I once made the rather bold statement that if you were to buy just one Hello!Project DVD in your life, the 2007 Winter Boxset or ~Single Daizenshuu!!~ were the ones to get. I also stated that the only DVD that could possible complete the trifecta was the 2008 Winter Boxset. In general it’s best to back up one’s words with the necessary actions. So I went out and bought it.
Is this an awesome box set? Of course it is. As usual with these box sets, you get two concerts (one Elder Club, one Wonderful Hearts) at the trusty Nakano Sun Plaza and one giant blowout featuring both groups at the epic Yokohama Arena.
Of course as I once mentioned before, a year makes a lot of difference in H!P land. There are many differences between the 2007 and 2008 box sets. We have the ever changing line-up of Morning Musume with Yoshizawa Hitomi graduating and moving on to Ongaku Gatas, Fujimoto Miki leaving the group after her pseudo-scandal and the welcoming of our two Chinese exchange students. Lots of girls that have debuted or gone on to other groups (S/mileage, Mano Erina, Up Up Girls, Kitahara Sayaka, etc.) were still part of H!P Eggs. Tsuji Nozomi by this time was moving to becoming a fulltime “mom-idol” and Hello Pro Kids hybrid group Buono! made one of their early appearances.
I’m not going to talk about every performance or song, doing that would take me hours, but I will mention some highlights. The various setlists are solid with Morning Musume performing my favorite single of theirs (Mikan), v-u-den bringing us the boob- and buttastic Jaja Uma Paradise and °C-ute and Berryz工房 delivering their seminal Tokaikko Junjou and Special Genera~tion.
Special mention goes to Maeda Yuki. I’ve never bought any of her music (although by the time this post is up I’ll have corrected that terrible oversight on my part) yet everytime she performs her one song at these concerts she blows me away. Another highlight is the performance of Robokiss by Sugaya Risako and Michishige Sayumi. I love it when Sayumi can act goofy. Rainbow Pink was one outlet for it and this performance is another. Yes, she’s supposed to be a sexy/cute character within H!P but she pulls of the goofy dances so well, I wish she would get more of them.
I also really enjoyed the rendition of Love Machine by the Hello Pro Eggs. The S/mileage girls shine here of course (particularly Ogawa Saki) but so does Mori Saki and especially Mano Erina. I once wondered why UFA promoted her for a year or two as the H!P golden girl and as I get more familiar with her work I’m realising how fortunate it was UFA realised her potential. Mano truly is an idol, not in the uber kawaii or extremely sexy way (exception to that is her most recent PB), but in an elegant, almost retro kind of fashion.
It must come to no surprise that I recommend this purchase. Between this, ~Single Daizenshuu!!~ and the 2007 Boxset, you’ve basically got all your H!P bases covered.