Ayumi Hamasaki’s Greatest Year: 2001 (Part 2: February)

February was a new month, and with it came a new Tu-Ka Campaign. This one featured Ayu in a dress made entirely of other Tu-Ka photos of Ayu. The “retrospective” nature of the campaign did cause fans to wonder if Ayu’s Tu-Ka contract would be ending soon since this campaign would mark exactly a year of print ads Ayu did for the company. The contract was renewed, however.

On the 2nd, Tu-Ka did announce a radio show with Ayu scheduled for February 12th, the Tu-ka Town Jack Special Valentine’s Day Party. It aired on FM Yokohama, NACK5 in Urawa, and BAYFM in Chiba.

337x600-2006111300029Ayu’s M video was released on VHS and DVD on February 7th, in the meantime. The VHS version included only the song’s video and TV commercial, however the DVD included the making of the M video as a bonus incentive for purchasing that version.

Ayu posted on her TeamAyu message board that she was going into the studio on February 16th without elaborating on exactly why.

On February 22, however, fans got excited when a new TV commercial for Kirin’s Supli beverage began airing.┬áIn the commercial, Ayu’s voice-over asks “strength, please,” and then the guitar-heavy rock number “NEVER EVER” starts to play. The Supli campaign includes a poster giveaway through 7-11 stores, a special campaign website at Supli2001.com, and official computer wallpapers.

front(ayumix)frontayu-mi-x III was released on February 28 in two forms, Non-Stop Mega Mix version and Acoustic Orchestra version. The Non-Stop Mega Mix version was a two-disc set with a nonstop sampler on disc 1 and four of the remixes in extended, standalone versions on disc 2. The tracks on disc 1 would not get standalone releases of their own until later, and as of 2016, at least one of those remixes (Duty “Elephant Fish Mix”) STILL has no standalone release.

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February 28th also brought with it the release of Ayu’s first 8 singles in reissued and expanded versions. Originally 3″ CDs in paper cases with 3 or 4 tracks each, the singles were now on standard 5″ CDs with remixes padding out the CDs to more “complete” forms typical of Ayu’s remix-heavy singles since mid-1999. The remixes for the first five singles were notably sourced from ayu-mi-x era remixes that did not make the original CD release of ayu-mi-x, but were only previously released on vinyl over the course of 1999 (those vinyls were released in compiled form as the ayu-mi-x BOX SET).

So February brings us 8 reissued singles, 2 remix albums, one expected-but-still-cool print CM campaign including a radio show, one major new CM campaign previewing a new song, and a home video release.

But March? March is the big one.

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