Archive for November, 2007

Nov 28 2007

MM/Cute: Member by Member Comparison

Published by under c-ute,Momusu

I’ve done comparisons between Cute and Berryz before, but recent events have got me thinking more about comparisons between Cute and MM. Specifically, looking at the roll that each member plays in her group using a member by member comparison. I know that not all of these pairings are super-strong, but I do think there is enough similarity to be of interest. Since there are more MM members than Cute members, a couple of the Cute members are paired with two Musumes.

Maimi/Ai– The leader of the group, one of the prettiest in the group, some of the strongest vocals, gets a lot of lead parts and central positions, kind of a bland personality, can sound manly when singing low parts sometimes, great dancer

Mai/Aika– The youngest in her group, cute/strong/nasally voice, gets a fair amount of lines considering that she’s the youngest, really adorable, seems mature for her age and pretty even-keeled, has anime tie-ins

Erika/JunJun– tallest, one of the oldest(or the oldest in Erika’s case) somewhat awkward at dancing, pretty strong vocals but not that many lines, seems a little unsure of herself but can be funny, not that popular overall

Airi/Koharu/Reina– gets a lot of lead lines and central positions in photos, one of the younger members but not the youngest, often wears her hair pulled back in a high bun or ponytail, has anime tie-ins and a large wota following (koharu/airi), has one of the best voices in the group and can pull off the gothic Lolita style and was in Aa! (reina/airi), one of the most popular members of her group

Kanna/Risa– kind of the forgotten girl pushed to the corner of formations and photos, cheerful and bouncy, good at dancing, great smile and reactions, occasionally gets a solo line and usually sounds good when she does, not all that popular especially when she first joined

Chisato/LinLin/Eri– the quirky goofy one, has a surprisingly good voice but never seems to get many solo lines or a central position, can be really funny, one of the younger members (linlin/chisato), has fans who constantly gripe about how underutilized she is (eri/chisato)

Saki/Sayumi– pretty girl with pale skin and nice black hair, not a very strong singer so she doesn’t get very many lines, has quite a few very hardcore fans/worshippers, has made noticeable improvement in singing since she joined her group

I think this worked out pretty neatly. What do you think?

edit: just for fun, if you combine the names you get Aimi, Maika, Junrika, Koaina, Kisa, Cherilin, and Sayuki. I think I may have just created the best idol group EVER!!blog stats

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Nov 28 2007

If you’re bummed over Mikan’s sales like I am…

Published by under c-ute,Momusu,video

Here’s some Cute to cheer you up! It cheered me up anyway. Notice that the solo lines are sung live, and they ALL sound good, and it’s the last song of the concert, so they’re bound to be tired. C-ute may be the most consistant h!p group overall when it comes to lives. Also, man I love Chisato’s voice.

Is this the beginning of the h!p clip of the week? I’ll think about it. I don’t want to be a copy-cat, but that sounds fun.

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Nov 27 2007

Looking at the Pro’s and Con’s

Published by under Momusu

Okay. I’ve had some time to think about the terribly disapointing first week sales of Mikan, and I’ve compiled some arguments for the “doooom” position, and some opposing arguments for the, “it’s not that bad” position. The ones I agree with most are in bold. Let’s start with the negative.

OMG IT’S THE END OF MORNING MUSUME BECAUSE…


-This single marks MM’s worst first week sales ever

-Not only is it the lowest first week sales, but it’s a very big drop
-Ambitious was a worse song than Mikan (most would agree) and even it sold better, indicating an overall drop in popularity that can’t be entirely attributed to the song itself
-Buono outsold this in their first week, and Cute’s latest single is likely to outsell it overall
-While recent first week sales have fluctuated, and some have been pretty good, 2nd week+ sales have been steadily declining(true only for the last few singles), so this song isn’t likey to sell much from here on out either
-People are just tired of Morning Musume, and no matter how good the song or new the members, their steady decline is inevitable
-MM is the flagship group of h!p, but maybe not for long. If they are getting surpassed by the kids groups, they might pushed back to promote Cute, Berryz, and their subgroups, fading into h!p obscurity like the less popular of the graduated members

CHILL OUT, IT’S GOING TO BE OKAY BECAUSE…

-It’s only 1 song. The other songs for this year all sold better than Ambitious and Sexy Boy, and KT sold better than everything up to Irropoi and better than a few before Iroppoi as well
-The song just needs more hooks. It’s not a bad song, but it’s not catchy enough to stick in the heads of the mainstream audience and make them remember it and buy it. These sales have more to do with that flaw than with MM’s popularity
-With visiting China and Korea, the ongoing concert tour, and promoting the All Singles album, there just hasn’t been much promotion for this single, comparitivey. The amount of promotion can make a huge difference.
-There was no handshake event for this, so less incentive for fans to buy multiple copies
-It’s all relative. We were thrilled when Cute’s first week got about this much, so it’s kind of strange to be horrified when MM does
-There’s still hope for good 2nd week sales. While this song started out low in the chart, it really didn’t fall that far during the week. Kanashimi Twilight, for example, fell 15 places over the course of its first week. Mikan only fell 5.

There you have it. I’m not entirely sure what to expect from here on out. All I know is that Morning Musume’s next single better damn well be a good, popular one, so we can just all consider this a fluke and move on.

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Nov 27 2007

Oh My

Published by under Momusu

The sales figures for Mikan’s first week have come in… and they’re not high. Around 28K sold with a rank of 6th. The rank isn’t such a big deal to me. I know it was a tough week, but their lowest first week sales ever? And by quite a lot too.

Soon, there’s going to be a rush of blogging trying to explain what went wrong. Some will be defending MM and making excuses, others will be proclaiming this the fabled “the end of Morning Musume”. Right now though, I’m kind of in too much shock to do any of that. I think I need some time to process this, but right now I can say that with these numbers being what they are… it doesn’t look good. I really thought MM was making some headway recently, but maybe I was wrong. Sigh. Honestly, I’m just stunned.

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Nov 26 2007

YAY!

Published by under Personal

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!! My friends who are doing JET just sent me the best birthday present ever from Japan! I got not one, not two, but three Morning Musume albums, and an awesome Engrish shirt! The front of the shirt reads:

Sky man of talent
who takes
an active
(series of random greek letters in pink sparkly font, no, I’m not making that up)
part wirh the
generation shift
EXCHANGE
Someting expects and begins!!

I’ll do a proper post later today, but I’m just too giddy over all this not to share.

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Nov 25 2007

Phavorite Photos of 2007

Published by under c-ute,eye candy,Momusu,VUDen

The year is not over yet, so some might say that it’s too soon for “best____ of the year” features, but to them I say pish posh. I’m doing one anyway.

For your viewing pleasure, my favorite h!p photos of the year (so far). Most of them are from photobooks, but there are a few exceptions.

10.Out of all the recently released h!p kids photobooks, I think that Maimi’s really stood out. A lot of her pictures still have a somewhat awkward “it’s my first time doing this” look to them, but some of them, such as this shot (the cover) look wonderfully natural. I really love her expression in this. It’s kind of enigmatic, I think.

9.Good lord Sayumi is beautiful. That’s all I can say about this.

8. Ahaha Rika. I love it when photobooks have silly goofy shots like this. The shot where she’s trying to pull off the sock is especially cute.

7. To me, this shot of Aika from the recent concert just says “I have arrived”. Adjusting to being a Musume is no doubt a difficult and stressful process, but it seems that Aika is finally feeling confident and really starting to enjoy herself now. I think that this photo of her singing a solo while looking oh so happy and adorable shows that progress.

6.I love Reina’s “girl” photobook so much that it was difficult for me to not put too many pictures from it in this list. This one made the cut because it shows a side of Reina that we don’t get to see very often. It’s not “kirakira” and it’s not “yankii” either. It’s not even gothic princess. She’s looking incredibly chic and refined, almost European, and proving that yes, she can pull off this style as well. I also really love her expression in this photo. It’s a little bit innocent and a little bit cocky and totally Reina.

5.Morning Cofee cover! I’m sure you’ve seen this photo before, but I can’t help but include it. The girls all are wearing wonderful smiles, and, whether or not it’s true, this cover makes it look like they have a great group bond. Of course, I can’t ignore what a clever way this is of tying together Morning Musume’s past, present, and future.

4.I’m not a huge Eri fan, but something about this photo pulls me in. Maybe it’s her lip color. I don’t really know why, but I love this picture.

3. Risa has such a lovely genuine smile. It’s one of my favorite things about her. This photo combines a great example of that smile with perfect lighting; careless looking curls which frame her face in a very flattering way, and a casual and relaxed look and pose. Even though it’s a posed professional photo, something about is seems real and approachable.

2. This photo of Sayu is just so very pretty. The field of pretty flowers and a beautiful girl throwing her head back as though to sigh in happiness. Ah. Even in the cold of winter, this picture makes me feel refreshed and summery.

1. My very favorite photo is another of Reina. Again, it’s really her expression that gets me here. She looks thoughtful, vulnerable, and maybe a bit sad. The way she’s perched on the railing is kind of child-like, but her look and styling is mature. There are cute photos of girls prancing in bikinis (which can be great in their own right), but then there’s photography as art. I think that this photo belongs to the latter category.

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Nov 21 2007

Top 1-2 Lists: Part 1

Published by under top lists

This is part 1 of the”top lists” for artists that don’t have more than a couple of songs that I really like. It’s all a part of my grand scheme to write about all of my favorite Hello Project songs and then, eventually, compose a master list. Today I will be covering Country Musume, Melon Kinenbi, and W.


Country Musume

  1. Shining Itoshiki e Anata: Ah Country Musume. You never quite caught on did you? The upside to your relative failure, though, was the temporary addition of various Morning Musumemembers in an attempt to boost your popularity. This song is the wonderful thing that it is thanks primarily to Miki Fujimoto. I mean, she had like 90% of the solo lines. The sound of the song is very retro, and as a ballad, it had the potential to be boring, but Miki’s wonderful vocals helped make this song quite memorable. Personally, I think that this song was a better showcasing of Miki’s vocal skills than any of her solo work. She just makes it look easy, doesn’t she? I really enjoyed the performance by Ai and Reina this summer as well. Another of the rare outstanding ballads in Hello Project’s arsenal.


Melon Kinenbi

  1. Saa! Koibito ni Narou: My favorite Melon Kinenbi songs are the “weird” songs like this one. It’s all Latin American carnivale in the beginning, then it goes into the catchy “narooooou yoooo” part, and finally to the super cute “aishiteru aishiteru aishiteru” part. Yet somehow, it all works and makes for a very enjoyable song. I love how much potential for audience interaction there is here, since the “aishiteru” part is such a great call and response segment. Aishiteru!!
  1. This is Unmei: Speaking of bizarre songs… After hearing the intro to the song, I was ready to turn it off and consider it a dud, but I’m sure glad I didn’t. The prim and sparse beginning soon transitions into a frantic “dousurudousurdousuru” segue to the rockin’ chorus that makes me want to jump up and down on my bed and show off my air-guitar skills. In retrospect, the bait-and-switch with the sudden build up to the “real” song is a big part of what makes this song so special. It’s all about the contrast. After the intro, the rocking out part seems all the more awesome.

W

2.Koi no Fuga: The song begins, and I’m pretty sure that I’m listening to the openingtheme of Sailor Moon, which is odd because I don’t even have that song, but no! It’s W’s fourth single, Koi no Fuga. One thing that I really love about W is the girls’ ability to harmonize with each other. The song is a cover of an old-school classic Japanese pop song. I much prefer W doing this type of style to their later sugary-cute work. My favorite part of the song is the overlapping “hajime kara” and “musubarenai”s.

1. Matsu wa: W singing classic old-school Jpop? Check. Lovely harmonizing? Check. Great, catchy song? Check!

On another note, it seems to be the new trend in H!P blogging to speculate as to what Sunday’s big announcement is going to be, and far be it for me to miss out on a trend. I predict that there is going to be a stunning triple announcement as follows:

JunJun and LinLin aren’t actually from China, they were just pretending to fool the Chinese fans, but they’re tired of speaking like they aren’t fluent in Japanese so they want to come clean, Ai-chan actually died when she fell during the Sexy8Beat concert and has been replaced by a singing robot because Tsunku sees sentient robots as a key demographic in the near future (it was too difficult to replicate her long hair on the robot, so they went with a shorter look), and due to overwhelming viewer support, from now on the girls will all be appearing naked on Haromoni save for their animal ears and fuzzy clouds over certain areas.

Remember, you heard it here first.

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Nov 20 2007

Why hate the favorites?

Published by under Uncategorized

I’m kind of in a bad mood today (drama in my sorority), so a quick rant on something that’s been bothering me for a long time. I’m not trying to personally attack anyone here. It’s more general observations.

Why do fans always seem to hate the favorites? By that I mean that it seems really common for someone to rank a girl at the bottom of their list, or even claim to hate a girl, solely because she is popular. You see it all the time with Ai-chan, and to a lesser extent with Risako and Airi. It even seems to come into play with the “2nd favorites” like Momoko, Reina, and Miyabi. Maybe it’s just not cool to like the most promoted girl. Maybe people just like to root for the underdog. Regardless of the reason, there seems to be a general opinion among many vocal fans that these girls don’t deserve to be in the prominent position that they’re in. They just got that spot because someone up top arbitrarily picked them and decided that they shall be promoted at the expense of the others. Suddenly that girl has become “too” popular. She’s “hogging” the spot light and “stealing” all the lines from the other girls, and every time a new PV comes out I intend to complain loudly about that. She’s clearly full of herself and thinks she’s better than anyone else in the group, because she refuses to share her lines. She’s not even pretty or talented and she has a fake/boring/annoying personality, and I wish she would just leave the group because I hate her soooo much and “insert favorite member here” could finally get her chance if SHE were gone and RAAAAAAAAAAAAGE!!!!!

Hold on a second!

There is so much wrong with the above line of reasoning. Girls aren’t put in the spotlight just to spite you and your favorite member. They are put there because the company thinks that that girl can be “sold” to the public more easily than your favorite member.
To do otherwise is just bad business. The idea that they’re only promoted because they’re popular and that they’re only popular because they’re promoted is bad(circular) logic. There had to be some reason, initially, that that girl became more popular or was promoted more. She had to have something that set her above the rest. Ai-chan is a highly talented singer and dancer. Airi is also a strong singer, and very cute. Risako is a decent singer, and she’s also very very pretty. They are where they are because they stood out above the rest of their group. Also, it’s been said before, but I’ll say it again: a girl doesn’t get to decide how many lines she gets or how often the camera is going to focus on her in a PV.

Risa Niigaki is my favorite member of h!p, so I understand what it’s like to be cheering for the girl in the back corner and to wish that they’d get more promotion. BUT… I don’t hate Ai Takahashi because she gets so much more attention than Risa. Of course, you are entitled to dislike a particular girl, and maybe she happens to be one of the popular ones, but I don’t think it’s fair to hate her just because she happens to be promoted a lot. Try to look past that, and give the girl an honest chance. You might still dislike her, but at least you’ll have a real reason for it.

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Nov 18 2007

Thoughts

Published by under Momusu

Here are some h!p related thoughts that don’t deserve their own entries. It seems that a bunch of short thoughts together makes for a long post. Lesson learned.

-Lots more blog traffic than usual yesterday. I’m certainly pleased, if not slightly mystified. Does anyone have a good explanation for that?

-With the new Nacchi/Maimi single announced, I wonder if we’ll be seeing more solo artist/h!p kid singles in 2008. Could this be the start of a trend? Actually, you could consider KiraPika to be another solo artist/h!p kid pair. I’d like to see Yossie paired with one of the kids for a single. Maybe Erika? Or maybe Miyabi to show that there’s no hard feelings about that “doesn’t look like a virgin” comment.

-I’ve said before that I haven’t listened to every single song that h!p has to offer, but I am diligently working on remedying that situation. Here’s hoping that I discover some gem that I previously didn’t know existed.

-I don’t think that Ai-chan ruined Minimoni. In fact, the quality of Minimoni’s music improved considerably after she joined. What ruined Minimoni wasn’t addition of Takitty, it was lack of Mari. When she left, Minimoni’s spirit left with her.

-When will 9th generation MM auditions happen? That’s what everyone is wondering lately. They tend to be about once a year, so we’re due for some, but the addition of the pandas late in the game might change things. Should our expected timeline be 1 year from Aika’s auditions (now) or one year from the panda’s (spring)? I’m guessing something in between. Probably auditions will be announced soon and maybe take place around February with new members being formally introduced at the MM spring tour and participating in the h!p summer tour as their first concert.

-Attempting to fix a commonly held misconception: Tsunku does not, I repeat does not, write all of the songs for Hello Project. He has written the most recently released songs for Morning Musume, Cute, Berryz, Ongaku Gatas, and Maki Goto. He did not write the recent releases of Buono, Koharu, Athena and Robikerrotsu, Aya Matsuura, Natsumi Abe, or Melon Kinenbi. Sorry for being nit-picky, but it bothers me when people say things like, “I like the style tsunku used in this song” when he didn’t even write it.

-I’ve watched some footage from the 10th anniversary group concert, and I’ve enjoyed it a lot. That’s probably because there only 5 of them, one of whom is Risa, which means more Risa singing! Also, I’m pleased to announce that almost all of Koharu’s lines were in tune. Her voice was still very weak and she can’t hold long notes, but at least they were the right notes. I’ll take that as a sign of improvement. Since I always seem to be complaining about costumes, I’d like to note that the costumes for this concert were very pretty. The only thing that is really taking away from my enjoyment of the concert is the knowledge that Maki was deciding to quit around this time. It kind of casts a shadow over things.

Here’s my favorite performance from the 10th anniversary group concert: Risa and Kaori singing “Last Kiss”!


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Nov 16 2007

Weirder than it Odder be

Published by under Ayaya,Kirari,Maki,Momusu,video

I am attempting to institute a poll feature in this blog. I know it’s a dangerous endeavor because a poll that no one votes in is a failed poll. I’m quite scared of failure, but I’m going to push through that to put up this poll. If you don’t vote in it I might be afraid to ever try anything again, so I’ll probably spend the rest of my life hiding under my bed. If you don’t want that on your conscience, you should vote.

We all know that there are some strange h!p promotional videos out there, and with this poll I’m trying to determine which one is the very weirdest. I’ve taken the liberty of selecting 8 PVs that score highly on the bizarrity scale (measured in wtf’s? per minute). I’ve included links to the videos in case you aren’t familiar as well as short commentary about why I picked them. These aren’t PVs that I hate, just some that I find…unusual. I’m excluding Minimoni PVs because they’re aimed specifically at kids, and stuff aimed at kids is always kind of special. In no particular order…

Miki Fujimoto- Romantic Ukare Mode http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GscUXNsVMg&feature=related
Miki emerges from some kind of cryogenic chamber and proceeds to play with magical rhythmic gymnastic equipment, sparkly grass, and a golf flag. Includes lots of creepy shots of her in the pod thing staring at you.

Morning Musume- The Peace http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8zX21IDtm0
You’re probably familiar with this PV, but have you ever really thought about it? It’s a bunch of girls dancing around and cleaning a men’s restroom (presumably on a ship), emerging from toilet stalls, and, in the grade finale, the toilets start emitting light and the entire restroom turns into a disco paradise.

(Sort of)Melon Kinenbi- Onegai Miwaku no Target Mango Pudding Mix http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJYSivO9pEs&feature=related
I don’t know if this actually counts as a Melon Kinenbi PV because they’re not in it, but I guess their voices are. Four black men lip sync to a Melon Kinenbi song. It seemed like a terrible joke…but it wasn’t.

KiraPika- Hana wo Puun http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DpHJ5VQDSg
Koharu and Mai come out of a giant nose at the beginning of the PV, and then it goes to hang behind them, dripping snot. I think that whoever made the PV had some kind of nose fetish, because they’re everywhere.

Abe Natsumi- Koi no telephone goal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5Ircnsw1qY
Mild mannered Nacchi by day, evil purple creature fighting master of disguise by night. At one point she uses her magical ring to turn into a stereotypical Mexican, complete with giant sombrero, maracas, and a mustache.

Aya Matsuura- Doki Doki love mail http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrZ1Pf_ktNA
There are too many weird and seemingly unrelated scenes here for me to talk about, so just a few of the stranger ones: giant Ayaya frolicking through a city like Godzilla, Ayaya’s magical remote control that causes Tokyo Tower to blast off into space like a rocket, and robot Ayaya who has a shiny red bulb for a nose and does homework.

W- Aa ii na http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBldNjaopEE
The weird/creepiest part of this PV is the monstrous koi thing that keeps popping up. I also like the part where they calmly march through an apartment where some family is having dinner.

Maki Goto- Uwasa no sexy guy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qS_F7oF_I9o
The video seems pretty standard/futuristic at first. It’s not a goofy song, so why should I expect a goofy video? Sure, the scene with her flying around in the devil costume is weird, but…. Wait! Is Maki holding a baby pig? Why yes, yes she is, and it’s doing the background vocals.

What are you waiting for?? Get voting!

Vote in my poll!
edit: You can’t see the results until you vote, just so you know.

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