Hello! Project Power Rankings November 2016

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Hello everybody, guest contributor TheNumber244 here to bring you up to date with the new month of Hello! Project Power Rankings.

October brought with it three single releases, the expectations for two more single releases, overseas concert performances, idol Halloween costumes, and more. But, even with that flurry of activity the news that dominates the here and now is Tsugunaga Momoko’s graduation from Country Girls, Hello! Project, and public life. You saw that correct: Momochi is hanging up the musubi. Technically, this news should belong in next month’s Power Rankings, and it still will appear there. But, in the here and now there is no bigger news. Momoko still has a few months with us- Momoko officially calls it quits on June 30, 2017 – exactly 15 years from the debut of Tsugunaga Momoka and the rest of the Hello! Project Kids.

And now,
Rankings come on!

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Hello! Project Power Rankings September 2016



H!P Power Ranking 201608

Hello everybody, guest contributor TheNumber244 here to bring you up to date with the new month of Hello! Project Power Rankings.

In Hello! Project news that doesn’t fit in these rankings, Tsubaki Factory gained three new members! The other Factory Girls picked up H!P Kenshuusei Ono Mizuho, Onoda Saori, and Akiyama Mao. These girls are some real jewels in the KSS system. Onoda Saori is an experienced idol having been a part of the local Shizuoka idol group Princess♪Ribbon and is also the voice of one of the main characters in Kopinks COSMOS. Akiyama Mao, meanwhile, is a noted skillful dancer whose KSS rival is/was … Ono Mizuho! Read more about the new members at my blog. Look for this group to accelerate forward in the coming months.

The other monumental event in August took place at Nippon Budokan. After about four years, the super group of the Hello! Project Kids reunited on their biggest stage. Along for the ride were Tsugunaga Momoko’s Country Girls and Suzuki Airi’s C-ute. Natsuyaki Miyabi probably had the biggest day, though. Not only did the August 25 event take place on Miya’s birthday, but the “New Natsuyaki Miyabi Group” finally received it’s name: Pink Cres. (that’s short for Pink Crescendo). Crescendo is a music term that directs musicians to gradually increase volume, which is the hopeful trajectory for this new group with new girls Nihei Yuuka and Kobayashi Hikaru. Best of luck girls!

Take the good with the bad, though. August saw a major announcement in the world of Hello! Project that flavored Buono! Fest with a bit of the bittersweet. We will get to that news shortly, but before we do, let’s look at Tsunku’s Aflac commercial.

And now,
Rankings come on!

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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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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

Fukuda Kanon and Me


I’ve planned to write about Fukuda Kanon for a while, and now these words are reaching the void days after her graduation from S/mileage, ANGERME, and Hello! Project. My difficulty with words manifested, and I stopped and started writing about Fukuda Kanon many times now. I attribute this to the complex character that Kanon formulated . Sometimes she seemed very troll-ish and sometimes even resentful of her idol career. Reports of disinterested handshakes and cold fan interactions didn’t really help either. Why so I love this girl?

One thing seems true: Fukuda Kanon loves Hello! Project probably more than most of us. Like most of the Eggs who graduated from the early years of the program, Kanon spent half her life in the Projects. Steadfast and determined, Kanon continued her career despite slaps in her face and ample opportunity to search out greener pastures. If her resilience doesn’t indicate some degree of passion, then I’m not sure I’m passionate about anything.
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And the winner is … Kamikokuryou Moe

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
Hometown: Kumamoto
Bloodtype: O
Height: 150 cm (Mini Moni sized)

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ANGERME “Gashin Shotan” [PV]

ANGERME sends off one its original members with a song that tries to encapsulate the essence of the group’s first six years of work. Fun and funky blends equal parts with Smileage’s “Shortcut” and ANGERME’s”Taiki Bansei“.


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Angerme- “Taiki Bansei/Otome no Gyakushuu” [PV]

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?

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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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