As the sun set on a decade, tears of Country Girls faithful were dried by the promise of a new tomorrow. The COUNTDOWN PARTY went as expected (unless you were watching a certain stream) and we welcomed the new days.
A day passed without fanfare, the calendar having hit the Refresh button to mark a new beginning. Of course, as expected from the start of a winter tour, an announcement was made:
This post is going to be a tad special as the circumstances leading to it is entirely by the power of the fans.
In January 2018, I announced the Momusu M3 Grand Prix, a dual tournament of members and singles dedicated to Morning Musume’s (and Hello! Project’s) 20th anniversary. (Given the festivities have been extended into 2019, it turns out my belated festivities are right on the dot.)
After months and months polls on Google Forms, Polldaddy/Crowdsignal, and (for the most part) Twitter, both tournaments had champions crowned by the year’s end.
For the Members Tournament, which concluded in late November, the champion was then-soon-to-be Hello! Project leader Fukumura Mizuki.
Actually, let’s be appropriate for the theme here…
For the Singles Tournament, which concluded a few weeks later in December, the winning single was 2012’s Help me!!.
Now, while it wasn’t the plan initially (the initial prize was on-blog “bragging rights”), I had planned on doing a special Morning Twilight on it (and pardon the small tangent)….
My output in 2018 was a tad weird, resulting in the worst analytics stats for the blog with some months potentially being the new lowest traffic month. (December ultimately finished with 53 views, behind October’s 55, September’s 56, and July’s 65.) Yeah, forgot to mention that in the year-end stat review (though let’s face it, it was probably for the best).
Personally, I partially attribute it to (aside from the aforementioned weird output on my end) external changes on the various platforms:
Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr implementing annual algorithmic changes that impacted potential reach. (Heaven help you if you’re not uber-active on these platforms!)
The announced shutdown of Google+, rendering (super-belated and already Sisyphean) efforts to build there useless. (At least the blog can begin to recover starting in March.)
…However, in addition to the aforementioned monkey wrenches, a more serious one appeared almost immediately after the Grand Prix concluded: Friesgate. As much as I had wanted to, I couldn’t review Help me!! and any other Hello! Project content until the business with Morning Musume Germany was settled.
As we all know, it has… and we have ourselves to thank. The efforts of the overseas fandom to bring the issue to the attention of UFP, TuneCore, and other authorities, spurred on by our Japanese counterparts who further helped these efforts…. Sure, the guy threatened to sue, but it’s the same with all fraudsters and thieves.
“I was doing you a favor! Why are you picking on me!?”
Hoo boy, it’s been a while. A lot has happened and there was a topic I’ve been meaning to tackle for a while. (A few actually.)
Heck, this year is a special year as it’s M3 2.0’s 10th Anniversary (and the “completion” of my five-year challenge). However, first thing’s first: Let’s talk about one of the big elephants in the room.
In early January (the 9th, if you want to be pedantic), a major new story broke that shook the J-idol scene and (for better or worse) beyond: NGT48 member* Yamaguchi Maho was (non-sexually, gotta emphasize this here) assaulted by two mid-twenties men. I’d go deeper, but there’s wonderful news articles and even a post by the Great and Powerful Chiima (and qqpy) that does a better job than I ever could of getting everything together. (This is why you keep everything organized and collected, kids.)
As part of Hello! Project’s 20th anniversary celebration, I will take a look at various releases from the collective’s history.
As previously reported, the winner of the Q4 vote with one singular vote is once again C-ute! This time, the release in question is the next single after Edo no Temari Uta II, FOREVER LOVE. Released on November 26, 2008, it is the last single to feature Arihara Kanna before the Bunion Saga began in February 2009 (which was a sign of things to come before the tumultuous year for them that was 2011).
C-ute – FOREVER LOVE (1 – 100%)
Buono! – Rottara Rottara (0 – 0%) (This actually received a vote after it was too late to count so I’m rewarding it with Second Place. Maybe I’ll find a way to squeeze it into 2019’s calendar.)
Mano Erina – Lucky Aura (0 – 0%)
Milkyway – Tan Tan Taan! (0 – 0%)
Berryz Koubou – MADAYADE (0 – 0%)
Abe Natsumi – Screen (0 – 0%)
Shugo Chara Egg! – Minna no Tamago (0 – 0%)
Mano Erina – Lalala-Sososo (0 – 0%)
It is a bit interesting going back to a time when the C-uties (and their Berry counterparts) were beginning their rise as full Hello! Project idols, a far cry… actually, somewhat close to the legends they’re known for today. After all, according to the C-ute Memorial Survey, a majority of “Team C-ute” came around this time (Junjou).