Hello! Project Station Episode #103 Contents
MC: Nakanishi Kana, Aikawa Maho
◆ Hello! Project - I Know
◆ Hello! Project - Rival
◆ ANGERME - Otome no Gyakushuu Live
◆ 4 Kanji phrase 大器小用
◆ Discussion: Yajima Maimi & Shimizu Saki
◆ Q&A Corner
◆ Inaba Manaka (Country Girls) Hair Arrange
Episode 103 opens with two of the big Hello! Project performance from the recent concert tour. First up we get Aya Matsuura's "I Know" which was a song I never really cared for around the time of its release. It's a bit more interesting here performed by Hello! Project at large, but just as forgettable as before as far as I am concerned. Thankfully this wasn't the only song presented, we next get Berryz Koubou's "Rival". This was a song that I liked when it was released but never really listened to after that. It was the double A-side to "Seishun Bus Guide" and, for me at least, that song got the most attention. That being said, it was refreshing to hear it again and of course fitting to use a Berryz Koubou song as the group performance as this is their final Hello! Project tour. With that in mind, I must say that I think there are far better songs in Berryz' catalog to perform as an ensemble, but there are also far worse ones too.... Anyhow, watch and enjoy and wait the long wait until they release these Hello! Project concerts on DVD/Blu-ray
The hosts for this episode of Hello! Project Station are both from ANGERME, we get second gen member, Nakanishi Kana and recent addition Aikawa Maho. They make for a very interesting pairing and there is lots of friendly banter between the two. We hear of Kana's Osakan accent slowly reappearing thanks to new Hello! Project members who also hail from Osaka and we also get a glimpse at Maho's deep love for classical balet and karaage! There is some talk of the pairings within ANGERME and perhaps we'll see more of the Aihara/Nakanishi duo in the future? Some interesting talk about the ANGERME single release show, especially regarding the performance of S/mileage songs with the new nine-member line-up. I can't wait to see these performances properly when they are eventually released. After this, we move into yet more ANGERME promotion. Not that I am really complaining as I feel that this is a group that should get far more recognition/support than S/mileage received.
The next segment is a live clip of "Otome no Gyakushuu" from the recent Hello! Project concerts. I've said it countless times, but I love the song and I love this new line-up. This live only confirms the fact that the re-branding is just the sort of change that S/mileage needed to remain relevant. While we're on the topic, I was always more than a little confused as to why the powers that be waited so long to add a third generation to the group. Returning to the performance, the girls are all in top form when it comes to the dance and their vocal talent is present even in this slightly low-quality clip. There is a bit during the chorus where everyone just sounds a little too loud, but it can be forgiven by the rest of the performance. Check it out and the single itself if you haven't already! Be a tree!
Next up is the 4-Kanji corner, a segment that I do not usually care for. This one is a little more entertaining as we get some good dialogue between Morning Musume 15 sub-leader, Iikubo Haruna and Country Girls' member Inaba Manaka. For one we learn that Manaka shares Haruna's love for anime and manga which leads to some nice asides. Just like most of these segments, Manaka knows little about the phrase itself. She's not alone though as I found this phrase especially confusing to me even with the explanation... It closes with Haruna asking Manaka to sing. She breaks into an impromptu "Taikibansei" and I can't help but wonder if Haruna was just trolling her not thinking she'd actually comply. Anyhow, I found this segment far more entertaining than I usually do, so I suggest you don't skip it this time around!
Next we have a very interesting segment, a talk between Hello! Project/C-ute leader, Yajima Maimi and Berryz Koubou Captain, Shimizu Saki. This is a very informative retrospective discussion that goes all the way back to their days as members of Hello! Project Kids. They talk about the audition process, their first roles in acting and the early days of being back dancers for the established Hello! Project artists both in PVs and in lives. They both talk about their feelings that their dancing skills were not up to par which is interesting as many fans consider these two amongst the strongest dancers in Hello! Project. The talk then moves along to the formation of the groups "ZYX" and their first single "Iku ZYX Fly High!". What I found most interesting about this segment is the revelation that the girls wore butt pads to make themselves look more mature! I was not aware that UP FRONT and H!P would go to these lengths to push a group and it makes me wonder if there are any other similar stories in H!P's history.... This discussion is not complete though and is to be continued in the next episode.
A somewhat quick Q&A corner follows some discussion about the recording of "Taikibansei". Aikawa Maho apparently is a Nakanishi Kana fan! Even though this segment moves really fast, it was also really entertaining. These two interact well and I guess that is for the best as they will be spending a lot of the Idol careers in each other's company. Kana basically steals the closing speech and goes in depth on the the meaning of ANGERME. Good way to wrap up this episode....but wait, there's more!
This episode closes with a hair arrange by Inaba Manaka from Country Girls. I usually don't care too much for these segments since they seem like fluff, but I watched most of this one for a change. Basically curled twintails with some high braiding. If you want to mimic this look, the instructions are there! Some interesting anecdotes from her, but I still don't know too much about her so perhaps these segments will have more of an impact once the new members settle in.
◆ Rin Rigoni