A Hello! Project Primer

Filed in Cult Of Pop 2.0

A little while ago I made myself a VCD for work called "Hello! Project Primer". I listen to it when I think I’m about to overdose on Berryz Koubo – they’ve become constant rotation in the soundtrack of my (fickle) heart, but you can have too much of a good thing. (Like Chinami when her hair’s in pink ribbon pigtails. That is a very very good thing.)

The reasoning behind this disc was initially pretty simple: I have a friend who’s into Jpop and likes some H!P acts such as W and Morning Musume but would probably become even more interested if she got a clearer idea of the whole Tsunku family. So at some point I’m going to make a copy of the VCD and give it to her; for that matter, I may just make multiple copies of it and leave it in libraries and bus stops in the hopes that I’d make H!P converts out of random strangers. 

In creating a sampler of H!P goodness, there were some factors I had to consider. With the exception of Morning Musume, I wasn’t going to do multiple songs by the same unit – if that was the case, it’d be all Berryz at this point. So first off, a truly wide sample of acts to include. Second, I wanted it to reflect to some degree the current Hello! Project line-up. Not because I think the early stuff sucks, but the opposite: to include early stuff would make it more difficult to come up with few enough selections. If I went back to the beginning of H!P’s history, there’d be a lot more I’d feel obliged to cover, including just about everything from Morning Musume’s Golden Age and a good chunk of Minimoni’s early discography. So I tried to keep the selections fairly recent – two, three years old. Third, I wanted it to be a reflection of my taste in H!P – songs I actually like and can listen to again and again. Because I am going to listen to this again and again and again.

So here’s what the VCD added up to: 

  • H!P All-Stars, "All for One and One for All". Start out with this song so that you know just how large in scope the whole Hello! Project family is… Kind of like an elaborate opening credits to everything that follows. And besides, I actually love this song and the PV still makes me shiver. Especially the Momoko and Chinami parts.
  • Gomattou, "Shall We Love?". Couldn’t resist this one, the first one-time "solo group". Great song, great PV with the lesbian seduction overtones.
  • Fujimoto Miki, "Boogie Train 03". The funniest PV from H!P, in my opinion, and a great song. Also nice to see some H!P Kids when they were teeny little things. Including a chubby cute Chinami.
  • Melon Kinenbi, "Namida no Taiyo". After "Eros", my favorite MK song and one that isn’t nearly as scary to look at for a newcomer.
  • Salt5, "Get Up! Rapper". My favorite shuffle group, with Maeda Yuki looking quite sexy and Ayaya looking a bit bonkers.
  • Morning Musume, "Go Girl! Koi no Victory". The cutesy version of the PV I mentioned earlier; after Golden Age Musume, I like 15-nin Musume’s songs best.
  • Country Musume, "Uwaki no Honey Pie". Fun song with Fujimoto (again) and Konno. So I’m biased towards Mikitty – is that a surprise? Besides, it’s the only CM song I knew well.
  • Aa!, "First Kiss". To my mind, the best written song from H!P in the past few years. Despite her ongoing brushes with Momoko / Chinami greatness, I’m not much of a Miyabi fan. Yet. That said, Tanaka Reina is in excellent form and Suzuki Airi is even better.
  • Morning Musume, "Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari". Especially with the subtitled version of the PV, a nice introduction to the girls of the flagship group.
  • Goto Maki, "Yokohama Shinkirou". A great Gocchin song with a great PV starring a believably thuggish Murakami Megumi.
  • Tanaka Reina, "Memory Seishun no Hikari". So I’m biased about her, too. Sue me. She does a great version of the Momusu classic and the PV is hauntingly beautiful – mostly because Reina’s hauntingly beautiful in it.
  • W, "Robokiss". Still W’s best song and PV. Love Berryz as backup dancers.
  • Berryz Koubo, "Special Generation". The greatest song and the greatest PV by the greatest H!P unit ever. Ever!
  • Viyuden, "Kaccho Ii Ze! Japan". I like "Ajisai" better as a song, but this is catchier and perhaps more accessible to someone new to H!P. To my thinking, it also fits better in the flow of songs I’d set up. (Which was also a factor in choosing "Namida no Taiyo".) Also, the lesbian overtones isn’t as scary as in MK’s "Eros".
  • Matsuura Aya, "Ki ga Tsukeba Anata". It was this or my absolute favorite by Ayaya, "Kiseki no Kaori Dance". This one won because of all the iced tea pimping.
  • Def. Diva, "Suki Sugite Baka Mitai". I’m actually not too hot on this song yet, but it’s the kind that’ll grow on me.
  • Morning Musume, "Chokkan 2". The song that made me like the new line-up. The PV that fascinates me to no end.

Now, I know there are some gaps that I could have accounted for. For instance, I could have included Puri Puri Pink to cover more of the H!P members – but that song bored me and isn’t a good introduction to H!P, as far as I’m concerned. More soloists would’ve been nice, like I had Nacchi’s "Koi no Hana" except it didn’t fit the limited space of the VCD. Limits are always good for making one prioritize, after all, and that’s part of the exercise here. (Always with the pecking order for me, I know.) And I really would’ve loved to have included Otome Gumi’s "Yuujou"- if I were to make another VCD (and I probably will, when free time and boredom allows), I’d bump Def. Diva for that. More Reina isn’t a bad thing, after all.

Having written all this, I put it to you readers: if you were to make a VCD – no more than eighteen songs, say (a DVD-R would’ve been too easy to pack with too much) – as a way to introduce someone to Hello! Project, what would you choose and why? Don’t have to agree with my reasoning, but it’d be interesting if you would consider the cross-section of what you like with what you think newcomers would enjoy. It ain’t always the same thing, after all, and can make for some thoughtful compromises.

And now that I think of it, Otome Gumi really should’ve been in there. I am filled with deep regret. 


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4 Responses to “A Hello! Project Primer”
  1. Johnny says:

    (1)THE MIND is finally back online! Dang, I just missed the Sunday Blog Roundup.

    Just in case you haven’t dropped by yet, I started a little series called “12 Days Of Momusu”. Be sure to check it out.

    (2)Nice selection you got there. I just uploaded most of those songs’ PVs in my blog video playlist. Enjoy!

    (3)What would I put in the VCD? From the top of my head and in no particular order:


    “Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari”

    “Hyokkori-Hyoutan Jima”

    “Shiawase Beam! Suki Suki Beam!”

    “Love Machine”

    “Renai Revolution”

    “Chokkan 2”

    H ! P ALL-STARS:

    “All for One and One for All”.



    “Koi no Vancance”


    “Sexy Night~Wasurerarenai Kare~”

    That’s all I can think of for now.

  2. Alice says:

    I guess I find it interesting that you don’t use any of the older material from inactive groups. I at least would’ve had a Mini Moni or Puchi Moni song in there as well.

  3. niji says:

    I would’ve added the song that started it all (in my opinion): Ai no Tane. Since it was the first Morning Musume song, it symbolizes what Hello! Project strived to be in the beginning and should therefore have its age as a non-factor. Plus, it’s cool! ROTFL XP

  4. Freya says:

    I actually just made a CD for a friend who was curious about the music I always listen to. He didn’t know anything about J-Pop at all, so I decided to put these songs on:

    HP All Stars – All For One
    – just as you said, getting to know the whole Tsunku family

    Morning Musume – Ai no tane
    – the first song that started it all

    Morning Musume – Daite! Hold On Me
    – their first #1 hit

    Morning Musume – Love Machine
    – TEH Momusu single

    W – Robo Kiss
    – W’s greatest song, one of the cutest of H!P as well

    V-u-den – Kacchoiize! Japan
    – the catchiest and one of the best V-u-den songs

    Tanpopo – Tanpopo
    – my favorite Tanpopo song, also the catchiest of 1st gen Tanpopo

    Pucchi Moni – Chokotto Love
    – first subgroup to go #1, one of the best H!P songs ever

    Mini Moni – Hina Matsuri
    – a great Mini Moni song, not quite as childish as Janken Pyon

    Matsuura Aya – Yeah! Meccha Holiday
    – everyone loves this song!

    Fujimoto Miki – Boogie Train ’03
    – also one of the best H!P songs and Miki’s greatest solo single

    DEF. DIVA – Suki sugite baka mitai
    – something new has to be on it, ne? Also, went straight to #1

    Country Musume – Bye Bye Saigo no Yoru
    – my favorite Country song

    Abe Natsumi – Koi no Hana
    – Nacchi’s latest single (not counting Talaramono which wasn’t out by then)

    Goto Maki – Yokohama Shinkirou
    – one of Gocchin’s best songs

    Nochiura Natsumi – Renai Sentai Shitsu Ranger
    – NUN is one of the best one-shot groups, so they have to be on it

    – I dunno, maybe because I really like this shuffle?

    Berryz Koubou – 21ji made no Cinderella
    – the youngster’s latest single (at that time, again)

    I think that’s about it. Could be that I forgot one song, but at least there’s 18 of them ^_^ I probably would have chosen the same songs for a VCD, too, because they give a very large view of what H!P is about.