2011! The year of graduations and auditions (for me, at least) and the year where I experienced the most in terms of Idols and music. For me, this has been a fantastic year in terms of finding new interests and new Idols to love. A lot has been going on, from Hello! Project taking a drastic change, to AKB48 finally shoving Maeda Atsuko’s face away from an A-side and pulling the oldest one to the front for some Camera lovin’. This year has been filled with both shocks and surprises, and hopefully, 2012 will keep on bringing the surprises!

Personally, 2011 has been a hectic year with Idols as well as with my personal life. I have loved and hated this year in many ways, but I hope that this year goes out with a glorious, Idol bang!

Now, before I actually get into the post, I want to thank my Selective Hearing Boss Man, Greg, for letting me become a part of the Selective Hearing Staff. I’m very honored to be here, and I will continue to flatter Selective Hearing whenever I can.

Flattery over, let’s get on with the post! MWAHA!

First off, I will try my best to recap anything/everything that has happened within Hello! Project this year. Well, it’s been a pretty half/half year with the girls here. Towards the start of the year, Berryz Kobou actually impressed me with their single Heroine ni Narou Ka, and then Ai no Dangan, but stopped impressing me with Aa, Yo ga Akeru. C-ute continued to gain my love with their sexy song, Kiss me Aishiteru, before returning to a cuter image in the forms of Momoiro Sparkling and Sekaichii HAPPY na Onna no Ko.

Buono! was probably one of the nicest surprises of 2011 for me, because they made a return as a Hello! Project group rather than an anime sub-unit. But, whilst fans were happy with their return, their songs lacked. So, for Buono, 2011 has been a half and half year in terms of good music. However, with the Buono! team working in a movie, this year has been pretty good on promotion for the newest addition to the Hello! Project singing family.

Oh, and to add, they finally collaborated, and actually promoted the hell out of what they made. That was a big WTF on most peoples mind, but whatever – UFA actually promoted. Oh, and Berryz and C-ute brought out an okay single, and BeKiMaSu brought out that really happy charity single that I like. It’s been a good year for collaborations, hasn’t it?

For Morning Musume, this year has been pretty good and bad in some ways. Fans finally got the long-awaited 9th gen, however before the girls could even debut as Morning Musume members the Tohoku Tsunami and earthquake hit Japan. A lot of people were frantic about it, but Japan managed to get through it and are pretty much back on their feet. A lot of people from around the world helped out as well, and all idols around Japan helped the victems of the earthquake to feel hope.

But after this rocky slide, Morning Musume were quick to resume activities. Their single Maji Desu Kka Ska was released, and then ONLY YOU. Whilst ONLY YOU caused some controversy with fans (including myself) due to the line distribution, it still became a popular song. Then 10th gen auditions were announced, as well as Takahashi Ai’s departure. For Morning Musume, this has been a hectic year – as well as a money making one, in terms of using thew cash cow to their advantage with a graduation pending.

OH! And 10th Gen – best generation yet for me. I love 9th Gen and all, but hell~o Haruna Iikubo!

 

But I’m going to say that the group which has probably made the biggest changes in Hello! Project this year is S/mileage. With the sudden announcement of 2nd generation auditions announced, a lot of fans were on the edge. What did this mean? Some people speculated a graduation – and they were right.

With a 3-day warning and no graduation ceremony, the best thing to happen to S/mileage graduated. And with her graduation, the additions of a Vampire (Meimei), a Gorilla (Kana), an Anemic (Fuu-chan), a gerbil (Akari) and an unfortunate (Rina) were added to the group. The girls became sub-members, however Fuu-chan had to then graduate the group due to her health, but would return as an Egg, only to dream of what could have been…

But with these additions to the group, S/mileage brought out Tachiaa Girl, their worst single of 2011 (and probably in their history of S/mileage). Whilst the three main members got to hog the spotlight, the rest were shoved into the back, scrambling for attention. It was then announced who had become a main member (all of them) before fans’ hearts were crushed with the news of Maeda Yuuka’s graduation.

Yeah…

But all in all, I think that S/mileage have had a solid year. I mean, they’ve released 4 singles, and a 5th one is to be released, so they haven’t done that bad, have they?

In terms of groups outside of Hello! Project, I have finally gotten off of my AKB high horse and started to appreciate them…

But that’s only cause Maeda Atsuko isn’t there to hog the spotlight for Ue Kara, Mariko!.

Whilst I am still not a major fan of their work, I have found myself taking a liking to NMB48 and SKE48. For AKB, it’s been another year that’s rolled in money. With their songs Flying Get and Kaze wa Fuiteiru rolling in the yen, and Heavy Rotation once again becoming a popular karaoke song for people, AKB have had a pretty good year. Whilst I find all of their songs pretty generic in terms of how they sound, I was surprised with how much I liked Everyday Kachuusha, and then by how much I hated Flying Get and Kaze wa Fuiteiru. Then again, not everyone likes everything an Idol group creates.

So yeah… AKB48 has had a pretty solid year, same as their newly formed group, NMB48. They’ve also branched out overseas, so yay!

Will they come to England next? Not that I’m planning to audition, I just wanna know so that I can laugh.

Next group!

2011 has impressed me with groups so far, but the group that has probably impressed me the most is PASSPO. They’ve had a good start to 2011 with their official debut as an Idol group, and have so far released 3 singles and their first major album. Other than selling singles, a few of the girls also got to star in their first movie, Cheerfu11y, with Kikkawa Yuu, The Possible members, a Canary Club member, ex-MomoClo member Akari and Hijii Mika.

But, at the end of 2011, PASSPO will be losing their first member, Sakuma Kaho, due to a back injury. Yes, it is sad 🙁

So, it’s been a pretty good year for PASSPO in terms of selling singles, their photobook and their first major album. They have been busy, but with the loss of Mushu (Kaho), they will have a sad end-of-year flight at their next concert.

2011… I found paradise!!!!

I like my girls in uniform, for some… reason. e.e

But seriously, Afilia Saga East… I hope they release more stuff in 2012, whether it’s singles, albums or photobooks. They are my group of 2011. Just saying.

Sadly, not many people know about them yet… >.> Luckily, Tsunku is best buds with their producer (the one he’s working on the maid chain café with, so YEAH!!!), so let’s hope they can get better known! Whoo!

Other groups to Mention

Bump.y. Whilst they’re still just as unknown as Afilia Saga, I still really like this group. They’ve produced some awesome singles this year, especially their latest single, Kiss. Whilst I wish they would release more, I’m just happy that they are active and trying to make themselves known.

Dream Morning Musume. I was surprised that they were created, for one, but I was also happy. It’s a nice piece of nostalgia, plus, Koharu!!! And 2012 is the year where they release their first single, so hopefully they will sound nice. I just don’t want them to overshadow Morning Musume…

9nine. I’ve really tarted to like this group in 2011, and I am looking forward to more of their releases. I think the girls are really cute and talented, and their last single, Natsu Wanna Say Love U was a nice summer song. It doesn’t beat out Kiss though!

Sakura Gakuin are my end-of-year guilty pleasure, because that’s when I discovered them. I’m still new to the group, but with their latest single, VERISHUVI, on sale this December, I am looking forward to how well they will do next year.

MomoCloZ. They still haven’t impressed me, and I still dislike them. So 2011 hasn’t changed in terms of how much I do not like this group.

But I have to say, their crazyness is pretty fun to watch. I also like Santa-san, but other than that, their songs annoy the heck out of me…

Sexy Zone. Oh.. man…

In a way, I will be referring to all boy groups. I mean, 2011… is the year I actually decided to care. Thanks to people suggesting that I should try to listen to boy groups, I had a pretty fun time finding who and what I liked. In the end, I have pretty much fallen for Arashi, Hey! Say! Jump and even SEXY ZONE, even though I initially didn’t want to like Sexy Zone. At all.

In terms of their music this year… er, I don’t know? However, Sexy Zone’s debut single is pretty strong. I’m a fan of the A-side, but I’m okay with the B-sides. All in all, I hope to experience more Boy Bands in 2012. 2011 is just the start of it all, it seems.

They’re the reason why I am getting into Boy Bands. I give them a chance, and it turns into me looking into more Boy Bands. Oh, and I thank Ray of International Wota for that, too. Mwahaha.

2011’s Other Highlights

Any other highlights? Hm…

– The fact that I broke away from Hello! Project to try and explore different Idol groups and artists is probably the biggest highlight of 2011 for me. I’m still on the edge with Kpop, but trying to get into boy bands (and their pants) is a big step for me.

Also, Tsunku opening up an idol Café – I enjoyed the controversy between Hello Project and AKB fans for this. The comments were hilarious. It was wonderful watching how childish some people could be about it.

– Hello! Projects 3 collaborations was also a highlight. Sadly, BerriKyu’s song fell flat on its skinny ass, and Risako looked uglier than normal in it.

– … Takahashi Ai’s graduation, and Niigaki’s rise to power!!!

– 10th Generation! Especially Haruna! But, seriously, the 10th generation was a surprise for me. Even my sister said she hadn’t expected it, but it made us both happy. So yeah!

– Ikuta Erina getting TV time in the form of Oha Star (even if it meant that my favorite S/mileage member had officially graduated)

– Koharu became a model! WHOO!

– Kikkawa Yuu becoming a soloist

– Nakazawa Yuko getting MARRIED!!!!

2011’s Bad Points

– The earthquake and Tsunami

– Kago Ai’s suicide attempt, and now that 100 million yen lawsuit

– Mitsui Aika being injured for who knows how long

– Riho injuring herself

– Ogawa Saki’s graduation

– Fuu-chan’s departure from subs

– Maeda Yuuka’s graduation announcement

– S/mileage Gen 2 auditions… then letting the Vampire in

– The amount of graduations/suspensions happening this year (SDN’s announcement, Maeda Yuuka, Ogawa Saki, SKE48 girls, NMB48 suspensions, Fuu-chan, Takahashi Ai, Kaho of PASSPO)

– Miyamoato Karin is still an egg!!!

– UP UP Girls – it’s a waste of time, unless they produce a single in 2012. Then I will be interested.

And… I think that’s it! Sorry that this post is long, and boring 😛 Anyway, happy 2011 everyone! Look forward to the new year! I hope that Hello Project has a good year… same as AKB, J Ent and any other group that I can’t be bothered to mention! Whoo!