Whoa. Hello Project! has been busy with these releases haven't they? In 2015, along with Country Girls, the agency has debuted another new unit, named Kobushi Factory. Unlike Country Girls however, this unit is debuting in the indies scene so we will have to make do with fan uploaded videos to review this release :)
Kobushi Factory (Magnolia Factory) is made up of 8 girls who are part of the Hello Project! Trainee program. All of the girls have trained extensively in singing, dancing and acting. Their years of experience shine through their live performances, where they deliver strong vocals and powerful dances, not unlike their seniors within the agency. Kobushi Factory has been largely praised for their high energy and spot on vocals. All of the members are pretty young, the youngest being 13 (Rei Inoue) and the oldest being 16 (Rio Fujii). I actually watched a video where the girls were told by the Hello Project! leader Maimi (from C-ute) that they would be forming a new group with the aim of obtaining their major debut. The girls who had been trainees for a while started crying. I felt so happy for them at that moment because you could tell how much they had wanted to debut and how happy they were with the news. Now, let's get to reviewing their first release!
The music video at the beginning of this post showcases Nen Ni Wa Nen, one of two songs which make up their debut single. Nen Ni Wa Nen is an extremely catchy song that is fun to listen to. A live performance of the song shows that the girls do deliver the song a bit differently live from the recorded vocals. But, unlike many idol groups which sound much worse live, Kobushi Factory sound better! If I could buy a live version of this song, I totally would since it's delivered in such a powerful manner. The electric guitar gives this song that added punch and really announces the group as a force to be reckoned with not only within Hello Project! but the entertainment scene at large. Due to being an indies release however, the girls didn't really get a proper music video and instead, live footage was used while the recorded vocals play. Watching the girls perform this song live made it super easy for me to choose my favorite so far and for now, it's definitely the leader, Ayaka Hirose. Her vocals are my favorite and she just stands out to me during performances. Needless to say, this song is a solid 5/5 stars.
The second song on this single is "Survivor" which is actually one of the main tracks that the girls sing in their stage play of the same title. "Survivor" starts out very calm and then launches fully into a rock-inspired pop song. Unfortunately, no music video exists for this song and the only manner in which I have been able to listen to it is through radio rips on Youtube. Although the quality is not the best, you still get a good feel for the song. I actually really like this. The chorus gets stuck in my head and the electric guitar once again delivers the extra punch to this song. I hate that the song just stops on the radio rip however, since I really want to hear the bridge which I expect will make the song even better. Nevertheless, what I have heard makes me excited to see how this group will continue to grow and I sincerely hope that they continue to sing songs that feature drums and the electric guitar heavily since they pull it off so well. Survivor takes a 4.5/5, going by what I can and have listened to.
Overall, I feel like Kobushi Factory delivered a much stronger debut single than Country Girls, although this is their indie and not their major debut. The group already has a distinct sound that sets them apart from the other groups signed under Hello Project! and they overflow with both talent and energy during live performances. They are definitely a group to look out for. Their debut single is a 4.8/5 for me.