Hello! Project Power Rankings December 2016

Hello everybody, guest contributor TheNumber244 here to bring you up to date with the new month of Hello! Project Power Rankings.

It’s been an eventful month in the projects. November spawned two single releases, an album release, a graduation announcement, a first-time Nippon Budokan concert, and a new generation announcement! And, if that isn’t enough news, Michishige Sayumi revealed (after some numberplay and wordplay) her comeback to the entertainment industry on November 26, a full two years after her graduation. The only thing for certain now is that the pink one will return next year. Details will be announced, so look out for Yummy Sayumi!

And now,
Rankings come on!


Morning Musume ’16
Last Rank: 1
Change: (even)

When Morning Musume ’16 go big, they really go big! November started with the expectations and a bit of uncertainty for the group’s 62nd single, “Sexy Cat no Enzetsu / Mukidashi de Mukiatte / Sou ja nai“. Would the single still perform well on the new-rule Oricon Singles Chart? Has it been too long between singles, and has any momentum been lost? Would the absence of Suzuki Kanon affect the performance of the songs? Can Tsunku still deliver an A-Side single for the flagship of Hello! Project?

Well, the Sexy Cats strutted their way to the weekly number one spot with a total of 97,818 copies sold on the Oricon Weekly chart and 166,082 copies on the Billboard Japan chart. It is a bit of a shame that the group’s consecutive 100,000 sales streak halted at 8 singles (since “Wagamama Ki no Mama ~Ai no Joke~ / Ai no Gundan“), but these are the consequences of a new counting system.

The big bomb for November dropped on the day before the “Sexy Cat no Enzetsu” release. The group’s 13th generation audition finally reached a decision point, and the new members of the group will be announced at the Morning Musume ’16’s ~My Vision~ Tour finale at Nippon Budokan on December 12. Furthermore, the whole of the new generation will come from the Hello! Project Kenshuusei system. I don’t know if this means that the auditions proved fruitless for the second straight time (this is the second 13th generation audition) since the current Hello! Project is filled with unsuccessful Morning Musume auditions. But, the 13th generation is a great opportunity for those trainees who have long laboured in the H!P Kenshuusei system. And, since the trainees are all well-known among the Haro Wota, the handicapping game has been off and running.

Who will be the future of Morning Musume? We’ll find out very shortly!


Last Rank: 5
Change: (+3)

On the strength of the group’s 30th single, C-ute surge to the second spot in the Power Rankings. The wonderfully dramatic “Mugen Climax / Ai wa Maru de Seidenki / Singing ~Ano Koro no You ni~” took home a second place ranking with 58,277 copies sold (Oricon) and the group’s first ever RIAJ Gold certification. In a great showing for the C-ute, the single remained in the top three for the entire week to lead up to the weekly conclusion. Almost certainly, “Mugen no Climax” was the best selling single from the group, although the Oricon numbers do not show it. Even though the single saw the group take a dip in their Oricon sales numbers (their previous single sold 59,522 units), this decrease was actually in increase in sales due to the Oricon counting system changes. I’m confused, too.

For me, one of the highlights of the month that was C-ute was the group’s performance on the NTV Halloween Live 2016. From the footage I saw, the Yajima Maimi and the gals dressed in midriff-baring frilly nurse outfit accessorized with long black gloves and fishnet stockings for their four-song set. As a bonus, Suzuki Airi brought her game to SCANDAL’s set where she dueted with Ono Haruna on the group’s single “Shunkan Sentimental”. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know how I feel about both SCANDAL and Suzuki Airi.


Country Girls
Last Rank: 2
Change: (-1)

We talked about it a little last month, but Tsugunaga Momoko is leaving the idol business. As far as things go in the idol world and the Projects, this is a sea change. Momochi’s graduation from show business will close the door on the Hello! Project Kids adventure that began in 2002, long before many of us current idol fans started paying attention, nearly before 3 members of Country Girls were born, and probably before most the the Morning Musume 13th generation born. Being fascinated as I am with numbers and dates, I love Momoko choosing the 15th anniversary of her Hello! Project induction to ride out on her pink swan thereby giving the Kids a nice round number for the fact file. Naturally, Momoko’s rounds on the media circuit buoyed the group’s media profile, giving them the edge on the other groups of Hello Project.

Like C-ute, Country Girls performed on NTV’s Halloween Live 2016. For their fashion report, the Girls dressed as “Happy, Excited, Euphoric Devils” with frilly FRILLY dresses and black devil horns. There’s something strange about seeing girlish pink bows adorning the goatish horns of a demon, but this is COUNTRY GIRLS, and Country Girls are CUTE. I’m pretty sure that’s how the conversation went.


Last Rank: 3
Change: (-1)

Juice=Juice finally broke free of their “Live Mission 220” with their performance at Nippon Budokan on November 7. From the few clips I saw, the performance looked magical as the group finally lived up to their early promise. Unlike their “Budokan” drama, all members of the group performed on the celebrated stage. Perhaps as predicted, the Juicers closed their set with the sentimental “Tsuzuiteiku STORY” and performed “Wonderful World” as their encore. It’s hard not to see this concert as a closing of the book for this first part of Juice=Juice’s career. As yet, no indication has been made as to the group’s direction from here, but I’m sure we’ll hear something soon.

Finally, and this is just for me, Miyamoto Karin released her fourth video release, “bluest”. I’m not going anywhere with this line of thought; I’m just celebrating all things Karin.


Kobushi Factory
Last Rank: 6
Change: (+1)

As predicted, the Factory Girls got a bit of a lift in November, rising a spot to number five. Like October, the “Kobushi Factory Live Tour 2016 Aki ~Hyper Mode~ ” put the girls on the road for much of November. The big difference here is the promotional boost the group received for its debut album, the November 30 release “Kobushi Sono Ichi“. I particularly appreciated the archery outfits donned by the girls on the album cover and promotional materials. Then again I appreciated the symbolism of archery in general: what is the target for Kobushi Factory? What goal are they aiming towards?

As a kicker, Kobushi Factory released the gorgeously shot “Kobushi no Hana” promotional video as the month closed. Much like the archery motif, Hirose Ayaka and girls spent the majority of the PV running towards the unknown, which turned out to be a beach meeting of the group. Perhaps it’s my imagination, but the beach locale looked a lot like the beach used for Berryz Koubou’s “Tomodachi wa Tomodachi Nande” PV. This makes sense, so don’t disappoint me!


Last Rank: 4
Change: (-2)

Boy, Angerme seemed to take the month for a bit. The group made five stops on its ~Kizuna~ tour, but apart from that I have virtually no other new items on the group on my spreadsheet. Well, the group is a couple months removed from their last single, “Umaku Ienai / Ai no Tame Kyou Made Shinkashite Kita Ningen, Ai no Tame Subete Taikashite Kita Ningen / Wasurete Ageru“, so maybe the time is ripe for a new single announcement. Something. Anything. Give me something, ANGERME!

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!

About Number244

Contributor to New School Kaidan, idol fan TheNumber244 gets tickled mainly by Hello! Project. A former musician and full-time nerd, he calls Los Angeles his home. TheNumber244 is waiting for the day someone calls him "senpai".

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