Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Kako to Mirai: 2009 retrospective and 2010

Oh hello, world. Well, this has been one hell of a year. I for one have been a total stress mess! I had a very rough summer, lost about 40 lbs. (~20 kg), struggled through a difficult and economically lean semester, and graduated university. Through it all I kept up with Hello! Project, but not this blog, clearly.

I thought an end-of-year post with rankings, reviews and resolutions would be a nice way to get back into things. First up, my perennial favorite.

Morning Musume

A year ago Berryz Koubou had temporarily become my main squeeze, but Morning Musume is back on top as my favorite group. This is mostly like due to my new-found love for Linlin! Her "HI, I'M LINLIN!" at the Anime Expa Q&A this summer absolutely melted my heart.

As for releases this year, Naichou Kamo was not a strong kick-off. The A-side is pretty forgettable, the PV is the worst yet, and the B-side has waaa~y to much Sayumi.

On the other hand, I couldn't have asked for much more with Platinum 9 DISC. Morning Musume's best album in years! Their next single was also a stand-out, though "3,2,1 BREAKIN' OUT" outshines "Shouganai Yume Oibito." It was great to see a Morning Musume single reach number 1 again, too.

The Platinum 9 DISCO concert DVD had performance that just blows all the others away: Linlin's solo in "Aozora ga Itsumademo Tsuzuku You na Mirai de Are!" That little girl's got a huge voice. Love her!

With all the promotion for Nanchatte Renai it was bound to do well, and it really really did. It was the best-selling single for the group in four years, and the second-best-selling one in the last five years. The A-side and PV really are standouts, maybe even the best of the 9-nin line-up. Biggest disappointment was too little Linlin in the PV!

The B-side collection wasn't something I was too interested in. The girls looked great in the booklet though! And it was nice to Kago on a cover of a Hello! Project release again :D.

I loved Kimagure Princess, but it didn't fair well being their second-worst selling single ever! The song is super cute, but the promotion was nonexistent and the PV was absolutely nothing special. I would have liked to see more Koharu in this, as it was her last single!

Speaking of Koharu, I'm really sad to see her go. I was on the anti-Koha boat in the beginning, but she really grew on me. What presence! What charisma! What energy! She was a like a Mari 2.0 for me, and she would do well to follow in Yaguchi's footsteps I think.

My first hope for the coming year is to see/hear more Linlin in singles! My second hope is for an audition! With Koharu gone it's time to find ninth gen! I'd like to see a really smart girl already graduated from high school. Tsunku can even put her in glasses since he seems to have a bit of a fetish for megadols.

Berryz Koubou

At the beginning of the year I was obsessed with Berryz, but their recent singles have left them with less luster in my eyes.

They kicked off the year pretty well. Their best-of album sold pretty well and "Otoko no Ko" was a bitchin' track. I couldn't have loved Dakishimete Dakishimete more, and I went on at length about it on this blog.

The double A-side singles are fine, I suppose. They tracks are really nice and the PVs are more okay, but there's something about the girls' image now that seems a little dull and empty. They always look too made-up or something. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but hopefully once they finish acting like an anime unit they'll bounce back.

My hope for next year: an album! 5 (FIVE) was really outstanding, and I want something just as good for this next year.


°C-ute has never been my favorite group, and they haven't grown on me any more this year. ④ Akogare My STAR was pretty good, BYE BYE BYE was terrible, Shochuu Omimai Moushiagemasu was cute and had a great PV, EVERYDAY Zekkouchou!! was fairly forgettable, and the best-of album was a huge disappointment with no new tracks! I suppose my favorite release of the year was Shochuu Omimai Moushiagemasu. It parallels my favorite °C-ute release of 2008, Edo no Temari Uta II in that it was a summertime cover song. I'm not sure what Tsunku's doing with SHOCK!'s Airi saturation. Maybe he's hoping for another FurusatoLOVE Machine situation.

Mano Erina

Manoeri's debut single held so much promise! I had a lot of hope for her career after hearing "Otome no Inori" and seeing its PV. Sadly everything sort of went downhill from there for me. The only other single she has released that I even remotely like is Kono Mune no Tokimeki wo, and if that I don't love. Her album was a bit of a snooze too. Really an all around disappointing year from her!


I'm excited about their immanent debut! The girls have such a fresh, sweet image and strong vocals. I think "aMa no jaku" is a super boring track, but "Suki-chan" is super cute with a great PV and "Asu wa Date na no ni, Ima Sugu Koe ga Kikitai" is one of my favorite releases of the year.

Year's Best/Worst

Best albums
Platinum 9 DISC, Champloo 1 ~Happy Marriage Song Cover Shuu~

Worst albums

Best singles
Berryz Koubou: Dakishimete Dakishimete
Buono!: MY BOY
°C-ute: Shochuu Omimai Moushiagemasu
Guardians 4: Omakase♪Guardian
Mano Erina: Otome no Inori
Morning Musume: Nanchatte Renai
S/mileage: Asu wa Date na no ni, Ima Sugu Koe ga Kikitai

Worst singles
Berryz Koubou: Seishun Bus Guide/Rival
Buono!: Take It Easy!
°C-ute: Bye! Bye! Bye!
Guardians 4: PARTY TIME
Mano Erina: Love&Peace=Paradise
Morning Musume: Naichau Kamo
S/mileage: aMa no Jaku

Best shuffle units
High-King, Shin Minimoni

Worst shuffle units
Petitmoni V

The year ahead

Well, I'm looking forward to this next year. I hope all the groups do well and have great releases. As for myself, Here are a couple of things I have in the works for the blog this year:

  • A collection of Morning Musume essays: Theseus' SHIP! TO THE FUTURE, Swan Songs, and Asahi Musume
  • Berries for Berryz
  • An exploration of shuffle units and subgroups