Will Yukki really go bald?

During Passpo’s live at Shibuya-AX Passpo held a press conference and said that if their second single, ViVi Natsu, doesn’t go to number 1 member Fujimoto Yukimi will go bald.

Now, when I first heard this I was immediately suprised. I wasn’t shocked actually, I was more intrigued by the whole situation. For an idol to go bald is a completely shocking idea. And for a publicity stunt, I think it might actually be on par with something AKB48 would pull. It’s interesting. Completely stupid, but interesting nonetheless. However, it will never in a million years work. I love Passpo and all, but they are obviosuly never going to win. ViVi Natsu is releasing on the same day that AKB48 is releasing their Flying Get single. It would take a lot more than saying Yukimi will go bald to beat AKB48. A miracle perhaps? But certainly not this. There are several reasons I don’t think this will happen.
First off, Yukimi is the Cheif Purser of Passpo. That title alone must make her a fairly popular member. But something like having her go bald would completely make her lose fans. I mean, I start to lose all faith when my favorite member has a bad haircut. But having no hair at all? I’d probably flip out. There’s no way managment will ever let this happen. From a business stand point it’s ridiculous.
Another reason is,  this was never officially announced. It was more of said on a whim. One of the member’s blurted it out during the heat of the moment during a press conference. And because of that I then have to call the legitimacy of this into question. It really just seems like one of those things you say that sounds good at the time but you never actually intend to do it.
The last reason it most likely won’t happen is they said if they don’t go to number 1 Yukimi will go bald. But what exactly does number 1 really mean. Is it number one for the week or for the day? You can’t just assume the week, even though that’s usually what number 1 is. However, for a group that has no chance of making it to the number weekly spot, I feel that they would say that to weasel out of it. They having a far better chance of beating AKB48 for the day than for the week.

There is still one aspect of this that really bothers me. Why would they say Yukimi is going to do this? Why isn’t Ai going to do this? As the Captain of Passpo shouldn’t she be doing this? As the Captain it’s her responsability to take the brunt of it if they fail. It only seems logical. And yet Aipon wasn’t mentioned at all. Which doesn’t really help the credability of this.

Since this would be a completely stupid move on Passpo’s part I doubt it will happen. I am 100% sure Passpo will never beat AKB48. At most, when they lose I see Yukimi coming out in a bald cap, causing fans to have a mini  heart attack, before taking it off to reveal her hair. I mean, that is technically going bald, or sporting the bald style. I think that’s probably the extent of what we’ll see. Anything more than that would just ultimately hurt Passpo. Besides if they do that, fans would probably love it. And laugh that Passpo pulled a fast one on them.

My love-hate relationship with AAA

The title of this post pretty much says it all. And from that it should be obvious what this post is going to in entail of. Most of this post is my personal back story. So, if you could care less about that I suggest you skip this post. I think I might have already posted about some of this back story before, but I can’t really remember. But even if I have it hasn’t been written in such detail before. XD
By the way, this post is long overdue. Like, a lot longer than you’d think. But you know how I loved to procrastinate on this blog. Well, I procrastinate with these types of posts. With news posts I tend to try and post them the second I find out about it. XD

When I first got into Japanese music in September 2004 I was instantly in love with it. And because of that instant attraction I knew I was going to be listening to it for a long time. And I wanted to do something special to commemorate what was going to become a rather fond memory. Since I was only 12 at the time I decided to do so in the only way I could think of, through music. I decided the perfect way to commemorate the occasion was to find a group that had just formed and follow them from day 1. And as the years passed, and the group remained intact, I could fondly looked back and see how much the group had evolved. And inturn look at how much I had evolved as a fan of Japanese music. And also to see how far the group had come. So, that every time I listend to them it would make me think of how I had been following them since the beginning and to also think of the exact moment I became a fan of Japanese music. And I did just that, the group I picked was Hinoi Team. And I absolutely loved them. I emerged myself completely in them. I listened to all their songs, I learned about the members, I followed absolutely every move they made, and I also learned a few of their dances. I followed Hinoi Team just as closesly as I follow Hello!Project and Johnny’s Entertainment now. So, that should give you a clear picture of just how much I loved them. As we looked back at the fate of Hinochi, I obviously shouldn’t have put all my eggs in one basket. The whole Hinoi Team disbanding situation as a whole still makes me angry. Mostly because to this day Avex has never officially announced they broke up. You were supposed to just know because one of the members stopped modeling for the magazines that the Hinoi Team members were modeling for. I can’t 100% remember which girl it was. But I’m like 70% sure it was Keika. And the song Please Forgive Me was supposed to tell you they were sorry for breaking up. But Avex never officially said that. And as a devoted fan I wasn’t going to believe it until it was official. But after a year with no word about them, I finally accepted they broke up.

But what does any of this have to do with AAA? I’m glad you asked! Or, rather, most likely were thinking this as you just read a seemingly pointless paragraph. If you couldn’t figure it out by now, I had every intention of doing the exact same thing with AAA that I did with Hinoi Team. I can still remember when the group AAA was first announced. I was extremely excited. I was beyond happy to add yet another group to commerate becoming a Japanese music fan. I can still remember the rush of excitment vividly. I was in such a euphoric state just because a new Japanese group had been announced.You can tell right from the beginning I was very passionate, and extremely into, Japaneses music. And that type of passion and excitment hasn’t changed. It’s actually intensified over the years.

However, when I first heard BLOOD on FIRE I was completely turned off. I only ever listened to the song once, and then I completely washed my hands of them. I didn’t give the song a second chance. And I didn’t bother seeing if their next couple of singles were good. I was done, just completely done. And that snap judgement set the course for how I treated AAA over the years. I’m sure I had a good reason for not liking the song of course. It was probably because the style of music was so different from what I was listening to at the time. It was techo/anime sounding music with a hip hop vibe. It was also probably because there was rapping in it. Back in the day I thought rapping in Japanese was hilarious. And I could never take it seriously. Obviously I grew out of that. And I actually love Tanaka Koki’s rapping. But I think it was ultimately because of how much I liked Jrock. Even though I did listen to Jpop back then, and most of it was pretty ubeat, a majority of the music I listened to and focused on was Jrock. I thought a lot of music that wasn’t Jrock was inferior. Which in retrospect makes no sense. I must have been bipolar or selectively judgmental back then. Because on one hand I learned the dances to Hinoi Team’s Super Euro Flash and Tamaki Nami’s My Way, but on the other hand I was trying to completely be Visual Kei/Jrock and practically worshiped Dir en grey. I think it was probably mostly male singers that I judged side by side with Jrock. Because I can clearly remember, after such a fuss was made about them online, looking up Arashi and Super Junior. And then making fun of them a lot. Ironically, now I love both groups. But back then I viewed any male Japanese singer that wasn’t Jrock to be too happy and girly for my taste. However, for some reason I really loved Miyavi. Even though his music, and style, has always been pop  with guitar rifts and sometime heavy music, he was always given a pass. Probably because he was still under the Jrock umbrella. And ironically my love of idol music now determines what kind of Jrock I listen to. Since the majority of Japanese music I listen to is idol music, I hardly ever listen to Jrock anymore. And the little Jrock I do listen to has moved from heavier music and  Visual Kei music to the lighter side of Jrock. Pretty much all I listen to is Oshare Kei because the music is happy and upbeat. It’s the most idol like Jrock out there. Pretty funny, huh? But I’m getting way off subject now. Anyway, any of these reasons could be why I wasn’t into AAA. I honestly can’t remember anymore. It was 7 years ago, and I was 12, give me a break. XD

It was 3 years later when I was ready to give AAA another chance. Mirage had just come out and it was a pretty popular song. Well popular enough in Japan, it didn’t really sell all that well. But for some reason it was pretty popular on the internet. Or it seemed to be anyway. So, I thought “Ok, people seem to really love this song. I should give it a try.” And a try I gave it. But again I wasn’t into the song. My reason behind not liking it is pretty hazy. All I remember is thinking “Why do people like this song so much? It has weird Indian music.” Even though that was only 3 years ago I can’t really remeber too well what I thought of that song and AAA. Mostly because the song didn’t leave a big impression on me, so I saw no reason to remember every little detail about the song.

And yet again I washed my hands of them. It wasn’t until about 6 months later I gave them another chance. I heard a group dub of Kuchibiru Kara Romantica. I thought the dub was so well done that it made me want to hear the original song. Which by the way, I had no idea was AAA. I was completely blown away by the song. By then I was completely engulfed with idol music. Both male and female. So, I was apparently ready to give them another chance. I then listened to Get Chu and got addicted to it immediately. But the next song I heard was Q. Which I thought was completely awful, and I became derailed again. The overly intense and weird music threw me off. I also lost interest because I didn’t find any of the members attractive. However, today I think Nishijima Takahiro is adorable. In that “he’s so odd/unique looking that he’s cute.” way. Nishi kind of looks like a duck to me, but he’s still a cutie.  A couple of months later, by accident, I found the Kimono Jet Girl video. Which I also thought was awful. But after the 4th or 5th listen I was hooked. The repetitive nature of the song made it insanely easy for it to get stuck in my head. A complete ear worm!

Since then I’ve listened to a few more AAA songs. Some I’ve liked: Music, Dream After Dream ~Yume Kara Sameta Yume~, and Summer Revolution. And some I didn’t: Jamboree, Hallelujah, and Aitai Riyuu. But at least thats’s an improvement. At least I’m sort of making an effort now.

Well, that brings us up to date. That pretty much shows how I have a legit love-hate relationship with AAA. But AAA has always been an idol group that I’ve wanted to cover on my blog. Since they were a group I was midly interested in, and was sort of familiar with, I thought it would perfect to cover them. Since blogging would keep up to date on  the group, and because I would be blogging about them, I’d have to go back and learn more about them and their music to make decent posts about them. (The same thing with Kanjani, but I’ve been really lazy with them. XD) Back in 2009 when I officially turned JM into an idol blog, I put focus on how I was going to be covering AAA. However, since then I have yet to make one post about them. It was a perfect plan, but it just never actually happened. And the main reason for that is whenever I hear an AAA song for the first time I never like it. I am usually extremely underwhelmed with the song, and then lose all interest in it. And because of that I feel completely uninspired and skip writing about the single all together. It usually takes a while for AAA’s songs to stick. But after they do I’m usually in love with them. Pretty much every AAA song I’ve ever heard I ended up liking later on. I had every intention to make posts about Paradise, Daiji na Koto, and No Cry No More. They were like the first singles I set out to write about as soon as they were announced. But I didn’t like them enough the first 5-6 times I heard them to write about them.  But now I am completely in love with them. Well, I love the songs minus No Cry No More. But that’s probably because that song is still too new. XD

After writting this post I’m not exactly sure what the point of this post is. It actually doesn’t really have one. I guess I wrote it, more or less, to vent my frustation at myself for how I’ve been putting AAA on the back burner. This post turned into a rant more than anything. I don’t know, I just feel really sad about my whole AAA situation. I’m actually starting to really like AAA. I mean, Get Chu and Music are some of my favorite idol songs of all time. It just feels like there’s been a lot lot of wasted time. There was a good 6 years I could have spent being an avid AAA fan. Or at least 3. Instead I settled for indifference because of my own high expectations and intense scrutiny of everything.

Morimoto Ryutaro on indefinite suspension!

A completely unexpected and shocking scandal is rocking the idol world. Hey! Say! JUMP’s youngest member, 16 year old Morimoto Ryutaro, has been caught underage smoking. And because of this scandal Ryutaro will cease all of his activities in the entertainment field indefinitely. He will also be edited out of the cover of Hey! Say! JUMP’s new single, Over, and will not participate in the Summary concerts.

Here are the larger pictures of him smoking:

Is anyone else having really bad Kago Ai flashbacks? All Ryutaro needs to do is date a 40 year old woman, and he’s as good as history. All joking aside, this is a completely serious issue. Not only is underage smoking illegal it’s also taken very seriously in Japan. It’s easy for fans living in the West to dismiss this scandal as not a big deal at all. When underage celebrities in America are caught doing a lot worse, nothing happens to them. Back in the day Lindsay Lohan drank underage, Taylor Momsen flashed her underage boobs, and Miley Cyrus was caught smoking “salvia.” Among many other underage scandals that I’m sure exist, but don’t know of off the top of my head. But for some reason in the US they got a slap on the wrist, and people didn’t seem to really care. However, just because America seems to be more lenient about these things, doesn’t mean Japan should or will be. We’re talking about idols here. Idols who get kicked out of their group for being caught with a boyfriend. (Well, that only happens to female idols. I won’t get into how unfair and sexist that is.)

People should legit be worried that Ryutaro might never return to Hey! Say! JUMP again. I am sure everyone is familiar with the big NEWS scandals of 2005 and 2006. First NEWS and Kanjani8 member Uchi Hiroki was suspended indefinitely for underage drinking. Then in 2006 NEWS member Kusano Hironori was caught for the same thing. Which of course lead NEWS to go on a year long hiatus. And we can all see how that turned out for them. They never returned to their groups. And are pretty much in obscurity. It took Uchi 3 years before his comeback solo concert. And since then all he’s been up to is random appearances on Shounen Club, is part of the Johnny’s New Year’s Countdown, and he was in a drama. And that’s it. In the 3 years since his scandal he’s basically done nothing. He’s only done the little bit he has done because he was a fairly popular member. But what about Kusano? Kusano, who to this day I am convinced is completely innocent. If you look at the pictures it does not look like beer. In Kusano’s parting words he said something along the lines of even though I am compeltely innocent I will dissapear from the public anyway. It was completely sad. And what is Kusano up to? Nothing! He studied dance in New York for a year and was a model for some random brand. But his pictures are still blurred in tabloid papers. All because Kusano wasn’t that popular. Uchi, who was drunk in public and was a public nuisance, got to make his comeback. But Kusano, who is seemingly innocent and even claims to be innocent, has done virtually nothing. And to be honest, none of that makes sense to me. The only logical reason for it has to be because Uchi is more popular and can make more money then Kusano can.

And if Kusano isn’t doing anything after his scandal because of popularity, where does that leave Ryutaro? Ryutaro is obviously one of the least popular Hey! Say! JUMP members. He’s on the bottom tier alongside Inoo Kei and Okamoto Keito.

Fans could also argue that Ryutaro will be fine because smoking isn’t as a big a deal as drinking is. Which seems a little weird to me. I don’t really think you can judge the 2 in that way. Underage is underage. Whether it’s drinking or smoking. That’s just my opinion though. Obviously JE thinks it’s a huge deal. It’s such a big deal that he is being treated to the same punishment that Uchi and Kusano were put under for a quote unquote less severe scandal. Also, note that Ryutaro was put on an indefinite suspension. Indefinite! Which means this suspension can last for however long Johnny’s sees fit. 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years, or never if he feels like it! Don’t just assume that everything will be ok for Ryutaro because you feel it should be. Or that you feel it’s not a big enough scandal to warrent an indefinite suspension. The bottom line is Johnny’s makes the decisions. He decides what’s fair and what’s unfair. What’s a scandal and what isn’t. And the other bottom line is, Ryutaro broke the law. Which in turn makes the entire agency he works for look bad. I’ve said this before, I will bet you a million dollars that all idols, yes ALL idols male and female, have to sign a morals clause. And if they break that at any time the agency has every right to fire them, or punish them however they see fit.
On the other hand, maybe fans are right and smoking scandals aren’t that big of a deal. And Ryutaro will eventually return to Hey! Say! JUMP. So, let’s look at the only other idol smoking scandal I know of, Aibon’s. In 2006 Hello!Project member, and member of idol group W, Kago Ai was caught smoking underage. In a very grainy and unclear tabloid picture I might add. Aibon was immediately suspended for one year and W’s next single was put on hold. She then was later fired after being caught in another scandal. When Aibon eventually made her comeback she talked to teenagers and encouraged them to not smoke underage. She said that one foolish and careless act ruined her life. In responce the people she talked to said how they were shocked and disgusted by her scandal. They couldn’t believe she would do something like that. Not only because she seemed to be a good girl, but because she was a role model. However, Kago Ai was extremely popular, and therefore lucrative for H!P. I firmly believe she was only given such a small hiatus because of her popularity. And we all know that if a member of H!P is popular enough their scandals get swept under the rug or are more lenient. Nothing came of Tanaka Reina’s, Kamei Eri’s, or Natsuyaki Miyabi’s boyfriend scandals. But less popular members like Arihara Kanna and Murakami Megumi were given the boot. Or excuse me, they left to “continue their studies.” And even popular members Yaguchi Mari and Fujimoto Miki were forced to resign as leader of Morning Musume after their boyfriend scandals. H!P scandals also come down to popularity, and their position within the group. Obvious a leader in a scandal was setting a horrible example for the rest of the group.

All Morimoto’s future really comes down to is luck and popularity. Ryutaro obviously doesn’t have popularity on his side. So, fans just have to hope that Johnny realizes that smoking underage isn’t really that big of a deal. I mean, apparently Johnny knew Ryutaro was smoking from time to time. I think that will play a big role in how long he is under suspension.

But for me personally, I actually don’t care that much about this scandal. Yes, it is sad that he’s under suspension and he may never come back. And that HSJ might never be 10 members again. Or that fans are left hanging about his fate like they were with Uchi and Kusano. All of that is incredibly sad. But Ryutaro isn’t really my favorite member. And as selfish as it sounds, I’m just happy it’s not a member I actually care about. That and the fact that I don’t really feel any sympathy for him. It was his fault. He was the one that not only broke the law, but was stupid enought to let people take pictures of it. The one picture he was legit caught off guard. But the picture where he’s wearing the black shirt, he’s trying too hard to look cool, and it looks almost like he’s modeling for the person who’s taking the picture. If Ryutaro can’t do the time, he shouldn’t have done the crime.

AKB48 adds 4th team

During Himawari H1 revival stage AKB48 announced the formation of a 4th team. The 4th team will be called Team 4 and will consist of 10 research students who were recently promoted. The team will consist of the following members:

Shimada Haruka

Shimazaki Haruka
Oba Mina
Takeuchi Miyu
Nakamura Mariko
Yamauchi Suzuran
Nagao Mariya
Mori Anna
Ichikawa Miori
Nakamata Shiori

Since a lot of research students have been added without a team, most fans have been speculating that there was going to be members graduationg. But that’s obviously not the case. I’m a little shocked to see AKB48 adding another team. Mostly because with the addition of this team, that bring AKB48 up to 58 members. Which kind of throws off their name now. I also wonder if this means the other groups will add Team 4. They would have to follow what SKE48 did with their Team E, and name then Team 4II, Team 4III, etc. And I also wonder if they will add a Team 8. If they do and each Team has a full Team, that will bring AKB48 up to 80 members. Which would be insanly huge and a little ridiculous.

I’m a little thrown off by all of this. I understand wanting to include Research Students to the mix because they have a lot of talent, but I’m not sure they had to add another Team to do so. They could have just put them in a completely new group, or have them release another single. I also don’t know if this is the best idea for AKB48. If they did add full Team 4 and Team 8 and were at 80 members and had the other 48 groups follow suit, I think a lot of fans would get tired of the whole franchise. It would absolutely be too much of a good thing. Because if every 48 group beacame that huge, there would be 320 official 48 group members plus Research Students. Which would make the 48 group franchise burn out quicker than intended.


But this is all speculation. And just because AKB48 adds a Team 4 doesn’t mean another group will and it doesn’t mean they will add a Team 8. This is obviously just a “what if” situation. But in responce to that, could you imagine if it really did happen? 320 members is astronomical. I sure hope management knows what they are doing with this Team 4.

AKB48 breaks a record, but do they deserve it?

AKB48’s new single, Everyday Kachuusha,  has just broken the record for a single’s best first week sales. They broke the record in just 5 days beating the previous number one single, Mr. Children’s Namonaki Uta. And I am actually really angry by all of this. I think AKB48 is completely undeserving to break the record and to hold such a high honor.

And don’t go thinking I’m bitter because AKB48 broke the record and not my favorite idol group, because that is absolutely not the case. I don’t think ANY idol group should break a record like this. Not Morning Musume, not NEWS, and certainly not AKB48. I think this coveted position should be held by a legit artsit who deserves it. Not an arist who was only picked because they danced around in bikinis and are the newsest flavor of the week. Yes, I realized their popularity is HUGE and has been for years. I simply mean that eventually people will move on to some other idol group. And that new idol group will be the “it” group and the new flash in the pan. And years from now when no one cares about AKB48 anymore people will be saying, “I can’t believe such and such established artist can’t beat that has been idol group. And sadly that’s most likely going to happen.

And to anyone out there who thinks AKB48, or any idol group, actually deserves to win you are lying to yourself. AKB48 didn’t win because the song is that amazing, beautiful, or meaningful. They won because they are insanely popular and they made a suggestive PV. (I can hear the people crying, “The PV is innocent. Bikinis aren’t suggestive. I can’t think of anything more innocent then dancing and parading around in bikinis.” Right, because only obvious sexual behavior is suggestive.)
It just makes me angry. I heard and read the translation for Mr. Children’s song today. It’s beautiful. The singing is actually kinda bad, but the lyrics are really pretty and sweet. And I can completely see why they held the top spot. It’s a song about being there for the person you love. No matter what happens, no matter how difficult things get, you’ll always be there for them. AKB48’s song on the other hand is a mediocore pop song about it being summer. And basically mundane things you do when it’s summer such as running in the seas breeze, having the sun beat on you, etc. And of course it’s the typical idol lyrics about loving someone from a far, and blah blah. The lyrics are just ok. They aren’t heartfelt, they aren’t even the best lyrics or best song by AKB48. If Beginner or Keibetsu Shiteita Aijou won, I still wouldn’t like it but I’d get it more. There was just absolutely no reason why this song won.

I would love to hear a fan try and defend this situation, because they can’t. And any fan that can’t realize that they are undeserving takes idol music and idols far too seriously.
If I’m being honest here I don’t think either songs were amazing enough to win. If I had it my way Uemura Kana’s Toilet no Kamisama would win. That song is so heartbreaking, it makes me cry every time I hear it.

I don’t know, I love idols and all but I don’t really like it  when they start beating legit artists for things. It kinda makes me angry.

S/mileage’s surprising 2nd generation auditions

In an absolutely shocking turn of events H!P’s youngest group, S/mileage announced they will be holding auditions for their 2nd generation. The audition is looking for girls between the ages of 13-18. The auditions will begin on June 4th and continue throughout the month. June 4th is just 9 days before the deadline of the Morning Musume 10th generation auditions. Since both auditions are in such close proximity to each other, girls are allowed to audition for both groups. However, if they pass both auditions they can only choose one group to join. You can click here for the website.

I absolutely could not believe that S/mileage was going to add new members. I was not expecting that at all, I thought they would continue with this line up throughout their career. Much like Berryz Koubou and C-ute. Apparently at one point Tsunku said he wasn‘t finished with S/mileage, but I never heard him say that before, so this announcement was quite a shock to me. This will also mark the 2nd stabel group in H!P history to have revolving members like Morning Musume. So far only sub-groups (like Tanopopo, Mini Moni, and Pucchi Moni) as well as short lived groups (like Coconuts Musume and Country Musume) have had more than one generation. When S/mileage was formed I thought about what their future would be like. I thought they were no doubt going to have the same inevitable fate as Berryz and C-ute. To me new H!P acts are always bitter sweet. Yes, it’s awesome that we get great new music and more variety, but you know that they will eventually have to leave. (Debuting ManoEri at 18 and Kikka at 19, it’s almost like why even bother. :/) But having S/mileage have new member auditions gives hope that they could last as long as Morning Musume. Now, there is no guarantee that S/mileage will even have a 3rd generation. But coming from a business and investment point of view, it’s the smart thing to do.

There’s of course a lot of fans who are against this, or feel that S/mileage is perfect the way they are. And in a sense I can’t blame them. I don’t think anyone really saw this announcmente coming. But it seems that I always have an unpopular opinion when it comes to change, because I absolutely encourage change and I am absolutely excited for this audition. Of course, I love S/mileage the way they are. They are one of my favorite groups and I think the members fit perfectly together. They each have similar sounding voices that compliments each other’s perfectly and harmonize perfectly. But since I’m such a big fan of S/mileage I realize that this is the perfect move for them. This means the group could have longevity. And what would you rather do? Enjoy the currently line up for an undisclosed amount of time, which is most likely anywhere from 6-8 years before Ayaka starts to get too old, or enjoy them for 14 years like Momusu but just with a different line up. I think it’s pretty obvious which one is better.

Japan seems to be really interested in S/mileage. They have quite the growing following, and they won best new artist at the 52nd Japan Record Awards. It seems Tsunku and H!P wants their interest and popularity to continue to rise. And holding auditions is a great way to do that. Look at all the extra promoting and interest that has been in Morning Musume lately because of the audition and new members. I also really wonder how many members they will add. It says new member audition, but I’m actually hoping for 2 new members. I also don’t get why they are asking for such old girls to join. Momusu is asking for 10 the youngest and 17 the oldest, while S/mileage is asking for 13 the youngest and 18 the oldest. It makes no sense to me. I guess they are just trying to keep all S/mileage members the same age. Do you know who would have made a great S/mileage member? Saho Akari. Oh wait, she was just added to that dance group that doesn’t have a future. :/

This audition also really makes me wonder about what their future holds. S/mileage’s theme is youth and short skirts. They are adding new members to enchance the youth aspect. So, it seems to me that S/mileage is always going to go after that youth theme. Their singles don’t seem to be maturing and adding another young member won’t help them mature either. It seems like they will forever be a youthful and playful group. Which I’m ok with, and it would actually be a welcomed change. But it seems like because of that S/mileage members might graduate before the age Morning Musume graduate, to keep up with the theme. That would also be bitter sweet.

Here’s the audition announcement video.

Morning Musume 10th gen auditions announced!

Probably the absolutely most exciting news to have been released when I was away was the Morning Musume 10th generation auditions. The auditions announced by Tsunku during Morning Musume’s spring concert tour. The criteria is the same as the 9th gen auditions. Girls ages 10-17. The application deadline is June 13th and the girls will be added after Ai-chan’s graduation this fall. You can click here for the audition website.



I cannot contain my absolute joy and excitement for this announcement. A lot of fan are whining complaining that it’s too soon to have auditions, that the 9th gen just joined. But I don’t think it’s too soon at all. I think I’m like one of the only fans who wants yearly auditions and Momusu to have 15 members again. Which will never happen because Tsunku doesn’t want them to be more than 10. But a girl can dream, right?


This is obviously an incredibly smart move to have them audition for new members so soon. Not only because Ai-chan, the real ace of Morning Musume, is leaving, but because the rest of the 5th and 6th gen are getting old and are going to have to leave soon too.

Here’s how I see Morning Musume’s future. December Ai-chan graduates. Then at that concert the 10th gen are announced. I was thinking there’s no way they would take off any focus from Ai-chan because it’s her graduation concert, her last hurrah. So, the 10th gen might be announced a concert to two before Ai-chan’s graduation. Or they might juts wait until the start of the H!P winter concert like they did with the 9th gen. Then Risa and Sayumi receive their leader and sub-leader positions.
Early winter January or February Risa announces her graduation. Let’s be realistic it has to happen, and it has to happen soon. Risa has been a member as long as Ai-chan and has to leave soon. They release one single or album with Risa as a leader.
Then in May at the end of the spring concert tour she graduates. Sayumi and Reina take over their leader and sub-leader positions.
Early summer probably June the 11th gen auditions are announced. Shortly after Sayumi, Reina, or both graduate. Mostly likely early winter There might even be another gen thrown in there. And then the line up will be 8-11 or 12. Or the one remaining 6th gen with gens 8-11 or 12.

Please note that this is just my speculation for what I think Morning Musume’s future in a year and half times will look like, and I have absolutely no way of knowing if all of this will really happen. However, it will most likely happen somewhere along these lines. Because it’s just obvious that the 5th and 6th gen have to leave within a year or 2. The 6th gen might actually be able to squeeze another 3 year. Which I personally think it pushing it a bit, but Reina and Sayumi are only 21 and Ai-chan is 24. I do realize that Risa is only 22 but she’s been a member for 10 years, it’s too long.

Anyway, going back to the auditions themselves, I’m really excited for them. I really love all the fresh blood that’s going to be in Morning Musume. I can’t wait to see the auditions and pick which girls I want to join. I can’t wait to see if my favorite gets added. I can’t wait to see what the new members are going to be like. I can’t wait to hear them sing. I just can’t wait fot all of it!

Jin to make his Hollywood debut

It was just announced that former KAT-TUN member Akanishi Jin will be making his Hollywood debut through the Hollywood remake of the Japanese movie 47 Ronin. Jin will star alongside Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves and Japanese actors Sanada Hiroyuki, Tadanobu Asano, Kikuchi Rinko, and singer Shibasaki Kou. And as of right now it’s set to be released on November 21, 2012. But that’s obviously not set in stone. Movies get pushed back and release dates get changed all the time.

This is extremely exciting news for a couple of reasons. Obviously the first one being that Jin will grace theaters worldwide and will get worldwide exposure from this movie. The second reason is this is a Hollywood movie in English. I’m sure most Jin fans, or anyone who reads his twitter, know that his English isn’t the best. But since this is a Hollywood movie probably with a big budget, I bet there will be someone on set to help him with his English a bit. Granted it doesn’t seem like anyone has been helping Ken Watanabe with his English all that much. But that hasn’t hurt his American career in the least bit. And of course the third reason this is great is because of the exposure this will give Jin’s American career. Everyone knows that Jin is going to release his first American album. But so far a release date hasn’t been announced which means the album is no where near ready. So, that makes me assume that his album will be released late 2011, like November or December, or early 2102, like January or February. Now, a movie being released that late won’t give Jin that much promotion for the actual release of his album but it will probably pimp Jin enough to get people interested in his music. Depending how popular the movie is and how well Jin comes off to American audiences. Since Jin is going to be in the movie he will probably be doing some of the promotions. Especially on semi-big late night shows. Since a lot of shows have to settle for secondary actors in the film if they can’t book the big names. Like Jimmy Fallon or George Lopez will never get a huge actor who’s movie is currently in theaters. But they might get Jin. Also, Jin could possibly get a tie in song. Since he’s an American singer, or will be soon, they might pimp his music. Movies always love to feature the actor’s music in movies. So, if we’re lucky one of his songs will be playing while the credits play.
 
You also gotta love how the Japanese tabloids were almost right. Back when Jin first decided to take a break from KAT-TUN to do his solo concerts a Japanese tabloid said he was doing so to audition for Pirates of the Caribbean 4. And he would be unable to do KAT-TUN’s concert and audition for the movie. Well, it seems that they were half right. They just got the movies mixed up. It also seems like Jin really did leave to audition because it was also said that Jin went and auditioned for the movie on his own. So, to me it seems like he did just that with JE’s permission. And once he actually got the role Johnny thought it would be an absolutely perfect idea to have him also debut in the US as a singer. Which is why they didn’t announce he would be debuting in America until after his concerts were over, when he was supposed to come back. And not before then, in case he didn’t get the part. And if he didn’t get the part there would be no reason to have him try to debut in the US. That’s just my two sense though. Perhaps I’m just overanalyzing the situation like I always do. XD
 
Good luck to Jin though. I hope this movie becomes a success. Even though Jin will probably end up getting like 10 lines. XD

High standards or fan biases: Are Morning Musume PVs really that bad?

As I’m sure most idol fans or just Hello!Project fans already know, a short PV preview was released for Morning Musume’s upcoming new single Maji Desu ka Ska. This is the second PV preview we’ve gotten and the second time the fan’s reactions have been split. Of course the reactions are split for all PVs. Opinions differ, personal preferences are taken into consideration, and quite honestly you can’t please everyone. Despite, how hard you try some fans will always be disappointed by a PV due to their own high expectations. But, when I saw the PV previews for Maji Desu ka Ska I was impressed. I was honestly impressed. The song is upbeat, the dance is simple but high energy and cute, the outfits are vibrant, vivid, and cute. But I still found that a lot of Morning Musume fans still thought the PV was terrible. Because it follows the same formula that Morning Musume PVs have followed lately.

But then I started to think, why do fans hate this formula so much? Do they not realize this is how Morning Musume has always made their PVs? If they haven’t, were they following the same group as I was? Morning Musume is my absolute favorite idol group. I follow them the closest, and I critic them the closest. When I dislike something they are doing I strongly voice my opinion about it. But it seems fans are negatively voicing their opinions just to voice their opinion. If you go back and watch all of Morning Musume’s PVs they all follow the same formula. Close-up shot, dance shot, and then random scenes of the girls when no one is singing, which is usually a mixture of close-ups or full body shots.

Morning Musume has hardly ever made a PV with an actual story line, or something else going on besides this formula. I can literally only name a handful of Morning Musume PVs that aren’t like this. And those PV are: Aruiteru, The Peace, Namida Tomaranai Houkago, Roman My Dear Boy, I Wish, Morning Musume no Hyokkori Hyoutan-jima, Do It! Now, Mr. Moonligh ~Ai no Big Band~, and Koko ni Iruzee.

You could also argue that Egao Yes Nude, Go Girl ~Koi no Victory~, Naichau Kamo, Souda! We’re Alive, and Ambitious! Yashinteki de Ii jan count as well. But I don’t count rolling in a bed, saying suki up-close, crying up close, jumping in heigh, or breaking fake glass as a story line.

I’m sure a lot of people reading this find that hard to believe. Since a lot of fans are waiting for them to make interesting PVs again. But all of their PVs have been the same. Even if you’re consciously unaware of that fact. But make no mistake, Morning Musume follows that formula and so do most idol groups. And when I say you might not be consciously aware of this, I mean because directors have tricks to make a seemingly boring/low budget PV look more exciting or entertaining.

Now, that might be them having their close-ups in a more exciting setting then the rest of the PV.

Showing more shots of the setting/having them look like they are doing something. That eludes to a storyline without actually establishing one.

Have more than one shot of the dance. Seeing the same dance in different outfits adds the illusion that you’re seeing something new, even though you’re not.

Have them do something more interesting during their close-ups. Just because they are spinning and not standing doesn’t make it less of just another close-up.

Have them wear more than one outfit, having another outfit makes the PV more dynamic. It also makes it look like it has a high budget and fans will often over look the lack of a storyline if there is more than one outfit.

Now, all of this might have been visually appealing and exciting but that doesn’t make it a storyline. A storyline has dialogue that lets you know what’s going on in it. Or it silently follows a storyline. Like falling in love, going to the beach, committing suicide, or just about anything really. Something that actually tells you a story while you watch it. Apparently Morning Musume fans want of all of Momusu’s PVs to be Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. But aside from AKB48, most idols aren’t making PVs like this. Name the last idol PV you actually saw that had a storyline. I mean like the ones you see in American music videos. I honestly can’t think of any. Within or outside of H!P.

Then if the storyline isn’t a problem, what is? If you take the storyline out of a PV you’re left only with the other pieces. Which are the dance shots and close-ups. Which are the PVs that JE and some 48 groups and subgroups are making, as well as lesser know idol groups. But I hardly ever see any of those fans complain. And I have to wonder if it’s because the fans like that formula, or is it that these groups are so popular and on top of their genres (male and female idols separately of course) that they have nothing to complain about? I’m going to go with the second one.

Here are some idol PVs that are the same caliber as Morning Musume’s PVs.

KAT-TUN-Ultimate Wheels

Hey! Say! JUMP-Arigatou Sekai no Doko ni itemo

SDN48-GAGAGA

Idoling!!!-Eve

Canary Club-Daisukki

Not Yet-Shuumatsu Not Yet

AKB48-Chance no Junban

And of course there are plenty more. But these are just the ones I could think of on the top of my head because they are recent.

But despite all this, it always seems like Morning Musume are judged more harshly. That Morning Musume is the only group making bad PVs. I don’t understand the bias between fans. And I don’t understand how harshly PVs are judged. I understand that sometimes a PV is so awful you have to complain. But every single Momusu PV gets judged harshly. No matter how much better it is than a previous PV or how similar other idol PVs are. It makes absolutely no sense to me. I might like H!P and JE the most but when their PVs suck I’m the first one to say it. And when their PVs don’t suck I’m there praising it. These are idol PVs, and to expect them to be a masterpiece is ridiculous.

It seems like fans are also judging Momusu too harshy is because they have been around for a long time and are dwindling a bit. And hating on them is the cool thing to do in the idol fandom. But what about Arashi? They hardly ever release interesting PVs or ones that break the standard formula. But they have been around nearly as long as Momusu and sell significantly higher than them. And yet rabid Arashi fangirls hardly complain about anything they do.

I don’t know, this is basically just a rant. And I’m sure I’ll get a lot of comments telling me I don’t know what I’m talking about. Or that they are an unbiased fan, so that in some way means all fans are unbiased. I think I might actually be one of the few truly unbiased fans out there. And I know that sounds extremely arrogant, but sometimes it does feel that way. I just really wanted to get all of this off of my chest. So, what does everyone think? Thoughts, opinions, disagreements. I’d love to hear other fan’s inputs.

Would global 48 groups even work?

I orignally wanted this to be part of my Taiwan48 post, but this post was way too long to be included. So, here we are a whole new post dedicated to the possibility of other global 48 groups. XD

It seems a majority of fans have been responding negatively to the idea of foreign 48 groups since day one. But I have been absolutely excited. Despite not being a fan of AKB48 2 years ago, I was all for the idea of World48 when I heard about it. Since I am a Japanese music fan, I was thrilled about anything that would spread Japanese music and/or style around the world. Especially if it might happen here in the US.

Most fans have been shooting down the possibility of a global franchise for 3 reasons. (You know I have to overanalyze this and write more in more depth about this because I’m such a nerd.) Also, This is an EXTREMELY long post. So, stop reading if you don’t feel like reading for a good 10 minutes give or take.

The first reason being they won’t like it because they prefer things that are Japanese. Now, before I start my explanation of this let me say that I DO NOT personally know fans like this. But after years of reading forums, blogs, youtube comments, and having actual conversations, I assure you these types of fans DO exist. Please don’t take offense in this. I am not suggesting that the people who read this blog or are reading this blog now are like this. There, was that warning PC enough? XD

They would much prefer if Japanese music was a sub culture. Having the music spread would completely defeat the purpose. That way if they are the only person who  knows about the ultra cool Japabese things can they feel superior. Which deals with the whole elitism in the Japanese music community. And don’t tell me it doesn’t exist. Try joining a Jrock LJ community or Jrock forum (which is how I found out) and see how elitist the Jrock fandom is. I had a friend who literally looked down on me because I didn’t know absolutely everything about anime and anime music, and she did so that made her so much better than me. Which, I might add I wasn’t even that into. I liked Japanese music not JUST anime music. Which she only liked anime music. I will never forget the first thing I said to her. “You like Japanese music?! Do you like Morning Musume,” she responded she didn’t know who they were so I almost angrily said, “How can you like Japanese music and not know who Morning Musume are?!” Ah, good times. XD
Also, I have heard fans who literally do not want their Japanese or Asian singers known worldwide. I have no idea why. I guess they treat it as something precious and amazing, that only they like. And if the whole world suddenly learned about it would lose all it’s appeal. Which would makes those fans elites, who only like it too feel superior and trendy.

The other reason is only liking Japanese things because they are Japanese. The absolutely first second I started liking Japanese music I was labeled a weebo and a Japanophile. That I liked absolutely ANYTHING just because it was Japanese. Regardless of how terrible it actually was. One of my sister’s friends even called me an Egg. Which made me completely angry! Which was never true for me. I still listen to American music. I do not wish I was Japanese nor do I wish I lived in Japan. I am 100% happy being American. I am completely consumed in everything American and can’t imagine living anywhere else. But a vast majority of Japanese fans are like that. How do I know? Practically every friend I ever made friends with because they liked Japanese music also, where straight up Japanophiles. Case and point, I was at Japanese restaurant. Where my friends go to ALL the time. My and my friends literally go there like 2 or 3 times a week, I might add. It was my first time there and first time eating Japanese food. But, I knew I wouldn’t like it. I don’t like rice, fish, beans, or most vegetables, so it was pretty obvious. I tried some of my friends miso soup because there was no way I was going to buy something I most likely wasn’t going to like. So, I had a spoonful. And no offence to anyone, it was the most disgusting thing I have ever eaten. And I will never forget her response. “I knew you weren’t going to like it. Miso soup is an acquired taste.” And of course my response was. “There’s no such thing as an acquired taste. That just means you’re forcing yourself to like it because it’s Japanese” Which she completely was. (This was also anime girl btw. XD) And this has to be why a lot of fans WILL NOT accept international 48 groups. And as hard as it is for people to accept that, this is a much bigger reason that people do or want to realize. There are people out there who only like Japanese things. Only eat Japanese food. Only listen to Japanese music. Only wear Japanese like clothes. And think Japan is the best country in the world. Believe me they exist, I know a few. Thankfully not to such and obsessive annoying degree, but they are like that. So, with that mind set, the global 48 groups would, no matter what, automatically be worse than the Japanese one. It would be a horrible rip off that should never exist, because it’s very existence is brining down the original Japanese one. Which is absolutely ludicrous!

The second reason of course being, that 48 groups would never last in the west. Of course that out come is possible. But honestly, with the right producing and promotion anything could happen. Yes, Japanese idol culture does not exist in any shape or form in the US. It’s closest equivalent, Dinsey artists, aren’t anything near what an idol is. But obvious if the music was altered from idol music, and transformed into what is popular in that country they’d have a real shot. Such as the US would have a hip hop, autotuned, sexy, vibe. Where as a country in Europe would have a more techno infused dance song.
But not even that, there are some US artists that are making essentially cutesy “idol” music. Katy Perry released the relatively cute sounding song, California Gurls, with an even cuter youthful almost idol looking music video. And a song like Teenage Dream with lyrics about teenage love, that lyrically sounds like something AKB48 would release. Yet, she’s a legit artist. How about Taylor Swift? Despite being 20 her music is mostly poorly written songs geared toward teenage girls. I mean, try and tell me You Belong With Me, Fifteen, and Love Story aren’t written like and for a fourteen year old girl. And how about the Jonas Brothers? Yes, they are disney stars, but they were still able to break away from that a bit. But listen to songs like Hello Beautiful, Got Me Going Crazy, Infatuation, Lovebug, Pushing Me Away don’t sound like they could be JE songs? I mean lyrically they are the same caliber that Johnny’s songs are. And if you can’t see that, you’re obviously really biased. The Jonas Brother’s idol-esque lyrics are the main reason I got into them in the first place.

Another reason people think they might fail is because of the whole school girl uniform type outfits. Which is completely true in a sense. I don’t know about any other country, but here in the US school uniforms aren’t really that common. In the US only catholic schools and prep schools wear uniforms. So that’s only about half the country, if not less. In Japan they are a big deal socially since every student in every school wears uniforms. But any outfit could become accepted. Remember Gwen Stefani’s whole Harajuku Girls phase? That was weird and Japanese but accepted. And if people accept Lady Gaga wearing dresses made out of meat and condoms, I think school uniforms could become accepted. It could also become a fashion trend. If military, navy, and freaking beige can be popular trends in fashion now, why can’t school girl outfits? However, since it is the US the only way school girl outfits would fly is if they were sexy or at least a little bit flirty. Remember a few months back when that Mexican group used the music for AKB48’s Beginner? Remember how sexy and revealing their outfits were? Yeah, that’s almost what USA48 would look like.

The 3rd reason obviously being they are teenage girls. 48 groups, minus SDN48, are teenage girls, and regardless of the country they would stay teenage girls. It might fly in Japan for teenage girls too dances around in bikinis, run around in lingerie, take photo shoots wearing bra and panties, and sometimes singing about having sex with adult, it definitely won’t fly in the US. People would be up in arms in no time. Looking sexually at anyone under the age of 18 is extremely frowned upon. And AKB48’s whole appeal is sexualizing their school girl image, which would not be allowed to be done. Do you remember how much heat Miley Cyrus got for pole dancing at the Teen Choice Awards when she did? For USA48 to even be allowed to happen it would have to be completely reformatted, or it would have to be based off of SDN48 instead of AKB48.

Even though global 48 groups would have to be intricately designed to appeal to their specific country, I actually think they could in fact be popular. But much like any artist or group, it’s all about selling it correctly. And I can see things like janken tournaments and senbatsu elections being really popular. As well as the idols you can meet concept being a huge fan favorite. And who knows, if all goes well we could see sister groups. Such as NYC48, LSA48, ATL48, CGO48, etc.