Changing the Guard

Michishige Sayumi – November 2014
Berryz Kobo- March 2015
Shimamura Uta- June 2015
Fukuda Kanon- November 2015
Sayashi Riho- December 2015
Tamura Meimi- May 2016
Suzuki Kanon- May 2016

Look at that list. This 1.5 year span from November 2014 to May 2016 sees the loss of 13 girls from Hello! Project. Some real prominent names occupy this list as well. Girls who anchor their respective group in some form suddenly drop from the scene in droves. The last time I remember such a large exodus from the projects was the Elder Club mass graduation in 2009.

I don’t think this particular batch of departures signifies anything as sweeping as the Elder Club graduation. Some key positions opened up, and it’s interesting to see who will fill the void. Let’s go down the line?

Michishige Sayumi
Sayumi makes some strong argument for the most productive Morning Musume Continue reading

The End of the Shimamura Uta Chronicles

Let’s lay down the facts first: Shimamura Uta parted ways with the Country Girls and with Hello! Project. Her official end date with the company is June 12, 2015.

Now, Uta-chan didn’t die. If all of this reads like an obituary, that’s not my intention. I’m just trying to clear my head of the mess left behind. Before you read my thoughts, you might want to read the official press release from Hello! Project, or the translated press release from blog! project. You may want to also read playing manager Tsugunaga Momoko’s thoughts on the Shimamura Uta affair (EDIT) or blog translations from Yamaki Risa, Morito Chisato, or Ozeki Mai. Fair warning: Yamaki and Ozeki’s blogs will crush you.

Hello! Station introduced the world to little Utachan on November 12, 2014. At the time time, Country Girls and Uta made a big enough impression on me that I went to great lengths to learn all about these fresh young faces. Shimamura Uta shared a scant 219 days of her life with us idol fans and HaroWota. In this short time, Uta rose to the forefront of Hello! Project as one of the faces of the new generation of idols. For a couple of months, it seemed like EVERYONE was mad about Uta. You name it: wota and idols alike were taken by Uta’s innocence and charm. I personally spent a few nights tweeting nothing but pictures of Shimamura Uta. Even if she wasn’t my clear favorite in the group, I enjoyed her charm and presence. Let me make this clear: I LOVED Shimamura Uta. I know many wota invested heavily into Uta-chan.

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Haro!Sute #113 and The Girls Live #65 [tweetstory]

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

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Hello! Project in Weekly Playboy

The new faces of Hello! Project feature in a new set of magazine photos from Weekly Playboy Magazine. Here’s a printed indication about the way the wind blows. So, PAY ATTENTION! These are the girls you are going to see again and again. Learn their names!
In Morning Musume, we have Kudo Haruka, Sayashi Riho, and Makino Maria.

Juice=Juice sends the #Karinfection herself with Miyamoro Karin pairing nicely with Uemura Akari

The new Kobushi Factory sends the colonol! That’s right, Hamaura Ayano.

Country Girls send in Shimamura Uta, the last viral infection from H!P. But, really they could have sent any of those cuties, right?

Finally, and I can’t believe she would be last in anything, Angerme’s Sasaki Rikako brings the pain.

Some extras:
Duu, RihoRiho, and Maria

UTACHAN KAWAII (did you know she was 1/8 Italian?!)

Haro!Sute #112 and The Girls Live #64 [tweetstory]

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Country Girls “Koi Doboru” PV [review]

You can probably subtitle this PV “How I Learned to Love the Color Pink” or maybe “A Study in Pink”. “Koi Doboru” ‘s color palette deals exclusively in shades of pink, or maybe more correctly shades of red. Too bad the PV couldn’t make a release date a month and a half ago, since the PV would have been a slam dunk during the days leading up to Valentines’s Day. No matter, the cute, pastel hued “Koi Doboru” further advances the Country Girls’ agenda by providing more 1950’s pop sounds delivered in with youthful exuberance.

We don’t get a Momoko gag, but this is a nice start, right?

Some adorable Uta-chan never hurt nobody

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Country Girls “Itooshikutte Gomen ne” PV [review]

” Itooshikutte Gomen ne ” starts with a gag. It’s the Momoko gag. If you pay attention to Hello! Project, you might have mixed feelings about the Momoko gag. The gag does serve a purpose since unknown faces comprise Country Girl. I’ve been geeking over the Country Girls members for a while now (and you can read my first impressions here, and I am elated over what comes next.

What comes next is Continue reading

Morning Musume 12th Gen fight back in Young Gangan Magazine volume 23 ! [magazine]

[note: As of publishing, the latest photos of the new generation of Hello! Project are linked for each girl. Please, check out the new girls! (Be sure to see Ozeki Mai’s new hairdo and Inaba Manaka’s tied updo)]

I definitely have a problem. One minute, Morning Musume 12th generation, (Ogata Haruna, Nonaka Miki, Haga Akane, and Makino Maria) look to be the head of the new class or Hello! Project idols. The next minute, I look at Country Girls (Yamaki Risa, Inaba Manaka, Morito Chisaki, Shimamura Uta, and Ozeki Mai) and decide that THEY are the best new class. And, don’t forget about S/mileage third generation (Sasaki Rikako, Murota Mizuki, and Aikawa Maho)! There are so many new girls in Hello! Project for 2015, how’s a wota supposed to choose favorites?
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Country Musume are NOW!

Talk about a surprise attack! Just when all I thought the Country Musume auditions were over with no winners, Hello! Project surprise me with the news of a new unit. The revival of Country Musume will be called Country Girls (a name fully in English). Country Girls make their formal debut on January 2 with Country Musume Satoda Mai playing General Manager and Berryz Kobo’s Tsugunaga Momoko as “Playing Manager” until her activities with the Berryz concludes. When the appointed day for BK arrives, Momoko will bring Momochi to the Country Girls full time. Footage of the new girls as Mai ambushes them with news of their acceptance aired on the November 5 episode of “Hello! Station”.

Well, we know Tsugunaga Momoko and Satoda Mai. Who are these new girls?

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