Now that I am back from my impromptu hiatus, I can finally comment on Hello Project’s system change. At this point, I would imagine that everyone knows about the change. However, I am still going to provide a brief background on the issue.
There was a massive change in the structure of Hello Project following Tsugunaga Momoko’s graduation from Country Girls. Country Girls basically got demoted to a part-time group and will only be performing during school holidays and long weekends.
Yamaki Risa and Ozeki Mai will focus on their studies and will only participate in performances as their school schedule allows.
The remaining members of Country Girls (Chisaki, Nanami and Musubu) were all relocated to existing groups in Hello Project.
Morito Chisaki was inducted into Morning Musume ’17 as the sole member of the 14th Generation.
Last weekend, it was announced that her member colour is White.
I am still not used to Chisaki being a Morning Musume member. The atmosphere was awkward and tense between Chisaki and Mizuki during the announcement video. I am very disappointed in Mizuki for not making Chisaki feel more welcomed. Mizuki explained her solemn behaviour in the video on her blog. She stated that she Chisaki’s addition was a complete surprise to her and was not sure how to console Chisaki after being put in another group. However, I am sure this was the case for Yuka and Ayaka as well and they did much better jobs at welcoming their new members. Thankfully, it seems that Mizuki is warming up to Chisaki a bit more as she settles in the group.
I am eager to see how Chisaki is incorporated into this already large group. She is already standing out from the other members. She still has not integrated well in the group. She looks more like a guest member rather than an official member of the group. It reminds me of the KPOP D-Unit that had GP Basic’s Janey has a temporary member of the group. It makes me wonder what the line distribution will be like in Morning Musume ‘17’s next single.
Continuing with the additions, Yanagawa Nanami joined Juice=Juice.
She is now the youngest member of the group. Her official colour is Medium Blue. I am disappointed that the colour isn’t called “blueberry”. They totally veered away from the fruit concept.
During the announcement video, Nanami looked slightly disappointed, but that may have been due to shock and confusion. I am still getting used to her addition to Juice=Juice. She never really stood out to me in Country Girls and she isn’t standing out to me in Juice=Juice. I will wait a bit before I form an official opinion about her addition.
Funaki Musubu was added as one of the 6th Generation members of ANGERME.
Her official colour in ANGERME is Yellow-Green. It is sort of similar to her Yellow colour in Country Girls. Musubu fits ANGERME perfectly! Her personality blends well and she brings great vocal skill to the group.
If you noticed above, I noted that Musubu was ONE of the 6th Generation members of ANGERME. If you can recall, during this year’s Kenshuusei testing event, five girls were set for debut.
Takase Kurumi and Kiyono Momohime will debut in a new acting division. However, they will still be featured in live concert performances, as seen during the Hello Project Summer tour.
Ichioka Reina will be the leader of a new group. The details about this group have yet to be finalized. I am super excited to see who will be part of this group. Hello Project has also started a new audition so we may see some new faces in the group as well.
Danbara Ruru has (finally) debuted. She joins Nanami as a new member of Juice=Juice. When the news was announced, I was so upset that she was not added to Morning Musume. However, Ruru fits in Juice=Juice pretty well. After seeing their live performance of their recent digital single “Fiesta! Fiesta!”, Ruru’s vocals suit the group. Juice=Juice has become the powerhouse group of Hello Project with strong vocalists like Ruru, Tomoko and Sayuki.
Ruru adopted Otsuka Aina’s orange colour.
Kawamura Ayano is the second half of ANGERME’s 6th Generation. Her cute image and zany behaviour fit well in the group. I really love seeing her perform with the group. Check out their live performance of “I Musou Strong!” from this “Upcoming” episode.
Ayano’s member colour is lavender.
Other than the change of the member structure, Hello Project also recently announced that they will be releasing more music. Including to the usual one or two physical singles released by groups every year, there will also be music released in the form of digital singles. In their announcement on their official website, Hello Project stated that these digital releases will be more frequent than physical singles and can include current or OG members and even some new shuffles.
We have already seen some digital singles being released such as MaaDuu’s “Miss Henkan!!”, Juice=Juice’s “Fiesta! Fiesta!” and “Goal ~Ashita wa Acchi da yo~”, Inoue Rei and Inoue Hikaru’s “Inoue no Uta” and Iikubo Haruna and Kanazawa Tomoko’s “Obaka Neko to Obaka Neko Baka no Uta”.
This is similar to SM Entertainment’s “SM Station” where digital singles are being released on a weekly basis. It is a way to pump more content to fans while gaining some profit from the extra sales. Many of the singles that have been released so far were not my cup of tea but I really like “Fiesta! Fiesta!” by Juice=Juice and “Gobaku ~We Can’t Go Back~” by Ichioka Reina, Danbara Ruru, Takase Kurumi, Kiyono Momohime and Kawamura Ayano. I am hoping that there are more great releases like these.
Hello Project has experienced a lot of changes within the past few months. I am still getting used to many of these changes. I can only hope that they are positive and profitable for the organization.