Before I get to the rest of the costume reviews, I thought I’d throw this in here for good measure. This review is based off of the USB recording, and I don’t know if I’ll do the grad recording, but we’ll see what goes down.
1. Pyoko Pyoko Ultra The costumes are so ugly and move so awkwardly that it’s hard to watch. It also appears that the bobby pins they needed to keep the hats on had nothing proper to anchor them down, so the bobby pins are very noticeable. The girls had energy, but since the crowd wasn’t into it at all, the performance seemed bland and less exciting. I think the fact that the fans weren’t responding says all you need to know about how good this was.
2. Guru Guru Jump I was shocked how quickly the atmosphere picked up in the concert hall. The fans suddenly started chanting as loud as they usually do, the girls seemed more energetic, and Mizuki’s voice was ADORABLE and more energetic than I’ve ever heard it when she said “Guru guru jump iku yo~!” Eripon sounds so much like Junjun here it’s not funny, and Kanon’s voice really is a dark horse – her singing gets better with every concert!
3. Kanashiki Koi no Melody This is definitely one of my candidates for Morning Musume Song of the Year for 2012. This song has good line distribution, a good beat, and it’s hard to get tired of. Even the lyrics are really good. The dance is pretty cool, and vocally, Rihoriho really shined. I’m really miffed that they cut out the 10ki lines, but I’ll get over it.
4. Give me Ai I didn’t know how I’d feel about this song when Ai-chan left. While Reina isn’t bad as the lead, she’s not Ai in this song. As for Riho, I was typing this listening to Reina, and Riho sounded SO GOOD that I didn’t even notice she had taken over for Reina until a few lines into her part! Gaki was also fierce in her solo lines! My main complaint for this song was how awkward it looked in those costumes, particularly the end of the dance break where they touch their legs.
5. Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari JKM is a song that I think should be sung in every concert with new members so we can get to know them. My main complaint about the song is that I wished it was done in the same format as the original – with a group of girls singing about one of the other girls. Aika, Fukupon, Zukki, Ayumi, Masaki, and Kuduu all sounded really good! I think that Morning Musume’s new members have a lot more vocal talent than we give them credit for.
Also, Risa’s face when Eripon sang the line about loving her… !!!
6. Kaiketsu Positive A This song seems more suited to the younger voices in Morning Musume, so I’m quite confused as to why they gave most of the lines to Reina and Risa. I liked the Gaki and 10ki love in the dance break, but I think the choreography could’ve been a lot less spastic-looking for Gaki-san.
7. My Way ~Joshikou Hanamichi~ The energy is starting to go a little down with the end of the set, and you can tell the voices of the newer members are getting tired, but they still sounded good as a group. I loved how creative the dance break choreo got with the screen. Also, did that ending pose remind anyone else of a MomoClo Z pose?
8. Otome no Timing Kanon sounds decent here, but she’s obviously pretty tired. Aika sounds really annoying here on her later solo lines. Honestly, the only exciting thing about this song to me is getting to hear Zukki sing solo lines.
9. Silver no Udedokei This song’s intro is so great! Also, the placement of the Risa and Aika was really creative and kinda badass. Everything in this song sounds great from the singing to the rapping to the back track. I also like how they used they sang the second verse of the song this time to give some variety from the fall concert.
10. Suki da na Kimi Ga This song is pure cute and sexy all wrapped into one. It was nice that they also did the second verse for this one. Despite looking bored and such in the fall performance of this song, Mizuki looked perfectly in sync and at the right energy level for this song on this go around of it!
11. Suki na Sempai This song has become a classic new member and a classic 5th gen song, so I’m wondering who will sing it at Risa’s graduation… Anyway, Masaki’s mic seems really low on her first line. (And is it just me, or did she almost trip on the stairs at the beginning?) While Haruna still needs some work on her singing, the 10kis sound much better singing this song on their first tour than the 9kis did last spring.
12. Namida Tomaranai Hougaku Speaking of the new members singing really well, the 9kis are finally getting really good at singing, themselves! Riho and Mizuki sound amazing, while Zukki sounds good, and Erina is starting to catch up. The harmonies are also very clear and very good. I think this is the most I’ve ever enjoyed this song.
13. Genki Pika Pika The energy the new members bring to this song is just what I needed to sit through it. Because I really, really do not like this song. Seeing them sing this song as a group and do it really well with the wotas behind them 100% is just what I needed to be convinced that they’ll carry the group just fine.
14. Aki Urara I love this song, and I think that this song is perfect for her voice. Having Riho and Ayumi back her up was also a really smart decision since their voices complement hers so well on the parts where they need the back up singing. Their incorporation into the choreography is also very creative and it fits the song very well – it almost seems like Gaki is telling the story of her love to them.
15. Shanimuni Paradise is the typical genki sempai song. I really liked it at first, but then I started to hear how annoying it sounds with any voice other than Reina’s. Aika’s voice also sounds kinda decent with the song, but there’s really no perfect voice for the song. While the costumes look great, the song doesn’t fit them at all, and it’s awkward to see such a happy song with such intense costumes.
16. Good Bye Natsuo This song, despite not being a Morning Musume song, is perfect for this duo. I don’t know why, but no one can sing this song in a duet quite like they can! Sayumi sounds better than usual here, and Reina makes her voice match Sayu’s so nicely so that one girl doesn’t outshine the other. They really are the H!P dream duo to me right now.
17. Medley I love the old song love. I love all of these older album songs! The cover-ups they’re wearing are really ugly- like something straight out of an 80’s hair metal concert. HOW DO YOU LIKE THIS JAPAN just isn’t that fierce without Eri, Junjun, and Linlin. Risa keeps it pretty fierce, but those three made this song for me. I like TOP, but I like it with this new back track and the revamped choreography better. Every time they change the choreography for Ikkimasshoi, I hate it more. Yamate yo Sinbad is really good with this line-up. It really works well with the energy they have. I also need to give a big shoutout to how awesome Ayumi was throughout the medley. The transitions between songs were AMAZING. I just loved ’em!
18. Sono Bamen … Jan I think this song should’ve been released with this line-up. I really like the way the 10ki and 9ki voices sound in it. It’s just perfect for those two generations. The beginning of the dance break is really awesome, too.
19. Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai This song was really cute as usual. I LOVE the way that Sayu really almost acts out the lines with her vocal inflection. The choreography is also really cute, particularly in the duos and trios. It was nice how they used the PV backgrounds on the large screen, too. Towards the end of the song, it almost seemed like the crowd was infused with a new burst of energy, which I loved!
20. OK YEAH! OK YEAH is the pump up a crowd. The energy in this song at the end of such a long set was very impressive. I also really like how Sayu and Riho have really stepped up in this song and are sounding very good. Reina’s held notes are really clear this time around, also. It was fun how the lights in the background were flashing the member colors. I wish there was more movement around the stage, but I guess since this is a crowd-oriented song, it’s good to have them by the crowd for it.
21. Auiteru is the perfect ending song for any Morning Musume concert. I really like the intro they used for this concert. The singing at the beginning was a little pained, but it is the last song in the longest set. I thought it was really cute how they highlighted Risa, too! And I almost cried when I heard the crowd joining in. I think this is the moment in the concert that will have me bawling when Risa actually graduates.
22. Renai Hunter Renai Hunter is the new single, and is therefore performed in the encore, like Only You was last year. This song is so much more intense and the dance is so much less dorky on that stage in that lighting. Oh, and RIHO~~~~!!! I really didn’t think she could sing THAT well last spring, but man has she surprised me!
23. Namidacchi I love this song, but I feel like it is more the ending song for the Eri/Jun/Lin 8/9nin era, so I don’t really feel like it’s ever good anymore now that that line up isn’t singing it. I mean it isn’t bad, it just isn’t as good as it was – it doesn’t make me cry or feel anything any more when Linlin and Sayumi duo doesn’t start it out for some reason.
Also, for my feelings on Aika’s graduation – I knew it was coming since last fall, after they kept pushing back her return date pretty much every time there was a new event or performance. She was the first member I ever saw join Morning Musume, but other than that I was never a huge fan of her’s past Egao YES Nude. I have her trading card that came with Sexy 8 Beat, and that’s all the merchandise I’ve ever wanted from her. I wish her luck with her continuing endeavors in Hello!Project, and I hope that she’ll have a good carrer in the future.