The Final Dispatch of hanarichu: Graduation Live Photo Report
Two years to the day that they were formed, on August 7th (Hana no Hi, “Flower Day” because in Japanese 8 can be read as “ha” and 7 can be read as “na”), all of the flowers of hanarichu were “dispatched”, bringing an end to the special flower gardening unit made up of iDOL Street members.
It was a sultry day in Tokyo as the “chloroplasts” (hanarichu term for fans), including “top otaku”, former member Momo Ogata packed themselves into Roppongi Morph Tokyo for hanarichu’s farewell performance.
Inside the basement live house, there was no relief from the midsummer weather as the atmosphere was comparable to a greenhouse. The “chloroplasts” crouched down as the video announcing the group’s final live played on a screen at the back of the stage.
This was followed by another video introducing the 4 members set to bass-heavy rock music accented by a thick organ melody and they appeared on stage, highlighted by the respective colors of their flowers: Hazuki Sakamoto (sunflower), Yui Mitani (gerbera), Ririka Kodama (lily), and Honoka Yoshimoto (rose). The “chloroplasts” held up a large banner in the front of the stage to thank hanarichu for their 2 years, who greeted them as warmly as an afternoon sunbeam.
Moving to the back of the stage, they gave spoken intros before turning around and striking poses like magical girls. Several “chloroplasts” raised up large flower bouquets and the live began with the galloping, upbeat “Hana☆Doki Doki Hare”, which incorporated the “Choo Choo Train” move (made famous in Japan by ZOO/EXILE) and some chorus line high kicks.
Next up was the iDOL Street classic “☆Koi Shite YES! ~Kore ga Watashi no Idol-do~” which allowed the members of hanarichu to introduce themselves as the “chloroplasts” danced along and called out loudly.
Ririka Kodama struggled to speak clearly but explained that even on their last day as a group, there was a new song that they would be performing. Continuing on with the practice of having flower-themed songs, “Ai no Uta~The Rose~”, would be as the title suggested, rose-themed.
Red cyalumes filled the room with a warm glow as hanarichu performed the midtempo rock song, pointing out into the audience and strumming their air guitars.
The tempo picked up and hanarichu swayed and rocked to a cover of SUPER☆GiRLS’ “Tokimeki Iro no Kaze to Kimi”, whipping the “chloroplasts” into a frenzy like leaves caught in a spring zephyr. hanarichu got hands clapping and fists pumping to “Don’t Stop” although it seems that jumping was prohibited or impossible to do in the cramped confines of Roppongi Morph Tokyo despite their urging for the “chloroplasts” to do so.
The live took a retro turn with the doo-wop sounds of “Colorful High Touch” as hanarichu reached out to high five the “chloroplasts” in between the light and airy “ebizori” dance and Hazuki Sakamoto playing the song’s harmonica solo. Honoka Yoshimoto asked for feedback on the new song before transitioning into “Ano Hana”, the song that was left to them by Momo Ogata.
The members looked at each other as they sang their solo lines and combined to form 4-part harmonies to the slow hip-hop beat. Emotions seemed to take over the members during the final song of the set. Hazuki struggled to smile as she wiped tears mixed with sweat from her eyes, Yui Mitani’s voice shook as she sang, and Honoka Yoshimoto’s “sayonara” stuck like a thorn.
Another video played, tracing the 2-year journey of hanarichu, from the selection of the original 5 members, including interviews, dance practices and various events they participated in. Set to the famous graduation song “Tabidachi no hi ni”, it was a moving look back at the 4 seeds that had been cared for and tended to as they prepared to be sent out into the world on their different paths. An awkward silence hung in the air for a few seconds after the screen went black before a female voice called out for the “chloroplasts” to start the encore call. hanarichu returned to the stage and commented that they thought that they had heard Momo Ogata’s voice (even though they were standing right in front of her) and how they didn’t want the live to end.
The encore began with the Street-sei standard “Kirakira☆Holiday”, the “chloroplasts” almost drowning out the music with their passionate calls and chants cheering on hanarichu. They even sung the ending riff as they danced along. Hazuki Sakamoto announced the “last, last new song” of the evening, “Sakura Sakura”. Yui Mitani suddenly laughed nervously, causing some in the audience to mimic her.
Artificial cherry blossom petals fluttered down from the balcony and the members of hanarichu looked off into the distance as the final notes faded away forever.
The final song that hanarichu performed was “Saita! Hanarichu”, which signaled the almost instantaneous snapping of green cyalumes all over the room, bathing it in a cool green light as the “chloroplasts” chanted “Ha-Na” (flower) during the intro. Hazuki was unable to stop the tears from rolling down her face as the last song of hanarichu ended. She asked the audience to use #hanarichu to post their feelings and reactions to the performance on Twitter. The members were then presented with artwork which incorporated their names and flowers. Taking their final bow and leaving the stage, the flowers of hanarichu were safely “dispatched” after 2 years of nurturing and care by staff members and “chloroplasts”. Of course, there was a tokutenkai for final farewells to be exchanged.
Here are some additional photos from the live courtesy of Tokyo Girls’ Update’s Kenji Harada, who also shot the photo at the top of the article.
Here are some additional pictures sent by the producer of hanarichu, Kazuki Matsuda. Thank you for your hard work!
Ririka Kodama and Hazuki Sakamoto will continue their activities in iDOL Street’s 4th group The World Standard (Wasuta) and Honoka Yoshimoto is currently listed as a performer on the Girls Street 2020 site. It was announced on September 1, 2015 that Yui Mitani would be ending her activities with Osaka Lapilars at the end of the month to concentrate on individual activities.
August 7, 2013 – August 7, 2015
01 Hana☆Doki Doki Hare
02 ☆Koi Shite YES! ~Kore ga Watashi no Idol-do~
03 Ai no Uta~The Rose~
04 Tokimeki Iro no Kaze to Kimi
05 Don’t Stop
06 Colorful High Touch
07 Ano Hana
08 Sakura Iro
E2 Sakura Sakura
E3 Saita! Hanarichu
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