Hey, Senpai!

Avex’s newly announced girl group is quickly on its way to its initial appearance at a-nation, and the company has wasted no time in setting their new unit up with all of the trappings of a modern idol group. They’ve already appeared in Weekly Playboy, Weekly The Television, BLT, and Yanyan, with more magazine appearances scheduled for the beginning of July. The group sports a Twitter page (which seems to be left over from the idol auditions) and a group blog on Ameba.

The group’s site also has a link to BeeTV’s collection of audition digests. In this latest installment the 24 finalists are divided into three performance units:

This group’s activity seems to be moving along at a breakneck pace. I hope the girls are taking care of themselves! Avex also seems to acknowledge the girls’ difficult schedule by providing fans with their fanmail address. This version should suffice for those of us overseas:

SUPER☆GiRLS
Avex Inc.
3-1-30 Minami-Aoyama Minato-ku, Tokyo
107-0062 Japan

While this information will probably be more useful once the group has debuted and we’ve gotten to know the girls, letters cheering them on will probably mean more and be a lot more memorable now. So if you’d like to be one of the girls’ biggest fans, get to it!

Former Melon Kinenbi member Murata Megumi is ready to step back into the world of showbiz as a talent. According to Natalie.mu she’ll be appearing as 「ムラタメグミ」(that’s her name in katakana rather than the traditional 村田めぐみ). She will also be opening a blog on Ameba on July 7th. While it’s sad to hear that singing won’t be her primary area of concentration anymore, I’m excited to see what direction her career takes next!

With Shibata regularly on Twitter and Otani appearing on stage this fall, the only Melon we haven’t really heard from is Boss Saito. Here’s hoping we will have news of her soon!

Hello! Project fans have enjoyed the availability of US releases for about a year and a half now, beginning with Hangry & Angry’s “Kill Me Kiss Me” mini-album and continuing with various CD and MP3 releases through JapanFiles. This availability eventually branched into merchandise, with everything from photocards to notebooks to concert t-shirts available through HelloStoreUSA. As a result, H!P fans have had a much easier time getting their hands on merchandise that had previously been difficult to obtain without paying an auction broker pretty obscene sums of money.

AKB fans may find themselves in a similar happy situation in the near future. Maru Music announced today that AKB48’s recent greatest hits album “Kamikyokutachi” will see a US release. Dates and pricing were not specified, nor has information on the album surfaced on Maru’s website.

Many US companies that work with Japanese bands are primarily experienced in visual kei, and Maru is no exception. Their explanation of the structure of AKB and emphasis on “choreographed routines” in the press release reflects little experience in the world of idol pop, as does their website – but they display a respectable number of concert goods for their other bands in their store, which gives hope that we’ll see similar items available for purchase in the future in addition to CDs.

What else does this mean? It means H!P and AKB fans no longer have any excuses! No longer will you (or your parents) have to rely on foreign websites, auction brokers, or trips to Japan to legally support your favorite artists. The merchandise is here, so let’s show our favorite idols our support! (One thing I do wish both sites did, though, is to provide a gift card option.)

Additionally, write JapanFiles or MaruMusic if you want to see your favorite group appear in your town at your local anime convention, and send a message to the convention staff or post in the “guest request” section of their forums (nearly all cons have one!).

Every few years, when Momusu does a play or a musical, my attention is diverted to the theater for a few weeks – but really, theater is a large part of the H!P experience. Graduates especially seem to spend a lot of time participating in stage productions.

According to Natalie.mu, Ohtani Masae of Melon Kinenbi will be joining this cohort and starring as the heroine of a show called “Kizame, Waga Hada ni Kimi no Ibuki wo” running September 1st-5th at the Ikebukuro Theater Green Big Tree Theater in Tokyo. Tickets go on sale July 10th.

This will be Masae’s first official appearance since the dissolution of Melon Kinenbi. Congratulations to her on moving forward with her new solo career!

Sayumi is once again leaping headfirst into controversy. This is twice in less than two weeks! Think it doesn’t matter? Check this out and you might think again.

Earlier this week Sayumi was a guest on “Himitsu no Arashi-chan” which features the group Arashi. To put this in perspective for those who don’t follow J-music outside of girl idols or who are new to the J-pop scene: these gentlemen were responsible for four of the top five selling singles in Japan last year. Out of the 30 singles they’ve released, 26 have reached #1 on the weekly charts. In fact, they’ve never been lower than a weekly #1 since 2004.

So Sayumi appeared on a segment of this show to evaluate the guys’ style and apparently she was none too kind to one of the boys in particular, Matsumoto Jun. As I write this, her post about the show on her blog has 6,763 replies. Some of them are from her fans, some of them are from angry Arashi fans, and I’m sure some of them are from others who got caught in the crossfire because of news buzz and wanted to weigh in.

So now let’s look at Mixi again. As I write this Sayumi has a grand total of 3160 followers on her largest Mixi community. What does this mean?

  • It means that since I last posted about Sayumi eleven days ago she’s gained another 175 followers.
  • It means that since June 3rd Sayumi’s following has grown by 392 people. For the first five months of the year her following grew by 383 people. These two weeks have been bigger for her than the entire year leading up to this point.
  • She was already one of the fastest rising H!P members in terms of Mixi popularity – now she is the hands-down fastest. While it’s unlikely that she’s going to continue to be the center of a drama whirlwind, at the rate she is going she could realistically overtake Ai-chan in the next few months in terms of total following on Mixi.

Sayumi is winning fans and gaining serious exposure. Let’s hope that her notoriety leads to increased attention for Morning Musume as a whole!

Do you ever feel like there just aren’t enough girls on the idol scene nowadays? Are you aching for a new unit? Well, fear not, because Avex has you covered. Apparently they are set on building an idol stable of their own because according to Tokyograph, hot on the tails of Tokyo Girls Style’s debut, the Avex Idol Audition 2010 has produced a new 12-nin unit known as “SUPER GiRLS”.

SUPER GiRLS

From front left: Katsuta Rino, Goto Aya, Maeshima Ami, Akita Eri, Miyazaki Rina, Mizote Runa. From back left: Watanabe Hikaru, Arai Reira, Shimura Rika, Tanaka Mirei, Yasaka Saori, Kano Kaede. Source: MSN Sankei.

The youngest member of this group is 12 while the oldest clocks in at 21. Of the modern idol groups, this one seems the closest to Momusu’s format for much of the “Golden Era” agewise. Will they have the same crazy, fun chemistry? Only time will tell. The girls will make their stage debut August 7th at a-nation, so it looks like they have a busy summer ahead of them!

Hey all,

The H!P girls are blogging more than ever, and I’m finding more translations than ever! Among recent adds to the blogroll are translations for ALL S/mileage members from the hardworking people at Hello! SG Fans, summaries of Takahashi Ai’s Five Stars radio show by anizaaa, and ManoEri and Nacchi translations by ufufuproject.

Do you know of ongoing blog translations or radio summaries that I’m missing? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to see them and I know other fans would as well!