The ℃-ute PV retrospective #2

℃-ute is going to disband on June 12, 2017. But before they do, I’m going to run through all of the group’s promotional videos for you. Today I’m going to have a look at the first four ℃-ute singles. The early days of the group showed lots of promise. They showed so much promise that on December 30, 2007 ℃-ute was chosen as “Best New Artist” by Japan Record Awards! I look back on these singles and see a clear choices that needed to be made for the group: who would be the center? should they ride the saccharine train for a while? As the group’s skill continued to grow, the answers to these questions (mostly) became obvious.

Sakura Chirari

Today’s edition starts out strong with and adorable line dance of a song. By this point it seems like C-ute are really going to live up the cute in their name. With all those fresh faces right in the camera, how do you not get charmed? The girls are also starting to look more like their eventual adult selves. Thinking about it now, maybe this was the work of a stylist wisely trying to develop identities for the new group. Shot entirely on a soundstage, the eerie depiction of a lack of gravity still plays tricks with my eyes. Then again, who needs gravity when you have C-ute? Continue reading


The ℃-ute PV retrospective #1

℃-ute is going to disband on June 12, 2017. But before they do, I’m going to run through all of the group’s promotional videos for you. I’m doing this because even though I wasn’t around the fandom for their start (the first single I paid any attention to was 2008’s “Namida no Iro”), I’ve come to respect and love the group for its spirit and its quest for absolute perfection. This will be an informal look: I won’t try to add too much in the way of historical perspective or any deep critical analysis. I’ll also try to give hints as to my favorites and my clunkers along the way. Maimi, Saki, Airi, Chisato, and Mai and Erika and Megumi and Kanna worked incredibly hard to become a standard for idol groups to aspire. Odds are we won’t see anything like ℃-ute again.

Today we’re gonna take a look at the indie singles for ℃-ute.

Massara Blue Jeans

The debut song from “Berryz Koubou leftovers” clearly looks like the budget could have fit in my inside left pocket. Of course blue jeans are hanging up on the clothesline, and of course the skirts and tobe top (while looking a bit too racy) are in shades of blue. And, the tube tops arent’ the only thing that turns heads: can we even talk about the hip thrust choreography? With both the aviator sunglasses on Maimai and the beanpole Erika, the group didn’t seem to necessarily belong together by appearances. Even though C-ute changed a lot from this first incarnation, the fire of being the “also rans” to Berryz Koubou never left the group. Continue reading

Hello! Project Power Rankings December 2016

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

It’s been an eventful month in the projects. November spawned two single releases, an album release, a graduation announcement, a first-time Nippon Budokan concert, and a new generation announcement! And, if that isn’t enough news, Michishige Sayumi revealed (after some numberplay and wordplay) her comeback to the entertainment industry on November 26, a full two years after her graduation. The only thing for certain now is that the pink one will return next year. Details will be announced, so look out for Yummy Sayumi!

And now,
Rankings come on!

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℃-ute announces dissolution plans for 2017


On August 20, 2016 the longtime Hello! Project idol group ℃-ute announced their intention to dissolve in ten months’ time. Although an exact date has not been set, the group of 5 idols will hang up their microphones after a planned performance at Saitama Super Arena. Further, the group also announced they would not participate in the 2017 Hello! Project Winter Tour as customary for groups of the idol collective.

℃-ute began as seven girls in the Hello! Project training program “Hello! Project Kids” in Continue reading

C-ute in Update Girls 2016 vol. 3

This week, we get C-ute promotion for their new single “Naze Hito wa Arasoun Darou? / Summer Wind / Jinsei wa STEP!”. The series of solo shots are great. I especially love the close up shots of Yajima Maimi and Suzuki Airi.

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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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Suzuki Airi in Big One Girls Magazine

Just a very quick set of images as C-ute ramp up the promotions for their new single “Naze Hito wa Arasoun Darou? / Summer Wind / Jinsei wa STEP!”. This adult looking image set corroborates my theory of C-ute transitioning away from idoldom espoused on my look at Naze Hito wa Arasoundarou?“. Enjoy!
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°C-ute – “Naze Hito wa Arasoundarou?” [PV]

C-ute comes back to us with a triple A side single on April 20. “Naze Hito wa Arasoundarou? / Summer Wind / Jinsei wa STEP!” Puts Yajima Maimi, Nakajima Saki, Suzuki Airi, Okai Chisato, and Hagiwara Mai in a decidedly more adult direction than previous efforts. This isn’t the intense rocking sound or the aggressive dance beats of their past discography. “Naze Hito wa Arasoundarou?” is a soulful harmonized number that draws influences from the great soul groups of the past. In the spirit of those great 1960’s soul, the song is a song of love and peace which comes across immediately with the English translated title “Why Do People Fight?”.

You know how I feel about Suzuki Airi
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