou Moe (上國料萌衣)
Birthday: October 24, 1999
Age: 16 … barely
Height: 150 cm (Mini Moni sized)
ANGERME come roaring out of the gate for the next round of Hello! Project releases with their effort “Nanakorobi Yaoki (Ups and Downs)”. When ANGERME was still S/mileage and the group cut their hair on the moon (Short Cut), a song like this would have been unthinkable fo the group. The powerful song quickly roars in your face with a quickly paced driving beat and aggressive guitars. Providing contrast to these elements, “Nanakorobi Yaoki” buffets itself with whirling strings and choral background vocals. The song adorns itself with contrasts so completely that it becomes a fight best described as the brutish vs. the elegant.
Brutish and elegant forces battle each other throughout the musical arrangement of “Nanakorobi Yaoki”. From the ground, the song pushes with an insistent 12/8 beat (see! those music lessons in “MUSIC+ really help). A thumping bass and distorted guitars pulse along with the drums. Melodically, a solo guitar riffs and electronic whirs duel against a string section that (appropriately) plays up and down the scales. Background vocals on the side of the strings peal like bells before ringing with “Ups and Downs!” Similar to many Hello! Project songs, “Nanakorobi Yaoki” furnishes a thick arrangement that threatens to clutter around every corner.
Just when we thought the new name would kill the group dead, Angerme punches us in the face with their new release “Taiki Bansei/Otome no Gyakushuu”. By now, we all know that S/mileage 3rd generation Murota Mizuki, Aikawa Maho, and Sasaki Rikako provided the girls with extra momentum. Now we see the “Rikako factor” in action.
The energy of the song is undeniable. I also theorize many listeners were hoping for something different from the group, and “Taiki Bansei” definitely sounds different. Although he might have received the songwriting and composition assignment due to unfortunate circumstances, Nakajima Takui (Mano Erina’s “My Days for You“, Dia Lady’s “Lady Mermaid” and LoVendoR’s “Ikujinashi“) again shows us his talents are considerable. The instrumental arrangement for “Taiki Bansei” eschews the now standard electronic sounds of Hello! Project in favor of real instruments played by real musicians. This time, Takui gives Angerme a funk-inflected song complete with an octive hopping bass line, conga percussion, and talk box lead guitars. You can see the tracking of “Taiki Bansei” in a series of Music+ videos starting here.
This opening shot really says a lot, doesn’t it?
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.
I’m usually very bitter on this day. I refuse to celebrate love just because “the man” tells me that I should spend more money. I refuse to celebrate love because Hallmark needed to right their account books between Christmas and Easter.
However, I will celebrate a lovely set of pictures from Hello! Project. Here are the girls of MoBeKiSuJu. Fun facts: (a) look at Sayumi’s Valentine Card and see for yourself! (b) Mizuki’s vertical stripes are at their limit, (c) Miyabi’s horizontal stripes are barely affected, (d)as a group C-ute are also really good at drawing, (e) Airi drew Suu san again, (f) Kanyon looks AMAZING, and (g) Uemu looks like the cutest bully I’ve ever seen.
Morning Musume ’14
Why do I like these silly songs best? Witness the new S/mileage PV, “Ee Ka!?”. You’re going to say that there’s nothing to it. The girls simply dance in an interestingly lit room and pull faces for the camera. I don’t recommend this for every PV, but I think we can allow it here.
“Ee Ka!?” is a strange song. There’s a bit of J-Pop filtered rap over an electric guitar accented groove which people either love or try to ignore. To my ears it sounds like the Spice Girls’s “Spice Up Your Life”. The melodic line builds toward a chorus that practically erupts into double-time. I’m not enthusiastic about the chorus of this song. Thankfully, I really enjoy the way the rhythm of the verses plays against the aforementioned groove. Tsunku even gives us a nice triplet fill to break up the four-four monotony. All of the music is secondary, though. The point here is to make you say “Ee Ka!?” repeatedly until you are stuck.