Monday, June 28, 2010

Sayumi gets some bad press


Recently, Michishige Sayumi of Morning Musume has been getting some bad comments because she follows other idol groups. Other idol groups that aren't in Hello!Project and are arguably Morning Musume's rivals; that's right, she's a fan of AKB48 (and Idoling!, too).

This is audio of Sayu singing AKB48's latest single, Ponytail to Shushu, to herself before a performance of Morning Musume's newest stage show, Fashionable. And it's been controversial.

Personally, I don't get it. The way I see it, fans are jealous because AKB48 is so much more popular than H!P and they lash out that an H!P idol would support AKB48. Because, really, AKB48 members are fans of idols too, and they don't seem to come under fire.

My favorite AKB48 member, Oota Aika, has mentioned that she likes S/Mileage and Yume Miru 15sai in her blog posts. Sashihara Rino is an unapologetic wota who loves idols. Kashiwagi Yuki has worn a Hangry&Angry shirt. But, as far as I know, there aren't wota armies out to get THEM.

IMO, I LIKE that an idol likes other idols; it shows that they're still interested in the whole idol world and thus probably love what they do. AKB48 is the most popular idol group in years and I think is bringing back female idols into popularity; H!P fans should be happy for their successes.

I am a fan of both H!P and AKB48, so I could be a bit biased... but I just think it shouldn't be a big deal that a girl is a fan of something.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Maji Bomber PV preview

*Sigh* I kind of expected better. The Berryz PVs have been solid recently, and while they're not my favorite or my least favorite group in current H!P (that would probably go to Morning Musume or S/Mileage as favorite and Buono as least favorite) their latest singles and PVs have been pretty good lately (though their 6th album was one of my least favorite things in H!P lately). But this PV looks so cheap and boring, esp. with a really exciting and fun song. It's kind of disappointing.

She's doing what now???

It's a hard issue to deal with for fans of idols, but it's one we often do have to face; what happens when an idol makes a career move that we aren't so fond of.

I'm referring to what has kind of shocked the AKB48 fandom, and that is the ex-member Nakanishi Rina, who was previously a front girl in the group and also was the main singer in the subgroup Chocolove, is now going to appear in AV (adult videos).

Now, I'm not at all attached to Rinatin. To be honest, she had graduated by the time I had gotten into AKB, and even then whenever I watch AKB PVs she never quite catches my eye; even in Chocolove, I'm very much into Miyazawa Sae.

But it does raise the question; what do you do when your idol chooses this kind of path? It's a tough question, because so many fans of idols just don't think about it.

The closest I've had to deal with this was when I find out all of the stuff Kago Ai's been up to. Now I'm not even the biggest Kago Ai fan in the world; however, She IS part of MM's 4th generation, which holds a place near and dear to my heart. At this point pretty much every fan of Morning Musume knows about Kago and how Hello!Project/UFA is dealing with her scandal; they just ignore her. But as a fan, how do I react to her racy photobooks, her relatively scandalous dating life and choices like this? It's hard to say. I try to support and feel good about it, but it's hard sometimes. I certainly don't shun her as much as the rest of the industry seemed to.

At this point, I just feel ambivalent. Maybe I'd feel stronger in one way or another if one of my favorite idols made a decision like this (God I hope not). I know I'd still support my favorites no matter what, it just seems pretty hard to deal with. It's a tricky thing to deal with, no matter who does AV or a racy PB.

I'll Miss You, Okada Yui!

Recently it was announced that Okada Yui's contract with Hello!Project Kansai's expiring and she's going to pursue being a stylist.

I'm really bummed out about this news; Okada Yui (AKA Okappai, my favorite nickname ever) was always really fun to watch with v-u-den, and I had a bit of a pipe dream that v-u-den would do a reunion tour when I study abroad. Obviously this isn't happening, so it's pretty sad, but I hope she can achieve her goals and I'm glad that she'll be happy.

This is the Okada Yui solo version of the last v-u-den single, Nan ni mo Iwazu ni I Love You.

I hope the best for you, Okappai!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Spotlight On: Momoiro Clover

I thought that, for potential readers, it'd be a fun idea to spotlight different groups/idols/songs/etc. that don't necessarily get talked about as much in the blogosphere and give them a mini intro or nod.

One such group, and the reason I'm starting a series like this (which may or may not be a recurring thing) is Momoiro Clover. MomoClo is a pretty new girl group from Stardust Promotions (a talent agency) and features six of their young talents, with ages ranging from 14 to 16. Recently they've been signed to a major label (Universal) and released their major debut single "Ikuze! Kaitou Shoujo" which debuted at #3 on the Oricon Weekly charts.

Their first indie single/PV was Momoiro Punch:

Which peaked at #11 on the Oricon Daily Charts.
Next was Mirai e Susume, which peaked at #6 on the daily charts; it also introduced Momoka.

Finally there's their major debut single, Ikuze! Kaitou Shoujo.

Their basic concept (if you could call it that) is that they have some traditional elements in the music in their earlier singles, but they also wear modified kimonos. I personally really really like them, especially Sasaki Ayaka.

They also all have colors that they use in every single:
Shiori= yellow
Kanako= red
Akari = blue
Momoka= green

So that's a good way for new fans to get to learn the members.

I really think they are a really good quality group; the songs are all catchy and interesting, and live they are incredible (see my Music Japan review post). I have really high hopes for them and can't wait for more of them in the future!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

AKB48 Senbatsu Election Results are Out!

As I'm sure most AKB48 fans have seen, the results to the senbatsu elections are in!

Members in Single
1. Yuko Oshima (31448)
2. Atsuko Maeda (30851)
3. Mariko Shinoda (23139)
4. Tomomi Itano (20513)
5. Mayu Watanabe (20088)
6. Minami Takahashi (17787)
7. Haruna Kojima (16231)
8. Yuki Kashiwagi (15466)
9. Sae Miyazawa (12560)
10. Jurina Matsui (12168)
11. Rena Matsui (12082)
12. Tomomi Kasai (11080)
13. Aki Takajo (11062)
14. Minami Minegishi (9692)
15. Erena Ono (9468)
16. Rie Kitahara (8836)
17. Sayaka Akimoto (8049)
18. Amina Sato (6921)
19. Rino Sashihara (6704)
20. Haruka Nakagawa (6567)
21. Miho Miyazaki (6371)
Under Girls
22. Aika Ohta (6145)
23. Asuka Kuramochi (5355)
24. Masana Oya (4634)
25. Yuka Masuda (4137)
26. Natsumi Hirajima (4106)
27. Haruka Ishida (3235)
28. Haruka Shimazaki (3076)
29. Moeno Nito (2693)
30. Mika Komori (2613)
31. Sumire Sato (2591)
32. Ayaka Umeda (2499)
33. Reina Fujie (2460)
34. Rumi Yonezawa (2171)
35. Akane Takayanagi (2030)
36. Suzuran Yamauchi (1945)
37. Haruka Katayama (1935)
38. Kumi Yagami (1909)
39. Natsumi Matsubara (1854)
40. Atsuki Ishiguro (1604)

Now, I'm no AKB48 fanatic; hell, I don't know who half of the girls are on there, especially on the lower end of the spectrum. However, there are a few things of note.

1. The most obvious to all AKB fans who know some of the members: OSHIMA YUKO BEAT MAEDA ATSUKO? When I first heard this I was SUPER surprised. Acchan's kind of the darling of AKB, and is the center/lead in nearly everything she touches. Oshima's certainly a lead as well, but I thought the fact that Acchan would dominate these rankings was a given. Apparently not. Will Oshima be the one to be the center/lead in this new single/PV, now that she's the most popular? (Though it is most likely a case of wota buying multiple copies of a single to make multiple votes, as is the case with most of the other members).

2. my favorite AKB member, Miyazawa Sae moved up in the rankings! Yay~ I love Genking, so seeing her get some more recognition is always good.

3. For some reason I thought KojiHaru, another member I liked would be higher? She always seems to be a very prominent member. I just thought she was in the top five or something, I don't know.

4. Aww, LoveTan (Oota Aika) didn't make it into the single. :( That's a shame, because I really like her. Maybe, since she topped the Under Girls, she'll get a more prominent role there? I'd definitely like to see her do that.

Otherwise, the list isn't really different from the one to Iiwake Maybe, except for some movements.

Aaaand I'll leave you with the song that's been in my head all day that sold like crazy for this ranking, Ponytail to ShuShu.

Music Japan Review

Hey to my two followers (hey, neat! People read my stuff. Maybe.) and to anyone who reads this; I deeply apologize for the lack of updates; I got caught up in college life (you could say my CAMPUS LIFE HAHA C-ute joke), and decided that school work was more important than blogging. Well, I still kept up with Idol things, became enchanted by the new idol group, Momoiro Clover, kept up my love for Ishikawa Rika and H!P and such.

The one thing I've loved the most over these past two months, however was the fairly recent female idol special on the show Music Japan, featuring Morning Musume, AKB48, Idoling!, Momoiro Clover, S/Mileage, Tokyo Girls Style and Vanilla Beans. So I thought, for my newest post I'd give my impressions.

Momoiro Clover:
Man, am I in love with this group (and Ayaka! A~rin da yo!). I got into them before Music Japan aired, so I was already quite excited to see them perform live. And WOW did they deliver. They sang their major debut single, Ikuze! Kaitou Shoujo, with the most energy I've seen from idols in a while. In my opinion, they blew everyone else on this show out of the water. The only thing that anyone could conceivably hold against them is the fact that they lip synced, but really, with that kind of dancing, I'd like to see any kind of idol who could dance like that while singing. They were amazing, and I can't wait to see more from them.

When I first heard that these girls, as opposed to the likes of Berryz, C-ute or ManoEri would be on this special, I was a bit surprised; however, they HAVE been getting promoted a lot lately and I think there's definitely going to be a little bit of a rivalry between S/Mileage, Momoiro Clover and Tokyo Girls Style; they're all making their major debuts (after either training in the case of TGS or indie label singles in the case of the other two) in the same time frame, the girls are all of similar ages (fairly young idols) and the groups range between four and six members, so that's similar. S/Mileage really didn't disappoint at MJ, singing their newest single (and my addiction) Yume Miru 15sai. They sang live (unlike many) and did a great job. The four of them were really cute and energetic, and the only one who was even a bit off with her singing was Dawa (Wada Ayaka), but she certainly wasn't bad and didn't throw off the rest of S/Mileage at all.

Tokyo Girl's Style:Ah, the other similar young group and arguably the most hyped from the bunch. Hailing from the music giant of Avex and being compared to old greats such as SweetS, who were before my time as an idol fan. I have to say, they really don't give me much of an impact. Their songs so far, Kirari and Onnaji Kimochi aren't really that interesting; I think they really would have made more of an impact if they had performed Kirari, but instead they performed Onnaji Kimochi. The thing that I keep getting from watching TGS is that they aren't all that interesting. Yes, they can sing well and have dance talent; they got that from training that would honestly probably benefit many idols. However, Onnaji Kimochi is kind of a bland song that has a really simple dance until they go into a dance break. The song itself isn't very complex and doesn't seem too difficult to sing, which kind of confuses me. If they want to show off how amazing the vocals/dancing skills of the members, wouldn't Avex give them complicated/difficult songs that would more showcase their abilities?

Morning Musume: Ah, MoMusu. Despite all the new idol talent that keeps popping up, you remain pretty constant. They performed Seishun Collection, their newest single (wow, all these idol groups are releasing singles at similar times). I sometimes think I'm the only one who really likes this single. It's not as good as golden era Musume, that's for sure and it's not the best song ever. But I think that as of late, Morning Musume has had a kind of sadder more darker image and I really think that this could be a move in the right direction, with the song and PV. It's hopeful and upbeat. All of the girls do a really good job performing live. The dance isn't too complex, but I think that since they can sing live it's not a tragedy at all. While I think they're moving in the right direction, MM really needs to step it up in the face of the giant that is AKB48.

Vanilla Beans: After my friend misread the katakana, I can no longer think about them without thinking of them as "Bunny Lovings". And laughing. I honestly had never heard of them at all before seeing this show, and I don't think many others had heard of them either. They definitely are going for the old-fashioned type of idol, feeling quite old-fashioned. They're vocally quite nice and the song's not bad. I really don't know if they'll sell too well or if they have so far, with an audience that's not completely just looking for nostalgia. They're "nice", but not great or wonderful or anything like that.

Idoling!: I have heard of Idoling! before this performance, but mainly because they are produced by the same guy who produces AKB48. And WOW, do I wish I had heard of them before this. The song they perform... which has a really long title that I can't remember right now is REALLY catchy and I personally really really love it. The performance, while nothing amazing in the dance performance (I THINK they lipsync, but I'm not too sure), was really sweet. They all feel genuine and it was a really good idol performance. Looking at the girls faces, they all seemed pretty happy to be there. I love the PV to this song (not really part of the show, but) and I really hope to see much more of them.

AKB48: The current giant in the idol world in Japan. They obviously saved the most popular thing for the last. The performance was fine in the dancing and at this point I'm not even going to wonder if AKB is going to sing live (the answer is no, they are not. And never really sing live, at least from what I've seen). Ponytail to Shushu, their newest song is pretty good and catchy. I don't know, I've never quite been able to get onto the AKB48 bandwagon, no matter how much I try. I like members; my favorites are Genking (Miyazawa Sae), Yukirin (Kashiwagi Yuki) and Lovetan (Oota Aika). I like their songs, songs by the subgroups, etc. I just have never been able to be their wota like I'm able to be a wota for Hello!Project; hell, I'm now really being a wota for Momoiro Clover, so it's not any inability to move to new things. I guess AKB48 feels so overproduced that it never really feels genuine. I know all idol groups are heavily controlled by the companies that back them and I know that this is true for every group on this show. I just have trouble loving AKB48 like I love other idol groups.

So, as a whole, I really enjoyed this program; it's fun to see idols from all different companies performing on one stage and interacting with each other. During the introductions for the younger groups, S/Mileage and Momoiro Clover seemed to be interacting with one another, laughing at jokes and generally being pleasant with each other. If I had to rank the newly debuted young girls groups at this point, it'd be Momoiro Clover>S/Mileage>Tokyo Girls Style, which is actually being shown through the sales at this point. Right now, it's a good time to be an idol fan, with so much abundant talent.