Do male idols have it worse after all?

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Now, if you guys read my blog at all you’ll know that I have very conflicting feelings about the no dating rule in the idol world. I have made a few posts on their own about it. My most recent, and in my humble opinion my best piece on the subject was, The no dating rule and Johnny’s special treatment. In that post I was able to vent all my frustrations about how male idols have it a lot easier than female idols do in regards to relationships. And the post was partially fueled by all the anger I accumulated over the years from beloved idols that were ripped out of their groups because of scandals.

The deeper and deeper I venture into the idol fandom the more clearly I see things, and the stronger an opinion I form about certain things. While I do still believe that male idols are getting special treatment in the short-term, I’m also starting to think that male idols may be getting the short end of the stick in the end after all.

And this post is of course talking about marriage. Marriage is considered one of the biggest, and arguably most important, moments in someone’s life. Certain people have to fight for the right just to be able to get married, and it seems idols aren’t any different. Male idols anyway.

Think for a moment of some of your favorite former female idols. Chances are around half of them have gotten married already and in some cases even have children. Even Nakazawa Yuko’s time finally came. Now think about the ages of these former idols. And more specifically think about the ages these idols were when they got married. Female idols have gotten married anywhere from 20-40. Now let’s look at the ages of male idols. If you exclude the younger members of Sexy Zone, the ages of debuted Johnny’s members range from 18-50. And of those only a small few are actually married.

Let’s look at the youngest former idol that got married that I’m aware of. It’s of course former Morning Musume member Tsuji Nozomi. Tsuji got married when she was just 20 years old. Now let’s look at the roster of Johnny’s members who are around that age. Sato Shori and Kotaki Nozomu are 18 years old. Kikuchi Fuma is 19 years old. Nakayama Yuma and Nakajima Kento are 20 years old. Kamiyama Tomohiro, Hashimoto Ryosuke, Fujii Ryusei, Okamoto Keito, Nakajima Yuto, Chinen Yuri, and Yamada Ryosuke are 21 years. Shigeoka Daiki is 22 years old.

That’s a baker’s dozen of male idols who could technically get married any day now if they were allowed to. Now there are of course several things to factor in. Not every single person wants to get married, not every single person wants to have kids, and not every single person wants to get married that young. And that is true. But for the sake of this blog post let’s pretend that every single male idol does in fact want to get married.

The average age a person gets married is between 25-32 years old. In the United States it’s 27 for women and 29 for men. In Japan it’s 28 for women and 30 for men. But because that’s just the average age and people obviously get married above or below the average I’m going to use the 25-32 age range for the sake of argument. Now let’s see which Johnny’s members fall into that age range shall we?

Kiriyama Akito is 25 years old. Miyata Toshiya, and Hamada Takahiro are 26 years old. Fujigaya Taisuke, Tegoshi Yuya, Kato Shigeaki, Kawai Fumito, and Nakama Junta are 27 years old. Masuda Takahisa, Kamenashi Kazuya, Yokoo Wataru, and Tsukada Ryoichi are 28 years old. Yamashita Tomohisa, Taguchi Junnosuke, Okura Tadayoshi, Kitayama Hiromitsu, Totsuka Shota, and Goseki Koichi are 29 years old. Yasuda Shota, Koyama Keiichiro, and Nishikido Ryo are 30 years old. Maruyama Ryuhei, Ninomiya Kazunari, Matsumoto Jun, Ueda Tatsuya, and Nakamaru Yuichi are 31 years old. Takizawa Hideaki, Murakami Shingo, Sakurai Sho, and Aiba Masaki are 32 years old.

That’s a whopping 30 members of Johnny’s that are around the marrying age. Even if only half of them have any desire to get married and/or have a family that’s still 15 members. Seems like a rather large number if you ask me.

And these are just the male idols that fall into the standard marrying age. It has nothing to do with the members who are younger or older than this who also want to get married. And let me tell you Johnny’s of various ages have voiced their desires to get married. Johnny’s Junior member Kyomoto Taiga said that he wants to be married by the time he’s 30. Yasui Kentaro said he wants to be a father by the time he’s 30. And Iwahashi Genki mentioned how he wants to be a father as kind and understanding as his own father on an episode of Gamushara J’s party.

But I don’t think anything is more heartbreaking than the members who are older and desperately want to get married but can’t. I’m sure all the unmarried members of SMAP and Arashi have probably mentioned at least once that they want to get married. I know for a fact that Arashi members have. MatsuJun even joked that on Arashi’s 10th anniversary all the members should announce their marriages at once. But when it comes to members wanting to get married no member mentions it as frequently and as heartfelt as Sakurai Sho.

But since Sho knows that he’s an idol and the fans would be upset he almost always either downplays, or doesn’t even mention, the wife aspect. Instead he mentions how much he wants to have children. He’s mentioned that he doesn’t even care about having a wife, but he wants a family and he wants to bring a large blanket and have a picnic with them in the park.

 

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He also mentioned that if he has anything else in life he wants to live to be old and have his grandchildren visit him on New Years.

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(translation credit to onaji_sora)

And if that’s not the most heartbreaking thing you’ve ever heard your soul must be missing. We have a poor man who desperately wants to get married but isn’t allowed to because he happens to be an idol. And it’s especially impossible for Arashi since they are national idols. So I ask you dears reader which is truly worse, being a female idol that has to graduate at 25 but after that gets to have a life, family, and most likely a new career, or being a male idol and having the freedom to continue to be an idol for as long as they wish to, but in return has to give up on one of the most important moments of their lives?

And with each passing year it gets worse and worse for every older unmarried Johnny’s member. They are starting to be too old to have kids or at least starting to have it be too difficult to keep up with those kids. Now sure you can have kids whenever you want. There have been people who had kids in their 60s. And my Aunt didn’t have her first and only kid until she was 41. But going from personal experience it makes everything harder. My father turned 35 a month after I was born. I’m 22 now which makes my father 57 years old. And I was my father’s 2nd child.

Since my father was already 40 years old by the time I was a child he was already having a bit of trouble keeping up with me while playing. My childhood friend and I would also joke about how old of a man he was. And he was always the 2nd oldest father in my class. (He only lost because one kid’s father was 60 years old.) You also always hear older men say how much they don’t want a child at this point in their life because they’ll be 60 years old once they graduate high school.

Now of course you could have kids at any age if you’re really willing to, and I’m sure some people are thinking I’m being ridiculous to focus on the age thing so much, but let’s be honest having a child that old isn’t really ideal at all.

And it’s really sad when you think about this because in one sense Sho’s life is completely passing him by. He can have all the success in the world but it doesn’t really mean anything to him because he doesn’t have a family to share it with. He would probably be fine with any level of success just as long as he has a family. And I really feel for the man, I do. Sometimes I wish they would let him be the one Arashi member to get married already. But at the same time it seems unfair because I’m sure every other Arashi member wants to get married just as badly as Sho does.

That’s why no matter how big of an Arashi fan I am, and no matter how upset I’d be, I would understand 100% if they disbanded the group tomorrow so the members could go off and start families. I’ve actually kind of mentally prepared myself for that announcement to happen any day now. The members are always kind of vague when it comes to the future. They’ll say things like they don’t think much about what they’ll be doing in a years time, or they want to continue doing their best in the future. They even once said that Arashi will continue for as long as Ohno is able to keep up with the dances and that it all depends on him.

However, at the same time it’s absurd that male idols have to either give up on having a family or quit. It’s just like Kago Ai said, idols are puppets. They are alive but they are unable to feel or love. Sure, male idols might seem to have the good life initially, partying and having a different girl every night. But eventually you grow up and you realize you want something more substantial than that. But they can’t because someone is pulling their strings.

And the fans don’t make it any easier. They certainly treat idols like puppets, dolls, or another play thing. They wind them up and watch them dance. They dress them up however they like but they must never touch. They place them on a shelf until they gather dust and swiftly cast them aside for the latest model.

People seem to forget that even though they are idols they are still people. That beneath that hard porcelain is a live beating heart. And that honestly has to be the hardest part about being an idol, living for someone else other than yourself.

The next era of Hello!Project: the 12th and 3rd gen

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As every H!P fan, and most likely any idol fan in general, knows by now on September 30th after a little over a month of waiting Morning Musume’s 12th generation was finally announced. And I mean finally. Despite only waiting for a month it sure felt like forever. Mostly because the Golden Audition was announced back in March and the Mirai Shoujo audition was announced back in March of 2013. So, that was about a year and a half to wait for the 12th generation. With all this waiting, failed auditions, and years between auditions Morning Musume should honestly be on the 17th gen by now. But that’s a topic for another day.

I’m also sure all of you know that after making a shocking announcement on last week’s Hello!Station S/mileage’s 3rd gen was announced yesterday. All pretty standard information, but I feel like it’s important to get all this on my blog so it can forever be immortalized here. With that being said, and out of the way, let’s get on to my opinions about these results. It’s the whole reason you’re reading this after all.

Let’s start of with Morning Musume. If you’re anything like myself waiting for the results for the 12th gen were almost unbearable. Even when we were told specifically that we’d be getting the results on the 30th I was too impatient and excited to wait any longer. But somehow myself and every other Momusu fan managed to muster through this hardship and have arrived on the other side feeling satisfied. Or at least somewhat satisfied.

Even though this is my 5th audition process since becoming an H!P fan this was the first time I was awake to find out the results in real time as they were happening. And let me tell you the sense of excitement and panic was palpable. Whenever I find out the results for something like this I usually get so nervous about it because I almost put myself in the situation. Even though I’m waiting to see them call my favorite person’s name it almost feels like I’m there myself and I’m waiting for my own name to be called. I usually do this with reality competition shows. I’m in such a fervor over something that simple that when they lose it truly is a crushing defeat. (Is it obvious that I’m just a little dramatic yet?)

The 12th gen auditions weren’t any different and I found myself sitting there with such butterflies in my stomach and practically biting my nails in anticipation. The fact that the results weren’t announced for around 30-45 minutes past the time everyone initially thought they were going to be announced at didn’t help either. But since this was yet another audition without training camp footage I felt like I couldn’t miss the only exciting part of the audition. I guess that’s why in the past I never went out of my way to be awake for the results as soon as they happened. Since I already picked my favorites from the training camp I had an idea of who was going to be picked. But this audition we were going in completely blind, no one even had a clue. The most we could do was hope our favorite Kenshuusei made it. But because no one even knew if their favorite Kenshuusei even made it to the final round of the audition everyone was in the dark.

I have to say it was a really fun moment to see the girls’ names being called one by one. Not knowing who the next person was going to be, or not knowing if there even was going to be a next person. At about the halfway mark everyone was pretty much saying that the 12th gen was going to be a 2 person generation. And that honestly made me sad because I didn’t want only 2 members. To be perfectly honest I went every generation to have 4 members. The more idols the merrier. And thankfully my silent wishes were answered because 2 more girls were announced. The 12th gen then, of course, consisted of: Ogata Haruna, Nonaka Miki, Haga Akane, and Makino Maria.

Let’s talk about these girls a little bit.

Ogata Haruna

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15 years old from Osaka. She also does figure skating which ever wota in the audience went ballistic over for some reason.

Haruna, Haruna, Haruna! No matter how you slice it seems destined that this girl is going to be my favorite 12th generation member. When I first saw a picture of her I was interested in her the most because she was really cute. But once people starting uncovering her twitter accounts, and pictures from her past were released, that was it I was 100% sold on her. She seems like such an absolutely weird girl who’s really living up to being from Osaka. She reminds me so much of Zukki and Kananan who just happen to be 2 of my top current H!P members. And with that my love for her is truly fated and I’m powerless to resist it. But like I said, at most Haruna will become my favorite 12th generation member, much like how Maa-chan is my favorite 10th generation member. My top spot is, and always will be, reserved for Zukki. And unless she decided to randomly graduate tomorrow I don’t see that ever changing.

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Nonaka Miki

14 years old from Shizuoka. Her special skill is English. And boy is she great at it.

The first thing I noticed about Miki was how adorable her speaking voice is. And then once I heard her speaking in English I was blown away. The girl lived in America for 8 years and speaks fluent English. And her English is flawless you can’t even tell that it wasn’t her first language. But that’s to be expected since if she lived in the US for 8 years that means she first started to learn English at just 6 years old. Miki also said that she wanted to be the link between Morning Musume and the foreign fans. I completely approve of that. Go on and do your thing Miki! The only thing that annoys me about Miki is that her official nickname is apparently Mikitty. Not that that has nothing to do with Miki herself, but just the same I hope they either end up changing it or the nickname just never sticks.

Haga Akane:

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12 years old from Nagano. Member of the Kenshuusei who auditioned for both the 11th and 12th gen.

Akane was part of the big group of finalists who failed the Mirai Shoujo audition and were immediately all added to the Kenshuusei in one fell swoop. Now I can honestly say that I don’t know much about Akane. When it comes to the failed Mirai Shoujo audition girls I personally just focused on my favorites Yamaki Risa and Danbara Ruru. Akane has been saying her favorite Morning Musume song is Be Alive and it think it’s pretty obvious that she started to like that song because it was the song used during Morning Musume’s 11th gen auditions. And I think it’s also pretty obvious why Sakura won back then. I honestly don’t think Akane is a very good singer. Her voice is pretty weak and needs a lot of work. Maybe years of work honestly. And with the performance level so high in Morning Musume currently that the 12th gen have to practice for a few months before they can join, I’m a little confused as to why Akane was chosen. If we’re just going based off of singing that is. I think there are a lot more talented Kenshuusei who make more sense than Akane does. And I have to wonder if she was chosen because fans are comparing her to Sayumi? I honestly don’t even see a resemblance between them. I mean a most she looks a splash like Sayu. But she’s certainly as weak at singing as Sayu was when she first joined. Are they that focused on replacing Sayu?

Makino Maria:

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13 years old from Aichi. Member of the Kenshuusei who auditioned for the 11th gen.

Maria is another Kenshuusei that I don’t know much about. But I have to say initially makes more sense as a 12th gen member than Akane does. Maria has a great singing voice. She’s definitely one of the better singer in the Kenshuusei. I wouldn’t say she’s at the top singing wise but she’s somewhere in the middle and she’s someone who I can see blossoming over the years. Maria seems to have a lot of hobbies and reminds me of Maa-chan because they both play the piano and reminds me of Ai-chan because they both did ballet. Beyond that I don’t have much of an impression of her so far. So I guess I’ll have to wait until I see more of her.

Moving on to the S/mileage 3rd gen. Now when this was announced it seemed like most of the fans were apprehensive to the whole situation. And with good reason. This does bring up some real fears of the remaining 1st gen members possibly graduating in the near future or seeing them shoved to the back to make room for the 3rd gen. But I tried not to focus on that to be honest, because I was too excited for the news to let anything spoil it. Ever since the 2nd gen was announced I’ve always expected/have been waiting for the 3rd gen. I mean it made sense that it was going to happen eventually. And when they said that S/mileage was going to make a special announcement on Hello!Station I had an inkling that’s what it was going to be.

The wait for the 3rd gen went a lot quicker not only because we only had to wait about a week but because I also forget that they were going to be announced until about an hour before hand. And I only checked the news about an hour after it happened. So, there was a different feeling completely.

On to the 3rd gen girls.

Sasaki Rikako:

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13 years old from Miyagi.

I was absolutely thrilled about Rikako joining the group, she was one of my favorite Kenshuusei. And while I did think she made a better fit for Morning Musume I am happy that she gets to debut at all. I think Rikako definitely has that idol feel about her. Her seems to be very sweet, soft-spoken, and charming. She’s also one of the best singers among the Kenshuusei. Her voice is a nice mixture of cuteness and power. Kind of like how Kanon’s voice is and like so many past members of H!P. But since Rikako is both talented and popular she was in that awkward Karin situation where she had legions of fans crying about her not debuting already. Which has in turn made a lot of people dislike her. And I honestly think that’s absurd. Overzealous fans exist everywhere, and if you focus on them, or let them bother you, then you’re going to end up not liking anything.

Murota Mizuki

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16 years old from Chiba.

Mizuki is another favorite Kenshuusei of mine. And I’ve been waiting patiently for her to debut because this girl can seriously sing! She’s easily part of the top tier of Kenshuusei singing wise. Over the past year she’s been overshadowed by more popular Kenshuusei so for a while there I was afraid that she was going to keep getting overlooked and wouldn’t debut at all. But I am extremely happy that her talent was recognized. Since this makes her the second debuted Mizuki in H!P I guess I’m gonna have to start calling her by her nickname Murotan to not mix them up.

Aikawa Maho

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15 years old from Kanagawa.

I cannot even begin to tell you about Maho because I simply don’t know anything about her at all. At least with Haga Akane I had heard her name before but I haven’t even heard of Maho before. She’s only been a Kenshuusei for 5 months and it doesn’t look like she’s even participated in a concert before. How that makes her a qualified pick, I have no idea. I really don’t understand how H!P picks the Kenshuusei to debut sometimes. You have girls who have been members for years, girls who just left because they have been waiting for what feel like forever to debut, and then you debut girls like Maho and KanaTomo who have only been members for a few short months. It makes no sense to me. The only other thing I can really tell you about Maho is that her nickname seems to be AiAi, but I’m not sure that I like that so I’m going to keep calling her Maho until I get used to that. If I ever get used to it.

Now with 7 new girls coming in we are experiencing a completely new era in H!P in more ways than one. Back when they announced the Country Musume revival audition and the 12th gen audition at around the same time I was really excited for the outcome because this meant that we were not only going to get a completely new group, but we were going to get both generations at once and it was going to be like a repeat of 2011. But as we all know for some incomprehensible reason no winners were chosen and the audition was considered a failure. But now that we have a Momusu 12th gen and a S/mileage 3rd gen it’s literally a complete repeat of 2011. And truly a new era for Hello!Project.

Let’s look at where H!P stands right now. Sayumi is graduating next month, Berryz is going on hiatus in the spring, and C-ute probably doesn’t have more than 2 years left. In the not so far off future we could be looking at an H!P where the most senior member of Hello!Project only debuted in 2010. (2009 if you want to count S/mileage’s indie era.) Do you realize that in a few years when C-ute disbands, oh I’m sorry goes on “indefinite hiatus,” Ayaka will be the new leader of H!P? Ayaka. Just let that sink in for a minute. Now if that doesn’t show how much drastic changes have been going on in H!P over the past 5 years I don’t know what will. I mean when I, and most of us, became fans of Hello!Project Nakazawa Yuko was the leader and now we’re looking at a future where Wada Ayaka will be the leader. Assuming she doesn’t graduate before then. And that’s seriously mind blowing to me.

On the subject of Ayaka, let’s talk about the possibility about her and Kanon’s future for a minute. The announcement of the 3rd generation sparked a huge fear within the fandom about the aspect of one or both of the 1st generation members graduating. And quite honestly that fear is justified. If you recall Ogawa Saki graduated just days after the 2nd gen were announced and Maeda Yuuka’s graduation single was the 2nd gen’s first official single after being promoted from sub-member to official members. A lot of fans have always resented the 2nd gen in a way because they always thought their presence caused Saki and Yuuka to graduate. But I personally never thought that’s why they graduated at all. I think Saki and Yuuka already planned to graduate and the 2nd gen was announced as a way to save S/mileage. As it was impossible to continue on as a duo or trio.

To me that always explained why Saki left S/mileage in such a rushed manner. I think she was begged to stay a member until at least the 2nd gen were announced. But after that she couldn’t take it and left before she got a proper sendoff. I think they were able to get Yuuka to stay a little bit longer, but not long enough to have a proper graduation concert. But that’s just my opinion on the situation. At least it makes more sense than the fan’s that said Yuuka graduated because she felt 2nd best to Airi who’s puns were far greater than her own. Get real people, girls can be petty sometimes but not that petty.

Ayaka and Kanon did say that the 3rd gen was their idea and that they wanted the 2nd gen to be able to continue with S/mileage even after they graduate. Sounds like it’s a hint to someone’s graduation. Maybe it’s because they both realized there are both in the exact situation that Saki and Yuuka were in a few years back. H!P even added Sasaki who is popular enough to take over the center position if Ayaka and Kanon were to graduate.

If Ayaka and Kanon were to graduate that would even further make this a new era to Hello!Project. And that would mean in a few years the current members of H!P would have all made their debut from 2011 onward and the most senior members would be Morning Musume’s 9th gen. Another shocking realization, but an accurate peek into the future nonetheless.

And I think H!P is making some real strides to prepare for this new era. Why else would they be not only debuting so many new girls in the past 3 years, but also building up the Kenshuusei as much as they are? The Kenshuusei are doing way more than any past H!P trainees have ever done. They’re releasing singles, had their own show, are more prominent at concerts, and are even releasing an album. Back when I became a fan of H!P Egg members were lucky if they ever got the chance to be part of a one-shot group.

But H!P has been planning this for a while as well. It all started with the giant reformation they went through. From the mass graduations of the older members and changing the name from Eggs to Kenshuusei. It did take them a while to get their footing and we lost some great Kenshuusei in the process. But I think H!P has shown that they are finally ready to fully utilize the Kenshuusei.
And I think the best way to do that would be to make another Kenshuusei group. And I really don’t think we’re too far off from that. There’s a lot of raw talent in the Kenshuusei and H!P would be foolish to let even more of them slip away. But more importantly with Berryz going on hiatus that leaves a big opening in H!P that they’re no doubt going to want to fill. And I don’t think it’s too far fetched for it to be another group either partially or fully made up of Kenshuusei. After all, most H!P groups are set up like that anyway. (Also, I’m counting H!P kids are trainees, but let’s be real they basically were until they properly debuted.)

And when you think about things this way it’s incredibly exciting to think about what the future will bring. Personally I want all of this Cool Hello nonsense to end. Let’s bring back individual concepts to groups again shall we? I want to see S/mileage go back to their original cutesy image. I want to Juice=Juice to stick to their jazzy and mature concept they originally had. C-ute is the only group I wouldn’t change at all because they are the only H!P group that hasn’t had their concept messed with. After Erika left C-ute changed to a dance group with fun and refreshing songs. While C-ute’s songs have been on the more mature side, they still have released enough fun songs that it doesn’t seem like they’ve changed much. It seems more like a natural evolution.

I want to see Momusu completely change their concept. Since the Platinum Era Momusu has been doing this thing were they stick to one concept and keep doing it the entire era. The Platinum Era was sad songs and the Colorful Era was EDM. Can they just stop that already? I want Momusu to do what they did in the past where they mixed genres and every single had a different sound. You’d have a sexy song one single and a cute song the next single. You’d have Indian influences here and salsa influences there. You’d have a fierce empowering song in one breath and a sorrowful broken hearted song in the next. I loved that element of playing with different sounds to such an extent that you never knew what kind of song you were going to get next. Let’s bring that feeling back.

I would also obviously love to see a new group be formed and fill the space that Berryz will leave behind. Musically anyway, we all know that Berryz can never be replaced. We need a group to take over Berryz funky and creative sound. You know the sound we haven’t seen in a while? I honestly think that’s the worst thing that happened to Berryz during their last few active years. They pushed them into this mature image that was never what Berryz was about.

Berryz was crazy and over the top. Making songs no one else in H!P was making. Remember when Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance came out and everyone was so annoyed that even though they were older than C-ute they were singing about dancing monkeys while C-ute was singing about heartbreak and relationships? That was Berryz to me. And I’ve always missed that. I just foolishly thought we’d have Berryz around long enough to see them releasing those types of songs again. Which is why I really want to see a new group bring that back.

Berryz Koubou announce indefinite hiatus

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It was announced at today’s Hello!Project 2014 summer concert Korezo that Berryz Koubou will go on an indefinite hiatus. After the girls started thoroughly discussing their future amongst themselves a year ago, and talking things over with the staff, they concluded this was the best option to take. The indefinite hiatus will take place in the spring of 2015. All of Berryz’ upcoming concerts and singles will continue as scheduled.

The girls, especially Saki and Maasa, have refused to officially call this a breakup or disbandment, as saying so would make it seem like the group itself would disappear. Berryz Koubou is too important and too irreplaceable to call it a disbandment.

I just…I don’t even know what to say to this. What can you even say to this? Berryz are leaving and never coming back. And sure you guys can hold onto, “but it’s just a hiatus and not an official disbandment so have hope,” or, “Saki said that she wants to continue Berryz in the future.” However, I don’t believe, trust, count on, or remain hopeful about any of that. I am far too cynical and too much of a realist to get my hopes up over that. Because honestly, to me, it seems like the girls are just saying these things to soften the blow either to us fans, or to themselves, that it’s really happening. Or to intentionally get everyone’s hopes up, so that they will never stop listening to or never stop remembering or will never give up hope that this will be the year that they finally come back. Because just like Maasa said, if they call it a disbandment the group itself will disappear.

And quite honestly it will, and that’s something that’s inevitable. With each year that passes people will start listening to the group less and less, until it gets to a point where only a small fraction of the former fanbase even takes time to remember them. They will be a group that will just be carved into idol history. A group that is by no means forgotten but at the same time no means remembered. And within the H!P fandom slowly and slowly less and less fans will even know who they are. They will become part of H!P’s obscure past that new fans won’t bother listening to. And a group that will be hailed as legends by the fans who were around during their active years.

This is the fate of any disbanded idol group. Even dedicated fans won’t listen to nothing but an inactive group forever. Remember SweetS? Remember how upset fans were a while after their disbandment? Now think about how many people still talk about them, it’s not many. Even myself, I was such a dedicated Hinoi Team (not an idol group I know, but let’s pretend for the sake of argument.) fan back in the day. But now the only time I listen to them is when I’m feeling nostalgic. Now, I know that this post has taken somewhat of a depressing turn that most fans don’t even want to think about right now. But I can’t think about it in any other way. I’m not going to sit here getting my hopes up for a reunion that either won’t happen or will be years and years in the future.

Think about all the H!P groups that went on indefinite hiatus or never officially disbanded. Their comeback fate was either concert revival units or a complete revamp of the group in Country Musume’s case. The only realistic hope for a Berryz return is years from now for them to have a Dream Morning Musume style type of return. Or for them to appear as Hello!Project OG members on TV. Or the most likely of all, for them to make surprising guest appearances years from now at Hello!Project concerts. Kind of like what happened with the Hello!Project Countdown Party concert.

And even though all of these things are the painful truth for Berryz’ future they still refuse to call it a disbandment because no matter how unrealistic it is they don’t want you to give up hope of their return. Because no hope truly does equal disappearance. And the girls cannot bear for that to happen to their group. The group that every member is so proud of. The group the girls spent so long building up and cultivating. The group that the girls love more than anyone else in the entire world does. The group that the girls spent nearly half their lives in. The group that is so precious to them.

And you know what, it took me a long time to get to this level of where I can think clearly and rationally about this situation. I had to let all of my emotions pour out of me completely. I had to stop them before I let them cloud my judgement. And believe me there were a lot of them. When I first heard that Berryz were going on indefinite hiatus I laughed. And I’m still not 100% sure why that was my first response. Maybe I thought the ideal of them breaking up was so comical I couldn’t hold it back? Or maybe it was just because it was such a shocking announcement my mind didn’t know what to do? That seems more likely honestly.

And much like with any upsetting idol news, immediately after my laughter came a mess of emotions spilling out of me and crashing over me like a tidal wave. There was grief, there was shock, there was anger, there was sadness, there was surprise, there was even a slight underline tinge of excitement for being right about it happening so soon.

And I truly did see this coming. But that’s not really anything to boast about because WE ALL saw it coming. But as soon as Futsuu, Idol 10nen Yatterannai Desho was announced as an A-side I knew that it spelled the end for Berryz. Why else make a song called that with the lyrics that it had? I could see the Melon Kinenbi parallels a mile away.

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And for the first time ever that mix of emotions I was feeling was so intense it felt like I was having a panic attack. Then I moved onto frantically fanning myself to keep the tear from spilling. But that was short lived as they poured out of me like a geyser. Then I had this horrible sensation of being punched in the stomach. I could’t breathe and it felt like I was just sick to my stomach.

Recently I might’ve complained that their music lately was hit or miss, but I have never for one second, or even one nanosecond, stopped loving or supporting them. It wasn’t really their fault anyway. Berryz used to be a force to be reckoned with within H!P, but once C-ute started shooting up in popularity they started to get the raw end of the stick. And I think that was blatantly obvious to anyone who was in the H!P fandom. Everyone affectionately used to say Berryz was the funky group in H!P. But I think that was just everyone’s secret code for them being stuck with the weaker singles and album songs. H!P even gave priority to a newly debuted group when they gave Hadaka no Hadaka no Hadaka no Kiss to Juice=Juice when it was originally intended to be a Berryz single. And don’t get me wrong, I in no way, shape, or form am angry or bitter against any other H!P group because of this. I love the entire entity that is H!P pretty much equally. But I’m also not going to pretend that these thing didn’t happen.

I don’t know, I’m just really upset now. These girls are just so special and important to me. These girls hold such an important place in my heart. I have always felt a genuine closeness and kinship to these girls from the moment I became an H!P fan. They were made up of girls that were mostly the exact same age as me so I always felt like I was growing up beside them. And technically I was, just on the other side of the world and with no real contact with them. But I supported them and in return they supported me through music. When I was going through unrequited love, when I had friendships that turned sour, when I wished I had someone to love, when I felt I was looked down on for being a girl, when I wanted be energized, or when I just wanted to smile, they always had a song for that. And through variety shows and TV appearances I found girls that would make me laugh. Girls that I could relate to and look up to. Girls that reminded me of myself or I shared interest with.

And it’s because of moments like this that Berryz Koubou will always been a precious and irreplaceable idol group to me. Maybe someday in the future I’ll hardly listen to them ,or hardly even think of them, but I’ll always remember them. Even if it’s just in the very back of my mind and even if it’s just for the briefest of seconds, I’ll never forget them.

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How much of a culture are you really allowed to like?

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Hello there lovely readers. Long time no see. I think it’s pretty safe to say the only person reading this blog who enjoys my sporadic blog posts is myself. But, I’m sorry and I have to admit, I do enjoy writing every so often. Maybe that means I should contemplate reformatting how I write my blog. But that’s neither here or there, or what this post is even about. No instead I want to talk about one of the most hot button issues of the moment. And of course I mean Avril Lavigne.

I’m sure by now absolutely everyone on the internet all over the world is well aware of the whole Avril Lavigne Hello Kitty situation. You’d literally have to live in a cave 3 miles below the surface of the Earth to not have heard about it. And I’m sure even if that was the case as soon as you rose to the surface you’d immediately be bombarded with chants of ka-ka-ka-kawaii.

Ok, maybe that’s stretching things a little too far. But it is in fact every where. I think it’s even more prevalent in our little corner of the internet since we’re all about Japanese music, pop culture, television, etc. But I think this has been prevalent on the internet long before the atrocity that is Hello Kitty. And by that I mean cultural appropriation.

Cultural appropriation is a term I myself wasn’t even aware of until I heard about it some months ago on tumblr. I of course knew that basis of what cultural appropriation is was going on in the world, but I wasn’t aware that there was a term for it. Now, I absolutely think cultural appropriation is abhorrent and not even remotely ok. But what I consider just as bad is the way people define cultural appropriation is maybe a little too strong. And I might go as far as saying a lot of it is mislabeled.

If you go on certain sites, say tumblr, you’ll find that a lot of the times what they consider cultural appropriation is if a White person shows any sort of interest in any non-White culture at all. And a lot of times it’s written in such a manner that you should feel bad that you are White and you should be ashamed of yourself if you even want to care about another country.

Now, maybe it’s just me, but I always thought that the world was one. And that everyone should be open to, and should explore, cultures other than their own. But it seems that that isn’t the case at all anymore.

Now I’ve heard a lot of people say things such as White aren’t allowed to like or mix in other cultures, even though tons of other cultures mix in European or American cultures. Those other cultures are allowed to do so because European culture was forced on them and they had no choice but to adapt and add that culture into their own. White people aren’t allowed under any circumstances to wear other culture’s traditional garb. Even if they are currently residing in a Foreign country and a native from that country insisted that they purchase and wear a piece of traditional clothing. The only time it is ok is if they are attending an event where tradition clothing must be worn, such as a wedding.

And I might add that this is usually only said about White people. I’ve heard people straight up say that other non-White races are allowed to embrace other cultures because they themselves are also minorities. You’re also not allowed to say that that itself is a racist statement because then you are only being a whiny privileged White person.

I can wholeheartedly understand if you are being racist towards another culture and putting down their traditional clothing. Or inappropriately wearing them. Or only wearing them to make a fashion statement. Or being a male or female wearing traditional grab that’s only supposed to be worn by someone of the gender opposite of your own. Then you are absolutely doing something wrong.

But to basically tell people that they aren’t allowed to like something because of their race of where they were brought up, is absolutely ridiculous. So, I now ask the main question of this article, how much of a culture is someone really allowed to like?

I think the first time I took actual notice of cultural appropriation beyond reading a post here or there on tumblr was around Halloween. I was looking up Sugar Skulls on tumblr because I was thinking of painting myself like that for Halloween. And I came across someone on tumblr saying some random woman was disgusting for wearing Dia de los Muertos makeup without being Mexican. Ironically, the woman actually turned out to be half Mexican. But that’s the first time I went, “but why can’t I like something that’s Mexican?”

Maybe it’s in bad form to think of it as a costume. But then, aren’t beer wench Halloween costumes equally offensive to me because I’m German? Oh wait, I forgot, being a privileged White person I’m not allowed to think like that. I guess since I live in America which is right above Mexico it doesn’t matter at all that we learn a lot about Mexico. Or that Cinco de Mayo is hugely celebrated in the US. Or that I’ve always been fascinated by Dia de los Muertos in general. And I suppose that I’m not allowed to because liking any aspect of another country’s culture is disrespectful for some reason.

This also takes me back to when I was learning Spanish in school. I had an extremely cool Spanish teacher. I was actually one of his favorite students and we got along swimmingly. Mostly because I was pretty much the only one who ever tried in Spanish. One time around Valentine’s Day I was the only person who was willing to conjugate verbs on the board. When I conjugated them correctly he gave me a heart shaped cookie. We also bonded over pork rinds. Because he brought them into class one day for everyone to try because they eat them a lot in Puerto Rico apparently. I was the only one in my entire class who didn’t think they were disgusting. It was mostly because pork rinds are delicious and I’ve been eating them my whole life. But I think that’s more of everyone in my town being weird. We went on field trip to the Pine Barrens once and tried fresh root beer. I was literally the only one who liked it. To this day that was the most delicious root beer I’ve ever had in my life.

Anyway, he was originally from Puerto Rico and all he would ever say was how beautiful a country it is. And how it’s such a great country for swimming. And how everyone should make sure they go to Puerto Rico once in their life because it’s that pretty. Well, in 6th grade to further share his culture with us, everyone that was in a Junior High grade at the time had to make vejigante masks and costumes. We then had to wear them in Spanish class the day they were due. And afterwards they were displayed all over the classroom for a few months.

And all that makes me think of is, that if I still had my vejigante mask and posted a picture of myself wearing it I’d be called racist for not being Puerto Rican. Even though out teacher was hoping we’d be interested in it and wanted us to experience a bit of his culture.

Also, in Spanish class in 8th grade we had a gigantic dominoes tournament because Cuban-Americans in Florida love to play dominoes. That’s not me saying it by the way, that was literally a section in my Spanish text book. Specifically Cuban-Americans in Florida playing dominoes. You can call my textbook racist if you want. Since then I’ve been a big fan of playing dominoes, I always try to get my family to play with me but they never want to. But I suppose I’m not allowed to play dominoes right?

But let’s shift our focus now away from Central America and focus on what I’m sure everyone cares about, Japan.

Japan is pretty notorious for some things that if were done by White people would be considered cultural appropriation. For one, Japanese music mixes English words into their songs. It’s done to such an extent that it’s often hard to find Japanese songs that don’t have at least one English word in them. And the Japanese language itself has a ton of loan words from English and European languages. That one may be a bit of a stretch though, since most languages have loan words.

Japan is also influenced heavily by predominantly White cultures when it comes to fashion. The most famous influence probably being school uniforms. The familiar sailor uniforms were inspired by the sailor suits children in royal European families wore, and were first introduced in the late 19th century. Huh, I guess that rules out Commodore Matthew Perry and his American Navy ships forcing the naval stripes on their uniforms, since he visited Japan in the mid 19th century.

Also, the lolita sub-culture was inspired by the Rococo period in Europe. The ganguro sub-culture (which literally means black face by the way) was a way for Japanese girls to emulate the way girls in California looked and dressed. Not to mention that there’s the trend of black culture in Japan.

I’m sure there are other cases but these are the ones I know off hand, and too be honest I can’t be bothered to look up anymore. Surely these cases are purely innocent right? And it’s just Japan showing how much love and admiration they have for America and Europe? Quite honestly in my opinion it is. But make no mistake, if a White culture was doing the same thing about Japanese culture or any other non-White culture it would be a gigantic deal. After all, every other race of people besides White are allowed to do these types of things. That’s fair right?

So, that brings up another question was Avril Lavigne’s Hello Kitty racist to Japan and Japanese people? I read a great article on tumblr that showed that people in Japan don’t find it even a little bit racist. Instead they think Avril is showing great love for Japan. And they don’t understand why Foreigners find it to be so racist. While I personally do find the song itself to be terribly written, and her Japanese pronunciation leaving something to be desired, I don’t see how the song itself is racist.

I listened to the song yet again just to be sure. (God, the things I go through for this blog.) The song is literally about having pillow fights, slumber parties, playing spin the bottle, making pinky swears, and asking someone to play with you. The song is incredibly immature and truly something only a pre-teen girl could relate to. The only thing the people perceive as being racist about the song is her speaking in Japanese. But how is that any different than Japanese people singing in English?

The song itself is obviously solely for the Japanese market. Since a great deal of Avril’s fanbase currently is in Japan. It seems to be the only country that cares about her music. Case in point being I only heard Avril’s What The Hell because I was watching a Oricon chart video a few years back. I never heard it play in the US.

The main point for racism is then put on the music. It’s racist to some people because she’s wearing a cupcake skirt, has an overly cutesy set, and is also filmed in a candy store. Which makes people say that Avril is being racist and saying that Japan is only about and known for it’s wild clothing and cute culture. But is it really doing that? Or is the music video this sugary sweet because the song sounds like it was written for an 11 year old girl?

Let’s say that Avril is playing off of Japan’s cute culture, is that itself really wrong either? Japan does have a lot of playful, cute, and colorful aspects to it’s pop culture. And Japan itself seems to be marketing itself with this image. NHK World features a show called Kawaii International, which is a show in English marketed to the Foreign market. The show itself is about teaching people about Japanese fashion sub-cultures and cute cultures and shows people all over the world who wear these styles. And also teaches you how to wear these styles yourself.

Let’s say Avril wasn’t wearing a cupcake skirt. Let’s say she was wearing a lolita dress. Or what about if she was wearing the gyaru style? Or maybe she was even wearing shironuri. Would that make her racist? There are thousands of girls all over the world who dress in these styles because they genuinely like them. Does that make it wrong? Or is this a case of once again it not being ok because the people doing it are White?

I know that pretty much anyone in the world that like’s anything Japanese is associated as being this horrible weeaboo. This person who is fetishizing a country and race of people. Or someone who thinks Japan is superior to their own country. And I won’t deny that most people who like Japanese things do go through this annoying phase. Myself included. But believe me, most of the time it’s short lived and you realized how much of an idiot you were. But no matter how much you’ve matured and no matter what you like about Japan, there is still this stigma that you are forever a weeaboo. And it’s absurd.

So, is Avril in her embarrassing weeboo phase currently? Probably. But honestly I could care less. It’s not really important to the topic at hand. That’s not what this post is about. This post is about how much are people really allowed to like of a culture. And how did just liking another culture automatically become cultural appropriation?

Isn’t telling someone they can’t like another culture continuing the divide of people? Isn’t it making racism an even bigger issue? Isn’t it basically saying, “hey you can’t like that because you’re not from here.” When news flash, I am from there? Last time I checked we all live on the same planet. The planet is closer than ever thanks to the internet. So, why are people using it to push people farther apart? I understand if someone is genuinely being ignorant to another person’s cultures and traditions. But when people just want to experience something new, why is that wrong?

Morning Musume ’14 announces 12th gen auditions…again

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In mildly shocking turn of events Morning Musume ’14 has announced that they will be holding auditions for their 12th generation yet again, dubbed the the Golden Audition. The age requirements are the same standard H!P ones, girls ages 10-17.  The audition deadline is May 11th, and much like the past 3 Momusu auditions Kenshuusei are allowed to participate. Here’s a link to the audition website. It’s also been announced that the possible winners will take lessons in the meantime, but won’t formally debut until 2015.

Now, getting all of the standard news out of the way I can just jump right into my opinions on the matter. First things first, I said this announcement was mildly shocking, because that’s exactly what it is. It’s shocking because despite everyone knowing the 12th gen was going to be announced at some point there was no way to know when that was unless you worked in H!P. And since there’s never been an elusive mole in H!P leaking information to the public, each piece of news that does come out is shocking. Come to think of it I’m actually a little surprised there’s never been a mole to be completely honest. Wota seem aggressive enough for that to have happened. But I digress.

The auditions are obviously incredibly exciting. I’ve been patiently waiting for the 12th gen to be announced again since it was announced the first 12th gen yielded no winners. I never really talked much about that on my blog because it was during my hiatus, but believe me I was really angry about it. I wasn’t around for the infamous Lucky 7 audition, so I was used to winners being announced and I never thought they’d actually repeat that fiasco. But sure enough they did to mine and everyone else’s dismay. I was even more upset because I live for auditions and I was so pumped for the 12th gen. I streamed the episode of Hello!Satoyama Life that showed the first footage of the audition, which was just  a 10 second glimpse of the auditions. And I even picked a girl I wanted to win in that short amount of time, who happened to be Yamaki Risa. Who I only discovered was her when they shoved all of the 12th gen finalist into the Kenshuusei.

I think it’s also pretty safe to say that this is probably it for Sayumi. I wouldn’t be surprised if she announced her graduation in the next few months. H!P graduations anymore are announced a year in advance. So, I see Sayu announcing she’ll leave around April or May, giving her until April or May of 2015 as a member. Since the 12th gen isn’t going to debut until 2015, that gives Sayu the time to teach the girls a little something something before leaving. Maybe even release a single or two. It would also mean that the 12th gen’s first Morning Musume concert tour would be Sayumi’s graduation tour. Just like 10th gen’s first Morning Musume concert tour was Risa’s and Aika’s graduation tour. While this is just my personal feeling/opinion, I think we can all admit that it seems about right as to what’s going to happen. Sayumi will be 25 this year, and 26 in 2015. It’s obviously her time soon.

I have to admit I’m not really 100% for the whole 12th gen taking lessons in the meantime before officially joining. I get that Sakura did basically the same thing, but it couldn’t be helped in her situation since she was added in the beginning of Morning Musume’s Fall tour. But let’s be real, it’s not like Sakura really needed extra lessons. I just don’t like the idea of having normal girls who are shaky at singing and dancing during the auditions join, only to to not see them for months, and all of a sudden they are polished performers. That takes all of the fun out of auditions in the first place. I want to watch my idols grow in real time. I want to have that motherly feeling of watching over them and seeing how much they’ve improved. If they’re going to train them before they debut why hold auditions at all? Why not just directly add the Kenshuusei into the group?

And I think this ties more into how Morning Musume ’14 as a group has been promoted lately. Ever since Sakura has joined they prided themselves as being a polished idol group. The whole ima no Morning Musume campaign is all about them being the best Morning Musume of all time. To be the best at singing and at dancing, and to be at such a high level that you see them as a separate entity instead of comparing them to the past. And that’s great, no, really it is. I get wanting to be at the top again, I do. But I don’t like that they are so worried about them being at such a high level that they are training the members before they even officially join.

To be perfectly honest I think that’s the main reason they canceled the first 12th auditions to begin with. I think the finalists were probably wonderful girls, but because they weren’t at a high enough level, or perhaps needed time to nurture their abilities, they weren’t added. They were so worried about them being at a high polished level to compete with the current members, that none of the auditionees compared to them and were cut loose. The fact that they immediately joined the Kenshuusei speaks volumes. And I would not be surprised at all if those girls auditioned again.

You can tell that Momusu really is on the attack and is really fighting to regain their former glory. I mean the auditions are called the Golden Audition. If that’s not saying they want to find a girl, or girls, to help them reach a second Golden Era I don’t know what will. It’s not like they’re shy about saying they want another Golden Era anyway.

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What I am looking forward to during these auditions is for more Kenshuusei to be added. Momusu has added 1 Kenshuusei per generation to the group since LinLin joined. So, it’s not like this is a far-fetched idea. And come on, there are way too many Kenshuusei that are too good to be passed up. Personally I’m hoping for either Tanabe Nanami, Ogawa Rena, Murota Mizuki, Hamaura Ayano, Yamaki Risa, Kaga Kaede, or Sasaki Rikako to be added. Since I’m rooting for so many, I think that betters my chances a little.

While this auditions isn’t exactly everything I’ve hoped for, they are still auditions none the less, and I could not be happier. I so want fresh blood in Morning Musume and H!P as a whole. And with the second 12th gen auditions mixed with the Country Musume auditions, H!P is giving me just that. It’s a truly exciting time in H!P to have two separate auditions again. I feel like I’m back in 2011 with the Morning Musume 10th gen auditions and S/mileage 2nd gen auditions happening at the same time. Let’s just hope I have better luck of my favorite members joining the group. As we all know Karin did not join S/mileage and Sara did not join Morning Musume.

Being a non-Japanese speaker in the idol fandom

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Yesterday the fandom was abuzz with everything SUPER GiRLS after the graduation of Yasaka Saori and the addition of 3 new girls into the group. And while I read people’s reaction to it, I sat there a little confused at what my own reaction was. To my surprise I didn’t feel anything I was expecting to feel, in fact I hardly felt anything at all. And the whole time I kept thinking to myself, ” Why?” I mean, I really like SUPER GiRLS. I’ve been following them since they released their very first PV, and I’ve been actively keeping up with them. So, why is it that I felt so apathetic? I then also started to think, did I even like them at all.

I have to say, first of all, I of course I do love the group. It’s just that at the same times it does feel like I’m not a fan at all. And I’ve been feeling that way about them for a while. And not really SUPER GiRLS alone, or in particular actually, I’ve been feeling this way about several groups. These feelings are surrounding by groups that aren’t, for lack of a better term, international fan friendly. And what I mean by that is, groups like SUPER GiRLS, Fudanjuku, YuiKaori, etc, that aren’t either insanely popular or are part of an established agency and therefore have a huge legion of foreign fans that subs and translate everything possible about a group or idol.

Fansubs and translations are basically the blood of the international fandom. I think it’s safe to say that about 7/10 (it maybe be more or less, it’s obviously impossible to know the real numbers) of the idol fandom doesn’t speak Japanese. Most of us, including myself of course, rely heavily on fansubs. But since there are way too many idols, not enough hours in the day, and not enough English/Japanese speaking fans, a lot of groups have hardly anything translated.

And because of that I kind of feel like I’m only 1/2 a fan of a lot of groups. When I like a group I like to absorb myself in them completely. I like to not only listen to their music and watch their concerts, but I like to know what each song is about. I like to know everything about them. I like to get to know a little bit about each member and then picked that one who’s got that something special that makes me go, “Yes, this is exactly my type of idol.” And then I like to put my full support in them.

As of right now a lot of my favorite idols are based on physical appearance or being drawn to how they perform in concerts or by the impression I get of them. And I really don’t like doing that because I think idols have a much broader appeal than cuteness. Take MomoClo for example, my initial oshi was Momoka. I thought she was this cute little spunky girl, and that was literally my basis for liking her. That was my oshi reasoning for a while. When I finally started to see some MomoClo subs happening I realized that Kanako was actually the member for me. I thought she was incredibly charming and I was drawn to her energetic and cheerful nature.

I think a much better example of this is with my Johnny’s initial oshis. With Johnny’s it was of course a lot easier to fall into picking members based solely on looks. And my initial oshis for each group were as follows: Ninomiya Kazunari, Akanishi Jin, Fujigaya Taisuke, Nakajima Yuto. And it was based on which  members I considered to be the most attractive. My favorites are now Aiba Masaki, Tanaka Koki (I know not a member anymore but he works for the point), Tamamori Yuta, Nakajima Yuto. My favorite member in JUMP is still Yuto but the point I’m making is really about my second favorite member Okamoto Keito. Now these are all members I never thought were even a little attractive. You don’t understand like I used to think a lot of silly things about them for completely shallow reasons.

But the thing is the moment I learned more about each group the more I could form actual opinions about the members and picked members for their personality. I was drawn to Aiba’s cheerful and playful nature, Koki’s funny side and the fact that he was incredibly sweet, Yuta’s airheadedness, and Keito’s awkwardness. Plus as I’ve said, I also do that thing where the more I like someone as a person the more physically attracted to them I become. I actually think all of my favorites are pretty gorgeous and can’t even believe there was a time that I didn’t.

To this day the only Johnny’s members that I liked initially that I am still a fan of are Nishikido Ryo, Nakajima Yuto, and Kawai Fumito. I’ve obviously always liked Ryo’s bluntness, it was perfect when I found out how energetic Yuto was, and the first time I came across Fumito was because of his impressions, so it’s always been personality from him.

And it’s because of this when people ask me who my favorite member of a certain idol group is a lot of the times I never feel 100% confident with my choice. Sure Maeshima Ami is probably one of the cutest idols that has ever existed, but does that mean she’d be my favorite SUPER GiRLS member? I do love how happy and energetic Mori Shiori is during Passpo concerts, but does that mean she’d be my type of idol? Hibi Mikoto has an incredibly adorable singing voice, but how do I know if she’s the best member of Dream5. And the list goes on and on.

And it’s not just not knowing everything about the members that bums me out, it’s not knowing what a song is about that also gets me down. When I hear a song on the radio for the first time it usually take me about 4 minutes to decide if I like it or not. But with idol songs it’s tricky, sometimes it takes me 4 months to decide if I like a song or not.

I obviously usually judge if an idol song is good initially by the music or how it’s sung. But that only really determines if the song is catchy or not, not really if it’s a good song or not. I have to wait for translations before I 100% can say, “hey, this is a great song.” There have been tons of times where I was super into a song and then read the translation and found out it was actually an awful song. Like I did with Berryz Koubou’s Ai no Dangan. Or how about the times where I was just not feeling the music or the way a song was sung and completely wrote it off until I read the lyric translation and found out it was actually a beautiful song? Like what I did with Passpo’s Sakura Komachi. Which is probably why I did not like Koisuru Fortune Cookie until I heard JKT48’s English version of the song. Since I instantly knew what the song was about I could make a connection to the song while I was listening to it.

And whenever I think of that I’m instantly transported back to school when I told one of my classmates that I like Japanese music. And instead of doing the first thing people usually do when you tell them this, which in my experience has been mocking, he did the second thing which was asking me, “How? You can’t even understand it.” My response was of course, “Yes, I can.” His retort was then a mocking tone of, “No you can’t.” The conversation then swiftly ended with me matter-of-factly saying, “Yes, I can.”

I of course didn’t have the time to explain to him, and quite frankly didn’t feel like explaining, that even though I couldn’t understand it I still could understand it. That you can find practically anything, within good reason, Japanese related you want either translated or subtitled if you knew where to look. And if you were willing to wait.

But having everything subtitled does make you a bit lazy to an extent, because my main complaint in this whole post could probably be solved if I just knew Japanese. I’ve been in the Japanese music fandom for many a years, September of this year actually marks my 10th year listening to Japanese music. You’d think I’d be able to speak it by now. But tons of circumstances have kept me from really attempting to. Most of my time was spent learning the language I was taught in school, which was Spanish, and because of that I had almost no motivation to learn another language. The fact that my mother would never allow me to have anything Japanese related for the longest time. Along with, of course, my own shear lazyness.

Nothing is really stopping me from learning it now, except the fact that it is an incredibly daunting task. Japanese is one of the hardest languages to learn. It’s a category V language, a language that is considered exceptionally difficult for native English speakers. And it apparently takes 88 weeks, or 2,200 class hours to learn. And that’s only to become proficient. I don’t dare to think how long it takes to become 100% fluent or native speaker level.

Maybe not knowing which idols favorite food is sweet potatoes, or not knowing which idol is funny, isn’t the biggest deal in the world. But at the same time it’s incredibly frustrating. I consider idol music to be one of my main hobbies. A hobby that includes many elements. I’ve got a new PV to watch practically every week, news to keep up with every day, dozens or so new concerts and albums a year, blogs and interviews to read, dramas, variety shows, movies, and miscellaneous other TV appearances. And I like that there’s so much going on that I’m never bored. But at the same time if I don’t understand what’s going on can I really enjoy it?

I know that there are a lot of fans out there that watch things raw and still enjoy it. That’s never been for me, and I don’t really understand how people can do that. If I don’t understand what’s going on it sucks all of the fun out. And it ruins it for when it does, if it does, get subbed. I’d honestly rather wait months or years for something to be subbed than to watch it without subs. Unless it’s something you don’t need subs for like music shows or Momusu’s recent Dokkiri.

I think being a non-Japanese speaker in the idol fandom is like being someone in the comic book fandom who has to read comics with half of the pages ripped out. It can certainly be done, and you can still wholeheartedly enjoy it, but it’s not really the same. And you never do get over the disappointment of knowing you’re missing out on something you see everyone else so easily enjoying. I guess for the time being us non-Japanese speaking idol fans have to just wait for the rest of the pages.

Country Musume to hold auditions for new members!

CountryMusume

A video of Satoda Mai was posted Up-Front’s official youtube channel announcing that new member auditions will be taking place for Country Musume. The auditions will run from now until March 31st. Applicants must be between the ages of 10 and 17. Here’s the audition website.

Now that all of the news about this is about of the way, please excuse me while I have a heart attack and flail my arms about this! Like guys, do you understand? This is actually happening! I am just too excited about this that I am having trouble properly putting my feelings into words. I think that’s a pretty good indication of how excited I am about this.

Do you remember a few weeks ago (it actually might have only been 1 month back now that I think about it) there was that article where Tsunku mentioned he was going to start up Country Musume again. You know, when the entire fandom was thinking more of a reunion than anything. Or that it meant a sole Mai comeback. Since she’s the only remaining member left after all. Though I guess that joke is over now. Gosh one of the biggest running jokes in H!P was how Mai was still a Country Musume member since she never officially graduated. Mostly perpetuated by Mai herself of course. 

I actually didn’t really think much of it to be honest, mostly because Tsunku says a lot of things that never really happen or does happen but not how you were expecting them to happen. Take Morning Musume’s big announcement that he said he was nervous about announcing and it was just a CM deal. Or think about the time he said how he was thinking about starting up Mini Moni again, but it turned out to just be the concert unit Shin Mini Moni. (Oh yeah, I’m going to keep referencing this until the end of time.) Us fans have learned to take everything he says with a grain of salt. Despite how sometimes we just want to take it face value. *cough*wantinganythingbutaCMdeal*cough*

But this time he wasn’t lying, or joking, or just straight up trolling us. No, this time it’s actually happening, and better than people were expecting. We are getting new members to Country Musume!

Now, I’m gonna be straight with you, I have never been a big Country Musume fan. And it was mostly because I think they were the hardest and most troublesome group to get into. They lost and gained members left and right. They had to add Morning Musume members into the group. They never got an official album. Just 2 best albums and therefore only a few album songs. So, I don’t think many H!P fans liked them beyond their singles because there wasn’t really anything else to like. Music wise that is. My favorite Country Musume was Country Musume ni Konno to Fujimoto. And not just because I’m a huge KonKon fan but because the songs they released then were incredible. Uwaki na Honey Pie and Shining Itoshiki Anata remain as some of my favorite H!P songs of all time.

Now, you might be wondering, “Aim why are you so excited about new members to an H!P group you were never really a fan of?”  Well, I’m glad you asked. Since Country Musume hasn’t released a new song in 10 years, and the songs they do have are so few, for all intensive purpose we are getting a brand new group. Sure they are going to have the name Country Musume and will most likely perform a few old songs here and there, but really what is Country Musume anymore? We’re talking about a group that hasn’t existed in a decade. A group that the general public doesn’t even remember anymore. A group that only has about 20 original songs to it’s name.

This new Country Musume is going to basically start fresh. They are this blank canvas that can release any type of song that they want, because there’s no way of knowing what type of music Country Musume would have ended up making if they actively released music until 2014. So let me state it again so it really sinks in, with this news H!P has just essentially announced a brand new H!P group! And that, my dear readers, is why I’m so excited.

I am also excited for the audition process. I’m excited to root for a girl to make it. I’m excited to see what type of girls are added to the group. I’m excited to hear what they sound like, what they look like, and how they dance. I’m excited to get a feel for their personalities. And I’m excited to pick, and grow attached to, a member. This is the euphoric feeling that only new auditions can bring. And I have to say this feeling is being multiplied several times because it’s an audition you weren’t expecting. So now you’re blindsided and at lost for words because you weren’t even expecting something like this. You didn’t even realize you wanted this. It evoked the same feelings the S/mileage 2nd gen auditions did. And the same feelings I continue to wait for from Momusu’s 12th gen. You know, if they ever start that up again.

So, let’s go H!P I’m all for this. The more idols you throw at me the better. The more groups I have to juggle the happier I am. The more new songs you release, well now you’ve just completely won me over.

Arashi – Bittersweet PV preview

Arashi

Yesterday the PV preview for Arashi’s upcoming single Bittersweet was released. As you guys know, it’s being used as the theme for Jun’s drama Shitsuren Chocolatier. 

On a random note, I’ve been keeping up with Shitsuren Chocolatier as it airs. I usually wait util a drama has finished airing before I actually watch it. But there have been so many spoiler going around that I’ve just given in and have been watching it as soon as it’s subbed.

Now, when I first heard Bittersweet on Heyx3 I was so pleasantly surprised by the song. It’s was finally a fluffy, light, upbeat, happy sounding song from them again. The dance itself, that was choreographed by Ohno I might add, was simple but incredibly cute. Not to mention that everything about this song was a giant breath of fresh air coming off of last year that seemed to be the year of mature Arashi. I came to expect something as equally sweet from the PV.

But it wasn’t until I read the translation for the song that my entire opinion changed. The song is about love being bittersweet. Imagine that? Well, I was just throw completely off guard by that one. It’s basically about the typical unrequited love, trying to not let memories fade, and so on. Pretty perfect for the theme of Shitsuren Chocolatier. It was at that moment I remembered the only other heartbreak themed song and PV from Johnny’s I could think of. Which of course was NEWS’ Sakura Girl. And at that moment I expected Bittersweet to have a similar theme.

I even tweeted this.

Tweet

Well, if this doesn’t further prove that my life calling is making idol PVs I don’t know what is. Because the Bittersweet PV is almost exactly the same as NEWS’ Sakura Girl PV. And I am going to enjoy comparing the 2 PV when the full version of Bittersweet comes out.

In this very short PV preview all we can really see is Arashi looking sad at a train station and looking sad while riding the train. As well as singing while waiting for the train. Gosh, I hope they haven’t give too much away.  What I also gather from the PV preview is they are leaving this town to get away from heartbreak. Except for Ohno. Since they’ve dressed him as a professor I guess he’s traveling to give some sort of a lecture.

And can I point out that buildings behind them make it look like they are in Italy. Or someplace in Europe at least. I don’t understand why a PV about waiting for/riding on a train has to be CG! Would it really have been hard to film this at an actual train station? 

Hey! Say! JUMP – Ai no Arika PV preview

Hey!Say!JUMP

A few days ago Yaotome Hikaru was on Ousama no Brunch promoting his and Inoo’s new drama Dark System Koi no Oza Ketteisen. And it was the perfect opportunity to release the PV preview for Ai no Arika, off of Hey! Say! JUMP’s upcoming double A-side single, Ai no Arika/Aisureba Motto Happy Life, since it’s currently being used as the theme for Dark System.

Before I talk about the PV preview I want to point out that I cannot stand that the official way Ai no Arika is written is as one giant word. And because I don’t particularly care for that I’m not going to write it as such on my blog. I’ll still tag it as that so JUMP fans can find my blog, but that’s about it.

Now, on to the PV preview. I have to say I really like the set for this PV. It’s beautiful, it’s spacious, it looks like it was filmed in some concert hall, and has some really nice high ceilings. There’s even a full orchestra behind them which is great. However, I thought it was great when it was used in Arashi’s Truth PV back in 2008. Beside the fact that Arashi’s Truth PV had a smaller set and it had a darker and grittier PV to make the more mature song, and Hey! Say! JUMP has a wide open set with bright lights to match the more happy positive song, it’s pretty much the same exact PV. And I’m honestly disappointed with that.

The outfits for this PV aren’t anything to write home about either. They are just red suits, while they are nice outfit they’re not really anything special. Especially since I’m 90% sure that Hey! Say! JUMP has worn straight up red suits before. But I can’t remember  exactly when. The closest I can remember is when they wore sleeveless red suits during the Summary 2011 concert.

The only part of this PV that did seems to have potential are Hikaru’s rap scenes. I mean they actually look really cool. He’s wearing 2 different outfits and there are some interesting camera angles and effects going on. However, the actual rap itself is so awkward and kind of awful, and doesn’t fit in the song at all, that’s it’s my absolute least favorite part of the song.

And it is a little sad that only Hikaru gets this special part in the song and PV even though Inoo is also in this drama. Sure, Hikaru is probably the lead. But remember how Super Delicate was the theme for Ryosuke’s and Yuto’s drama Risou no Musuko? Despite Ryosuke being the lead of that drama the song and PV were pretty much solely dedicated to them. But I guess that’s too much to ask for when Inoo is involved. But even Hikaru is on the bottom half of popularity within Hey! Say! JUMP, so I don’t get it.

I guess it could be that it’s easy to have Hikaru do his normal rapping while Inoo sounds like a frog while singing and can’t easily lead a song.

AKB48 to add even more members and why this is a problem

AKB48

I was just minding my business scrolling through twitter like I do everyday once I get on the computer. Reading a little of this, watching a little of that, tweeting a little of this. And in the midst of doing all of that I came across a tweet about an announcement during the first day of AKB48’s Request Hour 2014 Setlist Best 200 concerts. And I’m sure by now, since you’re no doubt going to read this post much later than I actually post it, that announcement is none other than the formation of AKB48’s Team 8. Auditions will start January 24th, which is today in Japan talk about short notice, and they will be picking one girl from each of Japan’s 47 prefectures.

Now, as you know, I am hardly an AKB48 fan. I’ve tried and tried endless times to get into them beyond their singles and honestly, I just can’t. I don’t really feel any attachment to them to be completely honest. But I still feature them on my blog and still keep up with them because I know a majority of idol fans do care. So, I of course have to keep up with the news for you dear readers.  That being said, since I am not a fan I think my reaction to this news might differ than what an actual fan’s reaction might be. Or maybe it won’t be, what do I know?

At first I literally gasped in disbelief and softly said omg. But soon after the initial shock wore off, which was about 15 seconds, a rush of other emotions rushed over me until they were a mixture of disbelief, annoyance, and a little bit of anger.

Do you remember the post I made back in 2011 when the first Team 4 was announced? Well here’s the post if you care to refresh your memory about it. In that post I basically just said I couldn’t believe they were adding another team and could you imagine if they added a Team 8 down the line. Well my worst fears, and arguably my most obvious prediction, has come true, as they are in fact adding a Team 8.

And I have to be honest with you, the main reaction to all of this is a resounding why. Why do they need to add another team? Why does it have to be made up of new members and none of the current Kenkyuusei? Why are they adding 47 girls making it the largest AKB48 Team to date? Why is this a good or logical idea? Why is this even happening?

I think I’ve just about made my peace with the fact that AKB48 and their sister groups are going to be unnecessarily large, are going to use whatever gimmicks possible to sell, and a song consisting of them sneezing would sell a million copies. I’ve accepted it. I don’t necessarily like it, but I’ve accepted it as something that happens that I have no say or control over. But sometimes something so ridiculous happens you have to take a moment and step back and really look at the situation. And that situation is the formation of Team 8. This is one of those moments where I have to go, isn’t this a bit too far?

If you are an AKB fan or if you are not an AKB fan, does anyone really think this is a good  idea or something that should be happening? I’m being completely honest here, if you can give me one good reason why this isn’t completely absurd I implore you to straighten things out for me.  Because right now there’s no good reason for this. And like I said on twitter this is absolute overkill, and it’s adding more members for the sake of adding them.

I’m sure people right now might be thinking why do I care so much? Or, there’s nothing I can do about it, so I shouldn’t let it bother me. Or even, the more members the merrier. I actually don’t care about this at all in the grand scheme of life. I certainty won’t be losing any sleep over AKB48’s Team 8 that’s for sure. But right here right now in this moment on my blog and on the internet, the two places where I care about and vent about idols, it is the most important topic at hand. Well, at least for the moment. After this blog post I’ll probably move on to the next idol related thing. But for the moment let’s divulge into this a little further. Let’s get to the main reason behind my outrage, which is my god that’s too many members.

Let’s talk numbers. First off I want to point out that I maybe be a little bit off on my numbers because I’m not super 100% up to date with this group. But I can assure you I’m only off by 10-20 at the most. AKB48 currently has 81 members. Please note that I didn’t subtract members such as Takajo Aki who are AKB48 and where moved to another group or keep members that hold a dual position in sister groups. Let’s assume for a moment that these 47 girls will be added completely into AKB48 as Team 8 members and none of them will join the Kenkyuusei. That would bring AKB48’s current roster to 128 members. If you add in the 10 current Kenkyuusei that number would be 138 members. But I honestly don’t consider trainees an official part of the group. But that’s just me. I know a lot of people do consider Kenkyuusei to be members, so I will continue to include both sets of numbers.

Now SKE48 currently has 46 members, NMB48 has 47 members, HKT48 has 32 members. That brings the current 48 groups up to 206 members. And if you add in each groups Kenkyuusei members that would bring the number up to 269. And if you add each group’s draft members, that I actually have no idea what they are or that even means, that brings the number up to 288. And that’s just the numbers for the Japanese groups. JKT48’s 37 members and SNH48’s 47 official members comes out to 84, adding that into the amount of official 48 group members which is 206, that brings it up to 290. But if you’re a stickler for including Kenkyuusei if you add in all of the Japanese Kenkyuusei to 290 it becomes 352. And if you add JKT48’s 7 Kenkyuusei is becomes 360. Add that number after adding the draft members and it becomes 379.

Now all that maybe extremely confusing to keep up with. So simplifying things: The current number count for official Team members in both AKB48’s Japanese sister groups and International sister groups is 290. The number count if you add in the Kenkyuusei is 360. And the number count if you add the draft members is 379. Again my numbers maybe be off by a bit. But for the most part I made this as accurate as humanly possible. Now if you add the 47 girls from Team 8 into the official Team count that would make it 307 current official 48 members. Adding that number in with the Kenkyuusei is becomes 407. And finally adding it in with the draft members it becomes 426 members.

Now, I ask all of my readers once again, is this really necessary. When it really comes down to it is it really absolutely necessary? Is it really? Just think about it for a moment. That’s more girls than there are countries in the entire world over two times over. Why in the world do you need to add a Team 8 and make it 426 members? Just why? But not even that. Why do you need 290 official members?

But now let’s get to the really fun part where I show just how astronomical those numbers are by comparing it to my favorite agencies. Let me start off my saying in the 9 years AKB48 has been together they have had 179 members. In the 17 years Morning Musume was together they had 34 members. In the 17 years H!P was together if you count former members, a member that died, and even part of the short lived H!P Taiwan, that bring the official members of H!P up to 106 members. And if you add up of the past and present Kenshuusei that bring the total up to 170. In 9 years AKB48 has had 179 members which is 73 more members that Hello!Project has had in the 17 years they were together. And is still 9 more members if you add in all of the trainees H!P has had over the years.

Now Johnny’s has been together since the 1960’s, so in the 50 or so years Johnny’s has been together they have debuted 23 groups and 5 soloists. Making the number of debuted idols up to 112. Which is still 67 less members than AKB48 alone has debuted in 9 years. Now, if that doesn’t just absolutely blow your mind to pieces I don’t know what will! Because don’t forget that 179 member count is without adding in Team 8. Without Team 8!

Again anytime anyone wants to explain to me why adding a Team 8 is 100% necessary I am all ears. Also, please don’t say, well you have to take into consideration that Team 8 is almost going to be pretty much a separate entity from the rest of AKB48. A completely new concept never done before in AKB48. Because even if that is the case it doesn’t change anything I have said above! And also, anyone that tries to make that argument with me I will not hear it or stand for it, and I will virtually slap you in the face. Because honestly look at the numbers! Look at the numbers!

Morning Musume ’14, what is this PV?

MMWhatIsLove

I think it’s about time that I stopped avoiding this and finally faced it headfirst. I of course mean Morning Musume ’14’s PV for What Is Love. If you can call it that that is. It’s their 2nd PV from their upcoming triple A-side single Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa/Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai/What Is Love. Though if you ask me it should have stayed a double A-side and What is Love should have just been a B-side.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love What is Love. I didn’t love it initially, but after a few listens it became one of those songs I couldn’t get enough. And I actually started to get angry that the song had been out for a while and there was no conformation about it being a new single. Tsunku did say that it may become a single. But whenever Tsunku is vague about things it usually means they are going to happen. Just like when he blogged about thinking about starting Mini Moni again and boom Shin Mini Moni and the other revamped units were formed. And I’m sure he’s done this many times since.

Though after watching the PV for What is Love I almost regret wanting it to be an A-side. While I do appreciate there being a studio recorded version of the song I’m not so sure I appreciate the PV. But I honestly should have seen it coming. Literally the day before the PV came out I was talking to Kiana about the covers for the single and I asked her something along the lines of, “They are only wearing 2 outfits on the covers, so what outfits are they going to use for the What is Love PV?” We both came to the conclusion that we had no idea but hoped they didn’t pull another One Two Three/The Matenrou Show fiasco and use one of the outfits twice.

And to our horror the PV turned out to be worse than we had feared. Instead of a proper PV, or even an extremely cheap PV that is just a dance shot, we were given one of the least creative and worse PVs know to man. The concert footage video. Now, I’m sure everyone is familiar with this type of PV. But in the US artists only have videos like this when they are either extremely busy or have no idea what to do for a video but still want a new single. And I gotta tell you, they are usually more interesting. In the US it’s usually concert footage mixed with behind the scenes footage and sometimes they’re not completely awful because you see the artist being natural and having fun. Why weren’t we given that? I mean, H!P films all of that stuff anyway for DVD Magazines anyway. I would seriously love to see the girls getting ready for a concert as well. Or something like driving to the venue, eating food, messing around back stage, or practicing their choreography. Even doing their hair and make-up would be more interesting than this!

I really think it’s time to stop blogging and start the career I was destined to have: H!P music video director. I mean seriously, I could do a way better job than whoever is in charge now. This PV is literally nothing more than the girls dancing to the song at a concert. Now where have I seen the exact same thing before? Oh that’s right, that’s exactly what the J-MELO performance of the song was. Except in this they are wearing different outfits and are actually on a concert stage. I’m sorry there is just nothing interesting about this PV. I’m not Chii, different camera angles don’t do anything for me.

Remember the last time Momusu had a live PV? That’s right it was Chokkan 2. Remember what that PV was like? That’s right, it was a mix of live performances. A mix! And they had to make the PV quickly. Remember because Chokkan 2 was supposed to be the B-side, but everyone hated Koi wa Hassou so much that Chokkan 2 became the A-side? Which means they only had days to put this PV together. Which is why it’s fine that it had live footage. But the worst part is, Momusu didn’t have to put the What is Love PV together in a short amount of time, so there’s really no reason for how the PV is. I mean, Chokkan 2 was put together quickly and we still have a PV with close-up shots. And it has 2 different horrible CG backgrounds. And the concert footage they used was from the entire concert! Not just the performance of the song!

I don’t know, maybe there are people out there who are ok with having concert footage as a PV. I, however, am not one of them.

WhatIsLove

I have to laugh that font is prettier than the entire PV.

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Look at all the fans though.

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I never really liked these outfits.

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Momusu’s formation dances are the best.

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Oh look another view of the fans. There’s so much going on in this PV I can’t take it.

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Harunan does look cute in this hat I must admit.

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Maa-chan’s hat is a good reminder that it looks like everyone is wearing shiny tennis outfits.

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Riho looks super cute.

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I could do without this part of the dance to be honest.

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Mizuki is super pretty.

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Oh wow now it’s the audience from this angle.

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Look how in sync they are.

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I never noticed before, but they are making a heart.

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There is seriously not enough Zukki in this PV.

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But she still manages to smile. And also, possessed Sakura on the right.

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Haruka is sweating so much her bangs have almost disappeared completely.

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Eripon is only shown for a split moment but she still manages to look gorgeous.

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That Mizuki smile.

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Wink.

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Riho is just incredible at dancing.

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I love how it looks like Haruka is photobombing Sayumi.

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What an odd ending pose.

Take a ride with Hey! Say! JUMP

HSJRideWithMe

What better way to bring in the new year than to have my first PV review of the new year be of one of my favorite idol groups? Though Hey! Say! JUMP’s Ride With Me was released last year, it’s close enough. I actually intended to do this PV as soon as it came out but I was too busy with my end of the year posts, and so here we are.

I am actually surprised that I ended up liking this PV more than I thought I would. Even though the PV is incredibly cheap and there’s not really much going on in the final version than what we saw in the PV preview, I still like it. I think the PV is really fun. I think they actually put in a lot more effort into this PV than it seems. While at first looks all you can really notice is that obnoxious jungle gym/cage made out of what looks like PVC pipes looming in the background. For a second it felt like we were transported back to the Super Delicate PV with those white abstract art pieces.

SuperDelicate

But in a weird way I’m into them. Mostly because without them they would just be in an empty room dancing on that same metallic  reflective material that they used in the over PV.

Over2

I can really appreciate is that they added some other element to the dancing set, no matter how random it is. I also really like that throughout the PV they shine lights on the white metal piece in tune of the song. Or at least it looks like it’s in tune of the song to me.

I could really take or leave the second main set of the PV which is that neon rainbow hallway they use for the close-up shots. Not only do they look like they cost $2 to make they give off a similar feel to Kisumai’s Ai no Beat dance version PV where they did their close-up scenes in a hallway full of graffiti written in black light ink.

AiNoBeat

You guys also know that I don’t like those scenes because of the awful styling.  While I do think members like Yuto, Takaki, Inoo, and Hikaru were able to not have the horrendous hairstyles the rest of the guys have, I don’t think anyone really escaped the bad outfit styling. I don’t think many guys wake up and say, “Today I’ll wear a mustard colored motorcycle jacket.” I’ve never actually seen motorcycle jackets for men in any other color but black or brown. Maybe I’m being a bit biased since Momusu pulled off bright neon motorcycle jackets extremely well.

MDS

I’m sorry I just think Hey! Say! JUMP look ridiculous in them. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I think the blue and red jackets are the only ones that possibly pass.

But all of those terrible motorcycle jackets are forgiven when we see the guys in those tuxedos. Definitely the highlight of the PV for me. The guys look so classy, dapper, and absolutely gorgeous. I also really like the black CG shapes in the background. It’s relatively simple, but I think small touches like that that keep you from getting bored are perfect. Because let’s be honest, if they left that white it would have been too plain and I would have been complaining about it instantly.

But I think the real win for this PV is the amount of screen time everyone gets. It is finally what I’ve always hoped for for HSJ, we get to see everyone! And for a decent amount of time! Remember the Super Delicate PV where Inoo and Keito literally got two solo scenes that were 2 seconds longs? That was a grim time for the group.

But HSJ have really been turning things around with their latest releases. In Come On A My House there was a pretty equal amount of screen time and in Ride With Me we get completely equal screen time and everyone gets lines. There is literally nothing else I can possibly ask from them.

RideWithMe

Tell me that the lights aren’t in sync with the music here.

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The shadowy figure of Ryosuke just standing there, reminding everyone who is the most popular.

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I could do without all these seizure inducing scene changes.

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Come on now, Chinen looks ridiculous.

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Daiki doesn’t look completely awful I suppose.

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I really wish their dancing outfits were any other color but white. It’s too boring.

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Ryosuke is trying so hard too look hot, but I’m sorry not with that hair.

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Am I the only one who thinks the way he parts his hair is similar to the way is was styled in the Over PV?

Over

Though obviously in Over her had more bangs and split them.

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The technicolor lights are a little distracting to be honest.

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WTF is Daiki even doing?

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Oh Inoo.

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What’s with the sudden rush of Takaki feelings? He looks really good here.

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Thankfully my beloved Yuto manages to not look stupid.

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RIP Keito’s lovely long hair.

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Go away Takaki.

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Yuto looking adorable.

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Lookin’ good Ryosuke.

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It’s reasons like this that he’s the most popular.

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That slight wink!

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Can we all agree that Daiki has no idea what to do during his close-ups? Right now he’s playing air piano.

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Yabu is a cutie, too bad his hair is terrible here.

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I think it’s funny that Inoo looks the same in practically every PV.

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I hate this ride with me dance move with a burning passion.

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Hikaru looks the best with black hair.

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Cutie.

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Yuto in a tux, I don’t think life gets much better than this.

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Inoo’s tie is so cool.

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I hate when they style Keito’s hair like this.

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Hikaru looks so cute.

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For some reason Ryosuke’s hair looks much better here.

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Why are they covering their eyes?

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I didn’t even notice Keito’s shirt was open a bit. Thanks a lot stylist.

Johnny’s Countdown 2013-2014

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I’m bringing you another yearly tradition to this blog, and that’s my overview/review, whatever you want to call it, of Johnny’s Countdown Concert. I always figure since I’m watching it anyway why not give my thoughts about it? I would do the same thing for Kohaku if 1. It wasn’t 4 hours long and 2. I didn’t live stream it. I only do this review 50% because I can never find a decent live stream of this and have to end up downloading it anyway.

This year I am a day late making my post about it and I apologize. But my computer was being super slow yesterday and there was no way I was going to take over 2 hours to download this. Today my computer is feeling much better I guess because it only took me 45 minutes.

Even though we all know the big news of the night, JOHNNNY’S WEST4’s formation and debut announcement, I’m sure I’ll still be able to enjoy it despite it not being a surprise anymore.

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Kinki Kids hosting again. Isn’t it official by now? I doubt they even think about asking another group to host at this point.

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Look at that lone Hikaru uchiwa, and that lone male fan.

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Look at all those hideous costumes at once. It wouldn’t feel like Johnny’s without them.

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It’s a good thing that Glass no Shounen is one of the few Kinki Kids songs I actually like, because we have to hear it every single year during the debut medley. Also, I can’t even with how serious Tackey looks while backdancing.

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I have to laugh that the Juniors have the better outfits. Also, I better enjoy these 2 seconds of YasuKen because this is probably all I get to see him. Do you see him behind Massu?

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Look at my beloved Yuto being front and center of Hey! Say! JUMP.

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2/3 of Sexy Zone can perform this year. Only 5 more until all of Sexy Zone can perform.

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Oh god I have nightmares about roller skates. Though how fitting of them to be performing a Hikaru Genji song.

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Well, Yuma looks super out of place here.

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3 of my favorite Johnny’s members in a row, it’s a JCD miracle.

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Ryosuke is blocking the view of Yasui Kentaro and Fukasawa Tatsuya. 

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I know that no one cares, but that’s a great jacket Uchi is wearing.

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Massu being his adorable self.

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Oh look Sanada Yuma.

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Tackey’s voice doesn’t really fit for Daite Senorita to be honest.

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Juri’s creepy smile through everything that’s going on.

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Look at that Taiga is there too!

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This is the best part of the entire countdown, no one can tell me any different.

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This would be my exact reaction.

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Baby.

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What song are they even singing here? I’ve never heard it in my life.

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Are you serious Daiki?

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Well, I certainly appreciate Noon Boyz singing with Sexy Zone.

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Jesse being super annoying.

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Oh man my favorite Juniors Taiga and YasuKen. They are actually in it a lot more than I expected.

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Massu pushing Kei-chan is the greatest thing ever.

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It’s so cool to see so many Johnny’s at once.

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Happy New Year again.

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Oh look, another dude.

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Way to start singing too early Tegoshi. You’ve ruined everything.

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Look how close the cameraman and sound guy have to stand to them.

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So, does the amount of Arashi and Kanjani8 songs they’re performing mean that they aren’t haven’t prerecorded footage of those groups? Or Tokio either for that matter.

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I think I maybe have just gotten my answer with them performing Monster next.

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Oh man I almost didn’t even notice Tsuka falling in the background.

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Oh look YasuKen changed his outfit. Speaking of Juniors, where’s Matsumura Hokuto? He’s old enough to perform and an extremely popular Junior, but I haven’t seen him once. I mean, I even saw Shintaro before it hit midnight.

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My beloved Fumito. Also, it’s the year of the horse. If they don’t say or do something about how they always say he looks like a horse I’ll be so disappointed.

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I haven’t mentioned this yet, but boy does Yamapi look so good here.

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Are you serious that Tackey gets the horse hat?

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Ok, it’s actually a little sad now that Fumikyun is saying he looks like a horse so he doesn’t need a hat. Way to turn it from funny to making me feel slightly bad.

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Oh man the stacked heads. Also, this song is my jam.

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I’m sorry, I feel the need to point out how perfect Yuto looks here.

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Ok, I wondered why I didn’t see KAT-TUN. Apparently they took over Kanjani8’s concert in Kyocera Dome.

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WTF is that weird chunk in Yamapi’s eye?

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So, we can get recorded footage of Sexy Zone though.

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Oh look the new group announcement.

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You know this was the first time I heard this guys sing, and they are better than I thought they would be.

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Wait why is Matsumura Hokuto in the under 18 section when he’s 18? I don’t get it. He turned 18 in June. I mean Juri is 3 days older than Hokuto and he performed after midnight. So, what’s going on?

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How awkward is it that Yamapi had to walk right past NEWS as they came in?

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Cutie.

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Look how good the guys born in year of the horse look. Also, they were all born in 1990, which means only 2 more years until it’s my year, year of the monkey!

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I’m not sure why Shingo is randomly there, but ok.

News that shocked the end of the year

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Well my dear readers it’s yet another new year. And yet another year with JM. This blog has had a lot of ups and downs, but it’s like home to me and I can’t really ever leave it. I want to wish everyone out there a Happy New Year! I know it’s a bit late, but I couldn’t give a proper greeting yesterday since I feel asleep before midnight because I woke up too early to watch the Kohaku stream. But I’m gonna shake off the New Year’s confetti and the triedness from yesterday and get to blogging.

Yesterday was New Year’s Eve and I honestly didn’t expect much from it. As an idol fan New Year’s means the same thing every year. Watching as much as the Kohaku stream as humanly possible and searching for a Johnny’s Countdown stream, usually to no avail. And this year we got something else to sweeten the pot, the Hello!Project Countdown Party. Though it only sweetened things slightly because it wasn’t televised. But the setlist alone and knowing that it’s getting a DVD release is all I need to be satisfied about it honestly.

But this year proved to not be more of the same, standard performances from your favorite idols or a setlist to die for with your favorite graduated idols and groups. No, this year we got surprising news with each event. Whether the news was good or bad, it was shocking to say the least.

The first bit of news came from Kohaku. And that was the graduation announcement of Oshima Yuko.

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Now, I can honestly say I did not seeing this coming at all. I was completely blinded sided. I think everyone in the world watching Kohaku let out the same bewildered gasp, even if they don’t care about AKB48. Which I barely do. But even I had to step back and go, “Are they serious right now?” But graduation announcements always surprise me. Even if they have been members for years and it’s about time for them to graduate, I’m still surprised. I’m sure I’ll gasp when Sayumi announces her graduation from Morning Musume.

I honestly didn’t see Yuko graduating now. Everyone was expecting it to be Kojima Haruna next since she was the lead in Heart Ereki. But you have to laugh because everyone was convinced that Mariko was graduating after they changed the janken single to Ue Kara Mariko after she came in first place. But she obviously didn’t graduate for another 2 years almost. So, does that mean we have 2 more years with KojiHaru?

I honestly expected Yuko to last a few more years. Sure she’s 25 now, but Mariko graduated when she was 27. And she’s pretty much AKB48’s center. Who cares that Sasshi beat her this year. We’re talking about the girl that beat Acchan. So, I’m a little surprised by this. 

But I do wish Yuko all the best. It appear that she’ll become a full time actress after she graduates, like Acchan is now. I don’t know much about her acting skills, but people seem to think she’s a decent actress. 

The second bit of news came from the Hello!Project Countdown Party. And that news was Mitsui Aika has decided to study English abroad.

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She did say that she is only taking a break from the entertainment business and when she returns she will remain a member of Hello!Project. Which seems odd because didn’t she switch from H!P to UFP a few months back? I’m pretty sure I remember hearing that.

As a pretty big fan of Aika I can say that I am saddened by this news. Even though she was hardly doing anything within H!P, I was still happy to see her cheerfully MCing or doing the odd performance here and there. And I am going to miss her in the time that she is gone.

Though I do see this being a happy thing in Aika’s life. It immediately reminds me of when Ogawa Makoto went to study abroad in Australia. In my opinion it always seemed like Makoto did that because she wasn’t sure what to do after graduating. Even though that was her reason for graduating in the first place, I always had that impression. I feel that’s the same reason Aika is going to study abroad now. It probably gives her plenty of time to relax and think about what she wants exactly after she comes back. Though that’s just how I feel.

I wonder if Aika realizes how difficult studying abroad really is? I remember when Makoto was talking about her experience she said she was very sad in the beginning. Since she spoke almost no English she couldn’t communicate with anyone and she would often cry because of that. It does make me a little sad that that’s what Aika is in for.

The 3rd announcement, and arguably the biggest news of all, was the announcement of a new Johnny’s group at the Countdown Concert.

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This new group is called JOHNNY’S WEST4 and is made up of the following members: Nakama Junta, Kiriyama Akito, Shigeoka Daiki, and Kotaki Nozomu

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Now, when I first heard this news I was blown away. And I was really excited for a new group. But once I saw who the members were I was hardly excited. This group is made up entirely of Kansai Juniors. And if you know anything about me I don’t follow the Kansai Juniors at all. Half because they never do anything so it’s nearly impossible to really keep up with them and half because pretty much all of the Kansai Juniors are hideous so I can’t be bothered. I will say that it was smart to have this group be made up of B.A.D. and 7 WEST members since they are literally the only relevant Kansai Juniors in Johnny’s. Everyone knows who B.A.D. and 7 WEST are. I mean, even I do without really keeping up with the Kansai Juniors.

A couple of months ago Johnny said something along the lines of, “Don’t you think it’s about time the Kansai Juniors debut?” And from that moment on I attempted to learn a bit more about them since it was pretty obvious they were going to debut any day now. But I could literally only find subbed things of B.A.D. and 7 WEST, and even those were pretty slim.

And I do admit slowly and slowly Shigeoka Daiki has been growing on me. He’s gone from that kid with an obnoxiously large mouth to someone who gets increasingly cuter every time I see him. Personality wise he seems like a pretty typical idol like and energetic so I suppose I could see myself becoming a fan.

I actually could only find things about Junta and Akito, I know absolutely nothing about Nozomu. Junta I’ve always been apprehensive about because he looks like a fish, but it’s good to know that he’s lackluster personality wise too. He seems just like a regular guy nothing really special about him. I do have to laugh that one of his nicknames seems to be JunJun. And it’s even funnier because he can speak a bit of Chinese because he lived in Taiwan because of his father’s work.

Akito is the member who stands out the most to me though. He seems to pretty full of energy and can talk easily. He also seems to be picked on a bunch which is always fun. And regardless he was pretty noisy and full of commotion while the other guys were pretty much silent. 

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However I’ll always remember him as the guy with terrible taste.

I am a little annoyed that my favorite Tokyo Juniors aren’t being put into a new group. Especially since I think the guys who were in Bakaleya6 are about 10 times more popular than any of the Kansai Juniors. But since Daiki and Akito are in this group, maybe there’s hope for this group after all.

Top 100 singles of 2013 part 4

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And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for, my fourth and final part of this year’s end of the year ranking extravaganza!

Have you been making a mental note of what’s left? Have you been staying up at night rocking back and forth, pulling your hair out, and mumbling, “what song did she pick?” 

Well, most likely not. But hopefully you guys are interested enough in this ranking to still wonder what number 1 is. And as a blogger that’s about as much as I can ask for.

So here we go, start the imaginary drum roll. I now present to you my top 10 idol singles of 2013. The top 10 singles I couldn’t live without this year.

Continue reading “Top 100 singles of 2013 part 4”

Top 100 singles of 2013 part 3

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Guys we’re getting down to the wire here, can you feel the anticipation building up to see what my top 10 singles are? Well, you should. That’s half the reason why I’m posting this in parts. 

Anyway, today’s rankings are number 40-11. In this ranking we’re going through songs that are turning from just ok songs to songs I can’t live without.

So, without further ado here’s you’re ranking. And I’ll see you tomorrow for the last part!

Continue reading “Top 100 singles of 2013 part 3”

Top 100 singles of 2013 part 2

100Covers

Ok, guys I’m jumping right into part 2 of my end of the year ranking extravaganza. Bringing you numbers 70-41. This is more of the mediocre or average section of the rankings. Songs that are so ok that they barely stand out to me, but I still like them and will listen to every once in a while. But still aren’t good enough to be in the coveted top 20 or 10 positions. 

Let’s get in this int full swing.

Continue reading “Top 100 singles of 2013 part 2”

Top 100 singles of 2013 part 1

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Are you guys ready once again for JM’s year end of the year ranking extravaganza? I know that I am. As you may have noticed from the title I’m doing things a little differently than previous years. Instead of ranking top 10 best singles, top 10 worst singles, and top 10 album songs like I usually do, I will just be ranking the 100 idol singles that were released this year! I actually had no intention of doing a top 100 ranking, but while I was making a list of all the idol singles that were released this year I mentioned on twitter that there were nearly 100 singles released. And one of my lovely followers suggested that I just add in a few more singles and make it a top 100. And since I liked the idea, and always try to do posts that people suggest, I decided to go for it.

I added in a few graduated member’s of AKB48 singles to make it fit to be a 100. However, shortly after I finished writing this ranking I realized that I forgot to include Yamapi’s solo singles. And I apologize for that. But there was now way I was going to make this a top 102 just to include Yamapi in this. So the shorthand is this: is I absolutely loved Que Sera Sera. If it was included it would have probably been in the top 20 at least. Summer Nude ’13 was just ok. It would have probably floated somewhere around 43 or so. I didn’t include Akanishi Jin’s singles and not because I forgot, but because I don’t really care about them.

Obviously there were way more idol singles released in 2013 than just 100, but I only included idol groups that I either follow or post about on this blog. So the idols featured in this ranking are as follows: Morning Musume, C-ute, Berryz Koubou, S/mileage, Juice=Juice, Satoumi Movement units, AKB48, SKE48, NMB48, HKT48, Maeda Atsuko, Itano Tomomi, Kasai Tomomi, Watanabe Mayu, Kashiwagi Yuki, Takahashi Minami, Kuramochi Asuka, Not Yet, no3b, Arashi, NEWS, KAT-TUN, Hey! Say! JUMP, Tegomass, Kanjani8, Kis-My-Ft2, YuiKaori, Momoiro Clover Z, Passpo, SUPER GiRLS, Fudanjuku, Dempagumi.inc, Cheeky Parade, Fairies, and Dream5.

Ranking 100 singles was an extremely daunting task and took me days and days to write. Some days I regretted ever saying that I was going to do this and writing felt like such a chore. I lacked the creative juices to continue. But other days I had an absolute blast writing it. I was on fire a few times and knocked out 15 or 20 songs in a short amount of time.

So, it’s really up in the air if I will do this next year or ever again. I will tell you one thing though, if I do decide to do it again I will start writing it in November just so I won’t feel so rushed to get it done and posted before the end of the year. Don’t ever let me go on hiatus and come back near the end of the year again. Better yet, don’t ever let me go on hiatus again.

Anyway, on to what you’ve all been waiting for the actual ranking! Since 100 is such a large number I decided to post this ranking in parts. So please enjoy part 1 or 4.

Continue reading “Top 100 singles of 2013 part 1”

Did Momusu just release a decent PV for once?

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Recently, to everyone’s great surprise I might add, Morning Musume announced that they would be releasing an unprecedented triple A-side single, Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa/Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai/What is Love to be released on January 29th. Ok, unprecedented is probably way too extravagant of a word. But come on, you tell me the last time an idol group released a triple A-side single? Actually don’t tell me, because there most likely is such a time. But whatever, the groups that I follow have never had such an exciting release before. And to make things even more exciting they released the first PV for Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa on yesterday’s episode of Hello!Station. Over a month before the actual release date of the single.

My immediate reaction when I first head that it was going to be a triple A-side was, “Hey we already know What is Love is a great song, if we get 2 other A-side that are just as good we’re in for an amazing single.” Well, obviously H!P didn’t have the same idea because Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa is a terrible song. I don’t like the song so much that I can’t see myself ever liking it in the future. The music is just horrible it starts out being dubstep and then has this odd We Will Rock you-esque boom calp which just does not fit with the rest of this song. And at that moment I thought it was just going to be like Renai Hunter that has the dubstep in the beginning and the break down in he middle of the song, but that’s it. The rest of the song is just normal dance music.

But we couldn’t be so lucky with this song. Instead of the dubstep music disappearing from the song it stays there the entire time, but just under the pretty typical idol sounding music it switches to. And they make it just soft enough to not overpower the entire song and just loud enough to be absolutely 1,000% annoying. It just linger there like a constant reminder that we’ll never be fully rid of dubstep from H!P songs for a while.

And the music isn’t the only part I don’t like about the song. During the verses the girls are singing in this way that’s like a constant mixture of singing and rapping, which I don’t like. Even the chorus isn’t catchy enough for my taste. The absolute only redeeming quality of the song is the part where it looks like Zukki actually got a solo line. But I’m still not 100% she’s really just singing alone and not just singing with Sakura but taking the higher melody, so her voice is more noticeable. Either way, for the briefest of moments my beloved Zukki was in the spotlight so I’ll take it.

Awful song aside, I really did enjoy the PV. For some reason it feels fresh and different from their other PVs. It has this expensive flare about it. The PV is also so light and pretty that I just love how it looks.

These were my absolute first impressions of the PV after I watched the PV preview. But once I watched the whole PV I realized that even though the PV is cute and enjoyable, it actually isn’t expensive at all. I realized that it’s just more of H!P fooling us into thinking we’re seeing a better PV without really having to improve the quality. Because if you watch the PV it’s the same as every other PV. But there’s just something about it that makes it seem like it’s expensive. So, buckle your seat belts everyone I’m going to point out how H!P is tricking you into thinking you’re watching a better PV than you actually are.

I think we can all agree that the most obvious reason this PV looks vaguely expensive is because the effects in this PV are actually good. They do look fake but not quite as in your face about it as it usually is. But I think it’s funny  H!P PVs are so cheap lately that this is what constitutes for a high budget. Making the same PV they always do but just having CG that doesn’t look like it cost $5. I do admit that it’s a big improvement. But only an improvement because we’re used to such sub-standard quality in the first place. So, when you think about it, is it really an improvement? Probably not, but it is pretty. And the fact that it’s flashing picture of nature in those colorful lines and shapes is just brilliant in my opinion.

I think the other main reason is what they are wearing. The outfits in this PV look pretty high quality. They’re mature, adult like, and therefore look more expensive. However, if you’ve watched every season of Project Runway like I have, they always say how just the design of a dress can make a cheap fabric read expensive. But that’s not the issue here because every group does that. The reason that these outfits are so wonderful is 1. they kind of look like the amazing outfits they wore on FNS and Mezamashi Live.

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And 2. they are a lot better than some of the outfits we’ve seen form them in the past couple of years.

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So, obviously they look better by comparison.

The last main reason that this PV seems more expensive then it really is, is because they are wearing more than one outfit. Remember that post I made a few years back that listed how directors trick you into think you’re watching a better PV than you actually are? You don’t? Well, it’s a great read so click here to read it if you haven’t before. Ah, the multiple outfits trick has been used since the dawn of time. And it is incredibly effective and that’s why it’s a classic.

All of this may seem that I don’t like the PV, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth I actually love it. I really do. The outfits are incredible and the girls look beyond gorgeous. I’m just saying all this because I was initially impressed with how much more effort they put into the PV, only to go, “wait a minute,” and realize they didn’t actually. I just think it’s funny how PVs can create this illusion that something looks better than it actually does without the viewer even being consciously aware of it. Whether or not I was caught in all this Momusu is being so innovative hoopla because I’m biased or because I was simple caught in the Momusu better PV mirage, remains a mystery.

Either way, it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that after being a fan of idol groups that make pretty mediocre PVs I’ve learned over the years to just focus on the member themselves. So, anything that happens in the background is gravy. Not to say that I don’t want a better or higher quality PV, I think it’s pretty obvious that I do. I mean seriously, don’t you read my blog? But at the same I’ve also learned to not let a sub-par PV diminish how much I love the song or how much I enjoy seeing my girls looking lovely.

Because if you focus on how bad the PV is you’ll be so caught up in that you won’t even realize all the good parts of the PV. Instead of the PV being about Zukki’s bright natural smile it would forever be know to you as the PV with the bad costumes.

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You bright smile is like sunshine. I think this is reason 5, 652 why H!P should just drop having official English subs on their videos. 

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For a second I thought they were praying.

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Why is the world would they make some member wear pants? With this particular outfit pants just do not work.

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Boom boom clap. Also, why did they give the girls wearing pants different shoes?

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Hello there decent looking CG.

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Look how cool it is that it’s clouds.

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Wow just gorgeous. is it me or does it feel like Ayumi is the more obvious choice for center? She just has that air about her more than Riho does to me.

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Why the bird’s eye view if they aren’t doing a formation dance?

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Can we just talk about how insanely gorgeous these outfits are?

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Omg, every time they jump the shape on the floor changes.

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Suddenly so many Ayumi feelings. But why she’s all the way toward the end of my raking? She just looks so amazing here. She stand out the most.

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Yeah, can they not keep changing the filter colors during the close-up shots?

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I kinda miss the formation dances. It kinda looks like they’re voguing here.

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Sayumi is such a beauty.

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Wow Mizuki looks so mature here.

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I have to laugh at how smug Riho looks here.

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Ayumi just stop that.

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Whoa, Haruka looks like such a boy here.

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What is this The Manpower all of a sudden? Mysterious.

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I just really love this scene.

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Maa-chan is so adorable.

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Sakura looks so mature is her close-ups.

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But I honestly think she looks much prettier here.

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Wink!

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Harunan’s cuteness making me overlook everyone else.

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Zukki’s bright smile!

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Omg Zukki be still my heart.

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I love how they have the two boys wear hats. And look at Maa-chan!

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Well, this is a lame dance move.

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Ok, Riho looks pretty cute here.

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Wow, this is really pretty.

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Eripon looks so pretty.

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MaaDuu for 2 seconds.

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Cause of death: Zukki smiling again in a PV.

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Even right here, no one can compare to Zukki.

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I think Mizuki looks the cutest with this hairstyle.

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Adorable.

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Whenever Ayumi smiles she looks like a shark.

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My baby.

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Too cute.

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Ayumi’s face.

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Who’s the center of Momusu again? I can’t quite remember.

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Oh come on, this is a bit much!

Have yourself a very idol Christmas 3

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Well, hello there readers long time no see. If you haven’t noticed I haven’t updated this blog in almost two weeks. But don’t worry I’m not leaving you guys again. I’ve already said that that’s not going to happen. No, instead I’ve been working on my end of the year posts. Which is a top 100 singles ranking, for anyone who doesn’t follow me on twitter. Since that was too time consuming I decide to 86 my album song ranking. Though if there’s outcry from my readers I will make that post after the holidays.

But that’s not what this post is about. I decided since tomorrow is Christmas Eve it’s the perfect time to post my annual idol Christmas spam. Which is actually only my 3rd Christmas spam in my blog’s 5 year history. But it’s a tradition now. I’ve been collecting pictures all month to make to make this my biggest and best Christmas post. I collected a whopping 152 pictures for you guys. Which is over double the amount from last year.

I’d also like to take this time to wish my readers a Happy Holidays. Merry early Christmas and Happy early Kwanzaa. Happy belated Hanukkah and Happy belated Winter Solstice. As well as everything and anything in between. Or even happy nothing at all. 

Also, I’ll see you guys after Christmas where you can look forward to my end of the year posts. Though if you care about seeing how my Christmas is going you know I’m totally going to still be active and twitter and possibly tumblr.

So Happy Holidays again and enjoy the spam after the cut! Also credit to yoshiko_mama for all the Johnny’s scans.

Continue reading “Have yourself a very idol Christmas 3”

Hey! Say! JUMP – Ride With Me PV preview

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The PV preview for Hey! Say! JUMP’s upcoming 11th single Ride With Me was released. And since the PV preview was come out I’m gonna to use this as the perfect opportunity to talk a little bit about the single.

Ok, while I was away from blogging I spent a decent amount of my time on twitter complaining about how much Hey! Say! JUMP has been mismanaged their entire career and how whoever is in charge of them is completely incompetent. Now, while I do still fell that way, and it’s painfully obvious how they have been mismanaged for years, it seems like the people at Johnny’s have finally gotten their act together in regards to Hey! Say! JUMP. And all I can say is finally. And I really do mean finally. We actually don’t have to wait a solid year for Hey! Say! JUMP to release something new and I couldn’t be more excited.

But not only that HSJ jump is back, and back in a big way. Not only have they finally been allowed to have one of their mature songs be the A-side like Beat and Bounce should have totally been. Inoo and Keito both have lines in this single. Let me repeat that so it fully sinks in. Keito and Inoo have lines, actual lines! In their entire career of HSJ Keito and Inoo have never gotten a line in an A-side before ever. And not only that not just Keito and Inoo have lines but every single member has lines. And Ryosuke doesn’t have the most lines in this single. Daiki actually does.

Now this is huge. This is really really big for them. It means Johnny’s are finally realizing you have to promote each member evenly for the group as a whole to thrive. It means they have a enough faith in the group to not depend on cute songs or Ryosuke to sell their singles. This is an extremely exciting time to be a fan of Hey! Say! JUMP. The single is great and my beloved Keito actually has lines. And a decent amount of lines, not like just 2 words. I honestly couldn’t be happier.

Now, onto the PV preview. The PV looks a little simple so far since the preview is extremely short. All we really see so far is HSJ wearing all white dancing in front of giant white tubing. Which is really just long enough to see that this PV was filled before Keito cut his hair. Thank god. I’m sorry but I’m just not into his new hair style.

We also see 5 seconds of the close-up shots with them singing in front of flashing rainbow colored lights. Which is enough time to see the ridiculous styling of those scenes. You can only really see Ryosuke and Chinen and they are both wearing hideous neon motorcycle jackets and their hair is styled ridiculously. Which means the other member’s outfits aren’t much better.

The only thing that saves this is Ryosuke and Daiki are talking about this single while wearing really cool blue jackets, so hopefully those are part of the not yet seen 3rd outfits for this single.

Even though this preview is really short you can already tell that this PV has a very Arashi’s Calling or Kisumai’s Ai no Beat dance version feel. So, I’m expecting something like that for the finished product of this PV. Which isn’t really shocking. It’s a dance song so it’ll get a dance PV.

Take a journey to the 80’s with Amita

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For SUPER GiRLS’ new single they decided to release a cover single. But it wasn’t any old cover single. No, instead they separated into 3 different entities and released 3 different songs, each song coming out of a different decade. Idol songs from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s. Think of Amuro Namie’s 60’s, 70’s, 80’s single but without original songs. I actually think it’s a really fun idea. I mean, Namie’s New Look has been my jam since it was released. And despite these songs being covers they are new to me because I obviously don’t live in Japan and haven’t heard them before. I actually don’t know of any idol music released before the 2000’s. Well the late 90’s technically. But I don’t count that because I don’t think liking Arashi’s and Momusu’s early music that makes me know anything about idols from the 90’s.

But I have to say, what I love most about this single is that my favorite SUPER GiRLS member Maeshima Ami got to release a solo single, Sentimental Journey. Which might be a little bit unfair to the other member’s and to the other member’s fans, especially since they could have added a few members from Twinkle Veil into Sentimental Journey. But hey, I very rarely like the most popular girl from an idol group, so I’m just gonna sit back and enjoy the benefits of it now.

When I heard Sentimental Journey I was absolutely in love with it. It is such a cute and fun song. So, I had to go and listen to the original version to see how much they changed it. The original is by Matsumoto Iyo and I completely recommend listening to it because it’s fantastic. 

I was surprised by the fact that they barely changed the song. The only thing they really changed was they made it sound less 80’s. All of the quintessential 80’s music has been upgraded to more danceable current idol sounding music, which I’m completely fine with. I don’t know though, if this song say anything it seems like the 80’s was a good decade for idol music.

I’m also really surprised with how high budget the PV for Sentimental Journey is. Usually when idol groups releases two or three PVs for one single the PVs are either extremely cheap looking or just mediocre. I mean, Arashi doesn’t even catch a break with this. But for this single all 3 PVs are very nice looking. I guess that’s the power of Avex though. Because even Kisumai makes better PVs being signed to Avex than Johnny’s artists that are signed to J Storm make.

However, the PV isn’t anything super spectacular, and there are really only 2 scenes in the entire PV. But what I love about it is that it just feels like an idol PV. It’s cute, it’s pink, it’s girly, and it’s fun. And it doesn’t really have to be anything more than that. It’s just completely carefree. I don’t really think this PV needs much more than Ami in it for it to be a great PV. Ami just oozes idol from every pore. And that’s what I think I love about her. She’s adorable and she just has this immediate idol feeling and presence. And I’m sure that’s a main part of her popularity. it’s pretty much the only reason I like her because I have to be honest with you I don’t know really anything about Ami or SUPER GiRLS in general personality wise.

Just because I’d be perfectly happy with just Ami and no bells and whistles doesn’t mean everyone would be, and of course this PV has a little bit more going on than that. The impression I get from this PV is that they are playing up her youthfulness and idol qualities. The PV to me looks like Ami is just walking around town as a sweet teenage girl when suddenly she comes across a fashionable cafe. She peers in the window and sees all these fashionable mature adult women drinking coffee and reading fashion magazines. It actually looks like she’s reading something like Taste of Home, Women’s Day, or Southern Living, but I’m gonna take a stab in the dark and say they don’t have those magazines in Japan. And I’m going to take an even bigger stab in the dark and say the cliche of fashion magazines fits better. While I do think the PV is cute I could have done with a little less cliche.

Ami longs to be that mature adult women and of course goes inside. But she soon discovers the tastes of the cafe both clothing and drink wise are too mature for her. Eventually Ami gives in and realizes she’s not an adult just yet. And we see Ami giving in and eating something more typical idol like, a parfait. Wow it’s like seriously every idol song you’ve ever heard made into the story line of a PV. Filled with every cliche you can possibly imagine. It’s almost funny. But once your realize that it’s being serious and not satire all you can really do is just groan. I don’t know about girls in Japan, but when I was a teenage girl I wanted to be an adult for more freedom. I wanted to stay out later, go where I wanted, and do as I pleased. I didn’t care about being seen as an adult, being a fashionable woman, or drink coffee. Those aren’t legit feelings. Well they are legit feelings, just not the feelings of a teenage girl. Those are what little girl who are about 8 years old feel. Not a teenage girl.

I love idol music I do, but it’s sometimes filled with too many cliches for women that these middle aged male lyricists think are natural feelings, but aren’t at all. I think honestly Tsunku is the closest any of them have ever come to what women really feel. There have only been a few times where it’s too much. But I have to say that Aki-P is the absolute worst with it. I think that’s why a majority of his lyrics are written from the male point of view. But it’s awkward for female idols to sing songs from the male point of view 90% of the time. But I digress.

My favorite part of the PV though has to be the singing scenes. Ami is wearing this cute lolita dress and she looks just so adorable and absolutely stunning. And you have to give them props because the dress is pretty similar to a dress Matsumoto Iyo wore in one of her performances of this song.

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Ami’s is just a more updated and cuter version of it. And obviously pink instead of red since it’s her image color. The dance moves are always about as simple as the dance moves that Matsumoto Iyo did while performing the song.

The set is a little cheap but I love that it’s supposed to be an amusement park. And I love the parts where she is riding the carousel horse. It just adds another cute element to the PV.

Though I guess I am contradicting myself because those are probably the most typical idol scenes in the whole PV. But I do love them. I love idols being cute but not a walking cliche. Well, they can be the cutesy idol cliche but I’ve just had it up to here with the cliche for women. Of oh no I need to diet, etc. It’s not all that women worry about you know. Even an on-the-money weather report reported by a scholar can’t predict a girl’s fancies, after all.

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Cute shoes. But gosh I can’t tell you the last time I skipped anywhere.

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Cute umbrella, cute skirt, just cute all around.

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Gorgeous. I love this dress.

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I love when she squints her eyes when she smiles.

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Cream Baby Cafe.

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Ami can’t forget to put on her invisible earring now.

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Some of these dance moves though. Now she’s pretending to wash her hair.

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She looks a little more horrified than interested.

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Gosh I can’t wait until I’m an adult and can drink coffee. I heard it’s strictly prohibited until you get your adult card when you turn 21.

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Too cute.

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I don’t understand why she’s sitting in such awe. She’s in a cafe she didn’t stumble upon Narnia.

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That shocked face.

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Omg I just want to hug her.

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The moment when Ami remembers she can’t actually read.

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Pick the polka dot ones.

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Yes, because women wear dresses like that to go to a cafe and not to places like a cabaret club.

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That overreaction.

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See, Ami is too sweet to wear something like that.

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Good old idol 2 step.

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What even is this move?

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Adorable.

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I don’t understand why she’s so satisfied she has coffee? She’s not a little girl.

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Attagirl make sure you get approval from everyone else first.

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Adorable reaction though.

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I’m guessing it’s espresso and not coffee. Which I’ve never actually had myself.

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Cutie.

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That’s a good looking parfait I must admit. It kinda looks like there’s peanut butter in the bottom of it though.

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Completely necessary eating scene. I remember people being angry that Koharu didn’t actually eat the pancakes in the Papancake PV. So, someone appreciates this.

Arashi’s being mature, surely a paradox

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Bringing you guys another PV review that is old now, but new to this blog. And this time I picked none other than Arashi’s PV to promote their newest album Love, P.A.R.A.D.O.X. Can I just say I had writing about Paradox like this? But for the sake of this blog post and being accurate I suppose I’ll have to muster through it.

Now I think it’s pretty obvious that I was going to pick P.A.R.A.D.O.X for my next PV. Mostly because I all but confirmed it in my MomoClo post. And much like the MomoClo PV I wanted to review another PV that I loved. Now, I don’t know how deep you guys are into the Arashi fandom, but when this song was released the fandom pretty much exploded. I think everyone died for a brief moment after hearing Sho’s Sakurap for the first time. (And every time since I might add.) And they took it a step further when the PV came out.

Now I have to say I absolutely love this PV. There are no better ways to describe it other than it’s mature, it’s sexy, and it’s so unexpected. Now, not to say that that is a bad thing it just takes some getting used to. Well, for me anyway. If you know anything about Arashi you’ll know that they are known for their super happy and super positive messages when it comes to music. And if you know anything about me you’ll know I live for music like that. So, obviously this Love album as a whole was a totally shock to the system. I went for going oh my god what have they done, to ok I guess I can get into this, until I was finally like wow this is amazing. I might give off the appearance of being laid back and that I go with the flow, but deep down I’m just a grumpy old man that hates change.

It took me awhile to like the music and it took me the same amount of time to like the PV. We’re talking about the group that wore giant popcorn heads and animal costumes during their last two concerts. So, forgive me if I needed a little time to adjust to something so mature. You might also be thinking, “hey aren’t PVs like Breathless and Mada Minu Sekai e mature?” And you’re right, but they were always balanced by their fun other A-side or album as a whole.

But now that I am pretty much used to it I absolutely love it. I am just completely entranced by the guys in this. They just look fantastic. They are sleek and sexy in all black suits, which does give me immediate flashbacks to the Breathless PV. But unlike Breathless these suits do have little accents that differentiated them so they aren’t absolutely identical. I guess that’s something. And it’s not just the suits that are sexy Arashi, managed to make a pretty sexy PV without being so in your face about it. It’s very subtle.

And as I’ve said before in countless female idol bikini PV posts you don’t have to show skin for something to be sexy and alluring. It’s just the easiest way to do so. Now I’m not gonna sit here and act like I don’t appreciate Yamapi’s Ero and Summer Nude PVs because obviously I do. But it doesn’t mean every PV has to do that to be appealing. I also can’t see Arashi being shirtless in a PV ever. It’s just not their image. A lot of Arashi fans also think they are too old for that and also call them middle aged men. When first of all, that’s ridiculous as they are still in their early 30’s. And second of all, you’re not middle aged until you are 40. And I don’t know about Japan but in the US if you’re a male celebrity that people consider attractive you’ll be seeing them shirtless until they are like 50.

Besides being easy on the eyes the PV isn’t exactly a masterpiece in it’s own right. It only has 3 sets and 90% of the PV is filmed using 2 of them. A majority of the PV is filmed in front of those 5 giant light panels. Which I do admit I’m not totally against, because the blue lights in between the panels give off this really cool black and blue light effect. I also really enjoy the close-up where they are just laying in a chair or just looking at the camera. I have to say those scenes are pretty hot. Subtly beckoning the viewing and flashing alluring looks. Just incredible. Can’t you feel me going crazy?

But what I don’t like is that 1/3 of the PV is in black and white. Lately Arashi has really been over doing it with color effects. Lately their PVs have been filled with blue hues (Think Face Down not the subtle blue lights here), black and white, insane amounts of contrast, and standing in a black room with just lights on their faces. Ok, I get it your lighting guy has a field day when you release something new. We get it, but it’s about enough. There’s nothing wrong with a normal lighting with maybe a touch of effects. But not every effect known to man all the time. Before we know it we’ll be seeing Arashi in sepia. The horror.

I also don’t know like the stupid giant red flower they are dancing in. The CG isn’t exactly the worst, but I just find it completely pointless. I’m also sure it’s probably supposed to be a euphemism. But I could honestly do without it.

I do really like the dance though. It’s intricate, it’s intense, and it was really choreographed wonderfully. Good choice to go to New York and have JaQuel Knight do it. The only draw back is that it’s a little too intense to do this dance and sing live. Poor Sho sounds like he needs an oxygen mask by the time he does his rap part live.

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Unnecessary.

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Ohno getting a little carried away with his big solo.

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Aiba baby.

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I’m not feeling Jun’s hair.

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I love how in sync they are.

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For some reason I really love this part.

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Jeez Nino.

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That kick.

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Wait a minute, is Nino wearing crushed velvet? For some reason crushed velvet is my weakness.

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That face Sho makes for a half a second.

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You know what this PV needs? Unflattering split-screen shots.

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MatsuJun’s dramatic jacket swing that actually works for some reason.

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Nino is just too cute.

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Idols winking, my main weakness.

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Time for the most awkward part of the song and dance.

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Every so often Jun looks really good. This is not one of those times.

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Aiba in that hat, goodbye my friends.

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It was really nice knowing you all.

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Don’t tease me with that pathetic excuse for a wink.

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You know what, all is forgiven.

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I have to laugh at this part because of the intense focus they put on it.

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Looking good Ohno.

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Just wow.

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Just no words for this.

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Maybe going a little too crazy there Sho.

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I love how it changes scenes while they jump, such a cool effect.

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I’m glad there’s clearer lighting now because I really needed to see them in hats better. Also, unintentional Sakuraiba shot.

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Cutie.

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Wow Jun’s jacket is gorgeous too.

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Jeez.

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What are they mouthing here?!

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Gorgeous Sho.

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Ok, now these split-screen shots are a little better.

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Wait a minute, Nino’s jacket is actually blue. That doesn’t fit at all.

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I’m not even really into Jun, but this scene man.

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I still don’t know what you’re whispering here!

 

Tsunku makes a terrible decision, just another day in H!P

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There are some things in life that come along that are such a shock you simply cannot comprehend what has actually happened. Something so tragic you are knocked backwards in disbelief. Something so inconceivable you’re at loss for words. You rub your eyes but it’s still there, you shake your head but there’s no stopping it. There’s no escaping it anymore. You run from it but it catches up to you. It’s useless to fight it now, Morning Musume has decided to change their name

In, what were they possibly thinking news, Morning Musume has in fact decided to change their name. Come January 1st the Morning Musume you know and love will now become Morning Musume ’14. But don’t worry it gets worse from there. Not only are they changing their name now they are going to change their name every. single. year. So come January 1, 2015 they will be Morning Musume ’15 and so forth. Just awe inspiring I tell you.

With such a genius idea surely there’s some genius level thinking behind it.  The logic is as follows: Tsunku doesn’t think your memory is good enough to actually keep up with the group that you’re following. He knows how rough it must be to actually remember which girl was in which generation or what era a single came out. So, he’s making it easier for you by doing the smart thing and renaming the group entirely to reflect this. Remember he’s doing this for you.

Gosh now I’ll never forget that Love Machine was released in 1999. Oh wait that’s not right at all. But that’s impossible, it’s almost as if changing the group name to Morning Musume ’14 won’t tell me when past singles were released at all. And that changing the group name isn’t going to actually do the main thing it’s supposed to do. Because it’s not like he’s stating that all past eras are now being changed to Morning Musume ’02, etc. That would obviously be impossible to do. And if that is impossible now why change the name at all?

I mean to me it seems like one gigantic publicity stunt to really capitalize on the Ima no Morning Musume marketing campaign. He said himself that if it becomes too confusing he’ll just give up. It seems that H!P wants to really separate the present Morning Musume even further from the past one. And I get it, I totally do. The majority of Japanese people know nothing about the present Morning Musume and only know the Morning Musume of the past that was actually relevant. But just because they are separating themselves from the past to became a brand new entity doesn’t necessarily mean people will suddenly know who they are now. It actually doesn’t mean that at all. People aren’t going to know who the present members are until they are popular and relevant enough to know of them. Simple as that. Just like the general public didn’t know the past members so easily. It’ll take another Love Machine moment for the current members to be known.

And I wholeheartedly believe that once Morning Musume achieves their second wind they are going to bring up the past so quickly. Mark my words. And they’d honestly be foolish not to. I can see them now saying things like, Morning Musume has regained their former glory. Or they have become national idols again. Or something like Morning Musume is picking up where they left off so many years ago.

The Ima no Morning Musume campaign is sweet and cute for now. It gets the point across, “Hey even if you’re stuck in the past just give the current era a chance. You might like what you see.” But that kind of marketing only works because they are irrelevant. If they were actually popular it would seem almost disrespectful to discard the past so easily. They would just be this bratty group that’s only in it to be famous and doesn’t care about the members in the past that worked so hard to get them to the level they are at now. The group that built up the name in the fist place. That they don’t appreciate that effort at all. Oh wait never mind, that’s no different than the Ima no Morning Musume campaign. Do I sound too bitter about it?

I have to admit I usually am 100% behind whatever Tsunku does. Well, the things that he is actually in control of. Such as lyrics, music direction, and auditions. (I firmly believe he has a majority say in which girls get added) I usually get where’s he’s going when he adds a girl I would have never chosen, or writes a song that seems like it wouldn’t work. But this is one derision I can’t 100% get behind. Assuming the decision was even up to him. But for the sake of this argument let’s say it was. If we didn’t have to blindly put our faith in him and the agency I’d say he was losing his touch. But it is pretty silly to give on stupid decision that much credit when you think about it.

The only good news that came out of this was at the same time he announced Morning Musume’s 55th single. The single is currently untitled and will be released on January 29th. It’s up in the air now whether What Is Love is going to be included or is going to be an A-side. It’s a great song and I’m really looking forward to a proper recorded version of the song. So, I’d honestly settle for t being just a B-side. But people have been saying a PV for What Is Love has been played during their Chance concert tour. So, it’s starting to look like it might become an A-side after all. But it’s obviously too early to tell.

I think I speak for the entire fandom though when I say it’s about time. Morning Musume has not released a single since August. Now, that doesn’t seem long for a single for a normal group but when H!P usually released singles every 3-4 months 5 months feels like an eternity. But then again maybe that’s just me.

 

MomoClo has Gounn all out in new PV

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So, once I made my comeback and got everything else settled about what I missed I thought long and hard about what PV I should review, since I’m jumping right back in. And I decided it made perfect sense to pick a PV I absolutely loved. Though maybe that’s a bad idea since my reviews for things I hate are usually way more well written. Maybe it’s just me, but I find it a 100 times easier to explain why I hate something than why I love something.

And once I thought like that it became so obvious that I had to review MomoClo’s newest single. Since I’m so in love with the song. And it’s the first time in a while I’ve really liked MomoClo’s singles. Not to say I’ve hated any of them, it’s just lately their singles have been just ok. They’ve been skating by without really making an impressions. So, sorry Amita and Arashi I’ll review your PVs soon.

Before I start this review I want to point out that I know absolutely nothing about Thailand or Thai culture. Except maybe Angkor Wat. But after googling it it’s actually in Cambodia, so I don’t even know that. Oh wait, I lied I know that Bangkok is a big party city. (Thank you Orange Caramel) But I certainly know absolutely nothing about their ancient history or current culture that they are referencing in this video. In fact for a hot second I thought this video was about India. As you can tell the education in America is as wonderful as you hear.

What I immediately love about this is how absolutely visually stunning it is. There are about 7 or 8 different sets for this PV. I use the term sets loosely because obvious everything in this PV is CG. But despite that you can barely even tell that the PV isn’t real. The special effects for this PV are so incredibly well done. It gives it such a polished and professional look. Which is funny because every idol group are professionals but with the budget of some of their PVs you can easily forget that they didn’t film it in the shed in their backyard, and then finish it up at home with Adobe After Effects.

No, it looks like some serious money was spent on this and it definitely shows. Each set is more vivid and vibrant than the last. The entire PV is eye catching from start to finish, and there’s so much going on in each scene that you don’t know exactly where to focus.

Not only is the entire PV itself a treat for the eyes, so are the members. Well, the members are always a treat for the eyes. But I mean the way they are dressed specifically. They are wearing pretty obvious traditional Thai garb. And I have to commend them for how much they stuck to what the actual outfits look like while still keeping their cute idol flare. But I must admit I don’t really like those outfits at all. They are a little much in my opinion. I prefer the outfits Berryz wore for Cha Cha Sing, but obviously since they already wore them MomoClo couldn’t turn around and wear the same thing. In this PV I actually prefer the outfits they are wearing that kind of look like plain white furisode, but are most likely some Thai outfit that I am unfamiliar with. The plain white gives them a very fresh, clean, and natural look. Well, that and the fact that we can actually see their hair in those outfits.

As a whole everything just works perfectly together. I think if any one element from this PV was missing it wouldn’t be the same. The PV is just spectacular and I can not get enough of it. I can honestly say with full confidence this is the best CG idol PV I have ever seen. And also maybe one of the best idol PVs I’ve ever seen in general. It’s fluid, it’s enchanting, and it transports you to Thailand for nearly 6 minutes. Just a phenomenal job all around.

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At first glance this reminds me of a circus tent.

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I never knew they had gold mountains in Thailand.

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Better stay away from hand island.

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I can now see that they are in fact not hands. They’re….what are they?

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How is possible for Kanako to look this pretty and cute at the same time?

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What do turtles have to do with Thailand?

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This is beautiful.

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Wink.

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Adorable.

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I love these scenes, they remind me of a kaleidoscope.

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I think Shiori has one of my favorite sets.

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Reni combing her hair makes me think of Gift of the Magi. I don’t think that has anything to do with Thailand though.

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Them dimples.

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This is really cool.

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Well at least they are authentic looking.

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Ayaka is too cute, I’m definitely a Gounner. (All my puns are based on the assumption that Gounn is pronounced the way I think it’s pronounced. XD)

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Look at how much effort they put into this set.

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Just spectacular.

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I was just thinking how Shiori looks a little mature in this PV and then she does this.

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Cutie.

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The dance isn’t much to look at is it?

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Oh their hair is braided at the back! I thought their hair was just kinda shoved in the head piece.

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I wonder what she’s writing.

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Aren’t magic lamps from Middle Eastern cultures?

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Now I prefer these headpieces a 100 times more.

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All of these effects are just fantastic.

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From this angle it kind of looks like a cake.

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What is Kanako even doing?

What I’ve missed, how I feel, and what’s to come

SK

Now that I’m back to blogging you’d think I’d have everything perfectly thought out. And you’d be absolutely wrong. I’m like a chicken with my head cut off. I’m running around here in such a daze. I’m like a coma patient who’s suddenly woke up after 6 and a half months who is trying to catch up to all the news he’s missed in the time he was out. Except I was awake the entire time and remember everything, so I’m not like a coma patient at all. It’s like I was looking into a big window…you know what I can’t even get my metaphors in order how am I expected to quickly get my blog in order? Let’s just say it’s not as easy as you’d think.

I’m at this point where I’m not sure if I’m supposed to address everything I’ve missed or pretend nothing has happened and pretend this is a new blog and I start from day 1. Get your tissues ready, because I’m going to do the second one. Mostly because it’s the easiest option. But don’t fret I am still going to go over some important opinions on the big things that I’ve missed. But it’s going to be extremely watered down. because let’s be honest I can’t fully remember every emotion I was feeling at the time and I can’t remember absolutely everything I should have been blogging about. So, let’s break this down by agency.

Hello!Project:

H!P3

As you know H!P is my first great idol love and absolutely nothing or nobody can touch it or top it. Now, I’m sorry if that seems extremely biased. But at the same time I make no apologizes. EVERY idol fan has that one group or one agency they consider their number one. Since I personally follow about 20 idol groups and cover about 25 on this blog in total, give me a break.

That being said it’s mostly to say that I still have very fluffy warm feelings for H!P. However, I am starting to get extremely bored with H!P’s song being more and more interchangeable. For a while H!P groups had a distinct sound. C-ute was the group focused on intense dancing so you could expect great dances and dance numbers from them. Berryz Koubou was this quirky, funky group that got the songs you’d never expect them to get because of their age. It was the group where H!P really went all out and took risks with their music. S/mileage was this full dose of sugary idol cuteness and fun. And perfectly balanced things out and is also my personal favorite type of music. Buono was this interesting rock sound. Morning Musume is this unique entity where there sound is usually constantly changing. You could have a ska song, a mature song, and a dubstep song in close proximity and for some reason it worked. And then Juice=Juice stepped on the scene and we got this jazzy adult themed group which was a breathe of fresh air.

Now, that’s H!P at it’s best to me. But the current state of H!P is nowhere near that glory. Instead every single group is making the same song. It’s danceable, it’s electronic, it’s probably got some autotune, and it’s absolutely mature. Where’s the variety in that? Every once in a while Berryz will throw us a fun song. But it’s not really enough. And S/mileage’s fun songs like Yattaruchan and Ee ka even sound too mature for a fun song. And who’s bright idea was it to give J=J a bland and too sweet song like Hajimete wo Keikenchuu? And don’t even get me started on how they really need to bring Buono back already.

That’s how I feel about the music. And I honestly feel like everyone else loves the overall sound. But why? Hasn’t the dance thing been done to death in H!P? Sadly, I think we’ve got a few more years of this. So, there’s not much I can do about that. I just have to hope when the 12th gen comes or that other Kenshuusei group were promised ever gets formed they’ll inject some much needed young flare. But H!P and Tsunku like to screw us around because they know where in too deep to really make a stink about it.

MM2

That being said my love for Morning Musume has skyrocketed. Morning Musume has always been my favorite H!P group and lately my love for them has been on full blast. Just because I am so incredibly proud of my girls. They are working so hard and it really shows in their improved singing and dancing. They are also slowing clawing their way back to their former glory. They are getting consecutive number one singles, they are getting more opportunists to perform on music shows. They were on Music Station for God’s sake. They are even singing the theme for the Japanese Olympic team. Like wow they are doing so well. And honestly just thinking about this makes me so so happy for them. That I’ve loved this girls for years, and loved them during what’s considered their lowest point in history, and the masses are finally starting to see what’s so great about them. And I honestly couldn’t be happier or more proud.

Johnny’s:

Arashi2

I honestly can’t remember the last things I said about Johnny’s before I took my “hiatus.” But I can say that my love fro Arashi has exploded, but I’m not sure when it started. But Arashi is my absolute top Johnny’s group now. Standing well above the rest. Completely smashing former NEWS to pieces. Though anyone that has ever read my blog is well aware why that wasn’t exactly a hard thing to do. But I love Arashi so much now that it’s hard to ever think of a time when I didn’t. I have so much love for them that it’s impossible to think of how there was ever a time I liked another group more than Arashi. If this 6 month break did anything it was give me enough time to watch a good chunk of Arashi’s variety shows. Way more than I’d seen before. And that’s where the attachment formed. I now consider Arashi to be on the same level as Morning Musume. And if you don’t know anything about me just know that that is HUGE. I’ve said a few times before if I could only listen to 2 idol groups for the rest of my life I would be completely satisfied with Arashi and Morning Musume being them.

Koki

KAT-TUN, oh KAT-TUN where do I even start about? Did you know they actually lost a member? Imagine that? Oh, it was Tanaka Koki, totally not a big deal at all. Except this was the absolute worst thing to happened to KAT-TUN ever. This was the most devastating lose that Johnny’s has experienced since I became a fan. Who cares if Eggplant, dead fish eyes, poison tongue, and smoke stacks left or where fired from their groups. They all stayed within the agency. Except for chimney but hey we still have his brother who was obviously the real golden boy within the Morimoto brothers. This is Koki we’re talking about. Koki, my beloved Koki. Also known as Tanaka the absolute only reason I’ve ever listened to or cared about KAT-TUN in the slightest Koki. This is a gigantic heartbreak. Koki was one of my favorite Johnny’s members of all time. 

And I’ll say it when he was officially fired I did cry. Not full water works. More like I teared up and maybe had a Crybaby moment. (Remember cause he could only cry one tear? No? Go watch the movie then.) It all started with me finding his newest penis pictures released scandal hilarious. Of course right after that legions of fans were whining that this meant the end for him. And with my usual flippant attitude I went, “Nah, that’ll never happen.” Well, someone please remind me to never say that because I’ve never been right about anything ever. (Except calling that Akanishi Jin was leaving KAT-TUN and Arihara Kanna was getting the boot from C-ute)

His firing hit me like a ton of bricks. So, I’m at this weird moment where I have absolutely no reason to listen to KAT-TUN anymore. As you’ll recall I said the same thing about NEWS when Ryo and Yamapi left. But I can honestly say that this time feels different. With NEWS I loved NEWS as a whole first and Ryo second. With KAT-TUN I loved Koki first and KAT-TUN second. So, I don’t know anymore. Hearing his rap cut from the recent episode of Music Station hurt. A lot.

HeySayJUMP

I actually don’t really have anything important to say about the other Johnny’s groups other than: NEWS’ Seven Colors is mediocre and release a new single already! And Hey! Say! JUMP is finally getting a new single, and my beloved Keito actually has a line. Stop the world.

AKB48 and sister groups:

AKB48

I’m gonna be honest with you if I’m not blogging about these groups I don’t pay attention to them that often on my own. I blog about them 90% for my dear readers. As I’ve said 100 times now. However, I do admit I’ve become increasingly addicted to Kitagawa Kenji for the past couple of months. I always thought I just liked SKE48 more than AKB48. But I’ve come to the conclusion that every other group is just better than AKB48. I’m sorry but AKB48 is too used sitting on the female idol throne that they don’t even try anymore musically. It’s SKE48 and NMB48 that have the interesting and fun songs now. Since they are working hard to forge their own name and get out of AKB48’s shadows.

Other idol groups:

Dream5

I have to admit I find it pretty difficult to keep up with the other groups I follow if I’m not blogging about them. Usually I’d have to make sure I checked up on them frequently so I could immediately make a post for my lovely readers. But left on my own I don’t find out about new singles until the PV is out. And I don’t find out about new PVs until about a week or two after they were released. Which is not really good.

MomoCLo

So how do I feel about some of these groups? I’m glad you asked. Momoiro Clover Z is back to impressing me. Coming off of their pretty disappointed 5th Dimension album, their newest single Gounn blew me away. I am in love with absolutely everything about SUPER GiRLS newest singles. I think the songs they chose to cover were perfect, and I of course love that my beloved Ami got her own solo. 

Fudanjuku

Surprisingly I’ve been pretty addicted to Dream5. If you recall before I stopped blogging I said how I discovered 3 new idol groups to love, Dream5 being one of them. Well I am absolutely enamored by them. Their music is fun, upbeat, energetic, and happy. I feel completely at ease and in high spirits just listening to them. Hibi Mikoto has become my favorite member because of her adorable voice and her adorable face. She kind of looks like a mouse, but in a cute way. Fudanjuku has become another one of the new groups that I have been following pretty closely. Danso Revolution has be come one of my favorite songs lately. And I am still having confusing and conflicting feels about Seto Kouki.

So, that’s very quickly my thoughts and feelings on some things. So, what’s o come you ask? Well you can still look forward to the same PV reviews, news pieces, over analyzations, and thought out blog entries you’ve come to love and expect from JM over the years. You can also look forward to my December staples, my idol Christmas picspam and my end of the year countdown. This year may be different, but keep in mind I make no promise. Someone on twitter suggested I do a top 100 singles countdown.

IdolSongs

Since there are close to 100 idol singles of groups that I follow released this year. Let’s see if I’m crazy enough to take the challenge.

I also had a good rant about Sakurai Sho and Johnny’s marriage on twitter. I feel like I can expand that a bit and make it into a really thought out blog post. So, if you’ve read the main points already on twitter I’m sorry. But if you haven’t read it yet, come on man don’t seek it out and spoil it for yourself.

A wild Aim appears

BK

So, did you miss me? Actually, don’t answer that. I’ve thought a lot about it, a lot more than anyone has probably realized, and I’ve come to the conclusion I don’t care if anyone missed me. Of course I did spend a lot of days crying on the inside and yelling why, while dramatically throwing my hands into the air. But I am past that now. I’ve decided that it’s enough that I’ve missed me. I’m a smart independent blogger that don’t need no validation. At least, not anymore.

Also, I figured, hey, if someone random chick I’ve never heard of from NMB48 can graduate from the group and then return like nothing happened, why can’t I? Let’s just say this is my Jay-Z coming out of retirement post. Let’s not call it a comeback I’ve been here for years. Ok, I’ll stop now. Come on, have you at least missed my terrible humor that only I find funny?

Though I can’t take all the credit for this sudden epiphany, or any of it really. I got a sweet message from one of my lovely followers on tumblr. And all they did was ask a simple question, something along the lines of, “Am I ever going to blog again?” They also said, “It’s ok if I’m not.” Now, that alone is an innocent enough question, but such a simple question crashed against me like a wave. Suddenly I was flooded with emotions about blogging and I felt a twinge of pain.

My blog, is pretty much my baby. And it’s been with me through everything good and bad in the idol world. I’ve had times where it was an absolute blast writing and times where I felt less inspired. It became a place where I could vent all of my emotions and opinions. I could write that I cried over an idol and people would understand the sentiment instead of thinking it was weird. Granted I probably did get a lot of eye rolls for crying over NEWS. But at the same time I got a lot of praise for crying over Mitsui Aika. Where’s the equality in that?

But my blog not only got my through the tough times idol wise it got me through the tough times real life wise. And you’ll get that from the posts I made about Hurricane Sandy and my mother’s stroke. My blog became this special beacon shining light onto myself. It was everything that made me, me personified.

But let’s get to the real nitty-gritty now and ask the questions everyone is wondering. Why did I stop blogging in the first place? And the truth is I never planned to or really wanted to at the time. You all know how I’m procrastinator. So, it just started with the normal me putting off writing blog posts. And after a while the feelings of not wanting to write anymore fermented in my heart and I started wondering if blogging was worth it anymore. I had a lot of feeling like: “No one pays attention to my blog anyway,” “No one even bothers commenting on my blog so what’s the point,” “No one even notices I haven’t been blogging.” Among other extremely emo thoughts. I swear if I drank that would have been the point where I sat with a bottle of whiskey and cried myself to sleep. Though give me credit, I’m a bit more level headed than that. And behind this overly sensitive bleeding heart beats one of a true cynic. So, I could easy shove those thoughts away with a wave of my hand. Though I won’t deny that these thoughts in the back of my head were the fueling force behind not continuing.

So, what have I been up to in the 6 and a half months I haven’t been blogging? Well, it’s simple really, absolutely nothing. Well, obviously not nothing nothing. Just nothing of substance. I’ve pretty much just been going on with my life without blogging. Like I used to do before blogging, and let me tell you those were grim days.  I became an H!P fan in 2007 and started my blog in 2008. So, nearly every moment of me being an idol fan has been documented in this blog. So, not blogging for even half a year seems pretty surreal and made me feel oddly empty inside. And in an even odder way, it doesn’t feel like I’m even an idol fan if I’m not blogging about it. I thought just being an idol fan and not feeling pressured by having to write about everything going on would be fun and make me feel at ease. But let me tell you, it is so ungodly boring! How do idol fans do it? How do people who don’t blog about it or get their opinion fully out about idol feel satisfied? Because let me tell you, I wasn’t even in the slightest.

I have to also say I am deeply, incredibly, horrendously, completely sad about all the BIG idol stuff that happened that I didn’t blog about. Such as Tsunku screwing us out of the 12th gen and my beloved Tanaka Koki getting the ax from KAT-TUN. (Oh yes, there were tears.) I also, regret not making my blog anniversary post. I actually planned on my anniversary post (which would have been in July in case you’re wondering) my official comeback. But that obviously didn’t happen. Since I’ve missed so much I’m been thinking about asking people if there’s any PV they want me to review that I’ve missed in my time away, or any big idol news they want me to comment on.

Guys, it’s getting close to my annual posts. You know I can’t pass up doing them. They are WAY too much fun. Yes, the best/worst song posts are a little time consuming, but at the same time are some of my favorite posts to write.

So, I leave you guys with nothing more than just my triumphant return. And this blog post that is kind of a giant pat on the back to myself and written mostly for myself. As all my blogging is and always has been. I just had a moment of weakness where I lost sight of that. But I promise that won’t happen again. Though if it does, don’t take it personally. After all, this blog is really for myself. And it other people are caught in the crosshairs and like it, that’s fantastic. And if they don’t, well I’m not going to beat myself up over it. Not anymore.

Momusu’s newest harebrained PV

MorningMusumeBrainstorming

Almost 2 months ago the full PV for Morning Musume’s Brainstorming off their recent double A-side single, Brainstorming / Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai, was released.

And the reason I’ve waited so long is because I was honestly dreading writing this review. Since Morning Musume is my favorite idol group I’m always extra excited to review their PVs. And whether the PV is good or bad I always have a clear opinion on it. But with this PV, and the other PV from this single for that matter, I’m literally drawing a blank. Just completely uninspired to write about it. You know a PV is bad when you can’t even form the words of why you don’t like it.

But much like with any PV review I feel the longer I wait to review them, the more I’m letting my readers down. And it’s that feeling that pushes me. That silently whisper in my ear I can sense of all of my readers in unison saying, “Hey, Amy, what’s going on? I’m tried of waiting to read that review it’s been out for weeks already!” Granted my readers would probably call me Aim, but I feel it’s more dramatic using my real name.

Buy you guys have no idea. I’d take reviewing an awful PV over a mediocre PV any day. At least I can think of sometime to say with an awful PV. And that’s what brings us here now. I’m reviewing this PV for solely for you guys, and I genuinely hope you enjoy it.

Unfortunately what I feared when I watched the loose shot version, the same thing I feared when I watched the dance shot version of One Two Three, sadly became a reality and the loose shot version pretty much became the final version of the PV. Which makes me half angry and half sad. And not because of the reason you think. It’s cool they they keep giving us fans of the PV with having the dance shots uploaded about a month before the full PV is out. But at the same time I hate that it spoils the full PV too much. I prefer when we just used to get 30 second previews of the PV. Remember a time when us fans were satisfied seeing a completely grainy severely low quality PV preview of Naichau Kamo recorded directly off of someone’s cell phone? Oh, how the times have changed.

This PV I can’t even fully explain it. I don’t hate it, but I definitely don’t love it. It does have it’s good parts: the girls look outrageously gorgeous, especially during the close-up shots. My god the close-up shots! The lights are so bright on their faces that’s it’s giving them a flawless completion and overall appearance. My girls just look so incredibly beautiful that I’m almost overcome with emotion at thought of how much they’ve grown. I also absolutely love the outfits. They are tough, but still pretty at the same time. Perfect yankee fashion for Reina’s send off. And they’ve once again given the members who are meant to be sexy the sexier outfits. This time it’s only simple thigh high socks. People have tried to say that it’s the older members who get the socks, but that’s not the case. Because Mizuki and Ayumi are the same age but only Mizuki is wearing socks. And Riho is younger than Ayumi and she is wearing the socks. I literally cannot be the only one who picks up one this.

I also really like the dance. Sure, it’s a similar style to what they’ve been doing lately, but I like it. It’s sharp and polished looking. And completely interesting to watch. I like that lately they’ve been making dancing intensely their thing. I always loved when they switched C-ute to that once they became a 5 member group. I also even like that big screen of lights in the background. I love that throughout the PV it changes from music bars, to something that resembles a heartbeat, and then to just flashes of brightly colored light. It makes the PV a little more vibrant, and a little less dull. I also thought it was brilliant that they turn the lights to each girl’s image color during close-up scenes.

But that’s all I like about the PV. I don’t like that they are just standing on a bare black floor, and on one set the entire PV. I don’t like that it’s another predictable dance shot close-up format. I don’t like that Morning Musume doesn’t, and hasn’t for a while, taken risks with their PVs and at least attempt to make something interesting. Like Seishun Collection. It wasn’t great but at least it was filmed outside and they did more than just dance and show close-ups.

Instead we get another PV that’s only enjoyable because I love the girls and they look pretty. But visuals only go so far, and I prefer something a little better. Even if this PV was painfully simple I’d still like to see the girls being silly and having fun. Or showing their personality somehow. A PV like this gives the girls zero changes to let their true selves shine through. It’s what I loved about PVs like Maji desu ka Ska. It was so cheaply made, but I saw the girls really being themselves in the PV. Lately they’ve had to worry too much about being mature and sexy that they’re not being themselves. And bottom line, that’s why I like my idols, for their personalities not their looks.

Brainstorming

I wanted to make a joke that even this titled screen ins cheap, but who am I kidding this is actually an improvement.

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Gosh this looks oddly familiar.

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Love how intense the dance is.

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I really can’t deny that this is a great dance overall.

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Riho is looking pretty adorable.

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Wow Mizuki.

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Might as well post this, is probably one of the few times I’ll actually see Zukki.

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What’s with the hear no evil pose?

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Wow I’m really paying a lot of attention to Riho in this PV. Well, I don’t really have  a choice considering all the liens she gets.

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This hairstyle is super adorable on Ayumi.

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Gorgeous.

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They gave Sakura such an odd hairstyle.

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Oh look there’s my girl, looking beautiful I might add.

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I love how you can clearly see Maa-chan’s enthusiasm. 

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And I love how cool Haruka is trying to look.

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This is like the only part of the dance that looks awkward in my opinion.

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Is that a smile Haruka?

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Sakura looks so innocent here. I can’t really explain it any other way.

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Just wow.

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Whoa I actually think this is the first time they showed Erina in the entire PV.

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Just random arm flailing at this part of the dance.

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I absolutely love Riho and Ayumi’s little dance battle.

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Fukuhime!

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I just noticed that Reina’s earrings are handcuffs. How cool.

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How can anyone not love Masaki? How can anyone not want to just run up and hug her?

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Why does Haruna look so sad? This is your solo line girl, cheer up.

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Cutie.

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Zukki’s judging you so hard right now.

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What’s with this random smoke scene?

KisumaiEverybody

Are we suddenly in Kis-My-Ft2’s Everybody Go PV?

Kisumai’s PV never fails to make me smile

KisumaiSOS

A few months ago the full PVs for Kis-My-Ft2’s new double A-side single KI.SU.U.MA.I ~Kiss Your Mind~ / S.O.S (Smile On Smile) were released. It’s a lot late, I know. I apologize. But I’ll find a happy medium in blogging again.

The S.O.S PV again took top priority because one of my lovely readers asked me when I was going to review it, so I know they’ve been waiting and looking forward to this.

After watching this PV and following their releases all I can say is, “What are you doing to me Kisumai?” I’m a super casual fan of Kisumai and I always planned on it staying that way. Honestly, because of the same reason I used too be casual with KAT-TUN, and that’s because their singles are great, but they could’t seem to pull it together and make a decent album. KAT-TUN’s albums got increasingly better after Jin left, but I’m not sure sure about Kisumai. I say that because right now I’m only going on Kis-My-1st because I have not had a chance to listen to Ikuze Good yet.

But lately Kisumai has like been begging me to become a bigger fan of them. Enticing me with singles released so soon after each other, double A-sides, a DVD, album, and single all released on the same day. I have to say looking from my stagnant Hey! Say! JUMP and NEWS fandom, the Kisumai fandom looks shiny and fun. Now, all they need is someone to consistently sub their variety shows and I’m sold.

Now, that was way off subject, but important nonetheless. The PV is also being me to become a bigger fan. It is just incredibly charming. Everything about it is just fun. It has the same flare as the Unmei Girl PV in the sense that it’s a relatively simple PV that’s enhanced by the members themselves.

I have to give the editors of this PV props they made a CG PV that actually looks good. Most of the time CG PVs seem to have such a low budget that they can’t afford the good CG and instead use really awful cheap looking CG that brings down the entire PV. But it seems like Kisumai spent a decent amount of money on this PV and it completely shows with the quality of the CG.

Everyone who makes idol PV should take note of this PV because this is how CG idol PVs should be made. At first glance the PV looks boring because it’s set it what can only be described as a futuristic town completely made of white. But once the abstract/ pop art looking graffiti flashes across the screen it immediately makes sense why they went for such a subdued backdrop. I think it was such a smart idea for them to have 3D graffiti and to have their movements paint even more graphics. It really brightens things up without being too much and overpowering the entire PV. It’s extremely eye catching and and really adds a fun and cutesy element to the PV. I have to say I’m a sucker for happy-go-lucky idol PVs, so I really prefer when Kisumai is being cute and slightly childish vs when they try to be mature and sexy and release heavy rock music. But that’s just my opinion.

The other thing I absolutely love about this PV is even if there wasn’t any pop art graffiti this PV can stand alone with any of it. And that really speaks volumes for the PV itself. That they graphics are completely enhancing the PV and aren’t being used to dress up an otherwise predictable PV. The guys are completely charming and effervescent in this PV and are as equally bright and vivid as the PV itself. The guys are just being so carefree, energetic, and just really natural. There’s a real playful element where the guys are chasing each other, randomly invading each others solo shots, and always being extremely enthusiastic. Whether it’s during the dance or just running in place somewhere in the distance.

And another big plus for this video is we actually get to see the other 4 members quite a bit! It’s nowhere near the screen time they deserve, but it’s leaps and bounds ahead of the attention they usually get. It’s not a perfect situation, but maybe just maybe, this means management is finally opening their eyes and is going to start using the other guys more. Maybe an evenly distributed song and PV is closer than we think. Despite Tama being my favorite member I’d be perfectly ok with seeing him less and seeing more of, say, the always exuberant Miyata.

Aside being in love with this PV, and I am in love with it, absolutely in love with it, I also consider it to be one of the best PVs of 2013 so far. And I honestly can’t see many PVs topping it. However, there is one scene I just don’t like at all, and it’s the scenes where they are dancing in front of the earth. And I don’t like it because it’s the one time in the PV you’re painfully aware that you’re watching a CG PV. The CG is just such a poor quality it doesn’t fit with the rest of the PV. And besides that, dancing it front of the Earth with rainbow colors flashing around it reminds me 100% of Berryz Koubou’s Ryuusei Boy PV.

S.O.S2

Conveyor belt Kisumai.

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This dance is a little too simple for my taste.

S.O.S4

Graffiti try not to be so obnoxious.

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Taisuke looking as cute as ever.

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Now this is the perfect amount of graffiti. And I love how it’s also on the billboard.

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How adorable.

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Is there really anyone more adorable than Tama?

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Still this dance. Not good.

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Nice ascot there.

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Cutie.

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This is pretty reminiscent of Ryuusei Boy.

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Don’t you think?

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Adorable.

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Love these bouncing smiles.

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This PV makes walking on that conveyor belt look so easy, but during the PV making they fell down like 10 times.

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Oh Miyacchi.

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Come on Miyata go away, you’re getting in the way of Hiro’s usual 8 hours of screen time.

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Sometimes Hiro is so close to being cute, but then they are times like this where he looks like a troll.

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Senga’s quite a scene stealer, I barely noticed Taisuke here.

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But then the next second it’s as if no one exists but Taisuke.

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Wait a minute, are Tama’s eyes two different colors? I’ll have a kinship with him times 1,000 if we both have heterochromia iridum!

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I really wish we could see the pop art font in the background better.

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This forced perspective is really cool. Reminds me of the forced perspective things Mini Moni did on Ayu ready.

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It looks like Senga is going to fall.

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Get back under your bridge Hiro.

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Omg Miyata.

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Love all the different fonts.

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Such a cutie.

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I love the effect under their steps.

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It’s so cool how the futuristic world is literally crumbling away to form the new set.

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Now this really reminds me of Ryuusei Boy.

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Kind of a similar feel.

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Just when their outfits almost matched they had to find a way to make sure they didn’t.

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I love that the smiley faces are in the sky.

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Miyabi appointed sub-Captain and the panic that follows

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Berryz Koubou Captain Shimizu Saki made an unexpected and equally shocking announcement on her blog that fellow Berryz member Natsuyaki Miyabi will helping her lead the group as Sub-Captain. In her blog post, which you can read translated here, Saki said her reasoning behind appointing Miyabi was because she feels that she’s not doing a proper job of leading them since C-ute is holding concerts in the Budokan and Berryz has yet to hold concerts there themselves. And has now personally said she’s aiming for Berryz to perform at the Budokan this year or next year.

Now when I first read her blog post I was overcome with two emotions. The first was sadness for Saki because she, and the rest of Berryz, have been trying their best and still there’s no result. Not only that but you see how the idol themselves are painfully aware of how unpopular they are which is a whole other kind of empathetic pain I feel for idols. And I also feel sad because Berryz are losing to a younger group. Which has got to make them feel bad about themselves. The second emotion I was feeling was admiration for Saki. Here’s a leader who sees what’s wrong and really wants to fix it. And also an idol that has such love for their group that they want everyone else to know how great their group is. As a fan I’m touched and get slightly choked up thinking of her love for Berryz being so genuine and caring so much about the fans that she says she’s also doing this so the fans see the best Berryz that’s possible. 

I have to say I am not entirely surprised that C-ute are getting to perform Budokan. Tsunku did say either in the beginning of the year, or maybe the end of last year, that 2013 was going to be C-ute’s year. And that fact that C-ute are performing at the Budokan and having their first overseas concert means that Tsunku wasn’t kidding. But it is obviously sad for the other groups in H!P who would love to have a year as good as C-ute’s.

That being said, in my second paragraph I did say those were the emotions I was feeling when I read her blog post because when I first heard the news I certainly has different feelings. When I first heard this news I was completely confused. And the one though that I kept having was simply why. “Why now after all these years without one? And why at all?” Sure, I guess it could make sense that Saki feels that she’s incapable of leading the group on her own and really does need help. But let’s be honest, leaders in idol groups don’t really do anything. Sure they make sure the girls are actually working and not goofing off, and they gather the girls all together. But beyond that there’s really nothing else. They don’t choreograph the song or teach the girls the dance. They don’t write the lyrics or give the girls vocal lessons. And they certainty aren’t in charge of line distribution or how much promotions the group gets. Captain or leader is a fancy name and some honor, but it’s really nothing more than that. Because honestly the only time a group needs a leader is when new girls join the group. But Berryz has never had new members.

So, after realizing that Saki doesn’t really need help to do a virtually nonexistent job, what was the point in announcing this at all? And then it hit me and came over me as one fell swoop of fear and panic. This seems like it’s only being done because Saki plans to graduate soon. I honestly wouldn’t blame her or be too surprised. For one, Saki is the oldest member so I always figured she would leave the group first. And secondly, 2014 will mark her 12th year as an idol. 10 years in Berrys and 2 years in H!P Kids. That also marks nearly half of her life. Not many idols out there have started off so young and been an idol for so long. And this announcement does make it seem like Saki wants to graduate on a high note after accomplishing something big.

All of this just seems way too convenient. In nearly 10 years Berryz has never felt the need to have a sub-Captain, but now all of a sudden they do. It seems way too perfect if you ask me. Because the first question that would be asked if Captain graduated  would obviously be who’s the Captain now? And the answer to that question should have been Momoko. As the second oldest she’s the most logical choice. Miyabi actually makes no sense. There are 3 members older than her who should have been picked instead. Which either makes me think that some of those girls might want to graduate too or perhaps Saki really did have the final say in choosing.

I have to say the thought of Saki graduating does frighten me. Not because she’s my favorite member, which she isn’t. I don’t dislike her, she’s just floating somewhere in the middle to me. No, it frightens me because this would be the sobering realization that Berryz Koubou and C-ute eventually aren’t going to exist anymore.

Yes, one day when the girls are too old they are either going to drop like flies one by one or just graduate the entire group. The girls in Berryz Koubou are starting to reach that “too old to be an idol” age. This year the girls will be 19-22. Which doesn’t seem old, but in means some of the girls only have 2-3 more years as idols tops. I said on twitter recently, “what if Berryz announce their disbandment during their 10th anniversary?” I said it during one of my half serious “what if?” scenarios. But now I’m starting to think about it more seriously because honestly they could. They could seriously announce next year that 2015 is going to be their final year. Or they could just simply announce that a member is leaving. But having been members for so long in an almost unchanged line-up, wouldn’t one member leaving feel like the end of the group?

This whole station has put me on high Berryz alert. I love Berryz and consider Berryz to be my 3rd favorite H!P group. I guess now I’m going to treasure them even more just in case someone is leaving or the group is going to disband. Because honestly, even if it isn’t this year or next year, it’s going to happen eventually. And probably sooner than you realize or are prepared for. I really don’t want to be in one of those I didn’t care about them enough and now they’re gone situations.

I’m going to end this blog post with a cryptic piece of advise: Enjoy every idol moment like it’s their last because for all you know it’s going to be.