Vexed by Avex?

Filed in Cult Of Pop 2.0

I’ve observed this before, but it still strikes me as weird: I can’t balance my love of Avex with my love of Hello! Project. I’m either in a deeply Avex mood with lots of SweetS and Namie and Hinochi with sprinklings of Koda Kumi, Otsuka Ai, Parago and others; or I’m way into H!P, which usually involves W, my favorite Momusu singles, and Berryz, Berryz, Berryz.

So of course, I’ve been thinking about it: why this very deep swing into H!P fandom in recent weeks? There’s lots of Avex goodness out there, but I just can’t get into it the way I can to H!P right now.

So here’s what Hello! Project is doing to rock my world: 

"Chokkan 2" still fascinates me. I swear to God, the close-up PV is like the Rosetta Stone for 10-nin Momusu version 2.0. Believe me on this, it’s just… wow.

The Kouhaku News. I’ve got a New Year couch potato event to anticipate, as nineteen Momusu will grace the stage of the Red & White Festival. I mean, all they really need is to bring back Ayappe (I’m sure she’d agree) and Sayaka (who may or may not) and I’d be beyond ecstatic.

That Hello Pro Party DVD absolutely rocks. I’ve watched it a couple more times and love it more and more. Kago’s "Anata Nashi de wa Ikite Yukenai" is magnificent, as is her "Boogie Train 03". Ayaya’s straightforward "Love Namida Iro" makes me cry in sheer happiness… And my appreciation of Melon Kinenbi’s strengths – and Boss Saitou’s bouncies – have quadrupled in the space of days. I still want the Namie filmography DVD, but I’m very glad I got this one instead.

I am SO into Berryz right now. No, really. It’s replaced the early SweetS singles as the constant rotation in my life. I still believe Haruna is the Perfect Idol but at the moment Momoko and Chinami are much more central to my  spiritual and mental well-being. What the fuck, my co-workers now groan whenever they hear "Special Generation" or "Piriri to Yukou!", just as they did whenever they heard "Lolita Strawberry in Summer" or "Love Like Candy Floss". It doesn’t help that I actually sing along with too much gusto: "Whoa Whoa Whoa / Yeah Yeah Yeah!" (I am, if nothing else, shameless about my enthusiasms.)

So that’s most of it, I think. 

As for what Avex is doing that just isn’t tripping my triggers… 

Too much friggin’ Christmas cheer. Not that I want to sound like a Grinch or anything, but Avex’s Christmas push has actually been something of a negative for me. 3rd X-Mas, "Argent Snow", Amuro’s Whorey Night… All that snow with the requisite staring up at the skies in wonder… all the acts of kindness and love… well, it should warm the cockles of my heart, but it’s a bit saccharine for me. I think I’d be more amenable to the Christmas cheer if we had another Topless Teenage Christmas Video – as with 1st X-Mas – but that hasn’t been the case.

I still can’t identify all the girls from dream. Kana and Yu, no problem. And I think I know Aya now… or is there more than one Aya? The one who kicks butt in futsal, at any rate. So while I’m liking the new single – though it’s the weakest of the three dream singles this year, it’s still quite lovely – I’m having problems getting really enthused about the PV.

That last SweetS single really disappointed. I’m rooting for my Penty Five (minus two) but I’m finding myself wondering if their recent work hasn’t really begun to drag down my enthusiasm for them. As it stands, I’m less interested in getting the recently-released SweetS concert DVD than pre-ordering the new Berryz concert DVD at the end of the year.

Koriki gets in the way of any recent Hinochi hard-ons. Need I explain in any further detail? I guess that makes Koriki good for my soul, if not my libido.

Okay. Now let’s switch and point out one fault with H!P and one plus for Avex.

That basketball game in the middle of "Nanchuu" is really, really stupid. Miyabi dribbles, Chinami steals, passes to Risako, who gets nothing but air! But then, it’s nothing but air – not even a ball or net, for Christ’s sake. I find it hypnotizing to watch, but in a strange schadenfraude-y way. I honestly believe the Berryz will do any stupid pantomime that they’re told to do. I’m thinking the choreographer should suggest a re-enactment of The Last Days In Hitler’s Bunker and see how that works with their next single.

That new Koda Kumi with Soulhead PV is a lot of fun. If you like primitivist S&M grinding, that is. The song is solid, the PV is wicked hilarious and kinda sexy. Ku-chan has charmed me again.

I’m sure the pendulum will swing back eventually… but for now, I’ve got too listen to Chinami do "Nonyu! Nonyu!" just one more time tonight…

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11 Responses to “Vexed by Avex?”
  1. niji says:

    I should get the PV for Nanchuu. I wasn’t a Berryz fan yet when Nanchuu came out so my Berryz stuff up to that period are quite lacking in every aspect.

  2. Aloha Spiritual says:

    Wow you are the perfect consumer—- completely and 100% obsessed over the prepackaged goings on of 13-18 year old girls. Jesus— why is it that American jpop fans give Japanese otaku such a run for their money in the creepiness department—-

    grow up kid.

  3. Um…

    Yurina is twelve, while Risako and Airi are eleven.

  4. Aloha Spiritual says:

    I will add an aditional “yikes”, and then an exlamation mark or two, followed by an accidentally typed “1”.

  5. Shameless Anonymous says:

    Berryz is yikes territory, but if you can look at Reina Tanaka and not be interested in her goings-on, Judy Garland might be more your thing.

  6. KawaiiFan says:

    I, for one, welcome our new japanese kawaii overlords!

    Kawaii is a word that cannot be easily translated without loosing its full meaning. Cute is probably the best translation but is far from a full description of the word.

    It may seem creepy to some, but the japanese kawaii-culture is something that doesn’t really exist anywhere else in the whole world. Halfway to thirty and discovering it later in life like me, there is a lot to catch up with. It’s a wonderful and beautiful world to discover, like experiencing your own little Alice wonderland.

    I think Ray is doing the right thing, he is voting with his dollars in the name of kawaii. I think kawaii is exactly what the rest of this world needs.

    Oh, and this is one of the few blogs I read, it’s really funny and amusing!

    Keep up the good work Ray! 🙂

  7. ArmInAnonymous says:

    >># Aloha Spiritual Says:
    Wow you are the perfect consumer—- completely and 100% obsessed over the prepackaged goings on of 13-18 year old girls. Jesus— why is it that American jpop fans give Japanese otaku such a run for their money in the creepiness department—-
    grow up kid.

    Not to get into the whole debate over your standards vs other cultures’ standards, but 13 is very old to some cultures. Not take that for what it is. You can think something is creepy and that is fine. That doesn’t make what these “American jpop fans and Japanese otaku” wrong for following these celebrities’ lives and personalities.

  8. Shameless Anonymous says:

    Halfway to 30 is not later in life…

  9. A few things:

    I’m glad everyone’s being congenial.

    I’m thinking that KawaiiFan’s being “halfway to thirty” isn’t a mathematical reference but a metaphorical reference to almost approaching thirty (mid-twenties, I’d guess). That said, from now on I’m going to take the mathematical approach to my idols! Momoko is halfway to twenty-six, and Risako’s halfway to twenty-two! Yeah, sounds a lot more acceptable that way, doesn’t it.

    While ArmInAnonymous makes a good point of different cultures having different standards, I’m positive Japan – like America – considers thirteen quite young, too. Definitely legally, Japan does. I think the interesting point where the two cultures diverge isn’t in their age of consent laws, but in their general attitudes towards teen sexuality and how the entertainment industry markets it. (As in the past, check out the “Why Jpop” series of essays on this.)

    And let’s none of us forget the main point: I am creepy. I just spent an entire blog entry devoted to proving this. I’m not a perfect consumer, by the way, though if I had more disposable income I would strive to be.

    But I don’t think most overseas fans of Jpop are creepy at all, as there are a wide variety of reasons one can get into Jpop – and even be obsessive about it – that has nothing to do with its more prurient interests. (A sampling of the blogs I link to would show that.) And I’m not limiting myself to those prurient interests, either – they’re just the most fun to discuss, usually.

  10. niji says:

    We are what the Greeks once were to young boys.

    LLLLLLLOOOOOOLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!

    …just kidding… XP

  11. Obviously, I prefer the Humbert Humbert / Dolores Haze comparison…