Hello! Project is still my first love of course but recently I’ve been getting into Momoiro Clover Z and Sakura Gakuin a lot more. So much so that I decided the time was right to actually mention them at last.
So first up Momoiro Clover Z.
I will be seeing them in Paris in July at the Japan Expo. I am really looking forward to seeing the Expo again after going in 2010 and seeing Momusu. It was a great weekend in which I also met my girlfriend. ^^ We are going back now and I’m really glad that Momoiro Clover will be there to satisfy my idol hunger. These girls are great. Their music is excellent, their pv’s entertaining and funny and the members themselves all lovely. I think my favourite is Reni. Indeed back when Iku Zetsu ! Kaitou Shoujo was released it was her front cover edition I bought. Reni is pretty and the funniest member in pv’s. Her character always seems to be the one for whom things go wrong and she plays it well. She is always entertaining.
Having said that Reni is pushed close for favouritism by Shiori. Shiori is exceptionally cute and adoptable…I mean adorable. She is one of those idols who just oozes kawaii. Actually oozes sounds wrong. Emits sounds better. Like cute idol sunshine blasting out from her every fibre.
The other three are all attractive and entertaining too. Ayaka is the overly cute one (every idol group must have one) and she also has a fine line in sexiness sometimes in a bizarre way…
Meanwhile Momoka has a good voice and Kanako is pretty. ^^
Musically MomoClo are often fantastic. My favourite singles are Z Densetsu ~Owarinaki Kakumei~, D’no Junjou, Mugen no Ai & back in their six member Momoiro Clover days Iku Zetsu ! Kaitou Shoujo.
As for their pv’s they are often brilliantly off the wall. There’s a real sense of fun in them. In the pv for their upcoming single they are dressed up as Greek Olympic God types with beards. Does that sound like a typical idol group to you? There’s always lots of fun and irreverence in their pv’s and it’s like a breath of fresh air at times.
Meanwhile live they must certainly have their moments. The Christmas Day 2011 clip of them performing Mugen no Ai & Iku Zetsu ! Kaitou Shoujo is breathtaking. For Mugen no Ai a full choir is involved and then halfway through the American rock guitarist Marty Friedman (who played guitar on the single) appears on stage. He then stays for Iku Zetsu and the whole experience is both brilliant and somewhat surreal. What could be more perfect? After all idol music is all about fun and it’s certainly that.
So yeah Momoiro Clover Z are fantastic. But I have also been getting heavily into the adorable Sakura Gakuin and their subgroups.
Subgroups such as BABYMETAL…
Their second album in particular is excellent. I first got to know of the group through their wonderful and absurd sub unit BABYMETAL. The three young girls who bring idol metal to the masses are certainly every bit as brilliant and surreal as MomoClo are having Marty Friedman on stage.
Err…anyway their music is actually bloody good. It’s a great fusion between two types of music you don’t normally see together and the music works so well. Doki Doki Morning is perfect and Ii ne! is not far behind. And yet there’s so much more than just BABYMETAL. All three members are of course in the parent group Sakura Gakuin. Indeed BABYMETAL are described as the idol school’s metal music club. But there are other great sub units too.
If you can listen to the school baton club Twinklestars’ Please! Please! Please! single and find it anything other than joyously catchy then frankly you are clinically dead. It’s like the Muppets Mahna Mahna crossed with an upbeat stage musical number and performed by cute schoolgirls. Yes it’s THAT good.
Almost as good is the Go Home Club (?) Sleepiece second album track Hashire Shoujiki Mono. A ska-lite catchy tune that gets into your head on first listen and DEMANDS you to play it at least five more times in quick succession. Full of cute little touches and catchy as anything.
Meanwhile the Sakura Gakuin group songs are also addictive as well as being completely different in style to the music of the sub units. The single Tabidachi no Hi ni is a slow piano ballad with a very straight forward pv to back it up and yet is a sweet and charming song. Verishuvi starts with an Irish dancing style of music that is mirrored in the pv before becoming a driving happy and energetic pop song. FRIENDS is like the best Buono song Buono never did while Yume ni Mukatte is perhaps their most typical pop song so far and yet is damn fine for it.
The pv’s for the singles are always lovely as frankly the members themselves are lovely. The whole vibe around Sakura Gakuin and their sub units is one of friends being happy and having fun and the pv’s show this off perfectly. Never more so than in the pv for the song FRIENDS itself. After lots of fun outdoors activities with idols playing with animals and eating strawberries and suchlike we see them reading things out to each other (I’d love to know what) and crying. So adorable.
Hello IVY is like a fun photoshoot behind the scenes type of thing with the girls all enjoying each other (not in that way you dirty so and so). This is probably because part of it actually is the behind the scenes shoot for the Yume ni Mukatte pv.
Meanwhile Yume ni Mukatte is full of singing and dancing outdoors and a party. Yay! All so lovely. ^^
As for the members themselves well there’s quite a few and the line-up changes. This is a fixed term group. That is as it is a school members can only stay until they reach a certain age and then they graduate. This means already over the course of two albums there’s been a few who have left and several who have joined. My favourites are all still there though. One of my favourites is the current leader of both BABYMETAL and Sakura Gakuin itself Nakamoto Suzuka.
Also great are the two other BABYMETAL members Mizuno Yui and Kikuchi Moa.
Both these girls seem tiny compared to the others mainly because they are. Well they are two of the youngest members. They also always seem to be together in Sakura Gakuin pv’s and it gives a great sense that they are good friends.
Possibly my favourite member of all though is the very pretty and cute Horiuchi Marina.
She is just 14 and reminds me for some reason of a younger Michishige Sayumi in some ways. Something to do with her mouth. Anyway she has a decent sized part in the Sakura Gakuin songs and is in Twinklestars too. She is charming and someone I am excited to see more of.
The final member that really stands out to me is one that only joined in time for the second album. It’s Taguchi Hana…
She looks like such an angel…
Mind you so do Suzuka and Marina…
So yes Hello! Project is still my main idol love. C-ute are absolutely fantastic, Mano excellent and Morning Musume full of potential. In fact the covers to Momusu’s 50th single have made me really excited for the release. However I have also gotten heavily into Momoiro Clover and Sakura Gakuin. Both groups showcase all that is brilliant about idol music and idols themselves. Fun, friendship, energy, excitement and a huge dose of beauty thrown in. Idols just cannot be beaten. The best entertainment in the world.