And Then There Were None

January 9, 2020

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!

Happy New Year! …kinda.

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:

Great news for all! What a way to begin a new year. After all, Morning Musume’s 15th Generation audition was announced on that date, along with the (initial) 13th Gen audition for the same group.

Of course, that wasn’t the end of the surprises throughout the winter (tour). If you remember the way I titled certain posts (or sections of a post) (or just took a look at the Hello! Project website‘s news section–or the H!P online fandom), then you’d have a good idea what I’m talking about:

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I Am Sorry This Seasons Review Did Not Come Sooner!

December 23, 2019

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!

Sorry for releasing this so close to the deadline I set for myself!

See, I won Seasons in a giveaway held by Hello! Pro inspiration (@helloprolyrics) way back in March. Ever since, I’ve been trying to pay it forward and share my riches with you all in the form of a proper CD review (my first one since… oof, those two Shonen Knife ones (for Let’s Knife and Strawberry Sound) five years ago! Actually no, since the one for Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi that came out a week after the Strawberry Sound one!).

Yeah, I think you can get why I wanted this to be truly special (external factors notwithstanding), especially since this is one that is a lot closer to the blog’s current beat.

You can catch some of the process in this Instagram Stories Highlight.

That said, let’s dig into Country Girls’ Seasons and profusely apologize for this rebooted group’s untimely end.

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Gripping Onto Glory in a Pinch

September 9, 2019

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!

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…

That’s better!

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:

A screenshot of Fukumura Mizuki in the PV. Text: Guess Morning Musume (particularly Mizupon) was too much for Tumblr... Oh, just too much...
  • 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!?”

Sorry if I sound very cynical, but it’s the same song and dance I hear from art thieves whenever they’re on the loose via the grapevine. (I did mention that this really got to me not only as a devoted fan of J-idols, but as a content creator whose contacts on social media tend to be other artists and creatives, right?)

Anyway, to commemorate both the crowning of champions in the Momusu M3 Grand Prix, but also this victorious moment, I’ll be reviewing this. To quote the Singles Champion:

I’ll grip onto glory
When I’m in a pinch

Source: Project Hello

Without further ado, let’s dig into Morning Musume #52.

Oh yeah, circumstances (a long drought in posts in 2019, along with the fact the Tumblr post announcing the end of the aforementioned tournament repeatedly getting flagged (never mind another post involving the 9th Gen getting flagged, thanks to a certain blog reblogging it) also made this the “spotlight” post for the 2019 Ice Fairy Festival. (I had completely forgotten about that.)

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Juice=Juice’s New Fruit=Fruits

June 20, 2019

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!

Long time no see, huh? Let’s get down to business.

It was announced that Juice=Juice would receive some new blood (from the reserves) just in time for Miyazaki Yuka’s graduation on the 17th. Well, in a special stream, we’ve gotten to see who that is!

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Maho wo Kakete: The #JusticeForMahohon Story

May 17, 2019

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!

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.)

I’ll just add on to say that the story became huge enough to be picked up by international news outlets and even have a Twitter Moment. Plus, a follow-up tweet as I was working on this post. Plus, a later major break that even further tore this story open. There’s also recent news that NGT48 is restarting with a new lineup (oh boy, though “reorganization” is probably more accurate)…. And Maho will be at their final event for current teamswherein she announced her graduation from NGT48 (AND THANK THE STARS FOR THAT!).

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Next Is You…kanyan

January 10, 2019

Greetings and happy New Year, Citizens of the Universe

There’s still some unfinished business from 2018 so let’s get this one out of the way:

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Top 10s for 2018

December 28, 2018

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!

2018 is almost over and since the final regular post went up a few weeks ago, it’s high time to look back and celebrate. (We could use some good cheer, given recent events.)

Sorry I couldn’t get to it sooner. I’ve been a tad busy with trying to get Magi-Kat Creates 2.0 set up that I kinda lost track of time.

You know the deal: Top 5 is italicized and the Top 3 are in bold. I’ve also merged results that share identical results.

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My Darling, I LOVE YOU – FOREVER C-ute

December 6, 2018

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!

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 IIFOREVER 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).

  1. C-ute – FOREVER LOVE (1 – 100%)
  2. 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.)
  3. Mano Erina – Lucky Aura (0 – 0%)
  4. Milkyway – Tan Tan Taan! (0 – 0%)
  5. Berryz Koubou – MADAYADE (0 – 0%)
  6. Abe Natsumi – Screen (0 – 0%)
  7. Shugo Chara Egg! – Minna no Tamago (0 – 0%)
  8. 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).

Speaking of their Memorial Survey! Let’s check out FOREVER LOVE‘s placings:

  • 13th Best Overall Single (right behind Edo no Temari Uta II)
  • 2nd Best A-Side of the Early Major Years Era (right behind Tokaikko Junjou)

So let’s dig into C-ute #7 and taste a bit of the calm before the storm.

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Grand Prix and Anniversary Vote – The Results!

November 29, 2018

Updated December 8, 2018

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!

Long time no see, eh?

…Yeah, I do realize it’s been a while. Between burnout/fatigue rearing their ugly heads, wavering feelings regarding Hello! Project as a whole messing with me (yet my sense of fandom’s been kept alive by the wonderful Discord communities I’ve joined, namely H!P Chat and H!P Fans …I really ought to join the H!P Wiki one… Been putting it off for what may be (in the end) silly reasons…), and… just life stuff.

However, there has been a constant– two constants that have anchored this particular blog in the midst of the chaos between the outgoing old and incoming new members: the Momusu M3 Grand Prix and the Anniversary Review Vote!

As such, we have some things to cover.

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Momusu M3 Grand Prix – 11/16 Update

November 16, 2018

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!

As Morning Musume faithful are enjoying themselves the City That Never Sleeps (in the aftermath of a snowstorm — please stay safe, guys!), let’s take some time to take a gander at the current status of the Momusu M3 Grand Prix.

Shall we?

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