Friday, December 24, 2010

Top 10 (+2) Idol Holiday Songs

Happy holidays, everyone! Since it's almost Christmas for everyone and it's the middle of the winter holiday season, I thought I'd make a list of my top ten winter/holiday/Christmas themed idol songs for Happy Disco.

Honorable Mentions:
100kai no Kiss- Matsuura Aya

I love Ayaya, don't get me wrong, and I want to put this song on the list. However, the song has nothing to do with winter or Christmas. It's here because the PV features Ayaya dancing in "winter clothes" in front of a Christmas tree, and it's snowing outside. But 100kai no Kiss is a fantastic song no matter the season, and the PV's also wonderful.

1!2!3!4! Yoroshiku- SKE48

The PV to SKE48's latest single is a treasure trove of interesting things and hilarity. Basically, there are guys dressed as Santa dancing in the background through parts of the PV. This song/PV gets the spot because the PV is WEIRD and Santa dancing in the background is the icing on the cake.

10. Manatsu no Christmas Rose- AKB48

This song is not quite Christmas-y enough to make higher on the list; it's in the name and there are some references to Christmas-related things, but the fact that this seems to take place in "manatsu" (midsummer) means it's not quite the quintessential idol Christmas song.

9. Aitai Lonely Christmas- C-ute

Now this makes the list! I actually really like this song, despite putting it down at #9. However, to me it doesn't really convey the spirit of the season properly. I realize that in Japan Christmas as a holiday is more about spending time with your significant other, but singing about how your heart hurts is not a way to get into the holiday spirit. Therefore, while this is a good song I'd argue, one of the better offerings from recent H!P, it's not quite what I'm looking for on this list.

8. Sexy Snow- W

This also isn't quite fitting to the spirit of the season. However, with happier lyrics than Aitai Lonely Christmas, at least it fits in a bit better. This is more about romance in the winter season than about the holidays, but it's a catchy and addicting song that fits onto this list well.

7. Marui Taiyou ~Winter Ver~ - T&C Bomber

This actually seems to be a bit more of a New Year's song than a Christmas song, but it's still a great song by one of the most underappreciated H!P groups of all time. Happy Winter!!!!

6. Seinaru Kane ga Hibiku Yoru - Tanpopo

This is a beautiful song by the original generation of Tanpopo! I was happy when five of the current H!P girls did covers of it; granted, none of them quite did it justice (though I still bought Maimi's off iTunes), it's nice that classic Hello!Project songs are still remembered. This is more of a traditional-sounding song (with the title mentioning "holy bells"), but it's still a great song.

5. Yoyaku Shita Christmas- AKB48

For anyone who doesn't follow AKB48 much, this song was a c/w song on the recent single, Chance no Junban. Now, at first I really didn't like this song all that much; I thought it was slow and kind of boring. However, lately it's really grown on me. It's a sweet song about meeting someone on Christmas eve and the song and PV have pretty much everything; the bridge even contains the song Jingle Bells. The song's slow and it isn't really a normal, upbeat idol song but it's sweet in its own right, as a little Christmas card from AKB48.

4. Christmas ga Ippai- AKB48

THIS is a more upbeat, Christmas-y song by AKB48's Team K. At this point these Christmas songs have it all, and Christmas ga Ippai is no exception. The lyrics are very sweet and I do like how cute and upbeat the song is; it both makes it a better song and makes it more idol-y, which I always enjoy.

3. Oujisama to Yuki no Yoru- Tanpopo

This is probably my favorite song on this list, and it's really a classic winter song for idol fans. As a song it definitely falls more into a winter than a holiday category and it's really more about spending time with your sweetheart during the winter, but it's a fantastic song, especially during this season.

2. Merry X'Mas to You- Matsuura Aya

This is actually not as known as a lot of the other songs on this list; it's the B-side to Ayaya's single '100kai no Kiss' and I absolutely love this song. The lyrics are so simple (mostly just "Merry Christmas for you") but it really shows off how beautiful Aya's voice truly is; if anyone can pull this off in the idol world, it's Ayaya. It's a beautiful Christmas song that I think could easily go on any Christmas album. This might be an unknown to a lot of people, but to me it's a keeper.

1. Pittari Shitai X'Mas- Pucchimoni

Could I really pick out any other song? It's an H!P classic and it's pure fun. The PV is just silly and the song itself isn't serious at all, but it's a fun, enjoyable Christmas song that is still a fan favorite.

Have a very happy holidays, Merry Christmas and have a wonderful winter season!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hello! Project Fankora Concert Review- pt 6

Momoiro Kataomoi

Now we're at the Mano Erina section. Oh ff. She's doing Ayaya.
Don't get me wrong, I don't mind ManoEri. I kind of like her, and she seems like a fine girl. However, why do they do this to us? I get that the whole point of the Fankora concert is that fans get to help pick songs that they want to hear again, but Mano Erina is no Matsuura Aya and whenever they have her perform these songs it's a HUGE reminder.

Now this doesn't make ManoEri bad, persay, that just makes her NOT Ayaya, who was one of the highest selling and most beloved H!P acts of all time. Ayaya was also one of the best singers and performers of H!P history, which is not something that we can say about Mano Erina. The difference is huge, and is seen like crazy in this performance.

ManoEri gets REALLY pitchy here. Like, not a little; it was pretty easy for me to discern how off pitch she was. Her energy level was also not as strong as it could be, even though that's the type of song this is. To me, I can tell she's trying her best, but it's just not there.

Basically, my final verdict is that if you are unfamiliar with the original version or ADORE ManoEri, you'll probably like this; it's a good song and ManoEri's pretty cute. However, as a fan of the original and a fan of Ayaya's, this just sounds like a poorly done knock-off; having a weak voice sing a song by the best voice of H!P's history is not really the best idea ever.

On a separate note, this concert's really making me dislike Momoko a lot. I know she has a ton of fans, but man, the way that she keeps dancing on the sidelines is just annoying as hell to me. There's a difference between dancing/jumping along on the sidelines and doing what Momoko is doing, which is holding a fake microphone and going out of her way to draw attention to herself. Drawing attention to yourself is fine, but this is not the time/place for Momoko to do so, during a ManoEri performance.

Haru no Arashi

This isn't one of my favorite ManoEri songs ever, but I like it better than Onegai Dakara, so that's good.

ManoEri's voice is really not the best this concert, is it? It's all over the place in this performance, even clashing with the background; are those just supporting vocals or are they doing the thing where they play the actual song in the back? All I know is that there's some really iffy clashing of vocals here, and it's not very pretty. Mano Erina's not the worst vocalist H!P has to offer; far from it. However, it's times like these where I have to wonder about her legitimacy as a soloist.

I mean, ManoEri's not as bad a vocalist as H!P's had, and she seems like a sweet girl. But I honestly don't know what Tsunku/UFA found so compelling in her that they decided to make her the one soloist in H!P. Her vocals here are iffy at best and she never seems too energetic. Her performances thus far aren't too compelling. She was fine back when she was in Gatas, but I don't know how strong she is without a group to support her.

To her credit, she does get pretty fierce here and I can tell she's getting into it, which is usually the thing I like most in idols. I don't know; I guess if you're her fan, you'll like it, and if you don't particularly care about ManoEri, like me, you'll probably wonder why she's a soloist, like me.

Friday, December 17, 2010

New PBs AKA Serenyty will be very happy and poor

Sorry I haven't updated in over two weeks; finals decided to be really tough on me. But I made it through it and I plan on writing more.

First up, the other day Kamei Eri, JunJun and LinLin graduated from Morning Musume. Now, I'm no particular fan of either of these girls; I liked them, but they weren't necessarily my favorites. But they will definitely be missed from Morning Musume, and I know the first performance or appearance I see without them will be very saddening. No matter how high these girls are on your list, graduations are always very sad, at least to me, and I know I'll miss these girls; I can only hope that JunJun and LinLin stay in the business.

However, recently there's been some happier news!

Ex-Morning Musume member Ishikawa Rika, AKA my #1 favorite idol forever is releasing her 11th solo photobook! It's called Lucky and she's releasing it on her birthday, January 19th 2011. As a big fan and supporter of Rika, this is wonderful news, and I plan on buying/pre-ordering it soon. Rika's proven to be a favorite with photobooks, considering she already has 10 of them under her belt, so they're always really fun and really good. 

And finally, probably more exciting for me...

Mitsui Aika is FINALLY releasing a photobook!!!

I LOVE Aika. Mittsi's one of my favorite idols and I've always wanted her to get a photobook. Aika has actually wanted one of her own for a long time as well, often mentioning it in her New Year's wishes and things like this. She's releasing her photobook on January 26th and she also gets a solo DVD as well.

I'm really excited; honestly, Aika has more fans than a lot of people give her credit for, and she really deserves to get some kind of a push. I hope this moves up her sales some and helps her gain some fans!

Rika hasn't posted any previews of any sort, but on the Up Front channel there's a preview of Aika's DVD; already it's getting some buzz because Aika definitely has cleavage that people haven't really noticed before.

So yay, two excellent releases for the month of January!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hello! Project Fankora Concert Review- pt 5

I've been a bad reviewer. Now where was I.

Featuring S/Mileage! I hear a surprising amount of shouts for "AYACHO" when she's one of the least popular members of S/Mileage. They introduce their next single, which I affectionately refer to as "Onaji something something Bijin Mama". Or "something something pretty mom."  Yuukarin has an interesting button on:

To tell us that she's apparently a Pink Secret Agent. Saki talks about the concept of the song, which is that their friend's mom is their rival in love. I swear, I get a weird vibe from this song, but it's catchy and cute so I ignore it.
The girls also seem kind of intimidated by Yossy, who's not as funny as she normally is. Especially in that weird/ugly dress. 
The one that I think stood out the most was Saki; she got a big laugh from the audience, and did a lot of talking. Yuuka was super cute, so she's fun. I was a bit disappointed, because I like all of them, but Kanon didn't talk all that much, and my favorite, Wada, didn't speak all that much. But when Ayacho DID say one thing near the end that made the audience AND other H!P members laugh and cheer. Man, this is when I wish my Japanese was better, because Ayaka's pretty hilarious from what I do understand. Otherwise, it wasn't that interesting.

Chu! Natsu Party
Another favorite of mine! Despite my complaints about the covers of songs earlier, this is probably the best cover song so far. S/Mileage performs it with a lot of really nice energy, using mic stands.

In my opinion this is one of the better performances of the concert thus far. All the girls give the song appropriate energy, and while the vocals aren't their best (for some reason, I keep thinking that Yuuka isn't doing as well as she should..?), the performance aspects of the performance more than make up for it. 

Occasionally the energy level dropped a little, but that was during things like when they were singing and I don't think it could have gotten much better. All four of them look excited and happy to be singing this classic H!P song, so all in all I really enjoy this performance. 

Oh, I forgot to mention; this is the Fankora section of the concert now, so it's the rotating songs that the "fans chose." Now I put that in quotations because while IIRC the last song performed by each group/ManoEri was their most requested, we don't know how often the other songs were requested. So while it's really nice that these groups are doing older songs, how were the not-most popular songs chosen? Just curious. (BTW, they never performed my choice, I&YOU&I&YOU&I, a 2nd gen Tanpopo song. S/Mileage DID perform 2nd gen Tanpopo, but it wasn't recorded).
That reminds me again; why WEREN'T there multiple DVD releases? This just doesn't make sense to me. Instead of just releasing one concert, why not release them all, or find a way to make it so people can see everything. H!P's not super popular anymore, but concert tickets aren't cheap and you don't know the setlist until you get in. What if you REALLY want to see a certain performance? I was sure that they'd monetize on the multiple setlist aspect of Fankora. H!P, I don't get you sometimes.

Anyways. Chu! Natsu Party was adorable, good energy, and I REALLY like the dynamic that S/Mileage has going on. They're one of the two H!P groups that has the best group dynamic, IMO. 

aMa no Jaku

OK. So basically, even though Chu! Natsu Party is a better song, this was a better performance. Take the C!NP performance, and add better/more in-time dancing, better vocals and even more energy. 

S/Mileage really seems like they're in their element; they've practiced this song/dance like crazy since their Indies debut, and it really shows. They work together well, and I think this is the point where they totally deserve this group of theirs. 

For being H!P's newest act, I'd say that they brought their A-game. So far, S/Mileage's performances have been some of the most fun and enjoyable, and they really show how they fully deserved being moved up to a major label. None of the members in particular stand out as being particularly good at singing (though, even though I'm a fan, I'll be the first to admit that Ayaka's the worst singer), or particularly good at dancing, but this works. They feel like equals, and you can really tell that they've bonded as a group, which is a bit surprising considering how new they are. 

Consensus: S/Mileage can improve, but they're being really great right now! Keep up the good work, S/Mileage!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Review: Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game's PV

A quick break from normally scheduled programming (AKA the three series' that I'm currently working on) to review, that's right, Morning Musume's latest PV, Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game. Now, most of this review is going to focus on the PV itself and not the song.

The song itself... I actually like it a lot. It's much better than the previous few singles, and I think that since the only singles to be released in 2010 were Onna ga Medatte Naze Ikanai and Seishun Collection, Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game automatically wins best song by default. Yay? I like the fact that 8th gen actually gets solos. I know it wasn't what everyone wanted (that is, a song dominated by Eri, JunJun and LinLin) but hey, let's be honest. The ONLY H!P girl to get the special treatment for their graduation single song was Yossy in Kanashimi Twilight. I mean, that's not counting B-Sides (since Fukuda Asuka and Yasuda Kei each got a version of Never Forget for a B-side of their single). So I'm not going to get into that. This song isn't the best thing ever, but it's certainly not a drag, and feels a bit refreshing. I haven't gotten bored of it yet, which is nice (and what happened with Seishun and Onna ga Medatte).

How do I even start to deal with how torn I am with this single? I'm VERY torn. On the one hand, you have THESE outfits.

Which are VERY unflattering at pretty much every angle and look cheaply made at many angles. It feels like they went over budget with the other costumes and just scrounged these together from the leftover things they had lying around. Have the costumes been THIS cheap since something like Summer Night Town? I don't know. 

So yeah, those costumes, while not bright, florescent green, are pretty bad. However, you THEN have something like this.

Or this

Or the costume I want more than anything, Reina's:


And I immediately get MORE faith  in the costumers. Seriously. This is a GIANT gap in the PV; costumes I adore (probably my favorite H!P costumes of recent years) and what's essentially a giant mess. Did two different people make these? If so, hire the ones who made the recent ones and immediately fire the ones who made the dance shot costumes. They probably made the Seishun Collection messes too.

Oh, and one other thing; these costumes are GORGEOUS and I love them. So. Why are the other costumes in the PV at least 2-3 times more than the pretty ones? UFA, sometimes I just do NOT get you at all.

Blerrrrrrrrrg. I'm sorry, but. Where have the good choreographers gone? To Momoiro Clover? To AKB48? That's where they've gone. There are too many WEIRD parts in this dance. UFA, do you realize how many gifs have been made of MM rubbing their breasts? The one part that I very much approve of is the hair flip, especially when it relates to Takahashi. Seriously. Takahashi, keep flipping that ponytail. It makes me interested in you. 
The dance is just... it's just so strange. I'm not a dance person, but I just keep feeling like it has the potential to be better, with a lot of the parts like the spin/hair flips. And then they bring out the weird breast rubbing moves and ones that look like I choreographed them. Why.

Art Direction
I don't claim to be an expert in art direction in any way, shape or form. However, again, this is a mixed bag. I think that a lot of the scenes are pretty boring, such as the dance shot backgrounds (kudos, H!P; there's multiple backgrounds again!) and, to an extent, the close up background. But then again, I find the backgrounds when they're wearing their pretty dresses to be GORGEOUS. Seriously. Beauuutiful. Probably my favorite H!P backgrounds for the last... while. But then they're used sparingly. Why???

Oh my goodness. I could edit this mess better. I honestly don't understand who they got to edit this, and why it feels that lazy. The thing is, the PV itself is made up of decent elements. The settings are mostly decent, and then we have the gorgeous shots that I loved. However, the whole thing feels very sloppily edited. First we have the white background dance shot, a couple of pretty backgrounds, and then to the black background dance shot, pretty close-ups for about 15 seconds, going through all the members. Back to the black background dance shot. It's so easy to summarize, especially when it comes to the close-ups with the leather backgrounds and the ugly dresses. Those shots just keep going on. and on. And it just does NOT feel very creatively edited. The impression I get is that they take a few interesting shots that could work very well, but then slapped it together in a day and called it a PV.

Maybe I'm being over-critical. This IS one of my favorite MM PVs since... goodness, I can't remember the last time I thought a MM PV was actually GOOD. Don't get me wrong, I love MM. They're the reason I'm being so critical; I just want the best for these girls and I don't think they're given enough good songs or PVs, and I've just been very frustrated with H!P/UFA as a whole lately. I do think that Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game IS a step in the right direction, in terms of song and PV. It looks like some aspects of the PV got some effort, which is pretty good in H!P right now (see: Berryz Koubou's Shining Power). However, I just don't see how anyone could think that MM could catch up to other idol groups going right now. Not just AKB48, either. SKE48, AKB48's sister group, put out a PV recently to their 4th single "1! 2! 3! 4! Yoroshiku!" that I can only describe as being one of my favorite idol PVs in recent years. It's energetic, entertaining and just a joy to watch, which is honestly more than I can say about recent H!P PVs. Same with Momoiro Clover; unless MM/H!P ups its game, I could see MomoClo outselling Morning Musume in about.. a year or so, given more exposure. 

That being said, Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game IS a step in the right direction, and I can only hope that Morning Musume keeps moving in that direction.

And fires whoever edited this PV. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hello! Project Fankora Concert Review- pt 4


O hai thar, Yossy. I keep forgetting you're in this concert as the sole shining representative of the amazingness that was the Elder Club. Next time bring Rika with you. We can jam.

This whole MC was basically Momoko going "LOOK AT ME I'M A LEADER OF MULTIPLE GROUPS OOOOOOOOH" and everyone else not caring. She's being a little too attention-whorish for my tastes here. 

Aisu Kuriimu to My Purin

Can I just skip this? Please? PLEASE. No? Gah. 

Zoku. I just don't like them. It's nothing against the members; I just think that they are honestly the antithesis of what v-u-den WAS; in fact, no one in current H!P is fit. H!P is about youngness, youth. v-u-den was about women starting adulthood and that's part of why I find them interesting and that they're tied with Gatas for my favorite H!P group. I've ranted about this before, it shouldn't be tough to find on the Disco.

Anyways, this performance keeps confirming what I originally thought about Zoku in my Zoku rant (in which I stated I would NEVER call them Zoku v-u-den. OK, yeah. don't want to get into this. I like the members, but they don't represent v-u-den's v-u-denness. 

This was actually less offensive to me than Koisuru Angel Heart, but JUST BARELY. This song is not something to be taken seriously, but at the same time is actually supposed to be sexy. Playfully sexy, sexy in a "look at how silly fanservice can be!" kind of way, but nonetheless sexy. The impression I've always gotten from the Aisu PV is "haha, fanservice is ridiculous" but it's still pretty hot. 

The dancing was not TOO bad, but it had some iffy bits; the kickline was uber fail, and no one was really a good dancer. It felt slightly unrehearsed, and, my main complaint about the group as a whole, like they really didn't try. 

JunJun, you're doing it wrong. 

Speaking of not trying too hard; I understand that Zoku's only doing one song and that they all have other things to do. But seriously. The costumes? What are they supposed to be? I mean, even if they had to use them for the main groups. Why are the main groups using those costumes? 

Vocals weren't too bad; Risako was really the best one there and I was happy that she got Rika's long solo near the end. I wasn't expecting amazingness from them, so. 

I don't mean to sound mean; a LOT of this is my bias speaking. But say what you want about the original v-u-den, but their performance skills (not vocal, performance) were out of this world, and Zoku doesn't come close to representing the original group I love so much. They honestly feel a tiny bit like a REALLY good cover group of the original, but certainly NOT the revival. So really, it's my bias as a v-u-den enthusiast, but in my opinion the revival groups are that; trying to be the original group as best as they can. And this really wasn't that bad of a cover, but when it comes down to representing what v-u-den was I can't give Zoku the thumbs up. 

Oh, and Momoko attention whores. I know a lot of people found Momoko getting up and dancing cute, but I honestly thought it was pretty disrespectful (my GOD this review is going to get me flames). I liked her a lot before, but man I don't know now. I just really thought it was rude, no matter how I felt about the actual performance going on. I mean, I don't mind people going for attention, but IMO this was not the place to do it. 

Also, I was hoping to see Yossy rocking out in the back (she's notorious for LOVING this song), but that didn't happen. Perhaps she needed Rika to be there. 

Daite Yo! Please Go On!

Am I the only one that finds it awkward when solo songs become group ones? I don't know, maybe I am. But the one thing that I keep focusing on here is just how it is of a group song. It MIGHT have been done another time, but the one memorable time that Daite yo! was used as a group song was for Goto Maki's Captain Kouen concert, which was Gocchin, Tsuji Nozomi and v-u-den. It was really more of a solo song for Maki, but with the other four sang with the chorus. 

Also, there was a dance solo section before the rap. Speaking of, that would have been REALLY cool for High King. If High-King is excellent at one thing it's dancing; in fact, I think that was the main theory for the group? I could be wrong. Anyways, while the girls ARE rather fierce here, I only wish that there had been a better arrangement of some kind to better feature their dancing.

However, despite preferring a more imaginative arrangement other than just the song sung by five people, I really like this performance. I can really tell why it was that these five girls were chosen; their dancing was all spot on and excellent to watch, and all of them seemed to be giving it their all. The singing, to be perfectly honest, was nothing special. To be frank, Goto Maki was much better than Aichan was here, and the others never wowed me. 

Though she IS fierce here

However, it was the dancing and the energy of this performance that made it really entertaining to watch. The five performers were all really excellent at performing, and it was so high energy that it made me forget the low energy-ness of Aisu Kuriimu. High-King's never been my favorite unit ever (I love Maimi but I don't really care that much about the others), but they really impressed me here. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hello! Project Fankora Concert Review- pt 3

Maji Bomber!!

Sorry to all you Berryz Koubou fans out there: Berryz may have gotten me into H!P, but as of recent times I just don't follow them all that much. At all. They have lost a lot of spark that they might have had with me. In fact, when watching concert performances of Berryz for something like a review I have a little game I play, but I'll explain that later.

Maji Bomber is a pretty good song; I wouldn't consider it that interesting, but it's pretty catchy and is a good song for a lot of the people involved. It's a song where pretty much every Berryz memeber gets a solo and sounds great. Vocally, this performance isn't bad at all. Some members sound better than others, but otherwise they all sound nice when singing it.

However, this is another issue of energy; they perform it well but not great. I don't watch the performance and go "man that was better than in the PV!" or "oh man, that was epic;" it just feels standard. It was a solid performance, but nothing memorable.

Like, looking back I'd remember S/Mileage and C-ute's performances as being particularly energetic and thus I'd feel positively towards the group. Conversely, nothing about this performance was particularly memorable; it was just. Good. Except...

When I watch a performance of Berryz I ALWAYS watch for Miyabi. Now you might be wondering why. Miya's not my favorite Berryz member (that's Chinami), but ever since I saw the performance of Nigiyaka na Fuyu with the fish costumes I realized that Miyabi never really looks super enthusiastic on stage. I have nothing against her as a person, but I just observed her lack of interest. So therefore, I have dubbed her face of "why am I doing thiiis?" to be "Miyabi Face" and now looking for evidence of Miyabi Face is my game.

Like here, sort of. Not my best. 

If there's any point I want to make here is that I don't find Berryz that interesting anymore. There weren't any glaring things wrong with this performance, but it really didn't hold interest for me.

Seishun Collection

Now here's professionalism! Performing a fairly dull song with fairly dull choreography with ugly costumes, all of them look at least somewhat happy to be there. No Miyabi faces to be found!

Seriously, I really am not the biggest fan of this single to begin with. Now, I DO think it's a move in a better direction. It's upbeat and happy, which I honestly think is what the Japanese music market is looking for at the moment with AKB48. Unfortunately. This happened. Well, Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game looks to be better. 

Other than that I don't have too much to say. It's a nice performance, with all of them doing a good job, but no one doing particularly well. They all seem to be enjoying themselves and giving it their all; granted this isn't saying THAT much, considering there's not much to give when it comes to this song, but hey, I'll take what I can get. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hello! Project Fankora Concert Review- pt 2

Genkimono de Ikou!

((on a side note, I just learned the grammatical reasons for Ikou. Yeah. Be jealous of my Japanese knowledge))

Speaking of Japanese knowledge, what does Genkimono de Ikou! mean? Why, I'll tell you! It's "Let's go with Energetic Things!" Basically, it's "yay energy." Which is why it baffles me that they got Mano Erina of all people to do this song in particular and to get the budget her PV must have gotten, considering they hired a legitimate director and everything.

The vocals are fine for this performance. She has a few pitch issues, but she's not horrendous, and never sounds too out of breath. However, man, the energy level was low. That's why I made the point about the title. The song is LITERALLY about energy; the title is rather energetic. So why are you performing this like it's "let's go with slightly unenthusiastic things!"?

I've never been a huge proponent of H!P needing super strong vocalists. Hell, plenty of my favorites aren't that great of vocalists, I know that. I think that as a soloist Mano Erina should be stronger than she is now, but she's not super terrible or anything and that in itself is good. However, if there's one thing that should not be missing from a lot of H!P songs it's energy. They don't always require amazing vocals (though some do; I'm looking at you, Ayaya), but they do require their performer to have the right level of energy and ManoEri just did NOT deliver the genki for this performance.

They also need to start training her on stage presence; I like her well enough as an idol, but man if you ALWAYS need four background dancers to fill the stage and you're a soloist, then that's a problem.

I don't need THAT much from an idol. But come on. It's the title of the song; energy should be a given.

Dance de Bakoon!

I've got it! C-ute stole Mano Erina's energy!

In all seriousness, THIS is what I'm talking about when I'm talking about energy and what I need from idols. None of the girls here have perfect vocals; not even Airi or Chisato. I'd say that no one here is bad and that they're all very good in their own right, but it's not the greatest vocals ever. Why? Because they're giving it all they've got into the dancing and the energy of the song, and so their singing skills suffer just a little.

The dancing here is INTENSE; I swear, these girls gave it their all and I'm beyond impressed. Lately I've been really into C-ute, mostly in thanks to my friend Dani who adores Nakky. This is the type of performance that confirms the reasoning behind liking them so much as of late. The energy here is intense.

Maimiiiii <333 and fierce!Airirin

I even like this performance better than in the PV; all the girls are performing their best, they all look very much into it. This is one of those performances that is super fun to watch and that I just have to love. At this point in the concert, only four songs in, I'm just thinking that this is the song and group to live up to. 

Hello! Project Fankora Concert Review- pt 1

I haven't forgotten about my other review in the works; not at all. I'm still working on finishing my Gatas review. However, I decided I wanted to review Fankora while it was still relevant, whereas Gatas might not have another concert TO review.

So, here's Fankora! First off the bat I'm a bit disappointed that they only had ONE concert to review, especially since it's the one I was possibly LEAST excited about. Oh dear God I have to review Zoku. So it's a bit disappointing I can't see the Tanpopo# performance I wanted to see, however I still like the idea that they took fan contributions and did a lot of older numbers (even if they didn't use my super epic suggestion of doing I&YOU&I&YOU&I *grumble*)

All For One and One For All

What a way to start out a concert; this IS the quintessential H!P as a whole song, excluding Hello! no Theme (HELLO HELLO HELLO DANCING...). However, I realized when watching this that it was the first time that we saw All For One without the Elder Club involved (if I recall correctly), and so...

We start with Takahashi and Niigaki. And then I realize. Oh my goodness. This is the Mobekimasu version of All For One. Why do I have to endure this?

This isn't to say I dislike Mobekimasu; not at all. I like them. However, the fact that it's not Yuko, Nacchi and Kaorin singing the first line just makes a little bit die inside.

I did like that the beginning started out with all of Morning Musume's generations; it's as if H!P's saying "Yeah, MM>>the rest of them, woo!" I mean, I do miss the old distribution of lines, I really do. But that's not super feasible without having a few Country Musume members to throw in, good soloists to throw in (why hello there, Yukidon; how's enka-town?) etc. After a while, this song just gets to be really long. The one thing that made this song so good originally was that it WAS all of H!P; all 45-46 members of Hello!Project, with a bunch of different generations, showing just how vast H!P was but having all of them sing a song. It's showing H!P's history and the importance of each generation within the collective whole.

However, after MM's generations, it just shuffles through the Mobekimasu order; MM, Berryz, C-ute, ManoEri and S/Mileage a few times. It's slightly repetitive. 

(And goodness, whyyy did the unit I've been least impressed with lately have to sing the 4th gen lines? *sigh*)

The performance itself was OK. It was really nothing special, and honestly I got kind of bored part way through it. I mean, a few of them looked like they were into it (C-ute in particular, S/Mileage too) but about half way through there's really not that much energy left and it's kind of a let down. This is a song to perform with an abundance of energy, not holding it back. At one point I was looking through the Eggs to try and find my favorite, Sekine Azusa.

C'mon, Sekkii, I know you're in there somewhere....

All in all (haha, see what I did there?) this is another performance to remind me yet again how much I miss the Elder Club. I don't care how legit a decision it was, Tsunku, the Mobekimasu groups haven't gotten better songs or PVs since they left; bring back the Elders. 


It's a VTR. What do I have to say. Well. A couple of odds and ends.

1. Best MC roster. Ever.

Makoto's a pimp. Yossy's the pimp. We all win. Makoto, please never stop being the one male member of Hello!Project. You make everything more epic and more amazing. I hope to study abroad in Japan when the 2012 H!P summer concert will take place. I will cheer hard for Makoto. I was surprised this screen didn't get more cheers; there's obviously a deficiency in the Ishiyoshi wota in the audience. Wait, is that picture of Yossy from Tokyo Alice? If so, then that's over a year older than the concert. Maybe I'm wrong, but I could have SWORN that was a picture from her stage play. Or maybe I'm totally off. 

2. That took a LONG time to get through ManoEri. I get she's 1/5th of Mobekimasu. But really? 

Yossy's funny. The first MC should be funny, yes? aaaand no. It's sadness. Graduations. I've already blogged about Eririn/JunJun/LinLin graduating, but it is actually pretty sad to watch happen. JunJun and LinLin look pretty upset; like they haven't actually accepted it. Because anyone who thinks it was 100% their choice to go back to China needs to get their brain straightened out. 

Aannd to the first main group song, which is....

OO Ganbaranakute mo Ee Nende!

Yay, I like S/Mileage. I've actually had a reaally big thing for this song ever since previews came out, and so seeing a live performance of it really warms the heart. I'm seriously really excited for whenever the DVD of S/Mileage's solo concert comes out; I can see S/Mileage without sitting through ManoEri. It's perfect!

The girls here are really fantastic; they have some really nice live vocals. Even the admittedly weak link Wada Ayaka (it's OK, Ayacho, I still love you!) sounds really nice and never sounds too terribly out of place throughout this relatively vocally strong performance. It's times like this that I'm still amazed at how little they've been around so far; they all sound great for debuting not that long ago. I mean, they were all Eggs, but even still; many Eggs still suck. 

You don't suck! Cute Kanyon is cute!

Energy wise I love these girls. They're all very energetic and are all very much into it, unless they're somehow amazing actors. The dance is silly, but they do it well.

Oh, you girls be silly

I seriously have nothing but high hopes for the future of the group; they are all very solid at dancing (or at least the dances choreographed for them), solid at singing, and they jive really well together as a group, which is really important. They all look like they're having fun with the silliness of this song. I maintain that this is one of the best single songs H!P has had in years, and while I'm not super into the Bijin Mama song.

More later!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Top 5 Idol Promotions!

Idols sell a lot of stuff. A loot. So, here's my top list of the five idol commercial/cross-promotions that I find to be the most interesting/fun.

5. W Sells Cannibal Pancakes. 

I really wanted to put the one where W sells acne cream instead of this, but the idea of W force feeding pancakes to pancakes is kind of hilarious; W promotes cannibalism folks. No wonder Kago and Tsuji had scandals.

4. Morning Musume sells Pocky!

It's a classic, what can I say? Ishiyoshi at the end, Morning Musume being chased by a gorilla who is probably Tsunku with his creeper face at the end. Also, Morning Musume did a LOT with Glico and pocky, having Yes! Pocky Girls on the 5th album and a 2 minute video of each member tasting mousse pocky and going "OH IT'S LIKE SEX IN THE MOUTH." So. Classic gets 4th.

3. "Yes, I need to sell some tea. Or crackers. Or rice. Or soap?" "Call Matsuura Aya!"

Kind of cheating, but seriously. Ayaya can sell ANYTHING. The above is Ayaya singing with a couple of models backdancing. Uh, yeah, that made me want to buy some pretz.

^THAT is to sell tea. I don't even know what's going on. But I feel like a lot of the time advertisers are like "what to do to sell tea... CALL AYA."

She just sings. And pours tea. And this is considered effective sales tactics. Therefore, Ayaya can sell anything to anyone.

2. What do I want for Dinner? Ohhhhhhh MEAT!! :D

Again, slightly cheating. It's Rika. But seriously; "Hmm, we want to sell meat... Ishikawa Rika singing and dancing!" And apparently this song (Rika singing different types of beef products) was played in grocery stores. Kind of fantastic. I approve.

1. "Buy this juice to drink it with me!" *WOTA BUY JUICE*

Seriously, this is the best promotion ever. Get the most popular idol group right now and get them to dress up as vegetables and sing a song involving vegetable names. It's even a catchy song; I've found myself going around singing "yasaiiii oh woah woah shisutazu!" to myself before I even realized I was singing about vegetables.

Even though this is really catchy as a song and is really entertaining as a PV (I have this deep love for the costumes; I WANT the asparagus costume Sae is wearing. I'd wear it out and about.) the real genius here is in the other videos that exist.

That's right. A video that's JUST your idols drinking juice. The title has "together" in it so I assume the video's basically "drink juice with me!" If this isn't an amazing tactic I don't know what is. "I want to drink juice with my idol! Let's go out and buy this brand so I can feel connected to Lovetan/Miichan/Acchan/whoever." The sad thing is, if I were in Japan I'd totally do that.

So therefore, the Yasai Sisters of AKB48 are THE best idol promotions ever!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Silly Akimoto Sayaka, Sleepovers aren't for Idols!

Recently, many pictures and allegations have appeared of AKB48 member, Team K's Akimoto Sayaka (22) spending the night with Hiroi Ouji (56), or at least him staying over at her house and leaving in the morning.

The main problem here actually isn't so much about Sayaka having a man stay the night, even though he is much older than her, more extreme than Kago Ai's relationship with an older man (in his 30s); it's that Hiroi Ouji produced the AKB musical (that Sayaka was one of the leads for) and he also wrote a musical this year that Sayaka was in; this is making people wonder if Sayaka got these parts legitimately.

This has caused Sayaka to step down from her position as Team K's leader, even though she's still going to be a member of AKB48's team K.

The one thing I've noticed is that this is bringing up all the questions that come up with scandals; is the dating rule fair? Should an idol's personal life be kept to herself? Are they REALLY just "Playing Playstation?" (though Sayaka and the producer claimed that they were doing work related discussions and he just fell asleep. Needed the Nacchi reference.)

I really think that fans of Sayaka shouldn't be complaining all that much; I don't think that being a leader is as big of a deal as the title sounds like, and she's not leaving AKB48; she just doesn't have this position anymore. As far as the dating rule goes, I honestly don't mind it all that much. Sure, it's a little much; however, since both male and female idols have this rule AND it's pretty standard, so idols know what they're getting into when they get into the business, I feel it's pretty valid. I love to sing, perform and if the chance came up I'd take a chance and become an idol, knowing the restrictions.

I don't know if I necessarily believe Sayaka's story or not; it feels rather suspicious. Still, from what I can tell AKB48 treated this well and I don't think that fans of Sayaka have much to worry about.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

v-u-den: Not JUST the Fanservice Group

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Ishikawa Rika, and I enjoy groups she's in. However, that's not to say that I like every group she's ever in; I RARELY listen to EcoMoni and I almost always regret that. I also prefer some groups over her groups.

However, when reading blogs, I almost always see "v-u-den only existed for fanservice" and I have to wonder if they've seen all of v-u-den's songs/PVs; I admit that there's fanservice to be had in the later singles of v-u-den, but calling it a blanket 'fanservice group' really does injustice to a lot of v-u-den's stuff, especially the earlier stuff that is pretty nearly fanservice free. Aisu Kuriimu to My Purin and Jajauma Paradise have fanservice, yes, but what about some of their less remembered singles, Koi no Nukegara, Hitorijime and Kurenai no Kisestsu?

SO this is a little primer about v-u-den and the fanservice levels. I will rate each single (the main song, not the B-sides, though I don't necessarily think there's fanservice in the lyrics of any B-side) by the costume, the dance, the PV itself and the song. I'll give it an unofficial "how I would feel if young!H!P Kids sang this song" rating and then I'll give my final remarks with the overall averaged score.

Each rating goes from 1 to 10; 1 is Jankenpyon, most Mini Moni stuff, Piriri to Yukou, etc. If you find this in anyway appealing it's YOU, not the PV. 10 is Some Boys! Touch, some of the things in Heavy Rotation, etc. REALLY heavy fanservice.

So, let's go in order and see how each is rated~

Koi no Nukegara

Costumes:  The only thing I can see here that would POSSIBLY offend is that Miyoshi Erika has some midriff showing; otherwise, they're long and flowy dresses, which is really what I think of as the opposite of fanservice. There's nothing form fitting or revealing about them, unless you really like shoulders or ankles, and then you're in luck. I'll give this a 2 just because of Erika, but really this isn't fanservice. 2

Dance:  This isn't very fanservicey; there are a few times where they move their shoulders or bend over slightly (though this doesn't show any cleavage) that could be perceived in that way, but I really don't see too much in it. It's a very swishy (um, new adjective?) dance that plays a lot with their flowing dresses. I'm going to give it a bit of a generous score because there's some bending over slightly (though not really sexy?) and they sometimes move a bit with their dresses, but really this isn't. bad. 3

PV:  There are some kinds of smoldering looks, but the PV is MAINLY dance shot+ close ups + them walking + flowers. There are a few low-ish angles and they make some faces but those are more.. concerned/serious than sexy. 2

Song: It's about love; they ask a "Mr. Doctor Love" to look them over to see if they're OK. It's not completely innocent, but it's a standard song about love. 2

H!P Kids Friendly: It reminds me a lot (PV/dance/costume) of Tsukiatteru no ni Kataomoi by Berryz. I'd have no qualms about watching H!P Kids (even young'uns) do Koi no Nukegara.

Overall score: 2.25 If you think this is overly fanservicey, I have no idea what you're talking about.

Kacchoiize! Japan

Costumes: These are cut more flatteringly towards the female body; you see some cleavage from Yui, but that's not really difficult considering she's Okappai. These are cut lower on Yui and a tiny bit lower on Erika, but Rika's version's pretty conservative. The puffy skirt goes down to about their knees. I'll give it a bit more for Yui, but that's the only thing I see. 4

Dance:  It's mostly punching and moving around. They do a bit of light bending but nothing horrific. 3

PV: This is the most fanservicey thing of the bunch. In the PV we have v-u-den as a bit of a love triangle, with both Yui and Erika wanting Rika. In the PV we see a couple of them on a bed, Yui grabbing Rika's leg, and general "I want you" looks. The reclining and moving to kiss on a bed is what does it. It's not quite Melodies and it's a lot more subtle, but it still gets more fanservice points. 5

Song: "Japan is cool!" is essentially what this song is. It was used for Japanese tourism or something, so it's basically "come visit and we welcome you to Japan!" 1

H!P Kids approved?: I'd be mostly OK with the costumes on a young H!P Kid; I don't really think there'd be any effect of cleavage because they don't have Yui's breasts. I'd be a bit uncomfortable with the whole relationship aspect of the PV, so I don't think I'd want to see them doing this, but other than that, the dance and the costumes and the song is approved. The PV would be, if they took out the stuff on the bed and the leg grabbing.

Overall score: 3.25.  The PV has some fanservice, but that's about it. The song, costume and the dance are approved, and I don't think the PV is all that bad, other than hinting at lesbian relationships.

Ajisai Ai Ai Monogatari

Costumes: Classy girl clothes. I don't see anything wrong with any of them at all. 1

Dance: It's the clock dance! I know a lot of people don't like this dance because it looks strange, but I think it looks fun. Nothing super suggestive here; Rika moves her body a little bit in the seconds after the "yurari yurari" bit when she's waving her hand back and forth, but it's nothing suggestive sexually. 2

PV: Nothing I can really see is fanservicy. The PV is made up of close up shots, dance shots and then shots from the v-u-den mini-drama thing that came out around this time. Which I've seen but I really do NOT remember what the plot was about because I knew a lot less Japanese than I do now. But I swear, that has them wearing even less revealing clothes than in the dance shot (Yui has a REALLY baggy sweater). 1

Song: On a slightly musical note, this is one of my favorite v-u-den single songs; it's an excellent song. The lyrics are another love song, singing about a guy, shaking feelings and sadness. Which is interesting, considering how much everyone smiles throughout the PV. There's one line about how the guy's favorite girl is one with "delicate arms and a large chest." And Tsunku HAD to write that one for Yui to sing, I swear; she has this smile as she sings "ooki na mune" like "yeah, I got that!" Anyways, that's the only suggestive line. 2

H!P Kid Approved?:  Yes. I have no qualms about anyone doing this group. I have general qualms about young girls singing about relationships and heartbreak, but there's no fanservice in this single.

Overall Score: 1.5; They wear baggy sweaters in half the PV and the other half is in regular sweaters. My goodness, they are practically trying NOT to be sexy.


Now we're hitting what I like to refer to as the forgotten v-u-den singles; Hitorijime, Kurenai no Kisetsu and, to an extent, Issai Gassai Anata ni A.GE.RU are essentially forgotten by the world, even though they're great songs/pvs/singles.

Costumes: These are probably the sexiest costumes we've gotten yet; there's some definite leg action and some slightly bare backs. Other than that, they're not form fitting at all, don't show cleavage and for sure cover everything up.

Dance:  (on a personal note, I think this is one of the fiercest H!P dances ever. I love the dance shot almost more than the regular PV). This is a sexier dance than we've gotten yet; there's some moving down the other members' bodies, and some moving hands on their own bodies and smooth movements. It's a sexy dance, but it's a lot more subtly sexy; it fits the song perfectly. And is perfectly fierce. Yeah. This is one of my favorite dances ever. 5

PV: To be honest, this is kind of a bit of a boring PV. Close ups and dance shots, and shots of the girls looking all sultry and sad. But nothing fanservicey! There aren't any weird cleavage shots or anything. Tame. 2

Song: As one would expect from the title, it's a sad song about wanting someone all to themselves and being sad. There's a small part about the guy they're into kissing another girl. Which is hard to imagine, considering it's the v-u-den girls. I can't imagine why they'd want to cheat on them. But I digress, it's not bad; there's relationship things, which makes it not a 1. But nothing like, sexy. 3

H!P Kid approved?: Everything but the dance. I don't know if I want to see young!H!P Kids being all sultry and dancing around like v-u-den; it's not BAD, but it's definitely more mature than kids stuff.

Overall Rating: 3.5. Another tame v-u-den single. There's a bit of suggestive dancing but it's done tastefully and artfully, which is good.

Kurenai no Kisetsu

Um, yeah, this is THE forgotten v-u-den single, which is a shame, because I think it's amazing. Everything about it. Is love. It's probably my second favorite H!P PV ever (second to the cool version of Ayaya's Zutto Suki de Ii Desu Ka).

Costumes:  Long, flowy, purple dresses. They're really pretty, but I wouldn't consider them fanservice. Um. They're pretty? That's not fanservice, though. 1

Dance:  There's a bit of the "Arms around my body" thing but I wouldn't consider it really sexy. It's not really a super ultra innocent dance in that it's not childish; it's very much a dance by adults, but not adult as in sexual content. I'll give it a bit of a bump due to to moving arms around their own body, but I don't really think this constitutes fanservice. 2

PV: Pure perfection? Beautiful-ness? This is, IMO, one of THE most beautiful H!P PVs. It's REALLY gorgeous, with the shots of the mirrors and just the colors in it. There's some sultry looks and a bit of reclining, but nothing fanservicey. 2

Song: Kurenai no Kisetsu is a bit more suggestive than the previous v-u-den singles; they sing about wanting to meet someone, "I won't touch you" (implying the alternative), "your voice drives me crazy"; it's a bit more sensuous than the others and it's really gorgeous, but there's a level of fanservice in it. 5

H!P Kid Approved?: While the song would totally make me uncomfortable if H!P Kids sang it, Anata Nashi de wa Ikite Yukenai (Berryz's first single) is pretty much like this single in terms of lyrics. No joke. So. Yeah.

Overall Score: 2.5; Mature, yes. A very adult song, yes. Fanservice? Absolutely not.

Issai Gassai Anata ni A.GE.RU

One of the other forgotten v-u-den singles. Which is sad, because I'm kind of in love with the song.

Costumes:  In half the PV they wear sweaters (albeit tighter than in Ajisai) and short skirts (that's the story portion) and in the other half they wear what's essentially lingerie. However, I wouldn't put this in the same category as the lingerie in, say, Heavy Rotation because it's pretty harmless stuff; Rika's is definitely shorter and cut differently than Erika or Yui's, but I don't think the whole concept is too bad. It sometimes astounds me that people accuse v-u-den of being overly fanservicey when you see the lengths they did in these earlier PVs to hide her breasts. Still, it's pretty sexy stuff. 6

Dance: It's very old fashioned, with the way they use the microphones. They were for sure going for an old-fashioned vibe with everything, something I'll touch a bit more in the PV section. However, I'm not one of the people that automatically sees "MIC=PHALLUS" like I know a lot of people do. There's a bit in the bridge where they are a bit sexier, but I wouldn't say there's much to object about in the dance of the PV. It's a bit flirty, but nothing too terrible. 4

PV: When I first saw this PV I was all about calling it sexist; it seemed to me the whole "as a woman I screwed up so I need to fix it" wasn't exactly very complimentary. Then, I saw a comment on YouTube about how this was an homage to the old TV show Bewitched and it ALL MADE SENSE. In the 60s series, the main character was a witch who lived a normal life but had to fix things with magic. When I saw this comment I remembered that Bewitched actually was very popular in Japan, and the homage would make sense. In addition, the song and the dance feel to be from a similar era. With that point of view I'm not bothered with the PV anymore. Fanservice wise there's no questionable shots, and while you might not like the PV's message, I think if it's viewed as an homage then I have little to object to. 2

Song:  I originally was all on the sexist parade with this song (despite loving it from the bottom of my heart), but the lyrics are really cute; it's a sweet song about the feeling of being in love and wanting to give everything you have to the person you love, which I think is a lovely sentiment. 2

H!P Kid Approved: Well, the dance and the old-fashioned feel's already done by Berryz in Waracchau yo Boyfriend; I'd be iffy about letting them in the costumes, but the rest is approved.

Overall Score:  3.5- I know a lot of people would disagree, considering the costume choice (which is why this song is sometimes targeted for its fanservice) but the rest of the PV/song is almost overtly innocent, complying with the 60s vibe.

Aisu Kuriimu to MY Purin

Oh goodness. It's that time. One of the most common "V-U-DEN IS JUST FANSERVICE!!" videos. Probably THE most common one, actually.

Costumes: There are two costumes in here; the bunny girl outfits and the sparkly short dresses that are not at all trying to be reminiscent of Marilyn Munroe, noo. Well, obviously the bunny girl outfits are suggestive because of how our culture perceives it. Even though they're not SUPER revealing, they're definitely fanservice. Plus, the dresses are really short. So yes. I admit. this is craaazy fanservice. 8

Dance:  'AISU KURIIMU TO MY PURIIIN" has one of the more famous dances in H!P history; I personally find the dance to be kind of goofy, but it's still admittedly v-u-den pointing at their breasts and ass and shaking around. I think it's fun, but that doesn't stop the fanservice. 8

PV:  As a PV it's not all that bad; there aren't super blatant sexy shots. Granted, it's not all that original; dance shot plus close ups plus group shots. Add some homages to Marilyn Munroe (I love Rika's face when she does it XD So silly) and it's not all that terrible, I'd argue. 6

Song:  Yes, there's definitely innuendo; the song's about wanting to get closer to someone, so I imagine that v-u-den thinks they'll do this by being blatantly sexually charged. It's not that bad, really; it has some references to kissing and wanting a crazy night. Oh wait. Berryz already did that. With their first single. But anyways, I don't think it's all that. 7

H!P Kid Approved?:  Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha no.

Overall?: 7.25- It's sexy, yes. However, the whole thing seems like a parody; like it's parodying the idea of fanservice. Everything goes over the top, they spoof Marilyn Munroe, the lyrics are kind of silly; it's still very fanservice-y and sexy, but I don't think it was just for fanservice; I think it was a bit of a spoof, as well.

Koisuru Angel Heart

This is a fairly well known single of v-u-den; in my opinion, singles 7-9 (Aisu Kuriimu, Koisuru Angel Heart, Jajauma Paradise) are THE most well known v-u-den singles, at least from my experience.

Costumes: There are two costumes in the PV; the "white angels" and the "dark angels." Both are pretty sexy; the short white dress shows off both cleavage and legs, with Rika's again being cut to be more form fitting than either Erika's or Yui's (though I'd be lying if I said I minded, *cough*. The "dark angel" outfits are pretty sexy, not necessarily by what's shown but by the attitude. It's definitely both sides of the spectrum; on the one hand cute and sexy and on the other erotic and sexy. Yeah, uh, that's terrible *cough*. 6

Dance: There's some bending and you definitely get some cleavage itself, but it's definitely not as.. glaring as in Aisu Kuriimu. It's very cute and energetic. The use of it with the particular costumes is sexy, but if it were removed from the costumes it wouldn't be very fanservicey. 4

PV: The PV itself, once removed from the dance and the costumes isn't very fanservicey; there's some alluring glances during the "dark angel" portions and they definitely looked sexy, but it's nothing too objectionable, I'd say. 3

Song: It's a cute song about being in love and wanting a wonderful summer. They want to be hugged. Oh the fanservice to be had in a hug. 3

H!P Kid Approved?: The dark angel bit is a little mature-ish, but nothing very objectionable. Honestly, it seems a bit less mature than a lot of the stuff v-u-den does, and while this song and PV is very dear to me it doesn't really fit that much with the rest of the v-u-den singles.

Overall Score: 4; a cute, sweet song and PV. I don't have all that much else to say about it.

Jajauma Paradise

Ohhhh yes. Jajauma Paradise. Other than Aisu Kuriimu, this is the main argument for v-u-den having lots of fanservice. Um. There's not going to be that much argument from me.

Costumes: Again, there are two sets of costumes in place here; the dance shot costumes with the small red skirts and black tops and the "pink version" costumes, which are basically pink tank tops and white shorts. The pink version costumes aren't terribly offensive; there's quite a lot of cleavage with Yui especially (which is actually unusual). These are pretty sexy; a bit less sexy than my 10 markers (sexy!Goto Maki and Heavy Rotation), but nevertheless fairly fanservice-ful. 9

Dance: It's pretty sexy, too; there's some hip thrusting and false rodeo dancing. Granted, this isn't too unheard of in H!P (see: C-ute's first PV, Massara Blue Jeans), but it IS fanservice. I have a difficult time taking the dancing seriously after what I call "Rika Monkey" at 3:45, but this is pretty fanservice-ful. 7

PV: hoooo boy. I really like how this PV was shot; it's honestly such a CHEAP PV, yet the camera work and the editing manage to make it interesting. However. Sooo many boob shots, bending over cleavage, Erika sticking out her ass because she doesn't have the greatest cleavage, etc. It occasionally feels somewhat cheap and a bit embarrassing to watch; I love it because it's v-u-den, but it is really rather extreme. 9

Song:  Not necessarily the most coherent lyrics, but they name a bunch of couples and talk about being together? Am I weird in that this is NOT decipherable to me? There aren't any lyrics that stick out as being particularly fanservice, but the song itself has gasps and noises. That have been done in Berryz since they were little. But I digress. 5

H!P Kid Approved?: Most certainly not; none of it. Granted, most H!P Kids did something to the equivalent to either the dance (Massara Blue Jeans) or the gasping in the song (Koi no Jubaku, Special Generation) early in their careers, so it's probably Tsunku approved for young girls.

Overall:  7.5; the song brought down its score quite a bit. But it IS the most fanservice v-u-den ever got.

Nan ni mo Iwazu ni I LOVE YOU

Sad face!! It's the last v-u-den single before they disbanded. :( The thing I find interesting is that while v-u-den climbed in fanservice as a general rule from their chaste early singles, this is way back at their roots, which I kind of appreciate.

Costumes: Back to the flowy dresses again! You see... shoulders? There are also shots of v-u-den screwing around at the beach where they're wearing normal clothes, but they show no cleavage and not much leg. It's kind of incredible how little fanservice there is here. 2

Dance: The dance is not too dance-y, because of the ballad; it doesn't even show up very much in the regular PV that I'm reviewing. Um. I don't have much to say about it. I see nothing offensive here. 1

PV: It's comprised of shots of v-u-den at the beach, the dance shot, them all sitting together and close up shots of all of them. There's literally nothing offensive I can even remotely find. It's a very sweet PV. 1

Song: As most people know this is a cover of the song off of Morning Musume's 4th album and it's very clean "without saying a word I love you" is what the title literally says. I think there's a slight reference to the guy potentially cheating but the girls don't believe it. So that gets us a 3...? I guess. 3

H!P Kids Approved?:  I don't see why not.

Overall Score: 1.75-  As in. There is SUCH LITTLE FANSERVICE

Overall score of every v-u-den single: 3.7 That's not so much fanservice. Now, before anyone complains about me being not objective, I'm trying to be. I acknowledge that Aisu Kuriimu to My Purin and Jajauma Paradise are pretty much laced with fanservice. However, two songs/PVs do not make the entire group JUST about fanservice.

To me, v-u-den isn't a fanservice group, it's an adult group. And no, I don't mean adult as in sexy, I mean adult as in mature. Hello!Project, except at the beginning has almost always been focused on youth and young-ness If you get old you get booted from Morning Musume and put into the Elder Club; that's the way it's been. At the time v-u-den was around the H!P Kids were younger, and while they've never had the success of Morning Musume they are really quite popular and they epitomize just how into youth and youngness that Hello!Project has been. v-u-den took three women that are honestly older than the average idol when she debuts (I believe that Yui was both the youngest AND 16 when Koi no Nukegara came out, but grew older when it got more fanservice-y); these are women who are quite honestly delving into adulthood, and their material reflected that; women. Not girls, women. And sexuality is for sure a part of the experience of a woman.

v-u-den's done a lot of beautiful things, sexy things, things I originally saw as sexist and just shows a portrait of the WOMAN; not a teenage girl. And for that juxtaposed next to the H!P Kids groups (that are honestly not as innocent as many people like to believe; the older H!P Kids songs and PVs kind of creep me out, sometimes) sometimes v-u-den seems to be the 'sexy group' when really they're the 'older group'. They were older than Morning Musume, Berryz Koubou and C-ute and, when they were in Wonderful Hearts, they were the most mature group, and for that I admire them. Actually, if I were Tsunku/UFA I would have personally spent a lot of time marketing v-u-den towards a female 20-something audience solely for the relatability issue, which is part of the reason that AKB48 is so popular now with women.

One thing I'd like to add is that even though I didn't mention v-u-den's B-sides and album songs (because I was JUST delving into the fanservice aspect), they're really something special. I recommend Naishin Kyaakyaa da wa!, Fantasy, Aimai Me Mind, Kyou mo Mattemasu, Let's Live! and Rika's solo Omoide wa Kanata.

... yeah, and if anyone read all that. I love you.