Berryz Koubou announce indefinite hiatus

berryzkoubou2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BerryzMelonTweets

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

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

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

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

berryzkoubou

Morning Musume ’14 announces 12th gen auditions…again

MM14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MM142

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

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

Country Musume to hold auditions for new members!

CountryMusume

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AKB48

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News that shocked the end of the year

Yuko

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

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

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

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

OshimaYuko

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

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

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

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

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

MitsuiAika

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

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

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

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

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

Johnny's4West

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

NewGroup

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

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

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

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

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

Akito

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

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

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

Momusu3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Miyabi appointed sub-Captain and the panic that follows

SakiMiyabi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Morning Musume 12th gen auditions announced!

MorningMusume12th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New H!P unit announced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KAT-TUN to release new single

It was recently announced that KAT-TUN will be releasing a new single.  The new single is entitled Fumetsu no Scrum and will be released on September 12th. Fumetsu no Scrum  will also be the theme song to Yasuda Shota’s drama Dragon Seinendan. And if that wasn’t enough the first press regular edition will come with a Tanaka Koki solo song and solo PV. But KAT-TUN fans don’t need to worry, because other members will get their own solos and PVs in future KAT-TUN releases. 

Can I just say, I am super excited. Not so much about a new KAT-TUN single really, but the fact that Koki gets to start this off with his solo and PV. I think I’ve mentioned a few hundred times on this blog that Koki is my absolute favorite KAT-TUN member, and pretty high on my overall Johnny’s ranking. So, of course I’m happy about this. Fellow Koki fans, let us rejoice now.

I really wanna know what song it’s going to be. Koki currently has 2 unreleased solos: Anarchist and Shorty. But people are saying it’s a new song. It’s really anyone’s guess at this point. And my got if it’s another Make U Wet song I’m gonna be angry. I love Koki and all, but I hate those songs. They try so hard to be hot with oversexualized lyrics, but they’re actually awful. And hilarious and embarrassing to be honest. I actually wouldn’t mind if it was Anarchist. Just because I actually like that song, and I don’t really like the other one.

Thoughts on, and expectations for, Momusu’s 11th gen

By now absolutely everyone in the Hello!Project fandom is well aware of the 11th generation auditions. But I’ve been in such a blogging funk lately that I am unbelievably behind in everything idol related. Well, my blog is anyway. I’ve actually still been keeping up with it 100%. My funk is mostly due to the fact that PVs keep piling up and I’m still being pretty bummed out about Aika. Yes, still. Also, I always feel the need to let my beloved readers know that I’m not dead and why I’ve been MIA.

Know let’s regurgitate the facts about the audition now, because I’m so OCD and have to always lay out all the facts of the news before I post about my opinion on the matter. Seriously I do. Read back on all of my posts, there’s always a cheesy opening paragraph or at least a line or two.

During the May 18th joint graduation of Niigaki Risa and Mitsui Aika, Tsunku came out on stage and made a surrpsie announcement. Tsukunu announced that once again Morning Musume would be searching for new members, and announced the 11th Generation ~Suppin Utahime~ Auditions. (Which I thought translated to makeup-less song princess. Which just shows why I seriously need to study Japanese.) The dealine for the audition is June 25th and is open to ages 10-17. You can go to the official site by clicking here.

Now, when I first heard about the 11th gen auditions I was absolutely thrilled, just completely ecstatic. Mostly because when Risa announced her graduation I realzied they needed to bring in an 11th gen shortly. But I really wasn’t expecting the auditions to be announced this quickly. And of course when any sort of unexpected change happens in H!P there are always those fans who are apprehensive to the whole situation. The S/mileage auditions are the best example to date. I mean, there were fans who were really aggressively against them and thought it was going to be one of the worst mistakes in H!P ever. They never actually said that, but some of them certainly acted like it was going to be. I think it’s really funny to look back at the S/mileage auditions because, even though us fans didn’t know it at the time, if they never took place there’s a good chance that S/mileage wouldn’t even be around right now. But as you may recall, I was 100% for them. I am 100% for any change. Shaking things about a bit is one of the most exciting experiences of being a fan of idol music. Right now if they announced 2nd generations for C-ute and Berryz Koubou I wouldn’t even bat an eye. But that’s probably just me.

The 11th gen auditions of course weren’t free from backlash. While I was on twitter talking about it I saw a bunch of people who were against it or warry of it. And I don’t really get that. Obviously we need an 11th gen ASAP. Sayumi and Reina only have 2-3 more years in them max. Maybe even less because apparently Sayumi said she wants to gradute after experiencing being the leader for a bit. So, that possibly means Sayumi will graduate in a 1-1 1/2 years. Now, personally I won’t see it as a great lose because I am nowhere near a Sayumi fan. But that would be a great loss for Morning Musume. Not only is Sayumi currently the most popular member within Morning Musume, she’s also arguably the most popular member in all of Hello!Project. As she gets the most work outside of H!P. Now, her graduation will probably be a pretty decent blow to sales. But that’s not what this post is about. Now that means in, give or take 2 years time, 9th and 10th would have make up the entire group if the 11th gen wasn’t announced now. So, anyone against the 11th gen, do you see how ridiculous that sounds? And honestly how boring that would be. I also have worries if the 9th-11th (and possibly more gens) will be able to carry the group when the 6th gens leave. There’s no doubt in my mind that vocally they will be. I think 2 more years will be plenty of time for the girls to really polish their voices, and work out their kinks. But I do wonder if these girls will be built up enough, and given enough time to shine, that after the 6th gen is gone they will be able to keep the sales at a steady number or even increase them.

I really do hope that Morning Musume keeps up with this pace and holds an audition once a year, you know like they did back in the day. Morning Musume absolutely cannot take another stagnant lineup. Look how much life the 9th and 10th gen have breathed into the group. And I seriously want Morning Musume to be on their 13th gen by the time Reina leaves. Maybe it’s a somewhat unrealistic wish, but it would be the best thing for the group in the long run.

Now, moving along with that type of thinking I want to talk a little bit about my personal hopes and expectations for the 11th gen. First off, the number of girls. I’m going to say it right now I absoultely want four girls. To be perfectly honest, I always want four girls. One or two is completely boring. Three would actually work too, but I’d prefer four because it’s the maximum number that’s ever been let in, and I like to go for the gusto. Now, I really don’t want to hear in the comments that four is too many because I’m going to shoot that down right now. 1: Tsunku did at one time say that Momusu shouldn’t be larger than 9. But that theory was shot to hell when the 10th gen joined and made Momusu 12. And if Aika didn’t have to leave they’d be at 11. And if Aika didn’t leave and they added even 1 more 11th gen they’d be at 12 again. Which means “Momusu not being larger than 9” doesn’t seem like something he really takes to heart. Besides during auditions Tsunku has said a couple of times that he picks whoever he feels deserves to get in, regardless of how many that is. And that’s even if he actually  adds any more girls at all. You never know with Tsunku. He’s constantly doing what you least expect. And 2: Morning Musume needs to compensate for their current loss and future loss. Morning Musume obviously announced these auditions to replace the members they lost. Which is why I’m expecting at least 2 new members. And honestly it seems like the amount of 11th gen girls get in depends on when the 12th gen gets added. Go with me on this one. If  he doesn’t audition for the 12th gen next year we’ll probably see more 11th gen girls to compansate for Sayumi and/or Reina’s impending graduation. But if he keeps up with the yearly audition pace he might add less girls for the 11th gen because he knows that he’s going to add more girls shortly in the 12th gen. Now, if that seems a bit outlandish or over analyzed, need I remind you that Tsunku himself has Momusu’s next few years already planned out. And if Tsunku is thinking that far in the future why can’t I?

On a Hello!Project forum I expressed that I wanted 4 girls for the 10th gen, but people came out with their matter-of-fact logic and shot me down saying: “Tsunku won’t allow such a large Momusu again,” or, “the girls themselves hated when Momusu was that large.” And I have to laugh a bit in retrospect since we all know what happened in the end. Am I confident that we’ll get 4 girls again? Honestly I’m not. This time it feels like it could go either way. But it seems pretty obvious that we’re going to get a least two 11th gen girls.

Now, for the girls themselves I want 90% of it to be based on vocals. I think Momusu right now has plenty of personality. But they’re not really overflowing with singing ability. Yes, in a few years they will be, but not today. So here are the types of girls I personaly would love to see in Momusu: (I promise I won’t whine about how I want Miyamoto Karin to get in so bad yet again.)

A girl like Fujimoto Miki: This one actually has nothing to do with the 11th gen. But it has to do with H!P so I’m sneaking it in here anyway. Remember when Miki auditioned for the 4th gen, but didn’t get in and become a soloist instead? Yeah, I want that to happen again. Except I don’t want them to rip her out of her solo career to join Momusu in a later generation. I’ve said it before it’s really boring only having one solo act in H!P. I miss when H!P had a handful of them. Besides that ManoEri, only has about 4 more years before she starts to be too old to be an idol.

A girl like Yoshizawa Hitomi: Now, I want everything that Yossie was in a new girl. Meaning I want a tomboy with a deep voice. Right now all the girls in Morning Musume have very fluffy, pretty, idol personalities. (Except my baby Zukki) Which is fine, but I think we need a bit more variety in Momusu. This is why I wanted Otsuka Aina for the 9th gen. She was tomboyish and had a good voice. Now, the voice: Morning Musume really needs that just to keep the balance. With both Risa and Aika graduating Morning Musume lost all their deep voices. Who is going to rap now? And please do not tell me one of the current members. Listen to W’s Miss Love Tantei and tell me that’s perfectly acceptable. I love(d) W and the cutest worked for them, it was their theme, but not in my Momusu.

A girl like Goto Maki: Now this has nothing to do with personality. Morning Musume just needs another member like Gocchin who was just an amazing singer immediately. Listen to her audition, she was absolutely flawless without coaching. And she was only 13. It’s really unexpected to find someone like her.

A girl who is a mix of Tanaka Reina and Michishige Sayumi: I really wanted to put a rocker chick, but with Reina’s old yankee image this works too. Now this one is really based on personality. Back in the day Reina really had this tough sort of, “don’t mess with me” image. And she did say a lot of things that annoyed me and made me think she was arrogant. But I really want a member who is totally blunt. A girl with Sayumi’s poison tongue, but without her overbearing, narcissistic, and sugary sweet idol persona that comes along with it. Reina used to have an image like this, but she’s softened over the years. I just want a girl to be like Reina or Miki to say something catty just to keep the other members on their toes. I never really liked any of these members because of their sour personalities, but even I have to admit they are entertaining at times. In small doses.

Aika is really leaving

A few hours ago it was announced that 8th generation member, Mistui Aika will be graduating from Morning Musume. Now that announcement alone came out of nowhere. But in even more shocking turn of events Mitsui Aika will not be graduating sometime in the near future, instead she will be graduating on May 18th same as Niigaki Risa. Mitsui Aika has said the reason for her graduating is because of recouring foot injuries. Even thought she seemed to be healed from her recent set back her doctor told her going back to her previous lifestyle could cause a relapse. So after talking it over with her mother she decided it was important to think about her health. She also said that she will remain a part of Hello!Project and will work with Tsunku when she fully recovers to see what she can do in the future. With Aika leaving this marks the last remaining member of the 8th gen leaving.

I don’t even know what to say right now. I am just at a loss for words. It should be no surprise to people who read my blog or follow me other places that I am a huge Aika fan. I am constantly praising her on my blog. Shouting the love, adoration, and devotion I have for her. Defending her on forums in the past. Recently venting my frustration and distain for Aika haters hating on her for almost no reason on tumblr. I mean, I love Aika. She is my absolute favorite current member of Morning Musume. And to say that I’m upset about Aika graduating is the understatement of the year. I am devastated. Just completely devastated. I am literally typing this post through the tears. And the tears are so heavy I can barely see if I’m typing the right letters.

Now, Aika is nowhere near the most popular or loved members in Morning Musume. So it might be hard for some of you to understand why I’m so upset. But I might remind you that every member in H!P that is the either the least popular or on the bottom tier is someone out there’s number 1. And when it comes to Aika that person is me. And to explain why we have to go all the way back to when I first became a Morning Musume fan.

It was back when Kanashimi Twilight just came out. And as I’ve said 1,000 times before I already knew of, and already was, a fan of Koharu. So watching the PV and the making of, the first person that stood out to me was Aika. I was drawn to her because of her famous smiling face, and back then to me she was completely shining. I very quickly found out her age and felt a kinship to her since we were nearly the same age. After becoming an even bigger fan of Morning Musume she came to represent everything I love about idols and she was the type of idols I love to support. I like to support 2 types of idols: the idols with big personalities and the the underdogs. Back then she was still new and people still were curious about her so in the beginning of becoming a fan she did get a decent amount of lines. No matter how short lived that was.

But when I got more and more into them I saw how Aika was never in the front, she was always shoved to the back in PVs, pictures, and concerts. And I also noticed how she didn’t seem to be a popular member within the group itself. Never really being surrounded by the members or having them being super friendly with her. She kept to her self a bit. Remember when Ai-chan said it was her goal to get to know Aika better in Alo-Hello? It was then that my love and attachment for Aika really grew. I saw an idol that was always doing their best. Actively trying to get more attention and support. Begging for a photobook. And being overshadowed. I saw the girl who cried during Haromoni@’s memory game because her round was hard to remember and she didn’t want to let the members down. I saw an idol who through everything never lost her bright and infectious smile. A lot of people saw Aika as having a sour personality. That she was bossy and that she thought highly of herself.

But I saw the good in Aika. The girl who to me seemed slightly lonely and aware of that fact that she wasn’t popular. I saw that Aika was one of the sweetest members. Really sweet and genuinely cared about the group itself and its members. She always remined me of Konno Asami in that aspect, which is another reason both of them are some of my all time favorite Morning Musume members. I saw the girl who was working through pain and injuries just to be part of the group she loved. And even now I can tell that graduating wasn’t an easy decision for her. You can tell she really wanted to be a member, which is why she’s been pushing through it all as long as she has. I also saw her as the idol who doted on and guided the new 9th and 10th gens.

I love Aika. I love idols in general. It might be silly to care for them so much that I’m crying over them graduating. It’s not like they are dying or something. But idols are very open. In the sense that idols are frequently on TV or writting in their blogs revealing practically everything about them and their day to day life. You watch them grow as a performer and as a person. You’re there through all the laughs and the tears. And that makes it feel like a frienship. And just like I say everytime an idol graduates, it feels like you’re losing a good friend.

And Aika was one of the most important and cherished idols to me. She might of been nothing for a lot of people. She was there for a lot of people to make fun of or call ugly or worthless. She was the easy target for jabs and snark. And that honestly doesn’t bother me. Because everyone has idols they don’t like. I know I do. But people also have to get that graduations are crushing events. It literally feels like my heart was ripped from my chest. I have to be honest with you I haven’t been this devestated since Koharu graduated. With Eri I was fine because she was a veteran and I had just recently stated to really become her fan. With LinLin I was too angry to be sad. But with Aika who I’ve been supporting for 5 years I feel the full force of the sadness and devestation of the graduation. Of her not happily singing and dancing to the songs I love. To not playfully being with the other Morning Musume members anymore. To never personally see her in a Morning Musume concert.

I really love Aika and all these years I really just wanted her to shine. I wanted her to get more popular and to get more lines. And recently that was happening for Aika. She was getting more lines, maybe not in the singles, but she was in concerts. And she was becoming more popular then she ever was before. Since day one I saw the potential in Aika. With her deep voice that wasn’t really common anymore for Morning Musume, I felt she could have really added to the songs and been something special. With her reserved and level-headed personality I saw a leader in the making. And her interactions with the 9th and 10th gen solidified her future leader position in my eyes. Even Yuko saw her potential. And I really did think Aika was going to pull through this. H!P went out of their way to show that Aika was still around, by having her randomly show up every so often when she was resting. And I admit when she showed up at the Mobekimasu release event at Yomiuri Land I teared up. I was so happy to see her because I missed her.

And I feel so completely upset that Aika doesn’t get her own graduation concert. I know it’s impossible with her curent situation. But it’s just much too suden. With graduations you usually get a few months to really cherish every last moment you have with them. And in their final single they usually get attention or at least a line. But in Renai Hunter it’s completely Risa owned and Aika gets nothing. Which makes no sense if you think about it because Tsunku always knows well in advance when members want to leave. And have you seen the setlist for the Ultra Smart concerts? Because Aika can’t dance she’s not in like over half of the songs. In her own graduation concert she’s not really singing. I get one final concert with Aika and she’s not even really in it. I can already tell there’s no way I can watch the concert. I can never bare to watch my favorite members graduation concert, and to this day I have never seen one. Not Koharu, not Eri/LinLin/JunJun, not KonKon, not any of my faves. And it’s sad, I really wanted to see 10th gens first Momusu concert.

Looking to the future right now is so grim. My favorite member in Morning Musume is leaving. Who do I have now in Morning Musume? I don’t like the remaining 6th gen members and the 9th and 10th gen are still so new I hardly know anything about them. I mean, I do have my favorites. But I’m nowhere near as attached to them as I am to Aika yet. It’s just impossible to be. I also hope H!P really does find something for Aika. Maybe put her in a group with Kenshuusei. Kinda like a V-U-DEN or Ongaku Gatas type thing. In my opinion we’re well overdue for a new Kenshuusei group anyway. Or they could make Aika a soloist. If the dancing is to much do what they did with ManoEri. ManoEri isn’t really the best dancer in H!P so all of the dancing she does in her PVs is pretty simple and she has backup dancers dancing more intensly in the back to make up for her lack of skills.

Let’s celebrate Aika one last time and listen to some of my favorite songs were Aika is prominent.

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.

Hey! Say! JUMP to finally release second album

After almost two years since the release of JUMP No 1, it has been announced that Hey! Say! JUMP will be releasing their long awaited second album. The album is currently untitled, but it will be released on June 6th. The album will of course come in a Limited Edition and Regular edition. The LE will have a DVD that includes footage of the album recording and the jacket shooting. The RE will come with a 3D booklet and messages from the memebers, much like the messages both editions of JUMP No 1 had.

But what’s different about this album from their last one, and most Johnny’s releases, is that the the final 3 songs on each edition will be different. The LE will get 2 old songs: Spicy by Hey! Say! BEST and Endless Dream, as well as new song Uta Utau by Hey! Say! 7. The RE edition will 2 new songs: SNAP by Hey! Say! BEST, and Hana Egao by Hey! Say! 7. The RE will also include another single medley, probably much like the one at the end of Thank You Bokutachi Kara Kimi E, so I don’t really count that as a new song.

Well, I can’t say that I’m shocked by this announcement. After 1 year passed with no new album I was pretty much expecting the announcement to come any day. And once it got to be a year and a half, then almost two years, I started to get pretty annoyed and impatient. I don’t really understand what the management is doing with Hey! Say! JUMP. First they had that whole year of not releasing a single, and then almost 2 years inbetween album releases. NEWS also had this kind of waiting period, but for good reason. There’s absolutely no reason for Hey! Say! JUMP to have these long stretches of nothing.

That small complaint aside, I’m obviously really excited for Hey! Say! JUMP to be releasing another album. HSJ is one of my top 3 favorite JE groups, and I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for this release. This album already seems to be a lot better than their first album already since the only difference between LE and RE was the jackets and member messages. I’m glad that they put a lot more effort into each eddition. I can’t really comment on anything else though because most of the albums are new. But I can comment on the old songs. I really love that Hey! Say! JUMP has slowly been releasing old songs as B-sides because as it is right now nearly all of their unreleased songs have been officially released. As for Spicy though I’ve never been a huge fan of the song and I think I’ve only really heard it once ot twice. But relistening to it now it’s actually not that bad of a song. But for the unreleased songs I am way more excited for Endless Dream. I’ve been a huge fan of this song since they first sang it on Shounen Club back in 09. And it was actually one of the unreleased songs I wanted them to include in JUMP No 1. Endless Dream is really a great song. The music is great and the line distribution is almost good. 7/9 of JUMP get a decent amount of lines, but per usual Keito and Inoo are left with nothing. But quite honestly I’m just happy that Yuto has a nice chunk of lines.

And for any new JUMP fan out there, or anyone who just wants to refresh their memory, here are clips of Spicy

and Endless Dream.

NMB48 to release new single

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

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

SKE48 to release 9th single

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

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

AKB48 announce 26th single and 2012 Senbatsu

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

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

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

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

Arashi to release new single

It was recently announced that Arashi will be relasing a new single. The single is entitled Face Down and will be released on May 9th. The song will be used as the theme to Aiba’s upcoming drama Mikeneko Holmes no Suiri.

I’m always happy to see Arashi release a new single, especially after how amazing Wild at Heart was. And I was pretty much expecting a new single since Aiba and Ohno are starring in spring dramas, it was pretty obvious Arashi was going to do the theme for at least one of them. I really hope that this means Arashi will be keeping us this pace release wise this year. Last year Arashi only released 2 singles 9 months apart. Which was a huge drop from the staggering 6 singles they released in 2010.

Fairies to release 3rd single

It was announced at Fairies’s Valentine’s Day event that the group will be releasing their 3rd single. The single is currently untitled, but will be released on April 4th.

I really excited to see what kind of song this will be. Fairies are one of those idol groups worth keeping an eye on. They keep trying to make different songs than all the other idol groups out there. And because of that all of their songs have consistantly different from one another. They are also at a pretty high level of song and dance, and I’m really convinced that once they get a core fanbase they’ll be releasing some really amazing singles. Sweet Jewel by far was my favorite single by them. Let’s see if this single can top it.

Morning Musume announces Risa’s graduation single

Morning Musume recently announced that they will be releasing their 49th single which will be the last single to feature Risa. The single is titled Renai Hunter and will be released on April 11th. Risa will be getting her own special version which will featured a solo cover of a past H!P song.

A lot of fans were worried that Pyoko Pyoko Ultra was going to be Risa’s graduation single. But it was pretty obvious that they would be able to squeeze out one last single. And they are. And Risa is getting her own graduation version so Risa fans can stop whining that it would be unfair if she doesn’t get one too.

The new single makes me pretty excited, the title just sounds amazing.  It sounds like it will have a very powerful, mature, and cool image. Which I would love since a song like that would suit Risa perfectly. But judging from the title they could still make it a very cutesy song. So, obviously it’s far too early to tell.

Another exciting aspect of this is just what song is Risa going to sing. Is it going to be Mr. Moonlight since it was her debut single? Or will it be Suki na Senpai since it was the 5th gen’s song on their first album? I was thinking it might be Manatsu no Kousen since that song just screams Risa to me. But she already did that song for Hello!Cover so I doubt it. Then I was thinking it could be Never Forget since that also screams Risa to me, but Yasuda Kei already got that song for her graduation single. Maybe it will be Yuugure Sakusen Kaigi since she sang it at the Rival Survival concert. They did say a cover of an H!P song, so that makes me think it’s not going to be a Morning Musume song. What do you guys think her cover will be?

Arashi to release a new single

It was recently announced that Arashi will be releasing their first single of 2012. The single is entitled Wild at Heart and will be released on March 7th. The song is being used as the them for Matsumoto Jun’s drama Lucky Seven. There it is the March 7th date yet again. This makes it the 4th idol single to be released on March 7th. It’ll be exciting to see the race to number one.

I’m really excited for Arashi to be releasing a new single. I’ve been on somewhat of an Arashi kick lately. I’m really starting to see why they’re so popular. I’m looking forward to hearing what the song sounds like. The drama is already using the song, but I cannot find it anywhere. So, if any thrifty Arashi fan can point me in the direction of the song it would be much appreciated.

SUPER GiRLS first casualty: Eri to graduate

It was recently announced that SUPER GiRLS member Akita Eri will be graduating from the group. Eri will graduate on February 5th after the group’s Chouzetsu Shoujo 2012 Memorial concert. Eri is graduating to focus on her studies and will be entering a university after graduating high school.

I can honestly say I didn’t see this coming at all. I actually never see any surprises coming. Whenever anything unexpected happens all of my posts start off with, “I wasn’t expecting that.” XD As naive as it sounds I really didn’t see this coming. SUPER GiRLS is a fairly new idol group I didn’t expect for a member to be leaving so soon. I guess maybe we might be seeing a 2nd generation of SUPER GiRLS following suit soon. I would love to say that I doubt that would happen, because I really doubt it will. But I also thought the same thing about Passpo and look where they are now.
The one thing I can say about this is I am not really all that sad about Eri leaving. I know close to nothing about the members of SUPER GiRLS as fansubs are pretty much nowhere to be found featuring them. And since my knowledge of the group is extremely limited my favorites are based on the girls that stand out the most performing, and that’s honestly not Eri. She actually tends to fade in the background a lot. While I can’t say that I am going to miss her as an idol, I do wish her the best of luck in her studies.

AAA to release 31st single

It was recently annouced that AAA will be releasing their 31st single. The single is entitled Sailing and will be released on Feburary 22nd. Which seems to be an extremely popular date for idol releases for some reason. 3 singles and 2 albums are being released on that day.

I’m always really cautious when AAA releases a new single. AAA is type of idol that you can never really tell if their single is going to be a hit or a miss. They are completely a group where I have to hear the song before I’m excited for the single. I thought Charge & Go was an amazing song. It was a little bit all over the place, but that’s what I loved about it. However, I thought Lights was completely boring and far too simple. So, it’s honestly hard to tell if this single will actually be worth while. I guess I’ll just remain intrigued about a new single rather than excited.

Are new members really what Passpo needs?

It was recently announced that Passpo is looking to add new members to the group. Right now their are 8 candidates up for full member status. Passpo is going to accept at least 1 member, but it is still possible that all 8 will be accepted making Passpo a 17 member group. Passpo’s next single will include a voting ticket for fans to choose which member they want to add. And the new member announcement will take place at Nakano Sun Plaza on March 31st.

Now, after Kaho graduated I didn’t think for one minute that they would be getting more members. Passpo seemed like a pretty stable group. And a fairly large one with with 9 members now that Mushu is gone. Since Kaho wasn’t exactly popular I didn’t really think that Passpo would really be taking a huge hit in popularity. And it’s not like the members of Passpo are getting too old by idol standards. They youngest member is 16 and the oldest is 20. Passpo is at a pretty good place, since the older members won’t have to worry about being told to graduate for another 4-5 years. So, the question then is: why are they even adding new members?

Usually when idol groups add new members it’s because of necessity. (Well, idol groups besides AKB48 and their sister groups) They add new members because members are leaving, like it was in S/mileage’s case. Or they add members because the current members are getting too old, like it was with Morning Musume. It seems like Passpo is adding members to increase their popularity. Which I don’t really think is the right way to go about it. It’s obvious that Passpo’s management is looking for a new girl or girls that will be at the level of popularity as Mio and Makoto are. Which is why they are going the very AKB48 route and asking fans to pick. But are a group of Mios really enough to make the entire group popular? I don’t really think it works that way. An idol group has to reach a certain popularity level before one member will determine how much the group sells. If your group is only selling around 45-50,000 copies, like Passpo does, it pretty much shows that even the most popular members aren’t influencing the sales that much. You’d have to sell around 100,000 or more for any one member to really matter. Case and point KAT-TUN. KAT-TUN for a while, before Jin left, was selling a lot of singles. Over 300,000 copies sometimes even over 400,000 copies. Making them the 2nd most popular Johnny’s group at the time. The last single with Jin sold 439,736 copies and the first single without him sold 255,618 copies. A difference of 184,118. Which is a substantial drop. Now, let’s say Mio and Makoto left the group tomorrow. I’d say we’d see about a 25,000 maybe 30,000 drop in Passpo’s sales. If it’s even that. I know they are the most popular members, but are their fanbases really even that large? I think it’s giving them too much credit. But for the sake of arguing let’s say it is. Now, that’s a pretty big drop, considering what they sell now. But if Passpo as a whole was a more popular group a loss that size is nothing. Well, the number of Mio and Makoto fans would also increase, but you get my point. Being the most popular member of a group that hardly sells isn’t that big of a deal.

Let’s say Passpo does find this amazing star member, she’ll at most increase their sales by about 20,000. So, that would bring Passpo’s sales up to about 70,000. Which still isn’t a very large number. Right now Passpo seems to be selling roughly the same amount for each release, they aren’t really growing beyond that. The only way to do that is to build the group itself up. To make the group gain interest to have them continue to steadily gain fans. Keeping the same amount of fans as the release before isn’t really progress.

Yeah, adding members might give the group some media attention for the time being. But once the new members are added the media will pay as much attention to Passpo as they always do, which isn’t really all that much. The only way for Passpo to actually sell more is to work for it. No idol group magically started selling a million copies. AKB48 is at the level they are at because of constant work. TV shows, radio shows, fan involvement, and brilliant marketing. The only way Passpo, or any other idol group for that matter, will ever follow suit is to do the same. Obviously with their own unique take on it. Maybe having the fans vote is something you’d expect from AKB48, and maybe it even seems like a rip off, but whatever helps the group, does it really matter? In the current AKB48 dominated idol world it’s hard for any idol group to not get swallowed up by them. Maybe AKB48 like tactics will entice new fans, but it’s the aspects of the group that aren’t like AKB48 that will keep the fans.

The management said that they are also trying to improve Passpo. To make their events and lives better. To get featured on more TV shows and in more magazines. And if they are using new members as the jumping point to do all of that, more power to them. If they see new members as a way for Passpo to reinvent themselves and garner more attention, then let them do it. I honestly don’t see the point in adding new members, but if it’s going to help make Passpo be the best they possibily can be, then I’m at least going to be open minded to the whole new members thing. Maybe us fans will be pleasantly surprised. Maybe the new members will be better than expected and open new doors for Passpo. It’s worth a shot at least. At least Passpo’s staff sees some flaws in Passpo and are trying to inprove them. Do I think the members are what needs improvement? Not really. But am I going to condemn the new member or members before I even give then a chance? Absolutely not.

YuiKaori to release new single

It was recently announced that YuiKaori will be releasing another single. The single is entitled Kimi no Yell and will be released March 14th.

This single almost completely flew under the radar to me. Mostly because YuiKaori hardly ever releases singles due to poor sales. But I absolutely adore YuiKaori both them and their songs are incredibly adorable. And I thought their Puppy album was cute, so I’m looking forward to what kind of song Kimi no Yell will be. Their singles usually always have really heavy dance music, so hopefully this single will follow suit.

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.

Yamapi to release first official solo single

It was announced that Yamapi will be providing the theme for his upcoming drama Saikou no Jinsei no Owarikata~Ending Planner~. The single will be titled Ai, Texas and will be released later this spring by Waner Music Japan. This will mark his 5th solo single overall, but also his first single since leaving NEWS and becoming officially solo. I guess that means his meetings with Warner Music had nothing to do with him debuting in America, but just securing his solo career in Japan. Which is awesome to be honest. I cannot imagine him in the US at all.

I knew Yamapi’s next single would be announced anyday now, but I really wasn’t expecting it to be this soon. And I really didn’t want him to release something before NEWS does. But I guess I should have been expecting it. Since Hey! Say! JUMP’s still unconfirmed new single, Super Delicate, is going to be the theme to Ryosuke’s and Yuto’s drama Risou no Musuko, and AKB48’s new single announcement didn’t mention anything about this drama, that only left Yamapi. This news is completely bittersweet. On one hand I’m still not over the whole NEWS fiasco, but on the other I am still excited for another Yamapi single. I really do like Yamapi’s voice and his solo releases are good. His solo singles anyway, his solo album was terrible.

But the title of the single doesn’t really sit right with me. It’s completely random and makes absolutely no sense. What is so exciting about Texas honestly? There’s not really anything spectacular enough to write a Japanese song about it. Maybe he’ll film the PV in Texas and use this as some sort of cross-promotion for his new show Route 66. It seems like the most logical answer.

C-ute to release 18th single

C-ute will be releasing their 18th single. The single is titled Kimi wa Jitensha Watashi wa Densha de Kitaku and will be released on April 18th. (Just 8 days shy of my 20th birthday. XD)

Lately C-ute has been nothing but incredible. Chou Wonderful 6 was incredible, and most of their recent singles have been incredibly fast paced and full force. They’ve also been delivering some of the most powerful performances in H!P. For a while there I didnt really care about C-ute that much. It was mostly due to the fact that my beloved KanKan was absent and then left. But recently my love for C-ute has been reignited. And I have to admit it’s the strongest it’s ever been. As much as I do miss Kanna, this is the most solid C-ute has ever been. Everyone getting fair lines and attention and turning themselves into the dance group of H!P. It really works for them. And because of that I’m really looking forward to this single. No matter what, C-ute is going to deliver an incredible performance of this song.

Berryz to release new single

It was announced that Berryz Koubou will be releasing a new single. The single is titled Be Genki < Naseba naru and will be released on March 21st.

It’s always extremely exciting to hear that Berryz is releasing something new. And I’m glad to hear that it’s such a lively song. Berryz has been releasing a lot of mature songs lately, so it’s nice to see them going back to releasing fun songs again. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely loved Heroine ni Narou ka and Aa, Yo ga Akeru, but upbeat idol songs are still my favorite. And I’ve been really looking forward to Berryz having another song like Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance.

The concert rip for this song has been released, you can listen to it here. But I prefer to wait for the rip before I comment on it.