Today was swelteringly humid, not ideal conditions for working in an airconditioningless elementary school all day and then rushing off to a Team B show, but I managed. And I didn’t even get lost this time! Thanks CK! I ended up one seat to the right of where I was last time, so almost dead center, with a great view of the middle of the stage.
Overall, I have to say that I liked Team K’s new stage much better than this one. I think the biggest reason for that is the dancing. Team K are just much better dancers, on average, and they have much more interesting dances. As a dancer myself, that’s a very important part of the performance for me. Team B’s dances were mostly simple, and the whole stage much more unpolished. There were some good songs, but there were less songs I liked in B5 than in K6. On the up side, I did like B5 a lot better than B4, or K5 for that matter.
First, my impressions of some of the girls. Kasai Tomomi was absent tonight.
Ishida Haruka- I don’t why, but she really just seems like a h!p girl to me. I guess it’s her quirky sort of cuteness. I could totally see her in S/mileage or something.
Kitahara Rie- Has very full lips. Also, she seems to be one of team B’s better dancers, and I’ll like her for that reason alone.
Miyazaki Miho- Honestly, I don’t see what the big deal is. She’s not that pretty, and while I appreciate that she has a strong voice, sometimes it’s a bit too strong, bordering on harsh.
Sato Sumire- I think Sumire was just too young to make her debut when she auditioned for Morning Musume. Now, a few years later, she’s still cute as a button, but a little less rough around the edges. The timing wasn’t right for Momusu, but I’m glad she found a place in AKB.
Komori Mika- Constantly looks like she’s sleepwalking. I just wanted to go on stage and shake her until she wakes up.
Watanabe Mayu- Seems almost too much the “perfect idol”. I don’t like my idols to be so flawless.
Kashiwagi Yuki- She sure grew up nicely! I might pick her as one of my favorites from the team.
Sato Amina- Maybe it’s just me, but she looks kind of terrified on stage. Like, she’s loves performing, but she’s vibrating with tons of nervous energy. Her voice is… special, but I’d take her over one of the girls who’s so quiet you can barely hear her any day.
Sato Natsuki- She’s such a great singer/performer! How is she so unpopular?
Masuda Yuka- Seems very polished for such a bouncy team. I kind of want her to graduate and have a solo career.
And the rest of the girls I didn’t particularly notice. Sorry. Now for the songs!
Romance Kakurenbo- It’s not too bad a song I guess. I like the idea of a kenkyuusei solo because it gives us a good idea of how well each of them can sing, but I also don’t like the idea, because the girl singing it tonight kind of butchered the song, and it was not at all nice to listen to. I suspect most of the kenkyuusei can’t handle a solo song yet.
Yuuki no Hammer- Of all the possible themes I would expect of an idol song, “mining” would be near the bottom of the list. The song itself is good and interesting. I like the pounding beat throughout. However, those costumes…. Blec! What do neon space raincoats have to do with mining? Not to mention that since they’re wearing them over two other costumes, even the skinniest girls look hefty.
Inseki no Kakuritsu- Thank God the space raincoats are gone. Some of the girls got a better deal on the red dress costumes than others though. A bunch of them have a strong “6-year-old’s pretty party frock” vibe. I really like the song though! It’s not a show-stopper, but it’s catchy. The whispering part at the end is the best part.
Ai no Stripper- Sounds dirtier than it is. The lyrics are about love stripping away your layers to reveal the real you, but if they’re going that way with it, why is Rie grinding on Yuka at the beginning? Alternatively, if they do want to play up the “stripper” thing, then why don’t they do the costume change during, or at the end of the song! They wait until the next song starts to rip off their costumes on stage. Seems like a waste of a golden opportunity. Oh, and the dance for this song is a mess. Most of the moves don’t go at all.
Theater no Megami- Costumes are cute but… there are a couple girls who I really think would be better off keeping their stomachs covered. Frankly, this is my least favorite group song of the whole stage. Shame, since it’s the title song. It’s just so blah and generic. There really isn’t anything in particular to like here.
Hatsukoi yo Konnichiwa- OMG FLUFFY! As for the song, it’s got that “idol classic” feel. I get that it’s nostalgic for a lot of Japanese people, but I personally have never enjoyed idol music from that era. I don’t hate the song, but it’s not going on my MP3 player either.
Arashi no Yoru ni wa- Finally, a good dance! This is definitely my favorite unit. Natsuki’s solo line is the highlight of the song. She has an amazing voice!
Candy- I think they got run over by an Easter parade. It should be nauseating, but somehow I love it. Yuki was cute, but I wish Kasai had been here tonight. After watching a LOD, I think she adds a lot of flirty sexiness to the song, and that no one else can provide. Yuka’s voice balances Amina’s perfectly in the chorus, so good call putting them together.
Locker Room Boy- The lacrosse rackets are a gimmicky attempt to make the song seem more interesting. They fail to do so.
Yokaze no Shiwaza- So. Fricking. Slow. There must be a law that idol solo ballads have to be sleep inducing. Nothing against Yuki and her voice though.
100Meter Conbini- Sounds like a DDR song. They’re hopping around and everything. Left! Right! Jump! The costumes look exactly like Otome-gumi outfits though.
Suki suki suki- Filler filler filler. And has there ever been a less creative title? Well, it’s cute, and I enjoyed listening to it, but I won’t remember it. Except for that bizarre scurrying rocking thing. That was very very strange.
Sayonara no Kanashibari- Love it! I’m a sucker for a good harmony like the one on the “ugokenai” in the second part of the chorus. The verses are great too, and they build the tension nicely leading into the chorus.
Shiokaze no Shoukaijou- Aw. The costumes are so “let’s go pick wildflowers in a meadow!”. The song is about going to visit your grandparents who live by the seaside. It’s pleasant. Boring, but pleasant.
And after what feels like forever… the encore.
Honest Man- Tons of energy! Great way to start the encore. Mayu’s costume really stands out from the rest of them.
Team B Oshi- On the plus side, there’s lots of funny and interesting stuff going on. It’s great to watch! On the minus side, parts of it are really annoying to listen to. I could have definitely done without the AKB48! shouting. The song is catchy, but in an irritating to get stuck in your head sort of way. Wasshoi B had a lot more heart.
Bokutachi no Kamihikouki- A nice light song to end the stage. Why did the paper airplanes come out in pizza boxes though?? Of all the ways they could have gotten the airplanes, pizza boxes seemed like the best method?
My top 5 songs are: 1. Sayonara no Kanashibari 2. Arashi no Yoru ni wa 3. Candy (but only if Kasai is there) 4. Inseki no Kakuritsu 5. Honest Man
They also sang “Ponytail to Shushu” which, to be honest, pretty weak for an AKB single. I hope they’re not thinking “We’re popular enough now. The fans will buy the single even if it’s a rehashing of Iiwake Maybe, so no need to try to make them good anymore”.
And YES!!! High touch in the lobby! Somehow, idols all look smaller in person. When you see them on the screen, larger than life, it’s easy to forget that they’re just people too. Pretty people, but still people. More surprised and happy looks from lots of the girls to see a caucasian female among the fans. The high touch goes by so quickly! It’s all a blur! And since Tomoomi wasn’t there tonight, even if I do get into a Team A show, my dream of collecting high touches from all 48 girls is broken! =(
But yeah, it might not be a fair comparison, but I still think H!p concerts are waaaay more fun than AKB shows.