Release Date: July 15, 2015
Disc 1 – The Best Juice
- Ten Made Nobore
- Romance no Tochuu
- Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne (Memorial Edit)
- Samidare Bijo ga Samidareru (Memorial Edit)
- Ijiwaru Shinaide Dakishimete yo
- Hajimete wo Keikenchuu
- Hadaka no Hadaka no KISS
- Arekore Shitai
- Black Butterfly
- Kaze ni Fukarete
- Date Janai yo Uchi no Jinsei wa
Disc 2 – The Brand New Juice
- Wonderful World
- CHOICE & CHANCE
- Ai Ai Gasa
- Umaretate no Baby Love
- Erabareshi Watashitachi
- Ca va? Ca va?
- GIRLS BE AMBITIOUS
- Ai no Diving
- Tick-Tock Watashi no Shun
- Mirai e, Saa Hashiridase
- Tasuzuiteiku STORY
Disc 3 – The Cover Juice
- Magic of Love (J=J 2015 Ver.)
- Kousui (J=J 2015 Ver.)
- Narihajimeta Koi no BELL
- BABY! Koin ni KNOCK OUT!
- Last Kiss
Juice=Juice are a 5-member female pop group who are part of Hello! Project. Formed in February of 2013, they were the first of the new units comprised of members from Hello! Project’s trainee system Hello! Pro Kenshuusei. The members are as follows:
- Miyazaki Yuka – Leader (Peach)
- Kanazawa Tomoko – Sub-Leader (Apple)
- Takagi Sayuki (Lemon)
- Miyamoto Karin (Grape)
- Uemura Akari (Melon)
- Otsuka Aina (Orange)
Miyamoto, Takagi, Otsuka and Kanazawa were picked from the Hello! Pro Kenshuusei while Miyazaki was chosen from the Up-Front agency. Otsuka Aina was a member of this group up until July of 2013 but withdrew due to a contract dispute. Leaving the group with 5 members from that point on.
Before we continue you may have noticed that this group doesn’t have colors associated to each member, but instead they are assigned flavors. This is due to their gimmick and it can be seen as clever twist on an established system or maybe it might be seen as slightly creepy given that these are young girls who are being told what they might taste like if they were juice. How you take it is up to you.
For those whom need a color guide, here you go:
- Grape = Purple
- Lemon = Yellow
- Orange = Well that’s self-explanatory isn’t it?
- Melon = Green
- Apple = Red
- Peach = Pink
Anyway, the meaning behind the group’s name is to embody the feeling of being fresh and full of personality. Despite the meaning of the group’s name, the intention was to not mold them into a childish kind of unit and instead make them into something more along the lines of being cool. After multiple single releases in between 2013 and early 2015 their debut album First Squeeze dropped this summer.
The album is split into 3 discs. The first is a collection of their singles starting from Ten Made Nobore and ending at the double a-side Senobi/Date Janai yo no Uchi no Jinsei wa. The track listing isn’t exactly in chronological order but it’s close enough where it doesn’t really mess up one’s journey through their singles.
If you are a loyal Juice=Juice follower you can probably skip this disc completely since you have all these singles and have probably listened to each one more times than one can humanly think is possible.
This is probably meant more for those who have a curiosity about the current H!P units but don’t really want to put a lot of effort into discovering them. Well for you lazy people, this is a godsend isn’t it?
Should you be new to the world of the Juice=Juice you will find their singles to be a mixed bag of traditional H!P sounding idol songs and the “cool” type of tracks. The latter are the songs newcomers should head to first. These would include Ten Made Nobore, Romance no Tochuu, Hadaka no Hadaka no KISS, Black Butterfly and Senobi.
If you like the standard H!P fare then listen to anything that is not in the list above. That should make it easier for you discerning listeners to separate what is what. Of course everything is subjective and perhaps just use what I said as rough guide and not absolute law.
The second disc is full of newer material starting with the first half of their most recent double a-sided single (as of the date of this review) Wonderful World. The majority of the selections lean more on the “cool” side rather than the normal H!P idol sound.
There is a tendancy for a wee bit of recycling from songs of the past. For example, Umarete no Baby Love borrows from Dream Morning Musume’s Shining Butterfly in a few sections of the song. Whereas GIRLS ME AMBITIOUS borrows a bit from the Buono! playbook with a taste of pre Platinum Era Morning Musume.
This disc ends with a ballad, which is something this group isn’t necessarily known for. But they manage to pull off the song off nicely and show that they aren’t all about the genki or the cool.
I’d talk about the third disc, but to be honest I don’t have it so I don’t really know how faithful the covers are. Sorry. But the first 2 discs are the meat of this package as far as I’m concerned. The third isn’t exactly necessary.
With that in mind I found First Squeeze to be a very good album that showcased the strengths of Juice=Juice (and promoting internally) quite nicely. If you are interested in the next wave of Hello! Project groups or are bored of the more established ones, then First Squeeze may be a good starting point for your next venture into Hello! Project land.
First Squeeze (Regular Edition)
First Squeeze (Limited Edition A)
First Squeeze (Limited Edition B)