The Hoopers’ 9th single, “Jewel no Kodou ga Kikoeru ka?” (“Can You Hear the Jewel’s Heartbeat?”) was released on June 27th, 2018. This single features i☆Ris’ Azuki Shibuya as a limited time member.

Since their debut in 2014, the short-haired members of the “boyish girls group” The Hoopers have been gaining tremendous support from female fans all over the world. Looking like princes straight out of a comic book, the handsome girls have crafted a concept out of whisking fans away from their everyday lives for a visit to The Hoopers’ Fantasia.

However, February of 2018 saw the graduation of the group’s supportive leader Makoto. Soon after, member Haruki paused her activities due to poor physical condition.

The remaining 6 members continued their activities, all the while worrying about what they could do to ensure that all 7 members’ dreams would still be achieved. After countless heart-to-hearts among members, they decided it was necessary to strengthen the group as a whole, while leaving a special place for Haruki to return to once she recovered.

It was decided that they would call on Azuki Shibuya, who had supported the group since its debut and become close with members both as colleagues and friends, to lend her strength and temporarily join the group for the duration of the new single.

How did The Hoopers change when joined by a member of another group? What kind of group is The Hoopers to Azuki? We had a listen to these conversations and many more about the new single!

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― Congratulations on the release of your 9th single, “Jewel no Kodou ga Kikoeru ka?”

With i☆Ris’ Azuki Shibuya joining as a temporary member, I imagine this release has been particularly noteworthy.

In February, Makoto graduated and Haruki paused activities due to poor health. It sounds like the 6 of you were quite troubled by the situation and talked it over a lot. You decided that you needed to help the group grow and make it easy for Haruki to return when she was able, so you asked Azuki for her help, is that right? Could you let us know more about that situation?

Sena: We had just gotten ready to continue doing our best with 7 members after Makoto’s graduation in February, when all of a sudden our companion from day one (Haruki) became unable to perform with us. Just as we were about to take a new step, we stumbled. We all strongly felt that we needed to do our best, but at that point we had no idea what we were supposed to do. After talking it all out, we decided that if Zucchan (Azuki), who has supported us since before our debut and also gotten close with us personally, could lend us some of her strength, we’d be really happy. So we decided to ask her.

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Sena

― How did that conversation come about?

Mirai: We had all been thinking together about how to make 7-member versions of the songs and dance formations that had always been divided into 8 parts, and then the number changed from 7 to 6. At that time we had a lot of chances to all meet together, so we always ended up talking about it.

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Mirai

Cecil: How should we continue as 6 members, what can we do from now on to make The Hoopers even better… those kind of conversations.

― The video of Azuki being offered the limited time position is up on YouTube. Azuki seemed pretty astonished, but also accepted the offer immediately. What kind of reaction did i☆Ris members and fans have?

Azuki: i☆Ris members told me to do my best and have been supporting me. Opinions from i☆Ris fans and The Hoopers fans weren’t entirely good. i☆Ris fans didn’t want me to end up neglecting i☆Ris, and a lot of people just weren’t sure how to accept the situation. There was a lot of pressure in the beginning, but because I really love The Hoopers, and because this is such a rare opportunity, now I’m enjoying myself! After I was invited as a guest onto Mirai’s radio show, I checked the program’s hashtag on Twitter and saw comments like “Mirai and Zucchan’s conversation was really interesting,” which made me very happy. I want to increase the number of people who accept me little by little and do my best so that by the end people will think, “I’m glad Zucchan was there.”

Contributor Wanted!!

― Some fans didn’t know what to make of it, huh?

Azuki: I think The Hoopers fans would have felt confused about it no matter who joined. i☆Ris fans were probably worried because The Hoopers has such a different atmosphere than i☆Ris, so they were unsure of what would happen. I don’t want i☆Ris fans to feel like I’ve gone far away, and I don’t want The Hoopers fans to feel like some stranger has joined the group, so I want to give more than 100% power on both sides. Both groups are precious to me, so I definitely won’t neglect either! That’s a promise!

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Azuki

― Now that you’ve tried performing with The Hoopers, how does it feel?

Azuki: As soon as I was offered the position, I felt like a member of The Hoopers.

Everyone: We’re glad to hear that!!

Azuki: Even when I look at the jacket photos for this single, nothing feels out of place. Maybe it’s weird for me to be saying this, but I blend in so much it looks like I could’ve been there from the beginning. I’ve even had my own fans tell me, “I can’t tell which one is you.” I think because I’m someone who loves The Hoopers so much and knows them so well, I’m able to express their image easily. Anyway, I’m having fun. I’m really happy.

Mirai: The first time all 7 of us worked together was the shooting for the jacket cover, but there wasn’t the slightest weird feeling about it.

Cecil: It felt as if we’d always been together and worked together. It was really amazing! Her ability to integrate. It’s Zucchan’s personality. She was proactive about talking to every member, and she ended up supporting us. I’m really thankful. She’s got a lot to offer.

― What a great relationship!
Your new song, “Jewel no Kodou ga Kikoeru ka?” is a super positive, energetic number about renewing the hopes of people who’ve been worn down by reality. The coupling song, “Clear Sky,” as this title would suggest, is as refreshing as a blue sky. The bonus track, “Eien no Prisoner” (“Eternal Prisoner”) has a ska-type melody that seems like it would be really cool if performed with a live band.

Contributor Wanted!!

Contributor Wanted!!

Vocal leader Mirai, rap leader Tsubasa, dance leader Lee, please tell us more about these songs.

Mirai: In “Jewel no Kodou ga Kikoeru ka?” we wanted to deliver courage to those who listen to it, but it’s also been making us feel more and more courageous as we sing it. It’s coming right at a time that we as a group have reached our limits, so we’ve been trying to convey our feelings through it.

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Mirai

― It seems like a song that you’d get more and more emotional about the more you perform it.

Mirai: Exactly. It’d be nice if several years from now, we can look back and think “Oh yeah, that happened too, huh” when we sing it.

― The song is like an important turning point for The Hoopers, it seems. Next, Tsubasa, can you tell us something interesting about the new songs?

Tsubasa: “Jewel no Kidou ga Kikoeru ka?” is, like Mirai was saying, a song that’s really relevant to us right now, and a song you can get a lot of energy from.

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Tsubasa

“Clear Sky” is a song that can clear and purify your heart. This song also has a lot of lyrics that are relevant to us, like about The Hoopers changing in form as time passes but continuing to mature. I’d be glad if fans would also think, “Even though a lot has happened, The Hoopers are really growing, huh.”

― Lee, what do you think?

Lee: Until now, The Hoopers have had a lot of sexy, mature songs or songs about love, but “Jewel no Kodou ga Kikoeru ka?” and “Clear Sky” are both fun, exciting songs.

“Jewel no Kodou ga Kikoeru ka?” has a lot in common with us right now and is a song to make you feel brave, though “Clear Sky” is a little bit bittersweet.

Like Tsubasa was saying, we’re really looking forward to what fans think after listening to the songs and watching our performances.

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Lee

― Your costumes, hairstyles and makeup all follow a pirate motif for this single, but how do you feel about this style? Cosplay leader Cecil, what are your thoughts?

Cecil: I love cosplay, so I’m glad we get to wear pirate costumes. I’ve always admired pirates, so I’m really happy I got to become one with The Hoopers and Zucchan. The costumes have so many little details and unique points that help build this world that only The Hoopers can express. The costumes we got are even more fantastic than I’d imagined, I was really impressed with our costume designer. Everyone’s designs are different, so we definitely want you to notice those details.

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Cecil

― Does everyone have a particular pirate image you’re trying to emulate?

Cecil: Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series.

Mirai: Jack Sparrow for me too. I rewatched the whole Pirates of the Caribbean series.

Sena: I’ve always loved Detective Conan: Jolly Roger in the Deep Azure, female pirates are a theme in it, so it was an easy image to assume.

Lee: I didn’t have a particular character in mind, but when I heard the theme was pirates, I just thought of someone with a ton of jewels.

Everyone: [laughs]

Lee: Someone with a huge beard and wearing a bunch of colorful rings was my image. In reality, my costume ended up being really colorful, so I was glad it matched what I had in mind. [laughs]

Tsubasa: I also wasn’t thinking about a particular character, but I was imagining the atmosphere of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies as well as the attraction at Disneyland. When I wear the pirate costume, I feel like I’ve become invincible and different from how I’ve felt in any outfit up until now.

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Left to right: Sena, Tsubasa, Lee

Noa: When I heard the motif was pirates, I imagined some overworked underling clad in tattered fabric. So I wondered if we’d have mud and stuff painted on our faces, but we ended up a pretty clean costume.

Everyone: [roar of laughter]

Noa: My image of pirates didn’t have fringe or lace so I was surprised, but I like this vibe a lot so I’m really happy with it.

Azuki: For me, it was Monster Hunter: World. In the game, the area where hunters gather is on a ship where they can have a toast, arm wrestle, and be rowdy together. That image was really strong for me, when I hear “pirates” I definitely think of Monster Hunter: World’s gathering hub.

― What would you like to try doing if you really became a pirate?

Cecil: I would love to try operating a big ship’s wheel.

Noa: I’d like to sail on a ship with everyone.

Mirai: I want to drink a ton of alcohol.

Sena: I want to drink from a giant barrel, like in One Piece.

Everyone: Oh, nice!

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Left to right: Noa, Mirai, Sena

― SNS leader Noa, is there somewhere you’d like to go to capture the pirate image on social networking sites?

Noa: I’d like to go to the Ihwa Mural Village in South Korea. It’s like an outdoor art museum with murals painted all over the walls, but I’d love to go with everyone in our pirate costumes and take pictures.

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Noa

― The CD’s regular edition features the Kyun Kyun Drama track. Listening to everyone’s voices through headphones makes your presence feel so real, it really sounds like we’re on a camping trip with you all. How did you get the hang of voice-only performance, and are there any differences between that and singing? Let’s ask drama leader, Sena.

Sena: It feels presumptuous to talk about this next to a professional (Azuki also does work as a voice actress), but we try not to make it sound too much like a play being acted out. When I sing, I consciously try to make my voice deeper, but when I’m acting, I take care so that it doesn’t sound too manufactured.

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Sena

― Finally, please give us a message for overseas fans.

Sena: I want to keep spreading Japan’s unique the handsome girls danso (girls dressed as boys) culture all over the world. For that reason, I want to try visiting lots of different countries. Please keep supporting us! Arigatou! Thank you! Merci! Xièxiè!


Concert Information

TOUR FANTASIA 2018 -Yume no Tobira-

July 14, 2018 (Saturday)
Open – 12:30pm Start – 1:00pm
Open – 4:00pm Start – 4:30pm
Shimokitazawa GARDEN (Tokyo)
4,000yen w/o drink

July 16, 2018 (Monday)
Open – 12:30pm Start – 1:00pm
Open – 4:00pm Start – 4:30pm
RADHALL (Aichi)
4,000yen w/o drink

July 22, 2018 Sunday)
Open – 12:30pm Start – 1:00pm
Open – 4:00pm Start – 4:30pm
Umeda Banana Hall (Osaka)
4,000yen w/o drink


Buy Item

Jewel no Kodo ga Kikoeruka? / The Hoopers
Jewel no Kodo ga Kikoeruka? / The Hoopers
Jewel no Kodo ga Kikoeruka? / The Hoopers

Related Links

The Hoopers Official site: http://thehoopers.jp/
The Hoopers Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/the__hoopers
The Hoopers Official Blog: https://ameblo.jp/the-hoopers/

Interviewed by TAKYU
Translated by Rhythm
Photos by Junko Azeyagi

Author
TokyoGirls'Update
TokyoGirls'Update

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