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Nearly two years ago, a single photograph of a young wannabe idol appeared online. It ignited a fire amongst idol otaku so large that it reached the mainstream press in Japan in the same day. The pictured girl, one Kanna Hashimoto, was soon after crowned “beyond angelic” and dubbed a “once in a millennium” idol for her natural looks and youthful energy.

Since then, there have been many challengers to Kanna’s title, like the “once in 4,000 years idol” whatserface, and the “once in 2000 years” idol…um you know, the one with the hair. They’re probably all nice girls and I wish them well in their careers, but seriously they had no place stepping up to Hashimoto’s star quality.

Having already appeared in commercials for SoftBank and Cup Noodle, Kanna is now hawking Lip Baby brand coloring lip balms. Although not as big a brand as the others, these commercials have woken up Japanese netizens and reminded them who the real once in a millennium idol is.

The member of idol group Rev From DVL (a name that you see less and less next to Hashimoto’s) stars in two versions of Lip Baby. The first is Mentholatum Kanna in which she’s dressed as a nurse and wants us all to buy Lip Baby Fruits.

If that face doesn’t make you want to buy mentholatum, then I don’t know what will.

However, the one that has really worked fans into a frenzy is the self-explanatory Devilish Kanna promoting Lip Baby Crayon.

Okay, so they seem to be confusing devils and vampires. Whatever, it’s not like this is a gothic literature class.

And of course, what pair of commercials would be complete without a behind-the-scenes look at the production process? Actually, this video gives you the best chance to see Hashimoto’s personality which has been a big factor in her success.

Comments unanimously approved of these Kanna Hashimoto appearances.

“Too cute lol.”
“I thought she would go down this route.”
“The little devil Kanna duckface is the best!”
“Another new commercial?!”
“If an idol is cute, the commercials will come.”
“Red Devil? Is she looking to get big in Korea?”

The last comment was a reference to the Bulgen Angma or “Red Devils” which is the name of the South Korean national soccer team’s fans.

These latest commercials also spawned discussion over the elephant in Kanna Hashimoto’s living room: when she’ll formally leave Rev from DVL and go on her own. Last year, the gap between Hashimoto and the rest of Rev From DVL was highlighted during a handshake event debacle in which fans revolted at learning only a few could meet the group’s star member. Also, it’s only a matter of time before pay inequality begins to drive a wedge, if it hasn’t already.

Hashimoto is rumored to be contractually obligated to get strawberries 400 times the size of her follow members

The “idol Cinderella story” is a pattern that’s been seen before. Actress and TV personality Aya Ueto famously cast aside her former idol unit, Z-1, and rose to be one of Japan’s most well-known faces after she proved to be a crowd favorite. Also, some may forget that Namie Amuro was once a member of the group Super Monkey’s before moving on to bigger and better things.

Not that there’s any rush for Hashimoto, however. Still only 16, time is on her side and at this point it’s really not a matter of “if” but “how far” she will make it in the entertainment business. If I may take on the persona of a grizzled 1960s talent scout, I’ll take the stogie out of my mouth, flick the ashes and grumble, “Yup. That kid’s got the goods.”

▼ Uh-bu-dee-bu-dee-bu-dee That’s all folks!

Source: YouTube – Rohto Channel via Alfalfalfa (Japanese)