First Impressions: Buono!’s “Honto no Jibun” Live

Filed in American Wota 2.0

Who are we kidding? They could be singing that horrible nose song from Kira Pika and I’d still be praising them to the skies. I’m not saying they’re my current favorite trio – that still goes to Perfume – but this U15 supergroup is like crack for my wota addiction. Super-crack. Laced with PCP and other, um, bad shit I can’t resist.

Because I’m a bad wota. A naughty wota. And the readers of the Jpop blogosphere know I’m a bad, naughty wota.

So where was I?

Ah, that white puff of smoke at the beginning means – what? They’ve elected a new pope?

In terms of costumes, Airi has the advantage in that she looks like she’s going to some hawt girl reformatory school instead of a Village People-sponsored dude ranch. She does bear a striking resemblance to Koharu from “Kanashimi Twilight”, though I’ll have to say that Koharu rocked it out and made it more sultry. Koharu has the Russ Meyer thing going, while Airi just looks real cute in a tie.

As for Miyabi and Momoko, I don’t know – their shirts feel so faux Western to me, it’s hard to bottle up the snark and just appreciate they look pretty damn cute.

All three look wonderful, but my saying that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. These are three of my four favorite H!P Kids, after all – if they included Kanna in the group to form a quartet, my head would explode.

I said, my head would explode. Come on, I’m feeding you a straight line here.

When Momoko does her “Gambaru!”, the crowd cheers and I must admit a little bit of me goes apeshit crazy inside. She knows how to work the wota up in a frenzy, and is shameless in how she does it.

With Airi and Miyabi in this trio, I again wonder why they didn’t just declare this Aa! 3.0.

  • Aa! 1.0 – Reina, Miyabi, Airi
  • Aa! 2.0 – Reina, Airi, Megukami
  • Aa! 3.0 – Airi, Miyabi, Momoko

Technically speaking, then, Airi would be leader because she’d have seniority as she’s been with Aa! since the beginning without any interruption.

This song doesn’t feel like an H!P song, which may be a mixed blessing at best. If anything, it reminds me of one of the lesser songs from SweetS’ back catalog – as in, long after Bounceback stopped working with them. While a comparison to the Bounceback era would be the highest compliment I can give, this isn’t meant to be a positive assessment.

The song both feels inspiringly genki and utterly generic, especially in the chorus. And when the song stops suddenly for a quiet interlude with all the girls bunching up together with tinkly effects to make you think the stars are coming out, it had a very SweetS feel to me. The right combination of singers could make this memorable, perhaps, but I’d have to wait for the actual single to decide if that’s the case here.

“Oh God, please get me a solo deal with Avex before my junior idol appeal fades into adulthood…”

Don’t get me wrong, the actual singing in this performance sounds solid, but does not stand out. The material doesn’t really demand much beyond the sudden bursts of kawaii, though. Miyabi seems to be the one who shines most of the three vocally, though Airi and Momoko also have lines which remind us how distinct each of the girls are as singers.

If anything, I’d argue that a more typical H!P song would be able to bring out those individual strengths as singers much more persuasively. “Shall We Love?” or “Ajisai Ai Ai Monogatari”, for example, do a great job of both making the harmonies of a trio work but also really shines the spotlight on each individual singer to wonderful effect.

“Honto no Jibun” is about what one would expect for an anime theme, and at least they’re not thumbing each other’s noses. I really hope this unit has a shelf-life beyond this song, though, or it’s going to feel like a total waste.

I’m sure there are viewers learning to hate the audience. It’s clearly a male, wota crowd, and they’re jumping around and probably scaring all the people going down in the elevator behind the stage. I find them endearing, in an odd way.

After all, in some ways, they’re the lucky members of our tribe.

The choreography is wonderful. I could do without the high-five, but I’m not a person who likes high-fives in the first place.

The air guitar sequence – with the camera focused on Miyabi – strikes me as the point where one’s faith is truly tested. In any other situation, with any other group of girls, I’d find it mildly silly and even embarrassing – I feel the same way about the air guitar moves in the “Koko ni Iruzee” PV, for instance.

When Miyabi windmills, I get the sense that Pete Townshend is turning over in his grave and… Oh, wait, he’s not dead?

That said, I love that Momoko’s final stance of guitar goddess pose has her fingers forming horns. Shout! Shout! Shout! Shout at the devil!


My enthusiasm for Buono! the unit is still intact. My enthusiasm for the song, however, is on the fence. Really, the PV would have to be the determining factor here, as well as the remote possibility of a Buono! Bikini Photobook before the end of the year.

So I guess that makes me a naughty, bad, shallow wota.


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3 Responses to “First Impressions: Buono!’s “Honto no Jibun” Live”
  1. zush says:

    @ Ray > heh he, now you did it: a reference to Russ Meyer when talkin about Koha. Faster Pussycat Kill Kill is one of my all time favorite feminist movies 😉
    And I wish the same: Buono! should be more than just anime/manga group. Tsunku, give girls songs of their own!
    Well, I love Miya’s air guitar playing so much that I almost die every time she hits the strings and shakes her hips. But I guess that’s not surprise for you.

  2. CJ Marsicano says:

    Pete Townshend would probably have an issue with a lot of these wota (including the likes of myself, Ray, Langdon, Garamond, etc.) given our love of U15 (and in my case, a certain U18) idols.

  3. Beautiful job on these stills! My head has already blown up several times after seeing this raw performance; I can only imagine what the PV’s going to be like. I still can’t see what is wrong with U15 idols; what is inappropriate about this song? I predict this will be a monster debut and that means I MUST go to Tokyo this winter to catch a Buono song live during one of the endless Hello Project concerts. Have to. Otherwise, I will die.