For this week's Throwback Thursday post, we'll go back just a little over a decade ago an look at Mini Moni's "CRAZY ABOUT YOU". Most people know of Mini Moni in it's original form of Yaguchi Mari, Kago Ai and Tsuji Nozomi. Of course Mika Todd (of Coconuts Musume) was added when the group eventually debuted, but that came a little while later. Their first single was "Minimoni. Jankenpyon!/Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu Daisukki!" (2000) topped the Oricon charts, no mean feat in those days, but this was the height of Morning Musume's fame and the Mari, Ai and Tsuji were all then-current members. Everyone knows the famous clips that spawned from the antics of the original members as well. Just two of these being Ai punching Mari Yaguchi in the crotch and, of course, the infamous "dramatic hamster" clip. Elsewhere, there were the Hamtaro tie-ins and the countless other media pulls that involved endorsements and tons of merchandising. This grew exponentially to the point where Tsuji Nozomi and Kago Ai were two of the most highly paid talents in the industry. Then there is what came after...
There are some that don't know the latter part of their career that took place when Yaguchi Mari left to front ZYX and that's a shame. Even with the loss of Mari, Mini Moni soldiered on with Takahashi Ai (Then new 5th generation member of Morning Musume) and Mika Todd taking over leadership duties. This series of events can be seen in a more entertaining form in their movie "Mini Moni The Movie: Okashi na Daibouken" though the group that Mari fronts there is more properly the "4Kids" group and not what would eventually be ZYX. Anyhow, this new line-up's first single would be the more mature-sounding "CRAZY ABOUT YOU". Unfortunately, the single didn't sell too well and the group would break up soon afterwards following a second album and the single "Lucky Cha Cha Cha" (The third single with this line-up).
The group disbanded in 2004, but Mini Moni continued in a sort of truncated fashion with "W" which was a duo made up of Tsuji Nozomi and Kago Ai. Two albums and many singles later, this duo too would eventually break up due to Ai's repeated involvement in scandals. While Kago Ai's career would never fully recover, Mini Moni didn't simply fade off into the sunset. Mini Moni as a group would see countless revivals in concerts, but most notable would be resurrected as "Shin Mini Moni" with members Linlin (Then of Morning Musume), Fukuda Kanon (Later of S/mileage), Takeuchi Akari (Also later of S/mileage) and Miyamoto Karin (Later of Juice=Juice). Despite possible high hopes, this line-up would only record two songs and mostly existed as a live unit. This would be the last revival of Mini Moni barring future ones.
Throughout Mini Moni's checkered history, we are left with some amazingly catchy songs, many of which I feel are often overlooked, hence my choice of this song over, say, "Jankenpyon". Also, I have been lucky to have seen Kago Ai in person twice (Once performing, once in a promotional appearance) and Takahashi Ai twice as well (Once live with Morning Musume and later as a DJ at the recent J-Melo Party). With all this in mind, watch and enjoy!
Mini Moni Are:
●Mika Todd - Leader