Arigatō Otomomochi! The Legend of Momoko Tsugunaga Comes to an End!
Momoko Tsugunaga celebrated her final day as an idol with Tsugunaga Momoko Last Live♥Arigatō♥Otomomochi, a sparkling performance in front of 8,000 fans on June 30, 2017. It was the end of a legendary career that had begun 15 years prior when she was announced as one of the 15 Hello! Project Kids in 2002.
The outdoor stage was surrounded by a sea of bright pink, with Hello! Project members past and present as well as fans of all ages and backgrounds eagerly waiting to witness the last performance of “Momochi” as the sun began to set and festival music played over the sound system. Similar to the final concert of ℃-ute on June 12th, the groups of Hello! Project took the stage as the opening acts: ANGERME (“Tsugi Tsugi Zoku Zoku”), Tsubaki Factory (“Hatsukoi Sunrise”), Kobushi Factory (“Sha-La-La! Yaruhazu-sa”), Juice=Juice (“Wonderful World”), and Morning Musume.’17 (“Aozora ga Itsumademo Tsuzuku You na Mirai de Are!”).
Momoko appeared from inside of a giant inflatable peach at the top of the stage, accompanied by the members of Country Girls dressed as characters from the Japanese folk tale Momotaro. The crowd cheered as she made her way down the walkway while singing “Koi wa Hipparidako”, the first song she had ever sang solo back during Berryz Kōbō’s first Saitama Super Arena concert.
The sea of pink lights kept shining as Momoko continued with “Moshimo…”, racing along the walkway and up to the top of the main stage. Welcoming the thousands in attendance and millions watching all over the world to the concert, Momoko kept the evening rolling along with a series of solo peroformances of Berryz Kōbō songs. Strolling along the edges of the stage as thousands of voices called out to her, Momoko turned up the heat with “Ai no Suki Suki Shisū Jōshōchū” and “Maji Good Chance Summer”.
Strumming her air guitar, Momoko rocked and twirled through “Yo no Naka Barairo” and “Rival” under the fading light of the slowly setting sun, leading the crowd in a singalong. A short video showing some scenes from Momoko’s early history as an entertainer played on the screen, the audience laughing at her antics.
Returning in a pink kimono-style outfit, Momoko rode a cart through the aisles while performing a “Momochi Idol 15th Anniversary Medley”, a 16-song retrospective of her idol career, highlighted by “Hatsukoi Cider”, “Icchōme Rock”, and “Maji Bomber!!” when she reached the stage at the middle of the venue, the fans singing along with her loudly and jumping. Leading the audience in a series of “P・A・T・I” call and responses to “Bravo☆Bravo”, she resumed her journey down memory lane with “Dschinghis Khan”, “Honto no Jibun”, and “Suhada Pichi Pichi”.
Turning the clock all the way back to her starting point, Momoko finished up the medley with Anata “Nashide wa Ikite Yukenai”, Berryz Kōbō’s debut single, ZYX’s “Shiroi Tokyo” and Tanpopo’s “Koi wo Shichaimashita”, the song she sang in her audition for Hello! Project. After a quick costume change into a sparkly white dress, Momoko poured on the emotion with heartbreaking performances of “VERY BEAUTY” and “I NEED YOU” accompanied only by a piano as the last traces of daylight faded from the sky. A remake video of “Gag 100-kaibun Aishite Kudasai” starring Momoko and featuring Nanami Yanagawa and Musubu Funaki in animal costumes kept the audience entertained as the concert neared its final act.
Momoko and Country Girls took the the stage for the last time, starting off with “Momochi! Yurushite-nyan♡Taisō”. Her trademark twintails swayed slightly as she sang “Momochi Zutto Otomomochi”, surrounded by the soft glow of thousands of pink penlights. The performance shifted into high gear, the entire venue swept up in the infectious “cha cha SING”. The members of Country Girls shared their memories of “Momochi-senpai”, leading to her rushing offstage in an exaggerated emotional outburst. The remaining members then performed “Ashita Kara wa Omokage”, their tribute song to their outgoing “playing manager”. Momoko reappeared just as Country Girls were beginning “Itōshikute Gomen ne”, rising out of the stage right in front of Nanami and bumping Mai Ozeki out of the way. Racing through “Uwaki na Honey Pie”, “Kakumeichikku KISS”, and “Rhythm ga Yonderuzo!”, the members of Country Girls left Momoko behind to close out the main performance with “Bye Bye Mata ne”.
The “Momochi” encore calls began immediately as the pink penlights waved steadily in the darkness. Momoko returned in a sparkling pink dress, remarking that it was exactly 15 years since she first became an idol and thanking Tsunku♂ for giving her the opportunity. She continued by sharing her gratitude to the members of Berryz Kōbō and Buono!. The members of Country Girls fought through tears as they gave their parting messages to Momoko in the song “Idol Sotsugyō Chūi Jikō” along with Makoto. Streamers rained down on the audience as the encore continued with “VIVA! Barairo no Jinsei”. After several more minutes of “Momochi” calls, Momoko reappeared on the stage in the middle of the seats, concentrating 15 years of thanks into the last song of the night “Arigatō! Otomodachi.”, changing “tomodachi” to “tomomochi” as she sang. Taking her final bows and thanking the audience, Momoko climbed to the top of the stage, smiling and holding up her pinky finger as she disappeared, ending her 5,479 days of being an idol.
With the graduation of Momoko Tsugunaga and her retirement from the entertainment business in order to pursue her dream of working in early education, the era of Hello! Project Kids has come to an end. While Airi Suzuki has plans to continue as a solo singer and Miyabi Natsuyaki is active with PINK CRES., the idols that played a big part in defining a generation for Hello! Project are now gone. There will never be another idol like Momoko Tsugunaga. Thank you and farewell.
01 Koi wa Hipparidako (Berryz Kōbō)
02 Moshimo… (Hello! Project Mobekimasu)
03 Ai no Suki Suki Shisū Jōshōchū (Berryz Kōbō)
04 Maji Good Chance Summer (Berryz Kōbō)
05 Yo no Naka Barairo (Berryz Kōbō)
06 Rival (Berryz Kōbō)
07 Momochi Idol 15th Anniversary Medley
– Peanut Butter Jelly Love (Country Girls)
– So La Si Do ~Nee Nee~ (Buono!)
– Koi Dorobo (Country Girls)
– Otona na no yo! (Berryz Kōbō)
– Asian Celebration (Berryz Kōbō)
– Hatsukoi Cider (Buono!)
– Icchōme Rock (Berryz Kōbō)
– Maji Bomber!! (Berryz Kōbō)
– Bravo☆Bravo (Buono!)
– Dschinghis Khan (Berryz Kōbō)
– Honto no Jibun (Buono!)
– Suhada Pichi Pichi (Berryz Kōbō)
– Special Generation (Berryz Kōbō)
– Anata Nashide wa Ikite Yukenai (Berryz Kōbō)
– Shiroi Tokyo (ZYX)
– Koi wo Shichaimashita! (Tanpopo)
08 VERY BEAUTY (Berryz Kōbō)
09 I NEED YOU (Buono!)
10 Momochi! Yurushite-nyan♡Taisō
11 Momochi Zutto Otomomochi (Country Girls)
12 cha cha SING (Berryz Kōbō)
13 Ashita Kara wa Omokage (Country Girls)
14 Itōshikute Gomen ne (Country Girls)
15 Uwaki na Honey Pie ’15 (Country Girls)
16 Kakumeichikku KISS (Country Musume.)
17 Rhythm ga Yonderuzo! (Country Girls)
18 Bye Bye Mata ne (Berryz Kōbō)
E1 Idol Sotsugyō Chūi Jikō
E2 VIVA! Barairo no Jinsei (Country Girls)
W1 Arigatō! Otomodachi. (Country Girls)
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