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twilightmobius in morningkuri

Behind the Fruit: Coconuts Edition

I obviously am a huge supporter of my own Fruity World Domination idea. Still, I feel it's only necessary for us to take a look back at all the deliciously named groups of Hello! Project (okay, there's only 3 so far, but...), and take a gander at what some of the future fruits may be.

So, we'll start off today with my first, and one of my favorites, the ever unpopular Coconuts Musume. Whatever happened to this group? How did it degenerate into a one-person lonely group that is made up only of the beautiful Ayaka? And why did they ever choose Lehua?

Coconuts Musume was founded in 1999. On a trip to Hawaii, Tsunku's close friend and bandmate Makoto discovered a five-girl group, and offered them the chance of a lifetime: Come to Japan, and we shall make you into STARS. Sure, they had to learn a little Japanese, but, hey. They were going to be IDOLS. Every girl wants to be famous and wanted by men, right? That's just what idols get! It was too good to be true.

And so, Tsunku took under his wing Ayaka, Mika, Danielle, Chelsea, and April. And they got a recording contract, and set about doing their first single, reported to be "Summer Night Town (English Version)."

Curiously, the single ended up becoming "Summer Halation" with a b-side of "Summer Night Town (English Version)." I'm not sure if this is because the "Summer Night Town" had pretty bad lyrics (Try to make you wonder how I’m feeling/But you can see right through me somehow, that I know/Do you know how long it’ll take for you to love me?/Come on, I really feel for you), or whether it was because Tsunku thought he had struck gold with "Summer Halation," but the first single was..... a bomb. Literally, it pretty much sucked.

Don't get me wrong--I actually really like the song, but paired with the PV (April is really not that attractive, and nothing will change that) and the fact that they couldn't really do any shows because, oh yeah, 3 of the 5 members didn't know that much Japanese... It just wasn't enough. Still, Tsunku had them release another single (Dance & Chance) that also pretty much sucked.

See, the thing was... While Morning Musume was churning out kickass stuff like LOVE Machine (LOVE Machine was released 2 months after Summer Halation!)... Coconuts Musume was giving us really, really bad music by comparison.

Suddenly, there was a breakthrough of sorts for the Coconuts. Two of the members, April and Chelsea, just couldn't take living in Japan without speaking the language anymore. They both moved back to Hawaii (Chelsea, interestingly, became a model and went to college. Not exactly sure what happened to April). Danielle stayed--which is actually a very good thing. Because even though her Japanese was minimal, Danielle was a GREAT singer, and she had an idol-personality to boot. Even without understanding the language, you could tell she was having a blast, all the time. I mean... one of my favorite PARTS of "Summer Halation" is her "doushiyou ka na?" It sounds a little American, but it's really natural and bubbly~! It makes you go "YAY DANIELLE!" Or, it did for me.

So, together, the trio of Ayaka, Mika, and Danielle had a chance--because at least Ayaka and Mika could be all Japanesey and Danielle could stand around and go "YAY COCONUTS!" But... Then Tsunku blew it, all over again.

He added Lehua into Coconuts Musume. Reportedly, it was because she surprised the judges at her audition by singing "DANCE AND CHANCE" in Japanese; however, I still believe that she didn't do much for the group. She wasn't as strong of a singer as Ayaka, Mika, and, well, not many people are as good as Danielle. That's not to say she wasn't great, and she was certainly above, say, Sayumi. But still. She ranks among the not-so-good singers of H!P.

So, anyway, now we have a foursome of Ayaka, Mika, Danielle, and Lehua. They'd go on to release 2 singles in this line-up, one of them being one of the BEST songs of Coconuts Musume-ness: Watashi mo "I LOVE YOU." Seriously, this is one of their best songs, period. Of course, to counter that, before Watashi mo, they released "Tokonatsu Musume." I'm sorry, but the song reminds me of Sesame Street. It's like, without fail. As soon as it begins, all I think is "Can you tell me how to get there, how to get to Sesame Street~♫" Which is really sad.

After the Summer Shuffles of 2000, Danielle sadly left. She still at least gave us the pwnsome "Akai Nikkichou" (her "ga" in the phrase "ai ga" gives me chills). Coconuts Musume was left as Ayaka/Mika/Lehua.

They released one last single together: Jounetsuyuki Miraisen. Many people believe this to be their best single. I must admit, I like everyone in this. I even like the PV, which is a change, since Coconuts really had the worst PVs of all the groups. Seriously, C-ute got better ones when they were only releasing indie singles. Coconuts were releasing actual singles, and a good PV probably would've helped them, just a little. But Jounetsuyuki's is actually pretty good. I love all the hearts and stars. I also love Ayaka's "kiss me" at the beginning, even if the line starts as "I can't hold this passionate feeling I have for your lips." Come on, Ayaka, that doesn't make much sense. Have a passionate feeling for said guy's other parts. Not his lips. Lips are boring.

Anyway, the outfits are cool too--army girl chic! Mika has a beret! And Lehua had that awesome army-type hat thingy! It's AWESOME beyond all belief! It makes one wonder: why the hell didn't Coconuts get this before their last single?!

After that, there were more summer shuffles, and then Lehua left. It was sad, but... Yeah. Coconuts Musume became Ayaka/Mika. Mika also had Minimoni, and Ayaka later had Pucchimoni (even though that doesn't really count, considering they only did 2 songs, and neither was a single). They also did the summer shuffles--in 2002, Ayaka was in Sexy8, the winner of that year; while Mika was in Happy7. In 2003, Ayaka was in 11WATER, and Mika was part of the "cool" group in 7AIR.

Then Mika left in 2002. Her final performance was with MINIMONI, of which she was now the leader of. Coconuts Musume was now only Ayaka.

And so, from 2002 to 2007, the Coconuts have only been... the one Coconut who can't leave, because she loves her best friend Satoda Mai: Kimura Ayaka. She just wrapped up a play, but she'll be back with another next month.

And what of the other Coconuts? Well, April is somewhere in Hawaii. Chelsea is a model, still. Danielle acts and sings still, and also has a myspace. Lehua is married to a professional surfer, and has a daughter. And Mika? Well, she released a CD in 2005 for a company OTHER than zetima/UFA, but now she's back in the States, doing a voiceover for an as-of-yet unaired cartoon.

My hopes for the future? Well, I certainly hope that Coconuts Musume sees a revival, but since I seriously doubt that... I hope that Ayaka at least gets to do some SINGING work within Hello! Project. Perhaps a group with Yoshizawa Hitomi, Satoda Mai, and Ayaka? Ah, but that's just one of my dreams, and Tsunku doesn't usually take my dreams into consideration, does he?

Next time, I shall examine one of my favorite H!P groups, and the one that's causing SUCH a stir around the interweb: MELON KINENBI.