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!

News that shocked the end of the year

Yuko

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.

OshimaYuko

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.

MitsuiAika

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.

Johnny's4West

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

NewGroup

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. 

Akito

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

100Covers

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

100Covers

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

100Covers

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”

Have yourself a very idol Christmas 3

Christmas47

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”

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.

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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.

AKB48 – Sayonara Crawl PV Preview

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A PV preview for AKB48’s new single, Sayonara Crawl, was released. And as we all know this isn’t just any old AKB48 single. No, this is of course the single before the Senbatsu, which means it’s just destined to sell incredibly well. Which also means, they wanted to pull out all the stops to ensure it sells the maximum amount.

And if you’re AKB48, that means yet another bikini PV. And before I talk about that can I just say how Sayonara Crawl sounds like it should have been a sad song. Something along the lines of: you were just dumped and are hurting so much instead of running away from that person who dumped you it’s really a sad goodbye crawl away? Instead it’s this happy upbeat song I was not expecting. But maybe that’s just me. Or maybe I’ve just heard so many idol songs now that I could probably write my own. 

But weird lyrical expectations aside, was anyone really surprised it was yet another bikini PV? Well, maybe Mother Nature was a tad surprised since summer doesn’t officially start until a month after the song release date. But hey, it is pretty much official AKB48 law anymore to have at least 1 bikini PV a year, so why not get it out of the way? And why not add the already increased sales of the Senbatsu single with the increased sales that come along with a bikini PV to make this possibly the highest selling AKB48 single of all time? It makes perfect sense obviously.

But as a fan of well made idol PVs and not a fan of female fanservice, that fact doesn’t comfort me at all. No, instead I actually care most about the quality of the PV, which in Sayonara Crawl’s case isn’t very good. So far that is. This is of course is mostly said because of the comments I get that say you can’t judge the PV 100% until the full PV is out. Which is true I suppose, but 90% of the time you absolutely can.

Just like I can tell that this PV is yet another AKB48 bikni PV filmed on the beach. A bikini PV filmed on a beach, my god someone give the director an award. The only part of the PV that has hope for me are the scenes at the end where the girls are playing around in tubes. I’ve said it 1,000 times now, but if I’m gonna watch a bikini PV at all I prefer silly ones where it’s the girls genuinely having fun as friends. But there’s no point in beating a dead horse now. I’ll leave that for my review of the full PV.

What I think is the most funny about this PV is I just realized that I can’t recognize the main girls in AKB48 anymore. I wanted to say how someone’s loose braid were beautiful, but then I realized I have no idea what that girl’s name is.

My thoughts on AKB48’s 5th Senbatsu election

AKB48By now I’m sure everyone is aware that a few days ago AKB48 announced their 5th Senbatsu elections. Most of the announcement was pretty similar to past Senbatsus. This year’s Senbatsu will take on June 8th during AKB48’s Super Festival concert. This Senbatsu is set to decide the lineup for AKB48’s 32nd single. However, even though this years’s election seems like more of the same a surprising , and equally shocking, twist was added, and that twist is incorporating a new candidacy system.

So, what exactly is this candidacy system all about? I’m glad you asked. This new system basically means that instead of every member of AKB48 and it’s sister groups automatically being included in the Senbatsu this year ant girl that wasnts to participate needs to submit a written notice to the election committee. Now, if that twist wasn’t enough for you there’s more. Beyond that they are also changing which members can participate. Along with the current members os AKB48, SKE48, NMB48, and HKT48 they are also including the girls who were moved to overseas sister groups. And in the biggest shock of all graduated members of AKB48 who were members for 4 years or more are now eligible to participate in this Senbatsu. Another small surprise is as of yet they haven’t made it clear if the Kenkyuusei can participate. So, it seems like Mii-chan fans might not be able to vote for her even if they wanted to. Unless they counter her as an AKB48 member of 4 years or more. But since she technically hasn’t graduated from AKB48, does it still count? I’m a little confused by that. And of course they also means other Kenkyuusei in general might not be about to participate.

Now that the facts are out of the way I can finally vent my feelings about this. When I first heard that graduated members are able to participate in the Senbatsu I was shocked to say the least. I literally gasped and said, “what?” in a genuinely stunned matter. But the initial shock wore off and was almost immediately replaced with anger. Not so much of rage filled anger, but more like anger out of annoyance. I guess I am more annoyed by this situation than anything else. I don’t understand the reason for including graduated members other than a cheap ploy to ensure that their 31st and 32nd singles sell a lot. I can see this latest gimmick maybe being record breaking sales, and in a big way.

Now, I’m usually a big fan of AKB48’s gimmicks. I usually marvel in the PR geniuses that are behind AKB48. But this latest gimmick doesn’t sit well with me, honestly it just seems desperate. And it makes me think I was right when I said AKB48 are going to reach their peak soon. And it seems like the people behind AKB48 are aware of that and are trying desperately to hold onto their high sales with more and more gimmicks lately. Why else did Eien Pressure come with B-sides for each sister group and not just the usual Team or Undergirls format? And why did So Long come with Team dramas? AKB48 is still selling over a million copies of each single so it seems almost far-fetched to say they are declining. But juts sit for a minute and ask yourself, without all the gimmicks how well would they really sell? Of course most idol groups use some gimmicks to sell. We see that with Morning Musume coming out with like 6 editions of singles and like 4 different B-sides lately. But AKB48’s gimmicks have always gone above and beyond that.

This current tactic is to just bleed wotas dry even more by enticing them with the chance to let their former favorite be in just 1 more single, and maybe even for the chance for them to be center. And I do admit it is a brilliant tactic because I know I would jump at the chance for Ryo-chan or Kusano to be in just one more NEWS single. Or to see KonKon, Koharu, Eri, Aika, or LinLin be a member of Morning Musume one last time. I might admit, and see, how much of a brilliant business tactic it is, but to me it’s still seems like AKB48 are really grasping at straws. And as much as I’d loved to see my beloved Ryo-chan or Kusano as a part of NEWS, it would probably cause more trouble than it’s worth.

Another interesting point to make is that it’s going to be extremely hard for the 100+ girls to battle it out for the measly 64 available positions in this single. And to make matters worse they now have to compete with former members. I’m sure it’s still going to be fairly easy for the extremely popular girls. But now it’s going to be near impossible for the unpopular members. It’ll even be difficult now for the secondary popular members. Former members had their chance to shine and now it’s the current girls chance/time. And even if former members didn’t get a proper chance to shine it still doesn’t make sense to steal the spotlight from the other girls. Which is probably why Acchan and other members have announced that they aren’t taking part. But so far 2 former members have confirmed their participating and members still have until April 7th to write in their candidacy. But I still question what was the point of graduating if you are just going to jump into a single again? I can accept members like Meetan trying again because of how quickly SDN48 was disbanded.

They only good aspect coming from this new candidacy system is that participation isn’t automatic. But even that is still a double edged sword. The Senbatsu is just heartache, pain, and disappointment to the unpopular girls. Those girls end up feeling worthless and feel like they let fans down for not ranking high enough or not ranking at all. At least now the girls can opt out of the pain. Because after all you can’t be hurt by ranking low if you’re not included at all. But at the same time I’m willing to bet the girls who feel like they aren’t worthy, good enough, or popular enough won’t even bother sending in their candidacy. And that’s juts incredibly sad. And the fans probably won’t let the girls who don’t participate live it down. Just last week Shinohara Kanna announced her graduation from NMB48 because during handshake events some fans questioned why she was a member of Team N and said that she was the reason N wasn’t moving forward. Which is just incredibly rough.

I guess there’s just nothing I like about this year’s Senbatsu. Which actually seems like an unpopular opinion because I see a lot of fans flipping out over this. But I’m just not one of them. Perhaps because I’m just a casual member. But it’s things like this that keep me casual. AKB48 has a lot of good points, but at the same time they have equal amount of bad points. No idol group is perfect, obviously. But like I said before I think once the main hype of AKB48 dies. down and some of the gimmicks fade, I might be able to appreciate the group more for what it is. Once they only sell around 500,000 copies I think the whole fandom, and the whole experience of AKB48, will be a lot more chill.

Slave to SKE48

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It’s been well over a month since SKE48’s Choco no Dorei PV came out. This is actually a PV I didn’t skip because I thought it was boring. This PV actually just slipped my mind completely. And I do apologize for that.

Since I’ve grown more and more attached to SKE48 musically than AKB48 I really need to make an effort to keep up with them and not overlook them so much.

I’ve liked this PV ever since I first saw the preview and since seeing the PV I just love it all the more. I still think it’s such a clever idea to make this PV a look behind the scenes of what it takes to be an idol, and what each girl’s normal day if full of. It does show that the girls working hard everyday, and that there is hardly a moments rest. They do show a few scenes of the girls hanging out or riding a bike, but 8/10 of the PV is filled with work.

While in reality it probably is really rough to be an idol and have to balance work, and school, and never having free time, and being completely devoid of a normal life or relationship, but the only thing I take from this PV is how much fun it actually it is to be an idol. In this PV anyway, it looks fun. Obviously because they are only showing the fun times. But even when they are working each girl looks like they’re having so much fun. And I love seeing the girls walk around the theater and getting excited by seeing all of the idol pictures hanging up and seeing the stage. Even though it’s all staged you can tell that the sentiment is real. Because honestly I’m sure the girls, even the extremely popular girls, are just amazed and completely appreciate every opportunity they have to perform and just be an idol. I can’t imagine a more exciting experience.

I don’t know as an idol fan I just love seeing those moments when you can see the idols just being so genuinely happy about being an idol. Which is why I love seeing real behind the scenes footage of my idols. I love seeing them get excited for getting solo lines, or appearances on TV shows. I love seeing them being really excited to do concerts and seeing the close relationships they have with the other members. And when I see an idol that is that genuine it makes me want to support them even more. That’s why when I saw how well Sayumi treated the 9th and 10th gen and how much she doted on them, it made me see her in a whole new light. It was like that moment when a tearful Acchan said that you could hate her but don’t hate AKB48. It’s just those moments that are filled with such honest love and emotion for the group that makes being a fan and supporting the group worth it.

This PV is amazing because it evokes all those mushy idol feelings. It shows that the girls love being idols and they work hard every day because they love the group that much. They want to make themselves, and the group as a whole, as great as possible for the fans. In a way it’s how the idols return the love and devotion that the fans give to them. The PV just leaves that sort of sappy and warm feeling after watching it. It just makes me reconfirm my love of idols. Because honestly no other hobby out there leaves the same fulfilling and genuinely happy and good feeling that idols do. It’s that feeling that, despite what anyone else thinks, makes spending all this amount of time on idols not a waste. I don’t regret one minute of the time I put into idols. There are times when people around me trivialize the way I spend my time, but at the end of the day I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Sorry, I got way off topic there and brought it into a whole other subject completely. But that’s because this is exactly how this PV makes me feel! That’s why I think it’s one of the best idol PVs I’ve seen in a while.

Getting back to the actually PV subject, while I do think it’s a great PV I don’t understand what Rena’s scenes are about. The PV tends to focus a lot on Rena, which is too be expected since she’s one of the main faces of the group. But throughout the PV whenever they show Rena she either looks really tired or uninterested. And I was a little annoyed by that halfway through the PV. And to be honest I’m still annoyed by it because they don’t explain why she was acting like that.

Instead they just show her alone in the city with a car flying over her and then jumping over cars. It’s just a weird scene to me. Right before that happens they do show her closing her eyes while on stage, so I suppose she’s just imagining that to gain strength for the performance or something along those lines. It’s still just a weird and out of place scene to me.

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What a nice night scene.

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I like how this PV is even giving a shout out to the staff.

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I actually expected their dressing room to be bigger. I only count 8 mirrors.

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Rena blankly starring off.

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Dreamers.

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Poor Rena falling asleep while eating breakfast.

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Nice outfit, but Jurina doesn’t look to happy. 

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For a second I forgot that Rie was shuffled into SKE.

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Can’t imagine anything harder than balancing school and being an idol.

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Love these outfits so much.

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Kumi is so adorable, too bad she’s graduating.

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I always thought the wall of pictures in their theaters was so cool.

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ROMANSU!

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The girl with curls is a little cute.

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I’ve always been super impressed with anyone who could do a split.

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Why so sad Rena?

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Oh look Non for 2 seconds.

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It’s a little sad that Rie has to work even during her plane (or is that a bus?) ride. But then again she can afford Beats headphones, so it’s not all bad.

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Wow, she’s practicing a dance while sitting down. How?

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Idol concerts look like so much fun.

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Cute dance move.

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Adorable.

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Acting or not, they looks so genuinely happy.

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Cutie.

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Lolz.

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That girl on the left really stands out.

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I can’t tell if she’s practicing her intro or singing. Either way it’s cute.

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This girl is really cute.

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This part of the dance is weird.

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They don’t show Non nearly enough during the dance scenes.

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Rena deep in thought.

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Who has super powers all of a sudden.

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Too cute for words.

AKB48’s So Long is too long

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Bringing another late PV review I’m finally reviewing the one I was dreading the most, and that’s obviously AKB48’s So Long PV.

I’ve never actually seen this PV before reviewing it. I try not to watch any PV before writing my review post. I also don’t read other people’s reviews of the PV before making my own review post. That way my reviews are my initial reaction and have an untainted opinion. The only thing I really knew about this PV is that fans said it was far too long and far too boring. So, I of course was put off by that.

And now once I’ve seen the PV I get what people were saying. At about 6 and a half minutes long this PV is about 2 minutes too long. I wouldn’t mind so much about the length if the PV was actually good. Sometimes a PV is so great you want it to be longer. Like with AKB48’s Gingham Check PV, it only felt like a minute long because it was that enthralling. But with the So Long PV I wanted to stab my eyes out at about 30 seconds in.

I’m sure people are going to tell me that I just don’t understand it because it probably has something to do with the dramas they made based of this song. Which I am aware exist and they made 3 versions of, one for each team. But I’m going to shoot that down right now because I could care less about the So Long Team dramas. I didn’t bother to watch them and I don’t intend to watch them. It’s physically impossible for me to care any less about them. This blog reviews idol music, idol news, and PVs. I don’t review dramas, because it would be too time consuming. So, the dramas are of no consequence to me. I care about the PV and the PV alone. And the PV is so boring it’s a chore to make me care about the PV. And now I’m supposed to muddle through over an hour of dramas? No thanks.

I am extremely disappointed with this PV. Since AKB48 is the most popular female idol group, and arguably the most popular idol group period, they usually spend a decent amount of money on their PVs. And because of that I am always pretty excited to see their PVs because I expect something extremely entertaining. And when they don’t deliver on that I am completely let down. And that’s what this PV is, just a complete and utter let down.

The main thing that stands out the me is how this PV is both expensive and cheap. Let me explain the cheapness first. Despite having the funds to not chince out they still did when in comes to CG and editing. I feel bad now for ripping apart Morning Musume’s Help Me so much for having bad CG because honestly So Long’s CG is just as bad. It might even be worse.

The main issue I have with the CG is it’s done so poorly that at one point it looks like they are floating on a patch of grass. And another time it looks like they are running with these just awfully made pink blankets that look like they were draw onto the PV with MS paint.

The other issue I mentioned was the editing. I don’t like it at all. I don’t like how it’s awkwardly split. Like sometimes it’s split 3/4 and 1/4. And sometimes split with 3 different screens. Which was the issue I had with C-ute’s Kono Machi PV. But not only is the PV awkwardly split to show two different scenes at once there are also times where the PV is split into two different colors. Sometimes it’s regular color mixed with black and white or sepia. And it just makes no sense to do that. It’s a complete disconnect.

Another thing I don’t like is how lifeless everyone looks. This PV has about 7 different set, and a main chunk of the PV is them dancing. But not dancing like idols instead they are dancing with no emotion and most of them with a blank look on their faces. Even while they’re lip-syncing there’s almost no emotion on their faces. The song is slow, but it has a positive message, so there’s almost no reason for the gloomy feel the entire PV has.

However, I do appreciate the scene where they do look happy and do put some effort into it. And those scenes do show how much money and effort were put into the PV. Those scenes are very bright and cheery. And I do have to compliment how nice their outfits are.

But on the other hand none of the scenes really make sense. Like first they’re walking in the rain, then Jurina’s working in an office, than the’re in school, then in weird square walls or boxes, then they’re playing musical chairs, then Jurina’s getting married. It just makes no sense to me. But I’m still not watching over an hour of dramas just so a 6 minute PV will make sense. What sense would that make? Maybe they can rope other people in that way, but not me.

Also, can I say that I’m so annoyed by the fact that throughout the verse of the song you can hear underneath the main instrumental they have those like boat noises, or whatever you would call them, from The Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever. That annoys me to no end! Wow, so original AKB48.

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Why are they just sitting on the road. All they would need is for a car to come and that’s one fell swoop of all the aces gone. Lol.

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Nice to see Mii-chan with hair still. Oh, too soon?

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Remember how much Yui used to get pushed? Now I barely even remember she’s still in the group.

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Mayu manages to look cute while nearly everyone else looks sad.

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I don’t really mind all the attention Paruru has been getting lately, she’s such a cutie.

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Why in the world would someone think it’s ok to split the screen like this? It’s done horrible and makes no sense.

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I can’t with this dance.

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My favorite part of this PV is seeing everyone’s bright smiling faces.

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At this point to people really notice anyone else but Milky?

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That’s right Rino, look as emotionless as a robot.

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Oh god, these split screens are even worse.

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You know synchronized dancing in school was cool the first time seeing it. 

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But now it’s just overused.

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Way overused.

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Now they’re just randomly at a cafe.

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Is it so hard to smile like this during the whole PV?

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Putting Jurina out to pasture I see.

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Awkward split screen!

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Wow, some of the worst CG I’ve ever seen.

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Just why?

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This is hands down the worst CG I’ve ever seen!

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Nice clothes.

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Why in a box now?

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Oh look a cow.

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Seriously musical chairs?

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Who’s the old dude?

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Wizard.

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The CG is so bad they’re literally floating on the grass!

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Sayaka looks so miserable.

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The pedals are so obviously fake.

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Oh yeah, add those horrible blankets to the mix.

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The bad CG just never ends.

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Like ever.

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There’s still more? Are they kidding with this?

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Those are some weird looking chairs.

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Are you serious that they added bikini scenes so people don’t care how awful the entire PV is?

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Have all the shameless bikini scenes you want, the PV is still terrible.

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Look at that, this PV is so long and boring it stopped time.

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So, Jurina’s marrying old weird musical chair guy or…?

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Those are not the proper outfits to wear to a wedding. I mean really Yuko, jeans?

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I can literally only read the hiragana and future. So, it says something about to the future. XD

The no dating rule and Johnny’s special treatment

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By now I’m sure everyone in the entire Japanese music fandom is aware of AKB48 member, Minegishi Minami’s, recent scandal. And if you’re not you must really be living under a rock because even Western media picked up the story. But if for some reason you’re still not aware of it, the shorthand is this: a tabloid magazine came out with pictures of Mii-chan leaving Shirahama Alan’s, a member of EXILE, house. Then the next day a video was uploaded to AKB48’s official youtube channel where she deeply apologized and shaved her head. Well, as close to a full shave as possible. And it was said how she was demoted down to Kenkyuusei level. The video has since been removed from the channel and Mii-chan even made her debut as a Kenkyuusei recently sporting a wig.

The whole situation has left a bad taste in my mouth. Mostly because I’ve always been on the fence on the no dating idol rule. On one hand it seems to be 1,000% sure that the girls have to sign some sort of morals clause in their contract. And it would seem even if we don’t like the no dating rule it probably voids their entire contract and therefore have every right to be fired. But on the other hand I’m also caught between what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. How is it fair that Johnny’s aren’t held to the same intense criticism and punishment that female idols are held to?

Now, the main argument is that Japan is a sexist and misogynistic country. And that is true, they got something like number 101 on the list of countries with the most rights. And the way the entertainment industry is run has nothing to do with how the entire country is run. In Japan it’s frowned upon for women to wear too revealing clothes in public. Then shouldn’t gravure idols as a whole not exist because it’s not an innocent enough profession? Shouldn’t they only be sold on the outskirts of town? And women in Japan usually leave their jobs to be full time housewives, but female celebrities don’t stop being celebrities to be a wife and mother.

And even if the entertainment industry was 100% the way Japan as a whole is does that mean we should just look the other way and go, “well that’s just how they do things in Japan?” And the answer to that is no. It’s 2013. Turning a blind eye only makes things stay the same. Maybe if more fans (domestic fans anyway) were outraged by this things would change. And it’s not like the entire country agrees with the way the Mii-chan situation is being handled. Japanese netizens gave their opinion about the situation and a bunch of them said, “It’s against human rights to do this,” or, “She didn’t do anything wrong,” or, “Does this make her fans happy?”

And in my opinion she didn’t really do anything wrong, but because she had the misfortune of being a female idol instead of a male idol she got the full brunt of this. And as awful as it sounds, she even made out better than a lot of female idols do. Even though she humiliated herself by groveling and shaving her head extremely short, she at least got to remain a member of the group. Whether she’s a Kenkyuusei or not. A lot of other female idols have had their careers destroyed just by having boyfriends.

So, what happens if you’re a Johnny’s idol? Or what about the scandals that have effected both male and female idols? If you look at the scandal involving A.B.C-Z member Hashimoto Ryosuke and C-ute member Arihara Kana and the scandal involving Hey! Say! JUMP member Takaki Yuya and 9nine member Kato Rubi.

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If you follow any of those groups you’ll know exactly what happened. Rubi’s and Kanna’s departures from their groups were both a direct effect of their scandals. You can say, “Well, actually Kanna’s wasn’t.” Really? Really? Do you really believe she honestly left because of a bunion? And not because right before she went on hiatus fans booed her at the Edo no Temari Uta II handshake event?

How about an update on Ryosuke or Takaki. Obviously absolutely nothing happened to them. Do you remember hearing Johnny’s even mentioning either rumor? Do you remember either member even getting remotely punished? Ryosuke was just a Junior, and he was only recently added to the already established A.B.C. Junior group from JJ Express. And this scandal happened a month before Hey! Say! JUMP’s debut single went on sale. They could have easily gotten rid of both guys without much of an impact to either group. But they didn’t. They didn’t even pretend to care.

With that it must seem like Johnny’s are actually allowed to date. But au contraire mon frere, they actually aren’t. Johnny’s still have a no dating rule. The only upside to their no dating rule is that once they reach a certain age it no longer applies to them. I always thought 30 was the age, but someone else said it was 25. So now I’m not 100% sure of the age. But let’s just split the difference and say it’s between the age of 25 and 30. Back when Takaki had his scandal he was 17, and during Ryosuke’s scandal he was 16. Which means they broke the rules. And yet nothing happened to them. Every single Johnny’s member has been involved in dating scandals before they were allowed to date. So why didn’t anything happen to them? The only rule they seem to be strict on is the marriage ban. Which is ridiculous. Who cares if you can’t get married if you can still date?

Let’s now look at some Johnny’s scandals.

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When has a female scandal ever been anywhere near this bad really? Besides Sashihara Rino’s boob flashing and that one time someone was accused of compensated dating.

But these are just the scandals that are seen in photos. What about what the tabloids that just write about Johnny’s? It’s been written that Nishikido Ryo bite some chick in a club, kicked a girl out of a cab because she refused to sleep with him, and that he frequents pink salons. They wrote that Ninomiya Kazunari was a sexual powerhouse. There was a rumor that Yamashita Tomohisa had a sex tape. (Not gonna lie, I kinda wish that one was true.) And just recently there was a rumor that Matsumoto Jun goes to a club lines up all the girls that want to kiss him and picks one. And these are just the ones I remember. Can you imagine what would happen if any female idol had any of this written about them? Yet Johnny’s get this kind of stuff written about them practically every week. They are constantly in tabloids with a new girl. Johnny’s have dated so many girls that the Johnny’s fandom had to make a chart to keep up with it.

Johnny'sChart

It seems like the only time that Johnny’s ever get punished is when they break the law. Morimoto Ryutaro was removed from Hey! Say! JUMP after underage smoking, and NEWS members Uchi Hiroki and Kusano Hironori were demoted to below Junior status for underage drinking. However, if you’re Kusanagi Tsuyoshi you can get arrested for running around naked while you’re drunk and have nothing happen to you.

Hey, maybe the unfairness is all because of the different fans that male and female idols have. I mean, female idols are marketed as pure and innocent. And wota make up a huge part of their sales, while male idols don’t have wota. I’m also going to shoot down that logic right now.

Both male and female idol groups have crazy and obsessive fans. It comes along with the idol territory. Besides wota flipping out and breaking CDs, burning photos, ripping up photos, and completely not supporting a girl anymore because of a boyfriend scandal, I actually think wota are a little more tame in comparison  For the most part the wota are very respectful. Sure, they stole I think Tokunaga Chinami’s (It was an H!P Kid member I just can’t remember which one exactly anymore.) phone. But for the most part they seem to leave the girls alone. Johnny’s fans might have the unwritten fandom rule or not approaching them on the train, and if you see them on the train move to another part. But that’s pretty much as respectful as some fans get.

Johnny’s have some really crazy fans, so crazy that they even have a name for them, and that name is Yarakashi. Yarakashi are basically really aggressive fans with extremely bad manners. They’ll attack groups they don’t like, yell over MCs at concerts, allegedly broke Nino’s thumb, etc. They apparently held up signs during KAT-TUN concerts telling Kame to die. However, the Yarakashi I’m most familiar with are the group of them that were obsessed with Hey! Say! JUMP. They were known as the Heisei Shojo Group.

HeiseiShojoGroup

These girls were so obsessed with Hey! say! JUMP that they would refer to themselves with their favorite member’s last name. Such as Nakajima Mare or Yamada Erika. They used to do things like camp outside the member’s schools and homes. One of the members even claimed to have forced Ryosuke to kiss her. They gathered at the Scrap Teacher set and yelled things at Chinen such as “Quite JUMP,” “You’re disgusting,” and, “Stop pretending to be a girl.” There was also that one time where a stalker stole Ryutaro’s phone. There was even a completely unrelated story about two Johnny’s fans getting arrested after they beat up, cut the hair of, and stole money from junior high school girl because she was allegedly texting a Johnny’s Junior member. They did all of this because they said the girl broke fan rules of exchanging information with Johnny’s talents on online message boards open to the public.

So, to think that Johnny’s is more lenient because female fans don’t care as much as male fans do is just ridiculous. I’d say dedicated Johnny’s fans are just as obsessed as hardcore wota.

I guess the whole point of this post is to show how unfair and sexist the idol industry truly is. And to some extent how ridiculous the no dating rule is. If they are going to have the no dating rule, can’t female agencies adapt the one Johnny’s has that lets you date at a certain age? Or if they refuse to that, then at least punish all idols the same way. To hold Johnny’s idols on a pedestal above female idols is just appalling, sexist, and just plain wrong. I’m a giant female idol and Johnny’s fan, and it’s obvious even to me that something has to be done about this. Do I think it’s going to happen any time soon? Sadly, I don’t. In a perfect world it would, but this is reality. And what us international fans think about this hardly matters on the grand scheme of things. But I hope domestic fans will stand up to this someday and make some real change happen.

Also, I welcome anyone else’s opinions about this and would love a comment to hear your thoughts. I know many people might not agree 100% with this post.

SKE48 – Choco no Dorei PV preview

SKE48’s official youtube channel uploaded the short version PV to SKE48’s upcoming 11th single, Choco no Dorei. Giving us the first look at the PV.

Since I enjoy SKE48’s music more than AKB48’s I figure I should at least actively try to cover what’s going on with them more.

I’m not the biggest fan of the song, I think they’ve released much better singles. But the song isn’t completely awful. It’s a little catchy. I’m sure it will grow on me over time. But I am a huge fan of the PV already.

I love that the theme of the PV is what the girls do during their normal life as an idol. It shows dance lessons, magazine shoots, theater performances, as well as even showing wotagei. I like that it’s a peak of their normal lives, despite it all being panned and scripted for a PV. I’m sure it’s still pretty much along these lines. I also think that this PV is a nod to their steady rise in popularity. Kind of like, “Thanks for the support, and look how much hard work we put into it everyday.”

I also really love the outfits they wear during the theater performance. It’s very colorful and adorable, it reminds me just a bit of their outfits for Oki Doki.

Best Album Songs of 2012

Going right along with my ranking extravaganza is the final installment: Best Album Songs of 2012.

This was yet another extremely difficult think to rank. Not quite as hard as ranking singles, but definitely a close second. I think there were a lot of great albums released this year. Like really great albums.I would even label 4 or 5 of them as perfect albums.
Yet again all my favorite idol groups released an album. I shouldn’t say yet again as most idol groups release an album a year. But whatever.

Oh also, I really wanted to include the solos from NEWS’ best album. But I didn’t because even though that album was released this year the songs are years old. You know if I could have included them Shige’s Shalala Tambourine would have been really close to the top of the list.

Well, I won’t prelong this anymore. Here we go!

10. Mano Erina – Glory Days

I think every H!P fan was in love with this song when they randomly uploaded it to ManoEri’s youtube page. I know I was, I literally could not get enough of this song since then. I was super impressed by this entire album. It really was ManoEri’s best album. Lately her music was just flawless. Which really adds salt to her still fresh graduation wounds. I literally do not want her to leave now. It’s funny how just 2 or 3 years ago, I would have laughed at her leaving. This song is really incredible. The music is very intense and the slight effects they do on her voice fit it perfectly and add a nice element to the song. ManoEri sounds just perfect in this song. It doesn’t sound like she’s forcing her voice out.

9. KAT-TUN – One Day

In the past I never really gave KAT-TUN’s albums much of a chance because I personally thought they were terrible. But they’ve really picked it up over the past few years. And anymore I go out of my way to listen to their albums. And this album was just incredible, in my opinion it’s their best album to date. I of course love the dance feel of the music, but it has this interesting sound where it’s like a mix between dance and rock music. My absolute favorite part of the song is the chorus, it’s just so powerful and catchy.

8. C-ute – Kagayake! Houkago

If you would have told me last year that a Nacky solo would make it onto my list I wouldn’t believe you. Mostly because I don’t really care for her voice so much, she has one of the weaker voices in C-ute. But I’ve been absolutely in love with this song since I first heard it. And seeing her perform it when they live streamed C-ute’s concert, just really confirmed my love for it. It’s just such a happy and fun song. And one of those songs that are so upbeat that really forget about everything for a minute and are completely lost in the song.

7. Hey! Say! JUMP – Thumb & Pinky

This song came so close to be beaten out by Hurry Up. I’ve been addicted to, and have been listening to, Hurry Up practically nonstop for months. But I’ve been doing the same with this song. But when it came to the best song on the album it became obvious that I had to pick this one. It’s another song that was written by Hikaru, and you can immediately tell because it’s arranged extremely similarly to Ai Scream. But that’s what I love about this song. All of the background calls and sound effects are a big part of what makes this song so fun and catchy. I especially love Daiki’s random yell. Of course I also love the energetic music and the fast paced way that the song is. I also appreciate how this is one of the only songs on the album where you actually hear everyone sing.

6. SUPER GiRLS – Zettai Jibun Zenshin Sengen

This is a song I love because it’s the same idol fare that I absolutely adore. It’s sung cutely and the music is fun and energetic. What more can you really ask for from idol music? Not only is that song amazing, but the album as a whole was. It was really difficult to pick just one song. But ultimately this song one because of it’s infectious chorus.

5. Yamashita Tomohisa – Shiver

I have to say that I am extremely late in listening to Yamapi’s album. Since I’m not a gigantic fan of his I only heard his Ero album because I watched the concert DVD. And I’m starting to think that that’s a mistake, because this album was spectacular. 100 times better than I was expecting. One of the reasons I love this song is the gritty rock feel the music and the way its sung has. The music also reminds me Puffy AmiYumi music mixed with just great rock music in general. But of course the most obvious reason for loving this song is that it’s sung completely in English. And I am actually really impressed with Yamapi’s English. I can understand it 100%, and that really is saying something. Because despite being in America for months Jin’s English is still hard to understand. Remind me again why Jin is trying to break into the US and not Yamapi? Because this seriously blows any of Jin’s English song way out of the water. Besides it being English the song is extremely catchy in its own right. I immediately rewatched this performances about 4 or 5 times.

4. Morning Musume – Dokka~n Capriccio

What immediately drew me to this song is that is has the same spirit and sounds as their 12th album. This song is very similar to Ok Yeah. And that’s exactly what I love about it. It’s got that wonderful and really powerful dance music. The song is so intense and catchy that’s it’s impossible to not like it. The song leaves and incredibly deep impression and it really demands attention. Especially when the music booms after they say dokkan. I really love this song. It’s one of those songs that I could listen to for hours without getting bored.

3. AKB48 – Iede no Yoru

What I love about this song is that it sounds very powerful while still having that unique AKB48 sound. The song as a whole is very passionate and very inspiring actually. And it has a real roughness to it that you don’t immediately expect from AKB48. Well, from their singles anyway.I really love that the song is about leaving home even though they have no where to go, just to be free. I’m just really drawn to those lyrics. They’re amazing in my opinion.

2. Passpo – Dear My Friends

This is just a perfect song in my opinion. Passpo is one of those idol groups that very rarely disappoint. And when you listen to the One World album you’ll hear just how strong of a group they are. It was so hard to narrow it down to just one song. But I ultimately picked it because of how at the same time it was both intense but still fun. Which isn’t really an easy thing to do, but Passpo pulls it off with such seamless ease. This song is just so powerful that it’s beautiful. It really is just a beautiful song. And my girl Shiori sounds absolutely incredible in this song. It just seems so effortless and natural. When I listen to Passpo’s songs, especially their album songs, I’m just reminded of how much of a travesty it is that they sell so low.

1. Arashi – Welcome to Our Party

This song, OMG this song! You cannot imagine how hard it is to put into words how much I love this song. I love absolutely everything about this song. It is absolutely perfect in every single way. No, seriously it is. Can I just start by saying Popcorn was an absolutely amazing album. It was one of their best albums to date. It just has that fun-loving old school Arashi feel. This song is everything great about Arashi rolled into one. What I really love about this song is it has a very Attack It feel. In the sense that all the members are rapping just like in Attack It. And I’m not sure if my readers know this, but Attack It is one of my absolute favorite Arashi songs. What else is great about this song is how energetic and fun this song is. I mean, this song literally grabs you by your shoulders, shakes you, and demands that you party. I implore anyone who is not an Arashi fan to listen to this song, you will not regret it. This song is just so addicting and catchy from basically the first note.

Honorable Mentions:
1. Morning Musume – What’s Up? Ai wa Dou na no yo
2. Berryz Koubou- Yo no Naka Barairo
3. C-ute – Yuke Genki-kun
4. Buono – Fever
5. Mano Erina – Nekketsu-sensei
6. Hey! Say! JUMP – Hurry Up
7. Arashi – Waiting For You
8. Arashi- Tabi wa tsuzuko yo
9. Yamashita TomohisaBaby Baby
10. Yamashita Tomohisa- Boku Dake no Kimi ni
11. KAT-TUN – Smile For You
12. SUPER GiRLS – Mega Twinkle
13. SUPER GiRLS – Egao Hane
14. Passpo – Final Vision
15. Passpo – Love Diary,
16. Passpo – Pink no Parachute
17. AKB48 – First rabbit
18. AKB48 – Renai Sousenkyo
19.AKB48 – Hashire! Penguin

Worst Singles of 2012

Continuing with my yearly ranking extravaganza we’ll find out the same thing we find out most years, Aim doesn’t like slow songs. But on a more serious note, this was literally the hardest year to pick a top ten worst single list. Most years I have a somewhat clear idea of what singles I didn’t enjoy that much and I only have to scramble to pick the last song or two. But this year it was completely different. I only had about 3 songs this year that I knew for a fact I just didn’t care for that much. And this year I was frantically trying to think of about 7 songs to pick.

I know I say this every year that I don’t really hate any idol song, and the worst of the year list aren’t songs I hate just my least favorite songs. Well, that sentence has never been more true. This year I had to pick songs that were in the middle for me because barely any songs this year dipped lower than a 5/10 for me this year. In my opinion, this was a really spectacular year for idol music. Or maybe I was incredibly lucky and it was just a great year for the type of idol music I like. Either way, this year in music was just great, which made things a hundred times more difficult for me. If you ever get personally offended with my lists for worst songs because your favorite song is on the list, well this year you’re in luck because I don’t consider most of these songs to be deserving of the worst label. So you don’t have to say I have horrible taste in music. Well, you don’t have to think that anyway. I say think because no one has ever literally commented on my year ranking posts and said that. But I’m sure at least some of you may have been thinking it.
10. Momoiro Clover Z – Saraba, Itoshiki Kanashimi-tachi yo

This song is number 10 because I’m walking a thin line between liking this song and not liking it at all. The song itself isn’t completely awful. In fact if it was done by any other group I probably would have liked it more. But when it comes to MomoClo I expect over the top energetic and cutesy music from them. This song just feels too mature for them. Or rather it’s just not the music I personally prefer to hear from them. It’s the same reason why I never really liked Roudou Sanka. The chorus is still a little catchy and there are some cool effects done tot heir voices, but the song just isn’t for me.

9. Berryz Koubou – Be Genki Naseba Naru!

This is one of those songs I just did not like at all when I first heard it. I just thought all the nai nais were pretty annoying. And I think the bridge sounds completely awkward. The way that it slows down and turns into this weird fanciful music just sounds really out of place. The one thing I always did like about the song was the chorus.I think the chorus is fun and catchy. It’s really about the only redeeming quality of this song. Because honestly this song sounds more like 3 different songs pieced together than one complete song. And I think the lyrics are quite stupid. The entire song just lists things that you shouldn’t do or shouldn’t let happen. Like sleeping during examsor leaving your wallet in the taxi. I think those are all pretty obvious things and don’t really need a song written about them.

8. Mano Erina – Tasogare Kousaten

I’ve said it once I’ll say it again, I am not a fan of slow paced songs or ballads. I don’t know, I just need a fast paced song to hold my interest. And that’s of course what I don’t really like about this song. I’m sure it’s pretty in its own way, but I just find it boring. Which is a problem I’ve had with ManoEri since the beginning. How ironic that her music finally starts to get good an she’s graduating. For me to like a slower song the lyrics have to be really beautiful and meaningful, and I feel like this song also misses the mark. While this song does have some meaning, something about painting their future in the blue sky and always shining by the same light. But I’ve heard tons of songs like that before. It’s just not enough for me.

7. Kis-My-Ft2 – She! Her! Her!

I was never this song’s biggest fan when it first came out, and that has changed much over this past year. Especially since the other songs they released this year were a lot better than this one. There are a few reasons why I don’t like this song, the first being how annoying the random she her her chants are. First of all, they don’t match the flow of the rest of the song. And second of all, she her her doesn’t have an actual meaning. I also think that the amount of English in this song makes it sound pretty awkward. The song itself is mediocore at best and barely good enough to be an A-side.

6. AKB48 – Give Me Five

When this song first came out there was a bit of commotion about it because they were playing instruments. At least I think they were actually playing them during the lives. Whatever the case may be, I just do not like this song. I think it’s boring and it didn’t take any risks at all. It feels like one of those songs that AKB48 makes that they don’t even try with because they know whatever they produce will sell well just because of who they are. Also, it is yet another graduation song. I get that there have been a lot of Japanese graduation songs out there, (personally I think ZONE’s Sotsugyou and Buono’s Last Forever are some of my favorites.) and idols in general make a lot of gradution songs, but this is literally like the 6th graduation themed single AKB48 has released in their career. It’s boring, it’s just absolutely boring. I really don’t need to hear yet another graduation single from them. Please stick with the cheesy idol songs I love.

5. Arashi – Your Eyes

Slow idol songs bore me to no end, but no slow idol songs bore me quite like Arashi’s slow songs do. And the reason for that is anymore all of their slow songs from 2010-present day sound exactly the same and have nearly the same lyrical content. Where are Arashi’s slow songs that lyrically made up for it being so slow paced?Your Eyes is definitely no Beautiful Days were the lyrics are so heartfelt and beautiful that you could tear up listening to it. The absolute only thing this song has going for it is how the chorus sounds. The chorus is actually really great. It has like this rock sound to it and it’s completely catchy. However, once the song switches over from the chorus to the verse it loses all its appeal. The verse is sung so monotonically and the music is so simple and soft, that it literally sounds like they are speaking over light music rather than singing a song.

4. Passpo – Kimi wa Boku wo Suki ni Naru

I was completely underwhelmed by this song the very moment it came out. And unlike most of the other songs on this list, I haven’t really grown to like it. I think this is not only Passpo’s weakest singles to date, but one of their weakest songs overall. I mean, their entire indie album is better than this song. The entire song just sounds so stale. It’s way too toned down for Passpo. I expect either happy upbeat pop-rock or intense serious rock from them. Either way I expect a song that leaves a deep impression. And this song, sadly, just isn’t it. It’s not a terrible song, I feel like there could be occasions where you’re in the mood to hear this song. But for me those time are few and far. To me the song is boring and doesn’t push things far enough. They played it way too safe with this single.

3. Watanabe Mayu – Otona Jelly Beans

This song had all the elements for a great song going for it. Mayu’s adorable voice and very cutesy and fanciful music. However, there’s just something about the song that I just don’t like. To me the song is just boring and doesn’t leave a deep impression at all. I also find the lyrics to be mediocore at best. It’s about wanting a kiss on the first date and for some reason eating jelly beans. It’s also supposed to be about having an adult birthday. So, I guess the jelly beans are supposed to represent that she’s still innocent even though she wants to be an adult. That’s what I got from it at least. Regardless, there’s just something about this song I don’t really care for.

2. NMB48 – Junjou U-19

When this song came out I was so impressed with it. I thought the song had a great instrumental and it was extremely catchy. I even loved how elaborate, interesting, and fun the PV was. So, naturally once I saw someone had subbed the PV I was really excited to find out what the song was about. And once I finally understood the lyrics of the song I was completely turned off. The entire theme of the song is a girl wanting to wait until she’s 19 to lose her virginity. And that she doesn’t want to become an adult too quickly so let her stay pure a little longer. The entire song is catering to the fanbase that gets off on their idols being virginal and untouched. While that itself doesn’t really bother me because every idol group has this type of fanbase. Even male idol fans have something vaguely similar to this. Male idol fans seem to be delusional and convince themselves that idols in their mid-20’s, or ones pushing 30, are still virgins despite being photographed with girlfriends. Another slice of male idol fans have even been brazen enough to start petitions for their idols to break up with their girlfriends. (I’ve actually only seen this happen once, but once was enough to be honest.) I accept that both of these fanbases exist and are a huge chunk of who buys their music and merch, and therefore keep my favorite idols going. But I’m also not here for either of those fanbases, so this particular song is lost on me. I still do listen to this song occasionally because it is still a catchy song. It’s just not, and never will be, one of my favorites.

1. NYC – Wonderful Cupid

This song, this song! Listen to this song once and you’ll clearly see why it’s the perfect choice for number one. I have a real indifference to NYC, so it’s natural for me to have bad things to say about their songs initially. With most of NYC’s singles I usually hate them at first, but slowly realize that they’re actually great songs. Especially with Haina. When Haina came out I literally though, “This is terrible. What garbage are they trying to push on me now?” But after hearing it about 15-20 times I actually really love the song. Funny how that happens, right? But with Wonderful Cupid there is absolutely nothing to love. The song is so slow and boring that it sounds like a lullaby. No wonder it put me to sleep. It seems like the whole reason that NYC continued in the first place was to release singles so Hey! Say! JUMP could mature as a group. Since Hey! Say! JUMP used to be both the newest group and the group with the youngest members some of their songs for a while seemed to cater to not only Johnny’s usual niche market of teenage girls but the children market as well. Which is why to this day you see children at their concerts. I mean, at the end of Hey! Say! JUMP’s JUMP World concert DVD they thanked all the parents in the child-parent seats.
It’s obvious that Wonderful Cupid is marketed for children, which is a main factor of why I dislike the song so much. It’s too immature for me. I frequently listen to idol songs from girls who are or were 15 years old or younger in the song. But the difference there is even though they were children at the time the songs aren’t children’s songs. C-ute’s Massara Blue Jeans is more mature than this song!

Best Singles of 2012

I’m kicking things off in my annual best and worst ranking extravaganza, with my personal favorite ranking: Top Ten Best Singles of 2012.

2012 has been quite an eventful year in my personal life with tons of ups and downs, and some outright devastation. It really was a year that I won’t soon forget. And like most years it feels like it was over in a blink of the eye. I could have sworn that just yesterday it was only March or June. With this year coming to a close we can also finally say that we’ve successfully survived our 3rd apocalypse. Well, 3 in my lifetime anyway. I don’t know how many you dear readers have been alive for. And personally I get to stop hearing my dad saying it’ll all be over on December 21st. Literally for the entire year whenever something didn’t go his way or anyone in my family complained about anything he would legit say,”What does it matter anyway? You only have to the 21st.” But I digress.

2012 also marked yet another exciting roller coaster ride that is being an idol fan. One filled with more joy and heartbreak than you could really count or really measure. Personally for me the highs were: 1. the addition of Morning Musume’s 10th and 11th gen. 2. The first NEWS singles after Yamapi and Ryo left signaling that there was no stopping them. 3. My favorite Johnny’s Junior Kyomoto Taiga’s drama debut. And that the drama gave them an excuse for him to spam Shounen Club even more than usual. 3. Morning Musume selling 100,000 singles for the first time in like 8 years or more. (Obviously not counting commemorative 40th and 50th singles.) 4. MomoClo performing at Kohaku for the first time. I’m so proud of my girls. It just shows how their popularity keeps increasing.

And my personal lows were: 1. My beloved Mitsui Aika graduating from Morning Musume. 2. The cancellation of Himitsu no Arashi-chan. While I do agree the Arashi Sharehouse segment was boring, I don’t think they needed to lose the whole show. Especially since that means no more manequin 5. 3. Hello!ProTime ending. I still don’t get the point of this one. I’ve said it a hundred times now, but that was H!P’s most interesting show in years.

2012 was also a year filled with great idol music. I don’t know if it was the best year in terms of music in idol history since I’ve only been a serious idol fan since 2007. But at the very least I personally think the music released this year was better than the music released last year. And that is so exciting. It’s like further confirming why being an idol fan is worth every second of ups and downs.

So, without further ado let’s just get to the ranking already. Which by the way, was incredibly easy to pick this year. With so many great songs released this year it was very obvious which singles were the very best.

10. NMB48 – Kitagawa Kenji

This is a song that was hard to pick. Not only was it hard to pick because it’s the last song I could add to my ranking, but it was pretty difficult to pick between this song and Nagiichi. But in the end I picked this based on lyrics. While Nagiichi is catchy I wouldn’t say a song about the cutest girl on the beach is one of my favorites this year. However, the lyrics to KItagawa Kenji are completely adorable. While I don’t think I’ll ever personally be in a situation where I’m fighting a guy for a girl’s heart, especially since this song is most likely sung from a guy’s point of view, I do think the lyrics are cute. It’s so sweet that the person in this song is jealous and won’t lose to their current significant other’s past lover. But my absolute favorite part is the last line that says thanks to Kitagawa Kenji you became this beautiful. That is such a sweet, if not a little cheesy, and beautiful line. Of course the extremely catchy chorus also adds for my love of the song. I don’t know for some reason I just love singing along to the look at part.

9. Not Yet – Sukina Baby

Have you noticed a theme with this ranking already? What can I say, pretty much every idol song I like sounds exactly the same. Happy, upbeat, energetic, and super positive. If it didn’t sound like that idol groups would be no different from any other music out there. And of course that’s what’s great about this song. It’s sugary sweet sound with cutesy lyrics is absolutely addicting. This song would probably be higher on the list if the girls didn’t force their voices to sound cute at times. I really love the lyrics though. I think the whole story line of holding a candle for a childhood friend is incredibly cute and endearing. It’s also a little bit bittersweet.

8. KAT-TUN – To The Limit

This is Johnny’s song I love this year because they returned to their old sound. In KAT-TUN’s case they returned to not only their older sound but their original sound. Once Jin left the group KAT-TUN’s music continued to get heavier and they seemed to experament with different genres. To be honest their music without Jin is about 50 times better than the music with Jin. Their songs this year were so good it was hard to pick between this and Fumetsu no Scrum. But in the end this won because of how heavy it is and how gruffly it’s sung. I also appreciate the amount of Koki in this song. But as I’ve said before this song is just phenomonal. The chorus is sung so intensely and with so much power, it’s just really great. The lyrics are also just as intense


tothelimit

7. SUPER GiRLS – Puri Puri Summer Kiss

This is a song that I unfortunately have’t been unable to find the translation to. But that doesn’t really stop me from loving every minute of this song. Oh SUPER GiRLS borrowing the most popular elements of the most well known idol groups out their to form a pretty solid group on their own. This time it was a summer song for a shameless bikini PV. While idol groups release these songs & videos in the hopes of selling more singles, I do enjoy every minute of these songs. The songs are almost always exclusively about summer love and because of that the songs are always extremely fun and happy, this song included. As soon as the song starts it already sounds like an explosion of energy and cutesy idol music. The lyrics are kind of simple so that even with my poor Japanese skills I can translate roughly about 1/2 of the song. They seem to just be saying what they’re doing at the beach. Regardless of whatever they are actually saying the song is fun and adorable.

6. Arashi – Wild At Heart

I was absolutely in love with this song from the first moment I heard it. I just love the overall sound of this song. It has that same sillyness and energy as songs they released in past. It has a real Kitto Daijoubu mixed with Happiness feel. It’s a welcomed change from the somewhat serious songs they’ve been releasing for the past few years. The lyrics themselves are cheerful and somewhat uplifting. It’s a song about not being afraid of living in the moment. To just throw away trouble and worries and just roll with the punches. They’re not so inspiring that you’ll burst into tears, but they’re cute and I can see listening to this song when you need some encouragement. Personally, I’ve pretty much always taken this carefree approach to life.So, the song really resonates with me.

5. Momoiro Clover Z – Moretsu Uchu Kokyokyoku Dai 7 Gakusho ‘Mugen no Ai’

MomoClo is one of those groups I love for how energetic they are. Now, this song doesn’t have the same energetic flare as their past songs, but I love it because of the heavy rock music. It still makes me laugh that the dude from Megadeth did the guitar work. The song also still retains that same personality and charm that is MomoClo. But I mostly love this song because I’m a pretty big space nerd (and alien nerd. XD) so I love all the space and star references in the song and PV. It also helps that the song is incredibly catchy. I also love the choir in the background doing the harmonies. It gives the song a very elaborate and dramatic feel.

4. Passpo – Wing

I actually haven’t been able to find a translation of this song, so my love for this song is only based on the overall sound alone. I really love how this year Passpo’s singles have had a more hard rock feel to them. Passpo’s past songs have had more of a pop-rock sound. But this year it actually sounds like I’m listening to a Jrock band instead of an idol group. And since I’m a big Jrock fan that’s just perfect to me. And this song is the song they’ve released his year that has the most distinct Jrock sound. I mean, this song is having like an Alice Nine moment. It’s absolutely fantastic. And my god Ai and Shiori sound incredible in this song. It’s like this song was made perfectly for just their voices.

3. Kanjani8 – Aopanna

I really need to get over my love-hate relationship with Kanjani8, because their music is actually really great. But since I’m such a casual fan of them I tend to overlook their music until months after it’s released. And I do admit since Ai Deshita was a little boring I didn’t really bother with them this year. And that was obviously a mistake because this song is amazing. It’s got that upbeat music I love sprinkled with a little bit of weirdness that I’ve come to expect from Kanjani8. What immediately draws me to this song is the ska beat. Ska is a genre that I wasn’t really familiar with a few years ago, but ska music is really upbeat and fun. It almost sounds like tropical music. But what makes me really love the song is the lyrics. Despite the chorus being about snot it’s oddly uplifting. It’s about treasuring the past and to never stop trying to achieve your old dreams, while continuing to have that innocent spirit of your youth. It’s actually really pretty and sentimental.

2. Morning Musume – One-Two-Three

From the moment that they first performed this song at Girls Award 2012, I’ve been absolutely addicted to it. Since their 10th album had some great electronic songs, and even before that because I still don’t understand why SONGS wasn’t a single, I’ve been wishing for them to release an electronic song as a single. While their electronic effects may have been a little heavy handed this year I still think One-Two-Three is an amazing song. The instrumental stands alone as an incredible dance track. That mixed with just the right amount of auto-tuning makes for an incredibly fun and catchy song. The lyrics themselves are another reason why I love the song. I think they are adorable. I like that it’s about a girl not wanting fancy gifts just having love is enough. It’s sappy and overly sweet, just up my ally.

1. SKE48 – Aishiteraburu

This is actually the second year in a row that SKE48 has come in first place. Despite being lazy and hardly ever getting around to reviewing their PVs, I actually really love SKE48’s music. As I’ve mentioned before on my blog, for the last few years in my opinion SKE48’s music has been better than AKB48’s. I love this song because of how positive the song is. The second the song starts it’s already overflowing with energy. The infectious upbeat music makes it impossible to not crack a smile while listening to. It’s songs like this that make me continue to listen to idol music. It’s carefree happy music like this that is pretty much unique to idol music. The lyrics might be a little cheesy being about summer love, which is probably one of the most cliched story lines in pop music history. But at least for me the happy and uplifting lyrics add to the charm of the song.

And as always here are my Honorable Mentions:

1. Berryz Koubou – Cha Cha Sing
2. NEWS – Chankapana
3. AKB48 – Gingham Check
4. DIY – Forest For Rest
5. YuiKaori – Wake Up
6. Arashi – Face Down
7. S/mileage – Chotto Matte Kudasai
8. Buono – Hatsukoi Cider
9. Hey! Say! JUMP – Super Delicate
10. Kis-My-Ft2 – Wanna Beeee
11. Kis-My-Ft2 – Shake It Up
12. Berryz Koubou and C-ute – Cho Happy Song
13. Mano Erina – Song For The Date

Has AKB48 reached their tipping point?

The other day I was watching a documentary on Netflix, and in this documentary this guy was talking about peak oil. Now, I’m not sure if everyone is familiar with this term, and if you’re not I’ll just give you the basics of it now. Right now the world’s oil reserves are at 100 billion barrerls. It might even be closer to 1 trillion. But I honestly have no idea, I’m no expert on this. I run an idol blog not an oil blog. Anyway, peak oil is when we reach the peak of oil production. Meaning we’ve used exactly half of the world’s oil supply and are left with the dwindling second half. Now, that got me thinking. Are we then in peak AKB48?

Looking back you can see the exact moment Morning Musume was at their peak. Mostly because we’ve seen the rise and the fall. But it’s a lot trickier with AKB48. It’s a lot harder to spot a peak in present time when it’s all happening. There are so many variables you cannot account for. That any sudden rise in popularity or dramatic full in popularity can happen at any moment for any reason. It’s especially hard to predict with a group like AKB48. A group that shows no signs of slowing down and seems to keep topping itself with each release. But I’m stil inclined to believe that we are in peak AKB48. But don’t quote me on this. This is just more of a personal hunch or feeling. As I said, absolutely anything can happen at any moment. And I’m no precog.

Right now AKB48 is in a extremely good place. They could sell ice to an Eskimo if they wanted to. I mean, they endorsed men’s suits. Mens. When’s the last time you’ve seen a commercial of a girl wearing and selling men’s clothing? I know I’ve never seen one before. It really is astounding, and no one out there can deny their draw and pull. But there is still a peak. A peak of love and tolerance the general public has for something. The closest examples are flashes in the pan. And since the general public is Japan, there’s not really much we can do about it my friends. Sure we can increase sales, but most of us don’t live in Japan we can’t effect TV ratings. And variety shows are how idol groups gain and increase popularity, and inturn fans, to begin with. The minute no one watches your variety show anymore, it’s the beginning of the end. We see that again with Morning Musume.

Now AKB48 has probably the best PR/marketing team I’ve ever seen. Constantly making an already established brand fresh and exciting. But for every victory they make they are also sabatoshing themselves, whether they relaize it or not. Once you reach the top you tend to get cocky and think you’ll never be beaten. Well, that’s probably more of how the fans think then the girls themselves. But every former child star will surely tell you what goes up must come down. And I think the people behind AKB48 probably have a similar mindset as the fans. The biggest and most blatantly obvious mistake is over saturation of the market. Now, I’ve already mentioned this a couple of times before, but that’s because it’s such a huge deal. It seems every 5 minutes there is either a new sub-group or soloist. But the absolute worst oversaturation is the creation, and future creation of, Teams 4 and 8. Which are nothing more than trying to squeeze more money and attention. And nothing to do with having too many great Kenkyuusei and not enough room or Teams. Which is fine. I get that it’s just business as usual. But do you realize that upon completion AKB48 will have 70 members. Wrap your mind around that for a second. As a jaded idol fan 70 members doesn’t phase me nearly as much as it should. I just though, “Oh, AKB48.” But then I imagined trying to explain them to a non-fan. And they would honestly say either, “Why bother?,” or, “How how do you keep up?” Which is the same conclusion I made. I found  myself saying, “70 members and I’m expected to know all of their names? Are you kidding me with this?” There are probably people out there who know all past, present, and trainees’ name for every 48 group. And you know what good for them. But I doubt there’s really a fan out there who knows absolutely everything about every girl, there are just too many. And if the sister groups completely follow AKB48’s footsteps adding 5 teams there will really be too many. And to know everything about AKB48 I’d probably have to give up every other idol group for a few months. And I’d honestly rather cut my own ear off. Which is obviously an overdramatic statement, but that goes to show to what extent that I can’t be bothered to catch up because of how time consuming it would be. I’ll just stick to my AKB48 noob posts while I slowly and gradually catch up. Well, eventually anyway, when I get around to seriously putting effort into it.

And let’s be honest anyway, the Senbatsu pretty much proves they only need 20-30 members. The other 35 members are just gravy. And that is a bit heartless, but that’s business. Now, maybe AKB48 fans will never get sick of seeing the girls, but obviously Japan doesn’t want to be constantly bombarded with them forever. That alone is enough to make them falter, but couple that with what made Morning Musume fall from grace and you have a bad situation indeed.

It’s pretty obvious that Momusu’s fall from grace happened when their beloved and popular members graduated. They were the members that made Morning Musume, Morning Musume. Not only that but it is extremely hard for new members to have the personality and the dynamic that the old members shared. With Acchan graduating it is a sobering fact that popular members are eventually going to start dropping like flies. Maybe even sooner rather than later. AKB48 is in such a seemingly good place right now. The group is 7 years old already and haven’t really lost any substantial members to graduations. And even if they did AKB48 was nowhere near as popular as they are now, so it didn’t really effect them as much as it would now. And we have girls in AKB48 who have either been there from the beginning or close to it. They are either starting to get too old or starting to think it’s been too long and are ready to move on. And you can’t really rule anyone out either. Idols frequently graduate years before they really have to. Kago Ai, Tsuji Nozomi, LinLin, Konno Asami, Sakuma Kaho, Akita Eri, Hayami Akari, etc. Idols also leave because of injuries or medical reasons Kameri Eri, Mitsui Aika, Kosuga Fuyuka, Imade Mai, Matsushita Yui, etc. And you can’t rule out idols being picked off from scandals as in the cases of Kago Ai, Murakami Megumi, Arihara Kanna, and Kato Rubi. Not to mention close to home scandals in the cases of Hirajima Natsumi, Yonezawa Rumi, Ishiguro Atsuki, and Kikuchi Ayaka. (Which obviously worked out for her in the end.) The next few years are probably going to be devestating in the terms of graduations. But even if these things do bring them down, I do still see hope for them. And they can do so by pulling an Arashi.

There’s no doubt that right now Arashi is the top idol group in Japan right now. Yes, the top. AKB48 might sometimes sell twice as much as Arashi does, but Arashi has been on top far longer than AKB48 has. AKB48 didn’t start selling Arashi numbers until 2010. Now, AKB48 is just like Arashi in the aspect that everyone loves them despite their age or gender. Both groups are variety royality with multiple shows and appear on multiple others. Despite the level that Arashi is now, the group wasn’t always on top. Arashi initially was doing good. Their debut single A.RA.SHI. sold over 900,000 copies. Arashi didn’t exactly keep up that pace though. Their next 5-7 singles only sold over 300,000 copies. And then after that their sales took a complete nosedive and their singles for the next few years only sold somewhere between 150,000 and 250,000. So what helped Arashi return from their fall from grace to reach the top? It was 2 things really. Gaining the success and completely striking when the iron is hot and making the most out of their success. Arashi regained their popularity because of Matsumoto Jun’s drama Hana Yori Dango 2. Arashi’s Love So Sweet single was used as the theme. And obviously since the drama was so popular the theme song sold well over 400,000 copies. Personally I don’t know what was so great about Hana Yori Dango 2 for Love So Sweet to sell so much. Arashi did the theme for the first season of Hana Yori Dango as well, but Wish only sold a little over 100,000 copies. And personally I thought the first season of Hana Yori Dango was much better. And their next theme song, Happiness, for the drama Yamada Taro Monogatari sold over 300,000 copies.

Shortly after that Arashi released One Love which was used as the theme song for the Hana Yori Dango movie. Which sold over 500,000 copies. And then that is where Arashi used their regained popularity to their advantage to stay relevant. At the time Arashi did 2 tours. One for their Dream “A” Live album and one Asian Tour. Coming off the popularity of One Love one month after it’s release they released their next single Truth. And the next single after that was Beautiful Days which was used as the theme for the drama Riyusei no Kizuna. And while all of this was going on Arashi also debuted 2  varitey shows that are still airing today, Himitsu no Arashi-chan and VS Arashi. But not only did they debut 2 variety shows the 2 shows premiered in a 2 day spand. Himitsu no Arashi-chan on April 10th and VS Arashi on April 12th. Further solidifying their popularity.

Now this might have seemed like way too much to read about Arashi in an AKB48 related post, but I felt it was important to go through exactly how Arashi regained their popularity. Because it really shows how AKB48 could also rebuild their image when they face their decline. A big chunk of AKB48’s popularity started from dramas to begin with. Oogoe Diamond which was the first big jump in AKB48 sales was most likely due to the fact that it was used as the ending theme to Mendol. Maybe the switch to King Records also helped too, I don’t Know. But AKB48 did start selling Arashi numbers because the theme song to Majisuka Gakuen was included in their Sakura no Shiori single. And then after that the rest is pretty much history. Which goes to show that the right drama can really make or break an idol group. Perhaps that was one of the reasons that Morning Musume never regained their popularity. Until recently the girls never acted in dramas.

So, what was the conclusion of this whole post? For one I absolutely do think AKB48 is in their peak. I don’t see AKB48 really being able to rise that much more above the level they are at now. I mean what really is above their current level? Really, think about it. Another variety show? Even more commercials? Selling 2 million copies? Even if they do achieve that, I think the public will be so fed up with AKB48 at that point. Even though hardcore AKB48 fans will want to see them constantly forever, casual Japanese fans, and non-fans alike, will think enough is enough already. I know it’s certaintly like that in the US. Like Lady Gaga for example. A couple years ago Americans, the media, and to some extent myself, could not get enough of her. But then you started hearing articles of people being sick of seeing her and hearing about her. And after Judas didn’t go as well as expected you didn’t hear from her nearly as much as you used to. Yes, You and I did have slim popularity, but that’s about it. Personally I thought You and I was a let down of a song and I didn’t even bother listening to Marry the Night. To this day I’ve only heard bits and pieces of it the number of odd times it’s been played. And that’s mostly due to the fact that it was her least popular song in the US. So, if someone like Lady Gaga can fade here, what’s stopping AKB48 from fading there?

New AKB48 sub-group No Name announced

It was announced that the members of AKB48, SKE48, and NMB48, that were chosen to voice act in the AKB48 anime, AKB0048, will be forming a new sub-group to release the opening and ending themes. The new sub-group is called No Name and the official release not of their single has yet to be announced. But the opening theme is titled Kibou ni Tsuite and the ending theme is titled Yume wa Nandomo Umarekawaru. AKB0048 begins ariring April 29th, so we should have a preview of the song in a few days.

I am really excited for this, after the 30 members passed the first round of juding for the anime I really wanted Sato Amina, Sato Sumire, and Watanabe Mayu to pass because I had a feeling the winners would also be doing the themes. And I am completely thrilled that it’s actually happening. Despite Amina never getting any attention or lines, she actually has one of my favorite voices in AKB48. She might not be the most vocally talented singer in any 48 group, but she has that adorable idol voice that I absolutely love. But sadly poor Amina is shoved in the back of this promo pic so it’s pretty much guaranteed she’s not going to get a solo line. I’m actually a little confused as to who the center for this single is going to be. Is it going to be Mayu because she’s in the absolute center of the picture or it Kumi because she’s in the center of the front row?  It’s probably going to be Mayu lead and Kumi secondary anyway. Either way I’ll still be happy since both girls have adorable voices.

AKB48-Manatsu no Sounds Good PV preview

Recently a PV review for AKB48’s upcoming new single, and I’m pretty sure Acchan’s final single, Manatsu no Sounds Good was released.

I’m actually really surprised with this PV preview. I’m actually impressed with it, which I did not expect to happen at all. But at the same time I’m only half impressed. The PV preview is half epic and half predictable. Let’s start off with the awesome part first. And that would be the th scenes of AKB48 on this sort of apocalyptic, or deserted, or Battle Royale type of island. Since the PV preview is really sort it’s hard to get a feel for the storyline. But it seems to be half of the girl appeared injured on this island wearing what looks like the Everyday Kachuusha outfits, but I could be wrong, and the other girls rush to help them. And the girls seem to be releasing some sort of deadly black smoke, which reminds me a lot of Lost. They even show Jurina dying. Well she just falls to the ground but it looks like she’s dead. Which is hilarious since they are killing her off again in another PV. And then Mayu is carrying Acchan off to safety and the other members suddently appear down the road dressed in white dresses. Which doesn’t really make sense as of yet. But I have to say, overall this part of the PV is cool. It’s well though out, it’s interesting, and it’s filmed in this awesome dirty/grungy filter.

And then we have the other half of the PV which is the generic 48 group bikini PV. Where it’s the girls dancing in bikinis on the beach, and that’s pretty much it. At least mix it up and do another poolside one like the Baby Baby Baby PV. And the bikini PV scenes in this PV are probably the worst I’ve ever seen because every single girl is basically in the same bikini. This awful white one, and some of the girls are wearing this off white shade which completely irks me! I miss the other bikini PVs where the girls are at least wearing different bikinis and have some individuality. I’m just over the whole bikini PV thing. Unless of course there is some effort in the theme. Give me some other aspect then just the dancing on a beach. Simply adding a beach ball or a frisbee would make it a lot more enjoyable to watch.

And I feel the need to mention this because the PV preview pointed this out, but why is Mayu the center? Sure Mayu is absolutely adorable and popular enough, but there are still more popular members than her. And why isn’t Acchan right in the center for her last song? It doesn’t make sense to me.

The 30 Day Idol Challenge: Day 6

I decided that I needed a nice change of pace for my blog. I’ve been playing a game of catch up on my blog recently. And whenever I have to play catch up I become unmotivated pretty quickly, because then it almost feels like I’m being forced to blog. And it really takes all the fun and enjoyment out of blogging. PV reviews are probably my favorite posts to make, but feeling obligated to do a mad rush of 10 or so in a matter of days is really a drag. However, the push is from no one but myself. I actually feel like I’ll lose readers or people will become disappointed/bored if I don’t review all the PVs, since I’ve made them the main selling point of my blog.

This post has take a rather unpleasant turn, so enough of the talk and onto the main focus of this blog. And that’s continuing the The 30 Day Idol Challenge. Now, I’m constantly playing catch up on my blog and focusing on idol news, that I have completely overlooked this challenge completely. The last post I made about this was back in October. I’m a little bummed about that myself.

Let’s get on with today’s question which is: “Your favorite sub-group?”

Now, there are, and have been, tons of idol sub-groups out there. I mean, I could have picked anything. But over the nearly 4 years of blogging and over 5 years of being an idol fan the answer to this question was extremely obvious. And keeping up with past answers you know I couldn’t pick just one group.

Buono:

Of course Buono is one of my absolute favorite sub-groups. I’ve been a dedicated fan of Buono ever since they first formed. And I think anyone that reads my blog can tell I’m a big Buono fan since I named my blog after one of their songs. Buono is one of those groups that keep getting better. Virtually whatever type of music they have they manage to pull it off. From super cutesy, to rock, to ska, to soft ballads, even auto tuned. Buono is just absolutely perfect! And everyone’s singing in Buono is top notch. I mean, watch some of their concerts. A lot of the time they sound almost identical to the CD. Which is super impressive. And the girl’s voices blend together perfectly. I seriously can never get enough of Buono. Their songs are constantly stuck in my head, and I’m constantly singing them. And their B-sides and album songs are just as catchy as their A-sides, which doesn’t always happen with idol groups.

Watarirouka Hashiritai/7:

Now, I haven’t been a Warota fan for nearly as long as I have been a Buono fan, but that doesn’t mean I love them any less. Watarirouka Hashiritai is just another perfect idol group in my eyes. They have the insanely cutesy idol voices that I absolutely adore, and they are making the exact kind of idol music that is my favorite. Upbeat, happy, cute, and sweet enough to make you lose your teeth. Watarirouka Hashiritai might only have one album, but they make up for it by usually having anywhere from 2-5 B-sides to keep you interested. They might have a few songs that I’m not a fan of, but collectively their songs are amazing and they put me in such a happy mood. And it doesn’t matter if they gain, lose, and then gain members the music never gets effected and they keep coming out with even better songs.

Watarirouka Hashiritai 7 – Shounen yo Uso wo Tsuke preview

Watarirouka Hashiritai 7 prefromed their new song Shounen yo Uso wo Tsuke at the SSA concerts giving us a a nice preview of the song. This song will be used as the ending theme for Crayon Shin-Chan as well as the theme for Eiga Crayon Shin-chan Arashi wo Yobu! Ora to Uchuu no Princess movie. This is also the first single to feature their temporary new member Cindy.

Now maybe it’s because this is the live version and you can’t really fully hear the music for the song, but os far I’m not impressed with the song. The song is missing that spark from their past releases. The song is definitely cute, but it’s not really catchy. It’s a little bland and honestly forgettable.

NMB48 to release new single

NMB48 is going to be releasing their 4th single. The single will be released on May 9th and is titled Nagiichi. One of the B-sides will be a solo song by Watanabe Miyuki. Mostly likely to continue her push as a front girl as she was also temporarily added to AKB48’s Team B.

I have a real love hate relationship with NBM48. But I absolutely loved everything about Junjou U-19. The song and the PV were just perfect. But NMB48 really seems to be picking the wrong songs as A-sides. In nearly all of their releases, in my opinion, their B-side’s are a lot stronger than the A-sides. And maybe that’s an unpopular opinion but I’d seriously take pretty much any of the B-sides over the A-sides. This song seems to be a summer themed song. So, I’m pretty much expecting it to be nothing special and just be their bikini initiation single.

SKE48 to release 9th single

It was recently announced that SKE48 will be releasing their 9th single. The single is currently untitled, but it will be released on May 19th.

I am super excited that SKE48 is releasing another single as my love and interest in the group grows with each release. Kataomoi Finally was a good enough song, but I’m hoping for SKE48 to go back to their old standard of super upbeat energetic songs with amazing dances. I wonder if we’ll see a little less of Jurina in this single since she’s going to be doing double time in both AKB48 and SKE48 for the time being. But seeing as she still remains to be the face of the group, I kind of doubt it. Which sucks because it’s a lot of work for the poor girl.

AKB48 announce 26th single and 2012 Senbatsu

Among the announcments a few days ago at AKB48’s Gyoumu Renraku concert in Saitama Super Arena, AKB48 announced that they will be releasing their 26th single. The single is titled Manatsu no Sounds Good and will be released on May 23rd.

AKB48 really knows how to pump out singles, because it seriously feels like Give Me Five was released yesterday. However, I’m not expecting much from this single at all. Since the title translates to either midsummer sounds good or sounds good in midsummer you can pretty much expect this to be AKB48’s yearly excuse to wear a bikini. Now, I could care less about summer themed bikini PVs. They an actually be very entertaining if done well, like Passpo’s ViVi Natsu PV or SUPER GiRLS’ Max Otome Gokoro. But AKB48’s bikini PVs are all the same. Yes, Everyday Kachuusha was playing homage to past PVs, but I’ve already expressed how I felt that that theme was premature and was done mostly because of lack of creativity and wanted to make another bikini PV. And to match the similar PVs all of their bikini summer singles sound really similar. I want something new and exciting not more of the same. Which is why Give Me Five was so refreshing.
Now, I do realize it’s much to early to judge the song since we’ve never heard it, but I’m mostly just voicing my concerns over how this single could end up being completely bland and predictable. I honestly hope I’m wrong.

And of course the much more exciting news that was announced, was AKB48’s senbatsu for their 27th single. Voting tickets for the senbatsu will most likely be included in the Manatsu no Sounds Good single, which is going to boots that singles sales immensely. AKB48 is at the peak of their popularity which means more people will want to vote in the Senbastu, and the fact that this may or may not be Acchan’s last single I expect records to be broken and this to possibly become AKB48’s highest selling single yet.

In this year’s Senbatsu will include 243 members. This is a huge increase since Teams N and 4 were created as well as HKT48. It really is a mind blowing amount of members. And adds to why I doubt there will ever be a time when I can remember ever single girls name. There are just too many. To compensate fro the staggering amount of members this year’s Senbatsu will be divided into 4 groups instead of the usual 2. And as of right now it is still unclear if Acchan will take part is this year’s Senbatsu.

Big changes to AKB48

As some of you will notice I’ve been a little MIA lately from blogging. I’ve been fairly busy lately, so blogging had to go on the back burner for a bit. And while I was away some huge announcements concerning AKB48 were made. So many that I’m splitting it into 2 post, and lumping all of the important news into this post.

Of course I am starting out with the biggest news, which is Maeda Atsuko is graduating.

Acchan announced this yesterday at AKB48′s Gyoumu Renraku. Tanomu zo, Katayama-buchou concet at Saitama Super Arena. During her announcement she didn’t exactly state her reason for leaving, instead she just said that it’s time to move on toward her next dream. As of right now an official date of her graduation has yet to be be announced.

I can honestly say that I didn’t see this coming. I expected the next graduation to Shinoda Mariko. I am completed shocked by this announcement. Perhaps if I followed AKB48 a bit closer I wouldn’t be so shocked? But as someone who is trying to, but doesn’t really have the time to, become more than just a casual fan, I find this all to be almost surreal. Acchan has been the face of AKB48 for a while now. After she’s been in such a prominent position for so long it’s going to be weird seeing PVs and live performances without her in them. And I really am going to miss hearing her voice. It’s very soft and pretty. I mean Flower is such a beautiful song, and I absolutely love 7ji 12fun no Hatsukoi.
I guess this means after Acchan graduates Yuko is going to be the new face of AKB48. I can still remember how big of a deal it was when she beat Acchan in the senbatsu back in 2010. It really is going to be odd to see her as the new face. I also wonder what this means for the senbatsu as a whole? Now that Acchan is leaving, who is going to get her 150,000 votes? Maybe we’ll be seeing a complete shift and change. I honestly hope this means that Sayaka will get to be in the media senbatsu. But I doubt Acchan’s fans are also Sayaka fans.
Even though Acchan is leaving I don’t really think this will hurt them at all. Maybe it would have like 5 years ago, but AKB48 has turned into to such a force in the idol world that I don’t see them slowing down anytime soon. Last senbatsu Acchan got roughly 140,000 votes and her solo single sold roughly 200,000. So, the first Acchanless single will most likely only be a decrease of 175,000 or so. Which is nothing when you’re a group that’s selling over a million copies every release. I also bet that the last single featuring her is going to break some records.

The next piece of news is Matsui Jurina and Watanabe Miyuki are going to temporarily join AKB48.

SKE48 member Matsui Jurina is going to be transfered to AKB48 Team K, and NMB48 member Watanabe Miyuki is going to be transfered to AKB48 Team B. Both girls will remain in their respective groups while this is going on. And for how long this transfer is, is anybody’s guess as an official end date hasn’t been announced.
I have to say that I don’t really see the point in having them transfer over since Matsui Jurina is usually featured in ever AKB48 release anyway, and they could have just added Miyuki to the singles as well. I think having the girls now do stages and singles for both groups is a bit much. And I don’t get why either girls were picked. I know Jurina has been in almost every AKB48 single since Oogoe diamond, but I thought Matsui Rena was more popular then her now? And isn’t Yamamoto Sayaka the face of NMB48? And she was in 2 AKB48 singles and Miyuki was only in 1. And she didn’t even make it to the top 40 of the 2011 senbatsu election.
But there is one aspect of this that I do, and that’s that each girl was placed in the perfect team. Jurina is a good singer an amazing dancer, so she’s perfect for Team K. And Miyuki is adorable and has a fairly cute voice, so she’s perfect for Team B.

The next, and final, piece of news is Team 4 is now complete and Team 8 is going to be created.

During AKB48’s concert at Saitama Super Arena it was also announced that 5 members of were being added to Team 4 to bring Team 4 to it’s full 16 members. The members promoted were Tano Yuka, Iwata Karen, Kato Rena, Takahashi Juri, and Kawaei Rina. Congrates to them. But I don’t follow Research Students at all, so I couldn’t really tell you anything about them.
And if completing Team 4 wasn’t enough, Aki-P announced that the remaining Research Students that weren’t picked for Team 4 will now be working to establish Team 8. Which really comes as no surprise. When Team 4 was announced it was only a matter of time before Team 8 was also announced. Which also means when Team 8 is eventually created and completed that will bring AKB48 to a staggering 80 members.

Here’s a news clip talking about most of these changes. You guys should watch it before it gets taken down.

DiVA-Lost the Way PV preview

A few days ago Avex’s official youtube channel uploaded the short version of the PV for DiVA’s upcoming new single, Lost the Way.

DiVA, DiVA, DiVA, what in the world are you doing? I don’t even know how I’m supposed to feel about this PV. On one hand I absolutely love it. The dark set and equally dark outfits work so well because of the mature and serious nature of their songs. Those scenes also make the close-up scenes with brighter outfits and lights really pop. And overall the girls are dressed and styled perfectly. The gray outfits are grogeous and have a very futuristic and high fashion feel to them. I don’t really like their outfits in the close-up scenes because they are all wearing the same hideous semicircle looking pattern. But everyone looks gorgeous in the close-ups, everyone’s hair styles really work for them. Especially Sayaka, the girl looks amazing.

But one the other hand I hate the PV because of how the new members are treated. I understand that they are unknown girls with no affiliation to AKB48. But they are official members, and they are being treated like the sub-members of S/mileage were. Where they had practically zero lines and were glorified backup dancers. But these members are treated worse. At least with S/mileage they got to sing yeah, fu, and go, and had their own close-ups. These poor girl don’t utter a word and do not get any close-up shots. And they are wearing simple and plan outfits compared to the original members of DiVA. They are being treated just like sub-members, but they are all full time members of the group. It makes absolutely no sense. What was the point in adding them if they aren’t going to use them? I understand wanting to slowly warm up the fans to the new girls, but this is a bit excessive. Yes, you can argue that this is only 1/2 or 1/3 of the PV and we don’t know what’s going to happen. And that is true, we don’t know. But one can assume that the rest of the PV isn’t going to be much better. Unless they have the 1st gen and 2nd gen members switch places completely for the 2nd verse, I don’t see how it could get any better for the new members. I guess that’s also why DiVA is still written with a lowercase i.

All eyes on NMB48 in the center of the ring

A few weeks ago the full PV for NMB48’s recent single, Junjou U-19, was released.

After watching the PV I am blow away, I am just utterly impressed and amazed. This PV takes taking cheap PVs and still making them interesting to a whole new level. If you watch the PV you can tell it had a pretty small budget as the entire PV is filmed on the same set. But what this PV lacks in overall set design they make up for it tenfold with striking visuals, costumes, and the overall theme.
This PV has a very cirque du soleil/regular circus theme. In the beginning of the PV the girls are giving some sort of gymnastic powers from what looks like a clown wizard. Which I do admit is a bit weird and outlandish. But that’s pretty much my only complaint I have for the entire PV. The rest of the PV is filled with the girls doing many different types of circus and acrobatic routines. Such as aerial tissu, walking on a tightrope, and bunch of other aerial gymastics. The PV also features flips and other cute cirus performances such as rolling over giant balls and walking down invisible stairs. They even show Sayka almost being fired from a cannon. We obviously never see her actually doing it because it would be really dangerous, and apparently expensive to hire a professional to do it.
The PV from start to finish is just mesmerizing. It’s eye-catching, it’s fun, and incredibly entertaining. There is literally so much going on it’s hard to keep track off it all. There isn’t one scene (besides close-ups of course) where something exciting or interesting isn’t happening. NMB48 just set the bar pretty high. This is one of the most creative and spectacular idol PVs I’ve seen in a long time. It might even be one of the best I’ve ever seen period.
Another big plus of the PV are the costumes. There are about 8-10 different costumes. 4 group costumes and then a bunch of other costumes for each different circus performance. It’s just incredible the amount of different costumes featured in this PV. They really add another interesting element to the PV.

I absolutely love these outfits.

The wizard clown.

Apparently all he has to do it wink and you get magical powers.

I love that girl in the back, she reacts in such a cute way.

I don’t really like the set.

But I do like the dance.

These metal boxes remind me of the metal boxes Arashi used during their Scene tour.

I love aerial tissu so much.

Impressive.

I wish Sayaka wasn’t the only one wearing a hat. It makes the outfit to be honest.

The more I see Nana the more she looks like Nakky to me.

Human hamster wheel.

I’m Genie for you boy. Sorry, this reminds me SNSD’s Genie outfit way too much.

Of course they had too add some fanservice.

Cool dance move.

She’s pretty and I love her makeup.

She kinda had weird teeth, but she’s a cutie.

Pretty.

I don’t get what this group roll is all about.

Simple illusion, but still pretty cute.

I don’t really like these outfits, but I love that they say their nicknames on them.

Adorable.

I love these outfits.

Lol.

I love everything about this outfit. The hair is just perfect.

Wow, doing a flip on a tightrope. I am completely impressed.

Hot.

Flying jellyfish. That’s kinda lame.

Is that a guy?

I guess he’s a clown, wizard, and a mime.

Lol.

I love how in sync they are.

Dramatic walking.

Words cannot describe how much I love these outfits.

It sucks that Sayaka only lays in the cannon.

Thoughts on SDN48’s Makeoshimi Congratulation

I wanted this post to be a simple PV post, really I did. I figured like most of my PV review posts I’d write a little about it but not spoiling my full reaction until the full PV was out. But after watching the PV review, I couldn’t settle on just that.

After watching the PV preview I’m angry, literally angry. But not for the reason you might think. I’m angry because this song and PV are amazing. The song is cute. It’s typical idol music soft and sweet. So unlike what their past A-sides have been like. And the PV is just as adorable. The girls are wearing too cute for words school uniform looking outfits that look like something AKB48 would wear. And I’m wondering why in the world weren’t they releasing singles like this all along? I know SDN48 are supposed to be a mature adult themed group, but I prefer them when they are cute. And it works for them. Their version of Everyday Kachuusha was amazing. And Awajishima no Tamanegi is my favorite song by them. And I also have to wonder, would they be disbanding if this was their theme? Why was’t Aki-P thinking of this in the first place?

Doesn’t Aki-P try to do what other idol groups aren’t doing, and that’s why AKB48 is so successful in the first place? And doesn’t he also like to make some of the music about controversial societal matters like teen suicides caused my bullying, teenage sex, and even being a lesbian like in SKE48’s Kataomoi Finally PV? Then why did he have it so backwards with SDN48? SDN48 is toted as being this adult themed idol group, but am I the only one who took that  at face value and didn’t immediately think that meant being overly sexual? It didn’t really have to mean that, and  I think that’s 100% the reason that SDN48 wasn’t as successful or popular as they could have been. SDN48 was an adult group with adult members, I really wanted them to be an idol group who’s members just happened to be adults. And honestly that would have been enough. They would have been pushing boundaries and going against the social norm just by being over the normal “idol age.” And that would have gained them a lot of older female fans. And probably female fans in general would want to support them because they would see themselves in them. Making another group based on male fantasy perpetuates the fact that Aki-P only really cares about male fans. AKB48 and their sister groups may have a lot of teenage fans, but that’s basically accidental. In the sense that they really aren’t marketing to them all that much. Aside from lyrical content and the girls doing things in fashion, it’s mostly for male fans. (Excuse me if I’m forgetting some other ways they are marketed towards females.) It proves that female fans are indeed just gravy to add to the obviously male dominated fanbase. And it’s whatever, I normally don’t mind being in the minority. But this is one the rare occasion where catering to a female audience would have helped them in the long run.

And if SDN48 still needed a sexy flare to their image, they could have went for it while still having their core female fanbase remain. Because all they really needed to do was add a flare, a touch, a pinch, a small amount. They didn’t have to go for such an obvious sexy image. You absolutely do not need naked body silhouettes and bathtub scenes to be sexy. The phrase less is more is completely true. I’m not attracted to girls but I’m going to assume that showing minimal skin is just as alluring. It’s the tease, it’s the “will they or won’t they” aspect that would be tantalizing. I’ve watched a lot of shows on fashion and they all say the same thing, “less skin is sexier than more skin.” A dress that’s low cut in the back, an outfit that shows your stomach peeking through, a dress that only shows your shoulders, or a high slit that shows your legs. All of those are sexy while still remaining classy. And I’m not saying that SDN48 are classless or sleazy, because they obviously aren’t. I’m just saying you can be sexy another way. And as a female fan I was turned off of them for that reason.

Maybe it’s asking to much for a female idol group to market themselves to female fans. I mean, you don’t see JE making their groups more male friendly. But I just find the whole SDN48 disbanding thing a bit sad, because there was potential in there for them to be amazing and sell a lot. It just really feels like they were tossed aside without really getting a fighting chance.

Also, here’s the PV preview.

Pedicure days and manicure nights

A few weeks ago the full PV for no3b’s new single Pedicure Day was released. I know that’s an eternity in blog years.

I am absolutely blown away by this PV. It is the best idol PV I’ve seen in a while. Just everything about it is incredible. This is how all idol PVs should be, it’s just really a perfect PV that embodies everything idols are.
The theme of this PV is the members of no3b are throwing a party. Most likely a pedicure party to fit the theme of the song. The PV them follows no3b every step of the way for preparing for the party. Getting up in the morning, making food, decorating the living room, and even taking a bath for a little fanservice. You’d think with a theme so mundane sounding that the PV would be boring, but it’s not. Not even a little bit. Everything about this PV just jumps out at you and grabs your attention.
First off the sets are incredible. The PV takes place in a house, but this PV actually takes advantage of that setting and uses 3 different rooms. A lot of times groups will rent out some big elaborate houses or buildings, but then only use 1 or 2 rooms. Or sometimes just the outside and a room. I never really got that. If you’re renting the place why not go all out? Each set is decorated incredibly. Each is overly decorated like most idol PV rooms are. Which I actually do like because it gives them a much cuter and idol-like vibe. Just like every set in this PV has. I mean, one of the sets is a kitchen but they still manage to make it look absolutely adorable.
And since there a 3 sets in 3 different rooms, we also have 3 different outfits. Pajamas, everyday clothes, and party outfits. Each one more adorable then the next. They are styled incredibly well. And it’s just the small little accents that make the outfits adorable, like Haruna’s red rollers, or Minami’s leopard collar.
It’s also the small details about the PV that makes really fun to watch. Scenes like Haruna stealling what TakaMina is making and the girls having a pillow fight are really cute. But my favorite scenes are when they sing into inanimate objects like a blower dryer or broom in place of a mic.
The whole video is just very eye catching. It’s brightly light, extremely colorful, and incredibly vibrant. And the girls are featured in pretty much every single frame so you are always drawn to something. There are very few shots that just span the room and make you uninterested. All in all, it’s an extremely well made PV. And it tells a clear story without it having to be 6 minutes long.

That’s a cute house.

Receiving your pedicure day invite.

The set for the room is really nice.

How cute.

I love Haruna’s outfit, and she looks super pretty here.

The stylists dropped the ball on TakaMina a bit. It looks like she’s wearing a shower wrap.

Adorable.

Gorgeous. Haruna just looks so fresh and pretty here.

Lol.

Absolutely adorable.

My eyes just keep getting drawn to Haruna. She’s putting the most energy and effort into her scenes.

TakaMina looks pretty here. And lolz at Miichan being the only one not looking at the camera.

If it’s a pedicure party why do they already have their toenails painted?

Look at all that food. XD

Stealing food. I love TakaMina’s expression.

They drew faces on the peppers. XD

Such a cute smile.

They really love to put the 48 groups girls in bathtubs.

SKE48 girls.

SDN48 girls.

Cute.

Also cute. But also the short end of the styling stick again. She’s wearing an ugly, baggy jumper.

Cutest pillow throw I’ve ever seen.

I love the purple wallpaper.

What is she doing? Proving she’s taller than the penguin? XD

Feather explosion.

I’ll never get why guys are so into girls pillow fighting. But that’s just me.

Group hug.

What does that say? Dreams?

Adorable.

And que fake friends.

I absolutely love these outfits.

Cute.

Adorable.

Spoon drumsticks.

They look like they are genuinely having fun.

WTF is TakaMina doing?

Cute goodbye wave.