Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kanon smacksdown SNSD... sort of?

Proof that the internet can take things way too seriously, news has been circling the internet that Fukuda Kanon of S/Mileage "challenged" SNSD in saying that S/Mileage wasn't going to lose to SNSD's legs and that they were fresher than SNSD.

Well. Sort of.

Some of the articles out there (in particular the ones at Arama They Didn't and at Tokyohive) brought the news to attention by adding on certain embellishments, such as saying that the other idol groups "smiled bitterly" and wrote as though Kanon herself was making a serious challenge, essentially telling SNSD "you're going down."


That's the video posted of Kanon saying those words. Now, where are the others smiling bitterly? where's Kanon being rude and telling SNSD that they're going down? I don't see any of that here. What we have here is an over exaggeration of what Kanon herself said. She might have said the things that she was "accused" of, but what people need to pay attention to is the context and the way she said things. Does she seem rude or bitter? Not at all. When I see that video, I see Kanon almost joking around, and with an attitude that's much more "we are going to try our best to match SNSD" than "We're going to kick SNSD's ass."

To me, when Kanon says this, it's not saying that she and S/Mileage are better than SNSD; rather, I'd say it's a compliment towards SNSD, saying that Kanon holds them in high esteem and that they're going to attempt to compete with SNSD.

However, due to these articles hitting the net, SNSD fans are rallying behind their favorite group to the point where after I searched Yume Miru 15 so I could watch a live performance of S/Mileage's debut single, I come across SNSD fans declaring "Oh yeah, SNSD is WAAAY better than this."

Listen, I'm not about to say who's better. Really, I like S/Mileage a little better but I respect the merits of SNSD and I like some of their music. However, IMO, before people bash a group or a person they really need to figure out the context before things are blown out of proportion.

Also, SNSD fans (oh my God I'm going to get so flamed for this): Take a little chill pill. Really. Not everyone likes SNSD. Getting so riled up over a small thing makes you look bad.

Plus, I'm kind of sick of all the hate in the S/Mileage comments. Just because you don't like them doesn't mean I have to see you going "OMG THEY SUCKZORZ."

Monday, August 30, 2010

Muten Musume; so Tsunku ISN'T just crazy :D

A while ago a lot of fans were concerned as a new morning musume song was leaked from recordings at sushi restaurants of all places called "Appare! Kaiten Zushi", a song about rotating conveyor belt sushi. Now, a lot of fans of Eri, JunJun and LinLin were a bit shocked and displeased that Morning Musume would have a silly song like this as the graduation song of their favorites. Luckily for them, it's been revealed that in a collaboration with a big sushi restaurant corporation, a "new unit" (of all the Morning Musume members) called Muten Musume would be releasing a sushi-themed single; so really, even though it's Morning Musume doing it, it's Muten Musume.

 So adorable... 

In addition, all the girls have "Muten" characters that they nicknamed themselves and are just cute little cartoon drawings of themselves. Most of the names are just "Ai Ai" "LiLi" "ReiRei" and stuff (hey, isn't there a Rei Rei in Ice Creamusume? Maybe?), but I like Aika's "Ika Ika" which I believe means squid. XD 

My favorite's a squid now? She's a cute squid, though...

I'm actually pretty excited to see where this goes. Girl groups ARE pretty big right now, and depending on how far this promotion goes I think it stands a good chance at bringing in a new audience for Morning Musume. I mean, selling sushi isn't super glamorous and isn't as glamorous as even selling pocky was, but hey. Morning Musume has a cartoon dressed as a squid, AKB48 has girls dressed as vegetables. 

I'm wondering how well this will sell; will it be promoted like a regular Morning Musume single, just as Muten Musume? Will it be played in commercials or just in restaurants? How far will this single be carried. I think it's good that Morning Musume is being given some press right now, and has something that will bring them into the public eye at least a little. Other than hearing a really bad audio for the sound no one really knows that much about the collaboration so I really hope it works out and that this can maybe help amp up Morning Musume's appeal and sales!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

AKB48 and Morning Musume (and S/Mileage) Together At Last~

Today, a surprising amount of news popped up, but one of my little idol dreams came true today.

AKB48 and Morning Musume (with S/Mileage who I kind of forget are there sometimes ^^;;) performed two things together; a Ghibli medley that I'll post in just a minute and the B-side to The Peace (and MM's inspirational song for all time) "Dekkai Uchuu ni Ai ga Aru."

Now, in the comments to Dekkai and other places I've seen MM fans criticize AKB48 in this performance by saying they have too little energy, but all I see is that AKB looks terribly unpracticed. A couple of them (including Maeda Atsuko notably) just looked a bit confused and hesitant, as if they weren't 100% sure what was coming up next. While I did enjoy the professionalism of some of them (Oshima Yuko and Kasai Tomomi really stood out to me, here), I honestly can't blame the AKB girls; they're incredibly busy, and from the way they're dancing it looks like they went over the bare basics of it and the management "OK, good enough, let's go do all the other stuff we need to do.

Despite that, though, I REALLY enjoyed seeing this. There's a moment where Takahashi Ai and Oshima Yuko looked at each other and smiled and it just warmed my heart. I'm a fan of both Morning Musume/Hello!Project AND AKB48. I love the idol world, idol groups, and most female JPop idols. Even though I liked Morning Musume first, I don't feel any resentment towards AKB48 for being more popular; it has to be good for the idol industry, which just makes me happy. I've also seen a lot of stuff online and heard about a LOT of AKB/MM fan rivalries, and I've seen a lot of people go "OH, well, my group's superior because of THIS" and that just bugs me. The groups are both female idol groups, but they're both very different, and when one succeeds the other doesn't necessarily fail because of it.

I don't expect that this will change the minds of anyone who's staunchly against Morning Musume or AKB48, and many people will go "OH, well, this group sucks because of THIS"; however, to me it seems like a sign that the girls themselves aren't resentful towards each other and that the management of both groups aren't resentful enough to pull one of the groups from the TV show. One of my little fantasies is that either Morning Musume and AKB48 or Momoiro Clover, S/Mileage and Watarirouka Hashiritai would do a TV show together doing all their fun idol things and promoting both groups. This is a HUGE long shot, but I think this dream of mine has never been closer.

There's More Than One Disco in Town... yay?

I'm working on both the Ongaku Gatas concert review that I am now DETERMINED to finish if it kills me (each post reviewing two songs takes well over an hour and is kind of draining) and on my super awesome new series about what I like about idols and the qualities I personally find important.

However, Happy Disco doesn't really fit my needs for fangirling, especially about my favorite idol, Ishikawa Rika.

Thus, the new member of what I've decided is my Disco blog series is...

~Charmy Disco~

I plan on this blog to be basically very in depth about Rika's career; if she does something big I'll probably cross-post it or just post it in the Happy Disco (that is, Hangry&Angry news will go here, Ongaku Gatas news will go here, but I might link you to the Charmy Disco if it's SOLELY Rika related). I just feel like I don't want to clutter this blog which is supposed to be fairly professional-ish with a lot of fangirly "OH MY GAH LOOK AT THIS PICTURE OF CHARMY <333" posts that I'd like to get out somewhere.

But yes, if that's something you're interested in, click the link and visit Charmy Disco. I promise I'll fix the banner that I made at 3 AM soon.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What I Like About My Idols I: Vocal Ability

(Note: This is the first part in the series of entries relating why I like the idols I do and maybe thingking about why other people like their favorite idols. If you want more info check out the posts all labeled What I Like About My Idols)

(Also note that if I mention Ishikawa Rika too much, I'm not trying to be annoying or get you to like her; she's just my favorite idol by a LONG shot, and so when I think about examples of things like this my mind goes to her.)

OK, so I'm sure there's some smart ass who reads the title of the blog post and will think "Oh, her favorite idol is Ishikawa Rika, of COURSE she's just going to say that vocal ability is unimportant." Well, um, you're partially right. (though I do think that Rika's underestimated as a singer, but that's a different topic). As a whole, when judging which idol in a group is my favorite, I really don't care about vocal ability. Even when talking about my #2 favorite idol of all time, Matsuura Aya, who's often lauded for her vocal abilities, that's usually a few things down the list, and I don't just say "I like her voice."

However, this isn't to say that vocals aren't important or aren't a good feature that draws people (including me) in when first discovering an idol. I remember discovering that I really liked Ayaya when I kept hearing about how amazing that she was and when I agreed with them I immediately wanted to watch more of her performances and more of her. However, on the flipside there are certain idols I'm sure I'd be much more tolerant of if I actually could tolerate their voices (I don't want to be killed by angry wota so I'll leave it at that). However, it's not always vocal skill but more of "is their voice listenable to me and do I like the tone?" with the one exception of mine being Ayaya.

In fact, often I think that being an idol with stronger vocals might make it a bit more difficult to be, well, idolly. One of the things that wota like about idols and that I like to a certain degree is the idea that one must support and cheer on their favorite idol (which I think is part of what makes wotagei so popular; idols literally hear a fan's support). It's almost easier to support the underdog of the girl with decent vocals but not great vocals. It's almost as if you start with
something (in this case someone, an idol) that is unpolished, it's easier to feel proud of cheering that person on and feel pride in their successes.

I manifested that when I posted a small post with a Youtube clip of Rika singing, that I posted mainly because I was proud of her. With most idols (again, with the exception of Ayaya who never ceases to amaze me with her talent) if you have one who's always good, it's a bit harder to cheer them on and feel pride like you do with the others. An example of this is if you were a fan of Suzuki Airi, it'd be more of "wow, Airi sounds really good. Like last time" as opposed to a fan of Nakajima Saki being able to go "wow, Nakky has improved so much in the past year!" It's personal preference, and the way that I feel idol fans can be, but sometimes a singer being too good (though not Aya level XD) can make it harder for me to support them.

However, when push comes to shove, vocal skills can bring me in or push me away, but they are in no way anything that makes me love or hate an idol. A good song with good vocals will pique my interest, but it's really up to the girl(s) to keep my interest.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Momoiro Clover Signs with King Records

Momoiro Clover is the future of the idol world.

I've been thinking this for quite some time, actually right after I found out about them. They're all adorable, the girls are fun, the music is some of the best idol stuff out there right now, they do amazing performances. There are so many reasons right now why I'd actually consider MomoClo to be my favorite idol group right now.

However, my suspicions have been, if not confirmed then validated when I heard the news that it's recently been announced that MomoClo is signing with King Records. If you aren't familiar with the name, King Records is the label that, get this, AKB48, THE biggest idol group in Japan since Morning Musume's peak, is signed to. Holy crap.

(on a slight tangent, to announce this and formally sign with King Records, the girls all wore wedding dresses. This was apparently to show that signing with King is "getting married to the label". Strange logic, but hey, there are cute pictures of all the girls all dolled up in wedding dresses. It's too cute to complain about.)

Ayaka sez: "We're going to outsell all you bitches."

Now, the fact that Momoiro Clover is signed to a successful label isn't going to change everything. Every label has their own hits and misses. Avex, for example, is a very successful music label, but their most recent attempt at the idol world, Tokyo Girls' Style, has terrible sales and their sales keep dropping. (Note: I am not dissing TGS in any way shape or form; their sales have just been sucky).

However, Momoiro Clover has a very firm backing in the idol business. They've been around for over two years now (they recently did a two year anniversary live) and have released two indies singles and one major single that are pretty successful. In fact, Ikuze! Kaitou Shoujo, their major debut single, got #3 on the Oricon weekly charts, something that even AKB didn't do with their early major label singles. This may be comparing different things because now the Japanese music industry is LOVING female idol groups (which, as a fan, makes me VERY happy), but the fact that they're doing better than Avex's attempt to capitalize on the current idol boom in Japan shows that there's something about MomoClo that appeals to a wide variety of people (including me <3)

While most people might go "ooh, new label, pretty pictures", I think this is rather significant. It means that MomoClo is growing in popularity and significance, and I think they actually might have a shot at becoming a much more prominent idol group.

Yes yes, we are the Momoiro Clover....

Also, MomoClo is FINALLY releasing another single! They're releasing "Pinky Jones" ( a theme for an anime) with two c/w songs including Coco*Natsu which is, I believe, being released as a digital single, as well. The PV preview for Coco*Natsu has been released, and I REALLY like this song/PV. The PV is cute and youthful and fun, and the song is REALLY catchy. I've caught myself humming "cococococococo" around the house.

But with that, I'll wrap this post up simply by saying that I have really high hopes for the future of Momoiro Clover, and I'm sure I won't be disappointed!! MomoClo has the Happy Disco seal of approval. <3

Friday, August 20, 2010

Survey that I feel like filling out

So, I found this on another blog entry(http://flyinthefingwine.blogspot.com/2009/11/hello-project-funness-and.html) and I felt like filling it out. Um. Yeah. I am strange.

1. Hobbies that you think are interesting that someone from H!P has:
Yasuda Kei playing every instrument ever, including playing saxophone at Abe Natsumi's concert tour. I have so much respect for Kemeko. I also find Fukuda Kanon's hobby of planning concerts interesting.

2. Special skills that you think are actually special:
Rika's Y-balance XD. I am not very flexible, so I look at that and wonder how that even works. Also, Ayaya and Rika's yo-yo skills are so cool now...

3. Name 2 members that you DON'T like (or your least favorite). Why are they last?
Natsuyaki Miyabi is my least favorite because I really don't like her attitude in that when she performs on stage half the time she looks bored out of her mind, which kind of pisses me off.
My other member is Konno Asami, for no apparent reason. Seriously. There's just something about her that I cannot stand, and for the life of me I can't understand it. She just seems... smug to me, I guess?

4. Now, say 3 good things about each of those members:
Miyabi is a good singer, a really good friend to Chinami, and is actually pretty funny when she tries.
Konno Asami is smart, seems to try pretty hard, and was fun in the latest Gatas concert.

5. Nickname(s) that you really like:
Kemeko, Johnson, Tettekette (woah, all Utaban), Marippe, Ayappe, Mikitty, Ayaya, Charmy

6. H!P habits you seem to have developed:
I have become much more girly than I was before I became H!P fan. I was pretty girly, but now I'm much much more. Now I also want to collect more stuff.

7. Favorite singles cover looks:
I Wish, Otome Pasta ni Kandou, Ne~e (I WANT THAT HAT)

8. Favourite Member(s):
Ishikawa Rika. Um. Oh, right, others. Matsuura Aya, Mitsui Aika, Yoshizawa Hitomi, Yajima Maimi, Nakajima Saki, Tokunaga Chinami, Abe Natsumi, Ishiguro Aya... basically M-Line>all.

9. Something you're afraid of happening to H!P:
Rika quits showbiz; that's not really H!P, so Aika leaving H!P.

10. Favourite H!M/HM@/Radio/TV thing- episode:
hmmmmmm....Any H!M with the Ganko family's alright with me. I also like anything Utaban related, especially when they had the wedding for Kemeko.

11. Favourite photobook(s):
Ishikawa Rika's "Happy" or "Karen" or "24 Twentyfour"

12. Favourite phrase a member says:
"Haaaaaappyyyyy~~~" (why this blog is the Happy Disco)

13. You have 1.27 seconds to name any random H!P song GO!:
Halation Summer (...what?)

14. Favourite season of the concerts:
um. Winter, I guess. Though I want to say Spring for Gatas Ryuu

15. Favorite food you've seen them eat (that maybe you want to try too):
Some of the food they tempted them with on H!M looked SO good. But the plastic ice cream that Maimi tries to eat takes the cake.

16. Most disliked (or weird) food you watched them eat:
When Hard Gay was on H!M and they had to drink bitter tea for a punishment; ew

17. If there was a H!P song you HAD to listen to every morning from now on, what would it be?:
The Peace!; this song does NOT get old to me.

18. Last H!P song you listened to?:
Fantasy by v-u-den

19. How you think they spend their days off:
Going shopping, hanging out with each other, etc.

20. Which 5 H!P members would you take with you to a deserted island (Any reasons?):
Ishikawa Rika, Yoshizawa Hitomi, Yajima Maimi... and I can't think of others, haha. Basically, Rika's there to keep me company, but the members I've chosen are all athletic as well, and since I'm not then they'd be of great use. Maybe Iida because she's tall and I'm not? idk.

21. What you want to buy the most right now:
More PBs, and I REALLY want to start collecting some Gatas Cds.

22. Favorite clothes/costume of theirs:
Renai Revolution 21 (the black costumes) and the Narihajimeta Koi no Bell ones

23. Your greatest H!P treasure:
MM Fanclub Solo CDS (released in 2000-2001, it's a mini disc of each member at the time with their own solo song, sold only to fanclub members at the time).

24. What you would do if you had a chance to spend 1 day with a H!P member and who would it be:
Ishikawa Rika; I'd spend the day hanging out with her, shopping, doing fun things. She has such a fun/silly personality that I feel like doing anything like that would be a hilarious experience.

25. The best overall looking girl in H!P, GO!:
....Ishikawa Rika (my bias knows no bounds... seriously, though, this woman is GORGEOUS)

26. Which H!P song relieves your stress:
Ayaya's album "Double Rainbow"

27. A moving H!P scene:
Yossy's speech at Rika's graduation; about how "dad" wants to talk (since Yossy's "dad" and Rika's "mom"), about how both of them will be leading a group at the same time.. and then at the end of the graduation concert, how Rika runs around greeting everyone WITH Yossy, instead of by herself. I love the two of them together.

28. Actually, I...:
had Momoko as my first favorite in H!P; quite a bit ago.

30. What would you want to scream to the members if you knew no one could hear you:

31. The thing that's made you most happy (being a Hello Project fan):
So much. I've made wonderful friends because of Hello!Project and I know I'll make more in the future. I love the music, the idols, and it just lifts my spirits SO mcuh.

32. The thing that's made you most sad (being a Hello Project fan):
Elder Club graduation. I loved those Elder Club concerts.

33. What do you want H!P to do in the future?
Get better songs, better PVs and be motivated to bring back their reputation.

34. Most respected member(s):
Ishikawa Rika; she's done multiple TV shows where she's gone to an impoverished third world country, treated the people she's met with respect and dignity, and highlighted the need in the place. After I saw her go to Kenya and... forgetting which country and treat everyone she met with such respect and started trying her best to help them with their work, not afraid to get dirty. That's when I knew that I respected her SO much.

(that, and her stories of how she turned her negativity/depression around and created the Charmy character).

35. Somewhere you'd like the next H!P member to travel to for a PB:
Somewhere fun in the US that ISN'T Hawaii; I'd actually think it would be fun to have a PB with some snow, the H!P member in a jacket and snow pants, playing with snowballs...

36. Favorite song:
The Peace!

37. Your impressions/reactions of your first concert:
....This. is. too. cute.

38. Any changes from ^then^?

39. The most memorable concert:
Elder Club graduation, v-u-densetsu V (AKA the last v-u-den concert)

40. What you'd be doing if you weren't a fan:
Being a full-time AKB fan. Yeah, I went there.

41. The most fun part of being a fan:
Meeting friends, working on my blog, yay.

42. The hardest part of being a fan:
Not enough people like it in the US.

43. What got you in to H!P?:
I saw a video to Berryz Koubou's Gag 100Kaibun Aishite Kudasai. Went "THAT IS CUUUUTE" and was a fan.

44. Do you think you will still be a fan 5 years from now?
I'll definitely still love the OG/M-Line that I love right now, but I really want Tsunku/UFA to work harder. But I'll for sure still love the members I love right now.

45. A member you miss:
All of the Elder club that left. Rika, Ayaya, Yossy, Nacchi, the works. Gocchin, too.

46. Do you actually understand all of the lyrics to the songs?
I like looking at translations and I can get SOME of it, but not all.

47. Do you actually know another fan in person?
No... my sister likes some songs and listens to Berryz/C-ute sometimes, but I don't know if she's a "fan.

48. A message for Tsunku:
Tsunku. Hi. Look at how popular AKB48 is. Japan LIKES female idol groups now. NOW is the time to invest in better songs, better PVs and raise the profile of Hello!Project. Come on.

49. A message for your favorite member(s):
Thank you so much for improving my life significantly and cheering me up when I'm down.

50. A message for your least favorite member(s):
....hi. Can you connect me to my favorites, please?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

C-ute PV- Dance de Bakoon!

When I first heard the title to C-ute's newest single "Dance de Bakoon!" I immediately thought of a silly song akin to Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance or S/Mileage's recent "OO Ganbaranakute mo Ee Nende". Maybe it was just me, but I pronounced Bakoon like "buhkoooon" with an 'u' sound and it sounded really silly to me. So, keeping that in mind, the first concert/radio rips I heard of the song were disappointing to me. According to JPopStop "Dance de Bakoon" translates to "Dance with a Smash!", so the rock feel to the song really fits the title, but I initially couldn't get into the song.

However, the more that I listen to Dance de Bakoon the more I like it. Right now the one issue that I have with the song itself is that it feels disjointed. The verses all have this rock feel, which is cool, but then the choruses have a more dance/pop feel that I actually kind of like better. So every time I get to the chorus I think something like "OH YES, YAAAY" though the verses (especially the "jajajaja" bits) are endearing themselves to me. I admit I wasn't really wowed by this song when I first heard the concert audio and the radio rip, but it's really grown on me and I definitely like it a lot better than SHOCK or Campus Life.

An issue a lot of C-ute fans have is the line distribution, so I think I'll take a few sentences to address that. I'm going to have to get it out of the way that I am very very much biased towards Yajima Maimi. I think she's a fantastic leader, idol, dancer and I really like the sound of her voice. That being said, I actually like the line distribution here. I think that the Airi/Maimi lead dynamic has worked in the past and has proven to be a solid combination. All the members get at least three solos (Chisato gets four) so the song isn't completely Airi/Maimi, but Nakky, Chisato and Mai all get some solos. I'd personally want more of Nakajima Saki because I think she's adorable and she's my second favorite member of C-ute to Maimi, but all in all this is a better song for line distribution than SHOCK and Campus Life.

This is a fairly simple H!P PV and definitely does not have the budget alloted for Mano Erina's Genkimono de Ikou that I covered in my last post. It's dance shot, close-ups, a few variations on the dance shot and some model walking in different outfits. The whole thing is obviously green screened with no real location other than two main green screen backgrounds (one with lights and one without as many) and a runway screen.

However, the more I watched Dance de Bakoon the less I minded the obvious green-screening. In the far off dance shots where you see more of the floor and they aren't backed by lights I really don't like the background (it looks too fake) but when it comes closer it looks pretty nice.

So fake looking I can hardly stand it....

However, the more I've seen this PV, I really get past the cheesy background and watch more of the girls, and how fun it is. I normally really want originality in an H!P PV so after I saw it for the first time I thought that I would hate it but, surprisingly enough, I love this PV. I really think it's shot well and that itself makes it commendable, but more than that the PV is FUN. From the beginning, when the girls all do poses until the end, the PV is all about the girls having fun, dancing and singing. I think part of the reason that I like this PV so much is because of the girls themselves. They look like they're legitimately enjoying themselves and that's a big reason that I like the girls I do. If they're having fun, I am as well.

It was after I was thinking about this that I realized that, at least to my sensibilities, I thought that Dance de Bakoon's PV was better than Genkimono de Ikou's PV. Now, before I get attacked, let me explain. Genkimono's PV was good, it had a story, it had a budget (*gasp*, an H!P PV with a budget?), all things that I want H!P PVs to have. However, the one thing that continues to bug me about Genkimono's PV is how NOT-ManoEri it is. It has stories that are professionally directed with Mano Erina, the girl who's supposed to be the star of the show, acting like an afterthought. It's almost as if the director/UFA is saying "Yes, we know that Mano Erina isn't selling anything; let's try to sell...professionalism?" However, despite Dance de Bakoon being potentially budget challenged and unoriginal, it at least centers around the most important things for an idol PV; the idols. C-ute really shines in this PV, having fun and lighting up the camera. I keep writing about them "having fun" but it's true; I'd much rather watch idols having fun, being themselves and rocking it for the camera than a professionally done PV with barely any idol in it.

Honestly, it's a matter of preference, but I do know that when it comes to watching the PVs, I know which PV I'll come back to and which one I'll just listen to the song instead.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mano Erina- Genkimono de Ikou!

Recently, on the Upfrontchannel (the YouTube for Hello!Project related videos) the PV to Mano Erina's newest single (or at least one of the PVs...?), Genkimono de Ikou!, came out.

I actually really like the song. In my opinion, Mano Erina's two last singles (Haru no Arashi and Onegai Dakara) were actually pretty boring songs. The only reason I really watched the Haru no Arashi PV was to see my favorite H!P Egg (Sekine Azusa) get SOME semblance of spotlight. In Onegai Dakara I really didn't like ManoEri's voice (when she sings the high notes of "Onegai dakara" I can barely stand to listen). However, this is a really fun, catchy song that doesn't even sound like some of ManoEri's slower (and quite frankly a bit more boring) music. I saw a review of this call it just typical idol music, and I kind of agree. But unlike that reviewer, to me it's a positive thing. I LOVE positive/happy idol music. It's why I'm blogging about idols and not about other artists. This is probably one of my favorite ManoEri songs to date.

The PV is... I'm conflicted. On the one hand, I can tell a great deal of work, effort and money went into this. The PV has been talked about for some time because a fairly well-known film director actually directed it and it shows. The PV has an actual story and it's shot well. My main issue is that it doesn't really read like a normal PV, I guess. I mean, ManoEri's in it and has a fairly large-ish role (as the "Genkimono trainer"), but in both of the stories of the "Genkimono" (watching the PV it's the guy in red) ManoEri doesn't have the main focus and is kind of an after thought; like the story's about these people getting slapped around by the Genkimono.....but oh yeah, he needs a trainer... right? The PV isn't really ABOUT ManoEri or focusing on or featuring her, which is odd considering it's HER PV for HER song.

Honestly, though, I'm confused with UFA right now. Mano Erina's sales have been tanking hard from Otome no Inori, despite all kinds of exposure, press and publicity. Yet they give her an interesting song and a PV that obviously has a decent budget behind it, whereas Morning Musume gets a PV with pretty much zero budget like Seishun Collection to a fairly uninteresting song. My theory is that this is pretty much the last ditch effort to make ManoEri mainstream and interesting. They're throwing everything they have into it. The song would appeal to wota, I think, and the PV should appeal to more mainstream audiences. If this one sells worse than Onegai Dakara and continues her downwards trend, I have a feeling that UFA is going to put ManoEri on the back burner and put much less effort in promoting her.

Friday, August 13, 2010

What I Like About My Idols- Intro

So, this is a post I've been thinking about for a long time, and a series of posts that I've been planning in various forms for a couple of months. Originally I was thinking about writing a series of posts or an essay about reasons that I find my favorite idol, Ishikawa Rika appealing to me as an idol. However, I realized that my reasons were very consistent for the idols that I like and that I really tend to value the same reasons throughout.

So, with that, I'm starting a series of posts about what goes into my personal decision of my favorite idols, what doesn't make a difference and what makes a nice plus. I know this is completely different for everyone who loves idols like I do, but I think this long essay/posts will be a good introduction into where I'm coming from, as an idol fan and as a blogger.

Here's the (very tentative) list of future topics I'm going to talk about:

1. Vocal Ability
2. Presence in PVs
3. Stage Presence
4. Personality (on TV, blogs, vids, etc.)
(This will probably be in multiple posts on which aspects of personality I like)
5. Physical appearance
6. Scandal-dealings/loyalty to the company
7. How I deal with changing favorites.
8. Conclusion-y thing

Note that this isn't necessarily a list of WHAT I think is important; it's a list of common qualities that I think people deal with that leads to them making a decision of who they like most.

I will be posting the first installment shortly!

Monday, August 9, 2010

With Graduations Comes...Hate?

OK, it's been a few days since the giant bombshell of Kamei Eri, JunJun and LinLin graduating from Morning Musume together has dropped, and a lot of reactions have come across. Mainly, fans of the girls graduating have spoken out, depressed that their favorites were leaving the group. Some fans are quite frankly excited, not to see these girls go, but to see a new Morning Musume that's completely different from the current one. However, one thing I've seen a lot and that quite frankly disappoints me is all the Aika hate.

Now, I'm not going to pretend that Mitsui Aika's really popular and that people all love her. I know that, for some reason, a lot of fans really dislike Aika. Why? I have no idea whatsoever. But ever since the announcement for the graduations, all I've seen is "why couldn't Aika have gone?" and giving HER hate for the fact that Kamei, JunJun and LinLin are leaving.

Let's just get one thing out of the way:

Aika is not at fault for Eri, JunJun and LinLin leaving. She did not decide this at all.

Aika is pretty close to members in her generation (especially JunJun, I think, though she seems really friendly with LinLin) and with Eri, I think. There is no way she's happy or going "yes, I win" over this. Aika's not some maniacal "let me try to get rid of the others" person. I doubt she's happy to lose her friends like this.

Secondly, all of the girls leaving have relatively normal reasons, more or less. Eri's is inavoidable; she has a skin condition that being in Morning Musume, performing whilst covered in make-up and sweat, can NOT be good for. JunJun and LinLin are leaving under much less clear-cut terms, but they were different from Aika from the start, being literally referred to as "foreign exchange students." Exchange, implying that they're learning and going back, which is just what's happening right now.

While the rest of 8th gen is leaving, that doesn't mean that Aika should or has to. I just don't understand all the hate that's been happening lately. So, with my best Chris Crocker impression, all I have to say is "Leave Aika alone."

Also, I leave you with proof of Aika and 8th gen's amazingness.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Graduations and Auditions and... Skin conditions, Oh my?

This morning, I woke up about to have a very leisurely breakfast, eat a waffle and spend the day largely away from my computer. I decide to open up my laptop to check a few things before I go and do this and BAM there it is; two giant bombshells about Morning Musume at once. One that I am happy/ambivalent about, and one that was a huge relief to me.

The first one is that at the end of Morning Musume's next tour, Rival Survival, Kamei Eri, JunJun and LinLin are graduating. Now this news I'm fairly ambivalent about. Kamei's graduation I'm alright with. The reason she's graduating is because she has a skin condition and that after consulting her doctor everyone decided it would be best for her to graduate from Morning Musume and Hello!Project to treat it. Health is most important, and so I really hope that Eri can get better and be well.

However, I'm pretty sad about JunJun and LinLin. I understand that they were originally called "Exchange students" so I remember when they first joined people didn't know how long they would last, but by now they seemed so permanent; they've been on two albums, in two Alo-Hellos, countless tours, the revival units, etc. I had really thought that they were making a name for themselves in Morning Musume. Granted they were just about the least popular members for the entirety of their tenure, but they still had their fanbases. I'm a bit sad about this; I had really high hopes for 8th gen leading the future of MM, but I guess it will just be Aika. :(

I really was hoping that at the very least the next graduation would be Ai and Risa. Now, before I get haters telling me I suck for not liking them, I have specific reasoning; they've been in Morning Musume for way too long. The original charm of Morning Musume as a group was that it rotated members, and that almost every single people would join or leave and it would be very interesting. In my opinion, that's what they need to keep doing, and the remaining 5th gen members should do it. Putting it into perspective, they've been in the group for nearly ten years, which is a really long time for any of the members.

So while I wanted other members to go, at least it's not Aika who's my favorite in MM right now. It's a bit saddening, but I'm very interested to see how Morning Musume will be after these graduations. For some time I've been thinking that H!P needs to shake SOMETHING up to get the general public interested in Morning Musume again, and this might just help.

The other major announcement is that Tsunku announced gen 9 auditions, and THAT I'm excited about. I've long thought that MM needs some new members to shake things up and feel fresh, so I think this is a great move on H!P's part. Hopefully it can get televised in some way, to bring back more interest in Morning Musume.

So, I wish the very best for Eri's health, and for JunJun and LinLin's careers in China. graduations are sad, but I'm excited to see how different Morning Musume will be in the future years to come.

Friday, August 6, 2010

New PV for Watarirouka Hashiritai; "Gyu!"

The new PV to AKB48 subgroup Watarirouka Hashiritai just came out.

I honestly love it a lot. Watarirouka Hashiritai is, IMO, the type of group that H!P used to be and wants to be now, except with way more in the way of a budget than current Hello!Project has. They're adorable, fun, and this song/PV reflects that really well.

The song itself is adorable and catchy; while I do like Akkanbe Bashi and Seishun no Flag, Gyu is as catchy as my favorite Watarirouka song Kanpeki Gu no Ne, and I think there's a good possibility that Gyu could overtake Kanpeki; I like it that much. The line distribution, while still focusing a lot on Mayuyu (who IS after all the #5 member of AKB) really includes the other members. Mayu has her big solo at the end and has twice as much as the other members, but honestly it's a lot better than Seishun no Flag and Hatsukoi Dash, which I appreciate. My favorite AKB member is Oota Aika who is also in Watarirouka, so the fact that this song wasn't completely the Mayu show was well-appreciated.

As a song, like I said it's catchy. I'm no music expert, but I really liked the way the melody of the song goes. The instrumental's cute and fun, but I personally really loved the instrumental part when Mayuyu has her big solo near the end, when the drums are the main focus. Again, I'm not a Japanese expert, so I don't know the full lyrics, but the song is itself very youthful so I'm thinking the lyrics are too.

I also love the PV, as well as the concept of it. I mean, I get that having actual guys in the PV with WH would be essentially impossible, so if they wanted to get this story/type of PV across they had to do something. I was still amazed at how bold they got, though; a "kiss" scene? The fact that this has to do with the WH girls having "boyfriends"? still, I like the inclusion of a storyline here, as well as the creativity and general flow of the PV.

Basically, I am loving pretty much everything about the combination of the song and the PV.

ENK48? Methinks the Producer is a Troll

So, apparently the news is buzzing that Morning Musume's producer Tsunku "plans" on creating an Enka group of 48 girls called "ENK48" that would perform in soba shops, be allowed to date/marry, and would focus on the salaryman demographic. He announced this at the event of some enka singers, including one he produces.

Oh Tsunkuboy (his hilarious twitter username). How much were you drinking at that event, and why haven't you repealed this?

I mean, he MUST be joking, right? I know that this is all a take on AKB48, but the thing reeks of a joke that people have taken too seriously. I mean, I seriously doubt that he'd create a group THAT obvious of a ripoff without it being all a big joke. But then again, I have this love-hate relationship with Tsunku. On the one hand, he discovered many of my favorite idols (without Tsunku I wouldn't know who Ishikawa Rika, Matsuura Aya, Mitsui Aika, Yoshizawa Hitomi, etc. etc. were) and wrote some of my favorite songs (The Peace, Koi wo Shichaimashita!, Renai Revolution 21). On the other hand, his decisions as of late I disagree with, and lately his song-writing has been so-so.

I guess time will tell if he's serious or just messing with us. I lean towards a joke, but with Tsunku, sometimes you never know...
I'm craaaaaaazy, bitches!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Saitou Hitomi got Married.... huh.

It was just announced yesterday that ex-Melon Kinenbi member Saitou Hitomi got married.

I really don't know what else to say other than that. Melon Kinenbi used to be one of my favorite Hello!Project units but they kind of fell out of my favor when they decided to break up after doing an album called "Melon's Not Dead"; for some reason it kind of left a bad taste in my mouth. Despite that,I really like all the Melon Kinenbi members and they're all really fun and entertaining people I had hoped didn't leave the entertainment business. From what I've been gathering, it looks like Saitou is leaving the entertainment business for a family, and while I will miss her presence in the entertainment world I wish her the best of luck with her new life.

Congratulations, Saitou Hitomi! おめでとう!I truly wish her the best with her husband (who, incidentally, was apparently a big Melon Kinenbi fan, which I do appreciate).

And with that, I'll leave you with one of my favorite solo performances by Saitou.

Monday, August 2, 2010

She Can't Sing, huh...?

In the next few weeks, I' m sorry to say that I might not post as often as before, though I really will try. My family (yes, I do still live with my parents, deadbeat college student woo) and I are hosting a Japanese exchange student (they hope it'll help me with my conversational Japanese). It is my supreme goal not to squick her out with some of my wota-ness. I don't THINK I'm a creepy fan at all; I'm not super possessive of my favorites, and while I love PBs of my favorites I'm not creepy about it. Still, in a goal to not seem creepy, since she's staying in my bedroom I took all my wota-things (uchiwas, photocards, glowstick holder, photobooks) and brought them with me. So yeah, since she's coming, I plan on spending a lot of time hanging out and talking with her, so my other things (dubbing/blogging) might suffer. I hope not, though.

That being said, I just thought I ought to share something.

In the next few days I think I will be starting a blog series about why I adore my favorites and what goes into MY decision of what makes my favorite idols my favorites. Rika will probably be the main example for ANYTHING, simply because of the fact that she is my #1 favorite idol, even despite my many fandoms and groups I like.

This clip strikes me, because a lot of people have gone to me and said something akin to "why do you like Rika, she can't sing." In the future, to that question/falsity I will show them THIS YouTube clip of Rika singing LIVE at her stage play; I believe the scene is supposed to be a music lesson or SOMETHING which is why she gets progressively better. But she sounds amazing. So yay