Monday, 10 October 2011

Missing Aichan

So, Aichan's graduated.

I'll be honest - I've always been in 'Aichan has a boring/no personality' camp. My reaction to her graduation - 'good riddance'.

I finally had some time to finish off the bonus Blu Ray footage from H!P's 2011 Winter Kangei Shinsen Matusri concert, the A-gana portion specifically.

Shin Mini Moni (sans LinLin) is made up of a girl from S/mileage, a girl who's now a submember of S/mileage, and a girl  who should have been in S/mileage

About a third of the way in, we have Shin Mini Moni performing Crazy About You.
With some regret, I realised that my favourite part of the song wouldn't be sung by Aichan. Then it hit me that I'd never hear her perform it live again.
And as I expected, Kanyon was nowhere as effective as Aichan doing her transistion into the final chorus.


Then we had High-King perform Gomattou's 'Shall We Love'. With High King, I expect to be impressed. And they didn't  disappoint this time either.
Aichan's vocals make up the vocal backbone of the unit. Time will tell if this'll impact the unit, though at worst it would pass off as a great dance unit even without their vocals.


So I guess I can finally admit that I'll miss Aichan. And all the best in all your future endeavours.
Now GTFO and let Airi take on the mantle of Queen of H!P. Time for the Kids to shine!


Thursday, 8 September 2011

Another version of the 30-day challenge

Day 1: Your Favorite Idol
Day 2: The Idol you hate or dislike
Day 3: If you are or were a boy who would be your girlfriend?
Day 4: If the Idol was a boy, who would be your boyfriend?
Day 5: Favorite Group?
Day 6: Favorite Unit?
Day 7: Favorite Couple.
Day 8: Your favorite voice.
Day 9: The voice you dislike.
Day 10: The idol you used to hate and now like (or vice versa).
Day 11: The one who’s not your type but totally won you over eventually.
Day 12: The evilest idol.
Day 13: Favorite Berryz Koubou member.
Day 14: The idol with the best body.
Day 15: Favorite Morning Musume member?
Day 16: The sweetest idol.
Day 17: The n00b trying to burrow their way into your heart.
Day 18: The best actress.
Day 19: Who would you like to be for a day?
Day 20: The most charming idol.
Day 21: The idol you have the most respect for or admire?
Day 22: Your favorite costume.
Day 23: Past H!P member you miss the most?
Day 24: Idol that is not one of your favorites but you think is really good.
Day 25: Past group you miss the most.
Day 26: Idol with the best personality.
Day 27: Idol that you have special feelings for?
Day 28: Idol that brings you special memories of something or somebody?
Day 29: Your favorite idol leader.
Day 30: The idol you’d like to go on a vacation with for a week.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Day 30: Why do you love idols?


Decided to modify it slightly from the original, expanding from just H!P to idols in general.
So why do I love idols? Music definitely isn't the main reason, although that's the main method I get my idol fix.

The main sticking point for me is that idols are fun. I got hooked to Berryz Kobo  first probably since they were experimenting with fun concepts at the time: singing about a Mongolian leader, dressing up as monkeys, crossdressing and flirting with a bus guide. Though now C-ute is trying the cute group image, while Berryz is going for the sexy.

Even grumpy monkey Saki makes me happy
There's that happiness that you gain from following an idol. That may be why I'm more inclined to MomoClo over TGS - TGS seems a bit too professional for me, while MomoClo mess around, having fun. Unsurprising given how TGS were assembled by avex, while MomoClo climbed up from indie to mainstream.



Part of this is captured in Team PB's almost-meta-idol-song, Enkyori Poster. An idol song from the point of view of an idol fan.
There's always that aspect of cheering your idol on, and the fact that they're working hard to garner your support drives you to work hard... to support them. Ah, that cycle called capitalism.

I wish they'd step out of this poster

Yet, that cycle is how one develops a connection to an idol.
Unlike Western celebrities, you feel that these idols are human, are people just like you - full of worries, troubles, and doing their best at their job. 



I have to admit that idols do act an escape mechanism for me.
The statement "If it wasn't for teenage Japanese girls, I might've killed myself" has a ring of truth to it, although if I hadn't found idols I'd probably have found something else. Like [insert weird fetish here] porn. Or drugs. Or alcohol. Or coffee.
Yet why are they an escape mechanism for me? Just because of the joy they bring to me. And I'll sign off at that.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Day 29: Your favorite Morning Musume Leader?

Well, not much competition here.


Ever since I've entered the idol fandom, Takitty has been the leader of MoMusu.
I've heard that Yossie was a good leader, but I've got no benchmark to compare with.
Now if it had been between the current H!P units, would've been more food for thought. I have a definite bias towards the Buono! leader, but I think I'd end up calling it a draw between Captain and Maimi.


Heck, I'd probably call it a draw and call it both of them. They're also another fun, if uncommon, pairing. Heck, they form a manzai - Captain as the tsukkomi and Maimi as the boke. 'Twas fun watching them MCing during one of Mano's lives.

Day 28: Idol the brings to you special memories of something or somebody?

Now I can mention songs that fit the bill, but an individual idol? None come to mind.
So, by association, are there any special memories I have of idols?
Well, the easy answer is that fateful day when I went down to Paris to see MoMusu at Japan Expo. Nothing else comes close.


Saturday, 3 September 2011

Day 27: Idol that you have a special place in your heart for?

Well, I see we're getting to the more difficult questions now.

To me at least, this question seems somewhat silly.
All idols I cheer for have a special place in my heart.
After all, who would waste that much time, money, and energy for someone they don't feel for?
Closer to heart would be family members, close friends - and so far I don't think any idols have got that close.

So following my all idols answer, have a pic of Mobekimasu, just cause I can't be arsed to look for photos of other groups I care about:


Friday, 2 September 2011

Guitar chords

Site with guitar chords for Japanese artistes.

For ease of reference:
AKB48
Berryz Kobo

Day 26: Idol with the best personality?

Best personality? How should one measure that.
Well, okay, imagine I was blind and tone deaf, or at least unable to appreciate music. Then let me get to know H!P.

Let's see strip out the boring ones, the annoying ones, the ones I don't care about, and let's see whom we have left.
By my count, 6 idols.
Some of them have got quite a bit of love on this blog, so I'd thought I'd highlight an alternative choice - in this case, Yajima Maimi.


Maimi's such a sweetie, it's surprising I don't mention her more.

Honourable mention goes to Chinami. She was the first one that came to mind when I came up with the filters.


What gave Maimi the edge over Chinami?
Well, continuing with the blind theme, I get the feeling that Maimi would be much more likelier to lead me by the hand than Chii would. That's about it.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Day 25: Past group you miss the most?

Well, is High-King still active? Well, technically they're still complete until Aichan graduates. And they are a unit rather than a group.

Even looking beyond H!P, I never really was emotionally invested into any of the groups.
There's Speed, which seems to be making a comeback.
ZONE, though I've never heard any of their songs.
Hinoi Team was pretty popular. I know the leader was Hinoi Asuka. They sang 'Ike Ike', the opening for Ichigo 100% (which was a pretty rubbish story, if you ask me). And that cover of Night of Fire with that sumo wrestler/entertainer. But again, their disbanding wasn't much of concern to me.

How about I twist the question slightly. What about the past group I wish I had a chance to follow?
Well, I'll go with Melon Kinenbi.

The pretty one is Shibata Ayumi. That summarises basically everything I know about the group's members
Their discography has some of my favourite H!P songs - This is Unmei and Onegai Miwaku no Target (Mango Purin Mix). I've watched a video of This is Unmei live, which was completely exciting and energetic.

Always amuses me that their final album declares that they aren't dead
Also remembered for having a cock in the cover art

One thing I'd heard was that Melon Kinenbi was the red-headed stepchild of H!P, abandoned by Tsunku yet still managing to garner a significant following.
They also managed to last 10 years without any lineup changes, which is probably more than any other H!P act can say. They were the group that everyone expected to last past the Elder Club graduations - and disappointed on that count.

But yeah, among the H!P groups out there, they're the ones I would've liked to follow from before.

Aww, how sweet

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Proportions

Found this website that lists down the proportion that each member gets for the various Berryz songs. Red indicates highest number, while blue indicates lowest.
Not sure what the exact measure is, but I think it's number of beats for each member, and any shared lines get split amongst them.

http://d.hatena.ne.jp/tomoaki/20020110

I'm surprised that Miya seems to get the most lines in singles. I would've thought that Risako would've got the honour.
I wonder if it takes into account all of Miya's 'oohs' and 'ahs'

There are also one for the other H!P groups, but nothing surprising there

Day 24: Idol that is not one of your favorite but that you think is really good?

I guess I owe that title to Kikkawa You.


First noticed her in Tan Tan Taan, along with Koha and Kitahara.
Basically, she had the best voice among the three.
Which probably isn't too hard when you think about the vocal abilities of the other two, but even in general, she's got a good voice.

Even among the current three solo artists, she's the most able vocally.
I guess I'm more charmed by Mano's pretty face, though Kikka does give her a run for her money given the covers from her latest album.
I guess if the quality of her songs improves, I might start paying attention to her. Or possibly even the quantity - the more I have to hear, the more I have to base my opinion on. After all, Mano's been average all this while and I still like her.


Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Day 23: Past H!P member you miss the most?

It's not a long list that have graduated from H!P ever since I became an idol fan. Well, unless you count the whole of the Elder Club.
Maiha was before my time, and Erika and Kanna were pretty unceremonious. Koha was interesting, and her graduation left MoMusu a lot more boring than before.
Sakichi's is recent and sad, but there's another I have in mind.
That leaves three more from MoMusu. Kamei was weird, and JunJun was a Sayu clone up until she wasn't. Can't dislike someone who likes Captain.

My choice might have been obvious from my previous posts touching on MoMusu: the delectable little LinLin.


Flashback to mid-2010. I'd been a H!P fan for long enough that I'd already gone through most of H!P's history, even reacquainting myself with my past favourites from the early noughties.
At this point, I had established favourites in each group. Except MoMusu.

So when I heard that they would be performing at the Japan Expo in Paris, I was like meh. Had it been either of the Kids groups, I'd have been more enthusiastic. But I thought that I should be supportive of H!P, since hopefully they'd have an increased foreign presence, so I went.

Sourced off Wikimedia Commons

Think I mentioned  that I managed to score a chance to get MoMusu's signatures. LinLin was the most responsive, and she instantly became my favourite.



Her performance of Aozora ni Itsumademo knocked me out of the park as well. Pity we didn't get any of that at the Japan Expo concert.

Although JunJun seems to have gone into acting, there hasn't been much news of LinLin. I hope she goes back into music, as I don't think I've got the energy to follow her if she goes into acting. But, whatever it is, she's the one I miss the most.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Day 22: Your favorite Costume?

I'm not particular about my costumes. Most H!P concert costumes are pretty shite anyway.
The first one that comes to mind are these - the newspaper-themed costumes from the Berryz Times concert.

Sourced from Purple Sky Magazine

It's pretty difficult to get a photo with all of them together in that outfit, simply because the official goods don't have that outfit as a group set photo. So had to look at the Sakura-con coverage, where I was sure they had worn the same outfits.

I'll let the lovely Kumai Yurina model a clearer picture of the costume:


Honourable mention goes to their Medachitai costume. No, not the fish costume, although those were pretty interesting.



My first impression of that performance? Wow, they've actually figured out how to dress Maasa.


Berryz is an orthodox idol group. But looks wise, Maasa generally doesn't seem to fit.
I guess dressing girls like Momo, Saki, and the rest aren't too difficult. Well, Miya probably is - when you start out with perfection, you can only go downhill from there.
But Maasa has always been the recipient of dresses that never seem to suit her. But this one - ah. It fit the theme, yet was very understated compared to the other girls. The sash in the middle gives her a more mature look. And her lovely black hair is let down, creating a very mature, mysterious, suggestive look. Hell yeah.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Day 21: The idol you have the most respect for or admire?

I respect and/or adore Risako for improving her vocals from terrible to horrible to merely bad to amazing, all without appearing to give a thought about it.

I respect and/or adore JunJun & LinLin for being brave enough to work overseas, leaving their families to venture to a foreign land.

I respect and/or adore Okada Yui for the size of her boobs.

I respect and/or adore Sakitty for doing her best, and choosing to end her career on her own terms.

I respect and/or adore all idols for their amazing work ethic. Performing in concerts, various meet-and-greet events, in some cases having to prove themselves to the public - not easy.

I respect and/or adore Momo for working her ability to recover from any amount of teasing, and her antenna of love that she always sticks out.

No, Momo, isn't the last part of my list, though she definitely isn't the least.

I respect and/or adore Okai Chisato most of all.


Rather than accepting the status quo as one of Airi's entourage in C-ute, she decided to make it on her own.

It started with her 'Odotte Mita' series, where she did dance covers of H!P songs. In hindsight, if it was working to well in improving the popularity of a 9-year old, wouldn't it entail even more if it was done by a professional idol. The original performer herself, even.
In a way, it kind of humanised her. You know, made her into more of an idol you felt like you could meet rather than an untouchable idol, protected by management.

She followed this up with a web show, Okai Chan Neru. And that's a great pun if I've ever heard one.

Nowadays, it does feel like H!P has a stronger online presence, with their Ustream arrangements. But I always felt that Chissa was the one who paved the way to greater online exposure, as well as being the reason C-ute seems to have the most active online presence (see International High School).

To top it off, she held a solo concert - which sold off so quickly, they decided to make a second. Say what you want about dinner shows, theatrical performances, movie appearances - if an singer idol can sell out a concert on her own, she's probably doing something right.


Yup, definitely worth my respect.

Ranker

Stumbled upon this Mobekimasu Ranker. Choose the photo of the girl you prefer, or click between them in case of a draw.
Doesn't include the two soloists. I guess that would make it Mobekimasukiki?

優柔不断度:6.42%

順位名前得点
1嗣永桃子90
2鈴木愛理87
3岡井千聖84
4清水佐紀81
5小川紗季78
6矢島舞美75
7菅谷梨沙子72
8夏焼雅69
9須藤茉麻66
10徳永千奈美63
11道重さゆみ60
12真野恵里菜57
13高橋愛54
14熊井友理奈51
15田中れいな48
16鈴木香音45
17新垣里沙42
18鞘師里保39
19中島早貴32
19萩原舞32
19前田憂佳32
22和田彩花27
23譜久村聖24
24生田衣梨奈21
25福田花音18
26光井愛佳5
26中西香菜5
26小数賀芙由香5
26竹内朱莉5
26勝田里奈5
26田村 芽実5


Blogspot doesn't like tables. Pity, it was colour coded by group as well.


Quick translation:

  1. Momo
  2. Airi
  3. Chisato
  4. Captain
  5. Ogawa Saki
  6. Maimi
  7. Risako
  8. Miya
  9. Chinami
  10. Sayumi
Yes, only one person from MoMusu in my top 10, while almost all of Berryz is in there. And more than half of C-ute.
Those last few are the S/mileage sub members, of whom I have limited exposure to. Where do you think the draws came from?

Ooh, there's a button at the bottom that separates them by group:
モーニング娘。
順位名前得点
1 (11)道重さゆみ60
2 (13)高橋愛54
3 (15)田中れいな48
4 (16)鈴木香音45
5 (17)新垣里沙42
6 (18)鞘師里保39
7 (23)譜久村聖24
8 (24)生田衣梨奈21
9 (26)光井愛佳5




Berryz工房
順位名前得点
1 (1)嗣永桃子90
2 (4)清水佐紀81
3 (7)菅谷梨沙子72
4 (8)夏焼雅69
5 (9)須藤茉麻66
6 (10)徳永千奈美63
7 (14)熊井友理奈51



℃-ute
順位名前得点
1 (2)鈴木愛理87
2 (3)岡井千聖84
3 (6)矢島舞美75
4 (19)中島早貴32
5 (19)萩原舞32




真野恵里菜
順位名前得点
1 (12)真野恵里菜57

スマイレージ
順位名前得点
1 (5)小川紗季78
2 (19)前田憂佳32
3 (22)和田彩花27
4 (25)福田花音18
5 (26)中西香菜5
6 (26)小数賀芙由香5
7 (26)竹内朱莉5
8 (26)勝田里奈5
9 (26)田村 芽実5


Hmph, suddenly it decides to like tables. I can't retry, since there's no back to complete ranking button.

Note that there may be differences within my earlier rankings. What's life without a bit of volatility eh?

There's also a H!P ranker, which incluldes the eggs, the Up-up girls, as well as the other two soloists.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Day 20: The most charismatic idol?

Charisma, if I remember my AD&D correctly, had basically two parts - personality, and leadership ability.

As idols, personality is basically a given. So it boils down to leadership, the ability to persuade people to follow you.

The straightforward answer is Airi, for reasons mentioned in my favourite voice post. I'd follow her to the ends of the earth after listening to that performance of Aa Koi.


Another way to look at the question is from an idol context - how are they as leaders of idols?
Now that's trickier.

As far as leaders of idols in H!P are concerned - Aichan, Maimi, Momo, Dawa - plus one Captain, don't appeal to me as charismatic leaders per se. I don't know the past leaders of MoMusu, though I hear Yossie was a good one. Takamina's another one I've heard, but I'm not familiar with her in the context of being a leader.

Makes me wonder - in H!P concerts, is there one character that everyone will follow? Kamei was actually very good at catching everyone's attention, not necessarily by orthodox means. But that isn't exactly leading, is it?
So who does anyone follow in a H!P concert. One answer comes to mind - Makoto, everyone's favourite middle-aged MC with a mushroom haircut.


Yup, all the H!P idols definitely listen and follow his lead in concerts.

As a parting gift, here's the cover for Melon Kinenbi's 'Charisma Kirei'. Irrelevant but still on-topic


P.S. I also think there's a term 'Charisma Idol'. I wouldn't know what it would mean to be an uncharismatic idol, but I have heard that term being bandied around.

Ousama Game

In which Berryz and C-ute storm Abottabad to find the world's most wanted terrorist.

Wait, wrong Osama.



If anything, I'm happy this is more of a psycho Battle Royale than a horror movie.

MoMusu's latest double-A single

So here we have a PV preview of Kono Chikyu no Heiwa wo Honki de Negatteirundayo! & Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai.



Kono Chikyu:
Kyaa, the 9th gens look so adorable in their pajamas, getting out of their beds!
The video then degenerates into generic idol dance shoot.
Gold dresses don't look that great when on a mostly golden background.
The designs seem to be a ripoff of Only You's designs, and might be an homage to Aichan's new blonde do. I have a suspiscion of my own:
Costume designer A: Whoa, we've still got all this gold material left from Kiss Me Aishiteru
Costume designer B: Yeah, who'd have thunk that we only need one person's worth of material to clothe up all five members?
Costume designer A: We can probably use this for another single
Costume designer B: Maybe Takahashi-san's last single? She just went blonde, so it would be fitting
Music-wise, I like the jazzy introduction. And the first verse sounds promising. And then they hit the chorus, and you get back to the realm of generic idol music.
Don't get me wrong, the song is alright - but merely ok. Doesn't feel great.
And I realise I prefer Gaki's lines over Aichan's in the song.

Kare to Issho:
Well, the director seems to have got inspiration from the recent success of Kyary's PONPONPON.
Lucy in the sky with... dancers?
The costumes are pretty horrible. The choice of colour suggests that the designers were averse to running away from the red, yellow, and blues of the colour palette.
The arrangement of the video has an amateurish charm to it. It reminds me of 3,2,1 Breakin Out's PV and the contest PVs.
Although the constant usage of floating heads in the video are an abomination. Please, floating heads don't work. Not even in bad horror movies.
Second Morning: The curse of the 1st and 2nd gen's floating heads

I still like the song, though it's charm has worn off.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Day 18: Favorite concert?

You know, Buono! was supposed to perform at Sweden in 2009. I looked at the date at the calendar, and it would've been the day after my final paper. I considered going, but wasn't sure if it was feasible. In the end, it didn't work out.

Berryz in Bangkok! Yeah! During my spring break at that, so I could hop down back home and watch them.
Sadly, I had other commitments with friends down in Brussels. Wasn't the best time to be in Bangkok anyway, what with the red shirt protesters. Risako fans, no doubt.

Since I couldn't see Momo herself in action, I grasped at straws - and pulled out MoMusu, performing in Paris:



Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Ogawa Saki to graduate from S/mileage

So I wake up, open Google Reader. First thing I see is news that Ogawa Saki will be graduating. This Saturday. As I read, I realised that it wasn't just someone trolling.


So, the only member of S/mileage I care about is graduating.


As short notice as it is, I'm happy that it seems to be on her own terms. In a way, I'm happy for her. She got further than most eggs did, toughed it out, and made her own decision to leave. That last part is never an easy choice to make. The constant eyebags under her eyes may have been a sign.
I haven't watched their concerts after May, so I can't tell how she performed as an idol after she made her decision. With all her effort, like any idol would, I assume. There seems to be no trace of her giving up in the Uchouten Love PV.

Tsunku's mention of her abandoning her work partway seems a bit snide. But one can understand - her talent was still developing, and to let her go before she comes into full bloom would be pretty disappointing for a guy so used to nurturing such talents.


The members sound like they've known  that she was leaving, and only now have had a chance to voice their thoughts. I kinda understand why the members of S/mileage seemed so unhappy with the news of the new members - their announcement meant that Sakitty would be nearing her graduation.

It seems a bit of a wasted opportunity that they couldn't have a proper graduation concert, given that they could at least have planned some sort of special S/mileage live, only revealing why it was special later. Heck, you could even say it was for the new members. After all, this is S/mileage's first graduation. Maybe Sakitty wanted it that way - who knows?

I'm saddened by the fact that she's choosing to stop any idol activities, but at least it's her own decision. At least she wasn't taken out on the pretense of having a medical illness and unceremoniously booted out. And possibly, just like Kanna, she might just come back to the idol world.
Still, reading her announcements, doesn't sound likely. Only time will tell.

Sakitty, all the best to you in the future, in your life as a normal teenager. 


Day 17: Your first Idol (first one you noticed/were exposed to)?

Long story short:

The big three of Berryz: Momo, Risako, Miya.


Long story after break, since it's going to be a lengthy post about my J-music listening background.