Chatting H!P With The Obnoxious Wota

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As longtime readers know, my attempts to get co-bloggers for Cult of Pop didn’t work out too well – two people with four posts between them, if memory serves correctly. And while I’m not going for a regular co-blogger on Ame Wota, I do want to bring voices besides my own into the mix. So this section will be devoted to exactly that, with a different guest every week on some idol-related topic. Though the format will be pretty elastic – sometimes I may include achat log, other times a detailed exchange of ideas, and other times I’ll just let the guest blogger write an entry without any input from me.

If you want to take part in this or have a suggested topic, drop me a line. And if you’re a regular reader who doesn’t blog regularly but wants a forum for expressing an opinion or two, e-mail me and we’ll see if a Shuffle post is right for you. While I look forward to bringing in bloggers I know and respect, I think it’d also be great to give others a chance as well.

We begin with an online chat with CatchFiveBats, whose chats on Obnoxious Wota have always been entertaining and even, at times, thought-provoking. CFB is a regular on wotachat, and he was the ideal person to discuss something that’s been on my mind for a while now: my waning interest in Hello! Project. Many thanks to CFB for his time and his candor, it was interesting to get his angle on the situation. The transcript below was edited for length.

So without further ado…


Session Start: Sun Sep 07 20:53:31 2008

Session Ident: CatchFiveBats

<AmeWota> good evening, cfb.

<CatchFiveBats> Good evening, Ray.


<CatchFiveBats> : O

<CatchFiveBats> Well, for me personally, it’s all still pretty fresh and new.

<CatchFiveBats> I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

<CatchFiveBats> I got into Berryz in June of 2007.

<CatchFiveBats> That and C-ute were my only interests until December or so.

<CatchFiveBats> At which time I branched out into Momusu and so forth.

<AmeWota> So there’s a whole history to look back on.

<CatchFiveBats> Absolutely.

<AmeWota> But do you feel this past year’s output has matched up to that history?

<CatchFiveBats> The past year?

<CatchFiveBats> I think the Kids have been doing quite a few interesting things.

<AmeWota> Dressing up as monkeys.

<AmeWota> Ripping off old German Eurotrash disco.

<AmeWota> Speaking into vases.

<CatchFiveBats> Hey, I happen to enjoy the eyecandy Berikyuu provides.

<CatchFiveBats> But the flagship group(s) have definitely died down.

<AmeWota> By flagship group, you mean Morning Musume.

<CatchFiveBats> Yeah, Momusu, Ayaya (in a sense…).

<CatchFiveBats> Basically everything but the Kids have been pretty much inactive.

<CatchFiveBats> Momusu not quite as much…

<CatchFiveBats> But Ayaya, Yuuko, Nacchi, Melon Kinenbi…

<AmeWota> For some reason I can’t shake, I’m just not as interested in H!P as I was before.

<CatchFiveBats> mmm…

<CatchFiveBats> It comes and goes for me.

<AmeWota> So there are times when you DON’T feel as interested.

<CatchFiveBats> Every now and then, yes.

<CatchFiveBats> But I rarely spend more than a day or two away from H!P before I dive right back in.

<AmeWota> What brings you back?

<CatchFiveBats> That’s a good question…

<AmeWota> Is it any one aspect in particular, or any one idol?

<CatchFiveBats> I don’t know if I really lose interest, so much as get burnt out on it.

<AmeWota> I mean, for me, if Momoko wasn’t around… pffft…

<CatchFiveBats> hahaha

<CatchFiveBats> Miki’s a big part of my interest atm.

<CatchFiveBats> And has been for a long time.

<CatchFiveBats> Anyway, sadly, I’ve listened to her earlier solo stuff so much, it’s hard to sit down and listen to it.

<CatchFiveBats> I’m dying for more material from her…

<AmeWota> How do you feel about her latest single, then?

<CatchFiveBats> I love it.

<CatchFiveBats> I hope she ends up with another one by the end of the year.

<CatchFiveBats> My biggest fear is that she stops releasing anything music-wise.

<AmeWota> So Miki keeps you going. Anything else?

<CatchFiveBats> mmm

<AmeWota> You said the H!P Kids were doing interesting things, then I said some dickish things.

<CatchFiveBats> hahaha

<AmeWota> But do you believe they ARE headed in the right direction?

<CatchFiveBats> Possibly, yes.

<CatchFiveBats> If anything keeps H!P afloat at this point, it’ll be the Kids.

<AmeWota> Really?

<CatchFiveBats> Momusu is dead, really…

<CatchFiveBats> I dunno, we’ll see what happens.

<AmeWota> So the news that they’re covering Pink Lady doesn’t excite you?

<CatchFiveBats> Actually, it really does.

<CatchFiveBats> XD

<CatchFiveBats> I spent a good half hour today listen to different versions and so forth.


<CatchFiveBats> OH JESUS I’M SORRY

<CatchFiveBats> I’m excited to see what it sounds like.

<AmeWota> How about Resonant Blue? Did you like that?

<CatchFiveBats> I did, yeah…but I don’t listen to it that much.

<CatchFiveBats> It was a great song, definitely.

<CatchFiveBats> But I hardly ever listen to it anymore.

<AmeWota> Do you listen to any Momusu, recent or classic, with regularity? 

<CatchFiveBats> Oh, yeah.

<CatchFiveBats> I listen to their 4th-8th albums at least once every two weeks, spattered about.

<CatchFiveBats> In the car.

<CatchFiveBats> I’ll usually listen to 2 or 3 in a row.

<CatchFiveBats> Most of my listening happens in the car, since it’s a 25-minute drive to work and a 40-minute drive to school.

<CatchFiveBats> I’ve got lots of listening time there.

<CatchFiveBats> >.<

<CatchFiveBats> The only thing I’ve listened to besides H!P in the last year has been a little bit of DEVO, some noise in the evenings…and maybe one or two other things in the shower.

<CatchFiveBats> I listen to essentially nothing but H!P.

<AmeWota> But this idea of H!P Kids being the future… why do you think that’s the case?

<CatchFiveBats> The Berryz vs C-ute concert was one of the better concerts I’ve seen recently, H!P-wise.

<CatchFiveBats> I haven’t watched the Momusu Single Daizenshuu…but from what I’ve heard, it doesn’t sound amazing…

<AmeWota> I forgot all about that…

<CatchFiveBats> I still feel an energy and freshness there that’s completely absent from live Momusu performances.

<CatchFiveBats> I think the members of Momusu know that the group is past its prime…and it shows in their demeanor during performances and so forth.

<CatchFiveBats> There was a Korean documentary I saw about Momusu recently.

<CatchFiveBats> With footage of their concert tour in Korea.

<CatchFiveBats> And it just looked…bleh…

<CatchFiveBats> There was so little energy.

<AmeWota> And this as opposed to the Kids.

<CatchFiveBats> Yes.

<CatchFiveBats> The Kids, and Golden Age Momusu.

<AmeWota> Those are the twin stars that dominate your H!P fandom?

<CatchFiveBats> I don’t know about that, particularly…

<CatchFiveBats> It’s funny, in the car, I almost never listen to the Kids.

<AmeWota> So when do you pay attention to them, then?

<AmeWota> Videos, Berikyuu episodes?

<CatchFiveBats> Yup.

<CatchFiveBats> At home, on the computer.

<CatchFiveBats> I spent a full 6 months listening to nothing but Berryz and C-ute when I first got into all this.

<CatchFiveBats> I don’t really need any more.

<CatchFiveBats> XD

<AmeWota> Good Lord.

<CatchFiveBats> Although, C-ute is keeping my interest more.

<CatchFiveBats> They’re getting the better releases.

<CatchFiveBats> And not having to wear animal costumes and do stupid dances.

<AmeWota> That IS a plus.

<AmeWota> Do you feel C-ute is getting preferential treatment, then?

<CatchFiveBats> Perhaps.

<AmeWota> At least by default of not putting up with so much jackassery?

<CatchFiveBats> We’ll see what happens with the new Berryz album.

<CatchFiveBats> haha, yeah.

<CatchFiveBats> Although I will say that, upon seeing the Monkey Version of Yuke Yuke, it seems like the member were having a good time with it.

<CatchFiveBats> It’s not like they felt stupid in them, as much as they looked it.

<AmeWota> Well, give somebody enough drugs, they’ll enjoy anything.

<CatchFiveBats> hahaha

<AmeWota> I didn’t say that.

<CatchFiveBats> XD

<AmeWota> I love H!P as idols.

<AmeWota> However, my enthusiasm for their current works just isn’t there.

<CatchFiveBats> mmmm

<CatchFiveBats> Yeah…

<AmeWota> If I had to be honest, there’s one and a half singles I like this year.

<AmeWota> Dschinghis Khan and that weird Koharu Riverdance thing.

<AmeWota> Which I only half-like.

<CatchFiveBats> heh

<AmeWota> Nothing else has captured my attention or sparked my interest.

<AmeWota> Music or PV-wise.

<AmeWota> HOWEVER.

<CatchFiveBats> The issue with me and Berryz is…Cal, for some reason, adores their singles of late.

<AmeWota> I do like SINA, for some weird reason.

<CatchFiveBats> So he always has me play them in the car with him.

<AmeWota> And I still love Momoko in particular.

<CatchFiveBats> And I get tired of hearing them all the time…

<CatchFiveBats> So maybe I’d like them more if that wasn’t the case.

<AmeWota> So being around a Berryz wota like Cal is tiring you of them.

<CatchFiveBats> hahahaha

<CatchFiveBats> I guess?

<AmeWota> How about Buono!?

<CatchFiveBats> The same could be said of him, but somehow he still likes them a lot.

<CatchFiveBats> Oh, Buono is incredible.

<AmeWota> I think this really began to sink in for me because I LOVE the members of Buono!…

<CatchFiveBats> I still like watching Berryz live.

<CatchFiveBats> That excites.

<AmeWota> but their singles and even PVs don’t grab me the way I want them to.

<CatchFiveBats> *excites me

<CatchFiveBats> mmm…

<AmeWota> I have to wonder if the disconnect is me, as a fan.

<CatchFiveBats> Pretty much everything I get really excited about with H!P anymore is older releases.

<AmeWota> If by focusing on their new anime kids audience, they’re ignoring the dirty old men who made the H!P Kids so popular in the first place.

<CatchFiveBats> Ayaya, Mikitty, FS3, Country Musume (w/Miki & Konno)

<CatchFiveBats> hahaha, yeah…

<CatchFiveBats> I want to start looking into Yuuko, too.

<AmeWota> Do you like Buono musically?

<CatchFiveBats> Yes, I do.

<AmeWota> And their videos?

<CatchFiveBats> mmm…

<CatchFiveBats> Their PVs are great at first.

<AmeWota> I still cringe a little at the air guitar in the first single.

<AmeWota> first single’s PV.

<CatchFiveBats> But I don’t want them much after the buzz dies down.

<AmeWota> Ah.

<CatchFiveBats> Honto no Jibun and Renai Rider definitely bore me, at this point.

<CatchFiveBats> On their own.

<AmeWota> So as an H!P fan, you keep saying you’re going back to the older stuff.

<CatchFiveBats> Yeah, that’s what’s keeping me afloat.

<AmeWota> Does this mean the newer stuff doesn’t have as much staying power for you?

<CatchFiveBats> Not even close.

<AmeWota> Is there anything from this year that you’ll find memorable?

<AmeWota> That’ll stick with you?

<CatchFiveBats> The fact that I’m having to think about it answers that question, I think.

<CatchFiveBats> XD

<AmeWota> One last question: where do you see the future of H!P?

<AmeWota> Will they thrive, will they finally wind down, or just remain with their status quo?

<CatchFiveBats> I don’t think H!P will completely die anytime soon.

<CatchFiveBats> If they continue, they’ll most likely just pander further and further to the wotas, because that’s where the money is right now, in my opinion.

<AmeWota> I think they’ve got a good micro-economy that’ll keep them from dying, but that also keeps them bottled up and unable to bloom like in their Golden Age…

<AmeWota> Yeah, exactly.

<CatchFiveBats> Their sales with the general public aren’t enough to justify trying to cater to that.

<CatchFiveBats> Which is fine for me.

<AmeWota> And do you still see yourself as an H!P fan in another year, or two years, or five years?

<CatchFiveBats> I’d like to think so, yes.

<AmeWota> Great.

<CatchFiveBats> Once I stop discovering, I’ll probably lose interest.

<CatchFiveBats> There’s still a monstrous backlog that I haven’t even begun to dig into.

<AmeWota> But once that’s all done, you don’t see yourself sticking around for the newer stuff?

<CatchFiveBats> Depends on where it goes.

<CatchFiveBats> I still like the videos.

<CatchFiveBats> I love watching TV appearances and fan club DVDs and so forth.

<CatchFiveBats> But the music itself, possibly not.

<AmeWota> Will that be enough to keep you interested?

<CatchFiveBats> I think that the combination of older H!P releases musically, and newer happenings in media, could be enough, yes.

<CatchFiveBats> But that’s a could, not a will.

<CatchFiveBats> I have my doubts, to be honest.