May '98 marked the first appearance of Momusu/H!P on the cover of an issue of UTB (every H!P cover appearance is above) and over the next few years H!P would continue to dominate with numerous cover appearances which towards 2005 & 2006 would find their peak as H!P artists would appear exclusively as covergirls over that two year period leaving perhaps much of the rest of the idol world a bit shunned. While all streaks must inevitably meet their end at some point that run of consecutive cover appearances remains as one of the most rare feats for any artist(s) in terms of dominating a single publication where the magazine is no way exclusive to said artist.
After this impressive streak though came a long drought in which H!P while still appearing prominently in UTB (as Wani Books is the parent publisher of most H!P shashinshuu releases) didn't appear on another single cover dating back to the December 2006 issue which featured Aichan as their cover girl……in hindsight I imagine that no regular subscriber could have imagined that that particular issue would be H!P's last cover appearance for more than two years.
The April 2009 issue features one of the most beautiful H!P/UTB covers over their long history as Manoeri ends the over two year drought in dazzling fashion~! And while UTB seemingly continues their current restructuring of their presentation which has seen more facelifts than Joan Rivers (Gomen! XD) this issue in particular is showing definite signs of looking more like UTB's past in general as much of the format is quite reminiscent here. ^ ^
Manoeri doesn't only grace the front cover as she also is given back cover honors, here promoting her upcoming major debut release single…..shashinshuu scans can be found here…….and release information here.
UTB also returns to including trading cards with their issues with the first three sets of five being randomly included…..my issue included set 3 including Maimichan's debut trading card in UTB. As the trading cards are once again being numbered I imagine that this sequential offering will continue in the next issues to come which is a nice return to the extras which UTB was so popular for offering in the past. =)
The trading cards had quite a run as they numbered enough to fill nearly an entire binder on their own! Bomb! magazine would also follow suit shortly after UTB debuted their trading cards as theirs offered randomly inserted cards which like UTB were two sided with photos but also included occasional card sets which would be smaller pieces to a larger picture when all cards were layed side by side in order on their reverse side. UTB Vol. 190 includes an impressive amount of H!P coverage and the gravure idol pictorials have also increased in page count which is also representative of their past…all of which gives this issue a retro feeling and quite a welcome one at that! Now if only we can get that DVD magazine back! ^ ^
The following pictorials that I've scanned include: Manoeri supporting her debut shashinshuu & major music release debut with off shots from her pb as well as an event memorial shot, Suzuki Airi pictorial, Manoeri major debut special which includes a "growing up" documentary & an "A to Z" personal look at all which is manoeri……watch for her so so so adorable baby pictures too!!! ^o^, a flower dance (Hula) lesson with Tokunaga Chinami where hula's beautiful language is revealed with specific dance points which translate into this dance form's unique way of expression, Hagiwara Mai & Okai Chisato show their photography skills where only two will be named "best shot!", Takahashi Ai's pictorial poses the question of whether her image here can pass her as being 17 years old?…as she portrays her character in ther drama "Q.E.D." (currently watching! ^ ^ ), and lastly Yajima Maimi returns with her third installment of picturesque beauty! She is so beautiful!! ^ ^
But first, Mr.Children's song "Kurumi" has had me wondering for years now if perhaps a girl could be named "Kurumi" somewhere in Japan as Sakurai is addressing a woman named Kurumi in the song's lyrics…….alas Shimizu Kurumi ends all questions! "くるみ" means "walnut"….so I've just always wondered………I think it's a cute name~!
Below is the mp3 for "Kurumi"…..please enjoy listening along with the scans. ^ ^