Passpo aren’t the belles of this ball

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Continuing with the late PV that left me uninspired before I bring you Passpo’s latest single Sakura Komachi. Which by now is a little over a month old.

I have to say I’ve all but given up on a decent PV for Passpo. They haven’t released a PV that really wowed me since ViVi Natsu. Wing was kind of cool, but I miss the fun flair and energy that Passpo’s first PVs after going major had. But I guess it’s too be expected since their music has gotten much heavier since then. I do dig their hard rock sound, but I would love to hear a lighter pop rock sound from them again. And I would obviously love a bright and happy PV again.

Sadly, I am not impressed with this PV at all. To be honest it’s boring, it’s lackluster. There’s hardly anything I like about it.

The main thing that sticks out to me are the outfits. What I always thought was cute about Passpo was that they always put each members image colors on their single outfits. While Passpo hasn’t completely stopped doing that, this is still the third PV where they haven’t. The outfits in this PV are actually kind of pretty. I just wish all of the black accents on the dresses were their image colors.

The PV itself is incredibly cheap it seems to be going into Hello!Poject territory. What I mean by that is there are only 2 sets. The main set is were the dance is being filmed and they really cheat with the set to save money. The set is either in the dark with spotlights shining on them or the set is light up like a normal stage. You know to make it seems like the dance is being shot on two completely different sets. It’s lazy technique that I’m honestly bored with. Since over half of the PV is dancing is really brings down the entire PV.

The rest of the PV consists of the girls laying under a cherry blossom tree wrapped up in a blanket giving the appearance of them being naked. Giving a dash of fanservice so the fans forget how the entire PV is garbage  Wow, even I thought that was a little mean to say about the PV. But you know what, I stand by that statement. It’s just not a good PV at all.

I do like the cherry blossom scenes though. I think they are really beautiful. The girls looks natural and gorgeous, which, as I’ve said, natural is always a plus for me. They are practically bathed in cherry blossom petals and just look so beautiful. They also look sexy, but in a very classy way. I am just in love with these scenes.

The only thing I’m not sure of is why Makoto is crying throughout the PV. At one point she even cries onto a cherry blossom. I’m just gonna guess it has something to do with the song.

On the subject of cherry blossoms, my absolute favorite part of the entire PV involves them. With a PV as simple as this it is a little hard to find positives about it, but I thought it was such a cool effect that while they were dancing blue colored cherry blossom petals rained down on them. How cool and subtle was that?

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Mako, why so sad?

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Even though she’s supposed to be sad she still manages to look gorgeous.

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I don’t really like the lighting of this set.

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I actually prefer this set.

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Gorgeous Ai.

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Sako really stands out in this PV.

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Lovely Morishi.

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Adorable.

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Mio’s hair is weird.

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Lolz at Anna’s slightly arrogant face.

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Makoto is super pretty here.

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Just beautiful.

 

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Gorgeous Yukky.

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Such a cool effect.

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Mio is such a cutie.

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Awkward dance move.

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Wink.

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Adorable.

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Haters to the left.

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Sako really is such a standout.

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Morishi looks so pretty.

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Poor Naomi gets hardly any screen time.

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I’ve never seen Mio look this natural.

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Cutie.

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Love how you can really see the petals here.

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Lolz.

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She just cried on that cherry blossom petal.

Passpo’s new PV fizzles

The full PV for Passpo’s newest single, Kimi wa Boku wo Suki ni Naru, was released over a month ago. And I’m finally bringing you my delayed PV review.

I’d like to think of myself as a pretty big Passpo fan. Their cute and their music is different than what a lot of other idol groups are doing. And it’s reasons like that, that Passo hasn’t really disappointed me yet. But that pretty much all changed when I watched the PV for their recent single Kimi wa Boku wo Suki ni Naru. Both the PV and the song don’t push it far enough. The song has that distinctive sound, and I see what they were trying to do, but it’s just far too slow for my taste and for Passpo’s usual standards. Passpo’s singles are usually guitar heavy rock music overflowing with energy. This song is really lacking the grit that songs like Let it Go and Shoujo Hikou have. While this song does have a clear guitar riff I kept waiting for the singing to get to be a blaring level, where it sounds like they are almost screaming because they have so much energy in their voices. Which most Passpo songs sound like. But that never happens, in fact the song gets slower towards the end of the song. Even Kiss=Suki that starts off slow gets more exciting in the chorus. The song is just really a let down for me, one of my least favorite singles by them, and maybe even song.

Now the PV is equally a let down. Passpo’s best PV to date is ViVi Natsu, so I will forever compare all of their PVs to that one. Just absolutely everything about ViVi Natsu was incredible. It was a fun and cute summer themed PV, with 3 different outfits, filmed in 4 different locations, and filmed in really beautiful natural lighting. Everything the Kimi wa Boku wo Suki ni Naru PV lacks. Well, except for the natural lighting. But 8/10 of the PV is shot indoors. This PV is shot in 3 different locations with 2 different outfits, but still I’m just not into it. I mean the PV isn’t awful. The main dance set is actually really nice and their outfits are gorgeous. But what was so great about their past PV were, no matter how bad the lighting was or how cheap the budget was, the girls always went over the top in the close-ups and PV itself. You could really see the girl’s personalities shining through. And they were fun PVs because of that. But in this PV you don’t get any clear personality and all of their close-up shots are choreographed pieces from the dance. The only time you get to see near genuine emotions on the girl’s faces are when they all find each other and hug. And by the way, they just did the same thing in the Kiss=Suki PV. So, I’m honestly over that. And not only that, what’s with only 6/9 girls being in most of those scenes? Are they trying to prepare us for when the new members come in and steal the old members popularity?

Let’s film the skyline, but then hardly shoot near there.

I really like this set, but that’s mostly because it has a pink hue to it.

Ai looks adorable.

I absolutely love this outfits.

Adorable.

Gorgeous. And Natsumi’s makeup looks amazing per usual.

I love Shiori to bits, but I can’t wait until she grows her hair out.

This kissing dance move is really cute.

Why does it seem like Naomi is trying to come off as sexy?

My god, Ai just looks super pretty in this PV.

You barely even noice the skyline. :/

Adorable! Makoto’s doesn’t really have the convincing fake smile down yet. But look how Shiori just glows.

Flawless.

I love Anna’s hair, but it doesn’t really fit with the PV. It’s too elegant.

I love how much they’re overacting.

Cute.

Lolz at Makoto’s lazy kick.

Yukimi kinda fades in the background. This is literally the first time I noticed her in the PV.

Look at Sako being all super cute.

I had no idea their sashes had their nicknames written on them. That’s actually really awesome.

Mio! *O*

Wink.

Cute outfits. And I love how Mio almost has bologna curls.

Um…what?

That’s too much Makoto. You’re looking at your friends, not a meteor hurtling towards Earth.

Adorable.

Still don’t get why we only see 2/3 of Passo.

Ok, here are the rest of the members. They better be running, there’s only about 30 seconds of the PV left.

I always run away from my friends. Totally.

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.

Best Singles of 2011

Since I had so much fun doing my best and worst of 2010 extravaganza posts, I knew it was something I wanted to make a yearly event on my blog. So, here I am doing it again! In this post I’ll be ranking my personal favorite 10 singles of 2011. This list was a lot harder than last year. I started following more idol groups which added to the number of singles I had to pick through. I counted and there are about 81 singles from idols that I follow. Which is an insane amount of music to go through, so these rankings took me a few days to do.

So, without further ado I bring you part 1 of my 2011 ranking extravaganza.

10. Kakkowarui I love you!

Believe it or not, number 10 is the hardest song to pick. Mainly because it’s the absolute last song I can pick, and I have to really think about what last song I want to add. Originally number 10 was going to be Not Yet’s Naminori Kakigoori, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Kakkowarui I love you. And from that it became obvious that I had to pick it. I absolutely love this song. From the hard rock and electronic beat that it has to the way it’s sung. I think everyone in French Kiss are amazing singers, and everyone has a very similar tone to their voice so they blend together amazingly well. I love how soft every 2nd line of the verse sounds. But the real reason I picked this song is because of the chorus. The song is pretty slow for the most part, but when that chorus hits it takes the song to whole new level. The chorus is is just incredible and extremely catchy. Just the way it’s sung it’s very entrancing. And of course the cute lyrics also add to my love of the song. I just love that it’s about stumbling though an accidental love. It’s really cute. But also sad at the same time, because it’s also about not being able to say I love you because you feel like it’s too late.

9. Ganbatte Seishun

To me SUPER GiRLS has always been the Frankenstein monster of idol groups. Collectively, and shameless, copying elements of other idol groups to heighten their own popularity. While, that might annoy people I say, “do what you gotta do.” And that reason is pretty much why I’m so drawn to SUPER GiRLS. They make the typical, or generic to some, idol songs which are my favorite. And Ganbatte Seishun is 100% an idol song right down to it’s core. This song is upbeat and happy, with encouraging lyrics that tell you to always do your best. And that’s pretty much all there is to the song, but that’s honestly all it needs. Ganbatte Seisun is one of those mood maker songs that instantly cheer you up. And that’s all you can really ask from music.

8. Maji Desu ka Ska!

Since I first heard this song I wasn’t shy about praising it or professing my absolute love for the song. And that hasn’t changed one bit. I’ve listened to this song constantly throughout the year and have not grown tired of it once. A song like this is just Morning Musume at it’s best to me. It’s upbeat, happy, energetic, and just over the top fun. The song has an infectious ska beat and even more infectious chorus. Each line might not correlate to the next, and the song might not actually have an overall meaning, but that doesn’t stop me from loving every second of it. From start to finish you just can’t help but want to dance and sing along to it. And not every song has that effect. 

7. Valentine Kiss

Watarirouka Hashiritai 7 is one of my favorite idol groups out there because they make nothing but adorable songs. And that’s exactly why Vanlentine Kiss landed a spot on my list. This song was definitely one of the, if not the, cutest idol songs released this year. Even though this song is a cover I think Warota really made it their own. And I honestly think it surpasses the original. If only on the cuteness factor alone. But who doesn’t love a song about trying to get someone’s attention to have a kiss on Valentine’s Day? Especially if it’s sung by the always adorable Watarirouka Hashiritai 7.

SWF file 

6. Heroine ni Narou ka!

I never really realized just how much I love this song until I started making this list. But looking back at the year this has been one of those songs that I couldn’t get enough of. And the reason I love this song so much is because it’s powerful. Just everything about it is powerful. The electronic/dance dance music is very strong, as well as the singing being extremely powerful. There’s a lot of intensity in the way it’s sung, it’s honestly one of Berryz’s best vocal performances. Especially Miaybi’s whoa towards the end of the song, that was just incredible. I was also really inpressed with Yurina’s harmonizing and Risako’s high note. As well as loving Massa’s echoed mirai. The lyrics are also pretty powerful. They have these empowering undertones to them. To just step on out the street and just be super confident because tonight you can do it. And because, hey, everyone notices you tonight.

5. Vivi Natsu

Ever since I first discovered Passpo they’ve been impressing me with their unique sound. And because of that they becoming one of my favorite idol groups out there. I think Vivi Natsu really encompasses what makes Passpo so great. The music is a great combination of a great guitar riff and still that sweet idol music sound. And it also features awesome rapping parts by Naomi, Shiori, and Anna. Though honestly Noami’s raps are hands down the best. And it also has that really beautiful part where Mio Mio sings softly and sounds absolutely amazing.

4. T.W.L.

I’m a little sad that T.W.L. is the only Johnny’s song to make the list this year. It was actually a pretty good year of JE, there were just other songs that were better. T.W.L. is one of those songs that I didn’t expect to like as much as I do. When I first heard it I was kinda indifferent towards it, and thought it was just ok. This song is really fun and extremely catchy. It captures the crazyness and over the topness of Kanjani8 without going to overboard. And can I just say that I absolutely love Subaru’s solo at the end with the microphone effect. That is definitely the highlight of the song. The lyrics however are honestly all over the place, so it’s hard to really get the message. I mean, I’m not even sure what T.W.L. even means. What I take away from the song is that it’s about facing your future no matter how unsure it might be. And to just honestly cope with life. If things are hard say they are, instead of just pretending to be happy.

3. Z Densetsu ~Owarinaki Kakumei~

When I was picking my top singles of 2011 it was a complete no brainer to add Z Densetsu ~Owarinaki Kakumei~ to my list. MomoClo is one of the most energetic idols out there, and this is probably the most energetic songs they have every released. I absolutely love this song. It’s just nonstop energy and excitment from start to finish. It’s one of those songs that is fun to listen to. It’s a song that isn’t trying to be serious, it’s just trying to make you happy. I also really love the lryrics to this song. I love how they are about each member’s personality. And then the rest of the song really matches their weekend heroines theme. And the lyrics go into say how MomoClo won’t lose and will protect fans. And will sing with all their hearts and might to cheer up fans. I think that’s really sweet. And it really seems like MomoClo really means what they are singing.

2. Uchouten Love

It’s a bit bittersweet to pick the last song featuring the original line up of S/mileage. But hey, at least they went out with a bang. And it really was a bang indeed. This song is absolutely incredible in every single way. From start to finish this song is a nonstop party. The heavy eurobeat music doesn’t let up for even a second throughout the song. Ever during the soft solos towards the end of the song. You can hear the beat growing in the background, waiting to make it’s blaring return. And I love the song for it. The song is incredibly fun and so loud that it almost demands you dance along. And S/mileage’s sugary sweet voices really work with this type of techno music. It’s one of those combinations that sounds terrible on paper, but then you actually hear it and you’re blown away. The lyrics are the typical idol fare of falling in love and being excited every second because of that. The overly cute lyrics we’ve come to expect from S/mileage.

1. Banzai Venus

It was completely obvious to me which song was number one, it was so obvious it was the first song I wrote down. When it comes to 2011 I cannot think of one song that surpasses Banzai Venus. SKE48 is really starting to surpass AKB48 for me. Mostly because of their constant upbeat releases lately. The song is actually pretty slow for most of the song, but once the chorus starts that’s it. You just get this punch of pure energy that you can’t help but be drawn into the song. It’s so mesmerizing and addicting that just the power from the song’s small chorus beat every other song this year. No other song this year gets me as pumped or happy as Banzai Venus does. The only real drawback to this is that some of this song;s lyrics are so random that they are laughable. A cart full of toliet paper, and an old lady being delayed in line. What does that have to do with anything? Lucky the rest of the lyrics are much better. And it’s a pretty cute song about to have the courage to go for it and confess your feelings.

 

Honorable mentions: (Because yet again, I had way too many favorites.)

1. Morning Musume – Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai
2. C-ute – Sekaiichi HAPPY na Onna no Ko
3. Mano Erina – Seishun no Serenade
2. S/mileage – Please Miniskirt Postwoman!
4. Arashi – Meikyuu Love Song
5. KAT-TUN – Ultimate Wheels
6. Tegomass – Aoi Bench
7. Hey! Say! JUMP – Over
8. AKB48 – Flying Get
9. Watarirouka Hashiritai 7 – Hetappi Wink
10. Not Yet – Naminori Kakigoori
11. SKE48 – Oki Doki
12. NMB48 – Zetsumetsu Kurokami Shoujo
13. YuiKaori – Shooting Smile
14. AAA – Daiji na Koto
15. SUPER GiRLS – Joshiryoku Paradise
16. Yamashita Tomohisa – Hadakanbo

Passpo’s new PV=love

The full PV for Passpo’s 3rd major single, Kiss=Suki, was recently released.

Watching this PV it immediately has that unique Passpo feel to it. It’s another PV that really showcases their flight attendant theme. And after their Shoujo Hikou PV I wasn’t sure how Passpo was going to use that theme again without it being boring and something we’ve seen already. But Passpo manages to pull it off. And we’re left with a PV that is both interesting to watch and absolutely adorable. Unlike the Shoujo Hikou PV this PV is set 100% in the airport terminal. The PV features the girls doing pretty mundane tasks like selling plane tickets and wandering around the airport. But Passpo injects their charm into it and makes it a lot less boring than it sounds.
And for  a song that’s called Kiss=Suki that don’t dissapoint fans in that aspect. The PV shows the girls playfully kissing each other and also features the girls kissing the camera ala the Chu Shiyoze PV. I do admit when I heard there was kissing in this PV I was expecting more than there was. There’s about as much as there was in the Heavy Rotation PV or any Morning Musume concert where Sayumi wants extra attention.

But since I’m always way too hard are PVs there are 2 things that I wasn’t really thrilled about in the PV. They are very small complaints though. The first being the setting of the dance shot. It seriously irks me that they are dancing almost in the exact spot as they were in the Shoujo Hikou PV. An airport is a big place they could have done it anywhere else. My second complaint is that the main focus of this PV is on Makoto. It’s expected since I’m pretty sure she’s the most popular member. However, I still would have prefered the focus to go on Mio, Shiori, or Kaho. But I am a bit biased towards them.

And here comes nothing but Makoto.

Pretty much the top 2 in Passpo.

Natsumi just looks so cute here.

I don’t think this move could get any more simple, but for some reason I love it.

I love the refelection in their close-ups.

Too much sun, I can’t see Mio’s cute face.

Wow, Ai looks great here.

Passpo’s dances always look the same.

And this dance is set in a nearly identical setting as the Shoujo Hikou PV.

Adorable. And I love Mio’s hair.

Lol. I don’t get why there’s a stirring move in this dance.

Love this leg move.

This is turning into a Mio spam but I don’t care. Tell me this face isn’t cuter than puppies.

Riding the escalator is a little boring but Makoto looks cute while doing it.

Adorable Naomi.

I adore Mushu, but I have a feeling that a lot of people don’t like her because she’s not as “pretty” as the other members.

Shiori looks so lively, but that hair does nothing for her.

Adoarble.

I love that they are holding their fingers up to their eyes because they said I miss you.

Ai looking all cute.

Lol at Mio’s overreaction.

Wink! I don’t know why, but I love capping winks in my reviews. XD

Their embrace looks so fake.

Sako and Natsumi kiss.

But Mio’s reaction is the best part.

Gorgeous!

Kiss.

Chu.