Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tokyo Girls' Style is on fire!


WARNING: I have nothing but love in this post!

Tokyo Girls' Style just broke the sound barrier. Their most recent single, "Limited Addiction / We Will Win! ~Kokoro no Baton de Po Pon no Po Po~n~," ranked #11 on the Oricon charts in its first week, which is the highest position TGS has seen to date on the charts by eight places.

TGS also more than doubled the total sales of their best-selling single, "Love like candyfloss," which is a huge accomplishment. I'm so proud of this group. They are proving they have what it takes to big.  This single deserved to be their bestseller.  The songs are both fantastic.  They are listenable for a much wider range of people than previous releases, like each song since "Himawari to Hoshikuzu" has been.  There is nothing about this group that is stagnant.  They are constantly growing, and their sound keeps getting better.

At the risk of infuriating a lot of diehard SweetS fans (like myself, btw), TGS is already doing better than SweetS, and leaving a legacy just as big.  

30 day idol challenge: Day 27

Day 27: Idol that holds a special place in your heart?

Akimoto Sayaka

I'm breaking my "one idol per day" rule for my goddess of AKB. I love this girl (She's the only AKB member so far that I have a decent photo collection of--I do hope to change that :P). She has an incredible voice, a powerful stage presence and a fascnating look. She is so much more than her idol character, and she showed that after that stupid scandal when she decided to make amends by running the Tokyo Marathon.

Not just any marathon. The Tokyo Marathon. The Tokyo marathon is one of the hardest races to get into. You don't have to be an Olympic runner (though many of them do run this race), and the course isn't all that hard (pavement + sea level = heaven). But there is an entry limit of 32,000 participants, and a time limit of 7 hours. 7 hours is not easy unless you regularly train, which Sayaka didn't until she decided to enter. Her time was only 8 minutes under the limit, and she is in superfabtastic shape, which shows how tough running a marathon really is. The point was not getting a great time--it's that she finished; an accomplishment which few people can brag about. This is an incredible accomplishment, scandal or no scandal.

Sayaka inspired me to try and match an accomplishment like this. I've never been a good athlete--I was the laughingstock of the track team in junior high and the swim team in high school. But the challenge is what I am after in this. Like Sayaka, I also feel like I have a few things to atone for in my life. And if she can do it, so can I.

Kikkawa Yuu "Hapi Hapi Sunrise" short version released!

Universal Music Japan released a short version of Kikka's second major single, "Hapi Hapi Sunrise" today. This version is really helping me like the song more. What I first saw in the short CM previews didn't impress me all that much, but I'm really liking this song now that the longer PV is out.

While part of me wishes Kikka was still under Hello! Project just because of the interest she would have added to it, I'm glad she is getting so much promotion with Universal. Her PVs have been much better than they ever would have been under H!P (admit it, guys :P ).

The release date is 9/21.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

30-day idol challenge: Day 26

Day 26: Idol with the best personality?

Suzuki Kanon

Is there any other option? Kanon was my absolute favorite from the 9th-gen auditions. Some people see her has Koharu Mark 2--I heartily disagree. Kanon is so different from anyone who has ever come into the group. She's weird and smiley and fun and cute and GAH! I love watching her in Hello Pro Time--she meshes so well with everyone she gets to hang out with, and everyone loves her. I can really see her being the glue that holds everyone together in the future. She's exactly what H!P needed, and I'm so glad Tsunku picked her.

Fairies release full version of "More Kiss" PV


Avex trax released the full PV of Fairies' debut single, "More Kiss" today. Considering all the promotion they have been getting, does the song live up to all the hype?

In short, no.

The chorus, which has been spammed in every clip I've seen of theirs so far, is the catchiest part of the song. This not to say the rest of the song is bad, per se. The music is actually fairly well written, and it shows off Ito Momoka's unique vocal style wonderfully. However, the backing track outside of the chorus really lacks punch until the bridge, at which point it becomes rather pretty, and very listenable. There's just something missing. The song on the whole sounds hollow; something I'd have to be in a particular mood to listen to.

Though "More Kiss" is likeable, it is nothing remarkable. But that's okay--Happiness' first single wasn't too remarkable either. Both Happiness' and Fairies' debut singles have something else in common: they both showed off the immense potential of the groups in other ways. Happiness has grown a lot as a group in the short time they have been on the scene, and I believe Fairies can do the same. I'm looking forward to this group.

Also...



...what's with all the boring sans-serif logos? Zzzzz...oh well, it could be worse...it could be Impact.





Monday, August 29, 2011

30-day idol challenge: Day 25

Day 25: Your favorite Idol who is NOT Japanese?

Amber: f(x)

I love Amber because she is different. I really do like the different ones :P I'm not into K-pop enough to care about individual members usually, but Amber caught my eye the second f(x) debuted (and everyone else's, but whatev.). From what I have seen of her, she is a very shy girl, which is completely opposite to how she is being marketed, but she seems to embrace her role as the tomboy rapper of her group.

Now if all the morons out there would turn on their brains for five seconds and stop calling her gay, I would very much appreciate it. Better yet, why don't you all turn off your computers and go the hell away forever?!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

H!P Singles 2011: Round 3

We're on our third round of singles in H!P for the year, folks. How has everyone in the major groups fared thus far since the last roundup? Well, as far as sales go, pretty dismal and depressing. And for a certain often awesome 5-nin group, it's likely to get worse.

As far as quality goes, well, you be the judge. Or, while you're stuck here, you might as well listen to me deliver my verdict. And I'm bringing the gavel down hard.


#5,000,000 (that's SUPER-last place): C-ute: Sekaiichi HAPPY na Onna no Ko



I loathe just about everything about this single. I thought it would grow on me. I wanted it to so badly. But I've given it about a week and a half, and no such love has softened my cold, cold heart. This single has failed me. FAILED, I SAY!!

This song sounds like an album track that wasn't quite good enough for Chou! Wonderful 6. It's like it tried by be an awesome group song like Chou! Wonderful, but Tsunku wasn't quite happy with it and put it in the discard pile only to pull it out later after some cracked-out dream prophecy told him he should. Lazy bastard.

The outfits looks like a rainbow queefed all over a bunch of bridesmaids while they were passed out drunk in a hotel room sleeping in pools of their own vomit. By the way, the bride must have been a vengeful bitch.

The dance looks like version 1 of the chicken dance. You know, the one where the choreographer had smoked a couple bowls beforehand?

Ugh, well, anyway...

The Ups:

-Though the outfits were ballerina-puketastic, the colors were gorgeous and fun.
-The PV was considerably better than Momoiro Sparkling.
-Nakky.

The Downs:

-Everything else. Not even the b-side could save it. The choreography was nothing short of an insult to H!P's best dance group. ARGH! This is the only release from C-ute I have ever wavered on purchasing. No, seriously, this was worse than Shocking 5. I really don't want to lose interest in my favorite group and first luv, but if they do more releases like this, I just might.



#4: Buono!: Natsu Dakara


Now that I've gotten most of the venom out of my system, I can be a little kinder :P I really enjoyed this song and its b-side. Though Buono! is indeed going in a new direction under Zetima, it's not as horrific as many people thought. I personally like their new direction and experimentation, though, sadly, I doubt that we'll see another Renai Rider-quality release from Buono! anytime soon.

The Ups:

-The white outfits
-A PV with (GASP AND ZOMG) an actual set!!!
-Summery love and goodness!
-Momo sounded really great in this song.

The Downs:

-80s-throwback denim outfits.
-Pervs in UFA trying to get Airi in their pants...again.
-Lack of any kind of dance shot. Even some tempo-hugging bum-wiggling would have sufficed, but noooOOOOooo...



#3: Berryz Kobo: Aa, Yo Ga Akeru


I adore this release. I love the airy, fashionable, sexy atmosphere it gives off, I love the beautiful covers....there are very few things I don't love about this. Yes, it is rather typical Berryz fare (circa 2009 on), but it has a certain spark to it that makes it much more interesting than many of their past releases. I am a huge fan.

The Ups:

-Tsunku finally found a song that suits Risako's voice perfectly. THANK THE UNIVERSE!!
-Again: OMG A REAL SET!!
-Coolest instrumental so far this year out of anything H!P has released.

The Downs:

-Risako's weird faces
-Limited B cover...see above
-A syllable is not a line. It will never be a line.



#2: S/mileage: Uchouten LOVE!


This is S/mileage's best release to date. Seriously. This is hands-down their most danceable song ever, and it also illustrates how talented Tsunku really is as a composer and songwriter. He really adores this group, and it shows in this release. I hope his enthusiasm will continue with the new members. Now if only that enthusiasm would spread back to C-ute...

The Ups:

-The outfits were FREAKING CUTE!!
-Special effects were fabulous (for H!P, anyway)
-Yuuka's hair.
-Cute parapara dance manages not to be boring Hinoi Team style.
-Eurobeat love!!!

The Downs:

-Random school uniform shots. Seriously, I am confused.
-Last Sakichy single EVAR WAAAAH!!



#1: Morning Musume: Extremely Long Double A-side Title

Now that the PV previews have hit the intertubes, I think it's safe to say that this pair of singles is the best H!P release this year. Songs are great, PVs are great...it's all great. STONKING GREAT!! Aichan is getting one hell of a send-off with this. It harkens back to the awesome genki days in the early 2000s, and it also marks the beginning of a new era for Momosu, one which I believe will be very successful. My interest in Morning Musume has gone way, way up with this release and also with the promotion of 9th-gen, who are really proving to be a fantastic generation.

The Ups:

-The cracked-out special effects and outfits. I love it.
-More musical effort and enthusiasm from our composer/schemer-in-chief.
-The kyuukies' fairly decent amount of screen time.
-Sayumi lead vocals in Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai. Girl has gotten so much better.

The Downs:

-Aichan's solo didn't really fit her all that well.
-Poor gimpy Aika.




Now I'm eagerly awaiting Mano Erina's next release. I'm starting to really be her fan too.

30 day idol challenge: Day 24

Day 24: Who is an idol that is not one of your favorites but you admit that they're good?


Niigaki Risa

I've never really liked Risa too terribly much. She's got this arrogant air about her that really bothers me. She has many fans because she has a sharp tongue, and I just don't get that. Like I said in a Morning Musume ranking post I did last year, I feel almost culturally insensitive for not getting her personality. I honestly don't think I'll ever get it.

However, she has a lot of talent and good looks, which we can clearly see have blossomed over the ten years she has been in Morning Musume. I love her voice, and her dancing skills are pretty damn awesome, too. I enjoy watching her on variety shows, too. She is really a great idol--just not one of my favorites.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

30-day idol challenge: Day 23

Day 23: Past idol you miss the most?

It's hard for me personally to really "miss" any idol who graduates because, for the most part, they all had good reasons to end their time as idols. Maybe they discovered what they wanted to do while they were idoling it up and left to pursue their real passion. Maybe they felt like they didn't fit the idol mold. Maybe it was that the incredible, overwhelming pressure of being an idol just became too much to handle. Or maybe it was simply that they finished their time as an idol (reached their "use-by" date) and went on to live normal adult lives.

These are all good reasons to leave the idol world, and I don't really feel like it is productive to lament past graduations and bitch about fresh meat in the idol world when the reality is: everyone has to leave at some point, everyone has unique qualities that enhanced their respective groups in some way, and no one will forget those who have come before. That's one of the awesome parts of being an idol fan: we "get to know" so many different people and watch them grow up. So why waste our time missing graduated idols when we can be happy for their new careers?

That being said, there are a couple ladies out there who I feel no shame for missing and lamenting their departure because of how under-appreciated they were during their idol career. And the one who tops that list is, without question:


Linlin

Linlin was flawless. She had a funny, quirky and outgoing personality, she was smart and adaptable, and she was one of the strongest vocalists Morning Musume ever had. She was one of the only members I ever saw do a jazz solo--and do it WELL, at that.

Having been a formal student of voice for almost 15 years myself, I can tell you from experience that good jazz singing is far from being easy. Being as I am also cursed with perfect pitch, one thing I can't stand about some jazz singing is blue notes, which are very common in jazz. Blue notes are a really fantastic artistic move in jazz vocals, but they drive me nuts 90% of the time because they are in that nebulous, mathematically frustrating area between actual notes, and my ears don't like that very much.

But I could listen to Linlin hit them all day. She divided by zero, and it made total sense to my perfectionist brain.

I miss her because H!P never gave her a chance. I have my theories as to why, but those don't matter. The point is that Linlin really could have been something great and memorable (not that she isn't already, but you get my point, yes?). H!P chewed her up and spit her out without so much as a courtesy PB to her name. That shouldn't happen to someone as awesome as Linlin.

Friday, August 26, 2011

30-day idol challenge: Day 22

Day 22: Favorite idol costume?

Costumes come in many shapes, sizes and states of ugly. It's rare, from what I've seen, for costumes (especially in H!P) to reach a happy medium in a world of extremes: from shapeless/excessively frilly to holycrapSKIMPY (not that there's much wrong with that :P).

For a costume to be good in my eyes, it must meet a few criteria.


THE DON'TS OF GREAT IDOL COSTUMES:

  • DON'T infantilize the performers. I think costumes should try to be age-appropriate (with a little room for error on the grown-up side), don't get me wrong. However, it honestly bothers me more to see 18, 19, 20-something years-old women wearing frilly lolitastic getups than it does to see 13, 14 year olds in sheath dresses. Maybe I'll wax poetic on why later.
  • DON'T do too many brights. Bright is awesome, but there is such a thing a too much. I would like to keep my retinas intact until I die, thanks.
  • DON'T do shapeless sack garments (Fankora 2010, I'm looking at you...). There's a way to do loose-fitting pieces without turning the girls into pillowcases with legs. Glorious legs...
  • ...and DON'T, oh please god DON'T put them in fruit costumes. That was a very dark day in Berryz Kobo history. (Though I'm somehow ok with the fish costumes from Seattle...huh.)

THE DO'S OF GREAT IDOL COSTUMES:

  • DO emphasize those great body shapes at least a little.
  • DO take inspiration from concepts that people wear on the street. Or at least stuff people barely get away with wearing outside Harajuku.
  • DO heels. Boots are particularly nice.
  • -...and DO sparkly! I love sparkly!

Now, there are actually quite a few costumes I love, especially in recent memory (Morning Musume, yes please!!) But the winner is, hands-down:



Watarirouka Hashritai 7: "Hetappi Wink"

Cute underbust corsets, red heels, complimentary colors, and just enough poofiness to be shapely and not kiddie? I think I'm in heaven.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

30-day idol challenge: Day 21

Day 21: An idol I think has charisma:

Watanabe Mayu

She's frighteningly perfect. She's demure. She's...well...everything a charismatic idol usually ISN'T. Yet no one can escape her magnetic aura. Mayuyu is such an anomaly. I can't really explain why she is so charismatic beyond the fact that everything she does is so damn perfect. Hetappi Wink was a perfect exhibition of her perfect charms--I found her absolutely irresistible in that PV. Aaaaaaand somehow she managed to do a PB with a nude cover and not get completely trashed for it. I mean, damn girl. Just....dayum!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

30-day idol challenge: Day 20

Day 20: Who is an idol you admire?

Iida Kaori

I adore Kaori for so many reasons. She's beautiful, tall, talented....gah! I thought she was a great leader of Morning Musume--they really flourished under her. But beyond that, I admire her personal strength and determination. I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose a child, much less to come back on stage under a year later. She was dedicated to Momosu then, and she is dedicated to it now in Dream MM. I hope that, if she is able, she can have the family she wants.

Racists protest things at Fuji TV

If you don't do well with bluntness, excessive and necessary cursing, or the fact that the oxymoron I just presented must make complete sense OR ELSE, keep surfing for the good faps. There will be no good faps here. Sry luvurz.


From Yonhap News Agency:

"Japanese demonstrators held a rally in downtown Tokyo to demand less broadcast time for Korean dramas and music videos by a local television station.

According to Japanese Internet news outlets such as J-CAST, roughly 6,000 people gathered outside Fuji Television Network to protest what they believed was too much time allotted to 'Korean Wave' content on TV.

'We [do] not want to watch Korean TV dramas,' protesters chanted, adding that Fuji TV should not force people to watch programs they did not want to see.

They added that the Japanese people desired more homegrown programs on TV."
This large protest was preceded by a smaller gathering of about 500-2,500 people (most sources are quoting VASTLY different numbers) on August 7, the nature of which was, to put it mildly, less than moderate:

"The protest had a noticeable [right-wing] flavor. Some demonstrators unfurled the old Imperial Japanese flag and marched around the TV station singing the national anthem. Others shouted "Long live the emperor!" The protesters accused Fuji TV of airing too many Korean TV dramas and demanded the government to cancel the company's broadcast license." [source]
On the 21st, the vibe hadn't changed one iota:

"Waving Japanese flags, the protesters chanted slogans demanding the broadcaster to stop airing Korean programs and carried signs saying 'No More Korean Wave' or 'No More K-pop' and 'Stop Biased Programming.' The protest lasted around four hours." [source]
So yeah, you get the idea. Tons of racist assholes like Takaoka Sosuke wasting a perfectly lovely day spreading hate all over the damn place WAIT I TOTALLY JUST SAID WHAT NOW?!?!?!

Now where have we seen this before...?

Holy shit, I'm seeing double!

On the left is an image from the protest held outside Fuji TV on August 21st. On the right is an image from a Tea Party rally held on tax day 2010 in White Plains, NY, in the good ol' US of fuckin' A.

How many differences, aside from the language on the signs, the sunglasses, and the physical shape of the participants can you spot? If your answer is zero, you'd be 100% correct. If your answer was "well, but, like, the teaparty is protesting, like, health care and taxes and illegal mexican muslins and stuff," (sic) you're missing the fucking point.

This anti-Korean (read: anti-multicultural) movement is nothing new in Japan, or in the US, or anywhere else in the world, but it is something that needs to be watched and called nothing but what it is: racism.


Yes, as a matter of fact, I totally di'id.

Now, racism is a term that has sparked many wars of words, so I will now answer a series of frequently asked questions/flames that come up when the term is used--snark not omitted and Godwin's Law not broken.

Racism is such a strong word. Why use it?

Because people are lashing out at a different culture not just because it is becoming more visible in their country, but because they fear it is encroaching on their own. The fear is that it will erase everything that is uniquely Japanese about music and theater (TV and movies, too), the Japanese "race" will die out and the eschaton will come blazing down and puppies will be gay and your dad will marry your sister, etc etc ad nauseum.

Where else do we see these kinds of racist arguments?

  • Glenn Beck (remember that shiny, pasty dunderhead who was too crazy even for FOX?) making things up about a certain president in saying he has a "hatred of white culture." (USA)
  • Mr. Beck (oh yeah, did I mention he's basically the father of the Teabaggers?) subsequently refusing to define what he meant by "white culture" when confronted by his egregious lack of brain. (USA)
  • Anders Behring Breivik, mass murderer and rabid white separatist/nationalist, in his manifesto (and action, and speech, and lifestyle) talks about how his pastiness and that of his peers is dying out or some shit. Sound familiar? (Norway)
  • Every "elected" Iranian leader since the revolution in 1979 (the current being the oh-so-lovely Mahmoud Ahmedinijad) fearing the collapse of their culture due to Western influence. (Iran/Persia)
These are just a few notable examples from around the world which illustrate that though some of the material is different, it is the same stupid, irrational fear driving the protests against Fuji TV. And it all comes back to racism, no matter how intellectual they make it look.

But Takaoka Sosuke? Why him? He just stated his opinion.

Takaoka is the one many protesters credit for inspiring the protests. I highly doubt he didn't want this to happen. While he may not have out and said "Take to the streets, ye dogs!", his super-inspirational rantings (here) speak for themselves.

Contrary to popular rhetoric, opinions do not have to be respected simply because they are opinions. This one needs to be torn down just as much as every other harmful opinion over the ages. Opinions don't kill people, but people who are able to go unpunished for harboring them do. I personally hope Takaoka has a long, hard think while he's flying under the radar.

Plus, he's a Mishima Yukio fan.

Whookio Whatima?

While Mishima Yukio is mostly known for the dramatic way he ended his life, his writing had a cult following when he was still kicking. Mishima was a very conservative patriot writing in the Post-WWII reconstruction era of the 1940s-1960s. His famous short story, "Patriotism" (1966), chronicles the story of a young lieutenant who, after a long mental and emotional wrestling match with a) the knowledge that some of his close colleagues were planning to overthrow the Empire, and b) the fact that he had almost considered joining them, commits seppuku. His wife, Reiko, joins him. That's literally the whole story.

One of Mishima's more famous novels, Temple of the Golden Pavillion (1956), chronicles the life story of a right and proper twisted little boy living in a village near Kyoto who goes on to become a monk at the nearby Buddhist Temple of the Golden Pavillion. The boy commits a number of despicable acts throughout his lifetime, including smiling upon a girl's death (she was killed by her boyfriend who deserted the military), stomping on a pregnant woman's stomach, lauding the start of the Korean War as some kind of divine providence, and, ultimately, through a series of convoluted events involving prostitutes, money and mini-espionage, (HOLY CRAP SPOILER ALERT) burns down the temple.

All of Mishima's post-war writings spoke of similar themes: preservation of culture, values and Japanese-ness through bushido (which, in itself, isn't that bad, but when you look at the ways it is interpreted (including its degradation of women), is fucking scary). He's like the Japanese Ayn Rand, except with more respect for governors and a slightly less retarded following.

I've read both the aforementioned titles, and I must say, it's hard to respect his fans.

Well, okay, so he's not a nice guy. But the rest of them couldn't possibly be like that! I mean, I have friends...

As we have seen demonstrated in this country on a number of occasions: just because you say you have Black (Korean) friends and you let them use your bathroom doesn't mean that you do, and it doesn't mean you're not racist.

But can't you like Koreans and not like Kpop or hallyu?

Absolutely! Just like it's possible to have many close Black or Caucasian or Mexican friends and not like BET, Jersey Shore, or mariachi music. However, judging by the public outcry and the childish display of irrational fear, these douchecanoes clearly do not even want to tolerate the Korean people.

Waiiit a minute, why can't you just say "white?" It's easier!

It fucking bothers me, that's why.


Why yes, yes I am. Thanks for asking!

The protests against Fuji TV break my heart, honestly. Fuji TV is home to many, many beloved programs like "Waratte Iitomo!," "Hey! Hey! Hey! Music Champ," "Music Fair," and "Ikemen desu ne" (which, while it started out strong in the ratings, is likely to continue decline thanks to the angry mob). Korean programming makes a very small percentage of Fuji TV's overall lineup over its 4+ channels. This is not cause for protests unless you're overcome by fear and have turned your brain off.

Of course, there are a number of solutions for the non-problem of people pissed off about the "Korean wave." Naturally the first is to change the channel or the radio station if you don't like the music. Pretty simple, you'd think. But I think the best solution is for the many, many fans of Kpop and Korean dramas in Japan to keep on listening. There are few things that work better against hatred than not choosing to be a part of the hype.

The mistake that all of the media sources writing about the protest made is the most common mistake made by modern media in this "age of outrage": failing to mention the positive.

There is a common saying in journalism: If it bleeds, it leads. We have become accustomed to sensationalism, and the negative framing of the news forces our minds to shut out any other possibilities. This is also the fault of our news being presented to us in shorter and shorter bites--the scrolling across the bottom of cable news channels, the shortening of news videos and articles (your average honest-to-jeebus news piece on TV is half as long as it was 15-20 years ago), and Twitter are all contributing to our collective TL;DR syndrome, making us short-sighted and pessimistic.

The reality is that these racists are vastly outnumbered by people who like/don't mind Korean music and TV. And this reality will overpower the protests if people choose it to be so.



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ogawa Saki to bid farewell to S/mileage

AND MANY, MANY FUCKS WERE GIVEN THIS DAY!!!!!!!!! :'(


When I saw the news tonight, I blurted out a very loud "WHAT?!" My coworkers gave me some funny looks and I just said '"Uh...um...the news! And stuff!"

I'm so sad that Saki is leaving so soon. She was my favorite from the group's inception. I understand now why she couldn't hold back tears on stage when the new members were introduced...maybe it would have been different if she weren't going on such short notice (from the fans' vantage point, anyway). I'm really disappointed that she only gets four days to say all her goodbyes and get ready to leave.

Well, I'll miss you, Sakichy. S/mileage will never be the same for me without your fantastic voice, your laugh, your s/mile (couldn't resist), and your maturity beyond your years. I hope you have a great life. :)

Ok, now I'm going to resume bawling into my pillow :-(

Monday, August 22, 2011

30-day idol challenge: Day 19

Day 19: Which idol would you like to be for 1 day?

Oshima Yuko

I have grown to luv Yuko over my short, short time as a proper AKB48 fan. I really like her natural look and very pronounced dimples--they make her truly unique (and very attractive, imo :P). She's loud and fun, and she always gets the most interesting parts in PVs (well, at least I think so :P). She's also very close to my age, so it wouldn't be a huge stretch. Plus, getting to hang out with some of my other favorite members in Not Yet would be awesome too.





Sunday, August 21, 2011

30-day idol challenge: Day 18

Catching up again.

Day 18: Favorite Idol concert?

Morning Musume Concert Tour 2003 Haru "Non Stop!"

AND:

Berryz Kobo & C-ute Nakayoshi Battle Concert Tour 2008 Haru ~Berryz Kamen vs Cutie Ranger~

We have a tie, folks! I wish I'd watched some non-H!P concerts until now so I could give a more round opinion, but I'll get around to that eventually. (learning to navigate the idol world and all its internet videos is hard, yo.) I don't think the AKB48 Karaoke competition counts as a concert, as fun as it was.

Anyway, though I wasn't a H!P fan until late 2008, I wanted to learn more about older members, so I have watched just about every concert I could get my hands on. I wish I was a H!P fan back in 2003 when Haru NON STOP! was happening, because I really love Yasuda Kei, and I wish I could have felt the full range of emotions other fans did at her graduation, as well as with the introduction of the Rokkies and Miki. This concert was great fun, and I wish the current Momosu would freshen up and do more stuff like this. I also would love to hear Mizuki, Reina and Gaki perform Venus Mousse. I love that song, and it's really a throwback to what Tsunku is capable of.

Berryz Kamen vs. Cutie Ranger was the first concert I ever watched, when I was still trying to memorize all the girls' names and faces. It was also when I came to love Umeda Erika, and god I still miss that girl dearly. That concert was so much fun, and they looked so at home performing at that arena.

Day 18: Favorite C-ute member?

Another case of having already featured my #1, so now, it is...

Nakajima Saki

I honestly flip-flop a lot on the subject of whether she or Airi is my #1, so I can honestly say they're tied. Nakky is a sweetheart, and she's a lot of fun. She can be very mature or very giggly, and they both work for her. Her sunny disposition and playful smile never fail to make me smile too, especially when watching C-ute's Alo Hello DVD. She's also gorgeous (herp derp) and a fantastic dancer.

30 day idol challenge: Day 17

Back from a weekend in Denver--time to get back to work!!

Day 17: The first idol you noticed?

Suzuki Airi

I couldn't resist the little snaggletooth in "Ookina Ai de Motenashite." She was adorable. Then I saw "FOREVER LOVE," and I immediately was drawn to her again. Except she had grown up, and was now gorgeous. She's a standout.

Day 17: Favorite S/mileage member?

Ogawa Saki

I love my little spazball! She's such a great idol--she has talent and a great personality. I love the genki ones :P

Friday, August 19, 2011

30 day idol challenge: Day 16

And we continue on with the double questions!

Day 16: Your favorite Idol from a group not listed above?

MAYU (Sugieda Mayu)

The lead vocalist of Happiness may not be the most OMGHAWT member, but she has a magnetic, otherworldly charisma to her that I can't describe without sounding like a drunken wannabe poetry slammer. Right now, she's the member that stands out to me the most, and the one who got me interested in the group in the first place. She IS the group, and I am TOTALLY okay with that.


Day 16: The Sweetest Idol?

Since this is a H!P-related question, I have to give it to:

Fukumura Mizuki

Mizuki is really the only one in H!P that I can peg as being truly "sweet." She is like a mama bird at times to the other Kyuukies. She helps them out constantly with learning the ways of the idol world without the harshness of her other senpai. She is just a doll.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

30-day idol challenge: Day 15

Double whammy again!

Day 15: Your favorite Momoiro Clover member?

Hayami Akari

I know, I know...she graduated in April. But she will always be my favorite. None of the other members even come close to her. Akari had an incredible singing voice, she was an amazing rapper (I won't even consider listening to the album version of "Mirai Bowl" because they took her part out), and she has some fantastic acting chops. She was a truly special talent, and while it sucks that she left, I support her decision to leave 200%. I was actually going to write a big huge post on her graduation back when it happened, but April was a crappy month for me, so I didn't. But I can now!

While Akari was a really amazing performer and singer, she never fit the idol mold. She stood out from the other Momoclo members in a lot of ways. First of all, she doesn't have a very "idoly" face. She is easy on the eyes, don't get me wrong, but she has a different look to her that set her apart, particularly in, yes, the eyebrow region. When Akari was playing characters (e.g. "Danny" in the Mirai Bowl PVs), they suited her well and added a little extra je ne sais quoi to her phenomenal theatrical talent. However, for her face shape in general, I personally don't think they suit her. I do, however, have a teensy bias in this area from personal experience. My face is shaped similarly to hers, and I had even thicker brows for much of my young life. But when I got them waxed when I was 15, I got so many compliments that I never let them grow out again. (And if you do it long enough, they stop growing back, as mine have). Moral of the story: I personally think she would benefit from a bit of a trim to bring out how pretty her face is.

Secondly, Akari's acting abilities really broke down when Momoclo did "idoly" things for audiences. You know, things like acting hyper-feminine and happy. In almost every live show or variety event I saw them do, Akari was never quite on the ball. She could never fake all those screechy and giggly moments as well as everyone else could. And she knows it to this day. I honestly don't believe she was very comfortable with those events and having to act like that. It is very easy to see that it is just not in her nature to do those things. And it doesn't have to be.

Momoclo is lacking that spark for me now that Akari is gone, but I am very glad that she left and is going her own way now. I hope we get to see more of her in the future.


Day 15: Favorite Morning Musume member?


Again, my #1 already got a day, so today goes to:

Mitsui Aika

Gimpy Lou Who!!! Gah, I hope the poor girl gets better soon--I miss her!!

I didn't really know much about Aika until early this year because, let's face it, she gets zero promotion and probably will continue to do so until she graduates :( Le sads. But Hello Pro Time has really been able to highlight how awesome she is for me. She's so cute and fun to be around--none of the other members seem to feel uncomfortable around her. She has also proven herself to be a very helpful (if a bit strict) senpai. I would love to see her as leader someday. She'd kick ass.

I find her speaking voice and sharky smile quite endearing--I just wish they would quit giving her sharky hair.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

30-day idol challenge: Day 14

Day 14: The idol with the best body in H!P?

Happy Perv Day to ME!! Oh, this is going to be exciting indeed. :P

Before I decide who I think has the best body, I'd like to hand out some individual awards to the lovely ladies of H!P. All of them have fantastic bodies and gorgeousness, and they deserve to be featured, dammit! I want to stick to the active members, though--there's a lot of OG members who have awesome assets (*cough* Ishikawa Rika *cough*), but maybe we'll do a different post for that. :P



Best Butt Award:

Takahashi Ai (DUH!)

Best Boobs Award:


Mitsui Aika

Best Abs Award:

Yajima Maimi

Best Legs Award:

Kumai Yurina

Best Lips Award:

Sudo Maasa

Best Hair Award:

Michishige Sayumi

Best Smile Award:

Sugaya Risako

Best Overall Face Award:

Mano Erina



And the winner....of the Best body in Hello! Project award.....is..........





*SUSPENSEFUL BLANK SPACE!*















MAEDA YUUKA

Surprised? Well you should start paying more attention to her, geez!


Monday, August 15, 2011

30 day idol challenge: Day 13

Interrupting my regularly scheduled Fallout binge to bring you this double idol challenge post a day late!!!

Day 13: Your favorite AKB48 member?

Akimoto Sayaka

No contest here. In addition to being one of the idol world's best vocalists (she could easily go toe to toe with Aichan), she has a very unique charisma that drew me to her immediately upon becoming an AKB fan (which wasn't very long ago, to be honest). I find her unique looks beautiful-she stands out in a great way. And her Lady Gaga impression was awesome. She is also very resilient and willing to work hard, even when she isn't trying to make up for a scandal.**

**which was pants-on-head retarded.

Her entering into the Tokyo Marathon this year inspired me to train for the 2012 Honolulu Marathon. I thought that was a really neat thing to do, and her finish was triumphant in more ways than one. I will keep one of her photos close when I actually do run it. :)

Runner-up: Kashiwagi Yuki

Day 13: Favorite Berryz Kobo Member?

Since Chinami got a day already, I will honor my very, VERY CLOSE number 2:

Kumai Yurina

Since I made my BK ranking last year, positions have fluctuated a lot, but recently, my top two have remained steady. I'm not a huge fan of her singing voice (I think it was Jin at STK who said something along the lines of "Miss Talks-for-Singing"...), but I am a huge fan of her. I love her awkward, quirky personality. It fits her height well. Why those go together I'm not quite sure, but it makes sense to me, damn it!

I loved watching the making of her most recent PB (which, in my opinion, was THE BEST H!P photobook released last year and I'm so proud to own it). It is really entertaining watching her try new things--she doesn't try to be a spaz or overly clumsy, she just does it and has fun with it. Her genuine nature really makes her stand out from the other members.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

30 day idol challenge: Day 12

Day 12: Who is your favorite Hello! Project member?

Tokunaga Chinami

Since Sayumi got a day already, it's Chii's turn! I've waxed poetic about this cute, bubbly girl before, and she has gotten into no shortage of fun shenanigans since the last time I did. I really wish I could have been at Sakura Con to see Berryz live. I'm super-bummed about this lack of Berryz in my life just because of Chinami's adorable Engrish and fish dress antics. She really stood out from the other members because of how outgoing and friendly she was with everyone she met. I would love to meet her someday, and I really hope more people start supporting this wonderful girl!

Day 12: The most evil idol?

Konishi Ayano...sort of

LOL, I'm totally trolling you guys. Actually, I love Ayano--she's my personal favorite member of Tokyo Girls' Style. Her voice is great, and she's a total sweetheart. But she always has this scheming look about her that makes you wonder...

I honestly can't think of any truly evil idols--the catty Kuroki Meisas of the world aren't idols to me.


Runners up: Miyazawa Sae and Sayashi Riho


Good morning, S/mileage fans...



The aftermath/afterglow of the auditions is upon us, folks. Whether you're weeping softly into your microfiber towels, clearing out your A4 photo folders to make room for your favorite new member, or running around screaming "WTF KOSUGA" at the top of your lungs, everyone has one thing in common: wondering what the hell Tsunku is up to.

(Thank you, PlusQ of H!O for being awesome :P)

Several news sources have quoted Tsunku as saying "Based on their activities, I will decide if they will become official members." So, the new members are sub-members. Okay, we got that part. What I'm not quite getting is the "based on their activities" part. What the hell does that even mean?

Some theories have included grades in school and general stress. My theory? Scare the shit out of them so they work hard and fit in. He did the same thing to the original members before their debut. Makes sense--prove that they're diamonds in the rough. Polish them up (probably with their own sweat), put them on display and let them shine.

This is annoying. I'm not a fan of the new members' new positions. They are now in limbo every second of every day, and thus, the fans are too. What the hell are we supposed to do? Do we get attached? Do we get mad? Do we let our emotions run away with us and say things we may later regret about these girls? (So far, yes, yes, and oh dear sweet jesus if you can't say something constructive, don't say anything at all, anonymous H!O members.)

I'm truly happy for the girls who made the audition. I'm still a fan of S/mileage, and I always will be. But I really wish we could know what the fate of the group will be.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

And the winners are...

(Second-generation is ready to smile!!! /end cheese)

About 45 minutes-ish ago, the FIVE new members of S/mileage were introduced to the world. I'm actually rather pleased with the selection. Three out of four of my personal picks made it, and though I am a bit surprised with Fuyuka and Kana, I'm looking forward to seeing how they fit in.

Kana in particular caught my eye during the last parts of the auditions. There's something special about her. Fuyuka, while not one of the strongest auditioners, proved that she can take A LOT of abuse from the instructors, and I think that gives her infinite potential. You can see the subtitled episodes here:






Congratulations and welcome, Kana, Fuyuka, Akari, Rina and Meimi!!


30-day idol challenge: Day 11

More double questions!

Day 11: Your favorite solo idol?



Itano Tomomi

I love Tomochin. I absolutely love her. She isn't the most talented singer in the universe, but I like the unique quality her voice has. She has lots of room to grow, and she is more than willing to go the distance. The way she approaches her work tells me that being a solo artist is something she wants to stick with for the long term, and I can see her music career lasting far beyond AKB48.

Unlike 90% of the other AKB fans out there that I've seen, I LOVED "Fui ni." The song had a very Tiesto-like vibe to it, which hugely appeals to me, and it was unique--not really idol fare. (I also really liked Acchan's "Flower," but that song was very much in the idol mold.) "Fui ni" showed fans that Tomomi is not afraid to experiment. I love variety in music, so experimentation and genre hopping is something I am very attracted to.

Tomomi has a ways to go as a singer. But so did Hamasaki Ayumi when she first started. Her producers didn't believe she could do it. They said she did not have enough talent and would fail, but she proved them wrong with hard work, dedication, and a whole lot of hate dodging. I can see Tomomi doing the same thing.

Day 11: Which idol isn't your type, but won you over eventually?

Mano Erina

Mano isn't one of the H!P members I gravitated toward first, and to this day I still don't pay her as much attention as she deserves. But I do really like her. She's possibly the smartest girl among the current members, she's absolutely gorgeous, and she is improving by leaps and bounds every time she releases a new single. I'm going to get her latest PB eventually :P