Hello everybody, guest contributor TheNumber244 here to bring you up to date with the new month of Hello! Project Power Rankings.
October brought with it three single releases, the expectations for two more single releases, overseas concert performances, idol Halloween costumes, and more. But, even with that flurry of activity the news that dominates the here and now is Tsugunaga Momoko’s graduation from Country Girls, Hello! Project, and public life. You saw that correct: Momochi is hanging up the musubi. Technically, this news should belong in next month’s Power Rankings, and it still will appear there. But, in the here and now there is no bigger news. Momoko still has a few months with us- Momoko officially calls it quits on June 30, 2017 – exactly 15 years from the debut of Tsugunaga Momoka and the rest of the Hello! Project Kids.
Rankings come on!
What really put Morning Musume ’16 in the penthouse suite of the Projects was a double whammy of foreign soil concerts/appearances. Firstly, the flagship group arrived in Korea to perform in the MU:CON LIVE AMN Big Concert at DMC Festival 2016 an the Sangam Culture Plaza. The girls performed their latest single “Utakata Saturday Night” and a “Love Machine/Renai Revolution 21” medley. As a bonus, Nonaka Miki and Oda Sakura performed a bit of the SNSD “Tell Me Your Wish (Genie)” choreography for the lucky audience.
Later in the month, Fukumura Mizuki brought her girls to Taipei for the group’s “Morning Musume ’16 Live Concert in Taipei”. The group’s return to Taiwan cam 8 years after their first concert in Taipei in 2008, which was also the first overseas concert by Morning Musume. No doubt many longtime Taiwanese fans waited a long time to see their girls again.
Up next for Morning Musume ’16 is their 62nd single release “Sexy Cat no Enzetsu / Mukidashi de Mukiatte / Sou ja nai” on November 23rd. With the Oricon changes hitting the rest of the projects (more on that later), one can only speculate how the group will perform on its second release of the year. So far, the release seems very polarizing with “Sexy Cat no Enzetsu” ‘s slinky sexiness and Makino Maria taking a page out of the Sayashi Riho playbook in “Sou ja nai”. Time will tell, right?
As you are reading this, the most important news regarding Country Girls already broke (see introduction) making this entire Oricon ranking business a bit moot. Seeing as Momoko’s retirement from show business was announced in the new month, it doesn’t make the rankings for October. But, man this is the end of an era for Hello! Project.
See, I told myself to talk about Country Girls, their bus tour, and Morito Chisaki’s feature in Young Gangan, but all of that doesn’t matter much anymore, right?
Dream Road ~Kokoro ga Odoridashiteru~ / KEEP ON Joshou Shikou!! / Ashita Yarou wa Bakayarou“. Coming off the heels of their best selling single “Next is you! / Karada Dake ga Otona ni Nattan ja nai”, the group’s fifth place rank and 32,242 unit sales feels like a downturn. By a glance at the numbers, this single sold about 30% less copies than its predecessor. But then again, Juice=Juice’s single outsold the rest of the Projects, narrowly besting the powerful Angerme by only 774 units. Like the rest of the Projects, the new rules make it virtually impossible to compare the sales of the Tsunku/Hyadain/Dance Man/Fukuda Kanon single with the rest of the group’s catalog. I find it difficult to believe this single is the group’s second worst selling single as indicated by the raw numbers. By now, you should have some kind of idea how I feel about Oricon.
Stepping away from all this chart talk, Juice=Juice finish their year long “Live Mission 220” campaign next month with a date at Nippon Budokan. Their ambitious tour started at Yokohama Bay Hall in June last year and now ends at the storied venue. Really, I think the Live Mission 220 goes down as an under-celebrated achievement. The girls, the group, and the group’s profile grew tremendously in this time span. Hopefully we will start seeing Budokan as a permanent fixture on Juice=Juice’s tour itineraries.
Ai no Tame … / Umaku Ienai / Wasurete Ageru” was the second highest selling Hello! Project in the month with 31,468 units sold in its first week. But, like Juice=Juice ahead of them, this number represents a dip for the group from the group’s 21st single release. To be exact, Angerme’s 22nd single saw a 40% drop in sales from “Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku / Itoshima Distance / Koi Nara Tokku ni Hajimatteru”. But, that single’s 52,682 units is the group’s all-time high. As I keep saying, the rules have changed and Angerme also seems like a casualty. Until the whizzes at Hello! Project can find a way to get their number truly represented we are all looking at lower sales numbers from Oricon.
Mugen Climax / Ai wa Maru de Seidenki / Singing~ Ano Koro no you ni“, the group’s 30th single, activity on the airwaves take an up turn for the senior Hello! Project group. And, as with everything with C-ute these days, everything is a countdown to their permanent vacation. Unfortunately, when I put up C-ute’s TV schedule in comparison with the rest of the Project, I can’t think of a compelling reason to boost them higher in the rankings. All of this is going to change for November though. Look for “Mugen Climax / Ai wa Maru de Seidenki / Singing~ Ano Koro no you ni” to power Yajima Maimi and the rest of the girls up the ladder in the Projects.
Like always, you are free to disagree. In fact, please disagree! That will give us something to talk about! You can give me an earful in the comments below, my personal twitter, or the New School Kaidan Twitter. Don’t forget to visit my blog at TheNumber244. Until next time, “Ganbatte Ikuta”!