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!
The final A-side of Morning Musume ’15’s 60th release takes on the form of “One and Only”. A first for the group, “One and Only” is the first song by the group that features all English lyrics. The song provides the opening theme for NHK World’s “J-MELO” music program, which coincidentally heavily features the girls of Morning Musume. If you look at the song in purely utilitarian mode, it makes sense that a show presented in English would have a title song in English. Of course, there are other forces at work here. As Morning Musume prepares itself for another concert in the English speaking world, sending out an upbeat and optimistic song like “One and Only” as its ambassador makes a great deal of sense.
If you read through lyrics enough you eventually start to realize that although the lyrics seem like love songs to a boy or a girl, they’re really written about something else. There’s a joke that all the love songs written in the 1980’s are really about cocaine, while the love songs of the 1990’s are all about heroin – think about that the next time you listen to Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”. So while “Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi” seems like it’s written about a love interest boy or girl, Sayashi Riho and the members of Morning Musume ’15 could just as easily be singing a song of unrequited love to Morning Musume itself.
Morning Musume ’15 is set to release their triple A-side “Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi / ENDLESS SKY / One and Only” on December 29- practically the eve of the graduation for one of their most talented centers. Sayashi Riho graduates on December 31 during the “Hello！Project COUNTDOWN PARTY 2015 ～ GOOD BYE & HELLO ! ～” concert. Much could probably be said about Riho’s graduation, and I hope over the next three articles I cover most of what needs to be said about the girl. As fitting with a graduation, a touch of sadness hangs at the fringe of every emotion. And, even as this song represents the optimism of such a drastic life change, the uncertainty looms just beyond the horizon.
I know: everyone has been waiting to see what Haa-chin’s been keeping under wraps. Let’s just say that years of ice-skating training make for a a nice bikini body.
I don’t know if just the Hello! Project fandom that does this, but the subject of cheaply made promotional videos seems fascinate. I’m personally from the camp where spendthrift videos are welcome and the biggest sin is a distracting PV or (worse) a boring PV. Simplicity is a virtue, and “Sukatto My Heart” remembers this in the best way.
Before you get anything accomplished with this song, you need to scream out loud “Damn! This is Suzuki Kanon and Kudo Haruka’s song!”
The lead track from Morning Musume 59th single immediately hits with Zukki on the first scene. This is Suzuki Kanon after her weight loss campaign putting herself out there, and H!P staff seem happy to oblige. Now, I’m not a dieting blog, and I really never minded Zukki playing the chubby character. But, the pathos is real. Naturally, I support any positive health decisions the girls make, this one included. As for her talents, Suzuki Kanon’s voice hung in the corner of the closet for a long time as a well-known secret weapon. Without enough opportunity to receive showcase, her vocals just hung there wasted. I guess her new body convinced the upstairs gentlemen that Morning Musume ’15 won’t get tagged as a “chubby girl idol group”
with Kanon out in the front.
Earlier this month, Juice=Juice’s Uemura Akari and Morning Musume 15’s Ogata Haruna got together for a pictorial guide to happiness. If this feature provides any indication, Aarii and Haachin lead the group of new young faces of Hello! Project. We had an idea that Aarii would receive the push for her looks, but Haachin has not been seen without her generation mates in a magazine feature until now. Haachin seems to possess the kind of facial control that allows her to set the mood for a variety of photographs. What’s more, Haruna provides the classic looks that will keep her relevant for years. Let’s hope I’m right!
Girls at play. (Advantage: draw)
Just a quick warning, I’m pretty sure some of the tweets at the end of this are not from either of the two shows listed. Too bad.
Hello! Station 113