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YMMV / Hello! Project

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  • Americans Hate Tingle: Western fans of H!P will sometimes declare that Coconuts Musume was the worst group ever in the history of Hello! Project, whereas everyone else cares just as much about Coconuts as they do any other defunct H!P group.
    • This is also the reason why Hello! Project scaled back on their worldwide expansion projects. They tried entering the Chinese market in 2007 by first making Junjun and Linlin members of Morning Musume and then creating Ice Creamusume and Frances & Aiko, but because the Chinese audience didn't care for Junjun and Linlin that much (not to mention Ice Creamusume flopped so bad their career lasted for only three months), the expansion towards China was dropped in 2010. They also tried expanding towards South Korea in 2009, but whether it be because of their failure to break the Chinese market or because Korean Pop Music had rapidly became a global hit, those plans were immediately forgotten too.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Coconuts Musume is this for many western H!P fans. Mika and Ayaka are usually forgiven (the first being half Japanese and the latter fully Japanese), Danielle specifically gets the most flack despite not actually being the worst at speaking Japanese.
    • Koharu Kusumi is easily the most divisive member in the history of Morning Musume. She either lived up to the "miracle" hype that Tsunku placed on her or was not deserving of the opportunities given to her. She also had a concurrent solo career despite being the youngest and least experienced member at the time. In 2013, the base was split even more when she criticized the idol industry for catering to mostly men (also stating that she wanted to have more female fans) and admitted that her main goal in joining Morning Musume was to get a foot in the door to become a model for CanCam. On one side, there were fans that interpreted this as Koharu having used Morning Musume as a stepping stone to make herself famous. These same fans also feel that Koharu showed a great deal of disrespect and ingratitude towards Up-Front and Hello! Project for all they had done for her and felt that her criticism of appealing to mostly men meant that she hates her male fans. It also didn't help her case that she said this in front of her MM senior and mentor Sayumi Michishige during the show. On another side, there are fans that contested that joining the idol industry to use as a launching pad for a bigger career in entertainment is a very normal practice. They also believe that it is normal for a teenage girl to feel uncomfortable with having a largely male fanbase note . And then there are other parts of the base that took a more middle ground stance on the matter. Some taking umbrage with not what was said but how it was said. Some seeing the whole thing as a non-issue that was not only blown out of proportion by the fandom but also instigated by the hosts. And then there are others that have stated that they have gained a new level of respect for Koharu for being honest and speaking out against Japan's idol industry.
  • Broken Base: The official PV's for Morning Musume's "Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru" and "Yuugure wa Ameagari". Karin Miyamoto filled in for Kanon Suzuki because she had an injured leg, which Karin did as repayment for when she got injured and Ayumi Ishida took her place in the dance shot of a Juice=Juice music video. The PV preview for "Yuugure wa Ameagari" got leaked, and fans became upset when not only did Kanon not get any close-ups, but Karin had more close-ups than any of the Morning Musume members, including the new members.
    • To add to the controversy over the 58th single PV's, fans thought the official PV for "Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru" was going to be directed by a contest winner. The resulting PV, which was all CG animated aside from the girls and some props, received a much more positive reception from fans, and included Kanon. However, management still went ahead and made the official PV one directed in-house.
    • Back when Morning Musume's "Resonant Blue" was released, the fandom was split on the music video, which was only a dance video. note  Besides that, there was a clear focus put on Ai Takahashi, Reina Tanaka, and Koharu Kusumi, as all girls had some white in their clothing, while the rest of the girls wore all-black clothing, while they danced against a black backdrop. While some fans don't find this a big deal, other fans feel this was a lazy and biased move, as it was easy for the rest of the girls to be mistaken for backup dancers. In response to this, Hello! Project released an alternate music video for the song.
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  • Cant Un Hear It: Sakura Oda's vocals sound a lot like Ai Takahashi.
  • Contractual Purity: Many H!P members have been fired for such things as underage smoking or being seen with a boyfriend. Nowadays, many fans speculate that Up-Front Agency is careful when vetting potential trainees and will be more likely not to accept girls from troubled backgrounds to avoid scandal.
    • The most infamous case was Ai Kago's scandal. In 2005, she was caught smoking underage and was put under house arrest for a year. Weeks before W was supposed to prepare for their comeback, Kago was not only photographed smoking underage again, but also going to a hot springnote  with her boyfriend, who was 18 years her senior. By then, the scandal had gotten so big that Up-Front Agency outright dismissed her from the company.
    • In 2008, Miyabi Natsuyaki was caught allegedly dating Hey! Say! Jump! member Kei Inoo. A lot of fans defended her, claiming it was lookalike actress Saki Fukuda. Regardless of which side fans took, UP-FRONT or Miyabi never commented on it.
    • Months after Mai's "scandal", fellow ℃-ute member Chisato Okai and former Berryz Koubou member Maasa Sudo (who is somehow exempt from the rule because she is no longer an idol) were photographed hanging out with two guys from A.B.C-Z. UP-FRONT never commented on it, but after being asked about it at a press event, Chisato made a quick apology and then proceeded to joke about it with the reporters. Many fans agree that the real scandal was how amazing Chisato looked in the dress she was wearing in one of the photographs.
    • Natsumi Taguchi was dismissed from Magnolia Factory. Coincidentally, this was also around the time when selfies of her with someone who was allegedly her boyfriend leaked onto the Internet.
    • Maki Goto abruptly graduated after her brother, Yuki Goto, made headlines for his 2007 arrest.note  Rumors circulated saying that her graduation had nothing to do with the arrest despite the timing, and that she had wanted to leave due to not being satisfied with the direction of her career, but in 2018, she admitted that Up-Front Agency had asked her to leave, hinting that her brother's arrest did impact her Idol Singer career somewhat.
    • In 2017, Mari Yaguchi admitted that the reason why she left Morning Musume was in fact because she was dating Shun Oguri at the time, which had been outed on tabloids.
  • Ear Worm: A LOT, but especially Koharu's stuff.
    • Mini Moni had some really catchy songs.
    • Sayumi Michishige's solo song "Lalala no Pipipi". Backstage footage shows the rest of the Morning Musume girls dancing and singing along when it's performed.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Chisato Okai was a Lesser Star in ℃-ute, but after uploading dance videos on YouTube, her popularity skyrocketed to the point where she's promoted to a main singer behing Maimi and Airi.
    • During the Morning Musume 10th generation audition, Masaki Sato couldn't remember the lyrics at the beginning of training camp, but showed improvement in the recording booth. However, Ayumi Ishida or Haruka Kudo were already pegged as the aces of their generation when they joined, and Masaki's vocals were shaky for the first year or so. Since then Masaki has developed into one of Morning Musume's lead singers.
  • Executive Meddling: In June 2017, UP-FRONT PROMOTION announced they would implement a transfer system with the Country Girls members after Tsugunaga Momoko graduated. Country Girls would be active on school breaks and holidays, but three girls (Morito Chisaki, Yanagawa Nanami, Funaki Musubu) would join other main groups as concurrent members while the other two (Yamaki Risa, Ozeki Mai) focused on school. The members later wrote on their blogs that they did not expect this change at all and they believed they were being told the group couldn't succeed as five members. They also implied the office already made the decision without giving them a choice, and it wasn't until after the office told them about the change being made that Risa and Mai decided to focus on their studies instead of transferring groups.
    • Hello! Project attempted to expand towards Chinese markets in 2007. Some of the moves included scouting girls from China without anyone else knowing and making Junjun and Linlin full-time members of Morning Musume. However, their venture was a flop, the reasons cited being music piracy and Junjun and Linlin not being able to catch the interest of Chinese audiences despite the hype built around them. In 2010, the management decided not to promote in China anymore especially after Hello! Project Taiwan bombed so badly; in the same year, both Junjun and Linlin had to leave Morning Musume.
  • Fan Nickname: Nearly everyone. They also have fan ASCII faces.
  • Face of the Band: EVERY group, but in the more extreme cases:
    • Morning Musume: Takahashi Ai and Tanaka Reina, and before, Abe Natsumi.
      • During Colorful Era it was Sayashi Riho, Michishige Sayumi, and—after their graduations—attention seems to have shifted to Fukumura Mizuki, Sato Masaki, and Oda Sakura.
    • Berryz Koubou: Risako Sugaya, Tsugunaga Momoko and Natsuyaki Miyabi.
    • ℃-ute: Suzuki Airi and Yajima Maimi.
    • S/mileage: Maeda Yuuka, then Fukuda Kanon and Tamura Meimi after her graduation.
    • Mini Moni mostly focused on Hawaiian-born, half-Australian, half-Japanese Mika Todd in interviews.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Any joke about Iida Kaori regarding motherhood or childbirth. Especially appearances when she was actually pregnant. Other references that aren't meant to be funny are Harsher in Hindsight.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Kanon Suzuki is fairly unpopular in Japan, but is adored by many western fans, to the point where in a J-MELO popularity poll for overseas fans, she came second place by only 2 points behind then-leader Sayumi Michishige.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Suzuki Kanon has gotten a lot of flack for being slightly larger than the other girls in Morning Musume. Yeah, this is fat.
    • Fukuda Kanon and more recently Sudo Maasa have also been made fun of for their weight by fans, despite being very slim.
    • Back in the day, Kago Ai also got criticized for her weight often, despite looking like this at the time.
    • Sayashi Riho also got a lot of rude comments about her weight during the last couple of years of being in Morning Musume. It only worsened when Suzuki Kanon briefly lost weight in 2015, which caused many fans who previously bullied the former, to turn their attention towards Riho for being the new "fattest member". She looked like this at the time. What made it worse was that Riho was already very insecure about this issue, and had been trying various crash diets.
    • Ogata Haruna was criticized for the weight she gained in 2017, when for the past two years she had received a mix of worried or dismissive comments about her being too Hollywood Thin.
  • Les Yay: GAM's PV for Melodies basically operates on the premise of Girl-on-Girl Is Hot, obviously also qualifies as Ship Tease for Matsuura Aya and Fujimoto Miki.
    • Apprently former Morning Musume member Junjun really likes Berryz Koubou captain Shimizu Saki.
    Kamei Eri: Those two have a bit of a suspicious relationship.
    • On that note, Erina Ikuta's almost over-the-top adoration of Risa Niigaki seems a little too suspect...
    • Michishige Sayumi really liked to kiss the other members, especially Takahashi Ai.
  • Lost in Translation: The group name "ANGERME", which is meant to be a Portmanteau of the French words "ange" (angel) and "larme" (tear). The official pronunciation in Japanese—"An-ju-ru-mu" (アンジュルム)—isn't the correct French pronunciation, and the official romanized name can be read as "anger me" in English.
  • Memetic Mutation: The infamous Dramatic Chipmunk originated from a Hello! Morning segment featuring Mini Moni (with the "chipmunk" actually being a prairie dog).
  • Narm:
    • The English version of "Summer Night Town" by Coconuts Musume. Hearing it may provide some insight as to why the group was not so popular outside of Japan. It's even better with the music video, which besides just being badly shot/directed in general, has the girls looking completely dead inside.
    • The "Blind Idiot" Translation hard-subtitles on YouTube PVs since 2013.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Mano Erina has become more well-known as an actress than she did as a soloist under Hello! Project.
  • The Scrappy: Michishige Sayumi was not well liked when she first joined Morning Musume, as her singing and dancing were decidedly sub-par and many found her narcissistic "cutest MM member" gimmick obnoxious. History would repeat itself a few years later, with the arrival of Kusumi Koharu. However, as both have grown as performers and eventually endeared themselves to a large portion of the fanbase, they can be said to have been Rescued from the Scrappy Heap; Sayumi won a lot of people over just by deliberately overplaying her Kawaiiko and It's All About Me tendencies to the point of comedy. That said, when discussing the single Resonant Blue, Sayumi lampshaded her role in the group: "I always get the 'Ah!' and 'Uh!' lines. I want to sing some actual Japanese words for a change!" Sure enough, come the single Onna ga Medatte Naze Ikenai, one of her (few) lines was an "Ah!".
    • Most recently, Mitsui Aika. Tsunku likes her though.
      • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: She's starting to become more popular with western fans since she returned from New Zealand to study English and began working with Up-Front Productions to provide English-language reports on Hello! Project-related activities, interviews with the current idols and responding to fan comments on Facebook.
    • Riho Sayashi caught a lot of this around 2012, as some fans accused her of being the Spotlight-Stealing Squad — being the default Vocal Tag Team with Reina for three straight singles certainly didn't curry any favors towards her. This mellowed out once Reina graduated and other members like Mizuki, Sakura and Masaki were showcased alongside her, but the stigma still followed her until her sudden graduation (and even then, many fans that disliked her before were stunned and saddened by the decision.)
  • Stuck in Their Shadow: Tsubaki Factory is often put down by fans for not being as "polished" as their sister group Kobushi Factory. This seems to be fading as they keep gaining experience, though.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The verses of Buono!'s "Internet Cupid" samples the Super Mario Bros. theme song.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Fans are naturally vocally upset whenever a member joins or leaves, which is very common. However, while the other main groups have a stable line-up, the biggest backlash of this occured with Morning Musume after the 9th generation's inclusion into the group and the subsequent departures of Ai Takahashi, Risa Niigaki, and Reina Tanaka, which left Sayumi Michishige as the only recognizable member for fans who have kept up with Morning Musume since 2002. Up-Front Works has even recognized Morning Musume's waning popularity and have made several attempts to market the group's changes as a rebirth, including rebranding the group as "Morning Musume '14."
    • S/mileage changing their name to ANGERME got a lot of flack especially from English-speaking fans, as even though it was intended to be a portmaneau of the French words "ange" (angel) and "larme" (tear), most of the fanbase read it as the English "anger me" which many felt was not only a silly name, but didn't suit the image that the group aimed to hold (a lot of people saying it was better suited to a metal group than an idol group).
    • Fans on Girls Channel note that newer Hello! Project members don't have a standout personality and attribute that to Up-Front Works playing it too safe in selecting which girl to join their company, as they seem to avoid choosing girls from dysfunctional families. While that protects their artists' images from scandals, it actually makes them less relatable and too perfect. Some of the more memorable members were from troubled backgrounds, like Maki Goto and Ai Kago.
  • Whole Costume Reference: Haruka Kudo's promo outfit for Morning Musume '17's fall tour looks like it was inspired by Final Fantasy XIII's Lightning.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?: Some of the things the girls have to wear. Seriously. I don't even...
  • The Woobie: Iida Kaori and Yasuda Kei were pretty much The Chew Toy for the hosts of Utaban who actually Would Hit a Girl, especially Iida, although they never really hurt her (physically anyway), and it's always played for laughs.
    • Yaguchi Mari has a history of being mercilessly teased on shows like Utaban and HeyHeyHey!
    • Occasionally invoked for Kago Ai due to her going through a Break the Cutie.
  • Yoko Oh No: Often occurs whenever any of the girls are caught dating on tabloids. Of note, this was one of the reasons why Ai Kago was kicked out of Hello! Project. Fans also suspect this could have been the reason why Megumi Murakami and Kanna Arihara left ℃-ute, as both have been photographed with a boy before their departure from the group. Rumors say that when Arihara made tabloids dating Johnny's Jr. Ryosuke Hashimoto, many fans refused to shake her hand at ℃-ute's subsequent fan meet.
    • Probably one of the stupidest fan reactions of this type happened when Sakura Oda and Kanon Suzuki spotted two boys — both dancers popular on Niconico, and both big H!P fans — in the crowd at Reina Tanaka's graduation concert and sounded excited about it. Immediately, fanboys cried foul and assumed that they were dating.
    • In April 2016, Mai Hagiwara was photographed by a tabloid walking into an apartment with a man. Management simply ignored it until months later in June, Mai finally issued an apology after much outcry by male fans, explaining the man in the photos was only a friend.


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