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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s talk about these girls a little bit.

Ogata Haruna

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

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

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Nonaka Miki

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

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

Haga Akane:

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

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

Makino Maria:

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

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

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

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

On to the 3rd gen girls.

Sasaki Rikako:

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13 years old from Miyagi.

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

Murota Mizuki

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16 years old from Chiba.

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

Aikawa Maho

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15 years old from Kanagawa.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Berryz Koubou announce indefinite hiatus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Morning Musume ’14 announces 12th gen auditions…again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Country Musume to hold auditions for new members!

CountryMusume

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morning Musume ’14, what is this PV?

MMWhatIsLove

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Look at all the fans though.

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I never really liked these outfits.

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Momusu’s formation dances are the best.

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

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Harunan does look cute in this hat I must admit.

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

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Riho looks super cute.

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

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Mizuki is super pretty.

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

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Look how in sync they are.

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

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There is seriously not enough Zukki in this PV.

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

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

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

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That Mizuki smile.

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Wink.

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Riho is just incredible at dancing.

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I love how it looks like Haruka is photobombing Sayumi.

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What an odd ending pose.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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”

Did Momusu just release a decent PV for once?

MorningMusume

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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So, obviously they look better by comparison.

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

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

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

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

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

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For a second I thought they were praying.

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

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

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Hello there decent looking CG.

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Look how cool it is that it’s clouds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sayumi is such a beauty.

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Wow Mizuki looks so mature here.

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I have to laugh at how smug Riho looks here.

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Ayumi just stop that.

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Whoa, Haruka looks like such a boy here.

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

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I just really love this scene.

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Maa-chan is so adorable.

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Sakura looks so mature is her close-ups.

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But I honestly think she looks much prettier here.

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Wink!

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Harunan’s cuteness making me overlook everyone else.

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Zukki’s bright smile!

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Omg Zukki be still my heart.

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

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Well, this is a lame dance move.

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Ok, Riho looks pretty cute here.

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Wow, this is really pretty.

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Eripon looks so pretty.

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MaaDuu for 2 seconds.

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Cause of death: Zukki smiling again in a PV.

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Even right here, no one can compare to Zukki.

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I think Mizuki looks the cutest with this hairstyle.

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Adorable.

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Whenever Ayumi smiles she looks like a shark.

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My baby.

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Too cute.

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Ayumi’s face.

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

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Oh come on, this is a bit much!

Have yourself a very idol Christmas 3

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading “Have yourself a very idol Christmas 3”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Momusu’s newest harebrained PV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Gosh this looks oddly familiar.

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Love how intense the dance is.

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

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Riho is looking pretty adorable.

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Wow Mizuki.

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

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What’s with the hear no evil pose?

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

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This hairstyle is super adorable on Ayumi.

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Gorgeous.

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They gave Sakura such an odd hairstyle.

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

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

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And I love how cool Haruka is trying to look.

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

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Is that a smile Haruka?

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

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Just wow.

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

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Just random arm flailing at this part of the dance.

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

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Fukuhime!

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

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

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

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Cutie.

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Zukki’s judging you so hard right now.

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What’s with this random smoke scene?

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

Miyabi appointed sub-Captain and the panic that follows

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

C-ute’s driving me crazy with their new PV

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About 2 weeks ago the full PV for C-ute’s new single Crazy Kanzen na Otona. This whole single really came out of nowhere to me. Not only is it being released a mere 2 months after Kono Machi the PV was released within days after the full radio rip was released. Just everything about this PV is happening really quickly.

This PV might actually be even cheaper than the Kono Machi PV, which I didn’t think was possible. However, while everything about the Kono Machi PV was just an utter disappointment, and everything about this PV is just an utter win to me. This PV has 3 sets, except it doesn’t really. You can tell that in all actuality they only have 1 set that they are just using in three different ways. One set is all black with lasers and lights, another set is all black with those vertical tube lights that were obviously borrowed from the Wakuteka Take A Chance set, and the last set is the members in these white room with very soft lighting where they just putting on make-up. And I have to admit those scenes are a real disconnect from the rest of the PV and feel extremely out of place. However, I could care less about this at all because I love this PV.

That’s right I love absolutely everything about this PV. And that’s because this PV is just hot, fierce, cool, and just straight up sexy. It’s the sort of subtle sexistness that H!P uses in most of their PVs. Where the outfits are hot, but not too skimpy. Where the girls are looking sexy but not in an over the top way. They’ll shoot you an alluring look or a suggestive dance move. And I think that’s fantastic. I think being subtle and kind of teasing the viewer is a lot sexier than being so blatant and in-your-face sexy.

The main part about this PV that is such an attention stealer are of course the outfits. Oh my god the outfits! They are so perfect! The outfits themselves aren’t really anything we haven’t really seen in concerts before. But just the way that it’s styled takes this from being a cute outfit to being extremely sexy. It’s the fishnets, the studs on the jackets, the chains on the shorts, the collars, and the motorcycle gloves that make the outfit so alluring and so sexy. Also the girls themselves also look extremely great. Their hair is just gorgeous and they just look incredible in those outfits. I was actually expecting them to be wearing more makeup than usual, but surprisingly they’re wearing about the same natural makeup they always wear.

I am just so in love with this PV. I don’t think you’ll be able to find an H!P fan out there that’s disappointed by this PV. Maybe because of lack of a proper set. But they’d be crazy to hate the overall PV. It’s C-ute in sexy outfits looking incredibly gorgeous, what’s not to love?

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This is cool. It’s purple smoke. Took me a second to realize that.

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Whoa Airi. Look how intense her eyes look.

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She even looks great here.

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This dance move. 

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Why does Maimi look so surprised. Lol.

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I think I’m finally used to Chisa’s hair.

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Ok, this dance seems awful so far.

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Wow.

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Nope, still don’t like Chisa’s hair.

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Gorgeous.

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Mai Mai bringing it.

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Love these outfits.

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Airi looks fantastic.

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Wow! Super pretty!

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What an awkward dance move.

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What a cutie.

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I didn’t even notice the lasers kept changing colors, that’s cool.

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This is like the 8th H!P dance where they do that leg move for sexy.

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I can’t even with this dance at this point.

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I’m sorry for how Airi biased this post has become. But look at her in this PV!

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You know, America’s Next Top Model is right, don’t lose your neck Chisa!

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This is the only decent dance move in the entire dance.

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Mai comes off more cute than sexy imo.

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Nakky looks great.

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Maimi is such a standout in this PV.

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I love the seamless balance between Airi looking cute and looking sexy.

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Wow.

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This is getting a little too strippery now.

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Looking good Mai Mai.

Morning Musume 12th gen auditions announced!

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Today was the start of Morning Musume’s Spring tour, which marked the start of Reina’s graduation tour as well as Sakura’s first Morning Musume tour. But during the 2nd MC fans were given to yet another treat when Tsunku announced the 12th gen auditions. And I’ve slept through another important announcement. Time zones are the biggest enemy of Foreign fans.

But that aside, it’s time once again for more auditions! Most fans say it’s too soon, some are all for it, but either way it’s happening. So buck up everyone and enjoy the ride.

The requirements for this years auditions are the same as the 11th gen, girls ages 10-17. And the application deadline is April 30th. Click here to go to the official audition website. The title of the audition is Mirai Shoujo, which translates to Future Girl(s) in English.

If you recall the 11th gen auditions were announced at Risa’s and Aika’s graduation concert on May 18th, and the application deadline was June 25th. And Oda Sakura was announced as the sole winner on September 14th. Which means if they keep the same pace of the 11th gen auditions we’ll see the 12th gen winner(s) announcement mid-July the earliest. Which means the 12th gen will most likely be announced at the H!P 2013 Summer concert and the 12th gen will be able to take part in Morning Musume’s 2013 Fall tour.

Now, I can’t say that this announcement comes as a shock I was absolutely expecting the 12th gen to be announced during Reina’s graduation tour, it only made sense. They’re losing a prominent member so they want to replace her, while at the same time keep the old fans, and potential new fans, interested in the group. The only thing I find surprising about the announcement is the timing. I expected it to be announced during the day of Reina’s graduation much like the 11th gen was.

But as fans had said before the tour even started, they thought it was weird to include Sayumi’s name in the title of the tour and that it might point to her announcing her graduation during the tour. At the time I didn’t really believe it or think anything of it. But now that they’ve announced the auditions this early in the tour it actually makes sense now. If the 12th gen join in the summer they can be apart of the fall tour, which would give Sayumi just enough time to lead the new girls for a bit, prepare them for the tour, before handing the ropes over to Mizuki. Sayumi did say that she that after she was the leader for a bit she was going to graduate. It would be the same thing Risa did. Prepared the girls a bit, released 2 singles, and then graduated at their debut Morning Musume tour.

With all that being said, I am absolutely excited for more auditions. Despite Sakura not even being a member for a year yet I don’t feel the auditions are too soon at all. Since Reina, and most likely Sayumi, are graduating really soon they obvious need members to replace them. And even if Sayumi doesn’t graduate until next year, they still need to replace her and why not replace her sooner rather than later. That way they can build her up a bit, and form fan attachments to her, before Sayumi leaves.

And not even just because of the well being of the group, I’m excited because I love auditions and I love having new members added. Since I became a fan right before LinLin and JunJun joined I was a fan during the stagnant no new member era. While I did love those girls to pieces, and the music was amazing, I still hated that no members were added. It was extremely boring to me. So, in my opinion the more auditions the better. It’s the spirit Momusu always had. Which I’ve said 100 times now. But there still seem to be fans that can’t accept that. I guess it’s those Platinum Era fans who think because they were fans at that period that was the only period that mattered. And who cares that Momusu always had yearly auditions because there was that one time that didn’t. Do you realize how foolish that sounds when you stop and think about it? 

The Platinum Era is done, it’s been done for 2 years now. It had it’s run. Fans need to stop holding onto the past. Especially since the Platinum Era actually hindered the group and had lower sales because the group didn’t add any new members at that time. But whatever, I can’t keep ranting about his every time new auditions are announced.

I’m looking forward to new girls joining, I’m hoping we get at least two to replace Reina and Sayumi’s spots. I actually think 1 member generations are boring. Sakura is a great singer, but I still would have loved to see another girl added. I also wonder if they are going to focus on girls with singing ability. In my opinion, Sakura, Mizuki, Riho, Ayumi, and Haruka have strong enough vocals to be main vocalists. Zukki and Masaki have the potential as well, but I don’t know if they’ll get the opportunity to lead vocals. But secondary is fine with me. So, I don’t think the group 100% needs to worry about strong singers. So, I’m hoping to see them add girls with big personalities instead. You guys know those are my favorite type of idols. Who knows maybe a 12th gen girl will be able to rival Zukki for my number 1 spot.

I also wouldn’t mind another Kenshuusei to be added. But since the formation of Juice=Juice, and Tsunku saying that he’s going to make more new groups this year, it seems impossible. But if it is possible, I’d love to see Tanabe Nanami join because she’s the most talented Kenshuusei left. In my opinion of course.

And I’m also going to jump on the Cuca bandwagon and say I would love for her to join. I’ve been watching her for years and I think she’s just great. A lot of people are tired of hearing about her, but I don’t really care so much. I think Cuca is really talented and was sad that she was too young to audition for the 11th gen.

A lot of people think 10 is too young, but I actually have no feeling about age. I don’t really care how old the idol is to be honest. I thought Haruna was too old for the 10th gen, but she joined and it was a perfect decision. She fit perfectly. And on the young side, look at how young Mai was when C-ute was formed. So, as long as the idol is a good fit age doesn’t really matter honestly.

An amazing S/mileage PV has arrived

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A few hours ago the PV for S/mileage’s new single, Tabidachi no Haru ga Kita, was uploaded onto S/mileage’s official youtube channel.

I wanted to review this PV pretty quickly because S/mileage PVs always seem to fall by the wayside on my blog anymore. And I do apologize for that. I do want to go back and review PVs that I’ve missed. Once I have time of course.

But I also wanted to review this PV quickly because I really really love it. It is such a change, and such a breath of fresh air, from recent H!P PVs. This PV is pretty simple and literally only has 2 sets, but what I love about this PV is that it’s so natural. The last few H!P PVs have all been filmed on sets and/or used a lot of cheap CG effects. Which makes for these stuffy sort of boring, predictable PVs. What I love about the Tabidachi no Haru ga Kita PV is that it is filled on sets, but it uses natural lighting which gives it this airy and light feeling. Usually Kikka gets all the natural lighting PVs. Do you realize how much better C-ute’s Kono Machi PV or Morning Musume’s Help Me PV would have been if they uses natural lighting or were filmed outside? A lot.

I also love that this PV isn’t the standard dance and close-up shot PVs. The do spice up the video, if only a little bit, by having the girls in a room. Granted they do mostly just sit around or do mundane things stretch or hide behind plants. Oh Kanana. But it still is a nice change and a little bit more than what we’ve been seeing lately.

And the girls just look completely natural and beautiful in these scenes. They’re styled in very normal clothes and just look like regular girls. To me each outfits and set is like 2 sides of the spectrum of S/mileage. The glamorous idol side, and the normal girl side. And maybe I’m in the minority for this, but I do love when idols are styled in normal clothes and look normal every once in a while. And not always over-styled and overly made-up. Don’t get me wrong I do love that aspect, but every now and then it’s nice to see them as natural beauties.

The other set is kind of boring because it’s just a white set. But it does get a few extra points for the natural light beaming throughout it. But I absolutely love the outfits. I guess H!P designers are really getting inspired from marching bands lately because S/mileage is wearing a marching band inspired top. Which is obviously a way different style than C-ute’s marching band inspired top. Especially since it’s like a mix between marching band and a sailor uniform. The skirt is really cute too, but it kinda looks a bit like the jackets from Suki yo Junjou Hankouki in skirt form. And double points for Take-chan wearing shorts to fit her tomboy image.

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Glad to see that H!P finally gets a legit set in a PV again. But whoa, Dawa’s shoes are gigantic.

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The suit case in the corner reminds me of ManoEri’s Sekai wa Summer Party PV.

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Gorgeous Ayaka.

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What a tease, they make you think it’s gonna be filmed outside.

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Love love love these outfits.

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Take-chan adorable in shorts.

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What a cutie.

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So glad Kanon has been keeping her hair this long lately. She looks so much better with longer hair.

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Meimi looks so mature in this PV.

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My love. *O* She’s so cute. 

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Rina is so adorable. I just wish she’d get a new hairstyle soon.

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Flawless.

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This part of the dance is so cute.

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Now where have I seen this dance move before?

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Oh yeah, I remember now.

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Kanyon is so adorable.

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Just so so adorable.

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This is a cute dance move too.

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Oh  Mei Mei and her vampire teeth.

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Gorgeous.

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What a cutie.

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Love love.

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Ayaka’s smile always looks so genuine, which is rare for an idol.

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Love that dress.

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Why do idols always hold up their pinky when they say the word onna? I don’t get it.

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Super cute.

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Look at Akari’s face.

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Such a Kana thing to do. Lol.

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Oh Mei Mei, such a bright smile.

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Adorable.

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Wow Meimi can jump pretty high.

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Look at the legs on Ayaka.

Preview of Morning Musume’s new song Brainstorming

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A loose shot version of a new song by Morning Musume called Brainstorming has been uploaded to their official channel. I saw new song because even though Morning Musume’s 53rd single has been confirmed this song hasn’t officially been confirmed to be a part of it. But right now it seems pretty likely that this song is most likely going to be another A-side for their 53rd single. Since this is Reina’s last single it would only make sense to have a double A-side single, much like what Ai-chan got.

However, we also can’t completely rule out the possibility that this may be part of a yet unannounced Morning Musume album. It’s still 3 months until Reina is graduating. And if you remember Morning Musume’s 11th album was announced just 3 months before the triple graduations of Kamei Eri, JunJun, and LinLin. Granted, the space between the release dates of Momusu’s 10th and 11th albums was 9 months, and that was rushed enough. If this album was released on the exact date of Reina’s graduation it would be released 8 months after their 13th album. It would be the quickest new album in Momusu history, but it’s still in the realm of possibility. No matter how slight it is. Especially since they’ve been squeezing out one final album with their most prominent members. And Reina is both a prominent member and a good singer.

Well enough speculating, and more on the actual song. Since this is a loose shot version we a preview of everything: the song, the outfits, and the dance. Which is really exciting since their 53rd single is being released in a little less than 2 months. Well, assuming it’s part of the 53rd single at all.

Let’s start with the song itself. I have to say it was absolutely love at first listen. The opinions are of course split though. A lot of people are annoyed that it’s yet another dance/electronic song. But I’m with the rest of them who honestly don’t care. Well, it’s not that I don’t care I just love electronic songs, as I’ve said 800 times before. So Momusu could keep on with this pace for 4 more releases and I honestly would love every minute of it.

What I really love about this song is that it’s a mix of 3 different types of music at once. It’s got rock, electronic, and dubstep. And instead of sounding like a disaster it’s actually really great. Mostly because rock is the main instrumental and then the electronic and dubstep parts are perfectly strung throughout the entire song so it’s not too overwhelming. And because of that it sounds a bit like a mix between Renai Hunter, Wakuteka Take A Chance, and Help Me. Which I’m perfectly fine with. Because the prominent rock music makes this song distinguishable and unique. It also makes it a lot more intense and powerful than those songs. Perfect for a possible final song for Reina.

Another thing I am pleased with is this song’s line distribution. Every single member gets a solo line. 8/11 of the members get a decent solo line, where it’s actually a line long and you can fully hear them. Sadly 3/11 of the girls do get Wakuteka Take A Chance type solos where it’s just 2 words at a time. Even sadder that my beloved Zukki and my secondary favorites Haruka and Erina are the members that get hardly any lines. But I am perfectly fine with it because Masaki’s and Sakura’s lines make up for it. Sakura’s lines were my absolute favorite in the entire song.

And I love that Mizuki is getting more of the spotlight, she got almost as many lines as Riho. The girl deserves main singer position. I’m also really impressed by Haruna. She unexpectedly got a solo line and she actually sounded good. Wow, she’s improved so much.

I also want to take about the outfits. I’m gonna skip the dance, since I’ll focus more on that once (if?) the full PV comes out. I absolutely love the outfits. They are these motorcycle jackets/ overall biker outfits, which give off this tough sort of yankee feel. Which is again perfect for Reina. And just like in One Two Three the girls with the sexier image are given a slightly different outfit. Everyone has ankle boots. But Reina, Riho, Mizuki, Haruna, and Sayumi either have thigh-high boots or thigh-high stockings. Which again do work with the outfits better and I kinda wish everyone had them. Also, it’s cute that Haruka is wearing another hat. I guess that’s going to become her thing.

Berryz Celebration

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Recently Berryz Koubou’s PV for Asian Celebration was released.

And I have to admit I’ve really been waiting for this PV to be released. I’ve been instantly in love with the song since I first heard it. Just everything about it is just perfect. And it’s a real improvement from their lackluster Want.

Even thought the song is incredible, I’m only mildly impressed with the PV. Since the song is an electronic dance song they went for the most obvious PV theme, a dance club. In my review for Kisumai’s Shake It Baby PV I said how I find club PV to be boring because of how similar every club PV ever made is. And that’s painfully true in Asian Celebration’s case. Not only did they copy most club PVs, they copied their own club PV.

When I first watched this all I could think of is how incredibly similar to their Dakishimete Dakishimete PV.

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To such an extent it kind of looks like the sequel to Dakishimete Dakishimete, rather than its own PV.

The sets are understandably not 100% the same. Instead of speakers being prominent instead the Asian Celebration PV is filled with disco balls. Both PVs also have vibrant club lights.

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In Dakishimete Dakishimete it’s lasers and lights from disco balls, while in Asian Celebration it’s sparkles and lights from the disco balls.

And of course the most blatant similarity is the DJ booth.

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In both PVs it’s in the same exact place, and throughout each PV the members take turns being the DJ. And the sad part is, the Dakishimete Dakishimete PV is actually a better PV. It just has more things going on to make it more fun.

H!P PV directors have just brought lack of creativity to a whole new level. Nothing says “I’m out of ideas,” quite like copying a PV you’ve already made. But in Berryz defense it is hard to make a club themed PV anymore that’s completely original. I think NEWS’ Koi no ABO is one of the few cases where they had a club PV that was unique. Having them be hosts in the club made for a lot of different elements in the PV and interesting scenes. But it’s not like Berryz could make a PV like that. Especially since that’s the exact theme Dream Morning Musume used for their Shining Butterfly PV.

There is a plus to this PV however, and that’s how fun the PV actually looks. I really like that they girls look like they genuinely had fun shooting this PV. The girls just look so natural and pretty. I think everyone is styled exceptionally well. Those outfits are amazing, mostly because I’m a sucker for zebra print. And I have to say that surprisingly Captain stood out the most for me. As much as they were shoving Miyabi in my face every second I think Saki really shined in this PV. She actually did have quite a big of focus on her this PV, and she used what screen time she had really well.

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Nice DJ equipment. 

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A lot of people don’t like Miya’s hair in this PV, but I think she looks adorable with it.

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Wait, is she wearing circle lenses? Her eyes look different here.

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Love love love these outfits. I also really love the rainbow colored floor.

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Adorable Chii.

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Risako sexing up the place.

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Yurina looks simply gorgeous here.

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Wow Momoko doesn’t have her Momochi hair. How is the world still spinning?

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So cute. But I don’t really like this hair on her.

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Never mind, I change my mind. Miya looks pretty sexy here.

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Flawless Rii.

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This PV is overflowing with Miyabi.

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Too such an extent it’s hard to even seen the other members.

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Cuteness overload.

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I love how carefree Chinami looks.

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Wow Saki looks fantastic here.

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Just so gorgeous.

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Momoko still looks cute without her usual hairstyle.

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You’re killing me here.

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Even here Saki is bringing it.

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Adorable.

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Maasa is so pretty.

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Yurina. *O*

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This is such an awkward part of the dance.

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Just wow Saki.

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Super cute.

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Gorgeous.

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Saki. *O*

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Adorable.

C-ute’s newest PV has me lost for words

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Nearly a month ago the full PV for C-ute’s newest single, Kono Machi, was released.

I know, I know, this post is way overdue. And I do apologize. But after seeing the PV preview and how simple the PV was I was so uninspired to write this PV review. I’m actually still uninspired, but it’s been a month and I’m sure my lovely readers have been waiting for this.  And I try not to be one to disappoint.

Sadly, after seeing the full PV my feelings towards it have remained exactly the same. The PV is so boring, and so simple, that I honestly don’t even know what to say about it.   This PV is literally one of the cheapest, simplest, and most boring idol PVs I’ve ever seen. I know I say that a lot with H!P PVs. Well, actually I say that this is the worst PV in H!P history a lot. But honestly I feel like I have to say that again, because it actually seems completely accurate and not an exaggeration this time. I mean this PV is almost at KAT-TUN’s Ultimate Wheels level of absolutely nothing going on.

The main theme of this PV is walking, which is something we’ve seen before in H!P with Buono’s co.no.mi.chi and W’s Aa ii na PVs. But what made those PVs fun, and actually watchable, was that even though they were poorly made they made up for it by having different places they walked in front of, different outfits, and had different sets for the dance scenes. Well, this song is too slow and doesn’t have dancing, so I’m obviously not really counting that, but you get my point.

In the Kono Machi PV each member is walking on the exact same town backdrop. Which I actually don’t like because the town has this weird block or mosaic look to it, and it makes it look too fake. Buono’s and W’s CG obviously looked more obviously fake, but at least they tried to play it up more that it was real by interacting with things in the background. The Kono Machi PV also has these split screen shots with two or more members, and the way that each of them are cut and pasted together just looks really bad and really cheap.

The rest of the PV is just them sitting in this really drab and washed-out gray room, just sitting on boxes much like in Morning Musume Kanashimi Twilight PV. Which I get that they only included for a little variety because of the lack of dancing. But it just makes an already simple PV look even more simple. Sadly, this is also the backdrop they use for the close-up shots, which was really a poor choice in my opinion.

Much like every simple PV the only thing that it’s got going for it is the girls themselves. And my god do they look gorgeous! The outfits for this PV are probably one of my favorite outfits C-ute has ever worn. Second only to the outfits they wore for their 3rd Love Escalation album jackets. I just absolutely love the marching band-esque type tops and their boots are incredible. Like I wish I could somehow grab them through my computer screen. Everyone’s hair is also really pretty. Especially Airi’s and Nakky’s. And Mai’s blonde hair makes her look super mature. Like, it’s incredible how much she’s grown up.

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I think the font forming a town skyline is so a cool effect.

KonoMachi2First shot of the PV and Airi looks gorgeous already.

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Airi is just killing me right now.

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There’s that weird mosaic town that kinda looks like a blanket.

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I actually don’t think this hair suits Chisato. She looks so much prettier with a darker shade.

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Mai Mai looking so fresh and mature.

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I get that the song is called this town, but are we really going to see nothing but shots of the town?

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Time for some obviously fake, completely unnatural walking.

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Maimi is such a beauty.

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Chisa kinda looks like an elf here. It’s the hair! And the fact that he ears are showing. XD

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Wow, that hair is working for you Saki.

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Cannot get over how mature and gorgeous Mai looks!

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You have no idea how annoyed I am that Airi’s earrings say two different things. Lol.

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Oh, what a lovely set you have.

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I liked it better when Momusu did it.

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Those shoes, I need them.

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That split screen is just terrible.

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Adorable.

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This split screen is even worse.

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I love how everyone else is doing an idoly poses, and then Mai is just standing there with a blank expression.

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I never really noticed before, but Nakky is pretty good at conveying subtle emotions.

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Look how pretty and not elf-like Chisa looks with her ears covered.

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So cute.

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Love and peace is all Airi is wishing for today. (Get it? Bad Momusu joke.)

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Nakky’s smile is super infectious.

S/mileage – Tabidachi no Haru ga Kita preview

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A few days ago a short radio rip for S/mileage’s upcoming new single Tabidachi no Haru ga Kita was released.

So, I like to listen to radio rips at least 6 times before I ever start writing my posts on them, mostly because you don’t notice things like line distribution the first time around, or it takes a time or two to really get a feel for the song. But the time time I was listening to this song I kept thinking how it sounded really familiar especially the dun dun dun dun  in the music while they sing tabidachi no, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember what song also did that, and then it hit me. 

This entire song sounds like a way toned down version of Morning Musume’s The Matenrou Show. Which explains why I’ve loved this song from the first listen. Obviously The Matenrou Show has more, what I’m guessing are horns, and has a more funk sound to it. But you can’t even deny that Tabidachi no Haru ga Kita as a whole sounds like something Morning Musume would sing. There are even parts where I hear a little bit of Seishun Collection in it. Both songs have those 2 or so violin notes right before they start singing the verse.

I do really like the sound of the song so far. Even if it reminds me of a few other songs. It’s a very sweet and light song. I enjoy it 100% more than I did Samui Ne. And it really does fit the feeling of spring.

New H!P unit announced

KenshuuseiGroupA couple of days ago at the Hello!Project winter concert  a new unit made up of trainees was announced. This unit is going to be the first of several units announced. The unit will be indie at first and will work towards a possible major debut.  The name and final line-up will be announced if or when they make  their major debut. This first announced unit is made up of Hello!Project Kenshuusei members: Members are Miyamoto Karin, Kanazawa Tomoko, Miyazaki Yuka, Takagi Sayuki, Otsuka Aina, and Uemura Akari.

Now, that the news aspect of this post is over with the exciting part of this post can begin: my opinions. First off, let me start by saying how absolutely excited I am for this on so many levels! The first reason I’m excited is because oh my god new group! I have been waiting for a new group, especially a new group made up of Kenshuusei, since S/mileage made their major debut. To be honest nothing is more exciting then having a new group formed in one of your favorite agencies. Well, it’s not always an exciting thing, sometimes it’s Sexy Zone. While I’m a casual fan of the group, and don’t get me wrong, they are ok but they will never be my favorite Johnny’s group. And I honestly would be more excited if a group like Bakaleya6 debuted. But I’m getting a bit off topic now.

Group debuts are incredibly fun. Finding out the line-up and wondering what they’ll sound like and how they’ll work as a group. It’s just an incredibly fun and exciting experience. And those are exactly the emotions I’m feeling now. The first group that formed while I was a dedicated fan of H!P was S/mileage. (Obviously first group because I’m not counting short lived, or one shot groups, like High King, Shugo Chara Egg, etc.) And now S/mileage has become probably my 2nd or 3rd favorite H!P group overall. So, it’s fun to imagine and wonder if this group, or whatever group actually debuts, if they’ll be a group I love. And there’s far too much talent in the Kenshuusei to not debut another group.

Another reason why I’m excited about this unit is because of it’s members. Anyone out there that reads my blog will know that I’m obviously the most excited about Miyamoto Karin. I’ve been a big fan and wanted her to join a group or go solo since I first became a fan of hers during the S/mileage audition. I just absolutely love her voice. It’s easily one of the best, if not the best, voice in the Kenshuusei right now. Aside from Karin I think this group is very strong vocally. Aina, Sayuki, and Yuka all have very strong voices. And personally I’m excited that Aina and Yuka are in the group. I’ve been rooting for those girls since Aina auditioned for Momusu’s 9th gen and Yuka auditioned for S/mileage’s 2nd gen. I actually have no idea what the other girls sound like. But 4 strong vocals alone make this group worth checking out and keeping up with.

The other reason I’m excited for this is that it’s the first of many groups. There are 14 remaining Kenshuusei who’s units have yet to be announced. Which means we have at least 2 more units to look forward to. And that’s only if these new units are Kenshuusei only, which was never actually said. I’m just assuming from here. So, I also think there’s a slim chance that Tasaki Asahi could be included in one of the upcoming groups. And she debuted as part of the Satoyama Movement, so does that mean if the show ever ends that’s it for her solo career? I honestly don’t know. But I’m just throwing it out there as a possibility. And I also want to point out that among the remaining Kenshuusei are the other members who were part of the Kenshuusei’s first single Kanojo ni Naritai, which are Tanabe Nanami, Hamaura Ayano, and Taguchi Natsumi. I don’t know about the other girls but I know that Nanami is extremely popular, so whatever group she’s put in can really go up against Karin’s group.

I say go up against Karin’s group because it’s pretty obvious that not all of these new units will make their major debut. They said it with Karin’s group if or when they make their major debut the line-up will be announced. So, to me that means that either only one of these groups will actually debut, or they’ll just take the most popular members from each group and have them debut as a group. And I think they’re going to judge this by whichever group sells well. And since they are going to be  indie groups pretty much only wota will be able to purchase the singles.

And to be honest, the thought that only one group, or not every girl, will make their major debut makes this all the more interesting. It adds almost a battle element to this news. Which is really exciting because you’ll never know who, or if any, will debut until the last possible second. Which is setting up absolute and utter joy if it’s your favorite member or crushing pain if it’s not. My favorites are all in one group, so I’m rooting for them. But still mostly Karin. My heart cannot take another Saho Akari and S/mileage moment!

Momusu’s new PV surprisingly doesn’t need much help

About a week ago the full PV for Morning Musume’s new single Help Me was released.

I know, I know this post is a week late and I’m sorry about that. But to all of you people that don’t live in the East Coast of the US we’ve had a severe cold front. So, cold that it was 22 degrees yesterday and I literally said, “Thank god it’s a little warm today.” And if you also didn’t know I still don’t have hear yet. So, lately I haven’t wanted to do anything put drink hot chocolate and curl under blankets. I only made the Koharu post because I began thinking about it and had to rush on the computer before I lost the blog post in my head. But after that I jumped under the covers again and unintentionally took a 12 hour nap, because I’m just too cold. It’s actually only 18 degrees here now, but I can’t wait any longer because the short version of Kisumai’s PV is already out!

Anyway, onto the review.

After watching the full PV, not a lot of my opinion have changed on it. Because, well, not a lot else had happened in the full PV compare to the preview. The PV is still the same incredibly cheap and boring PV with awful CG. I’ll never understand why they couldn’t just go film this at night around the city. Kind of like how Another Version or even just the Night Scene Version of Resonant Blue’s PV was. Do you know how much better the PV would have looked if they filmed in the city and then put those flashing effects over that? My god it would have been fantastic. Tell me this Aika waiting for the train scene doesn’t look perfect for, or could have easily fit into the Help Me PV?

But, sadly, once again the director of the PV dropped the ball completely and we’re left with a sub-par video that leaves us wanting more. So, I guess we’re left with nearly every other Hello!Project PV in existence.

Even though I am disappointed with the PV, I still like it one some level because I think I finally get what they were going for. I guess because the song is so electronic and robotic sounding they probably wanted to go for this surreal, overly bright, sort of computer city. (Get it? XD) I do get the feeling, especially during the dance scenes, of this futuristic Tokyo. And I have to say I absolutely love the PV when the chorus hits, those are my favorite scenes. Because all of the lights in the city move incredibly fast and it looks like when they speed up videos of the city and all of the lights are sort of scrambled and moving incredibly quickly. Which I guess is what they were going for. Maybe to show that Momusu is moving at an even faster speed than the city itself. I have to admit that’s pretty cool.

And this line of thinking also now makes more sense of all of the girls blinking into and out of existence. Keeping with the futuristic them I guess they’re in one giant computer program. There are also some weird microchip looking effect on the dance shot scenes that also point to that. And they seems to flicker a lot during the instrumental parts.

And another thing about this PV that bothers me is how you hardly ever see Haruna, Erina, or Zukki. To be honest, I never really noticed how often certain members get screen time until I became a blogger. I have no idea if screen time has always been this unfair during past PVs. But I do know that it is now. And it really sucks how unpopular and how little screen time my beloved Zukki gets. 

This is probably the only time I really love the CG.

Mizuki looks amazing.

Harunan looks great too. Tbh I never pay much attention to her.

I’m sure it takes so much practice and precision to do this, but it looks awkward to me. Like they’re some sort of spider monster. 

I love Sakura is in the direct center.

Look how horribly cut Sayumi is. Bad CG right there.

I don’t like this part of the dance either.

Ayumi has gotten so much prettier since she dyed her hair brown.

Look how high Haruna’s skirt is cut. Really solidifying the sexy image she wants. 

I love Masaki and all, but this hair does nothing for her.

We finally get to see Zukki and she’s upstaged by Haruna.

This is cute.

Just adorable.

Why do they insist on only putting Zukki in a ponytail?

At least Erina manages to standout in her few shots.

Thanks for pointing this out tumblr.

Love this effect.

Another really awesome effect.

Too bad it reminds me too much of Mikan.

I love that Haruka is wearing a hat. Fits her so well.

This is such an awkward hairstyle. I wonder if it’s because Riho’s hair is thin.

Just wow. *O*

Sayumi is seriously gorgeous.

For some reason Reina’s hair annoys me.

This random dance floor background is pretty cool.

So cute.

Sakura, seriously, ease upon the hands on your face.

Couldn’t help but laugh at the awkward dancing in the background.

Mizuki just looks perfect here.

What?

Computer program flickering.

I love how Sayu points during the otoko no ko line. Not quite.

Oh look, it’s that Momusu font again.

You can really notice all the computer/electronic overlays here.

My thoughts on the Koharu situation

If you’ve been paying attention to the Hello!Project fandom the past few days you’re probably well aware of the Koharu situation. And to anyone who’s not I’ll briefly go over what happened.

Recently Koharu was on the radio show Youngtown. On it she expressed how she really felt while she was a member of Morning Musume. She said she only joined as a stepping stone to become a model. That she didn’t like catering to her mostly male fanbase. And that being a CamCam model is a step up from being a member of Morning Musume. All while being incredibly rude and interrupting people while they spoke, questioning how Sayumi really feels about Morning Musume, and overshadowing the real guest of the show.

I don’t really mind about Koharu joining to become a model. It’s silly to think idols join groups just to become idols. Probably, half if not more, join for other reasons such as wanting to act or dance. Over half of Morning Musume’s 9th and 10th gen didn’t join because of their love of the group. Most of the girl’s families suggested they audition. Which isn’t really that big of a deal. This is also obviously not limited to female idols. Inoo Kei literally entered Johnny’s because he saw a Johnny on TV eating delicious food and he thought if he joined he’d be able to eat delicious food too. Yabu Kota’s sister sent in his application without him knowing because she was a fan of Arashi. Kyomoto Taiga was scouted by Johnny himself after he saw a photo of him and his father. So, there are lots of idols who join for what would be considered not the “right” reasons. Koharu herself said she only joined Morning Musume because she was 12 at the time and the auditions were open to 12 year olds.

So, Koharu joining the group for another reason other than loving the group and sincerely wanting to be an idol has never been a secret. And to be honest it has never hindered my love for her one bit. Anyone out there who has been reading my blog since it’s inception knows that I am, and always have been, a gigantic Koharu fan. And if you’re a really active reader you know that Koharu was the first idol I’ve ever listened to by sheer accident. And that if it wasn’t for her I probably wouldn’t know, or care, that idols even existed. I would have been none the wiser and most likely would have dived deeper into Jrock and became a bigger fan of it than I was at the time. So, honestly I owe a lot to Koharu. And as silly as it seems, I’ve always held a special place in my heart because of that.

I love Koharu and I guess that love clouded things a bit for me because I never thought or considered that she left the group because she didn’t want to me a member. I never really understood why she left when she was still so young and so popular. But I guess my mind would not let me think even for a minute that she really wanted to leave. I just always thought there was some other inside reason that us fans will never know about.

But when I read this I actually felt kind of sad, and it actually kind of hurt. I felt a very slight twinge of pain in my heart. Because the personal image of Koharu I made was shattering. Idols themselves are basically delusions. There’s no disputing that. They have this pure (whatever your definition of pure is) image. And they cater exclusively to whatever fantasy you create for them. Whether it’s them being this ideal, untouchable, unattainable significant other. Or just them having this “nice person” persona.

I always saw Koharu as just this energetic and goodhearted person. Who was always happy and smiling. Someone who just seemed genuinely sweet, carefree, and a lot of fun. But reading that she is pretty much ungrateful for being a member of Morning Musume, and that she pretty much regrets her time in the group, just left a bad taste in my mouth. Not only is this disrespectful to the group itself it’s disrespectful to all the past and present members, to H!P, to Tsunku, to any girl who ever auditioned for the group and didn’t make it, and especially to the fans.

But what really hurt was when she said bad things about her fans. That she didn’t like having to cater to her mostly male fanbase and that most of the modeling jobs were for men’s magazines. It shows that she didn’t care a whole lot about her fans, and probably even found them to be gross. Even though I’m not a male fan that hurts me. It shows her fans meant almost nothing to her. As someone who supported, and continues to support her, wholeheartedly it’s quite a shock and pretty upsetting.

I mean, we’re talking about not only an idol I love pretty much the idol I love. My first idol. An idol I held higher than any other idol. An idol I literally shed tears over on numerous occasions. When her graduation was announced, during her graduation concert, reading the graduation letters, watching the graduation ceremony, and some odd performances.

I know I shouldn’t be getting this upset, but I honestly can’t help it. I know that deep down most idols feel this way. But most idols aren’t brazen enough to say it. And honestly I guess I prefered my personal Koharu delusion. Pretty much the only time H!P idols ever speak out about this sort of thing is when they make a clean break from H!P/UFP. We saw this when Goto Maki bad mouthed Tsunku after switching to Avex. Or when Kago Ai expressed how she felt like a puppet who was unable to love while she was a member of Morning Musume and H!P in her first photobook after being fired. So, this makes me think either Koharu ended her contract with them or desperately wants to. And it also shows just how good idols are at putting on their idol act or persona.

I’m sure a lot of fans would probably be happy with that. Since most people didn’t think she fit Dream Morning Musume. And honestly I always felt she was out of place in the group too. But I loved Koharu and was happy she was a part of it.

So, how do I feel about all of this and Koharu? Well, I’m writing this post days after first hearing about it, so I’ve had time to really collect my thoughts about it. But I’m just torn. I have so much love for Koharu, but at the same time I feel hurt. To me she’s not the same Koharu. I see her in a different light now. She’s the girl who doesn’t appreciate what she was given. Who doesn’t realize and appreciate that without Morning Musume she’d never have the opportunity to become a model. And that at least some of her post-Momusu modeling career fanbase only cares about her because she was in Morning Musume.

I’m sure some people maybe have some new found respect for her telling it like it is, or think that she’s gutsy, but she just came off as spoiled to me. And that’s just sad.

My favorite idols

A while ago on twitter I mentioned that I wanted to do an idol ranking. But I also mentioned that I was a little unsure of how to set it up. Should I just rank every member of every group that I follow, or should I just try to put my favorites in order of least favorite to favorite? Well, I decided to not do either. Since I follow so many different idol groups ranking every single member would be such a hassle and take so long. I also couldn’t do the second option because it would be absolutely impossible to really rank the idols, since I pretty much love my favorites evenly. Instead I’m just going to name my favorite idols and why. It’s not immediately what you think of when you hear the word ranking, but it is still technically a ranking since I am listing my favorites and excluding others.

So, without further adieu I present my ranking. I just want to note, that yes I am skipping all the 48 group members. Just because I am still such a novice  and haven’t had the time to properly watch their variety shows, so I don’t think I can properly judge a favorite yet. (Wow, I sound like a broken record with this. But I seriously do not have enough time to watch their variety shows. And it’s hard to say when in the foreseeable future I will have time. :/)

Aiba Masaki:

Now, this might be surprising to readers of my blog because I never really mention Aiba all that much. Mostly due to the fact that I really only review their PVs and not like dramas or variety shows. And during PVs reviews I mainly point out who looks good in the PV. Which is mostly Nino, since I think he’s the best looking member. And honestly I’m not that attracted to Aiba. He’s not really that good looking. However, when it comes to personality, and overall just how awesome the idol is, in Arashi for me it’s all about Aiba. He is my absolute favorite Arashi member hands down, no question. I just think everything about Aiba’s personality is appealing. I just love his bright and cheerful personality, because of that I think he’s the most entertainig member. He also seems like an all-around sweet and genuine person. On an episode of Himitsu no Arashi-chan a guest said something like, “You can always trust, or see how good a person is, if they like animals.” That’s pretty much how I feel about Aiba.

Suzuki Airi:

Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned my love of Airi either. This is why I needed to write this post. I’ve always had a pretty strong attachment to Airi because of Buono. I’ve been a fan of Buono since they formed. But the reason that I love Airi is because she’s absolutely adorable and completely charming. Airi is just so entertaining to watch she’s fun and dorky, but more importantly she’s hilarious. She constantly makes me laugh with her puns. Everyone used to think it was both Airi in Yuuka who were like the pun queens, but to be honest there was never really any competition for me. There’s just a quality about Airi that makes me want to run up to her and hug her.

Tanaka Koki:

When I first became aware that KAT-TUN existed I did not get the appeal of Koki. I didn’t think his whole image and rapping fit in with KAT-TUN’s sorta rockish sound. And I didn’t really think he was that easy on the eyes. But that all changed when I watched Cartoon KAT-TUN. I saw Koki’s true personality and I loved it. He was funny and charming. I noticed him the most during Cartoon KAT-TUN. And he was always pretty blunt, and always said exactly what was on his mind, but more in a joking way than a mean way. I do think Koki is pretty cute now. But that’s due to good hair mixed with liking his personality so much it formed a physical attraction. Am I the only one who does that?

Suzuki Kanon:

My beloved Zukki, what can I really say about her? She’s an idol I was drawn to immediately. After her bright smile and comedy sketch at the auditions I wanted her to join so badly. And of course she did. Zukki hasn’t really bored me yet. With her signature bug imitations and her funny personality I’m completely captivated by Zukki. I love that everything she does is done with her bright smile. She’s just so adorable and still seems so innocent. I mean, she still carries around her stuffed bear Cha-chan. She’s just fun personified.

Nishikido Ryo:

I’ve already said in detail how I feel about Ryo-chan in my 30 day idol challenge day 1 post. So, I’ll just very briefly again go over why I like him. I like Ryo for his slightly aggressive, “I’m so cool” persona. I think he’s hilarious and I love all his signature poison tongue jabs. I also like that he also shows his insecure and embarrassed side from time to time as well. I just find everything about Ryo appealing.

Nakanishi Kana:

Kana was one of those girls that I did not want to join the group, but once she did join it all made sense. The reason I love Kana is because she’s another funny girl like Zukki. With her gorilla loving attitude. To me she also seems to be a little KY. She seems to goof off whenever even if it’s not the right time for it, or other people are annoyed be it. She just seems to be so loud and fun. And I like that she tries to make her charm point that she’s the only H!P member from Osaka, but I honestly haven’t seen her mention that much since a little after she joined.

Momota Kanako:

Now, I do admit that I don’t know all that much about Kanako since the lack of Momoclo subs. But the little I do know about her I love. My favorite used to be Momoka, I do still like her but after watching some clips I was more drawn to Kanako. Kanako seems to be so happy-go-lucky and bursting with energy, which I love. I also love her signature high jumps. And her overall gymnastic skills are pretty impressive. I don’t really get why Reni is the electrifying one, I can totally see that suiting Kanako more.

Tamamori Yuta:

Tama is another member that I don’t know everything about. Mostly because I just became a fan when they debuted in 2011. And I’m honestly still on the fence about them, some of their songs are great, but some are awful. What I like about Tama is no matter what he’s doing he seems to overreact more than he needs to. Whether that’s just the way he is or not, it’s still pretty hilarious. He’s just got this sort of endearing charm about him. Where he just seems so sweet and sorta naive, and dorky, and weird that you just want to hug him. That’s exactly how Kamei Eri was, and is probably the main reason I like him so much. He also seems to be a little wimpy which I find appealing. Yeah, I said it, don’t judge me.

Mori Shiori:

Passpo is one of those groups that I love, but has nothing, besides a few songs, translated into English. It is so hard to try to like an idol you know nothing about. So, everything I like about Shiori is based on the impression I get from her. Of course what drew me to Shiori instantly was her bright smile. But what I like about Shiori is that she just exudes happiness and energy. Whenever I see her in PVs or concerts she’s just like a bouncing ball of positive energy.

Masuda Takahisa:

When Ryo left NEWS I had to find a new favorite member, and I was sure if would be KoyaShige. But pretty unexpectedly I realized I was paying more attention to Massu, but at the same time it made sense. When Ryo was a member I didn’t really pay attention to Massu because their personalities were on such opposite sides of the spectrum that Massu always seemed kinda immature in compassion. But Massu’s fun loving spirit and childish nature is what I love about idols. Which is why slowly over the years I did start to pay more attention to Massu. Massu really is adorable, and cuteness has been his main image for years. Well, that and being gluttonous. He’s almost like Ogawa Saki in male form.

Tokunaga Chinami:

I’ve said on my blog before that the reason I love Chinami so much is because she reminds me a lot of myself. (Well if you took Chinami’s energetic side, Zukki’s funny side, Airi’s bad puns, and Sayu’s bluntness you’d get pretty close to my personality.) I love Chinami because of how energetic, upbeat, and generally happy she is. It’s just such an infectious and lovable quality. Chinami is also a girl after my own heart as she loves to sleep as much as I do.

Nakajima Yuto:

Yuto has been my favorite Hey! Say! JUMP member since I became a fan. There’s just something I’ve always liked about Yuto. What really draws me to Yuto is how energetic Yuto is. He’s always bursting with energy and acting over the top. Ryosuke even said that backstage out of nowhere he’ll be yelling even if he’s by himself. Yuto also just seems so easy going and carefree. Which is what I really like about him. Yuto is also very dorky and quirky. And he’s never never cared about basically make a fool of himself. He just seems so innocent and genuine to me. He’s also an all around nice guy and is good friends with most of JUMP.

Fukuda Kanon:

You know I couldn’t forget my beloved Kanyon. I have been a fan of her since I first layed eyes on her in Shugo Chara Egg. I’ve gotten this cute little sister vibe from her. And I actually do like Kanon’s personality. Shockingly I have nothing against playing the whole “I’m the cutest ever” idol persona. It’s just to me Sayu’s seems less of an act and more real at times, and she’s said a few things that as a fellow female I was pretty annoyed by. I do like that when Kanon gets into her whole Cinderella/cute idol character her whole demeanor changes. She gets a lot more dramatic, and she even changes the way she speaks. Which is pretty funny. Which in a way is poking fun at her whole character completely. Or at least that’s how I take it.

Okamoto Keito:

Back when I first got into HSJ I did not see the appeal of Keito at all. He was the guy that was just there, and I always thought he was a little weird looking. But over the years I started to see Keito’s appeal. And pretty much the entire reason I love Keito is because he’s the most awkward idol ever. He seriously is, a lot of times he just sits there and doesn’t say anything. It seems like he’s never sure exactly what he’s supposed to be doing. Most of the time they just use him to be the guy that says things in English. He’s so socially awkward that he once said he’s not comfortable talking when there’s a large group of people around. He’s also fallen down while filming things like 3 times before. His awkwardness just makes him adorable and endearing.

And there you have it my favorite idols. I do want to point out these aren’t all of the idols that I love. I obviously love WAY more idols than this. I just didn’t include my favorite graduated idols or my number 2 idols because I didn’t want this post to be a mile long. I tried to rank just my number 1 idols from each group. Some groups like, S/mileage and Hey! Say! JUMP, have 2 idols, and that’s because those idols are tied for first place. I absolutely could not pick just one for those groups. All of the other groups have a clear number 1. If people honestly care about my my favorite graduated idols or my number 2 idols, I am make another one of these ranking posts sometime in the future.

Morning Musume – Help Me PV preview

About a week ago a PV preview for Morning Musume’s 52nd single, Help Me, aired. Help Me not only marks Momusu’s first single of the year, but also the first single to include 11th gen member Oda Sakura.

First of let me say a little bit about the song because I haven’t said anything about it on my blog yet. When I first heard the song my first impressions were that it was weird. It sounded like a mix between 3 different songs, and the random speaking in it threw me off completely. The only thing I loved about it was Sakura. I don’t even know anything about Sakura yet, but she is perfection in every way. The pipes on this girl, the pipes! I knew she was an absolutely incredible singer since I saw her audition. But her voice in this song is so flawless, so seamless, so smooth, I could literally die. This is the girl that Morning Musume desperately needed, a great singer. In my opinion we haven’t a voice this immediately flawless since Ai-chan joined. And I’m calling it now, in a few years she’s going to give Ai-chan a run for her money as the girl with the best voice in Morning Musume history.

But less about the absolute gift from above that Sakura is, and more about the song. After listening to it more and more I am now officially a fan of this song. This song is wrong and weird, and shouldn’t be great, but it is. It just works on nearly every level. The music is interesting and it’s sung great. However, I still don’t like the speaking parts. I think it’s loads better than Wakuteka Take a Chance.

Now, for my thoughts on the PV so far. In short: I do not like it at all. I might even hate it. From the first 5 seconds it’s obvious that whoever make the Wakuteka Take a Chance PV also made this one. And that person should be replaces ASAP.

Why is it yet another green screen PV? Just why? And if you are going to do a green screen PV why not make it fun like the 231 Breakin’ Out PV? And to make matters worse the cgi is done so poorly that it’s so obvious the girls are overlayed onto images.

And to me the entire PV looks like an anime ending theme video. You know at the end of animes where the ending theme is just the character in random parts of Tokyo like on a train, at school, and then randomly at Tokyo at night. And the night sequences are all overly colorful and brightly lit? Well, that’s exactly what this looks like to me.

I suppose I can’t 100% judge this PV until we see the entire thing. But come on guys, you know it’s probably not gonna get better than this.

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