Hello everybody, guest contributor TheNumber244 here to bring you up to date with the new month of Hello! Project Power Rankings.
September seemed like another one of those transitional months for most of Hello! Project. But, with new releases starting at the end of the month, we did see the groups ramp up their activities. Really, September seemed like a month of announcement after announcement after announcement …
Rankings come on!
The group with the most immediate gain (or loss) in September was Tsugunaga Momoko’s Country Girls. Depleted of yet another member, the Girls just kept their momentum up with the release of a new single “Dodatte Ii no / Namida no Request“. The string of retro feel songs continues strongly with the Nakajima Takui penned “Dodatte Ii no” and the genuinely 1980s cover “Namida no Request”. A group with any less of a leader or members with less moxy might have crumbled. But, the group seems to prosper with the additions of Yanagawa Nanami and Funaki Musubu. Although we will need to wait until October to see how their Weekly Rank affected their Power Ranking, we know the September 28 release managed a three spot ranking and 14,604 units sold. And, if those numbers seems low (they seem low) it may be because of the new counting rules that Oricon recently enacted. If all of that doesn’t convince you, you can just placate yourself with the Country Girls First Official Book which went on sale September 24.
As expected, the beginning of September saw an outpour of emotion for the senior Hello! Project group. A quick flurry of spots on Japan television supplemented the regular appearances by Okai Chisato to bolster C-ute’s placing on these rankings. When all that dust settled, we were left with Yajima Maimi’s latest Blu Ray release “Watashi no Kisetsu and the announcement of a new single. The triple A-side “Singing~ Ano Koro no you ni / Ai wa Maru de Seidenki / Mugen Climax” gets a November 2 release. So far we know that “Mugen Climax” is an Oomori Seiko penned song, frequent H!P contributor Kodama Ameko wrote the lyrics for “Ai wa Maru de Seidenki”, and Tsunku himself wrote and composed “Singing ~Ano Koro no You ni”. That set of credits sounds very exciting to my ears. The C-ute countdown is in full effect!
Like the previous two groups on these rankings, Morning Musume ’16 had a strong September. The month started with Ikuta Erina, Iikubo Haruna, and Nonaka Miki in a squid fishing competition on Pussuma’s September 2 and 9 shows. Things heated up even more for the group with the start of its Fall “My Vision” Tour on September 24. Anticipation rode high for the opening date as almost everyone paying attention to the group expected the announcement of the 13th generation. Although no 13ki were announced at the tour start in Kanagawa, there were a few announcements from the Mizukingdom. Fukumura Mizuki takes her group to Korea on October 8 for the “Asia Music Network Big Concert 2016 DMC Festival”. Couple this Korea trip with the previously announced “Morning Musume ’16 Live Concert in Taipei” on October 16 and the group seems to be strengthening its Asian ties. Oh, and the 62nd single “Sou Janai / Sexy Cat no Enzetsu / Mukidashi de Mukiatte” was announced for a November 23rd release. That’s not a big deal, is it?
After all the delay, Juice=Juice’s 8th single finally got off the ground in September. The group didn’t manage to release their promotional videos, but previews and performances of the songs already circulated widely by the beginning of the month. All that seemed left for “Dream Road ~Kokoro ga Odoridashiteru~ / KEEP ON Joshou Shikou!! / Ashita Yarou wa Bakayarou” was the reveal of the CD artwork and actual PV releases. And, on September 28 the group finally showed us their single covers. In keeping with the month of announcements, Juice=Juice made a few of their own. Leader Miyazaki Yuka leant her lean figure to the printers with the release of her first photobook “Miyazaki Yuka“. Not to be eclipsed, Miyamoto Karin announced her third solo photobook, “Sunflower” for release on October 21. Also in print this September, Uemura Akari graced the pages and the cover of Young Gangan at the beginning of the month. That’s more than half of the group involved in the gravure trade … where’s my Takagi Sayuki and Kanazawa Tomoko?
These groups in the lower half of the ranking are really just starting to percolate to the top. If you asked me on a different day, I might have even put Angerme ahead of Juice=Juice in these Power Rankings. But, you get what you get, and what you get is Wada Ayaka leading her girls up the path at number five with their 22nd single, “Umaku Ienai / Ai no Tame Kyou Made Shinkashite Kita Ningen, Ai no Tame Subete Taikashita Ningen / Wasurete Ageru”. By the end of the month, Angerme released the covers for this release. The Angel Tears even released the promotional video for the absurdly titled “Ai no Tame Kyou Made Shinkashite Kita Ningen, Ai no Tame Subete Taikashita Ningen”. New member Kasahara Momona gets welcomed into the group with some significant time at center with this PV, which may be something to keep a watch upon. But, even though Aikawa Maho grabs some attention with her mini-photobook, most of the eyeballs have been diverted toward Juice=Juice’s three-pronged visual assault. At this pace, we should see a real dogfight for supremacy between the Angrys and the Juicers in October. Who will win?
Hey, after a single release I expect a group to take a dip in the rankings. Kobushi Factory just happened to dip all the way down to the basement of the Projects. That’s probably not the best way to spend the anniversary of their first major release. No worries, Hirose Ayaka and her girls had an announcement for us in September, too. On the first date of their “Kobushi Factory Live Tour 2016 Aki ~Hyper Mode~” tour in Fukui, the Factory Girls revealed plans for their first album. “Kobushi Sono Ichi” and its November 20 release. This early on, not much else is known about the disc. Of course, November is also the release month for singles from the heaviest of Hello! Project hitters; hopefully the Factory doesn’t get lost amid the commotion.
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 where it’s been slim pickings lately. Until next time, BUS COME ON!