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

AKB48

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SK

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

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

Hello!Project:

H!P3

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

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

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

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

MM2

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

Johnny’s:

Arashi2

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

Koki

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

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

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

HeySayJUMP

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

AKB48 and sister groups:

AKB48

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

Other idol groups:

Dream5

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

MomoCLo

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

Fudanjuku

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

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

IdolSongs

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

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

AKB48 – Sayonara Crawl PV Preview

AKB48

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

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

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

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

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

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

My thoughts on AKB48’s 5th Senbatsu election

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AKB48’s So Long is too long

AKB48SoLongCover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I can’t with this dance.

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

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

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

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Oh god, these split screens are even worse.

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

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But now it’s just overused.

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Way overused.

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Now they’re just randomly at a cafe.

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

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Putting Jurina out to pasture I see.

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Awkward split screen!

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

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Just why?

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

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Nice clothes.

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Why in a box now?

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Oh look a cow.

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Seriously musical chairs?

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Who’s the old dude?

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Wizard.

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

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Sayaka looks so miserable.

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The pedals are so obviously fake.

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Oh yeah, add those horrible blankets to the mix.

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The bad CG just never ends.

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Like ever.

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

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Those are some weird looking chairs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The no dating rule and Johnny’s special treatment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HeiseiShojoGroup

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

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

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

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

Has AKB48 reached their tipping point?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New AKB48 sub-group No Name announced

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

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

AKB48-Manatsu no Sounds Good PV preview

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

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

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

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

AKB48 announce 26th single and 2012 Senbatsu

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

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

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

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

Big changes to AKB48

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yet another AKB48 soloist: Sasshi to make solo debut

It was announced at a handshake event that AKB48 Team A member Sashihara Rino will be making her solo debut. No further details about the single have been announced, but it is said to be released sometime in March. This makes Sasshi the 5th AKB48 member to make their solo debut. And the 3rd member this year. Aki-P also hinted at giving another member a solo single as well, so the solo AKB48 single bombardment continues.

I don’t really know a whole lot about Sasshi beyond the fact that she likes idol music. But a lot of fans seems to be confused/upset by this announcement already. I’m not really so sure as to why. I think Sasshi is pretty cute and she’s the Not Yet member that I am drawn to the most. And I think Sasshi is a good enough singer. She’s not really spectacular but she’s not completely awful. And if Itano Tomomi can release solo singles with her lack luster voice why can’t Sasshi? I’ll wait until I actually hear the song before I decide if she works as a solo singer.

AKB48-Give Me Five preview

AKB48 was recently featured in a commerical for Apaman Shop, giving us fans the first preview of their upcoming 25th single Give Me Five.

I do like what I hear of the song so far. It seems really upbeat and fun. But I don’t really think it has anything else going for it beyond that. The music isn’t really anything we haven’t heard before. The song is fun, but obviously AKB48 has released songs that are a lot better than this. Anymore AKB48’s singles have been extremely uncreative and lazy to me. This is yet another example of why I can’t wait until their reign on top is over. Maybe they’ll release exciting singles again. The song sounds almost like a toned down version of Heavy Rotation, and would honestly be better suited as a B-side. I guess I’ll just continue to care more about the consistently amazing SKE48.

Here’s the commercial.

And here’s the making which plays more of the song.

Mayuyu to release solo single

It was announced that AKB48 and Watarirouka Hashiritai 7 member Watanabe Mayu will be making her solo debut. The single is entitled Synchro Tokimeki and will be released on February 29th. The song will be used as the theme for Mayu’s upcoming drama Sabadoru.

A Mayu solo single might seem like overkill to some as she already leads Watarirouka Hashiritai 7, but I’m honestly excited about it. The more Mayu the better. I absolutely adore Mayu’s voice. Since it’s Mayu we’ll most likely be getting a very cute and upbeat single. I’m really looking forward to this.

Best Album Songs of 2011

Now, I am bringing you my conclusion to my 2011 ranking, countdown extravaganza: Best Album songs of 2011.

This was the hardest list to write, there have been so many good album songs released this year. This list alone to be roughly 3 hours just to rank. I relistened to every album released in 2011 and wrote down every song that I liked. At that point I was at 26, and I then had to relisten to each song and painstakingly narrow it down even further. While some songs were more obvious then others, it was overall a pretty difficult task.

I actually wanted to add a part 4 this year: Best PVs of 2011. But these posts took way longer than I anticipated already, so I was completely uninspired to write it. But there’s always next year I suppose.

10. Renai Circus

AKB48’s first original album was pretty dismal at best. Renai Circus is pretty much one of the only decent songs on the entire album. But even this song isn’t all that spectacular, which is why it’s so low. I think the best way to desribe this song is adorable, but I’d expect nothing less from Team B. The music is pretty upbeat and silly, I do wish they incorporated more of a circus element into though. My absolute favorite part of the song is the chorus that’s when the song really picks up and is super cute. I also really love all the background speaking in noises throughout the song, it just adds the unseriousness of the song. The lyrics are also pretty cute. For the most part it’s just describing what a circus is, but I still think love and a circus is a cute comparison. Though I do think the trapeze parts describe love better. The song is just fun, and silly the type of song that I like.

9. Santa Maria

Yamapi’s solo album is another album I wasn’t really all that impressed with. His voice just does not fit with club music. So, I can just imagine how bad his solo career is going to be. But that’s off topic. But when I listened to this album this song just immediately stuck out to me. It’s probably one of the most meaningful songs on the entire album. It’s basically Yamapi losing, or about to lose, his girlfriend, and then begging Santa Maria to bring her back because he can’t bare to be without her. I think the song is incredibly sad and heartbreaking. And I’ll admit the reason I do like this song so much is because the lyrics remind me of Last Kiss by J Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers. But the lyrics still are good. The club music does kind of ruin the song a bit. It’s basically like saying, “I’m so sad that I feel like dying, but you know I could still dance.”

8. Icchoume Rock

I really love this song, I think it’s definitely the best song from the album. But that’s not really saying much as I consider 7 Berryz Times to be one of their weakest albums. But Icchoume Rock is really fun, and upbeat. It’s got a subtle rock beat and is extremely easy to dance to. The super positive message of the song is another reason why I like it. It’s basically a song about being and happy, and to just jumpi into things instead of waiting. I like idol songs like that, songs that just instantly cheer you up.

7. Tooku Made

Arashi’s Beautiful World album had a very a dance/electronic theme to it, I thought it just completely worked for them. As, a whole the entire album was great so it was super difficult to pick which songs were the best. But I picked Tooku Made because it has the unique Arashi sound. It’s slow paced, but at the same time it’s still upbeat. And the n the chrous hits and it’s just incredibly catchy and amazing. The song is pretty simple, but it’s simplicity is another reason I like it. It’s light, fresh, and really pretty. And since this is Arashi we get the pretty typical love lyrics. It’s about any mundane moment being significantly better because you’re with the person you love. It’s just really adorable.

6. Kakenukete Blue

I absolutely love YuiKaori because they encompass everything I love about idol music. Upbeat music and sugary sweet voices. And this song doesn’t disappoint. The music has heavy anime sounding music which is pretty much a standard with YuiKaori. The song is pretty upbeat for the whole song, but of course it really picks up during the chorus. Where you really get the full effect of their adorable voices and how well that they blend together. I just enjoy every second of this song. It is so fun and cute that I don’t even mind that I have no idea what the song is about.

5. Ok Yeah

Here comes Morning Musume delivering a hard-hitting, heart pumping dance song. This song is just perfect in every way. It is insanely upbeat and incredible to dance to. The music is amazing, and I love all the voice and sound effects. Like all the woos straight out of eurobeat. (Or Uchouten Love.) And I love when Reina’s, Risa’s, and Sayumi’s high hotes are distorted and extened with the robot effect. I think it completely works with the song. And I love the intense music break where it’s just nothing but electronic trance music for like 30 seconds. The song is about enjoying your youth and going all out chasing your dreams and life. While I am not really in my youth (Technically I am since I’m only 19, but I’m not in my high school youth, which is what they most likely mean.) But the lyrics are still good if you disregard all the youth and young girl aspects. The song then just means being confident and not living without regrets.

4. Mada minu sekai e

This song is just incredible. Which is why they made a PV for it. The music has this futuristic, electronic sound to it. And it’s not too much. It’s like the perfect balance of intense music and soft parts. I absolutely love the autotune they put on Sho’s rap parts, it’s added at the perfect part of the song and it’s done perfectly. The entire song is catchy from start to finish. I have not been able to get this song out of my head for months. They lyrics are pretty encouraging too. Basically telling you to keep going no matter how usure you are of the future.

3. Suki da na kimi ga

This song, I have been absolutely in love with this song since I first heard the radio rip. It’s just perfect. You Mainly hear Sayumi’s voice and instead of ruining it she actually enhances it. Which is a complete rarity for her. This song just completely compliments Sayumi’s and Mizuki’s voices. And Sayumi and Mizuki blend together so seamlessly it almost sounds like one voice. People have complained that you can only hear Sayumi, but that completely isn’t true. Really listen and you can hear Mizuki. She’s just taking the lower parts and is harmonizing, like what Aibon used to do in W. Songs like Juushichi no Natsu you mainly hear Nono.Off topic, I know. This song is just amazing! It’s cuteness overload. It is soft, airy, and pretty, while still have upbeat and interesting elements to the song. The lyrics are also equally cute. It’s about liking someone no matter what their falts are and still thinking they are cute. And wanting to be with them no matter what.

2. Iza, Susume! Steady go!

Iza, Susume! Steady go! has always been one of my favorite songs off of C-ute’s 6th album. But I didn’t realize just how much I loved this song until I saw them perform it live. And it is incedible! This song is nonstop energy from start to finish. The music is heavy and intesnse and the singing matches. Airi sounds just amazing in this song, you can really hear the emotion in her lines. This song is so positive, and upbeat, and fun, and just everything about it is amazing. Everyone’s singing is just so powerful. This song is just so engaging on every level from start to finish. I can’t get tired of this song or get it out of my head. The lyrics are great too. About going full force no matter what. And to always be positive and dream endlessly.

1. Wani to Shampoo

And MomoClo manages to come out on top! After I heard Battle and Romance for the first there was no doubt in my mind that Wani to Shampoo was one of the best idol songs. When I first heard it I wasn’t even thiking about my 2011 top 10 posts, I just thought it was one of the best idol songs I’d heard in a while. Momoiro Clover Z really is the most energetic idols out there. This song hits you with a powerful punch of energy as soon as the chorus hits. And you can’t help but being as over the top as the song itself is. I just can’t properly put into words how much I love this song. The intensity of the song, the energy, the singing, how danceable it is, it’s just an amazing song. If anyone ever asked me why I liked idol music this is the song I’d have them listen to. I don’t even care that this song is about forgetting to do you summer homework. It just shows that idol music is supposed to be fun, and not serious. Especially from an idol group that wears panda makeup and wears power rangers costumes in their PVs. Whenever I’m in a bad mood or just want and instant shot of energy, I play this song.

 

Honorable mentions:

1. Berryz Koubou – Onna No Pride
2. C-ute Chou Wonderful
3. C-ute Midnight Temptation
4. Morning Musume – Silver no udedokei
5. Morning Musume – Kaiketsu positive A
6. Arashi – Morning Light
7. Arashi – Negai
8. Arashi – Always
9. Arashi – Shake It
10. Arashi – Doko ni Demo Aru Uta
11. Momoiro Clover Z – MomoClo no Nippon Manzai!
12. YuiKaori – Magic Starter
13. YuiKaori – Puppy Love
14. YuiKaori – Crystal no Chikai
15. AKB48 – High School Days
16. Yamashita Tomohisa – Kuchizuke de Adios
17. no3b – Cloudy Sky

Worst Singles of 2011

Continuing on with my 2011 countdown extravaganza I bring you part 2: Worst singles of 2011.

Unlikes last year, this actually wasn’t the hardest list to make. I already had a general idea of which songs I didn’t like as much. Mostly because I’ve been making a mental note of it all year because I knew I’d be doing this countdown. I would also like to stress that I don’t hate any of these songs. They are just not as good as some of the other idols songs releases this year, and therefore make the bottom half of songs. Of course I still do occasionally listen to them when I am in the mood, it’s just a rare occassion.

10. Momoiro Sparkling

When this song first came out I did like it. But over the months I’ve been liking it less and less. It is definitely the weakest single C-ute released this year. Overall the song is pretty bland. There aren’t any extreme high notes, there’s not a catchy chorus, and the music is just a bit too generic. And I’m afraid that the lyrics aren’t really any better. I think the nonsensical words thrown in are what makes the lyrics the most annoying for me. The song is basically about going boldly into love during the summer. Which is pretty much a summer love song standard, but there’s nothing really special about the lyrics. No heartbreaking moments or absolutely adorable moments that make you think it’s a great song. For the most part is sounds like ever other summer themed idol song.

9. My Home

Since the first time I’ve heard this song I’ve never really been a fan of it. At first it was because of how soft the song is. As I’ve said before I’m not a big fan of ballads or slow songs. The song stays pretty soft the entire song, even during the chorus it hardly picks up. And I honestly find it boring, it doesn’t really hold my interest. And once I read the translation it pretty much sealed my indifference of the song. I think the lyrics are equally boring. They basically talk about what a year of average family life is about. I mean, I guess the song is telling me to appreciate the small things in life. And that something as simple as a family is important, so I should treasure it. That’s all well and good, but I don’t have a family. (Of my own, I mean. Obviously everyone has a family.) So, the lyrics aren’t all that meaningful to me. Ask me if I like the song in about 10 years, then I’ll probably be singing a different tune.

8. Ai no Dangan

This was also a song that I liked at first. I actually liked this song, a whole lot. The music is intense and it’s sung very well. On some level I do like this song. But what ruins the song completely for me are the lyrics. As soon as I found out what the  lyrics were actually about it knocked the song down a few pegs. I just think the lyrics are pretty terrible. The song is about wanting to make some one love you by shooting them with your love bullet. But being upset beause they always dodge it. The song seems a bit pathetic to me. To me it sounds like they are about trying to get someone who’s not into you to reciprocate your feelings. I mean the lyrics talk about wanting to thrown yourself at them and even though you’ve been together a lot they’re not getting the message. I don’t know, songs about being desperate aren’t really my thing.

7. Yume Tamago

I do think this song is incredibly cute and pretty much the type of songs that NYC always release. I also think the singing is pretty good. It’s nothing spectacular, but it’s still good. Well, at least Ryosuke and Yuma sound good. Chinen is in their ruinging the song with his terrible voice per usual. At the same time I think this song is also incredibly immature. There’s a fine line between childish songs and soungs for children, this song obviously crosses that line. The song is about reaching your dream which is childish, but still not really. However, the lyrics explain how to reach your dream in such a childish manner. Like it will grow in your heart, and to pick and choose your colorful dream. I can’t say it’s a song I would proudly proclaim my love for.

6. Min Min Min

I’ve always thought Min Min Min was a pretty werid song. I honestly don’t get it at all. The verses are sung in SDN48’s “sexy” voices like all their past A-sides have. But then the chorus comes on and it’s trying to be all cutesy. There’s a total disconnect there. It honestly sounds like 2 completely different songs were shoved together. And I also have no idea what the noise that cicadas make has to do with anything. Is it because cicadas are heat bugs? And SDN48 calling out Min is basically saying that SDN48 are hot or made hot when someone they like is near? It has to be something stupid like that. I also don’t like the song because the lyrics are as pathetic and desperate as Ai no Dangan. But this song is even worse. It is actually about clinging onto someone after they’ve left you. The whole song is basically not taking no for an answer after you’ve been dumped. Am I the only one who sees how clinging on is just embarrassing yourself?

5. Cry

I am just so disappointed with DiVA as a whole. They take some of the best singers in AKB48 and then they never give them a decent single. I guess management thinks that giving them simple songs will make people focus on their singing ability, but it honestly has the opposite effect. And I just think their talent is being wasted on mediocre songs. This song is obviously sung incredibly well. But there’s nothing really special about this song. The same exact beat is booming through the entire song, and as a whole it’s not really enough to keep my attention. The lyrics also come off a little whiny to me. As they are about literally crying over lost love. Which is an extremely sad moment. But I don’t really think the lyrics were touching enough.

4. Kaze wa Fuiteiru

This song, I don’t really know what more I can say about it. I pretty much ripped it to shreads in my blog already. And with good reason, this song is just so horribly bland and lackluster. It’s somber, and it’s sad, and I just don’t care for it. They put hardly any effort into it. Like I said before, it seems lately AKB48 has been riding their fame wave to sell singles instead of actually making great songs. They’ve gotten so big and popular that now any mediocre song they throw out will sell a million copies just becasue their fanbase is so large. Which is the type of fame Arashi is resting on. And it honestly makes both artist’s music suffer. Both groups release 1 or 2 really good singles a year, and then the rest are mediocre at best. I also don’t find the lyrics to be all that great. Since it was a song for the tsunami they really tried to make it meaningful, but I don’t think it’s quite there. It’s about picking yourself up after a disaster, but the lyrics feel empty to me.

3. Sakura no Ki ni Narou

I’m going to voice an unpopular opinion here and say I do not like this song at all, not one bit. For some strange reason, that I absolutely cannot fathom, everyone seems to really love this song. First, off I think the song is far too soft. I don’t like ballads. Not in English and certainly not in Japanese. They are just boring, and they lose my attention quite easily. The song is only a ballad to get out the deep emotion of the song, of course. But the way it’s sung has nothing to do with my dislike of the song, No, much like every other song on this list it’s all about the lyrics. It’s a sad song about graduating, taking a step further, but the eternal cherry blossom tree with always been there so you can recapture your school days. Which is perfectly fine, if the lyrics weren’t strikingly similar to the song they released last year Sakura no Shiori. Read the translation to these songs back to back and tell me they aren’t 80% the same exact song! That is just lazy writting on Aki-P’s part. All graduation songs do not have to sound the same or be completely sad. I mean look at 10nen Zakura, I love that song because of how upbeat it is and how it’s such a positive reflection of graduation. Just like Last Forever by Buono and Cherry Saku Yuuki by An Cafe are.

2. My Days For You

Oh, ManoEri why did you have to release this sad excuse for a single when I was finally starting to really get used to and like your songs? There isn’t one good aspect to this song. The music is very soft and bland and ManoEri’s voice sounds horrid. During the chorus her voice sounds so strained and squeeky because she’s hitting notes and singing in a tone that doesn’t work for her voice. She should stick to cute sounds, her voice is bearable in those. This song, however, is so forgettable that I honestly forgot it even existed until I watched H!P’s summer concerts. And of course the lyrics match the song. This is yet another song that is begging someone to love you. Granted this is done is a slightly cute way that you almost feel sorry for her. I still don’t like the overall meaning.

1. No Cry No More

And the worst song of the year goes to AAA. Just like it was obvious which songs I would pick for the best single of 2011, this was also a no brainer. But honestly, I’m not really sure why I dislike this song so much. But I just do. Maybe it’s due to the fact that Misako sings most of the song, per usual, and her voice is especially ear piercing in this song. Misako is fine in moderation, but for the most part I can’t stand her voice. And it really rubs me the wrong way in this song, and just ruins the song completely. The lyrics are a little meaningful, telling you not to cry and to face everything head on. But be that as it may, I just do not like this song.

Wasamin to make her enka debut

It was announced that AKB48 and Watarirouka Hashiritai7 member Iwasa Misaki will be making her solo debut as an enka singer. Her debut single is currently untitled but will be released on February 1st.

I think this is definitely exciting news for Misaki since she’s expressed how it’s her dream tobe an enka singer. To be honest I actually didn’t think anything was going to come of her label switching. I thought after she switched Nagara Pro that meant she would no longer be in Watarirouka Hashiritai. And since she was still in Warota’s net single I honestly chalked it up to her enka career not happening. So, I am a little surprised that it’s finally happening. Personally, I’m not really all that excited. In my opinion enka music is terrible. No matter how skilled someone is in enka it comes off as off pitch and extremely screechy. But I still admire Misaki for following her dreams when she could stick with her idol niche. Just don’t expect me to really cover it on this blog, unless it’s so fantastic it changes my opinion on enka music forever.

AKB48’s below average new PV

Recently the PV for AKB48’s new single, Ue Kara Mariko, was released.

Right off the bat, when Mariko won the janken tournament I was not excited for this single or PV. And I have nothing against Mariko. I honestly don’t know enough about her to have anything against here. The reason I wasn’t excited was, because the whole appeal of the janken tournament for me is the idea that an underdog would finally be in the spotlight. And when someone who is always in the spotlight won, well this single lost it’s appeal for me.
But I’m not going to let something as silly as the person I wanted to win the janken lose, effect my opinion of the song or PV. No, I’m not that type of fan. Instead I like to have the song and PV speak for itself. So, I did just that, and my opinion is still negative. Not so much about the song. I actually really like the song. It’s sort of a generic idol song that doesn’t really try anything to bold music or singing wise. But just the same, I like it. I think it’s incredibly catchy. My dissapointment lies with the PV itself.
And not even the entire PV, just the smallest part of it. Collectively I think it’s a well made PV, with a lot os pretty scenes. Even though it is the same idol close-up and dance shot idol formula, I still think it’s entertaining. Not really because there’s a lot going on in the PV, it’s mostly because the visuals don’t bore me. Let’s take the dance shot set for instance. This is hands down my favorite set, and, in turn, favorite scenes in the PV. First off, I absolutely adore their outfits. I don’t know how AKB48 does it, but they keep constantly reinventing the school girl uniform so that’s it’s different and cute everytime. I like that these uniforms are authentic looking but at the same time stylish. Of course the top 3 girls were given the best outfits, with Mariko’s being the best of them all. I just love the hat that Mariko is wearing! It really makes the outfit. But it’s not only the outfits that make these scenes for me. The room is so oddly shaped/built that your eyes are automatically drawn to it. For some reason I just find the shape interesting, and the color scheme is beautiful. I also think the lighting here is perfect. Not only is it dim giving it a very elegant and ethereal look, it also has pink lighting. I don’t know if the lights themselves are pink or because the room has a pink roof the like is just reflecting it giving it a pink look. But whatever it is it work, and it’s absolutely beautiful.
Another scene of the PV I like are the scenes were they show each girl individually in their janken outfits. Which actually aren’t the outfits they wore in the actual janken tournament. A few of them are close though. I’m not really sure why I think these scenes so much. They aren’t particularly interesting. I guess I like that these scenes makes it look like the girls are in fashion school, with the random fabrics and the random mannequin in the background. I actually wouldn’t mind if the entire PV was just the girls wearing a bunch of randomly outifts in those shots.
I also, don’t have a problem with the close-up scenes. Even though they are just standing in front of hanging pieces of glitter, or whatever that material is, much like they used for S/mileage’s Yume Miru 15sai PV. I think they actually worked with the PV because they were pink.
So, with all this love I’m giving to this PV I bet it’s hard to believe there’s anything I don’t like about it. But since there’s one large aspect of the PV I haven’t mentioned yet, I think it’s pretty obvious what I don’t like. Yes, you guessed it, the janken scenes. I just don’t understand why they feel the need to include them in the PV. Chance no Junban was the first janken, so the jaken scenes in that PV were pretty much excused. But this time they are completely unnecessary. I think everyone is well aware it’s the janken single. And even if they weren’t do they really need to point it out? I don’t see them having mini senbatsu elections for the senbatsu singles. So, why have it for the janken? They seriously bring down and otherwise amazing PV.

I absolutely love Mariko’s outfit.

I’ve been in love with those hats since I first saw them in Morning Musume’s Ai Araba It’s All Right PV.

The black school uniforms are gorgeous too.

I actually really like the dance, I think it’s simple and cute.

My god, Reina looks amazing in this PV.

I’m so glad Sayaka is in this PV. She looks great.

Am I supposed to know who this chick with big ears is? I guess she’s a random research student. XD

Why is Ami dressed as a nun?

Don’t care.

Lol.

Cute.

Gorgeous!

Tomomi is always adorable.

I can’t take this move seriously.

This pose is just adorable.

So cute!

Research student or not, this girl is adorable. Weird ears and all. XD

Ami is so weird that she’s cute.

Lol that Mii-chan doesn’t even look happy.

Randomly shaking. Ok, maybe this dance is a little weird.

I absolutely love idol dances that involve jumping.

So, why is Reina so sad?

I hate this dress.

They keep having Mariko watch over the girls. This seriously scream impending graduation. She is getting pretty old.

They even have Reina win the janken in Mariko’s outfit.

As Mariko looks on like a proud mother. If this doesn’t symbolize passing the torch, I don’t know what does.

Way too big of a smile. But I think it’s charming. It actually doesn’t look fake.

AKB48 fails to blow me away

The full PV for AKB48’s Kaze wa Fuiteiru was released a few days ago.

And I have to say I am just competely dissapointed by everything about this single. Since this single is a charity single it seems like they are using that as an excuse to not even try to do anything with it. The song itself is boring. The lyrics are supposed to be encouraging and tell you that after despair and pain there’s happiness. And that the wind will always blow so let go of everything you’ve lost, and just start over. And I get it, it makes perfect sense for people of lost everything during the earthquake. But I’m just not into it. The lyrics feel stale, and it’s the same type of meaningful song that AKB48 always makes. I’m just not impressed by it. The lyrics are pretty, but I’ve just heard it all before.
And as for the PV it is for too simple. Fans can tell me all they want that it has to be simple because it’s a charity song. And that’sreally not true. You can put effort into a PV without spending that much money. Or if that’s really the case and this single is mainly to help Japan, they could have asked cameramen, light people, costume designer all to donate their time and resources for the greater good. I’m pretty sure St. Jude Children’s Hospital does similar things to film their commericals. Or if AKB48 couldn’t do that why didn’t they follow real people that were effected during the disaster and show their struggle and how they are moving on. Which would have been virtually free to film. Or AKB48 could have made their own storyline showing just that. Or they could have done something like showing all of the girls wandering through the woods scared and alone. Falling down and struggling. And then joining together in the end to show that their are strength in number and you can get through anything. Which is also pretty cheap, because they could have used the same set and just added some trees. And that’s basically what the covers for this single show. The covers, I think, are really beautiful. They are sad looking and beautiful at the same time, and the girls are styled amazingly. Where was that in the PV?
So, this being a charity single doesn’t really give the PV an excuse to be horrible boring. It honestly feels like AKB48 just isn’t trying in this PV. They know they could make a song with them sneezing, and the PV could be them dressed in potato sacks, and it would still sell a million copies. And riding the fame wave like that makes their music stale. All of the singles for 2011 are are the same ones from 2010, and their album Koko ni Ita Koto, was pretty awful in my opinion. And I know since this is idol music I shouldn’t be expecting a lot anyway, but I want it to at least feel like they are trying. This PV is nothing but a danceshot, and other idol groups have been bashed for less. It feels like because AKB48 is on the top fans, and management, feel they can do no wrong.

What’s with magical doors in idol PVs anymore. And look how cheaply made the backdrop is. You can see every different square fabric easily.

Oh, AKB48 is entering from sepia world, how sad.

Gee nice dresses.

They’d be even better if they were actually original.

Completely necessary leg close-up.

Even the dance is too simple.

I can’t stand how frumpy and dowdy they look in this PV.

Somehow Mayu still manages to look cute though.

The way they are styled it’s a little hard to tell who is who. I had to think for a second before I realized this was Mariko.

The dance just does not get better.

AKB48-Kaze wa Fuiteiru song and PV preview

A PV preview for AKB48’s upcoming 23rd single, Kaze ga Fuiteiru, has just been released. The preview is abut 30 seconds long which is just long enough to get a taste of the PV without actually ruining it.

I don’t even know what to say about this right now. Unimpressed isn’t a strong enough word for how I feel about this PV and song. I am so dissapointed with everything I see and hear. For starters the song is so lackluster. The verse, or what I assume is the verse, is kind of interesting. It has this sort of Spanish sounding music with horns. But even though that part sounds nice it’s still boring. It feels bland and completely toned down. They could have gone much bigger with that music. And the music during the bridge and chorus doesn’t get much better. The music in that section of the song is basically just the same clapping sound repeated over and over. It’s the same kind on constant beat they do in club music, except the music isn’t as exciting or over the top as club music. And the singing doesn’t even complement the song. In the very beginning of this song it doesn’t even sound like AKB48. I can’t even tell which member(s) is singing that part. There’s just this weird tone in the singing, that I’m just completely not feeling it. Throughout the rest of the song the singing is pretty monotone. There seems to be hardly any emotion or energy in the singing. Even without understanding the lyrics I can tell that this song is meant to be more serious. But just because a song has a serious message doesn’t mean it can’t be catchy. Beginner was completely serious but also completely serious. All of Morning Musume’s “emo Musume era” songs were 100 times catchier than this. It honestly feels like they aren’t even trying with this single. It’s like they know they are going to sell at least a million by their name alone, so they aren’t putting as much effort into it. It’s the same thing Arashi has done with some of their singles.

Sadly, the PV is just as bland as the song. In this short PV we see AKB48 dancing on a desolate road, in gloomy bland peasant dresses. The whole PV just has this somber and depressing atmosphere. And I’m sorry absolutely everything about this scream Morning Musume’s “Emo Musume” style. Even the outfits! I know I’m not the only one who sees that AKB48 are styled nearly identical to the way Morning Musume was in the Nanchatte Renai PV. If the dresses weren’t that hideous bland seafoam green color, but black instead, you wouldn’t really be able to tell the difference. AKB48 fans were quick to say how much AKB48 was better than Morning Musume’s sad/emo phase. But now that AKB48 is a releasing song like this, I’m sure the AKB48 fans will eat this up anyway. Now, I’m not saying this because I like Morning Musume more. Even though  I do. My personal perfeerance has nothing to do with the statement I just made. I’m saying this because I never understood the, pretty much, fan wars between AKB48 and Morning Musume/H!P. Both idol groups release almost exactly the same music, and have almost exactly the same dances. Which is why I never understood how you could hate one but love the other. It’s just extremely petty. Both groups are the same, it seems like fans are doing it feel elitist. Like my group is the top female idol group, and yours isn’t. I hope AKB48 fans are enjoying their moment on the top. Because it is fleeting. Just ask Morning Musume. Despite what fans want to believe, eventually AKB48 will have their fall from grace. It could honestly be any day know the way their sister groups and sub-groups are oversaturating the market. I honestly wish their fall would happen soon. But not for any selfish reasons. Once AKB48 isn’t the top idol group anymore, I think there will be less drama between fans.

I’m sure I’ll get a lot of backlash from this post. I seem to always get backlash when I dare say anything negative about AKB48. But that’s what I do on this blog, I post my honest opinions. On pretty much every post I make I’m complaining about something. XD

Well, this is getting extremely off subject. Here’s the preview for you to form your own opinion.