Berryz Digest – Over Ten Years in One Arbitrary Review

I don’t talk about Berryz Koubou much (they haven’t appealed to me much in the past years) but I do have a decent past with them. “Gag 100 Kaibun Aishite Kudasai” was actually the first song/PV that got me interested in idols. After that I was a big fan of Berryz for a brief period of time, Tsugunaga Momoko was my first favorite idol (yes, really), and Tokunaga Chinami’s first PB was the first photobook I ever bought. The Berryz / C-ute concert in 2008 (Berryz Kamen vs C-utie Ranger) was I think the first full-length concert I watched. So while Berryz Koubou doesn’t do too much for me right now, they still have a pretty big place in my personal idol history.

While Berryz Koubou hasn’t really captured my interest in years, their “hiatus” does mark the end of an era for me, so, to commemorate it, I am doing brief (and I will keep these brief!) reviews of all the singles. Because really, what a better way to celebrate 10+ years than an arbitrary list – reviewing all the Berryz single songs. I’m only doing Berryz-exclusive singles (so, no Berikyuu) and only songs considered to be the single songs (so yes, all the double-A-Sides).

Also, as a note, my grading system is 6-10 are songs I like and 1-4 are songs I don’t like. 5 is something that is almost completely neutral. This is more referential to the rest of the songs by Berryz, so a Berryz 8 might not equal an 8 by another group.

1. Anata Nashi de wa Ikite Yukenai – Heads up, this is one of the idol songs that makes me uncomfortable. I feel like the image of this is a bit too grown up for Berryz as children. It has a cool feel to it that I really like, but hearing it sung by a group of children is a bit odd.

However, aside from that, this is a solid pop song with a good beat. I like the progression within the song, building up to the chorus. I particularly like the opening flute line (to be honest I’m not entirely sure what instrument it is). It feels hard to call this a Berryz song, because Tsunku’s “background” vocals dominate the entire song.
Perhaps not quite something Berryz was ready for, Anata Nashi de wa Ikite Yukenai is still a solid start for Berryz. 6/10

2. Fighting Pose wa Date Janai!
I feel like after trying Anata Nashi H!P was like “OK we need to do something that fits kids better.” I actually really like Fighting Pose. While there are definitely annoying elements (some of the sounds Tsunku makes, the worst of H!P vocal coaching at play here), this is a fun song that takes a little inspiration from Beach Boys-esque surf pop. Now this song isn’t on that level, but it’s a fun little song from Berryz that I don’t feel gets its due. The melody line on this is great, and a lot of good elements come together for this song. 8/10

3. Piriri to Yukou
I remember liking this song a lot better when I was younger. This is a fairly well regarded song for early Berryz, and I don’t know if I completely get it. The melody’s not bad, and the back and forth between the girls is pretty cute. It’s kind of fun, and I do like the plucked string sound (it kind of sounds like a shamisen?) in the instrumental. However, the whole instrumental tends to sound empty and the pace of the song kind of drags, especially in the chorus.
There are certainly enough elements where I see why people enjoy this song, but this doesn’t do too much for me. 5/10

4. Happiness – Koufuku Kangei
There are a couple of Berryz singles I flat out forget about sometimes. This is one of them. Happiness isn’t BAD, per say, but it’s just generic and forgettable. I’m not a huge fan of some of the instrumentation, but it’s mostly serviceable. The Berryz girls are starting to get good at selling it, though, with some memorable vocal parts (even if the H!P style of vocal coaching is still kind of iffy).
However, what gets me is how repetitive this is. After two minutes I am ready for this song to be done. Repetition can be used meaningfully (I can think of at least one Berryz song that does it well) but here it just makes things tedious; it doesn’t help that the melody of “We welcome this happiness tonight” is in no way interesting or compelling the first time.
There are decent elements to Happiness, but for the most part I’m glad to forget it. 3/10

5. Koi no Jubaku
This is another song that I remembered being better. That’s not to say this isn’t good; I do definitely like the melody of this song. The end of the chorus, where one of the members sings the titular “koi no jubaku” is great. I also like the initial melody line when done by the instrumental; I also like the initial drum beat at the beginning; this song starts out fantastic. Unfortunately, it fizzles by the end; there isn’t a lot going on in the background, and it doesn’t carry the initial interest to the end. There is a lot of potential, but it’s not fully achieved here. 6/10

6. Special Generation
Oh man, the big one. This is the Maiha era Berryz song that everyone remembers, and for good reason. It’s a great, classic song that is just about paced perfectly, has a great melody, and a lot of energy. I’d argue this is the Love Machine of Berryz, the song that really put them on the map. While they had other solid songs before and after this, Special Generation is, well, special. It manages to be cool and fun while still utilizing the youthful energy. The members sound great here, as well; Miyabi’s vocals are really solid. This is a fast paced, fun, classic Berryz song that is fully deserving of the praise it gets. 10/10

7. Nanchuu Koi wo Yatteru You Know?
This is another song I forget about a lot; it’s not a bad one, but coming right after Special Generation it is incredibly forgettable. It’s trying to be a cool dance song and while it mostly succeeds it’s just not that memorable. The chorus is the clear star, here, while the verses aren’t super memorable. It’s a tad too slow, the beat isn’t interesting enough, and the melody in the verse isn’t super great. There’s also a tad too much Tsunku in the background at points. Some of the non-Tsunku back vocals sound kind of weird, too. Still, this is just fine. Not good, not bad. 5/10

8. 21ji Made no Cinderella
Also known as the last single to feature Maiha. I actually really like this song a lot, and I feel like it’s one of the more underrated Berryz songs. The instrumentation is pretty fun; the deep drum beat, the sax, the horns. I also love the retro, doo wop 50s feel to the whole thing. The back and forth of the vocals works pretty perfectly, and Berryz sounds pretty great. The entire melody is very cute, and fun. I’d love more Hello!Project songs that utilize this kind of retro sound. 8/10

9. Gag 100Kaibun Aishite Kudasai
I honestly can’t give this a fair review because this song means so much to me – this song got me into idols in the first place. The dance shot of this PV was the very first idol PV I ever saw. That said, I do think this song holds up incredibly well. The back and forth of the song is great, and the melody is infectious. As much as Momoko’s schtick has been polarizing, she sounds great in this song. This is a classic idol song at this point to me, so again, objectivity is hard. However, this is one of the shining points in Berryz’s discography, and there isn’t much I would change about this song. 10/10

10. Jiriri Kiteru
This is a rarity indeed – a Berryz song that’s better than I remembered. I always liked Jiriri Kiteru, but I’m not sure I appreciated it as much when I was younger. Or, my tastes have changed. That said, it takes an unusual sample (a Chopin etude) and makes it work remarkably well. Chopin’s piano fits well with the melody, the beat, and the rest of the instrumentation (adding in guitar, strings, etc.). This is a fantastic use of a sample, and nearly everything in this song works well. 9/10

11. Waracchau yo Boyfriend
Berryz is on a hot streak for me, apparently! I love the retro, 50s feel of this song with the cute, almost saccharine feel of the rest of the song. Sometimes the background vocals are a bit overbearing and I wish they had started to give some of those vocals to Berryz to do. Other than that, though, it’s a very cute song wiht a great 50s feel to it. I still actively listen to this song because of how much I like it. 7/10

12. Munasawagi Scarlet
And the Berryz hits keep going! As much as I complained about background vocals in other songs, Munasawagi has a pretty fantastic vocal mix. Munasawagi Scarlet is one of the songs I’d consider to be a classic, and for good reason. It has a great beat and great energy throughout, the melody’s great, and I love the guitar that’s used. Weirdly, though, the vocal mix used is one of those things that I like best. Berryz singing as a group sound great. This is a super fun song. 9/10

13. VERY BEAUTY
Speaking of vocals… look, I think that Risako has a very pleasant voice, and in the right range I like it a lot. However, that’s a narrow range, and H!P tends to decide that Risako should sing high notes, which she is NOT suited for. Very Beauty was one of the early offenders in this.
That said, it’s a pretty ballad with a lot of forward movement, almost all due to the bouncing piano in the background. It takes a lot for me to enjoy a ballad, because I find a generic energetic pop song to be much more compelling than a generic ballad. However, Very Beauty is pretty and never unpleasant to get through. 7/10

14. Kokuhaku no Funsui Hiroba
Another song I barely think of! Much like Jiriri Kiteru this is a better song than I remembered. I don’t know why, but I remember this being boring. However, in hindsight I like this a lot. The instrumentation reminds me of Maeda Yuki’s Tokyo Kirigirisu, which is an old-school H!P song I hold in high regard. So even though this song isn’t enka, it is kind of reminiscent of enka. While I enjoy the old-school feel of the instrumentation and arrangement, the song itself is very enjoyable, with a great back and forth in the vocal line.
I don’t know if this will become one of my go-to H!P songs, but I fully expected to give this a much worse grade than I am now. Huh. 8/10

15. Tsukiatteru no ni Kataomoi
Now we’re getting to the songs that were new Berryz when I started to get into them. Honestly, this is another song that was better in hindsight. It’s a fun, bouncy pop song (for being about unrequited love). I like the melody a lot, and there are some cute points in that. However, the rest of the song is fairly unremarkable. It’s a fairly average idol pop song. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! But there’s not too much that stands out with this song, to make me pick it over a lot of other Berryz songs. 5/10

16. Dschinghis Khan
As a new fan of Berryz when this came out, I was pretty psyched. While I didn’t know this song in particular, I was well aware of Dschinghis Khan the group from their other big song, Moskau (if you don’t know it, it was pretty big online in the mid 2000s).
Reviewing a cover is weird – do I review the original song, or do I just review what Berryz did with it? Luckily, Dschinghis Khan is great in both aspects so I don’t have to think too hard on that one. While Berryz cleaned up the lyrics and modernized the arrangement (doing so well), the original song is still very present and very fun. Is it cheesy? Yes. However, I love cheesy and fun, so Dschinghis Khan is right up my alley. 9/10

17. Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance
There are some moments where I just don’t understand Hello! Project. What do we do with a group featuring kids that are growing up and are now young women? Let’s have them sing a song about monkeys. Because why not.
That said, despite the subject matter just not making sense to me, this is a cute song, with a lot of good energy. The biggest flaw is the length. There is really not that much to this song, and it drags on for five minutes. Its repetition is its main flaw – even in the individual verses and the chorus there’s a lot of repetition, and then those verses and choruses are repeated. There’s just not enough to Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance to hold up throughout the whole song. It’s the song where the first minute is cute and fun but then the last minute is “OK, when will this be done.”
Ultimately there is potential here, but it’s squandered (hey, could that be a metaphor for Berryz as a group?) 6/10

18. MADAYADE
For a long time I forgot this song existed. That’s how unremarkable Madayade is. It’s not bad, but just kind of bland. There’s a germ of a great idea in there; I like the retro feel to parts of it, I like the chorus (the “motto motto ha ha ha”). Nothing’s really bad here, either. However, there’s not much that stands out – maybe the retro feel of it is the closest thing? It’s pretty inoffensive, really. I doubt this is anyone’s favorite Berryz song or their least favorite. It’s just kind of there. 5/10

19. Dakishimete Dakishimete
OK, is the transition from Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance to MADAYADE to Dakishimete Dakishimete bizarre to anyone else? This was definitely the start of the time when H!P had no idea what to do with Berryz. However, I really like Dakishimete Dakishimete.
Perhaps it’s because it comes from a time that I genuinely was excited about Berryz, I have listened to Dakishimete x2 a lot. However, it’s still a song I actively like to listen to. It’s not very challenging, but it’s a solid dance pop tune that utilizes all of the members of Berryz very well. Risako’s solo lines in particular sound great; this is well within her range.
The whole song is paced well which has made it a fun, enduring listen. 8/10

20. Seishun Bus Guide
Ah, the start of the Inazuma Eleven singles and the double A-Sides.
This song is honestly just a bore. I never remember it exists, and I never feel like listening to it. It’s almost entirely innocuous and tame. Berryz is also not sounding their best here; for some reason the vocal mix seems to have become much less impressive than in Dakishimete Dakishimete.
There is a bit of a retro feel which I like, and I like the guitar that sometimes shows up in the instrumentation. However, that is honestly it with Seishun Bus Guide. The rest is bland. It’s not incompetent or even terrible, but it’s just boring.
There is not much to like in Seishun Bus Guide – it’s forgettable and bland. 3/10

20. Rival
I think Rival is the much more remembered A-Side on Berryz’s 20th single, and for good reason. Rival is fantastic. It’s upbeat, retro, slightly errs on the side of being so cute that it’s saccharine. The fast paced melody works very well, and the slower points in the song never drag or last too long. The arrangement is also top-notch; there’s a ton going on but it never feels too busy. The guitar and keyboard sound great in particular, and the background vocals are subtle but add a lot in their presence. This is a lot of fun.
But man, Berryz, why did you have Risako do that high note at the end? Risako sounds great the rest of the song, but that is so far out of her range. Miyabi or Momoko might have been able to handle it. It’s not the end of the world, but Risako cracking on that note adds a noticeable flaw to what is otherwise a fantastic song. 9/10

21. Watashi no Mirai no Danna-sama
Again I’d consider this the lesser remembered A-Side on the 21st single, and it’s the least successful one. That isn’t much of a slight, though, as the other half of this single is one of my favorite Berryz songs.
I like Watashi no Mirai no Danna-sama a lot better than I like Seishun Bus Guide, mostly because it has much more of a sense of style to it. It’s slick, the instrumentation works with the feel to it, and it’s more fun. The back and forth in the verses and the almost whispered vocals work incredibly well. It’s not terribly interesting or original, but it’s an easy to enjoy song. 6/10

21. Ryuusei Boy
I love this song. Really, really love it. As you might guess by the title of this blog, I absolutely love pop music that has a disco or funk influence. So Ryuusei Boy is right up my alley. While it’s not the most disco-themed Hello! Project music ever (That’s Ongaku Gatas!) Ryuusei Boy is a funky, disco-influenced song that is just a lot of fun. Every element is pretty on point for this song; the vocal mix is great, the background vocals actually fit the song, the instrumentation is pretty great. There is a ton of energy in Ryuusei Boy that makes it a very enduring and lasting listen for me. 10/10

22. Otakebi Boy WAO!

This song actually has some attitude to it! There’s an actual bite to a song like Otakebi Boy Wao. Risako in particular does a lot to sell the song, though the rest of the members do a great job with Otakebi; she does a great job with the attitude in Otakebi. The rest of the song is pretty solid; a guitar-heavy, fast-paced rock song. To be honest, in hindsight the song itself isn’t as impressive as I remember it. That said, it does have good moments (the “wao wao oh yeah otakebi” lines are a lot of fun) and having someone completely nail the attitude like Risako certainly helps. 7/10

22. Tomodachi wa Tomodachi Nanda

My opinion on this song has changed quite a bit, really. On the one hand it’s a sweet, happy song focusing on friendship. On the other hand it’s a bit too saccharine, the background vocals are a bit overbearing at times and the instrumentation is a bit too annoying. This song is a germ of a good idea, and I want to like it. I just think it’s a little overproduced and too busy. If it was just the occasional piano part and focused on being an upbeat piano number with Berryz, then I would like this song. There’s just too much going on in the arrangement for what the song wants to be – a simple, happy song about friendship. If they had stripped down Tomodachi wa Tomodachi Nanda it could have been good, great even. 5/10

23. Maji Bomber

One of the songs that is better than I remember! I think at this time there was something that I call “Inazuma fatigue” going on – too many songs geared towards Inazuma Eleven. But Maji Bomber has a some great guitar in there and has a solid ska vibe, something I wish more idol music explored. There’s a lot of energy and they actually pull off a rock-inspired song (which a lot of groups don’t manage). I actually really like this a lot. 8/10

24. Shining Power
I think I like what Shining Power was attempting more than I like what it ended up doing, sad to say. I like the funky beat that the song starts out with, and I like the general funky feel, but it never really achieves it, especially compared to the far superior Ryuusei Boy. Shining Power just drags (especially in the extended instrumental break in the middle of the song), it lacks the energy of something like Ryuusei Boy, and the arrangement feels empty, hollow. There’s a lot that could have been good about Shining Power, and even some of the individual elements are fine (the initial funky idea, the back and forth between Yurina and the rest of the group) but Shining Power ultimately doesn’t cut it. 5/10

25. Heroine ni Narou ka?
I like this song, I really do, but in retrospect it isn’t quite as impressive as I remember. What really stands out to me are the response lines in the verses that are very heavily altered/autotuned. Those sound great and actually remind me a bit of ELO (which is a huge compliment). The rest of the song is pretty solid, too, and nothing is quite bad here. That said, it’s not quite as extraordinary as I remembered; once you take out some of the better electronic elements, the song seems relatively generic. It’s not bad, but it’s not life changing. 6/10

26. Ai no Dangan
Oh god, let’s just get this out of the way – the dance moves and the outfit combined are horrific. That’s not part of the song, but it’s what everyone remembers from Ai no Dangan.

Listening to this track sans – PV, this is still boring. It’s not necessarily terrible – I like the idea of a guitar-heavy track. But there is not much beyond some of those guitar riffs that make this song stand out at all. But the occasional guitar riff isn’t enough to save an incredibly dull, dragging song. It’s not a mess or anything but it’s just boring. Ugh. 2/10

27. Aa Yoru ga Akeru

Listening to these without the PVs is kind of revelatory – I don’t have to deal with the awful pink nighties!

I like the funky piano a lot and how the synth strings work with it. The instrumentation is pretty solid. That said, the vocal mix is really bizarre- there’s a weird amount of echo put on just about everything; it sounds like an amateur mixed this at points. There are certain sections where the vocals sound fine, but mostly there’s just a weird amount of echo that adds nothing.

The melody is pretty bland and unappealing as well; there’s absolutely nothing catchy about it. It’s slow and draggy, which feels completely mismatched with the rest of the instrumentation. If they had sped it up at all it might have been fine, but the long dragged out of “Ai waaaaaa” just sounds ugly. It doesn’t stick in your head at all.

Without the cool instrumentation (which I now realize to be completely misleading!) this would be a zero. That said, whoever arranged this a decent job at trying to save a trainwreck of a song. 2/10

28. Be Genki (Naseba Naru)

Did I ever actually listen to this? Because uh, it’s completely unfamiliar to me. I think this was the point that I just gave up on Berryz because of the one-two punch of awfulness of the past two singles.

I actually really like this song; it has a great melody, and brings me back to the cuter days of Berryz. It feels like a more mature Piriri to Yukou and is reminiscent of several anime themes. A good melody goes a long way and Be Genki actually has a good one.

The biggest drawback, in contrast with Aa Yoru ga Akeru, is the instrumentation. There is just too many fake synth instruments when actual horns would sound so much better. It feels a bit empty without real instruments and I think the actual warmth of real instruments would sound a lot better. The entire arrangement feels a bit empty in general.

Ultimately, as much as I appreciate quality arrangements, with an idol pop song the melody is king and Be Genki’s is quite good. 7/10

29. Cha Cha Sing

Berryz does great with its covers, and Cha Cha Sing has been a favorite since it came out. A cover of a Thai pop song, Cha Cha Sing adds a lot of great international flavor to Berryz. Every member sounds great and is totally pulling it off. The original song is a lot of fun and this arrangement makes it a fun song for Berryz. The pacing is pretty perfect. Berryz songs aren’t always perfect but man when they do a good song it’s great. 10/10

30. WANT!

Ah, Berryz taking on the EDM craze that has swept H!P; luckily this is a pretty solid song. Sometimes it feels like the verse goes on a bit long, but I think that’s in the interest of getting every member to have their own line. Despite a little dragging, this is a pretty good use of the dance music genre and the chorus is a total earworm. I also generally like the lyrics, which are just full of wanting. While I think that the EDM – inspired pop craze that swept H!P has been a little overdone, when it’s done well it’s a treat to listen to. WANT! doesn’t reach the heights of Morning Musume’s best, but it’s a solid, fun pop song. 7/10

31. Asian Celebration

I know this isn’t universally loved but I adore Asian Celebration; it’s a song I’ve listened to a lot since its release. It’s not a super complex or interesting song, but it’s just a solid, fun dance pop track with a great beat and a lot of energy to it. Miyabi completely kills it with her spoken parts, and the other members sound great too. This is taking the best of the electronic-based Hello!Project and giving fans a solid, polished pop tune. There’s nothing too extraordinary, but it’s a very listenable track. 8/10

32.Golden Chinatown

Continuing the upbeat EDM-inspired music, with a dash of stereotypical Asian sounds! I actually really enjoy the melody for this – in the verses. The chorus is a letdown after the great back and forth of the verses,

The instrumentation is a bit much (can I even call it stereotypical because it was written by a Japanese person?) but it’s ultimately harmless. Golden Chinatown’s melody is pretty solid, and the instrumentation is solid as well, but there’s nothing that stands out. After multiple listens I still wouldn’t be able to remember the melody. This is fine, but not Berryz at its best or most memorable. 5/10

32. Sayonara Usotsuki no Watashi

More EDM! I actually don’t know if I’ve heard this before, but man I don’t think I should have listened to this before because this is not very good. The melody is uninspired and not memorable. The background EDM instrumentation is just ugly and doesn’t sound in any way pleasant. Uninspired is the word to describe this song – there isn’t much that makes this a redeemable single. It feels like they were like “OK electronic music is big, so we have to do this.” I think the chorus gets a tad better, but for the most part this is an ugly, ugly song that I hope I don’t have to listen to again. 3/10

33. Motto Zutto Issho ni Itakatta

This is the “we’re doing electronic music but it’s a ballad!” which is admittedly an interesting take to with. That said, ballads are for the most part not my thing at all, so I don’t think I’m really the person who can best appreciate this song. I think that the elements of this song are decent – the melody and vocal line are pretty good and the arrangement is a pretty solid example of EDM. It just doesn’t feel like they fit together organically. The melody sounds like it should be in an over-dramatic string-focused song and the arrangement feels like it should be for an upbeat pop song. So the sum of its parts are a lot lesser than the individual elements, which is kind of a shame. 5/10

33. Rock Erotic

This song only recently came on my radar, as the 20th generation kenshuusei performed it, with Danbara Ruru and Funaki Musubu completely killing it. Those two have a bright future ahead, and they really made me appreciate this song.

Man, though, maybe it’s my bias towards Musubu talking, but this version doesn’t quite have the same bite that the kenshuusei version did. The melody on this (especially the chorus) is really catchy and fun, but I wish that things were a bit more unrestrained in the Berryz version. This song really suits raw, live vocals better. The arrangement is a bit restrained too, where I think maybe some more interesting instrumentation might have suited this better. Either use more bass or maybe add something interesting (a really raw sax line like in early Juice=Juice maybe? More guitar?). This song is good, don’t get me wrong, but it needs something more to make it an actual classic. 7/10

34. Otona na no yo!

I love the funky feel of this – the start of this song is great. The synth keyboard/organ is the MVP in this entire song, and this song succeeds the funkier it is. I love the arrangement of this – the background vocals in particular work really well, but the funky synth works perfectly. The melody is good, though it’s not entirely as memorable as it could be. Miyabi and Risako in particular sound great, but every member of Berryz sounds great here. While H!P has had some funk/disco tracks in the past, Otona na no yo is a great example. If more H!P songs had this level of funk then I would be a very happy person. 8/10

34. 1oku 3zenman Sou Diet Oukoku

Just off the bat I have to say that I’m a big defender of this track. Just to get it out of the way, I enjoy the lyrics a lot. I’ve looked at them a lot and ultimately they feel like they’re much more about being body positive and anti-dieting than people give them credit. I think they could be interpreted as going “Berryz, go on a diet!” but really I feel like it’s a pretty smart and interesting take on a society that’s diet-obsessed, and goes on how the members want to do more with their lives than think about dieting.

The song does a great job of reinforcing these lyrics, too. The very repetitive parts of the song serve as a device to reiterate the importance of these lyrics.The phrases that get repeated are the ones that are like “always” and “year after year,” becoming almost robotic, which show how ingrained that dieting is here.

Beyond that, this song is incredibly catchy and fun to listen to as a dance song. The entire arrangement feels complete and pleasant to listen to, and it’s pretty perfectly paced. It’s a great dance song in addition to being an interesting critique of diet culture.

I will defend this song forever because I love it. 10/10

35. Ai wa Itsumo Kimi no Naka ni

This song immediately grabbed me because it’s just so different – it has a dark tone, focuses on heavy drums and bass, and has a lot of great things to it. I love how dark it all sounds – I’ve heard people describe this as sounding like a villain song in something, and I can hear why. This is dark and heavy and great. I particularly like the drums, mostly because they stand out, but the rest of the instrumentation works great. The melody is pretty fantastic as well..

The only issue I have is that this song doesn’t really go anywhere. The song is at its most impactful in the start, when it immediately grabs you, but it stays fairly stagnant throughout, except maybe for the instrumental break about 2/3rds through the song. It’s slightly too repetitive, which is a shame because the great thing about this song is just how it grabs you and how different it all is.

This doesn’t really detract from the song too much, but I think the impact of this song could have gone up if there had been a bit more diversity and less repetition. 8/10

35. Futsuu, Idol 10nen Yatteranai Deshou?

Oh man, I know I’m nowhere near the first person to mention this, but the fact that Berryz did a song that was about how weird it is to be an idol for 10+ years right before going on hiatus is a bit silly. “I love it” do you? Do you really?

I can’t really pinpoint this song, to be honest. At certain points the background sound effects sound goofy and unpleasant, but at others I love the weird quirkyness of the arrangement. I think the high pitched synth horn is great but I find the horse neighs kind of baffling, to be honest. The verses aren’t particularly interesting, but the chorus is catchy and great. This also feels like half parts country song (hence the horses?) and half parts dance song. That’s not a bad thing, but why is this the big “Berryz has been around for ten years” song? I don’t quite get it.

I usually try to separate a song from its subject matter, but this doesn’t feel quite like a song for this. The lyrics are great and interesting, but the rest of the song doesn’t seem to fit. It feels mismatched in many ways – is that supposed to be a statement? I think I like some of the elements of this enough to give this a positive grade, but this song just baffles me. 6/10

36. Romance wo Katatte

I have to admit the first time I listened to this I didn’t really like it. That was pretty dumb of me, because I love retro sounds and this has a great, old 50s-era sound. The real MVP here are the background vocals and the response lines (i.e. “fu fu white romance”) – they have a really great, classy old-school sound to them. The rest of the song isn’t bad, either, it’s just that those sound great. This is a pretty, laid-back song that succeeds a lot on its old-school charm. 8/10

36. Towa no Uta

Oh hey, some guitar-inspired rock – I’m getting some Buono vibes from this. There’s a little of a lot of sounds in here – there’s some high-pitched chimes and some darker/lower electronic sounds, but ultimately this is a guitar-driven pop song. The chorus is fairly catchy and has a great energy to it, but the verses fall a bit flat for me. This isn’t quite as memorable as I wish Berryz’s last song would be. This is a good Berryz song, but I wish their last single songs were a bit more memorable in focusing on their hiatus. 6/10

Overall : While Berryz had their ups and downs, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend all of their discography, Berryz Koubou has a lot of great songs that they added to the overall Hello!Project discography. Their unevenness was almost charming to me as a fan, because I always looked forward to the occasional Berryz song that would end up as one of my favorite songs ever.

Even as I’m critical of some of these songs, I can’t help but applaud Berryz Koubou for over ten years. As I have mentioned before, Berryz Koubou is the first idol group I got into, so while I haven’t been a steady fan of theirs for years they still occupy a weird, special place in my heart for helping bring me to one of my biggest interests and hobbies. So, thank you for the memories, Berryz Koubou, and congratulations on ten years. I hope only the best for the members of Berryz Koubou going forward.

Review Monday: 1 Oku 3 Zen Man Sou Diet Oukoku

I’m not Berryz Koubou’s biggest fan. Sure, I got into them as my first ever idol group, and I was (and still am, to an extent) a pretty big Tokunaga Chinami fan, but they just haven’t impressed me as of late. I rank them generally as my least favorite Hello!Project group, and I don’t pay much attention. I was not planning on reviewing this single at all. However, it completely surprised me, so I thought that I had to review Berryz’s Diet Song.

Song: As a song, I do like this. I feel like Berryz is finally starting to figure out their style lately, which is good. IMO Berryz’s biggest downfall was their Inazuma Eleven years. Not that what they did there was bad; some of my favorite Berryz songs on their own come from that era (I particularly like Otakebi Boy! Wao! and Ryuusei Boy), but they really lost group identity then. Berryz is a weird group. None of the members particularly fit together, they’re all shapes and sizes, and they’ve done really odd things in the past (Dschinghis Khan and Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance?).

This song doesn’t quite bring back the Berryz I became a fan of, but I mention this because I like the weirdness. I like the repetition of phrases and how robotic it sounds. This is still more in their recent Asian Celebration phase than their Monkey Dance phase, but I like how it sounds. I don’t know if I’d consider this a good song as a whole; Some of the phrases go on too long, and it’s a bit sad when repeated phrases hold my attention more than anything else. However, this is a better song than Berryz have been given lately, which is a good thing.

Lyrics: Normally I don’t pay the lyrics much attention, aside from the really obvious things. Lyrics can matter, but most idol lyrics aren’t the best and are pretty irrelevant to how I feel about the song. However, this song is all lyrics, in terms of my interest in reviewing it. By the way, I’m referring to the official video translation. I know these aren’t perfect, and I’m supplementing this with my own Japanese knowledge, but they’re what’s being promoted to the US.

So. These lyrics. The way I see it, the intent of these lyrics are unclear, and there are two main options for how they could be taken; it could be either, or, or a little of both (which is what I think it is, mind):

1. Tsunku is mean, and fatshaming is in. Since he’s said that Berryz has heavy members, this is a dig at them. This is promoting a nation of dieting.

2. This is a critique of fatshaming and the concept of a nation of dieting, saying that other things are more important.

Here are my thoughts on each of those ideas.

1: Both Japan and the US have a complicated relationship with weight. A lot of people do, really. It’s difficult, really. Healthy eating and exercise habits are important, and something to promote. On the other hand, shaming overweight people doesn’t work and makes people gain weight. A healthy diet is a good thing, but promoting unhealthy diets is a bad thing.

When the lyrics mention that Japan is a nation of dieting, while that might be synechdoche, it’s not inaccurate. Japan has a law on the books that fines people with a large waistline after the age of 40. Japan is the least obese industrialized nation, and “To the contrary, there is a problem of leanness in young females.” (Source) Health is admirable, but this isn’t necessarily the cause.

It’s easy to see this song as promoting that type of behavior. The song focuses on “every single person likes beautiful girls,” which could infer that by beautiful they mean slender. All these lyrics about dieting are surrounded by “I want to love” and lyrics about aiming for one’s dreams. If this is saying that this is achievable by dieting, then this is a terrible message. Being healthy is a good thing, but unhealthy dieting and getting too underweight is a bad thing as well.

2: However, the more I’ve thought about these lyrics, the more interesting I find them. Take the “all year around” and “every single person” lines that are repeated; by using repetition, the part that’s repeated is how this affects every single person and that this is a constant thing. This isn’t necessarily promoting diets, but saying that this is a long standing thing that’s firmly embedded. The girls almost sound robotic, as well, which reinforces that this isn’t an individual choice but something that was put in them.

There are a lot of interesting things about the lyrics as well. There are two lines in particular that stand out; the first is the one that ‘even slender girls diet.’ This is true in life as well as in song; haven’t all of us seen an idol blog and been shocked when an already slender idol is talking about dieting? But this means that slender girls are still caught up in this cycle, that even when you get to a healthy (or beyond) weight that it’s not enough to make them happy. The other line that makes me pause is the line about waking up drenched in sweat; the only thing that the subject of the song can think of is all the weight she’s burned, never mind things like being late and grades. This shows the skewed morality and skewed priority system.

Still, even things like the “koi shitai” and lines about the girls wants can be interpreted differently. All those things are expressed as desires, things they want to do. The dieting is all present or at best not far into the future (today I will start my diet). While it could be that these things are seen as achievable post-diet, it could also be that they want to break this cycle of dieting and actually focus on these other things instead.

Honestly, the more I think about it, the more this is a judgment call. I personally think it’s more of the second category than the first, but that this could and probably does promote unhealthy dieting. However, things are ambiguous for you to decide what the song ultimately means.

PV: After the lyrics, what can I even say about this? This is fine. The production values have gone up, but that’s not by much; there’s still issues with lighting, especially in closeups (a girl with hair and features like Risako is not treated kindly with this type of lighting). The set doesn’t look terrible (much better than some of the other Berryz sets), but it’s not particularly great. I was going to do a whole review, but the PV is wholely unremarkable in most ways. It’s serviceable, and not awful, but certainly not good.

Verdict: Berryz Koubou’s latest isn’t very interesting musically or visually, but the lyrics are interesting; depending on your opinion you may hate or love them.

Clearly Tsunku Doesn’t Read Happy Disco

Hey guys who read Happy Disco; sorry for the LOOONG time where I didn’t write. I currently have one blog post that’s taking me forever and a day to write (my contest winner post, which is a really great topic but just a bit time consuming), but I’ve neglected Happy Disco. I am sorry. I’m currently balancing being a full time Film/Media Studies student while working two part time jobs (30 hours of work total). By the end of my day I kind of just want to play tetris and not write a blog about what I write in class. But I still love idols/Happy Disco.

Anyways, a while ago I wrote a blog entry for Intl Wota for the Summer Refreshment Program, writing about idols and summer. In case you haven’t seen it, HERE it is. One of the things I talked about was how AKB48 tends to go on a yearly schedule, with spring/graduation songs in the spring, happy summer songs in the summer, and other stuff year round. It’s a schedule that I think has worked for them, because they deliver something that’s expected while simultaneously giving new songs. It’s a good system.

Fall’s here and soon it will be winter. While there’s definitely a feel for winter in terms of tone and style, I never really think of any specific fall style. This tends to be when AKB in particular releases stuff that doesn’t really fit in the season, such as Beginner, RIVER, and the soon to be released Kaze wa Fuiteiru. For a long time, when considering seasons and idols, I always thought that fall was like the free space on a Bingo sheet, that it didn’t matter what you released as long as you released something.

Then I saw Amazuppai Haru ni Sakura Saku.

For those who aren’t aware, this is the upcoming collaboration single that Berryz Koubou and C-ute are doing together. This is a great idea for many fans.

But the concept of the song/PV are not great ideas.

Hear me out. I’m not talking about the song/PV. I think the song’s pretty boring, myself, and while the PV could be better I think that it’s pretty good considering that these are H!P PVs we’re talking about. No, I’m just going to talk about the concept.

The song/PV is focusing on a spring/graduation theme. In November. Now, admittedly, I don’t know the full translation to the song; my Japanese isn’t good enough to pick it up on just a couple of listens. For all I know there could be a line in there about how it’s about their boyfriend and how their blooming love is like the blooming sakura blossoms in Spring. Even if that was the case, the song is still about blooming cherry blossoms and the bittersweet spring. That’s what the title says, and even if the lyrics subvert it then the first listen or two will be thinking about spring. In fall.

Even if the song absolutely had nothing to do with spring, then the PV is all about graduations. They get a diploma. It’s a graduation PV, which happens in the spring.

Now throughout all of this I just have to wonder why. Why did UFA choose to do this? Was the song/PV too good of an idea to wait? It’s just a pretty standard thing. The song/PV aren’t special, and even if they realized “guys, I want to do a graduation song” why couldn’t they have done it in the spring, when those songs/PVs are actually marketable? In my other post I wrote:

” if AKB48 were to go “Christmas in July, we’re going to dance around dressed as Santa!” it would probably end up selling a good deal of copies to hardcore fans. However, that’s probably not going to grab the casual listener, unless the casual listener likes that kind of silliness. ”

I stand by that AKB could probably pull it off because it’s AKB. However, Berryz Koubou and C-ute aren’t AKB48, and their sales are in general dropping. The last thing they want to do is lose fans, and what they desperately want is to gain fans, but I don’t see how this song/PV could attract casual listeners to become Berryz or C-ute fans.

Like I said, my big question is why. If they wanted to capitalize on the seasons, why couldn’t they wait a bit longer, or do a holiday-themed song/PV in vein of Aitai Lonely Christmas. I’m honestly baffled at the decision making skills here, and like I said, clearly Tsunku (and UFA) doesn’t read Happy Disco. I just really can’t see why this was considered to be a good idea on a sales standpoint.

You might be going “ah, Serenyty, stop with the sales already, they don’t care about sales.” If that’s true, then why do a graduation song now? What artistic goal are they trying to achieve by this? I’m really wondering, what would make this happen?

So therefore, I just have no idea why Berryz and C-ute are doing this, and I know others are confused too. Confusing and potentially alienating an audience is the thing they have to think about, and they might just be close to doing that.

On a separate note I saw the Mobekimasu song/PV and it’s alright. The main things I got from it are that I absolutely love the dresses they’re wearing, and that Maimi is really really adorable.

30 Day Idol Challenge Day 17

Day 17: The first Idol you noticed.

I found this exact video online, so the first girl I noticed was really Momoko, which is interesting because she’s now one of my least favorite idols. I also don’t have much of an interest in Berryz Koubou anymore. But Gag 100kaibun Aishite Kudasai was my first ever song/PV, and for that I am grateful. I still love the song to this day, and I’m very glad that I discovered this song because it’s catchy, and the dance shot is fun to watch.

30 Day Idol Challenge- Day 2

Part two of the daily challenge that I started last post!

Day 2: The Idol you hate or dislike


Oh man, this is kind of tough. Like I’ve said, I’ve mainly  moved from the H!P fandom to the AKB fandom, and part of the reason I did that was because I love EVERYONE in AKB. Not even kidding. For this question I was thinking of putting Akimoto Sayaka, but then thought better of it. Thought about putting Itano Tomomi up there, but then realized I like her a lot. XD So, even though this girl is from a group I pay VERY LITTLE attention to, the answer is…



Tsugunaga Momoko.


Now, putting this is kind of hard for me, because Momo was actually my first favorite idol. I loved her back in 2008, when I first got into Berryz Koubou and idol fandom. However, lately she’s just been rubbing me the wrong way. I love cute idols, but Momoko really strikes me as just trying too hard. There’s a difference between trying to be cute but not taking it that seriously and finding humor in that (which is really part of why I’m a fan of both Ishikawa Rika and Sasaki Ayaka of Momoiro Clover) and just trying too hard but never finding humor. Momoko really strikes me as a bit of an attention whore and I don’t really find her schtick all that cute. 

Hello! Project Fankora Concert Review- pt 4

MC2

O hai thar, Yossy. I keep forgetting you’re in this concert as the sole shining representative of the amazingness that was the Elder Club. Next time bring Rika with you. We can jam.
This whole MC was basically Momoko going “LOOK AT ME I’M A LEADER OF MULTIPLE GROUPS OOOOOOOOH” and everyone else not caring. She’s being a little too attention-whorish for my tastes here. 
Aisu Kuriimu to My Purin

Can I just skip this? Please? PLEASE. No? Gah. 
Zoku. I just don’t like them. It’s nothing against the members; I just think that they are honestly the antithesis of what v-u-den WAS; in fact, no one in current H!P is fit. H!P is about youngness, youth. v-u-den was about women starting adulthood and that’s part of why I find them interesting and that they’re tied with Gatas for my favorite H!P group. I’ve ranted about this before, it shouldn’t be tough to find on the Disco.
Anyways, this performance keeps confirming what I originally thought about Zoku in my Zoku rant (in which I stated I would NEVER call them Zoku v-u-den. OK, yeah. don’t want to get into this. I like the members, but they don’t represent v-u-den’s v-u-denness. 
This was actually less offensive to me than Koisuru Angel Heart, but JUST BARELY. This song is not something to be taken seriously, but at the same time is actually supposed to be sexy. Playfully sexy, sexy in a “look at how silly fanservice can be!” kind of way, but nonetheless sexy. The impression I’ve always gotten from the Aisu PV is “haha, fanservice is ridiculous” but it’s still pretty hot. 
The dancing was not TOO bad, but it had some iffy bits; the kickline was uber fail, and no one was really a good dancer. It felt slightly unrehearsed, and, my main complaint about the group as a whole, like they really didn’t try. 
JunJun, you’re doing it wrong. 

Speaking of not trying too hard; I understand that Zoku’s only doing one song and that they all have other things to do. But seriously. The costumes? What are they supposed to be? I mean, even if they had to use them for the main groups. Why are the main groups using those costumes? 
Vocals weren’t too bad; Risako was really the best one there and I was happy that she got Rika’s long solo near the end. I wasn’t expecting amazingness from them, so. 
I don’t mean to sound mean; a LOT of this is my bias speaking. But say what you want about the original v-u-den, but their performance skills (not vocal, performance) were out of this world, and Zoku doesn’t come close to representing the original group I love so much. They honestly feel a tiny bit like a REALLY good cover group of the original, but certainly NOT the revival. So really, it’s my bias as a v-u-den enthusiast, but in my opinion the revival groups are that; trying to be the original group as best as they can. And this really wasn’t that bad of a cover, but when it comes down to representing what v-u-den was I can’t give Zoku the thumbs up. 
Oh, and Momoko attention whores. I know a lot of people found Momoko getting up and dancing cute, but I honestly thought it was pretty disrespectful (my GOD this review is going to get me flames). I liked her a lot before, but man I don’t know now. I just really thought it was rude, no matter how I felt about the actual performance going on. I mean, I don’t mind people going for attention, but IMO this was not the place to do it. 
Also, I was hoping to see Yossy rocking out in the back (she’s notorious for LOVING this song), but that didn’t happen. Perhaps she needed Rika to be there. 
Daite Yo! Please Go On!

Am I the only one that finds it awkward when solo songs become group ones? I don’t know, maybe I am. But the one thing that I keep focusing on here is just how it is of a group song. It MIGHT have been done another time, but the one memorable time that Daite yo! was used as a group song was for Goto Maki’s Captain Kouen concert, which was Gocchin, Tsuji Nozomi and v-u-den. It was really more of a solo song for Maki, but with the other four sang with the chorus. 
Also, there was a dance solo section before the rap. Speaking of, that would have been REALLY cool for High King. If High-King is excellent at one thing it’s dancing; in fact, I think that was the main theory for the group? I could be wrong. Anyways, while the girls ARE rather fierce here, I only wish that there had been a better arrangement of some kind to better feature their dancing.
However, despite preferring a more imaginative arrangement other than just the song sung by five people, I really like this performance. I can really tell why it was that these five girls were chosen; their dancing was all spot on and excellent to watch, and all of them seemed to be giving it their all. The singing, to be perfectly honest, was nothing special. To be frank, Goto Maki was much better than Aichan was here, and the others never wowed me. 
Though she IS fierce here

However, it was the dancing and the energy of this performance that made it really entertaining to watch. The five performers were all really excellent at performing, and it was so high energy that it made me forget the low energy-ness of Aisu Kuriimu. High-King’s never been my favorite unit ever (I love Maimi but I don’t really care that much about the others), but they really impressed me here. 

Hello! Project Fankora Concert Review- pt 3

Maji Bomber!!


Sorry to all you Berryz Koubou fans out there: Berryz may have gotten me into H!P, but as of recent times I just don’t follow them all that much. At all. They have lost a lot of spark that they might have had with me. In fact, when watching concert performances of Berryz for something like a review I have a little game I play, but I’ll explain that later.

Maji Bomber is a pretty good song; I wouldn’t consider it that interesting, but it’s pretty catchy and is a good song for a lot of the people involved. It’s a song where pretty much every Berryz memeber gets a solo and sounds great. Vocally, this performance isn’t bad at all. Some members sound better than others, but otherwise they all sound nice when singing it.

However, this is another issue of energy; they perform it well but not great. I don’t watch the performance and go “man that was better than in the PV!” or “oh man, that was epic;” it just feels standard. It was a solid performance, but nothing memorable.

Like, looking back I’d remember S/Mileage and C-ute’s performances as being particularly energetic and thus I’d feel positively towards the group. Conversely, nothing about this performance was particularly memorable; it was just. Good. Except…

When I watch a performance of Berryz I ALWAYS watch for Miyabi. Now you might be wondering why. Miya’s not my favorite Berryz member (that’s Chinami), but ever since I saw the performance of Nigiyaka na Fuyu with the fish costumes I realized that Miyabi never really looks super enthusiastic on stage. I have nothing against her as a person, but I just observed her lack of interest. So therefore, I have dubbed her face of “why am I doing thiiis?” to be “Miyabi Face” and now looking for evidence of Miyabi Face is my game.

Like here, sort of. Not my best. 

If there’s any point I want to make here is that I don’t find Berryz that interesting anymore. There weren’t any glaring things wrong with this performance, but it really didn’t hold interest for me.
Seishun Collection

Now here’s professionalism! Performing a fairly dull song with fairly dull choreography with ugly costumes, all of them look at least somewhat happy to be there. No Miyabi faces to be found!
Seriously, I really am not the biggest fan of this single to begin with. Now, I DO think it’s a move in a better direction. It’s upbeat and happy, which I honestly think is what the Japanese music market is looking for at the moment with AKB48. Unfortunately. This happened. Well, Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game looks to be better. 
Other than that I don’t have too much to say. It’s a nice performance, with all of them doing a good job, but no one doing particularly well. They all seem to be enjoying themselves and giving it their all; granted this isn’t saying THAT much, considering there’s not much to give when it comes to this song, but hey, I’ll take what I can get. 

Hello! Project Fankora Concert Review- pt 2

Genkimono de Ikou!


((on a side note, I just learned the grammatical reasons for Ikou. Yeah. Be jealous of my Japanese knowledge))

Speaking of Japanese knowledge, what does Genkimono de Ikou! mean? Why, I’ll tell you! It’s “Let’s go with Energetic Things!” Basically, it’s “yay energy.” Which is why it baffles me that they got Mano Erina of all people to do this song in particular and to get the budget her PV must have gotten, considering they hired a legitimate director and everything.

The vocals are fine for this performance. She has a few pitch issues, but she’s not horrendous, and never sounds too out of breath. However, man, the energy level was low. That’s why I made the point about the title. The song is LITERALLY about energy; the title is rather energetic. So why are you performing this like it’s “let’s go with slightly unenthusiastic things!”?

I’ve never been a huge proponent of H!P needing super strong vocalists. Hell, plenty of my favorites aren’t that great of vocalists, I know that. I think that as a soloist Mano Erina should be stronger than she is now, but she’s not super terrible or anything and that in itself is good. However, if there’s one thing that should not be missing from a lot of H!P songs it’s energy. They don’t always require amazing vocals (though some do; I’m looking at you, Ayaya), but they do require their performer to have the right level of energy and ManoEri just did NOT deliver the genki for this performance.

They also need to start training her on stage presence; I like her well enough as an idol, but man if you ALWAYS need four background dancers to fill the stage and you’re a soloist, then that’s a problem.

I don’t need THAT much from an idol. But come on. It’s the title of the song; energy should be a given.

Dance de Bakoon!


I’ve got it! C-ute stole Mano Erina’s energy!

In all seriousness, THIS is what I’m talking about when I’m talking about energy and what I need from idols. None of the girls here have perfect vocals; not even Airi or Chisato. I’d say that no one here is bad and that they’re all very good in their own right, but it’s not the greatest vocals ever. Why? Because they’re giving it all they’ve got into the dancing and the energy of the song, and so their singing skills suffer just a little.

The dancing here is INTENSE; I swear, these girls gave it their all and I’m beyond impressed. Lately I’ve been really into C-ute, mostly in thanks to my friend Dani who adores Nakky. This is the type of performance that confirms the reasoning behind liking them so much as of late. The energy here is intense.

Maimiiiii <333 and fierce!Airirin

I even like this performance better than in the PV; all the girls are performing their best, they all look very much into it. This is one of those performances that is super fun to watch and that I just have to love. At this point in the concert, only four songs in, I’m just thinking that this is the song and group to live up to. 

Hello! Project Fankora Concert Review- pt 1

I haven’t forgotten about my other review in the works; not at all. I’m still working on finishing my Gatas review. However, I decided I wanted to review Fankora while it was still relevant, whereas Gatas might not have another concert TO review.

So, here’s Fankora! First off the bat I’m a bit disappointed that they only had ONE concert to review, especially since it’s the one I was possibly LEAST excited about. Oh dear God I have to review Zoku. So it’s a bit disappointing I can’t see the Tanpopo# performance I wanted to see, however I still like the idea that they took fan contributions and did a lot of older numbers (even if they didn’t use my super epic suggestion of doing I&YOU&I&YOU&I *grumble*)


All For One and One For All


What a way to start out a concert; this IS the quintessential H!P as a whole song, excluding Hello! no Theme (HELLO HELLO HELLO DANCING…). However, I realized when watching this that it was the first time that we saw All For One without the Elder Club involved (if I recall correctly), and so…

We start with Takahashi and Niigaki. And then I realize. Oh my goodness. This is the Mobekimasu version of All For One. Why do I have to endure this?
This isn’t to say I dislike Mobekimasu; not at all. I like them. However, the fact that it’s not Yuko, Nacchi and Kaorin singing the first line just makes a little bit die inside.
I did like that the beginning started out with all of Morning Musume’s generations; it’s as if H!P’s saying “Yeah, MM>>the rest of them, woo!” I mean, I do miss the old distribution of lines, I really do. But that’s not super feasible without having a few Country Musume members to throw in, good soloists to throw in (why hello there, Yukidon; how’s enka-town?) etc. After a while, this song just gets to be really long. The one thing that made this song so good originally was that it WAS all of H!P; all 45-46 members of Hello!Project, with a bunch of different generations, showing just how vast H!P was but having all of them sing a song. It’s showing H!P’s history and the importance of each generation within the collective whole.
However, after MM’s generations, it just shuffles through the Mobekimasu order; MM, Berryz, C-ute, ManoEri and S/Mileage a few times. It’s slightly repetitive. 
(And goodness, whyyy did the unit I’ve been least impressed with lately have to sing the 4th gen lines? *sigh*)
The performance itself was OK. It was really nothing special, and honestly I got kind of bored part way through it. I mean, a few of them looked like they were into it (C-ute in particular, S/Mileage too) but about half way through there’s really not that much energy left and it’s kind of a let down. This is a song to perform with an abundance of energy, not holding it back. At one point I was looking through the Eggs to try and find my favorite, Sekine Azusa.
C’mon, Sekkii, I know you’re in there somewhere….

All in all (haha, see what I did there?) this is another performance to remind me yet again how much I miss the Elder Club. I don’t care how legit a decision it was, Tsunku, the Mobekimasu groups haven’t gotten better songs or PVs since they left; bring back the Elders. 
VTR

It’s a VTR. What do I have to say. Well. A couple of odds and ends.
1. Best MC roster. Ever.
Makoto’s a pimp. Yossy’s the pimp. We all win. Makoto, please never stop being the one male member of Hello!Project. You make everything more epic and more amazing. I hope to study abroad in Japan when the 2012 H!P summer concert will take place. I will cheer hard for Makoto. I was surprised this screen didn’t get more cheers; there’s obviously a deficiency in the Ishiyoshi wota in the audience. Wait, is that picture of Yossy from Tokyo Alice? If so, then that’s over a year older than the concert. Maybe I’m wrong, but I could have SWORN that was a picture from her stage play. Or maybe I’m totally off. 
2. That took a LONG time to get through ManoEri. I get she’s 1/5th of Mobekimasu. But really? 
MC1
Yossy’s funny. The first MC should be funny, yes? aaaand no. It’s sadness. Graduations. I’ve already blogged about Eririn/JunJun/LinLin graduating, but it is actually pretty sad to watch happen. JunJun and LinLin look pretty upset; like they haven’t actually accepted it. Because anyone who thinks it was 100% their choice to go back to China needs to get their brain straightened out. 
Aannd to the first main group song, which is….
OO Ganbaranakute mo Ee Nende!

Yay, I like S/Mileage. I’ve actually had a reaally big thing for this song ever since previews came out, and so seeing a live performance of it really warms the heart. I’m seriously really excited for whenever the DVD of S/Mileage’s solo concert comes out; I can see S/Mileage without sitting through ManoEri. It’s perfect!
The girls here are really fantastic; they have some really nice live vocals. Even the admittedly weak link Wada Ayaka (it’s OK, Ayacho, I still love you!) sounds really nice and never sounds too terribly out of place throughout this relatively vocally strong performance. It’s times like this that I’m still amazed at how little they’ve been around so far; they all sound great for debuting not that long ago. I mean, they were all Eggs, but even still; many Eggs still suck. 
You don’t suck! Cute Kanyon is cute!

Energy wise I love these girls. They’re all very energetic and are all very much into it, unless they’re somehow amazing actors. The dance is silly, but they do it well.
Oh, you girls be silly

I seriously have nothing but high hopes for the future of the group; they are all very solid at dancing (or at least the dances choreographed for them), solid at singing, and they jive really well together as a group, which is really important. They all look like they’re having fun with the silliness of this song. I maintain that this is one of the best single songs H!P has had in years, and while I’m not super into the Bijin Mama song.
More later!