Sunday Blog Roundup: Five Years of Mako-chan, One Year of Channel-Ai

Filed in American Wota 1.0

There’s a couple of developments that are topping my weekly look at the Jpop blogosphere this time.

First, there’s the graduation of Morning Musume’s Ogawa Makoto. JJ of the doublej1972 MySpace blog gives a brief history of Morning Musume and wishes Ogawa Makoto goodbye. Langdon Alger, one of those magnificent bastards of Your Opinion Doesn’t Count, has some gorgeous shots of Makoto from the making of her last photobook… And wow, she looks great, just like when she first joined Momusu, except older and more luscious. Other bloggers also pay tribute to Makoto as she leaves for her studies, including Jamie on MySpace, Antagonicus on LiveJournal, 74x, and Natsu City. And on a slight tangent, Go of jrocknyc shows that leaving to study a foreign language isn’t the worse fate a musical group can face

More specific to the blogosphere itself, Channel-Ai is celebrating its one year anniversary with an amazing amount of posts by most all the members of their talented staff. As a result, some of these posts feel like “greatest hits” from those who specialized in different groups in the Jpop world. spellcheck does a very nicely detailed review of Zone’s B-side album, Kikaru covers Gackt’s “Saikai Story”, Spyro looks at Olivia’s “Into the Stars”, and yukino does a write-up on CLAZZIQUAI Project. tomba covers Southern All-Stars’ “Dirty Old Man”, Koda Kumi’s “4 hot wave”, and Utada Hikaru’s Ultra Blue. H!P specialist Lainay looks at the oft-overlooked ROMANS, while Aprilis covers the Mini Moni movie. Rinoa goes back to the site’s roots and considers Otsuka Ai’s “Momo no Hanabira”. I’m proud to say that Channel-Ai’s high quality standard is maintained even with this flurry of activity. So congratulations on one year of quality blogging, Channel-Ai!

Back on the Hello! Project front, Ikimasshoi has news of long-awaited releases from Hello! Project and confirmation of a second GAM single, confirming Tsunku’s commitment to the duo. Skawt of jankenpyon! also takes a look at this news, delighting in the fact that GAM’s first single isn’t even out yet. At Tonari dooshi anata to atashi sakuranbo!, Angela notices a new trend in Morning Musume videos and is quite pleased. Switch-On! News has a whole bunch of great H!P Kids news, including the announcement of the Berryz Koubo Summer Concert DVD (the day after my birthday!) as well as new Berryz and °C-Ute Concert Photobooks next month. And of course, Zush of Kakko-ii.com wishes a certain Miss Natsuyaki a Happy Fourteenth Birthday.

On MySpace, nishi wonders – like many of us – why there are two limited editions for Morning Musume’s next single, and on jankenpyon! Skawt figures out how to make sure the single sounds good. WEBmikey reviews the Musume Dokyu Volume 2 DVD and finds a lot of cooking’s involved. Over at Iroiro Aru Sa!, Kd pays tribute to your favorite and mine, Ayaka’s Surprise English Lessons. Along with her last suggestion for a new phrase Koharu can learn, I want Kago to learn, “Got a match?” Oooh, I’m buzzing!

At Your Opinion Doesn’t Count, Craig has concerns about Tsunku while Tsuji Eriku looks back and considers the man a god. Craig also has a very nice screencap review of the seventh Berryz Koubo DVD Magazine, while Langdon basks in new pictures of GAM. Craig picks YODC’s J-Music Clip of the Week with that H!P classic, ZYX’s “Iku ZYX! FLY HIGH!”, screencapping the distinctly Wim Wenders-esque portraits of the girls with wings.

At J-Pop CD Cover Art, HANABI.1984 is in a retro H!P mood, with all of the original shuffles singles – Akagumi 4, Kiiro 5, and Aoiro 7. He also throws in the 2001 shuffle group 3-nin Matsuri for good measure! And last but by no means least, CJ Marsicano ponders the best way to hold a Momusu’s hand. You don’t want to know my answer to that question…

In Avex-related news, Santos of Idolizing St. Anna goes to see dream perform at a-nation but finds himself drawn to the AAA souvenir tent afterwards. Despite being a dedicated AAA fan with a great new AAA fanblog called Welcometothis AAA World, even Thea of Made in Paradise has some minor qualms about that damn “Q” PV. At Ikimasshoi.com, pengie basks in the wealth of recent releases from AAA, culminating in their first mini-album, while back at unchained she talks about the quality of the group’s individual singers.

Ikimasshoi.com also reports that AKB48 has moved from the indies to major label Sony… maybe now they can afford to get enough members so there’s actually 48 of them? Shay of SparkPlugged finds possible proof that m-flo loves Daft Punk, while Karakui happily notes Yamada Yu’s return to a singing career. jariten of HALCALI day by day has the latest magazine photo spreads of Halcali – and I didn’t realize Yukari had such skinny legs! They’re both looking quite fetching, though there’s no news on upcoming musical releases.

Go of jrocknyc continues to look quite intently at Tsuchiya Anna, reviewing the Kamikaze Girls movie and three PVs included on her new album. He’s come to some interesting conclusions about her fashion sense. Go also looks at new releases from Sid and mucc, the latter being a contender for jrocknyc’s single of the year. Gail of Himitsu makes an intriguing comparison between Johnny’s Jimishu and visual kei specialists PSC… that said, she sees no trace of VK in w-ind’s “Boogie Woogie 66” PV.

A blog that’s just come to my attention as I’m writing this week’s SBR is Aural Candy. Like a few other blogs that have come to my attention in past months – including unchained and Himitsu – it’s articulate, quirky, and chock full of interesting opinions. Aural Candy reviews Gazette’s latest album and provides a wonderful analysis of what makes a good live report.

Speaking of which, pengie of unchained has been listening a lot to Korean group Cherry Filter’s latest album lately, while JJ of the doublej1972 MySpace blog has a list of recommendations for people who want to try out Jpop and haven’t yet. I guess that won’t work with readers here, but it’s an interesting list anyways. Patachu of Iressponsible Pictures asks, “Quick! What do jazz and comics have in common?” Well, there’s the works of Jose Munoz and Jacques de Loustal in Europe, as well as stories from Harvey Pekar and Robert Crumb both together and apart, and that one storyline in 100 Bullets set in New Orleans, and that sex scene between Nite Owl and Silk Spectre in Watchmen… Oh, wait – it was a rhetorical question, was it? Anyway, Patachu writes about Orange Pekoe, reviewing the jazz – comics relationship from a Japanese angle. So never mind what I said.

On the drama front, Akiramike of the mighty HamsapSukebe is less than pleased at Taiyo no Uta episode five but admits, “End of the day, I’ll watch anything with Sawajiri Erika in it.” Wise man, that Akiramike… Meanwhile, WEBmikey reviews the first season of the drama Gokusen and Idols Unlimited looks at the Shibasaki Kou vehicle Orange Days. Patachu of Irresponsible Pictures has a news flash for otaku while usagi of the usagi incidents gives translation verdicts on volumes of the anime Loveless here and here. On the AV front, Barely 18 Movies has news of a new Maria Ozawa DVD (much cheering by American Wota readers!) as well as the story of a man who had a sex change operation to stay with his lesbian girlfriend (much crossing of legs by American Wota readers!)

And in “The horror… the horror…” department, Go of jrocknyc reviews my favorite documentary, Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (Triumph of the Will and Sympathy for the Devil are tied for second). Remember: Sheen ain’t dead unless Coppola says he’s dead! Ohh, this film’s just a barrel of laughs…

Oh, and one last note before I forget: there’s a new sub-site for American Wota to accompany the blog and the forum. Wota Tales is a place where people can write fiction or poetry or whatever they please, even collaborating if they wish to. I’ve started “The Ballad of Sudo and Kumai” as well as a group project called “Horror Morning”, which is just an excuse to figure out ways to kill off the members of H!P in a lightly entertaining, deathpool-esque fashion. So feel free to read, and even contribute!

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2 Responses to “Sunday Blog Roundup: Five Years of Mako-chan, One Year of Channel-Ai”
  1. CJ Marsicano says:

    OK, bro, what do you think would be the best way to hold a MoMusu’s hand?

  2. eyn says:

    Thanks for the greeting and mentions Ray, I’ve been pretty busy with those articles published on the same day, it’s not as easy as I have originally thought! :p But anyway, hopefully the our articles are still entertaining enough for our regular readers. 🙂