A vigorous wave from guest contributor @thenumber244, here to give you a subjective monthly look at Tsunku’s girls. If I can get personal for a moment, this Angeleno recently completed an immense East Coast vacation where, among other things, I got a glimpse of the Best Buy Theater where Morning Musume ’14 will perform in October. You know, buying my tickets to Morning Musume ’14 and solidifying my other summer idol plans have been an absolute highlight for me! If you’re a North American idol fan, you have an opportunity to see not only Morning Musume ’14, but also Perfume, Babymetal, Tokyo Girls’ Style and Cheeky Parade in the next half-year (not to mention Aither and RYUTist last month at Idol Matsuri, as covered by New School Kaidan and others). I hope you’re as excited as I am for an incredible idol summer!
On to the matter at hand: the Hello! Project July Power Ranking. This month saw much of the focus on the summer musical “LILIUM -Lilium Shoujo Junketsu Kageki-“, which featured members of Morning Musume ’14, S/mileage and H!P Kenshuusei as immortal vampires. It’s hard to imagine another H!P musical as dark as 2012’s “Stacies Shoujo Saisatsu Kageki“, where the girls played zombies. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to a DVD release of “LILIUM”.
Singing vampires aside, June was a month of anticipation. All Hello! Project groups have something momentous on the horizon. Here’s how they stacked up:
|Morning Musume '14||(=)||There are three big reasons why Morning Musume '14 is at the top of the rankings yet again. Firstly, the tickets for the group's October 5th performance at the Best Buy Theater in New York City went on sale on the 20th of the month. If your Twitter is anything like mine, you saw an explosion of tweets which usually ended with "OMG I GOT TICKETS!!!"
Secondly, the group spawned a pair of photo books from Ishida Ayumi and Fukumura Mizuki. In particular, Mizuki's "Utakata" received near universal praise for its glorification of Mizuki's...well, you should know about her by now.
Finally, Michishige Sayumi served as a host for this year's MTV Video Music Awards Japan show, where she won over many people with her elegant style on the red carpet. But, while TV Tokyo continues to replay last month's "Morning Musume 55" special and the girls adorn many a box of Kagome Vegetable Juice, I have to wonder when the next single, most likely Sayumi's last with the group, will see light of day.
|Berryz Koubou||(=)||Berryz Koubou continues to score big with their single "Ai wa Itsumo Kimi no Naka ni " / " Fuutsu, Idol 10nen Yatterannai Desho!?". The single sold 44,219 copies in its first week of sales, shattering their previous best ("Motto Zutto Issho ni Itakatta / ROCK Erotic") by over 7,000 units (a 20% improvement!).
Similar to Morning Musume '14, Berryz Koubou performed at the VMAJ Awards, exposing the group (and Tsugunaga Momoko's musubi) to a new set of fans.
Of course, the anticipation is building for the group's appearances and lives (with fellow H!P Kids C-ute) at Japan Expo in Paris. By the time you read this, the group may have already concluded their activities (July 2-3) in Paris, so did you have a good time with Berikyuu?
|C-ute||(+1)||Fresh from their trip to Taipei for their first concert in Taiwan, C-ute place third this month. Their big strike in June happened to be the same event as the number two group: the Berikyuu trip to Paris. However, the group also made their presence felt in other arenas. Suzuki Airi released her solo DVD "Singapore" featuring footage shot in...well, Singapore, duh! Naturally, any Suzuki Airi product comes with 60% more midriff.
On the horizon for the C-ute girls is the single "The Power / Kanashiki Heaven". The July 16th release will likely have Yajima Maimi and co. at the top of the rankings next month.
|Juice=Juice||(+1)||Finally, Juice=Juice are up one spot this month! After a pretty good wait, the Juicers finally scheduled a release date for their next single "Black Butterfly / Kaze ni Fukarete". From the previews, "Black Butterfly" exchanges the flamenco flavor of "Hadaka no Hadaka no Hadaka no Kiss" for a tango. The new profile pictures featuring the "Black Butterfly" outfits seem to earn the stamp of approval from the Hello! fanbase, and anticipation builds every week as a new PV seems imminent on Hello! Station.
In other news, Miyamoto Karin's debut photo book "Karin" also became available in June. It feels like this release was a long time coming for H!P Jesus, but the photo book is probably worth the wait. I'll let you know when I pick mine up at the post office this week.
|S/mileage||(-2)||A slow trickle of news came from the S/milers this month. Those of us who watch Hello! Station are accustomed to seeing their "Weekly Smile" segments, but outside that show the girls kept a low profile in June. That being said, the good news comes in two parts.
Firstly, the girls have a sold out performance at Nippon Budokan on July 15th. Just a few short months ago it seemed like performing at Budokan was impossible, and now Wada Ayaka and co. have a sold out performance at the venerated venue. Also, we have a release date for the new single "Aa Susukino / Chikyuu wa Kyou mo Ai wo Hagukumu". OK, the release date is August 20th, almost two months from now. Regardless, there's a lot to look forward to in the coming months for the S/mileage fan!
And, that was the month of June for Hello! Project. It was a pretty slow month for Hello! Project as a whole, right? Naturally, you’re free to disagree. But, if you DO think my rankings are full of “it”, let me know in the comments below, my personal twitter, or the New School Kaidan Twitter. Don’t forget to visit me at my main blog The Number 244, where I write about (mainly) Hello! Project Idols and Ishida Ayumi’s dramatic chipmunk impersonation. See you next time!