This is a complete solution to “Hello! Project no Puzzle desu yo.“, which I posted a week ago. I’ve broken down the solution into stages so that you can use them if you’re stuck on something, or if you want to skip the arduous title-finding stage, or if you don’t want to deal with kana at all. Also, the titles are whited out so you can check individual titles without having others spoiled for you. The titles are given in both their original kana form and also in directly mapped romaji (capitals for katakana, lowercase for hiragana; small characters treated like regular characters; all characters separated by spaces).

How to find the titles:

Each title is coded as a triplet in the form x:y(z). The x values are more heavily concentrated around 1 and 2, with few occurrences of larger numbers, and there are two occurrences of 2.5. A quick look at the Hello! Project discography should reveal that a majority of the albums contain a number in the title, sometimes creatively worked in and sometimes not. The number corresponds to the ordinal index of the album out of all albums released by the artist/group, arranged chronologically, with mini-albums denoted using half-integers. This is a technique I call “Tsunkudexing,” as Tsunku is the first person I know of to do this consistently. The y values are evenly distributed across possible track numbers for a regular-length album, and the z values sum to 225, the total number of squares in the grid. We can infer that x:y(z) refers to the yth track on some artist or group’s xth album, which has a length of z characters. Since the artist/group is not specified, there may be some ambiguity, and indeed two of the clues are identical. Finding a few of the titles should reveal that the titles are given in standard kana lexicographical order, separated by rows in the same way kana are separated by rows, based on initial consonant. This should resolve any ambiguities.

The titles:

 Clue Artist Album Title (kana) Title (romaji) 2:5(6) W 2nd W あぁ　いいな！ a a i i na ! 2.5:2(12) Berryz Koubou Special! Best Mini ~2.5 Maime no Kare~ ありがとう！おともだち。 a ri ga to u ! o to mo da chi . 4:8(8) Morning Musume 4th “Ikimasshoi!” いきまっしょい！ i ki ma tsu shi yo i ! 1:9(7) Morning Musume First Time ウソつきあんた U SO tsu ki a n ta 1:3(5) Matsuura Aya First Kiss オシャレ！ O SHI YA RE ! 3:8(4) Morning Musume 3rd-LOVE Paradise おもいで o mo i de 1:3(5) Taiyo to Ciscomoon Taiyo & Ciscomoon 1 ガタメキラ GA TA ME KI RA 5:11(8) Morning Musume No.5 がんばっちゃえ！ ga n ba tsu chi ya e ! 1:5(7) GAM 1st GAM ~Amai Yuuwaku~ ここで　キスして ko ko de KI SU shi te 4:10(7) Berryz Koubou 4th Ai no Nanchara Shisuu サクラハラクサ SA KU RA HA RA KU SA 2:8(3) Berryz Koubou Dai (2) Seichouki さぼり sa bo ri 2.5:2(8) Abe Natsumi 25 ~Vingt-Cinq~ スイートホリック SU I — TO HO RI TSU KU 1:9(2) Tanpopo TANPOPO 1 スキ SU KI 2:11(6) Goto Maki (2) Paint It Gold スクランブル SU KU RA N BU RU 3:10(6) Goto Maki 3rd Station ステーション SU TE — SHI YO N 2:5(5) Matsuura Aya T.W.O ダイアリー DA I A RI — 2:11(8) Abe Natsumi 2nd ~Shimiwataru Omoi~ ちょっとずつね。 chi yo tsu to zu tsu ne . 1:5(4) Nakazawa Yuko Dai Isshou つぐない tsu gu na i 3:4(4) Matsuura Aya X3 ね〜え？ ne ~ e ? 1:7(5) v-u-den Suite Room Number 1 ひとりじめ hi to ri ji me 1:4(18) Berryz Koubou 1st Cho Berryz ファイティングポーズはダテじゃない！ FU A I TE I N GU PO — ZU ha DA TE ji ya na i ! 1:8(7) Fujimoto Miki MIKI 1 ボーイフレンド BO — I FU RE N DO 1:1(11) °C-ute Cutie Queen VOL.1 まっさらブルージーンズ ma tsu sa ra BU RU — JI — N ZU 1:1(14) Mini Moni Mini Moni Song Daihyakka 1 Kan ミニモニ。ジャンケンぴょん！ MI NI MO NI . JI YA N KE N pi yo n ! 1:4(10) Mini Moni Mini Moni Song Daihyakka 1 Kan ミニモニ。ひなまつり MI NI MO NI . hi na ma tsu ri 2:4(19) Mini Moni Mini Moni Songs 2 ミラクルルン　グランプリン！／ミニハムず MI RA KU RU RU N GU RA N PU RI N ! / MI NI HA MU zu 1:6(7) Ongaku Gatas 1st GOODSAL やったろうぜ！ ya tsu ta ro u ze ! 2:10(6) Melon Kinenbi THE Nimaime ラストシーン RA SU TO SHI — N 7:6(8) Morning Musume Rainbow 7 レインボーピンク RE I N BO — PI N KU 2:3(5) W 2nd W ロボキッス RO BO KI TSU SU

How to fill in the grid:

Once you have the titles, you can follow the example given in the smaller grid at the top of the puzzle, which takes the characters in the title and fills up the grid with them in a winding snake-like fashion from the top left corner to the bottom left corner, moving between adjacent squares and leaving no blank squares. Katakana squares are left white and hiragana squares are shaded blue. The challenge here is to do the same with the titles given. You can connect all the titles together in the order they’re given and use logic to fit all the characters into the grid. Doing so in order might leave you stranded partway through, possibly at the point where ｢サクラハラクサ」 mocks you with its palindromic brilliance (I put this one there on purpose). If this should happen, an easy way to get around it would be to try filling in the grid from the other end or from somewhere in the middle. Eventually, you’ll be able to put all the characters into the only possible configuration.

The completed grid:

Click to view

The final step:

Now you get to make use of the letters given in the grid. If you group the marked characters by letter, you should get:

• A: ムラまルミゃリ
• B: ぜドソスこグつ
• C: ずっクシイサがダ
• D: うぁイグがさス
• E: トっウおスクテえ
• F: プだなさぴクはガキつさ
• G: ミピニちり

For each letter, you can mark its associated characters on a kana table, without distinguishing between hiragana and katakana, small and regular kana, or bare and accented kana. If you orient the table with あ in the top left corner, as suggested by the initial orientation of the titles, you should find that the marked kana for letter spell out something:

Click to view

So the answer is CHANCE!