Sunday Blog Roundup: Idols Testing Our Patience… But We Still Love Them

Filed in American Wota 1.0

True fans aren’t mindless slaves to their idols, loving everything the idol does without thinking for themselves. That isn’t true love, or even true wota-ness – it’s offering up a shell of oneself to the geinou that deserve so much more from their humble worshippers in the cult of pop. A good wota knows what to appreciate in an idol and is unafraid to say when things aren’t right, when a decision has gone too far astray. I like to think the Jpop blogosphere has been particularly good about being thoughtful in its admiration, articulate and critical but also acknowledging that there’s value in the irrational glee one feels when one is head-over-heels for strangers encountered only through the media.

Three very different examples of such a critical approach to Jpop are my highlights for this week’s reading. pengie of unchained begs Tommy Heavenly6 to never ever make a PV like “Lollipop Candy BAD Girl” again, which she proclaims is “a travesty to mankind. Or at least the parts of mankind that celebrate Halloween.” Lots of fun here, with screencaps to back up her proclamation. Meanwhile, Langdon Alger, one of the magnificent bastards of Your Opinion Doesn’t Count, has had enough of all those lesbian shenanigans by GAM in their new PV “Melodies”… well, I’m sure he’d not complain if there were more. But his frustration and the screencaps seem to match quite nicely. On the rap front, jariten of HALCALI day by day shares Halcali’s new single “Look” for Japan’s Powerpuff Girls Z but isn’t particularly thrilled by the song itself. I especially like how he takes the long view of the decisions behind this song, placing it in the context of Halcali’s tortuous career trajectory up to now.

Meanwhile, another favorite post this week is from Aural Candy, who has an excellent service review of YesAsia, Play-Asia, and J-XYZ. I’m spoiled, as I’m willing to pay extra just to pick stuff up at my local Japanese bookstore, Hakubundo. That said, it’s always great to have options – and to know what you get when you go to different options, especially with interesting anecdotes – so these public service kind of blog posts are always favorites of mine.

On the Hello! Project front, HANABI.1984 encourages Langdon’s GAM madness with the covers to “Thanks!” and “Melodies”. At YODC, Langdon also provides Country Musume ni Ishikawa’s “Iroppoi Onna Sexy Baby” for its J-Music Clip of the Week Classic Edition. The shot of Toda Rinne was an especially good choice. zush of Kakko-ii.com writes about when idol girls cry in a very nice review of the Hello! Project 2006 Wonderful Hearts concert DVD, which features Konno’s graduation. I should also point out the lengthy first comment that zush inspired with his post – that guy should have his own blog, too!
Ikimasshoi has the DVD set list for Ayaya’s upcoming fourth album, and it’s a pretty kick-ass collection of songs that make the CD-DVD version a must-buy. Shaoran also provides a review of Kusumi Koharu second solo single. WEBmikey reviews Matsuura Aya’s Single V Clips 2 and notes of the alternate takes, “it’s quite hypnotizing to stare at a single long shot of a beautiful face singing into the camera!” I don’t know, I love Ayaya but I find watching the close-up version of “Kiseki no Kaori Dance” is pretty freakin’ scary.

Kd of Iroiro Aru Sa rhapsodizes happily over her favorite songs from W, while CJ Marsicano of Stuck in a Pagoda with Motoko Aoyama has just gotten his Mari Yaguchi stuffie, leaving only one more to complete his plush Minimoni collection. Béné of Meganekko profiles Tokito Ami, a meganekko idol in her own right.On her MySpace blog, nishi ranks her favorite current Morning Musume members – with Takitty at the top? Well, de gustibus yadda yadda yadda. Last but by no means least, Noone continues to take extreme liberties – and great fun – with the Momusu girls’ relationships, with the latest episode of the comic strip “This love continues to grow”, a new fumetti involving Yossi giving groping lessons, and a GAM comic strip… Though I feel obliged to note, the Ayaya-Mikitty love pre-dates and outshines anything Yossi and Mikitty ever had and ever will have… Just ask Langdon.

On the Avex front, Santos of Idolizing St. Anna has news that Yukari may be leaving AAA, perhaps because she was keeping a secret diary that had surfaced months ago. The good news is, if true, Yukari’s a sexaholic who’s done S&M, so maybe she’s got a future in some other field of popular Japanese entertainment! Meanwhile, HANABI.1984 has a whole bunch of AAA covers on J-Pop CD Cover Art, including “Hurricane Riri, Boston Mari”, “Soul Edge Boy / Kimono Jet Girl”, “Let It Beat!”, “Q”, and the All/2 album. Thea of Made in Paradise reports that AAA’s next single will be called “Chewing Gum” while Hinoi Team’s as-yet-untitled sixth single has been announced for the end of the year, also covered by Ikimasshoi. Ikimasshoi also reports that the current queen of pop, Hamasaki Ayumi, turns 29 – but really, couldn’t her friends have gotten a nicer cake for her? The one in the photo is just plain fugly.

Also in the pop front, Béné of Meganekko looks at AKB48’s singles and PVs, rightly emphasizing the choral aspect of the group’s music as part of their signature sound. J-Pop CD Cover Art has Utada Hikaru’s “Boku wa Kuma” cover, while Aural Candy has the Hikki PV and gives it a positive review. Mostly because she’s a sucker for “a lovable, squeezable stuffed bear”. Akiramike of the mighty HamsapSukebe was at first enchanted by Fukuda Saki’s “Goodby My Love” single… but was in for something of a shock when he saw the PV. Speaking of refugees from Bishoujo Club 31, HEAVEN has a capsule review of Arashiro Beni’s new single, “How Are You?”. And miyounghee of !rice_box takes a second look at Korean boy band Big Bang, this time giving a thoughtful, well-detailed look at their MV “The La La La”. As stated before, the subject matter doesn’t necessarily interest me, but the quality of writing and overall insight on Asian entertainment is fantastic.

On the rap front, YODC’s Langdon has chosen Kreva’s “The Show” for the J-Music Clip of the Week. On the rock front, great minds seem to be working alike… well, not quite alike, but similar enough. Gail of Himitsu provides a subbed version of Gazette’s “Silly God Disco” – apologizing for the Engrish while she’s at it, and notes the new blogs for members of PSC bands. Aural Candy also notes the introduction of individual blogs for the members of alice nine as well as the tendency for stupid English song titles in the VK world. She also recounts an encounter between members of alice nine and SID which sounds a bit too much like a yaoi manga for me not to feel all warm and gushy inside.

The best place for laughs this week is from Pata of Irresponsible Pictures, who has a Top 10 List of Top 10 Manga Lists that makes perfect sense to me (and of course, I especially appreciated #1). Pata also has a clip that must be seen to be believed – Wada Akiko meets Nakagawa Shoko in Haruhi Suzumiya cosplay to teach Akiko the way of the otaku. Holy shit! It’s worth it just to see Akiko’s reaction when Shokotan makes her entrance. (I want this as an AVI or MPEG file! Anyone who can fix me up, lemme know.) pengie of unchained does a slam-bang review of the Sukeban Deka movie with a title that sums it up quite nicely. Also on the movie front, 74x passes along the news that the second Nana live action movie will get its own ending, while Karakui looks at the Taiyou no Uta phenomenon and particularly at Yui.

usagi of the usagi incidents takes a look at her usual spate of television shows, anime and otherwise, including the new Showtime serial killer series Dexter. I was particularly amused by her review of the first four episodes of Otogi-jushi Akazukin, whose blatant merchandise-whoring puts her off and provokes the comment, “Wow, I sound like a crotchety old bitch saying that.” I have to say, from someone who’s considerably older, I find such proclamations very cute from young ‘uns. Go of jrocknyc looks at the new season of American television – including Dexter and pays special attention to the season premiere of Lost.

In the revived and new department, Shay has re-ignited SparkPlugged in style with a music video from Korean rapper PSY. Craig of Your Opinion Doesn’t Count had accidentally killed off his solo blog Major Exposure but picks himself up and starts a new blog in its place. A Jpop-related blog I’ve only recently become aware of is Frox’s Japtard, which covers various aspects of Japanese pop culture, including episodes of Hello! Morning.

Closing this week with some odds and ends, Aural Candy contests the idea that Japanese girls are super skinny, based on a Kagrra T-shirt she bought. At The Mind, Johnny burns himself some Jpop DVDs. Apparently, Mister / Captain Jpop loves his music so much, you can read it on his face! And lolitron continues to point out the quirkier faux pedolicious side of Australia with news about kiddie-porn styled Lee jeans advertisements. Makes me kinda glad I didn’t name my pride and joy after VN’s novel after all…

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2 Responses to “Sunday Blog Roundup: Idols Testing Our Patience… But We Still Love Them”
  1. Chuck says:

    Ayumi is 28! Don’t prematurely age the poor pop star! She’s already got these young upstarts like Koda and Otsuka nipping at her heels.

  2. pengie says:

    Yeah, she’s 28, but I made the 29 mistake too! I could have sworn the page I intially read her age on said 29… x__x;