Arashi – Bittersweet PV preview

Arashi

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

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

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

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

I even tweeted this.

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

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

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

Hey! Say! JUMP – Ai no Arika PV preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morning Musume ’14, what is this PV?

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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.

Take a ride with Hey! Say! JUMP

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

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

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

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

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

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

MDS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I could do without all these seizure inducing scene changes.

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Come on now, Chinen looks ridiculous.

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Daiki doesn’t look completely awful I suppose.

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

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

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

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

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The technicolor lights are a little distracting to be honest.

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WTF is Daiki even doing?

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Oh Inoo.

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

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Thankfully my beloved Yuto manages to not look stupid.

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RIP Keito’s lovely long hair.

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Go away Takaki.

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Yuto looking adorable.

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Lookin’ good Ryosuke.

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

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That slight wink!

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

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

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

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

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Hikaru looks the best with black hair.

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Cutie.

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

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Inoo’s tie is so cool.

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

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Hikaru looks so cute.

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

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Why are they covering their eyes?

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

Johnny’s Countdown 2013-2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Well, Yuma looks super out of place here.

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

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

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

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Massu being his adorable self.

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Oh look Sanada Yuma.

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

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

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Look at that Taiga is there too!

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

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This would be my exact reaction.

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Baby.

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

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Are you serious Daiki?

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

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Jesse being super annoying.

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

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Massu pushing Kei-chan is the greatest thing ever.

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

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Happy New Year again.

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Oh look, another dude.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Are you serious that Tackey gets the horse hat?

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

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

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

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

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WTF is that weird chunk in Yamapi’s eye?

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

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Oh look the new group announcement.

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

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

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

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Cutie.

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

JCD51

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

News that shocked the end of the year

Yuko

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

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

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

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

OshimaYuko

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

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

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

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

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

MitsuiAika

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

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

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

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

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

Johnny's4West

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

NewGroup

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

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

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

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

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

Akito

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

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