Sunday Blog Roundup: Tough Love for H!P, Halcali is Truly Back, and Santos’ Point of Compromise

Filed in Cult Of Pop 2.0

I’ve never confused fannish devotion with a lack of critical judgment. If anything, true fans will often be the most astute critics when something goes wrong with something they truly enjoy… and Lord knows, Hello! Project needs all kinds of tough love nowadays.

With that in mind, my two favorite blog posts in this week of incredible and fabulous blog posts are very different – but equally insightful – looks at some recent releases by H!P. At Paint It Gold, Beth provides a very nice career overview of Matsuura Aya while giving a screencap review of her latest single. Over at Musings of a Fangirl, Wapiko encourages us to Rescue Maki!, including some very compelling evidence of why Gocchin needs said saving. I must confess, if I’d watched the performance Wapiko singled out without her commentary, I wouldn’t’ve thought twice about it. Which shows how much Hello! Project Kool Aid I’ve gulped down over the past couple years, I guess. Now all I can think is,The floof, how it bounces…

Gocchin, by the way, has fallen ill from entiritis as noted at both ikimasshoi and Deepest Thoughts, where Miki proclaims. “Goddess is Ill!” So keep Gocchin in your prayers and wish her a speedy recovery, floof or no floof. In better H!P news, ikinews has audio clips from the Tom Clancy-themed Morning Musume album coming out… what? Rainbow 7 has nothing to do with Rainbow Six? But Ding Chavez can sing better than Sayumi! Anyway, bagofpeanuts at Koppie Dip!! gives his thoughts on those previews as the songs start
to grow on him.

crs of the always-fascinating 28hundred hours provides insightful reviews of BoA’s latest Japanese album and the debut solo album of Daichi Miura. The latter only makes me ask again: where is Akina and when will we get a new single from her? Sally at Made in Paradise considers underrated Girl’s Box soloists, while Thea looks at Hinoi Team and Bi on Utawara. The tag-team quality of Made in Paradise is working out great for readers, providing two distinct but like-minded perspectives.

Santos provides his usual idiosyncratic take on his native culture, with a look at Eho Maki and dream interview with Tachibana Kana. Both are great examples of why I love Santos’ blog: the bait-and-switch wackiness, and especially the chart at the end of his dream piece – both funny and quite revealing. I shudder to think where my own point of compromise would wind up… somewhere around fourteen with Shimizu Saki in stiletto heels, I’d guess.

The usagi incidents continues with its breathtaking flurry of reviews of all things televisual, including Tokyo Jihen’s PV collection and Halcali’s PV for “Twinkle Star”. Usagi proclaims “Ladies and Gentlemen, HALCALI is back,” and I enthusiastically agree. Jariten of HALCALI day by day goes so far as to consider “Twinkle Star” the best since “Tandem” – which I’m willing to debate on a couple of levels (for starters, I like “Tandem” but think a couple other singles are even better) – but it’s undeniably making many Halcali fans very, very happy. And hey, I have The Magnificent Seven on DVD, which I really want to watch every time I hear Halcali’s song.

Your Opinion Doesn’t Count continues with its mix of Western and Eastern pop culture, including a look at recent H!P photobooks and this week’s J-Music Clip, Hinoi Team’s “Night of Fire”. Dream’s Box looks at his favorite singers of 2005 and Morning Scene is looking for input for their upcoming interviews of various artists, including Ellegarden.

Madara at Madara Blog takes a look at two Satoshi Kon anime classics – Perfect Blue and Millenium Actress – with Morning Musume in mind. This could’ve been a ho-hum compare-and-contrast but Madara’s unique perspective and candor has, as always, made it very interesting reading. Madara also re-assesses the One Happy Summer Day concert DVD and is beginning to develop an interest for Melon Kinenbi’s Masae! Ahh, the opening of possibilities beyond Morning Musume…

HANABI.1984 provides the latest Koda Kumi around-the-world goodness on J-Pop CD Cover Art, while Idols Unlimited provides some Ueto Aya goodness with her Last Teen photobook. Cute Cosplay Angels has some absolutely stunning (and non-pornographic) photos of rising AV star Maria Ozawa. At the mighty HampsapSukebe, Akiramike provides a can’t-be-missed screencap review of 2nd House episode 3 and poses that great philosophical conundrum: which is better 2P with Isoyama Sayaka or 3P with these two nurses? I can’t choose. I just… can’t… choose…

CJ Marsicano of Stuck in a Pagoda With Motoko Aoyama provides a Music Snob Survey to make clear where he stands. To give some answers of my own: #1) Rolling Stones; #12) AC/DC; #13) Nirvana; #21) X – and I don’t mean X Japan; #35) Beastie Boys for Paul’s Boutique, though P.E. is impossible to ignore until Apocalypse `91; #41) The Smiths (and I even saw them live once, on their Queen is Dead tour).

On the helpful information corner, Go answers a question about foreigners seeking work in Japan and Taiwaononymous answers any concerns a person would have about buying a ferret in Taiwan. About the latter, I must admit a deep respect for anyone with the forethought and insight to think, “Hey, people need to have their overseas ferret-purchasing choices explained – just in case.” (And while it’s a little older, the story about Chinese fire drills is also too funny to pass up.)

In the new or recently-discovered department, Welcome to Nono-land is a LiveJournal devoted to Tsuji Nozomi, while Waves of Boredom looks at an NPR mention of Morning Musume that doesn’t mention the lizard or Bob Sapp clip. It’s still a negative look at Momusu, but at least doesn’t rely on Google Video for its snap judgment.

And this just in: Jarret of I’m bad at naming things is doing fine in his new homestay, though cut off from the internet. Stay strong, Jarret!

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2 Responses to “Sunday Blog Roundup: Tough Love for H!P, Halcali is Truly Back, and Santos’ Point of Compromise”
  1. jariten says:

    “Jariten of HALCALI day by day goes so far as to consider “Twinkle Star” the best since “Tandem” – which I’m willing to debate on a couple of levels (for starters, I like “Tandem” but think a couple other singles are even better)”

    That post I made was wrapped up in the thrill of my favourite Japanese band coming back to life again, but even after i’ve calmed down a bit I still look at it as the best example of what Halcali ‘is’ that has been released as a single since ‘Tandem’. It just seems to shout about everything that I like about the band all at once. I also sort of feel like my cynicism of the last couple of months post-Tip Taps Tip has come back to bite me a little bit. But, y’know, in a good way…
    What singles do you rate over Tandem?

  2. Hi jariten:

    The one song I’d definitely place over “Tandem” is “Marching March” and I’d say that “Strawberry Chips” may also edge “Tandem” out… just barely. Now that I think of it, I’d actually place the first three singles (“Tandem”, “Electric Sensei”, “Giri Giri Surfrider”) on equal footing – all roughly the same quality, which is outstanding. For me, it’s hard to choose among the three.

    And right now, “Twinkle Star” towers over all the singles Halcali has done yet – it must be the Magnificent Seven sample.