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.