Avex Has Won My Heart and Mind… For Now

Filed in Cult Of Pop 2.0

As I dove into the rather fun task of setting up the new version of this blog – if Feed of Pop is no-nonsense design, Cult of Pop should be all-nonsense in comparison – I found the images I chose were very Avex-centric: lots and lots of SweetS (no surprise, given what I’ve set for myself), some Hinoi Team, some Amuro Namie… Not much in the way of Morning Musume or Berryz Koubo or W, though.

So as I considered this, I decided: Avex has won for now. Which is kind of silly and melodramatic, but does reflect a basic attitude. I’m positively jonesing for SweetS’ first photobook, and my favorite PVs as of late have been from Hinoi Team and dream, not Berryz and Momusu. I’m more interested in Rika of Paradise Go!! Go!! than Koharu of Morning Musume; the number of Avex PVs on my iPaq is now at least tied with the number of H!P PVs. And I find it a lot easier to write my Wahine Trouble stories while listening to dream and Namie and even Hinochi than, say, Berryz and Momusu and W.

Of course, this is about the rather fickle moods that can be stirred in the ephemeralities of Jpop fandom – especially fandom from an ocean’s remove. So if the new W single rocks my world and I finally begin to get into Momusu’s flamenco pop – or if Melon Kinenbi release another single, or Ayaya releases something that’s not a freakin’ ballad – then I’ll just as solemnly inform myself that Hello! Project has won this round.

In that sense, Jpop is like Iowa weather: if you don’t like it, wait five minutes.

Taking a step back, I’m not sure why it’s so tempting to think of that dichotomy – that is, Avex versus Hello! Project. Perhaps because both sides have somebody named Matsuura? Or because H!P are the reigning idol girl group power, while Avex Trax is the reigning record company ? Or that there’s been repeated attempts by Avex to make an idol machine as efficient and popular as Hello! Project’s finest offerings, including the second version of dream?

And if you look at the world as Avex v H!P, the rivalry goes back some: I’ve got clips of Speed competing with Morning Musume, spinning taffy and playing DDR against each other. At the time, Speed and Morning Musume were both superstars in the idol galaxy. Which only points to the diminished returns on girl groups in recent years. Now, it’d be hard to point to a superstar among any of the girl groups, at least in sales and size of fan base. (If you measured intensity of fan base, Hello! Project has all beat, I’ll admit.)

That said, I’d rather not see Morning Musume or dream spinning taffy against, say, Orange Range or Otsuka Ai. Though a whole line of fruit jam bukkake style portraits of the Musume would be pretty damn sexy. UFA would probably have a collective heart attack at the prospect of this, but that doesn’t make it any less sexy.


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3 Responses to “Avex Has Won My Heart and Mind… For Now”
  1. Thea says:

    oh i think you’re also becoming an avex girl pop fan?? i’ve switched to that side recently after two years of h!p fandom. i think it’s more exciting actually lol

  2. niji says:

    Avex just wishes it could be as cool as H!P. XP


  3. JPope says:

    This is good. H!P, like any leader, needs to feel the heat from some hungry upstarts to remain fresh (or regain the freshness). Nacchi’s latest single sounds decidedly more Avex than H!P, and it just happens to be one of the best H!P recordings of the year. Coincidence?