"hippare" is short for "THE!Yoru mo hippare," which was a primetime show that aired every Saturday in Japan on NTV (Nihon Television). The show featured an extensive group of regulars who interviewed guests and sang, among other things. It was a variety show featuring all sorts of entertainment with a lot of comedy.
The hippare was--at its core--a look at the music charts. The most popular songs were dictated by the fans and featured on the chart. The show was very unique because, instead of playing the music video for the song like America's TRL, special guests or members of the hippare family would cover the song live with backup dancers and choreography.
Over the span of its run, the hippare featured some early appearances by groups like SPEED and the Korean group SES. Other groups featured include Arashi and MAX. Of course members of many other groups appeared for different reasons. Matsumoto Jun of Arashi was featured in the summer of 2001 because he was starring in a drama. Solo artists were featured in addition to groups. The guests were not always singers and often actors, actresses, and everyday individuals were guests.
One of the most fun aspects of THE!Hippare was of course seeing favorite artists singing different songs than they normally would. Another is the opportunity to see various artists performing the songs with a different style. SPEED performed Automatic by Utada Hikaru with a much different style than Utada herself. Their nasally voices created an interesting atmosphere. Utada uses a more husky singing technique during the song. Sometimes, though it was rare, the performer would handle the song in a superior manner compared to the artist!
Singer, dancer, and performer Chinen Rina became a regular on the show after being featured very often. She often sang songs by Kuraki Mai and Utada Hikaru. R&B seemed to be her favorite genre. However, she also performed songs by Hamasaki Ayumi and countless others including the group globe and Namie Amuro. She was also featured in a hippare special singing several of her own songs.
THE!Yoru mo hippare had several annual specials. For example, there was a yearly recap around the Christmas and New Years holidays. Sometimes, there was a theme to the show, which generally meant that a particular singer was being featured.
hippare aired its final episode on 21 September 2002. Of course it went out in style with an extraordinary chart featuring songs from as far back as 1994. Their website now features a message to the fans.
Nagai aida, hontou ni arigatou gozaimashita.
Mata itsuka... kitto...
This translates into something like,
"Thank you for supporting our long time (on TV).
We'll meet again sometime, surely."