Happy New Year everybody. I thought I’d have a quick look back at 2014 from a personal perspective. So what of the year? Well for me undoubtedly the biggest memory is of Japan Expo. This was probably the most active Expo that I’d been to. Due in no small part to the amount of meeting and greeting done. In 2010 I was lucky to meet Momusu and get their autographs and in 2013 I got two handshakes with C-ute. Both really wonderful memories of my two favourite groups. In 2014 though I got two more handshakes with C-ute, plus Berryz Kobo thrown in for good measure. This meant meeting Chinami at last which was a great pleasure. However I also got to meet Shokotan. Someone I’ve liked for years and have blogged about in the past. All this would have been enough to make it probably at least equally as good an Expo as the first one in 2010 (you can never quite beat your first time meeting idols though). Yet the final few days this time gave an extra unexpected pleasure in the shape of the lovely Orange Port.
An idol group sadly still small in fan numbers but big in group members, entertainment, talent, beauty, warmth and charm. Seriously this group deserves to be known by more people. Check out their single Yell for an idea of what they are like. They are great live and in person they are very welcoming. In Juri they also have an idol who is beautiful, a great dancer and also very good at English. She often tweets or makes posts in Facebook in English. In fact you can check her Twitter account out here. And here is a picture borrowed from her Twitter account. She is on the right…
Actually a lot of the members have Twitter accounts so here are some more links. The cute Moeko, Syuri (who is a great dancer for her age), Rino, Minami, Yuuna, Yuyu (another really charming and friendly idol), Ayu (so cute), Honoka, Hime and finally Akiho. There is also the producer Yanagiman and an official Orange Port Twitter account. Oh and their website is here. Plus their individual blogs are available here. Anyway they are a great group and I hope 2015 brings them success.
So yes the Expo was great. I should also mention Moumoon who were good live. Especially for their Love is Everywhere song which became a well-played song on my mp3 player very quickly. With Japan Expo we are really lucky to have such a fantastic mix of artists from so many different areas of the industry. Not just idols but rock groups, manga artists and all sorts of other entertainers too. We in Europe who are lucky enough to be able to attend are spoilt each July so we should never take it for granted.
In terms of the rest of the year I’d say graduations were one thing that stood out. In Sakura Gakuin four original members including my favourite SG member Horiuchi Marina all left before summer.
Marina (along with fellow ex-member Sato Hinata) is now a voice artist and is also in a connected anime music unit called Team Kutsudaru. Their first single “Maborashi☆La Unit” was released in November.
Later in the year my favourite Hello! Project Kenshuusei member Tanabe Nanami sadly left.
When an Egg/Sushi leaves without having made it into a unit it’s such a shame. It feels like a case of what might have been. Nanami was an idol who had such a funny and cute presence and she was a good performer. I don’t know why she left, maybe she wanted to concentrate on studies or something, but I hope that if she still wants a career in entertainment we will see her again sometime.
The final graduation came in November when it was time for Momusu’s cutest, hardest working and most vocally challenged member to finally say one last usa-chan peace and limp away from what has been a wonderfully entertaining idol career.
It was a shame that it was limping that she had to do at the end. Sayu sadly hurting herself in her final concert. But she kept on like a trooper even so. Sayumi was the last member of Momusu who was there when I first discovered them and she had been one of my favourites so it really felt like the end of an era. But I wasn’t sad as she had such a long career in Momusu and as an idol fan you know that it will end sooner or later. When it’s later you realise how lucky you are to have so many years of enjoyment to look back on. Sayu will be missed though. She is so pretty, so full of love for the group and so funny. ♥
Musically 2014 continued the trend of C-ute being excellent. They have become my favourite H!P group over the past few years and continue to grow and expand their abilities. Their live DVD’s are always worth watching as are their pv’s. Their singles are consistently good and the members so great both together and as individuals too. A wonderful unit! Meanwhile Momusu continued their trend of recent years in sounding like someone with a keyboard falling down some stairs but in a catchy way. Their singles have also been consistently good in recent years but it wasn’t until Sayu’s graduation triple bill that they started to show some much-overdue variety. Hopefully 2015 will lead to a further expansion of their musical styles. I’m excited to see what the 12th Gen are like. Miki is an early favourite due to a combination of cuteness and excellent English language skills. Her recent announcement alongside Maimi where they talked about there being no Hello! Station this week does lead to bizarre images of her being like an English speaking version of those sign-language people you get on tv shows sometime. I look forward to her standing at the side of the stage at Momusu live shows and speaking the other members lines in English. Well okay maybe not.
In terms of other H!P groups Juice=Juice had some good singles this year. I still don’t really feel much of anything towards the members though. Something I could also say of S/mileAngermeage except for the “some good singles” bit. S/mileanger had one good song though. Mystery Night. So that’s one more than in 2013. Meanwhile Berryz moved towards their post-idol career as special guests in Kenshuusei musicals with a largely lacklustre year. Although there was that diet diet diet diet diet diet diet diet diet diet diet please stop me diet diet diet diet diet diet diet ARRRGGHHHHHHHH diet diet diet diet diet song. Some people think it was a tad repetitive but not me. No. I think it was incredibly repetitive repetitive repetitive repetitive repetitive repetARGHHHHHHHH. Still Chinami, or as she is now known Potato-chan was, is and always will be awesome!
So in summary 2014 was a year with many wonderful idols, much wonderful idol music and many lucky encounters. All this doesn’t even mention all the lovely idol fans who I am lucky enough to know online and in real life. It really can be a fantastic community if you know some of the many great fans out there. So here’s to 2015 and hopefully much more of the same! I hope everyone has a very happy new year!