30 Day Idol Challenge – Day 2


Ok, so for today we have the following question:

2. An idol you dislike/hate

First of all, I don’t hate anyone because it would be a waste of my life to hate someone I’ve never even met, especially because the idol personas of many of these girls might be completely different from who they are in real life.

And now a disclaimer: If you’re a fan of Mitsui Aika or Hagiwara Mai this would be a good time to stop reading. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

hagiwaramitsui

These girls are probably the only idols I even slightly dislike, since I’m so fond of idols in general and can find a reason to love almost all of them. I don’t actively dislike them most of the times either, just whenever I stumble upon a new C-ute PV or a MM PV which is admittedly quite rare since I stopped being a fan of H!P years ago.

Ok, so the reasons. Let’s start with the girl I dislike less out of this twosome: It’s Aika. I didn’t care for Aika when she was chosen as the 8th audition winner, I wasn’t upset or anything, I just didn’t care. When I heard her singing I praised the lord because she wasn’t Kusumi 2.0 like I was fearing and she seemed cute enough.

Then the years passed, with no auditions or graduations and she started annoying me for various small reasons:

First: She can’t pose well in most of the promotional MM pictures, I understand that maybe she’s not photogenic, and neither am I, but honestly the expressions she makes in some of those pics are pretty insane (the majidesukasuka trollface, anyone?) and it makes her look pretty awkward, which frustrates me to no end.

But that’s ok, maybe it’s not her fault, maybe the other girls look really weird in all of the other shots and they have to pick the one where most of the girls look fine even if she doesn’t, I don’t know.

Second: The way they style her (and Risa’s) hair is absolutely frustrating to me as well. That hideous mullet she had in OOLG? Wtf was up with that? Seriously. But again, I know that this is not her fault, and I can look over hideous hairstyles if I like a girl’s personality (I do it all the time with SNSD’s Hyoyeon)

Third: And probably the most important point. I don’t like her personality. I’ve seen that she’s caring, and loves animals, which is great, but she also seems bossy and sometimes her comments seem harsh to me, I don’t like people who behave like that in real life, so I’m not exactly thrilled to see it in an idol.

So, to sum it up, Aika just frustrates me, especially because most of the reasons why she bothers me aren’t entirely her fault :s she’s just not my kind of girl I guess… Maybe if MM hadn’t stopped having constant auditions and graduations I would’ve warmed up to her, because, you know, there would be more girls distracting me from her “bad points” and maybe I would like her. But in a static MM where everyone was pretty much doing the same thing for years she stood out in a bad way. I do acknowledge that she’s a good performer and stuff but you know, she’ll never be a favorite of mine.

hagiwara

Now with Hagiwara is much simpler. I’ve never liked her, even when she was like a 5 year old HelloPro kid with huge glasses (god I really hated those glasses). I found her obnoxious when she was a kid, especially because she used to say she was sexy all the time and wotas would cheer and that creeped me out 😡 I also remember that there was a time in a concert (I think it was the Wonderful Hearts 2006 concert) when she started talking with a fake voice and in a really weird way and it annoyed me.

Then her singing voice, it sounds kind of whiny to me, so I don’t like it either. Then there’s her spoiled kid personality which annoys me too, and my worst moment as a H!P fan was that Kirarin unit of her and Koharu, my ears literally bled (for the record, I love Koharu, I even love some of her songs because come on, she was on crack, but her voice is a NG for me). So yeah, I don’t like this girl at all, sorry, to each their own!



30 Day Idol challenge


lol I know that this is so 3 months ago, but I really wanted to give it a shot 😀 I’m going with the edited version Serenyty made for her blog because I don’t care about 90% of what happens with Hello!Project these days, sorry!

Also, I just turned 24 *gasp* I’m still hoping that Mariko never graduates so that there is always an idol around who is older than me lol

Ok, so let’s get started!

1. Your favorite idol

yukoidol

This should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following this blog xD I absolutely adore Yuko for many many reasons. It all started in 2007, I was just getting into AKB48 because I found their “Skirt Hirari” song quite catchy, reminiscent of old school idols, and the tongue in cheek skirt fluttering piqued my interest. At that time, I dubbed Takamina as my favorite because she was the one with the distinctive hairstyle and the serious face, and she also seemed like the most vocally capable.

I started researching more about them, and watching their other PVs. I was kind of unimpressed with Aitakatta and didn’t even pay much attention to it at first xD but then I read reviews about Seifuku ga Jama wo Suru so I decided to watch it and it fulfilled all my expectations and then some. The heavy beat, the sexy lyrics, the daring topic the PV was about, the darkness and helplessness of the atmosphere in said PV… And among all of the girls, the one who stood out the most was Yuko. Granted, at first I didn’t know it was her, but seeing that incredibly beautiful and seemingly fragile girl look so heartbroken I thought “Wow, there’s something about her” and I went off to find out more about her, eventually falling in love with Team K by extent.

Then Keibetsu Shiteita Aijou came along and it sealed the deal. Yuko was pretty much the main character of the video, and her distraught crying definitely put her in my radar again. I decided that she was going to be my favorite, and that has never changed and never will.

I love Yuko because she’s capable of doing anything thrown her way, she faces challenges (even those involving balloons, her biggest phobia) always giving it her all and trying her best to smile while she’s at it.

I love her because she’s the kind of girl I’d like to be: Even though she gets nostalgic at times and overthinks some things, she tries to put all that behind her and just move forward. Despite of all the challenges in her life, she has never stopped doing her best and trying really hard to make her dreams come true.

Yuko is a great partner, she is very kind to the other members and supports them when they need it, she’s also never afraid of being herself, and even though her over the top personality might seem annoying to some people, for me it’s so refreshing to see that she’s not afraid to stretch the boundaries of what “being an idol” means. I love how she cheers up everyone by making funny faces or telling jokes, I love how she’s always performing at her maximum capacity regardless of how tired she might be from all the jobs she has.

I’ve never seen Yuko whining about anything (maybe jokingly, but even so, I can’t ever recall her doing that). Even though when she joined AKB she was told by Akimoto that she would be the center of Team K because she already had experience in the entertainment world (she started acting when she was 7) but he didn’t think she would get any further than that and it was supposed to be just a temporary position for her, she took it upon her to become even better everyday so that she would keep her position.

I also love how kind Yuko is to her fans, she doesn’t forget about what’s important and is always thankful and nice.

I decided to take on this challenge so I could talk a bit more about idols, even if it were in a random way. I don’t see myself ever stopping loving Yuko no matter what (just like I still love Goto Maki, Kago Ai, Oshima Mai even though they aren’t idols anymore). She’s truly an inspiration to me and seeing her face all of the hardships in life with a smile on her lips and the firm belief that if you work hard you’ll step closer to your dream gives me hope that I can have that positive outlook in life as well in the future.

And I’ll take this opportunity to congratulate Yuko because she’s landed a big role in a Getsu9 drama this year! Those dramas are the most important ones (I hear, since I don’t watch dramas at all) and this time she didn’t get a background character, but one of the main ones! The drama is called “Watashi wa Renai Dekinai Riyuu” (The reasons why I can’t be in love) and it’s about 3 girls who have issues with love (duh) anyway, I’m really exited about it and I’m very very happy because I’d been bitter all year about how pretty much everyone got a drama role except for her, even though she’s the one who’s wanted to be an actress since she was a kid and works so hard for it ;_;

I hope that this is her big break, and that she can achieve her dreams and become a wonderful actress who will represent Japan, just like she wishes. Even if that means quitting AKB, it wouldn’t matter to me. I will never stop supporting her.

Don’t forget to watch her prime time drama debut! 😀 I’ll post more info whenever I find it 😀



Togasaki’s wise words


Ok, so I bring you the latest news regarding AKB’s scandals. The full translation of Togasaki’s words is here, but in a few words, I’ll sum it up by saying that he is asking the fans to understand that before they auditioned to become idols, these girls were normal schoolgirls, and did stuff they usually do, like falling in love, even dating and such. However, they make a personal sacrifice in order to become idols and join AKB48, so instead of scrutinizing their past, he asks the fans to please support their present work, and the efforts they make everyday as members in order to grow up.

togasaki

I’ve always been a huge fan of the theater manager for many reasons. The biggest one is personal (he was the one who allowed my 2-shot with Yuko even though she was already booked for that day), but I also admire him because he doesn’t only get his job done, but he also cares a lot about the girls.

The first time I realized this was when the first elections were announced, his comment to the girls was that regardless of how many people voted for them, they would always be Number One for all those who did. Isn’t that sweet? For all the heartbreak that is inherent to this fandom, I feel simply overjoyed that a good guy with a heart of gold is around taking care of my girls and always listening to the fans.

However, this was the highest proof of amazingness from Togasaki. He’s actually a part of the management of an idol group and has COMMON SENSE (!!!) this is completely unheard of, but it’s a very pleasing surprise <3

tgsk

Seeing that I’ve been an idol fan for like 10 years now, I’m already used to ridiculous stuff going on left and right. The rules are clear, and even though AKB intended to follow the idol model pretty much down to the last little detail, I realized that maybe they were trying to be a little more rational about it ever since they decided to allow Ayarin back in the group, and as I pointed out back when I noticed what the “Renai Kinshi Jourei” lyrics meant, it looked like Akimoto was actually agreeing with the fact that it’s too difficult to keep teenage girls from falling in love and getting together with a boy, even if it was against the rules they already knew.

As I pointed out back then, Akimoto himself married an idol, so he knows first hand about this issues. But again, the point of the matter isn’t even whether the rule is going to be kept or not (because it looks like it is) but just to what extent are the fans willing to go in order to sling mud at the idols they’re supposed to love? Togasaki makes a fantastic point, even if he does say that this is just his personal opinion, when he says that people should be looking at the girls ever since they chose to become idols (he cleverly made an exception in stating that illegal activities are different, of course) he’s saying something that is crucial to understand the whole mechanics of the idol world: They are selling an image, and they are bound by a contract to keep that illusion of purity BUT they are human beings, and there’s no reason to subject them to the same ludicrous rules before they even signed up for it.

There’s a saying in my country “El que busca encuentra” which means something like “If you look for something, you’ll end up finding it” and fans should know better than to go through all the purikuras in the net because they will most definitely find familiar faces in there. So how far back are they going to go? And if you are paying for an illusion, shouldn’t you also do your part and stop poking around to crash your own dreams?

There’s still no final word on what is going to happen with Mori and Oba, nothing has been brought up about Matsui Sakiko or Nito Moeno, so we’re all assuming that they are safe. And it looks like Shimarena is not going anywhere either. If anything, Togasaki’s wise words should be taken to heart by people who are in favor of a witch hunt.



About AKB’s new scandals


Hi everyone! Right now I want to discuss the scandals that are going on in AKB because we’ve been without any for a long while, so I kind of even forgot they could happen xD

In general, there haven’t been many scandals in AKB’s history, first it was because nobody really cared about them and now that they’ve become popular some people speculate that Akimoto must be paying tabloids to keep their mouths shut or that they have some sort of arrangement anyway.

Basically, the only real scandals I can think of are the Kikuchi Ayaka debacle back when she was a frontgirl of Team B, when a purikura she took with her boyfriend became publicly known because the guy posted it on his blog IIRC. The guy then went on to insult wotas and apparently some of Ayarin’s friends did the same thing as well. This all ended with her being fired from the group and re auditioning later to become a kks and finally be promoted to Team K. Ayarin had a big fanbase at the time the scandal happened and they made a petition to Akimoto to let her stay, to no avail. However, this might have helped her in having the opportunity to reapply for the group.

kikuchiscandal

The other big scandal was Sayaka’s last year. Allegedly, the director (or was it producer? I don’t know, someone with a big position) of the stage play she was working at stayed at her apartment one night and  tabloid took pictures. It was practically a non-scandal, since Umechan, Sayaka’s roommate was there and the guy was pretty old. We all thought things were going to blow over, and then Sayaka herself announced that she would be stepping down from her captain position because she had gotten AKB in trouble. It all ended well for her because she worked very hard and ran a marathon to earn her title back.

sayakascandal

Things had kept low key for a long while and even a few minor issues popped up, like SKE’s Yagami Kumi having taken some purikuras with a boy a million years ago, which caused her from being kind of demoted from her frontgirl position in Team S, but not much else.

Until Shimada Rena came along. She’s a NMB48 2nd generation kks who was apparently (I don’t follow the sister groups of AKB) portrayed as the future captain for Team M. The issue is that pictures of her getting cozy with a boy named Nobu appeared on the internet, as well as apparently blog posts from her (ex?) boyfriend saying compromising stuff like thanking his friends for giving him a condom to celebrate his anniversary with Rena and insulting wotas. To add fuel to the fire, there were pictures of Rena at a bar with some friends. The management apologized for her behavior and said that she didn’t drink anything that time she went to the bar and she had broke it off with her boyfriend before the NMB auditions.

shimarena

Apparently, wotas got pretty pissed off because even though they weren’t major scandals, girls have been fired for much less incriminating purikuras before, especially kenkyuuseis like Ishiguro Atsuki of 9th gen and some other girl from 8th gen whose name I can’t remember right now (Nana?) At the NMB 2nd gen kks debut show, Shimarena apologized in public for her behavior and the audience apparently applauded her, but one guy stood up and yelled “Are you going to tolerate this when girls have been fired for stuff like this before?” he was apparently removed from the theater by the staff, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Shimarena has a very difficult life as an idol ahead of her, and she can practically forget about being named captain of Team M.

About a week ago another scandal was dug up by the fans. This time the members that are implicated are Mori Anna and Oba Mina from Team 4, and extensively, Nito Moeno of Team K.

Apparently, they found Mori and Oba’s old blogs. Mori Anna dated a lot of guys when she was in middle school and she also had a boyfriend for 2 years prior to joining AKB48 (their anniversary was 6/2009 while 9th gen started 9/2009) and apparently had sex with him and kept making blog posts about him even after she was in AKB48. It’s unclear whether or not they had stayed together, but it looks like she was still in love with him or something like that.

Anna’s blog led to Oba Mina’s, she’s the captain of the newly created Team 4 and also the most popular member and “ace” of the team. Oba’s blog made things even worse, as apparently she had been engaging in underage drinking, had a boyfriend for like 5 months before joining AKB, possibly had plastic surgery done to her eyelids and also she talked about compensated dating (enjo kosai) in her blog and on top of all that, criticized Akimoto for his choice to promote all of the kks during the Team Shuffle concert.

But that’s not all. She also incriminated Team K’s Nito Moeno by saying that she was being pushed even though she had no connections and that she was dating someone while she was an AKB member. Ouch.

minarunmiddlefinger

And there’s also this rude purikura xD Anyway, management has said that they are studying Oba and Mori’s cases to decide what they will do next. They didn’t say anything about Nito, which makes me think that they’re not doing anything about her situation (and quite honestly, they pretty much can’t afford to. Team K is the least popular team and Moeno is one of their popular members. And now that they’ve created Team 4 they are promoting promising kks there, they would have a hard time promoting a good kks to Team K to replace Moeno and super pushing her a la Yui because people could get alienated.)

I don’t know what will they do. Apparently Mori has blogged about working and said that she wouldn’t ever give up, so that might mean she’s staying, but for Minarun is definitely more complicated. She didn’t say that she had engaged in compensated dating (an euphemism for receiving money in exchange of stuff that can range from just dating to having sex with a guy) but even mentioning it looks bad in the squeaky clean delusional world of idols. Also there’s her mentioning underage drinking several times, that will be very hard to disprove, even though there is no graphic evidence to incriminate her directly.

The management is in big trouble because of Oba’s high profile, not in the group in general, but as the most promising member of the newly created Team 4, that hasn’t even debuted yet. Kicking Oba out of the group would put the newcomers in an unfavorable position from the get go, as the other team members aren’t nearly as popular as Minarun is, so it’s definitely a very very delicate situation.

minarun

What I find surprising about this whole scandal development is that it wasn’t brought on AKB by the usual culprits: tabloids, but instead by the fans digging deep to throw mud at idols. This is what makes it different from other idol scandals IMO, and having been a fan of H!P for a while before I know how this is, there’s a theory that the fact that the management didn’t fire Shimarena made wotas angry so they went on to find other girl’s secrets to put pressure on the management. Scary.

I’m not particularly attached to any of these girls (Mori Anna is gorgeous though) but scandals always remind me of the ugly face of the idol world: the double standards and all the weird stuff that has to do with the radical fans. Actually, the reason why I left the H!P fandom for good was because the successive scandals of Kago Ai, Fujimoto Miki and finally Goto Maki’s brother leading to her resignation left me very jaded and suffering more than I was enjoying, I wouldn’t want AKB to go down the same path 🙁

However, it wouldn’t be unheard of, after all, scandals are bound to happen in such a repressive environment where a girl’s value is determined by her “purity”. Of course, I hope we all understand that idols create a sort of alter ego or “public persona” that is always prim and proper and full of smiles even if they aren’t like that in real life, and that the idol business thrives as an escapism from reality, its success is its ability to create a world of illusions for the fans.

moriyui

My stand is that even though they are teenagers and it’s logical for them to fall in love, they are also explicitly asked in their contract to not get caught doing any of the un-idol-like things. I couldn’t care less if all of them had boyfriends, and I’m the first one to go “AWWW CUTE”, but it’s kind of sloppy to leave behind such traces if you’re going to do something forbidden :/ If they want to go and openly live their lives and stuff then they shouldn’t be idols, really.

Of course we could start arguing about whether such rules should exist or not, but I’d rather not go there. It’s pretty obvious that their whole business is based on fantasies and for the sake of the girls who are involved I would prefer if they kept it quiet about their personal affairs, keeping an open personal blog and writing such things when you’re already in an idol group is a very bad idea :s

I hope the management finds a way out of this. AKB is at its peak now, but it might start to decline anytime soon and scandals are not going to help. I’ll wait to see what happens with this new development, but I’m sad that fans have resorted to such extreme measures to make their voices be heard, and about such things that have always saddened me like the “no boyfriend rule”. I’ll keep you guys as updated as possible when we hear again from Togasaki next week.

EDIT: Looks like the fans are still at it x_x Now they’ve found pictures of NMB’s ace and Team N leader Yamamoto Sayaka

yamamoto1

yamamoto2

yamamoto3

Ehh… So she hung out with some guys (apparently classmates since some pictures said “Graduation is near”) and another girl but OMG STOP THE INTERNETZ! Idols can’t ever take any sort of picture when another male specimen of the human race is involved even if they aren’t doing anything even remotely romantic? Seriously? Have we gone that far? I don’t see absolutely anything wrong with this pics, and I think Yamamoto will be fine.

However, a purikura of Team K member Matsui Sakiko has also appeared:

matsui-sakiko

Here we can see a girl who looks a lot like Sakiko holding hands with some boy. Togasaki hasn’t said anything about her yet, but he promised to give an announcement about the current situation when he arrives to Tokyo.

I’ll keep you guys informed.



Not yet “Naminori Kakigoori” single review!


Ok, so I’ve been meaning to do this for a long while! You guys must know by now that Not yet is my favorite AKB subunit because it includes my 2 top members, Oshima Yuko and Yokoyama Yui <3 On top of that it also includes the always hilarious Sasshi and the gorgeous, quirky and kind Kitarie so it’s win all around 😀 With that said, I’ve been dying to review this single ever since it came out, but I haven’t had the time for various reasons. The PV is my favorite idol PV so far this year, it’s simply fantastic and super well done IMO, so I’ll review it with a million screencaps sometime soon, hopefully xD

However, the reason why I like Not yet other than the fact that all of its members are in my top 10 is the fact that I really like the songs they get, I find them pretty and the lyrics are always able to put a smile on my face 🙂 I never got around to reviewing Shuumatsu, their debut single, although I loved it to bits, so I want to strike the iron while it’s hot and do it with Naminori Kakigoori before it slips away from everybody’s mind 😀

promopic

Naminori Kakigoori was the second single release by AKB subunit Not yet formed by the following members:

Oshima Yuko ace of Team K and center of the group

Yokoyama Yui the new star of Team K

Sashihara Rino of Team A, known for her Hetare (useless) character and quirky blog posts

Kitahara Rie of Team B, known for being Sasshi’s best friend and partner in crime xD

The single was released on July 6th, and its theme is summer! I’ll review all of the tracks and provide lyrics translations as well because I feel like they are an important part of the reason why I like the songs so much 🙂

Naminori Kakigoori achieved the No. 1 weekly position having sold 156000 copies on its first week, coming just 3k short of their debut single. I don’t know the overall sales so far though so if anyone could let me know I would really appreciate it!

naminori_kakigori_43895

1. Naminori Kakigoori (Surfing Shaved Ice):

Here are the lyrics translation courtesy of STUDIO48 and loveandcoffee

    Surfing and shaved ice
    Are the things you like the most
    As the third thing
    Please fall in love with me

    Your skilled board
    Sliding on the blue see
    Has forgotten
    The beach

    I wave my hands at you widely
    But you don’t notice me at all
    You’re a free
    Flying fish

    I pretend I’m a little sulky
    And flip over my love
    My back will get sunburnt
    Because a certain someone isn’t here
    To help me apply sun oil

    Surfing and shaved ice
    Are the things you like the most
    You don’t notice
    Anything else at all
    Surfing and shaved ice
    Are the things you like the most
    As the third thing
    Please fall in love with me
    Before summer is over…

    You’re finally back
    With your hair wet
    And you look
    Very pleased with yourself

    You laugh
    As you eat melon flavoured shaved ice
    You kind of irk me a little

    You’re surrounded by the things you love
    You’re happy, aren’t you?
    You’re like a little boy…
    I voiced my sarcastic remark
    To the sun in the sky…

    Waiting a ton of time on my own
    What’s gonna happen to the two of us?
    When I look back,
    I feel so lonely
    Waiting a ton of time on my own
    What’s gonna happen to the two of us?
    I feel uneasy when you’re not here
    Please remember the third thing…
    Surfing,
    Shaved ice…
    I wonder what do they
    Have in common

    Maybe I’m not enough?
    Am I not enough?
    But see, I don’t mind
    If I’m not your number one favourite…

    Surfing and shaved ice
    Are the things you like the most
    You don’t notice
    Anything else at all
    Surfing and shaved ice
    Are the things you like the most
    As the third thing
    Please fall in love with me
    Before summer is over…

So, as you can see, even though it’s an upbeat summery tune it’s actually a sad song about a girl who knows that she isn’t her boyfriend’s first priority but she still loves him so she tries to stay with him despite of this. This tradition of upbeat music but bittersweet lyrics is a classic in AKB’s discography, and it think it paints an interesting contrast, I also like how the song isn’t overly gloomy or melodramatic either lyrics wise, it keeps the whole scene it paints quite light hearted. Music wise, this time the song is a lot faster than Shuumatsu Not yet and it also gives every girl solo lines, which are very much welcome! The song is very poppy although it has some sparkly sounding elements (reminiscent of Kakigoori?) and some guitars. I like the stacatto sound of the interlude a lot since it makes it stand out.

Rating: 5/5

type-a-cddvd-cover

2. Vermeer no Tegami (Vermeer’s Letter):

Lyrics translation by me, keep in mind that I’m not fluent in japanese but I try my best xD If you spot any mistakes, feel free to let me know about them, thanks!

    On the table there are figs
    ripening without noticing it
    even though their sweet scent is inviting
    somehow I can’t reach out my hand…

    Only by
    loving you
    I’m causing someone else to be unhappy
    I avert my gaze suddenly
    and look for relief in
    the light that comes through the window
    Forgive me for this love…

    I wonder what was written
    in Vermeer’s letter
    somehow my current self
    understands it…
    Even though I know that that moment was a mistake
    I don’t have regrets about our unexpected meeting
    My destiny

    There are precious things
    that disappear when you touch them with your fingers
    if that happens then I’d rather close my eyes
    and not see anything anymore

    I know that I
    don’t have the requirements
    to love you
    my room gets darker
    everything
    becomes the same under the blindfold
    of love’s pain

    Without even writing a reply to
    Vermeer’s letter
    my pure white stationary
    represents the feelings in my heart
    I can’t betray someone I don’t know
    instead of hurting her
    I’ll turn this into a memory
    Your destiny

    There are fruits
    whose flowers don’t bloom
    but secretly open
    when the night comes
    I will certainly remember
    just like the bright sunlight
    love is a memory

    I wonder what was written
    in Vermeer’s letter
    somehow my current self
    understands it…
    Even though I know that that moment was a mistake
    I don’t have regrets about our unexpected meeting
    My destiny

So, first things first. This song is the standard B-side that came with all the types of the CD. The song was the theme of a Museum Exhibit called “Vermeer’s Love Letter” in Kyoto, which is probably where the title and theme of the song come from. Vermeer was a dutch painter, famous for his “Girl with a Pearl Earring” painting, but he also had a painting called “The Love Letter” which depicted a young woman getting a love letter, with imagery that suggests a tempestuous love (read the whole thing at wiki here). This is all important because the lyrics of the song tell a story about a girl who has a love affaire with a guy who is committed to someone else, the girl of the song realizes that she can’t hurt somebody else just because of her selfish feelings and decides to cut it off even though it saddens her. This way, she says she understands what was written in Vermeer’s Letter, maybe alluding to the fact that the letter might have been addressed to some guy’s mistress (this last part is my interpretation of it though) and she’s going to write a reply to it to put an end to their romance.

As it happens often with Akimoto’s lyrics they paint a very specific scene, and I think it’s pretty awesome how he managed to come up with a story that was fitting for the painting in question, without stretching things too much. It’s quite a grown up song too, which surprised me considering how the lyrics of their previous songs have been normal idol stuff.

Ok, so now, the musical part. This song is a ballad, and it has a bit of a dramatic undertone to it, especially during the verses. There’s a very interesting accordion (or something like that) arrangement that gives it its distinct flavor and saves it from just being another random idol ballad, but it isn’t enough to make it stand out particularly. Actually, I’ve heard it described as “museum music” xD which might have been what Akimoto was looking for? I think it’s relaxing and pretty but not much more than that.

Rating: 3,5/5
kojiyuu
3. Hug Tomo (Hug Friend)
Translation by me as well 🙂
    Even though I set my answering machine two days ago
    and I’ve sent you many mails
    we haven’t been able to communicate
    it’s not like your usual self

    whenever I’m feeling down
    you rush to my side
    you’re always bright
    and tell me “it will work out somehow”
    cheering me up
    My friend (my friend)

    If we meet this time
    I will hug you
    If you cry (it’s all right)
    even if you have a runny nose it’s OK
    you can act like a baby with me
    aren’t we best friends? (always)
    I won’t tell anyone
    we’re like a mirror
    each one of us is exactly like the other

    Laughing you say “I’m fine”
    but I know that you’re just pretending to be strong
    because we’ve been together since we were kids
    I realize after you wipe your tears

    This time it’s my turn
    I will listen to your words
    I’ll say “it will work out somehow”
    to your sadness
    let’s share this pain
    my friend (my friend)

    together or alone
    everybody
    lives supporting each other
    we are weak living beings
    Only with me, don’t pretend to look cool
    we’re best friends (always)
    I can’t possibly hate you
    You are me
    and I am you, that’s what I think

    If we meet this time
    I will hug you
    If you cry (it’s all right)
    even if you have a runny nose it’s OK
    you can act like a baby with me

Adorable <3 Anyway, this song is the B-side that came with Type A, it was used for the movie “Hop” and it features a cameo by Kojima Haruna of Team A/no3b who is also Yuko’s big crush xD In the middle of the song she gets asked by Yuko if she likes her, and she laughs and says yes, so Yuko doesn’t believe her because she laughs but in the end she reassures her that it’s true. It sounded very spontaneous and unscripted and definitely added to the mushiness of the song!

Musically, this song sounds honestly a bit country, I like to think of it as Kokoro no Hashi no Sofa’s little sister because of its similar lyrics and music style 😀 Lyrically, it’s nothing to write home about, the usual friendship song, with some really cute lyrics and metaphors (the mirror one was pretty adorable IMO).

It’s perfect for making you cheer up if you’re feeling gloomy and remind you that you’re not alone, and it’s quite catchy in its simplicity!

Rating: 4/5
type-b-cddvd-cover
4. Greece no Kamotsusen (Greek Freighter)
Translation by me
    The sun sets quietly at dusk
    while we look at it
    now you softly take my hand
    until only one shadow stretches out…

    falling in love this much
    must be the number one happiness in the world, right?
    it’s what I suddenly thought
    because you would listen at my sad stories and everything else
    looking at me gently

    The greek freighter has passed
    look, it’s a shadow sailing on the horizon
    I wonder what does the container carry? listen…
    it would be nice if it were love to share with someone else

    We stand together
    on the breakwater like this
    while the salty wind blows
    I lean on your shoulder

    Meeting someone
    more precious than anyone else isn’t a coincidence
    Up until now I overlooked
    what I was looking for
    in that map
    but you made me realize it

    Greece’s blue and white flag
    look, it paints the sky and sea as one
    where will we go next? The future…
    someday I want to live with you far away

    The blue and white sea of Greece
    it’s like the picture in a postcard
    I wonder where is happiness? it’s a dream
    someday let’s look at dawn from there

This song is the B-side exclusive to Type B of the CD. The lyrics are yet another love story, and with a very specific location and plot to it as well! This one is about a girl who unexpectedly finds love in a trip to Greece. Having been there, I can relate to the sceneries the song speaks about and well, it’s pretty romantic, you know? Looking at the vast ocean while leaning on your boyfriend’s shoulder and thinking about a wonderful future for the two of you… Ahh l’amour

It’s a very beautiful midtempo song with subtle piano and guitar (and synths! but not the annoying kind) I love the build up to the chorus and how nostalgic it sounds overall despite being a happy song, it makes it even more romantic I guess 🙂 Solo lines are everywhere in this song, and to be quite honest, this is the first time that the general complain of Not yet’s poor vocals has affected me personally :/

Let’s look at it in a case-by-case basis: Oshima Yuko isn’t a fantastic singer, but she’s not bad by any means either. Her voice has a husky quality to it that makes it stand out, but she can put emotion in her singing and she can carry a tune fine.

Yokoyama Yui has a high pitched timbre, but I’d argue that she’s the best singer in the unit. She’s proven to be quite good live (listen to her cover of Ikimonogakari’s Bluebird) if you can tolerate her sweet voice xD and she works pretty well in the group because the rest of the girls have significantly lower registers.

Now, moving on to Sashihara Rino, she has an average voice, but she’s good at hitting all the right notes and can harmonize properly. I was actually pleasantly surprised to hear her solo lines in this single, even though I’ve never thought she’s bad, I used to find her voice very non descript, but she’s improved and now sounds clearer.

Last is Kitahara Rie. God knows I love Kitarie to death, she’s my second favorite Team B member, and she could do no wrong in my eyes until I heard her solo line in the a capella chorus here. Seriously, she was all over the place, her voice sounded kinda shaky and not right. I wish I knew more about music so I could point out exactly what was it that bothered me but uhh…  It might have to do with the fact that the song is a bit higher than their other stuff so she strains a bit. Anyway. girl needs singing lessons, because she’s amazing and all, but even when she’s harmonizing she’ll go off tune at times and stick out. And this is the recording so, yeah. Kitarie, I love you to death, but please take singing lessons ;_; all of them could use them, really, so that they harmonize better and not clash, because Yuko, Sasshi and Rie’s voices are quite similar and it really stands out when one of them isn’t getting it right.

Anyway, great song, I could definitely see this being a stage song, which is great in my book 😀

Rating: 5/5
namikakia
5. Bokutachi no Offshore (Our Offshore)
Translation by me
    After the sign of the convenience store disappears
    there’s the vacant land of the national highway
    the old wagon stops
    in the sea where the typhoon is approaching
    the waves would certainly
    take down a surfboard

    With a worried face you look at me
    in your wetsuit
    it’s your first time, right?
    (don’t worry)

    In our offshore
    let’s feel the wind
    because I’ll be by your side
    I wanted to take you
    to the best place
    the scenery from the sea
    that you have never seen
    is a moment
    that changes your life

    The temperature of the water is a little low but
    we’ll get used to it
    while we paddle together
    we lose the balance for a little bit
    we straddle
    standing on top of the board

    Rather than watching from a cafe
    the process of
    challenging something together is good
    (because we’re lovers)

    love is offshore
    I wonder if you’ll understand
    while we wait for the same wave facing backwards
    we failed
    I will help you
    let me show you
    in this lovely opportunity
    the pounding of my heart

    The surfing that
    I love so much
    I wanted you
    to come to like it too someday

    in our offshore
    let’s feel the wind
    because I’ll be by your side
    I wanted to take you
    to the best place
    the scenery from the sea
    that you have never seen
    happiness and tears
    I’ll take them both
    I want to ride the waves with you
    while we love each other
    in our offshore
    let’s have fun

Yay! This is actually my favorite song in the single! I don’t know why is it that my favorite songs by Not yet are the ones nobody else likes xD Sunao ni Naritai and this. Anyway, this was the B-side exclusive to Type C, and it’s also the only song in the single that is sung from a male point of view. The story is also very specific and paints a scene with many little details, so much that you can even feel you are part of it! A surfer boy brings his girlfriend to the sea to make her fall in love with the surfing he likes so much and show off to her at the same time xD It’s really sweet because he also wants her to be at his favorite place looking at a pretty scenery and I JUST CAN’T DEAL WITH IT, IT’S TOO ADORABLE <3

Musically, I’ve heard people call it generic, but I actually quite like it and think it’s very catchy and melodic! It has a nice upbeat pace and nice and different verses that make it stand out. My favorite part is the bridge and how it leads to an almost a capella chorus to pick up the genki pace afterwards. Actually, it reminds me a bit of SKE’s music, because of the high energy and the fast pace. I just really hope I can watch a performance of this song at the next AX or anywhere, really. Should I vote for it? I was planning on voting for Korogaru Ishi ni Nare and ALIVE but hmmm… I like this song too much! I’ll figure it out when the time comes, I guess 😀

Rating: 5/5

akb48s-sub-unit-not-yet-released-second-singles-naminori-kakigoori-1

Overall Rating 4,5/5: Naminori Kakigoori is a very solid effort by the girls of Not yet that proves why they are the best selling sub unit of AKB (lol not really, that’s just because of their popularity but this was great anyway :P) Despite Shuumatsu Not yet not leaving a very good impression in a big chunk of the english speaking fanbase, they completely turned it around this time with a refreshing summer A-side and original B-sides that ranged from ballads to country and that were very well written, lyrics wise. To be honest, I feel like it was one of Akimoto’s better recent efforts, reminiscent of the lyrics of old stage songs, and I was incredibly happy to find out when I translated them, it definitely made it MUCH better to me, because I’m  nerd who likes to overanalyze idol lyrics 8B

The PV of the A-side also set them aside from their debut, where people were quite disappointed at the dance shot/close up format. I will review the PV and DVDs that came with the CDs next time 😀

Even though they didn’t manage to sell more than their debut single, I was glad to see them performing everywhere and their events looked like a lot of fun! And with good reason, because Yuko, Rie and Sasshi are great at MCing and generally entertaining a crowd, and Yuko surfing was super badass!

So, all in all, I think this was a great release and I would recommend you guys to pick it up if you can, you won’t regret it! It’s idol pop at its finest and great for the summer! My entire holiday at the sea consisted pretty much of me humming Naminori Kakigoori, Bokutachi no Offshore and Ningyo no Vacance from AKB’s latest album (which I also want to review, but we’ll see).

See you next time for PV + DVD extras! As usual all comments are much appreciated 😀

EDIT: Sorry about the spacing issues, I tried to fix them 10 times and no luck. Gah. WordPress hates me and I’m totally dumb at this kind of stuff so please bear with me.

Next Page »

Aitakatta! is proudly powered by WordPress and themed by Mukkamu