A Hallowmas Triduum of Departures

November 8, 2018

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!

Have you had a good Halloween/Samhain/etc? Have all of the spooks and kooks been properly excised from your being, allowing with good energy?

I hope all of that has happened for once the spoopiness ended, the truly scary stuff began in Hello! Land. You see, barely a day removed from Halloween, the Hello! Project News machine began to spin.

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Momusu M3 Grand Prix – 11/7 Update

November 7, 2018

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!


It’s almost time for Musume faithful to head to Mexico. In the meantime, the Momusu M3 Grand Prix reaches one more stop on the road to the Final Round.

I was originally going to announce this past Friday (Tweet notwithstanding)…

…but I held off because I didn’t feel the mood was right. (After all, we were barely a day removed from Yanamin’s departure announcement and Mitsui Aika’s retirement was announced hours beforehand.) I then delayed it until today because of the fervor surrounding the US Midterm Elections and I felt it’d get lost in the noise.

Besides, the last thing you need to hear in a sea of “VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE LIKE LIVES DEPEND ON IT! VOTE LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT!” is “Hey, my blog’s having a popularity contest of a tournament. Please pick your oshi in some fanpoll that will have zero bearing on your oshi’s standing in general idol life.”

So without further ado, let’s go over the results and the path ahead.

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Momusu M3 Grand Prix – Update 10/26

October 26, 2018

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!

If you’ve been watching a little space called the M3 Grand Prix page, then you’d know that we’re approaching the home stretch regarding that event. Yeah… that little dual-tournament announced back in January is nearing its end. Can you believe it?

Which brings us to this point, which is the first “update” made on the main blog in who knows how long. What has happened since early January? Well, unless you want to dig through months of Tumblr posts, let’s dig into the current status of the Momusu M3 Grand Prix!

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C-uties Playing Handball in O-Edo

September 13, 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.

This week, we’ll be tackling C-ute‘s Edo no Temari Uta II, which took the gold for the Q3 Anniversary Review Vote Win:

  1. C-ute – Edo no Temari Uta II (1 – 100%)
  2. Kusumi Koharu – Papancake (0 – 0%)
  3. THE Possible – Ijiwaru Crazy love (0 – 0%)
  4. Buono! – Gachinko de Ikou! (0 – 0%)
  5. Ongaku Gatas – Come Together (0 – 0%)

Ah, C-ute. This is a group that has come to mean a lot to people even after they lowered the curtain. All of them are thriving on Instagram (even Maimai), Airi’s having a bustling solo career, and former C-uties Umeda Erika and Arihara Kanna are happily living their lives.

It’s strange going back to a time when their power was growing, especially one with a fun beginning: See, it was originally going to be a track by enka singer and agency-mate Itsuki Hiroshi (who’d later release his own version months later). That is when our friendly neighborhood Tsunku-man came to him and asked if our C-uties could sing the track — which he did.

The result is a fun release that brings the new and old together in a very idiosyncratic way.

Oh, and a discussion on a disbanded H!P Kids (and 1st Gen Egg) group is not complete without talking about their respective Memorial Survey! Let’s check out Edo no Temari Uta II‘s placings:

  • 12th Best Overall Single
  • 8th Best A-Side
  • The 2012 Shinsei Naru Ver. was voted 4th Best 2 °C-ute Shin Seinaru Best Album Song
  • One respondent named Edo no Temari Uta as a highlight song, citing a liking of “songs that harp back to tradition.”

So without further ado, let’s get into it as we dig into C-ute #6!

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Sgt. Pepper’s Wonderful Hearts Club Band

September 10, 2018

Good morning, good morning, good morning!

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!

As part of Hello! Project’s 20th anniversary celebration (and M3’s 10th anniversary), I will take a look at various releases from the collective’s history.

This review is actually the final M3 10th Anniversary review (re-reviews of stuff covered on the old Vox blog), along with being a remake what may have been the final post on it ever: Morning Musume‘s Pepper Keibu. (Ah, it’s nice to have a little help from our friends, eh?)

As you may have gathered from the title, when I first reviewed this, I had gotten very into the Beatles the year before (I still like the band now) and the whole Wonderful Hearts/Elder Club thing was in full swing (and Momusu, being made up of mostly under-20s at this point, qualified for the former) so coming up with a title was fairly easy….

Of course, “Inspector Pepper’s Wonderful Hearts Club Band” doesn’t have the same ring to it, even if it’s far more accurate. Good luck fixing that hole!

With that in mind, let’s dig into Morning Musume #37. (Oh yeah, don’t forget about the Momusu M3 Grand Prix.)

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IC Grand Prix: ⑨

September 9, 2018

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!

It’s that time of the year again: The Ice Fairy Festival, a celebration of Morning Musume’s ⑨th Generation (and totally not me just geeking out for Cirno Day, nosiree~)!

  • 2015 was the premiere event, having a general theme for the festivities. As such, the spotlight post, The Adventures of the Lovestruck Tomboyish Girls, gave a general overview.
  • 2016 was dedicated to celebrating the graduations of Sayashi Riho and Suzuki Kanon, along with the Pon-tastic leadership of Fukumura Mizuki and Ikuta Erina. To commemorate their powerful contributions, the spotlight post for that year was their generation’s pieces in the Powerpuff Musume ’16 project, Ice Fairypuffs: The Strongest Generation.
  • 2017 was dedicated to the 20th anniversary of Morning Musume, which fell within the month. As such, the spotlight post (Frosty Reflections) was a more reflective piece about the 9th Gen’s place in Momusu history.

2018 marks the 20th anniversary of Hello! Project (a milestone that has technically been celebrated already…), a unique occasion in J-idol history. Not even AKB48’s predecessors, Onyanko Club, survived that long (though it’s getting close — the 48s have already celebrated their 10th anniversary and while the general grip of idols is faltering a bit, there’s still a lot of juice in that tank so expect the 48s to stay a long while).

As a part of this, I’ve started a series of events that are winding down. As far as the (9)th Gen are concerned (since they’ve joined long after 2008), they’re involved in quite a lot of matches this time around as the Third Round has begun. (Of course, if you’ve been paying attention, this may not seem like much of a surprise.)

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Kath Loves News, Yeah Yeah Yeah!

September 6, 2018

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!

Summer’s ending, students are back in class, and it’s time to reflect a bit on what’s going on.

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Thanks for Tonight!

August 30, 2018

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!

As part of Hello! Project’s 20th anniversary celebration (and M3’s 10th anniversary… that tagline will be over with soon), I will take a look at various releases from the collective’s history. This week, we’re traveling to 2006 as we take a look at Thanks!, the debut release by Great Aya and Miki (better—and properly—known as GAM).

J-movie fans may remember this as the ending theme to the movie Ayaya starred in, Sukeban Deka: Codename = Asamiya Saki (or Yo-Yo Girl Cop, as it’s titled for US and UK release).

Formed in 2006 with soloist Matsuura Aya and Morning Musume member (as she technically was by then) Fujimoto Miki. The group became known for their leg-tastic outfits (“gam” is also slang for attractive legs), which actually goes with their description as a “Sexy Cool Unit.”


In any case, let’s dig into GAM #1 and see how it all began.

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They Lift: The Strongest Idols (That Aren’t Ice Fairies)

August 28, 2018

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe, and welcome to the final installment of Magic Metal Meteora.


“A celebration of J-idols on the rock,” this series is meant to highlight the alternative idol scene, a particular kind of idol that has struck a chord in a lot of people.

We end this month with an act related to the previously discussed LADYBABY. Remember Ladybeard? Remember when he left LADYBABY in 2016? Well, when he did so, he wouldn’t be out of the idol ring long.

You see, in early 2017, the kawaiicore wrestler would team up with another strong idol: bodybuilder/wrestler Saiki Reika. Ever since then, the duo’s been dominating the scene and getting lots of pop from the crowd.

I’d say more, but Yes Tiger!’s Brita and her guest Adam give far more details about them than I ever could… (Seriously, check out their chat.)

How appropriate I say this with WVGCW on the way. On that note, given my very obvious love of wrestling, I’m probably not too surprised by the group’s gimmick.

With all of that in mind… let’s dig into some DEADLIFT LOLITA and see if they are indeed the Strongest Idols. (Insert Cirno joke here. Also, thanks to me having to push back this post’s publishing, it missed being posted on a day in which you can add the numbers to form 9! What a ⑨!)

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Spacey La Ta Ta

August 23, 2018

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!

As part of Hello! Project’s 20th anniversary celebration (and M3’s 10th anniversary… that tagline will be over with soon), I will take a look at various releases from the collective’s history. This week, we’re gonna party like it’s 1999 with Taiyo to Ciscomoon aka T&C Bomber aka that H!P group Inaba Atsuko was in before she was doing backup vocals for virtually everyone. (Seriously.)

Like many early H!P groups, Taiyo to Ciscomoon was formed on the show ASAYAN. In the lead up to the their debut in 1999, each of the members (gymnast ace and current concert acrobatics coach Shinoda Miho, longtime post-breakup H!P backup singer Inaba Atsuko, Chinese-born Honda Ruru, and later folk singer Kominato Miwa) were sent to different cities in the US to train: Inaba went to Atlanta, Kominato to Detroit, Shinoda to Memphis, and Ruru to Chicago.

After releasing 8 singles (and changing their name to T&C Bomber a year later), the quartet disbanded as a group in October 2000.

While the group has had some reunions (in an independent 2009 concert and in a 2013 H!P New Year’s concert), Taiyo to Ciscomoon have pretty much parted ways. Granted, there’s still some connection to them (be it though Shinoda’s current role in orchestrating H!P’s concert acrobatics or Inaba’s longtime role as a backup chorus singer), but their old group seem to be a hidden gem. Well, “hidden” may not be that accurate, given the numerous nods to their material that were given throughout the years since their breakup.


In any case, let’s dig into Taiyo to Ciscomoon #3 and get some light-year grooving going on.

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