The big three of Berryz: Momo, Risako, Miya.
Long story after break, since it's going to be a lengthy post about my J-music listening background.
Like most, I started with anime music. This was in the early noughties. The queen of that area was Hayashibara Megumi.
Okui Masami was well known for her anime OP & EDs as well, but Megumi did effing seiyuu roles. You could listen to her in animes, not just in the opening music!
So technically, that was my first exposure to a single Japanese singer. I'd heard anime theme songs, some by virtue of them being on terrestrial television - Doraemon's theme, Tomatoman's OP, heck, even SMAP in Akazukin Cha Cha.
Around the time, I did have some songs from MoMusu - Morning Coffee, Mr. Moonlight ~Ai no Big Band~, Renai Revolution 21. Actually, I was familiar with most of their singles up to Mr. Moonlight. So I stopped listening after the Gokkies joined in. This was during the age of 56k dialup, so videos were scarce. I do remember watching Mini Moni's Strawberry Pie video (cute animation graphics), and a H!P video which had them playing tennis.
|Shintani Ryoko, Goto Sayori, and Tamura Yukari|
Individual seiyuus slowly stood out. I think I was listening at the beginning of the idol seiyuus. At this point, Horie Yui was the most popular, thank to her stints. I had been introduced to Tamura Yukari and Shintani Ryoko through Galaxy Angel, both of who I think are still active. Shoutout to Kawasumi Ayako, who always manages to sound exactly the same despite pulling off extremely different roles - amazing voice acting skillz.
So fast forward to 2005, I'd downloaded the videos Special Generation and Nanchuu Koi ha Yatteru YOU KNOW. Watching them perform, I was like 'lol pedobait'.
Sometime in 2006, Danny Choo linked to Balalaika in one of his posts. My impression after hearing it was 'lololol, sounds a lot like those Morning Musume'. Later did I find out that she was a member of MoMusu
Summertime 2007. At this point I was still actively listening to individual seiyuus. J1m0ne was covering them. I was trying out my credit card to purchase things from Japan. The first shipment was Suzumiya Haruhi no Gekisou and Da Capo Secret Live in Club Citta. For some reason, a month later I purchased Berryz' Sakura Mankai and 4th Ai no Nanchara Shisu.
The next month I purchased all of Berryz' previous albums.
Although I don't remember how exactly I got led back to Berryz, and started becoming interested in music idols, it probably was during that lazy 2007 summer. I guess I grew bored of the limited seiyuu idol coverage, with so many to follow.
I've been a Momo wota most of my idol following life. But when I think of how I was first introduced to Berryz, and indirectly the idol world, I think of Special Generation. I can't remember who was the one that caught my eye, but I'm definitely sure it was one of the big three. And so, all three win this time.