Saturday, March 23, 2013

Better late than never: Juice=Juice

Between crazy weather, running a cyberpunk pen and paper RPG, a big conference coming up at work, breaking my ankle (to those who know me: it was the OTHER one this time...), and...aaaaand...GETTING ACCEPTED TO GRAD SCHOOL YAY!!! (After two years being out of academics, even! Now to get mah money together LOL), idols have been taking a bit of a back burner to life.

But I love Juice=Juice, you love Juice=Juice, everyone loves Juice=Juice.  The logical premises line up perfectly, guys.  Juice=Juice is relevant to our interests.  Always.

The blogosphere was all glitterfarts and squeebombs when this group was announced.  The Kenshuusei are not going to suffer the same fate as the Eggs, it seems (mass expiry of 2011, anyone?).  And of course, the biggest hoorah I noticed was people praising baby jeebus that Miyamoto Karin is *finally* debuting.  No longer an immaculate vessel of perpetually unrecognized talent; she has now claimed her place as Lordy Lordy and Saveyourz of the ever-sinking sheepness that is H!P.  And lo, her noodly loli appendages shall redeem Tsunku from the darkest depths of...

All ever-scathing sarcasm aside, I am very glad Karin is in a group now.  I never saw her as a soloist.  She's just too social and cute to be all by her lonesome.  And what a frontgirl she will make!

If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend watching the clip of the live Hinamatsuri performance of their debut indies single, "Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakeshimenakya ne."  The performance is really great, and this lineup is nothing short of magical.  We have the very obvious choices of Karin and Takagi Sayuki, both of whom have been in the Eggs/Kenshuusei for quite some time.

It may seem easy to some of us who are sick to death of ragey Karin fans whining about her lack of debut and abundance of talent to start hating her right off the bat, but I'm here to tell you NOT TO DO THAT. THAT IS A TERRIBLE DECISION.  Karin is one of the most charismatic performers in Hello! Project, and she is all bite.  I feel no smugness or arrogance in her performance whatsoever--though even I think she would be entitled to a little bit considering her tenure as a trainee.  She is sweet and huggable, and she kicks ass at what she does.

Sayuki, another longsuffering Kenshuusei, seems to be taking a leader figure role already.  I am incredibly impressed with her performance.  She is not a powerhouse, but her vocals are very focused, and her expressions are always spot-on (of course those chipmunk cheeks and eyes don't hurt either :P ). She is easily the best dancer in the group.

Then we have Otsuka Aina and Uemura Akari, both kenshuusei since mid-2011.  Most of us probably remember Aina from the 9th-gen auditions, and a lot of us were rooting for her.  But when she made it into the Egg program instead, I think we were just as happy.  Aina has come a LONG way from those auditions.  Now one of the main vocalists in Juice=Juice, she can hold her own with Karin and Sayuki, no sweat. She has a very fresh aura to her, and there is just something about her smile that I find very unique and cute.

Uemura Akari is arguably the weakest performer in the group, but every group has to have one of those, unless you're C-ute or something.  Her vocals are a bit shaky, but she has a welcoming and strong presence on stage that I wish the camera guy had focused on more. I can see her being the sexy one of the group in a year or so.  She has a very mature vibe for her age--she fits in perfectly.

Last, but DEFINITELY not least, we have the two newcomers, Miyazaki Yuka and Kanazawa Tomoko.  Yuka was one of the darlings of the S/mileage auditions.  Even if you weren't rooting for her to get into the group, you loved her anyway because she's just so damn sweet and giggly and genuine.  Her vocals are quite precious--it is apparent that she has grown quite a bit since those auditions.  I was so very happy to see her in Green Fields with Aika, and now she is in a for realsies group.  The world is AWESOME (oshi alert, can't you tell, now).

I didn't know much of anything about Tomoko--she literally JUST joined.  But the little elves in the UFA tree  apparently have quite the nose for talent, because this girl smells like FREAKING ROSES (and also like terrible metaphors).  Tomoko is quite a good singer, and she sounds a lot more mature than the other girls.  I'm kind of in love with her voice, actually.  I was a bit skeptical of such a newcomer being right for the group, but she blew me away.  Aaaaaaand she's gorgeous.  Kind of like a Maeda Yuuka/Suzuki Airi hybrid.  The best kind of hybrid.

(starts at 26:30 ish)

The song is already concert staple material, too.  Upon first listen, I was a little wigged out by the looped saxophone, but the fact that it wasn't synthesized really helped it grow on me.  I did have to give the song a couple listens before deciding how I felt about it, but those listens were worth it.  I adore this song.  It is very unique and fresh, and it has a bit of a retro (LOL 90s) feel while not sounding dated.  That and the saxophone is my favorite instrument of all time to play.  I miss my band days...

I'm already more interested in this group than I was in S/mileage when they first got together.  Don't get me wrong, S/mileage was made of perfection, but Juice=Juice already has a professional, yet rough-around-the-edges vibe to them that I just dig.  The original S/mileage girls seemed like they came right off a factory line.  They were TOO polished.  I like that this group isn't.

The single drops on 4/3, and it's dirt cheap, as indies releases are wont to be.  Go support this great group RIGHT MEOW.



Nyasha said...

Got to admit it's an impressive stage for a newly debuted group especially since all of them seem to sing quite well. Hope their second indie appeals to me more though!

Anonymous said...

The original S/mileage girls felt too much like performers and not idols, you know? I love this post. :3 and congratulations on the grad school!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on grad school!
I have high hopes for Juice=Juice, although I've taken to shortening their name to juju. And your premonitions are correct; the Karin hate is gonna happen FOR NO GOOD REASON. Well, "Dweeb" should be able to handle it.

Can we call her "dweeb" instead of "H!P Messaih"?