Ouch. Looks like there’s trouble in Don Quijote… With the re release of the Sakura no Hanabiratachi CDS, came lots of bad news. Well, just one, but a big one, the other ones I’ll discuss later.
You all heard me hyping about how cool it was to have a re release of this beautiful song, along with a wonderful story PV that’s pretty moving and sweet. Well, looks like the management of AKB didn’t have such “sweet” intentions about this. Turns out that if you bought the single at the AKB store in Akihabara, you would get a special poster of one of the girls, a random one (with the outfit of the Kouhaku performance. They looked pretty cool anyway…). So far, so good. I mean, we’ve seen this happen in other idol and Jpop groups, so it’s no big deal. Of course, considering how there are 44 possible girls, getting one of the girl you want through the traditional method is a tough deal, but life is like that. Then came the news: AKB would have a Spring Festival. That sounds pretty cool too, a good way to interact with the fans in a closer level, very nice… or at least that’s what we all thought… turns out that the festival didn’t have open tickets, or a raffle or anything. YOU HAD TO BUY ALL OF THE 44 POSTERS TO GET A TICKET FOR THE FESTIVAL.
Wow. This was the point where I was knocked off my feet. Do they really pretend to make this wotas pay 500 bucks to go to the Festival? That’s just… I don’t even know what to say…
Wait, I kind of do. This is just plain abusive. Now, in case ANY of you had any doubts left that AKB is for the fans, you just won’t think like that anymore, right? And that puzzles me, because even though I assumed that they were ok with their fans, and loved them/interacted with them/whatever, this shameless wallet squeezing is clearly aimed for the extreme wotas. Let’s face it, if you’re a casual fan, you won’t shell out $500 to see them in person or whatever. But this didn’t seem like a good strategy to me, because they lose to the younger fanbase. How can you appeal to “ordinary” (non-wota) people when you do things that encourage the obssesive fanboy-ism? And in AKBs case, this can be a bad thing.
Or maybe I’m just looking at part of the picture? And they just decided that the casual fans won’t give up all of their money for the group, so screw them and let’s go with just the super ultra wotas?
Anyway, the thing is, japanese government itself cancelled the Festival, because they deemed it illegal to do that, it was against the Antimonopoly Act, so it had to be shut down. Ouch again. This isn’t a good turn of events. God knows I adore this group, but getting labeled as this is just plain bad. And unfair for the girls who are part of it too, as they aren’t guilty at all for the greed of the management (and I’m ready to bet that Akimoto Yasushi’s as well…)
So this just leaves lots of queston marks in my head. WTH is going on with my favorite group? Only recently I found out that tickets for the daily shows aren’t going to be sold at the theater everyday, like it’s been so far, but they are going to go through a lottery thing. Apparently, you send your e-mail adress, and they do some sort of mail drawing, so if yours was chosen, Good Luck! Now you probably get to have your seat go through another lottery system to finally know which row you can stand in, when you finally enter the theater. (I’m not sure if the seats are going to be assigned this way now, but AFAIK, nobody has said anything about it being any different with the new system. I guess we’ll just have to wait until March 1 to really see what’s going to happen…) I don’t know about you guys, but this just screams “UNFAIR” to me. Deciding based on sheer luck who gets to enter a concert and who doesn’t is a pretty crappy thing to do, and I find it almost disrespectful to the fans, who always lined up like at 4:00 am, because they loved this girls, and would do whatever was in their hands in order to see them. Of course, what I just wrote is what suddenly dawned on the management’s greedy brains: If they’ll do anything, then let’s have them do ANYTHING (and give up all of their money in the process)
I said earlier that I found it disrespectful, but it’s just for lack of a better word. I feel like the choices they are making are taking the group to a place where they will have a LOT of trouble getting out of. I mean, they are turning it into a group for freaks (it’s figurative speaking, I don’t mean to offend anyone by the use of this term, as I’m a pretty hardcore fan myself…), where casual fans just aren’t in the picture, because they aren’t willing to put themselves to the trouble of spending lots of money or crossing their fingers to get their email drawn in the lottery thing, so they will just lose interest really quickly.
Of course, I’m probably underestimating Akimoto, and we may be seeing JUST the tip of the Iceberg. Perhaps they’ll be going into nation wide tours with open tickets for the casual fans? Or they have some sort of side strategy to lure new audiences and hold on to the die-hard fans using the Stage Performances for it? The TV show seems to cater to all sorts of people, and it’s interesting enough to hook non-fans, or at least to pique their curiosity, so chances are that there are really 2 sides of the coin, and right now we’re just being shown one of them. That’s all I can come up with, because it seems pretty pointless to create a TV show, appear at Kouhaku, send members to all popular music or variety TV shows, if you’re just counting on a rather limited fanbase of people who would buy 44 copies of a CDS anyway just because they are obsessed enough with the group, Spring Festival or not.
I really don’t know what to make out of all this. I just hope that the girls won’t have to pay for their stupid management, like we’ve seen in H!P so many times… I will still support them as much as I can, no matter what, because I know that they are great at what they do, which is, being idols, and great entertainers, and I’m only crossing my fingers so that people don’t go into a wave of hatred towards them as a group because of this Festival crap. I have faith in Akimoto, though. I’m almost sure that he’s not stupid enough to cater exclusively to the wota fanbase if he has a chance of making the group even bigger with a larger and more diverse fanbase, and it seemed to be working so far! They are doing well on Oricon and everything… please… let this not be screwed up, we already have H!P for scandals…
Starting today, I would like to introduce you all to this new feature of Aitakatta!, called H!P vs. AKB48! Fighting Pose wa Date ja nai!!.
Before anyone flips out and claims that I’m just trying to say that AKB is way better than H!P, I’ll repeat for the nth time that I’ve been a H!P fan for a long time, and what I intend to do with this corner is letting all of you know a bit more of AKB’s music, and convince you that even though some songs are basically about the same kind of stuff, the differences between them are striking, and they can be both enjoyed in different ways.
Of course, not every week will feature H!P, if I find other Idol or Jpop songs that seem to be about the same thing, I’ll definitely feature them here. I just thought that this would be a fun idea, so let’s see how it goes from here.
Ok, so without further ado, let’s see this week’s songs:
Hello no Theme vs. AKB48: Ladies and gentlemen! In order to begin this corner properly, we’ll start with the very basics! In the blue corner, a song with many, many MANY years of experience, sung in every big concert of this big and poweful collective, with lyrics about how cool it is to do what they do in their idol life, and an upbeat tune with catchy choruses. In the red corner, the lively and rockish theme song of the girls of Don Quijote theater, with lyrics about how cool Akihabara is in general, and a moe~ request to their fans “Please remember all of our names, it’s a pinky promise, right?” It’s the battle of the Theme Songs this week!!!!
Hello no Theme (dl): I uploaded the Berryz version, because I honestly only have that and the 2002 shuffles version, which would be kind of pointless, because almost all of them are gone anyway. I’ve never been a fan of this song, personally. The music is just too generic for my taste. and the Hello dancing, Hello singing hello whatever gets on my nerves. But don’t let my personal opinion of the song affect your judgement, I’ve known lots of people who think that this bubbly number is perfect for H!P. Now with the 10th anniversary hype there are 2 more theme songs: Hello to You and another one I don’t even remember the title of. I like Hello to You the most out of this songs, but in all justice, Hello no Theme is the classic song that makes us all think of H!P (or at least that’s how it should be, for me it’s all about ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL). Before I ramble/diss the song even more, I leave you all with a lovely Youtube performance of the H!P girls singing this in the latest H!P concert http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPGPhuo97zc
AKB48 (dl): In contrast to the above song, this one isn’t pure pop, but it has a bit of a rock feeling to it. The lyrics are kind of strange, as they are about various places in Akihabara, and how cool Akihabara (the district) is. The chorus is a winner, though, because it’s a shameless plug, just the way a theme song should be: “Akihabara48, come to see us, love us more than anyone else, ok, ok?” and other stuff along the lines, which I find very amusing. This is a lively number with an edge because of the rock parts. Nothing great, of course, but it’s very engaging and has been pushed as the theme song for a while now. Here’s a performance taken from last year’s concert tour, where Team A & Team K can be seen doing the rather simple choreography, but mostly interacting with the fans. It’s very cute, but kind of taken out of context without the previous songs from the concert. Still, here it is, for your viewing pleasure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-vad45uAr0
And that’s it for the first fight! My personal opinion? AKB48′s AKB48 pwns Hello no Theme, but that’s just me, of course, and well… You just have to listen and watch for yourselves!
Well, seeing how the lovely Andra was kind enough to comment in my Harunyan post, I decided to do this post for all of you people who, in spite of not commenting, enjoy checking out the special videos of the girls posted in Youtube. Right now, though, my priority is to give you the Maimai and Kojiharu videos, which should’ve been in their respective profiles, but I don’t remember what circumstance (probably my laziness ) kept me from searching for them and posting them there, so here you have them!
1. Oshima Mai (Maimai) – Team A 4th Stage – Haru ga Kuru Made: Maimai is all kinds of awesome, and she proves it in this performance. This is a very sweet song about unrequited love, and its lovely tune reminds me a lot of Card Captor Sakura music… and of my childhood… Ahh! Good times!, anyway, Mai is pretty sad here, she seems about to cry, and she even wipes a tear from the corner of her eye. Of course, I don’t have a clue of what was she crying about, but maybe it was because the girl who sings here with her, Hoshino Michiru, graduated after this stage, so maybe she was sad because of that? Despite all of this, she truly shines here, and her sweet and soft voice fits the song perfectly. JUST WATCH THE DAMN THING ALREADY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Md4M4RjwofM
2. Oshima Mai: Private Princess: Well, that sounds like the name of an H-game right? It’s nothing like that, though. It’s just a gravure photoshoot for Maimai, Tomochin and Kasai Tomomi. They shoot little videos of themselves, and it’s pretty cute. I chose the first one, because there you can watch Mai’s l33t clarinet skills, and the last one, because she looks amazing in it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkbvOpIEbTs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWHwvFGB2I8
3. Kojima Haruna – Team A 3d Stage – Shinkirou: For your eyes only, this amazing duet where Kojiharu sings with Nakanishi Rina (we’ll definitely get into her later, because I freaking love her and her voice…) A very sweet song, and this version is fansubbed too, for you to understand the beautiful and sad lyrics. I love the harmonies here, and Rina’s angel voice is a perfect match for Kojiharu’s somewhat nasal vocals, and lower range. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvj0O8oW268
4. Kojima Haruna – Team A Stage 4 – Junai no Crescendo: I hate to recycle videos, but seriosuly, Harunyan is smoking here, if I may say so, without being gay or anything (I think XD). Her powerful voice works really well with this dramatic and sexy type of song, and she steals the spotlight from the other girls (and God knows how hard it is to outshine Miichan…) http://youtube.com/watch?v=ScECI1T-wkg&feature=related
5. Oshima Mai – Team A 3rd Stage – Bird: yes, this is Takamina’s song, but it’s also what made me fall for Maimai. You’ll notice her natural sexiness right away, she’s an unbelievable performer, and this prooves it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM5HAHM7ns8
That’s it for now! Enjoy!!!!
Yay! I’ve been waiting for this single forever. Sakura no hanabiratachi is a beautiful song, and it totally deserved a re-release so all of us who weren’t die hard fans in their indie stages can buy it! I’ll review the single in detail later, but right now, I’ll say just a few comments about it:
1. Story PVs FTW. Another Romance Irane would’ve seriously affected my mental stability. Yuko pwns this PV
2. Acchan x Yuko yuri FTW
3. Kasai and her infatuation with that blonde teacher were kind of creepy…
4. Minegishi looks awesome, and is positively inspiring during her parts
5. Yuka appears! Even for just one split second, that just made this PV worth my day!
6. Serious Maimai deprivation again
7. Idols kissing statues = win. Although based on the way that Yuko and Acchan kiss the statue, I could go as far as saying that Acchan has probably kissed *real* people before, because you don’t usually do it from the front, but you tilt your head just like she does Yuko’s kiss was pretty cute, though, although not as… realistic (not that kissing a statue is realistic at all…)
8. This actually made me remember my high school graduation, and I felt really nostalgic about it, somehow.
9. The C/W song, Saigo no Seifuku, it’s a lovely lovely song in its own right. The performance in AKB1ji59fun was very pretty
10. The music doesn’t really sound different. There are some nice harmonies that weren’t on the original, but Team B is hardly seen (or heard)
I’ll do a proper review later, and post Youtube links or something. For now, in case your interested, http://www.hello-online.org/index.php?act=tracker&CODE=details&torrent=12189 <– Hello!Online tracker for the PV and Making of download. It’s totally worth your time, trust me.
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Well, I need to take my mind off of a bunch of stuff, so I decided that I’ll do Kojiharu part 2 today!
6. BINGO! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzp6tTAYoF0 Haruna is pretty lovely in Bingo, she smiles, looks happy and doesn’t space out. What more could you ask of her?
I’m not really buying this mugshot… She looks like she’s about to fall asleep (And Takamina already fell asleep here, apparently)
Making her stand next to such a lively pair like Yuko and Tomochin doesn’t really seem like the best choice… She holds her own though, through most of this PV, at least
Harunyan and her perfect close-ups… *jealousy*
I don’t really know what to say about this… She looks awesome, as always, but there’s little more to it here, to be honest (not like BINGO! is a deep philosophical piece or anything… just… didn’t the other girls look happier? Even Takamina looked like she was having the time of her life…)
That’s much better! Shame that it wasn’t properly focused… but still, very cute, right? That’s all for BINGO!
7. Boku no Taiyou: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHKm9FhLo1M To make up for the lack of Harunyan screentime in Bingo, there’s Boku no Taiyou. This PV is about her. Seriously, though. Not that I complain about it, she totally owns the center position and looks positively lovely and radiant in both her close ups and the story part.
The PV almost begins with a close up of her, even with the weird outfit, she looks stunning
Cute! I don’t really get what she’s doing, but whatever, it looks cute anyway
I like how commited she is to look happy in this PV, it really works for her
She’s paired with Acchan, and they have great chemistry, like I said earlier in Acchan’s profile
Here we get a glimpse of Gloomy Harunyan again, but Acchan comes and cheers her up! It’s very cute.
I remember hearing Tyra Banks say once that models should be able to smile with their eyes. I, of course, dismissed it just anything else that comes out of Tyra’s mouth, but I think that that’s exactly what Kojiharu is doing here, smiling with her eyes.
I’m running out of ways to say that this pV is cute and the girls look happy, so I’ll just shut up for a while…
That camera looks kind of weird, right?
Ok, this is a bit much. People don’t usually go “OMG!!!! I’m so freaking happy!!! I just took a picture!!!”
Ew. Why does every outfit in this PV have to clash and visually hurt me so much? It’s like a bunch of little girls raided their mom’s wardrobe and threw everything in, regardless of color, shape, whatever…
aaaand… the final close up. Wow, that was a lot of screen time, seriously. I left a whole bunch of screencaps out, but I’m lazy, and you got the point so let it be.
8. Yuuhi wo Miteiru ka http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_rrSPsFs8M Double personality Haruna! She plays gloomy kid in some scenes and looks super happy in the rest of the PV. I don’t think I’ll comment much on these caps, my brain has gone kind of numb
“Hey you, you’re a lucky guy!” Ok, I’ll stop listening to GAM while I do these. I’ll go and play Shinkirou instead, to immerse myself in Kojiharu-ness
She looks more grown up here, right? She’s coming of age this year anyway, so she should look like that, but it makes me feel a bit nostalgic for the old “Sakura no Hanabiratachi” days…
She looks less happy than in the previosu PV, but you don’t need to be hysterical happy, and if anything, this kind of mood fits the “cheer up” gentle feel of this song better somehow
but she goes back to Gloom mode when nobody is seeing her! Or maybe she’s just… you know, spacing
Here she plays the reject girl, who stays on the side while the others chat and are happy
It’s a bit too much emo-ness for such a role
Or maybe she just went into zombie mode again?
But luckily, Mii-chan is here to pull her out of her depression/zombieness/whatever that was
And then she’s happy again! (Of course, I’d be happy too if I could hug Yuko like that…)
9. Romance Irane http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7HAsjhTfh4 Romance was Acchan and Haruna spamming all the way. But since it’s such a sucky PV (and my screencaps suck even more…) I won’t post many of them , sorry! She’s back to all her Risako-esque scowling she hadn’t done since Skirt, Hirari, BTW, but this time it fits with the lyrics and mood of the song
Scowling Kojiharu! She looks like she means some harm here…
And a close up!
Ok, we get it, you’re mad…
Even sexier… I’m impressed!
EDIT: Well, I’ll post the Youtube videos anyway :D
Team A Stage 4 – Junai no Crescendo: I hate to recycle videos, but seriosuly, Harunyan is smoking here, if I may say so, without being gay or anything (I think XD). Her powerful voice works really well with this dramatic and sexy type of song, and she steals the spotlight from the other girls (and God knows how hard it is to outshine Miichan…) http://youtube.com/watch?v=ScECI1T-wkg&feature=related
Team A 3d Stage – Shinkirou: For your eyes only, this amazing duet where Kojiharu sings with Nakanishi Rina (we’ll definitely get into her later, because I freaking love her and her voice…) A very sweet song, and this version is fansubbed too, for you to understand the beautiful and sad lyrics. I love the harmonies here, and Rina’s angel voice is a perfect match for Kojiharu’s somewhat nasal vocals, and lower range. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvj0O8oW268