As I go through these, I can’t help but think about how much the shin S/mileage generation has grown over the years. My favorite girl has been Kana because she always seemed a bit helpless, clueless, and cheery (these are all grea qualities). But, I must admit that my little girl has grown up.
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?
If you haven’t been around to New School Kaidan recently, you may want to head there to check out the Power Ranking for August 2014. A caveat: these ranks were written before the news of Berryz Kobo and their indefinite hiatus broke. Knowing now about the end of Berryz Kobo, I feel a little bad about bashing the group a bit. Anyway, head on over to read the August Hello! Project Ranking: http://newschoolkaidan.com/hello-project-power-rankings-august-2014/
Even if you don’t comment here, please leave some comments over at New School Kaidan. They put a ton of effort into the site, and I’m sure they would like to know that you read and appreciate their work.
And, I’m leaving you all today with the trailer for Dempagumi.inc‘s Budokan Live DVD- because you need more Dempagumi.inc in your life.
It’s been a bit busy here in Los Angeles the last few days. I attended the always-busy Anime Expo over the four-day weekend. Also, two great idol acts were in town for AX and other live events. I’ll write more about PASTEL CALLA and Tokyo Meru in the future. BUT, I regret not properly celebrating Ikuta Erina’s 17th birthday due to all of the on-goings.
Anyway, the purpose of writing here is to plug my latest Hello! Project Power Rankings at New School Kaidan. I enjoy every opportunity to write about Hello! Project, so please read, comment and enjoy!
Here’s that link for the Hello! Project Power Rankings July 2014