Also known as
Minimoni, Mini Moni, Shin Minimoni (新ミニモニ。)
Minimoni. (ミニモニ。) was a subgroup of Japanese pop girl group Morning Musume under the Hello! Project label. They were one of Morning Musume's most popular subgroups for their entire existence due to a combination of their outrageous music videos and live performances, their vocal harmonies, and their widely varied musical styles.
First Generation (2000-2003) Edit
- Yaguchi Mari (矢口真里; Graduated from the group in 2002) (L)
- Mika Todd (ミカ・タレッサ・トッド) (L)
- Tsuji Nozomi (辻希美)
- Kago Ai (加護亜依)
Second Generation (2003-2004) Edit
- Takahashi Ai (高橋愛)
Third Generation (Shin Minimoni) (2009-2011) Edit
- Linlin (リンリン; Graduated from Hello! Project in 2010) (L)
- Fukuda Kanon (福田花音) (L)
- Takeuchi Akari (竹内朱莉)
- Miyamoto Karin (宮本佳林)
The group was founded in late 2000 by Morning Musume member Yaguchi Mari, who had an idea for a subgroup whose members were 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) in height or shorter. Yaguchi, and Morning Musume's songwriter and producer Tsunku, selected two of Morning Musume's newest members, Kago Ai and Tsuji Nozomi, for the new subgroup and the trio began performing in concerts as Minimoni. American-born Mika Todd of Coconuts Musume was later added into the group to give the group "an international flavour" and Tsunku made them official. Their debut single, Jankenpyon!/ Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu Daisukki! , was a #1 hit.
While Minimoni was initially directed towards younger listeners (in spite of the fact two of the members, Yaguchi and Todd, were in their late teens), they also had an older fan base consisting of older Morning Musume fans (especially of Yaguchi, Kago and Tsuji) and the parents of the younger Minimoni fans.
The quartet released several singles in 2001 and 2002, and most of these tracks were compiled into their first album "Minimoni Song Daihyakka 1 Kan". The album's musical styles spanned wildly from track to track, defiantly incorporating such diverse styles as blues, electronica, march music, jazz, reggae, and horn-driven 60's soul music.
The group's almost anarchic presentation would also carry into some of the group's television appearances, many of which are circulated on-line, especially amongst the band's non-Japanese cult audience; these antics have included: Kago playfully saying "big doo-doo" (in English) in response to a Japanese TV interviewer's question (a bleeped version of the clip has been misidentified as "Kago says f*** you"); band members collectively grabbing the buttocks of a female assistant backstage at a concert (dubbed by some Western fans as the "Minimoni Ass Grab", in parody of the song title "Minimoni Bus Guide"); and an Utaban appearance where Kago slugged Yaguchi in the crotch while Yaguchi was in the middle of a sentence (which was actually a Morning Musume appearance for the song "Souda! We're Alive").
Simultaneously with their single releases, the band became the subject of a series of short cartoons of their own, Yarunoda Pyon!, in which they supplied their own voices. They also contributed their voices to the Hamtaro cartoon series, in which hamster versions of Minimoni are featured. The group recorded two songs especially for Hamtaro under the group pseudonym 'MiniHams'.
In 2002, Yaguchi graduated from Minimoni to take on leading the subgroup ZYX, one of the first Hello! Project groups to incorporate the Hello! Project Kids (including a couple of then-future members of Berryz Koubou and ℃-ute). Another Morning Musume member, Takahashi Ai took Yaguchi's place, while Mika Todd, as the oldest member of the current lineup, took over as the group's leader.
That same year, all five members of Minimoni filmed the movie Minimoni ja Movie Okashi na Daibouken! (Minimoni The Movie The Great Cake Adventure), part of the storyline of which, in the context of the movie's fantasy setting, "explains" how Yaguchi ended up leaving Minimoni to begin leading ZYX and how Takahashi ended up in the band.
They started to have a more mature, modern R&B-heavy sound to their music with the single "CRAZY ABOUT YOU", a style the group explored more heavily on their second album "Minimoni Songs 2". However, their silly side was also well represented on the album with two more songs they contributed to Hamtaro as MiniHams. Former member Yaguchi also appears on three cuts, two of which previously appeared on the Okashina Daibouken soundtrack. They also starred in a mini-series called Minimoni's The Brementown Musicians starring Takahashi, Tsuji, and Kago; Mika made brief appearances in two episodes.
The group disbanded in May 2004 after the graduation of Mika Todd and the release of one final single, "Lucky Cha Cha Cha!".
An interesting side note is that Mika Todd usually wore drastically different costumes than her bandmates ((While the other girls wore skirts and bows, Todd was often seen wearing jumpsuits or typically more masculine outfits). This could be attributed to her being the tallest member of the group, just making the height requirements at the bands start. It is also possibly due to her being from Hawaii as opposed to the other members.
2009 (Shin Minimoni)Edit
On May 26, 2009, Minimoni's original leader, Yaguchi Mari, posted a blog discussing how Tsunku had contacted her asking for permission to bring the group out of hiatus. Tsunku would later make a post on his own blog confirming that Minimoni would be revived with an entirely new line-up, confirming S/mileage member Fukuda Kanon as the first member. Morning Musume's Linlin was announced later as the group's leader, and that Hello! Pro Kenshuusei Takeuchi Akari and Miyamoto Karin would be the final two members in the new line-up. This line-up is referred to as Shin Minimoni (新ミニモニ。; New Minimoni).
On the last day of Morning Musume Concert Tour 2010 Aki ~Rival Survival~, Linlin graduated from Morning Musume, and thus left Shin Minimoni. The three remaining members proceeded to perform as a trio in Hello! Project 2011 Winter ~Kangei Shinsen Matsuri~ A gana Live.
Minimoni in American media Edit
In February 2006 Minimoni's name was invoked on American television (NBC's The Tonight Show With Jay Leno) during a skit claiming that one of Leno's house band members had started out as a member of Minimoni; a manipulated picture of the Leno band member with Minimoni (in their outfits from the cover of "MiniMoni Songs 2") was aired as part of the sketch.
In June 2007, an excerpt from an early 2001 appearance by Minimoni on Hello! Morning of a prairie dog turning his head suddenly, became the basis for the Internet phenomenon The Dramatic Chipmunk. A parody of the Dramatic Chipmunk clip, including lookalikes of Minimoni, appears in Weezer's music video for their 2008 single "Pork and Beans". The real Minimoni did not appear because of licensing issues, their lack of mainstream recognition in America and other logistical difficulties (including the fact that both Mika Todd and Kago Ai were no longer contracted by Up-Front Works by that time).
Post-Minimoni Careers Edit
- Yaguchi Mari (矢口真里) continued as sub-leader of Morning Musume after she left Minimoni. In 2003 she also formed the short-lived unit ZYX with four members of the Hello! Project Kids. In April 2005, she resigned from Morning Musume due to scandal and embarked on a solo career under the Hello! Project banner.
- Mika Todd (ミカ) is currently living and studying music in Los Angeles, occasionally travelling to perform with her father, jazz pianist Johnny Todd. She released a self-titled solo EP in 2005 that has been available only at her rare live performances.
- Tsuji Nozomi (辻希美) and Kago Ai ( 護亜依) graduated together from Morning Musume in August 2004 to form a new unit, W, under the Hello! Project banner. Following Kago's suspension, Tsuji continued as a soloist in Hello! Project until May 10, 2007 when she announced that she was engaged to actor Sugiura Taiyou and already two months pregnant with his child. She is currently on personal leave from Hello! Project, but she may resume her career after having her baby. On November 26, 2007, Tsuji gave birth to a girl named Sugiura Noa. Tsuji currently has 2 children and is expecting a 3rd in Spring 2013.
- Kago Ai ( 護亜依) was suspended in February 2006 and then terminated in March 2007 after a series of tabloid scandals, she came back on April 6 but no longer under the Hello! Project banner. She participated in a movie in Hong Kong.
- Takahashi Ai (高橋愛) continued as a member of Morning Musume and was the leader of the group and of the entire Hello! Project label until her graduation in 2011. Her distinctive vocals have been more prominent on their singles and on their albums "Ai no Dai 6 Kan", "Rainbow 7" and "SEXY 8 BEAT". She is currently a UFP soloist as a part of M-line.
- Linlin (リンリン), after graduating from Morning Musume and Hello! Project, went back to China to persue a solo career.
- [2002.06.26] Minimoni Song Daihyakka 1 Kan (ミニモニ。ソング大百科１巻)
- [2004.02.11] Minimoni Songs 2 (ミニモニ。ソングズ２)
- [2001.01.17] Minimoni. Jankenpyon! / Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu Daisukki! (ミニモニ。ジャンケンぴょん！／春夏秋冬だいすっき！)
- [2001.09.12] Minimoni. Telephone! Rin Rin Rin / Minimoni. Bus Guide (ミニモニ。テレフォン！リンリンリン/ミニモニ。バスガイド)
- [2001.12.05] Minihamus no Ai no Uta (ミニハムずの愛の唄) (Minihamus)
- [2002.01.30] Minimoni. Hinamatsuri! / Mini. Strawberry~ Pie (ミニモニ。ひなまつり！／ミニ。ストロベリ〜パイ)
- [2002.04.24] Ai~n Taisou / Ai~n! Dance no Uta (アイ〜ン体操/アイ〜ン！ダンスの唄) (Bakatono-sama to Minimoni-hime)
- [2002.11.27] Genki Jirushi no Oomori Song / Okashi Tsukutte Okkasui~! (げんき印の大盛りソング/お菓子つくっておっかすぃ〜) (Minimoni to Takahashi Ai + 4KIDS)
- [2002.12.04] Minihamus no Kekkon Song (ミニハムズの結婚ソング) (Minihamus)
- [2003.04.09] Rock n' Roll Kenchoushozaichi ~Oboechaina Series!~ (ロックンロール県庁所在地～おぼえちゃいなシリーズ！～)
- [2003.05.14] Minimoni. Kazoe Uta ~Ofuro Version~ / Minimoni. Kazoe Uta ~Date Version~ (ミニモニ。数え歌〜お風呂ば〜じょん〜/ミニモニ。数え歌〜デートば〜じょん〜)
- [2003.10.16] CRAZY ABOUT YOU
- [2003.11.19] Mirakururun Grand Purin! / Pi~hyara Kouta (ミラクルルングランプリン! / ピ~ヒャラ小唄) (Minihamus/Purin-chan)
- [2004.04.21] Lucky Cha Cha Cha! (ラッキーチャチャチャ！)
- [2003.02.19] Minimoni ja Movie Okashi na Daibouken! Original Soundtrack (ミニモニ。じゃムービーお菓子な大冒険！オリジナルサウンドトラック)
- [2003.03.26] Hamtaro Original Soundtrack (劇場版とっとこハム太郎 ハムハムージャ！幻のプリンセス オリジナルサウンドトラック)
- [2001.04.18] Various - Together! -Tanpopo, Petit, Mini, Yuko- (Together! -タンポポ・プッチ・ミニ・ゆうこ-) (#1 Minimoni. Jankenpyon!, #7 Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu Daisukki!, #13 Minimoni. Dancin!, #14 Minimoni. no Uta)
- [2001.12.19] Hello! Project - Petit Best 2 ~3, 7, 10~ (プッチベスト2～三・7・10～) (#4 Minimoni. Telephone! Rin Rin Rin)
- [2002.10.30] Hello! Project - CLUB Hello! TRANCE REMIX (#2 Minimoni. Jankenpyon! (TRANCE REMIX), #15 Minimoni. Hinamatsuri! (TRANCE REMIX))
- [2002.12.18] Hello! Project - Petit Best 3 (プッチベスト3) (#6 Ai~n! Dance no Uta (MORE TRANCE REMIX))
- [2003.12.17] Hello! Project - Petit Best 4 (プッチベスト4) (#12 Minimoni. Kazoe Uta ~Ofuro Version~)
- [2009.07.15] Hello! Project - Chanpuru 1 ~Happy Marriage Song Cover Shuu~ (チャンプル1 ~ハッピーマリッジソングカバー集~) (#4 Tentoumushi no Samba) (Shin Minimoni)
- [2009.12.02] Hello! Project - Petit Best 10 (プッチベスト10) (#9 Pen Pen Kyoudai) (Shin Minimoni)
- [2003.10.29] 2003 Haru Minimoni Special Live Dapyon! (2003・春 ミニモニ。スペシャルライブだぴょ～ん！)
- [2004.02.11] Minimoni Single V Clips (1) (ミニモニ。シングルVクリップス(1))
- [2003.01.21] Minimoni ja Movie Okashi na Daibouken! (ミニモニ。じゃ ムービー お菓子な大冒険！)
- [2001.05.28] Minimoni. Photo Book (ミニモニ。Photo Book)
- [2002.03.20] Minimoni: Dice de Pyon! (ミニモニ ダイスdeぴょん!)
- [2002.04.01] Minimoni: Mika no Happy Morning Chatty (ミニモニ。ミカのハピモニ chatty)
- [2002.09.19] Minimoni Shakatto Tambourine! Da Pyon! (ミニモニ。シャカっとタンバリン!だぴょん!)
- [2002.09.26] Kids Station: Minimoni ni Ninaru no da Pyon! (キッズステーション ミニモニ。になるだぴょん!)
- [2002.12.12] Minimoni: Onegaio Hoshisama! (ミニモニ。おねがいお星さま!)
- [2002.12.12] Minimoni: Step Up Pyon Pyon Pyon (ミニモニ.ステップぴょんぴょんぴょん♪)
- Yaguchi Mari proposed the idea for the group to Tsunku.
- Yaguchi Mari stated in "Unlucky Laboratory" that she was "Unlucky" to join Minimoni
- "The Dramatic Chipmunk", which has millions of views on Youtube, was actually from a Minimoni show
- Shin Minimoni was composed entirely of members who were part of Hello! Pro Kenshuusei at one point, with Miyamoto Karin being the only current Kenshuusei member.
|Members||1st Gen: Wada Ayaka (L), Fukuda Kanon|
2nd Gen: Nakanishi Kana, Takeuchi Akari, Katsuta Rina, Tamura Meimi
|Former Members||1st Gen: Maeda Yuuka, Ogawa Saki|
Sub-Member: Kosuga Fuyuka
|Singles||Indies: 01, 02, 03, 04|
Major: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
Lilpri: Little-Princess☆Pri!, Idolulu
Other: My School March, Makeruna Wasshoi!, Busu ni Naranai Tetsugaku
|Albums||Original: Warugaki 1, 2 Smile Sensation|
Best: S/mileage Best Album Kanzenban 1
|Related Units||Hello! Pro Kenshuusei, Shugo Chara Egg!, Shin Minimoni, High-King, ZYX-α, Lilpri, Oha Girl Maple, Hello! Project Mobekimasu, Peaberry, Harvest, Plumeria|
|Members||Miyazaki Yuka (L), Kanazawa Tomoko (SL), Takagi Sayuki, Otsuka Aina, Miyamoto Karin, Uemura Akari|
|Singles||Indies: Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne, Samidare Bijo ga Samidareru, Ten Made Nobore!|
Major: Romance no Tochuu
|Related Units||Hello! Pro Kenshuusei, Shin Minimoni, GREEN FIELDS|