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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The Houston Plan


There are important things happening in Houston on February 26-28. Perhaps most importantly, Houston will be the last chance most of us in the US will have to see Suzuki Kanon as part of orning Musume. Houston will also be our first look at the 12th generation. Should Nonaka Miki feel well enough to travel, we will get to see Morning Musume with an English speaking member. As Hello! Project finds its way into more and more international events, we need to savor our chance to see and meet these extraordinary girls.

On this, the Sunday before Morning Musume ’16’s concert in Houston, I think we need to have a strategy plan. More accurately, I’m gonna type a bunch of things that I plan on doing but will probably not do due to the fluidity of the situation. I’ve even gone and created some visual aids to help us in our plans.

As you can see, there are nine events which list Morning Musume ’16 as a feature. Actually, there are ten events if you include the “press only” Press Conference on Saturday at 11:00 AM. Most of us won’t be able to attend that event so I left it off of the agenda.

Friday begins with the Opening Ceremonies for Anime Matsuri at 3:00 PM. Immediately, we need to choose between attending the ceremonies or Continue reading

Suzuki Kanon- The Graduate


Details for Suzuki Kanon’s graduation concert have finally been released through the Hello! Project official website. Zukki gets a graduation on May 31, 2016 at Budokan. I think many are releived that Kanon’s graduation locale is set at the storied venue in the light of Sayashi Riho’s seemingly rushed graduation event at the “Hello! Project COUNTDOWN PARTY 2015 ~GOOD BYE & HELLO!~”. The event also relieves the worry at all future graduations would be held on the now annual Countdown Party.

In my previous article on Suzuki Kanon, I mentioned that she has never been my favorite Morning Musume member. But, I think her time and efforts in the group should be rightly rewarded with a graduation ceremony that befits her five years in the group and her part in resurrecting the once-stagnant idol group. I believe that a graduation at Budokan for Suzuki Kanon is appropriate. Hell, Morning Musume performs at Budokan on a regular basis lately. Anything smaller than Budokan for a graduation is just silly- just ask Riho.

At the moment, there is no information about Memorial videos, a Zukki bus tour, or anything of that ilk. A fan Suzuki Kanon Graduation Project materialized expectedly, and you can definitely take part in that (disclaimer: TheNumber244 is not affiliated with the project in any capacity).

Source: Hello! Project website

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

When the green leaves your cheeks


In a season rife with change, the latest graduation announcement comes from Hello! Project. And, it’s a big announcement. Almost as soon as the red glitter is brushed from the floor from Sayashi Riho’s graduation, another 9th generation Morning Musume graduation is announced. Suzuki Kanon leaves the group this spring. Specifically, Zukki last performance with the group will be the concluding performance of Morning Musume ’16’s “~Emotion in Motion~” tour. So far the date looks to be May 22 at the NHK Osaka Hall in Osaka, although additional dates may be added.

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Morning Musume ’15 – “One and Only” [PV]


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.

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Morning Musume ’15 “Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi” [PV]

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.


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Morning Musume ’15 – “Endless Sky” [PV]


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.


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Morning Musume ’15 “Ima Sugu Tobikomu Yuuki” [PV]


Perhaps the loveliest promotional video of the year, Morning Musume ’15 do an awful lot of stretching toward the light in “Ima Sugu Tobikomu Yuuki”. The lovely painted sky from the title card doesn’t lie; the orange creamsicle colored sky appears and reappears throughout the PV. The sunrise/sunset clearly means to suggest the beginning of a new era, but more on this later.


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