Preface: Before anyone says anything, there are duplicate videos on here (but at different times) because I couldn’t find the clips as standalones.
Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!
Welcome to a surprise bonus edition of Berryz Memorial Survey: The Results Show. Last week was the final post detailing the results. This post, I’m taking the time to reflect and talk about legacy of the Berryz in the forms of their successors. But first, let’s recap the history of this now-legendary group:
- The group was formed with 8 members in 2004. In Autumn 2005, Ishimura Maiha announced her graduation, which took place later in the season. Fortunately, unlike in their sister group C-ute, this was the only graduation to occur in Berryz history.
- The group continued as a septet, building up momentum and footing. Many that were in the fandom (at least, the ones who responded and their answers went though) came in during this time. This came to an end around the late 2000s.
- Things really skyrocketed for the Berryz when they began a three year-long tie-in period to the Inazuma Eleven franchise. This was marked by double A-side releases, an increase of exposure, and a spike in sales.
- Around 2011, things calmed down and the Berryz began a transitional phase where they entered adulthood. In 2014, their hiatus was announced, which commenced on March 3rd, the 11th anniversary of their debut.
Now that we have covered the past, let’s take some present time to look to the future!
The group (as we know it) went through quite a process to arrive here. After the now-infamous audition, the formal group (with Momoko’s participation) was announced on November 4, 2014. It was originally intended that their debut single would not feature Momoko and be an indies release, but plans changed and Momoko participating in the entire thing. You can read more about Country Girls’ journey and their debut single on these posts.
You can read more about Kobushi Factory in this post.
In the March concert, the leader and sub-leader were announced to be Hirose Ayaka and Fujii Rio respectively.
Nen ni wa Nen/Survivor
Their first single, Nen ni wa Nen/Survivor, was released as a tie-in to their spring musical, “Week End Survivor”. Initially sold at the performances, it was later sold at Morning Musume concerts that the group guest acted in and then sold at the Hello! Project’s official shops and e-stores starting April 21.
Their latest performance was at the test recital following Tsubaki Factory’s performance.
It was announced some time ago that a new unit was formed from H!P Kenshuusei: Tsubaki Factory.
- Ogata Risa (小片リサ)
- Yamagishi Riko (山岸理子)
- Niinuma Kisora (新沼希空)
- Tanimoto Ami (谷本安美)
- Kishimoto Yumeno (岸本ゆめの)
- Asakura Kiki (浅倉樹々)
As you can tell, former Berryz Koubou captain/current Hello! Project Advisor Shimizu Saki helped christen the group. “Tsubaki” (meaning “camellia”) is a flower that was beloved since the Manyo Period. The leaves stayed green and robust in winter, this hope for strength and noble beauty being carried on in the name. In the Language of Flowers, “tsubaki” carries meanings of “pride” and “humble kindness,” furthering the high hopes had for this fresh-faced group. The “Factory” is for the exact same reason as sister group Kobushi Factory, the hope that they’d carry on the spirit of Berryz Koubou (“workshop”).
The group’s first performance at the test recital, performing a well-received cover of Chisato Moritaka’s “17sai”.
Personally, I welcome the group. The name is iffy for some, but at least one fan thought back to when sister Musume groups (one of which was revived as Country Girls, mind you) were a thing and in the early days of H!P when the collective was growing. Growth, which is the period we are in right now.
Hello! Pro Kenshuusei
The news of Tsubaki Factory came in the buildup to the annual May concert, the diagnostic test recital. In addition to having the Factories perform, the following new recruits will have their formal debuts:
- Ono Mizuho (小野瑞歩)
- Nakano Rion (仲野りおん)
- Yanagawa Nanami (梁川奈々美)
- Maeda Kokoro (前田こころ)
- Akiyama Mao (秋山眞緒)
- Kanatsu Mizuki (金津美月)
- Kasahara Momona (笠原桃奈)
- Okamoto Honoka (岡本帆乃花)
It makes perfect sense to add more. It not only keeps the idol factory (lol) going, but really… by the time we’re finished sorting the “grouped” Kenshuusei from the “ungrouped” ones, we will be left with the following:
- Ichioka Reina (一岡怜奈)
- Kaga Kaede (加賀楓)
- Inoue Hikaru (井上ひかる)
- Yokogawa Yumei (横川夢衣)
- Danbara Ruru (段原瑠々)
- Funaki Musubu (船木結)
- Takemura Miu (竹村未羽)
- Onoda Saori (小野田紗栞)
- Hashimoto Nagisa (橋本渚)
- Horie Kizuki (堀江葵月)
- Shimano Momoko (島野萌々子)
- Takase Kurumi (高瀬くるみ)
Morning Musume’s in a period of revitalization after the graduation of Michishige, who is the last “glory days” (rather, “modern classic”) members. Berryz Koubou, made up girls who joined H!P when the 5th were newbies and became a thing barely a year after the 6th gen joined, just went on indefinite hiatus. C-ute is close to going on hiatus (or spurring speculation to that effect). ANGERME and Juice=Juice are safe as they were set up to take up the helm and establish a new footing. With all of these trainees making it to the big time, it’s time to add some new recruits to the machine and give other girls a chance to shine. Would you rather things become stagnant like in the late 2000s?
The Berryz are a major reason why girls are getting into H!P. If Morning Musume didn’t attract them, it was the Berryz, so it made sense to pass the proverbial torch. (Yes, even Country Girls as they’re under Momoko’s mentorship for a year.)
As shown in the responses to the survey, BK were also an attraction to H!P.
Anyway, I wish these girls the best in all of their future endeavors. What will await them around the bend? We’ll have to see.
Until next time!