Archive for September, 2011

Sep 29 2011

Tsunku’s Comments on 10th Gen

Published by under Momusu

I lied about going to bed.

Just had to do a quick translation of part of Tsunku’s blog post where he comments on each of the 10th gen members.

“It was really intended to only add 2 members from this audition, but the level was so high, 4 were added.

Ikubo Haruna- Has a surprising “pure” personality. And her looks (face) are gorgeous. I believe she has the determination to bring her singing to a suitable level. That is why she passed.

Ishida Ayumi- Her singing and dancing were outstanding. Also, her personality is as firm as a stone (a play on the “ishi” in her last name). I believe the history of Morning Musume can be passed on to her from here on out. That is why she passed. (Sounds like he has really high expectations of Ayumi! Based on this, I expect her to pick up some of Ai-chan’s old lines)

Sato Masaki- The level of her dancing and singing is below the other three now, but she has a potential (literally raw ore) that she has yet to realize herself. Also, her skill level rose considerably during the audition. That is why she passed.

Kudo Haruka- She has experience as an egg, and she really loves singing. Also, the “gap” between her face and her husky voice is interesting (basically, she looks tiny and cute, but she has a deep voice, and that’s unusual). I hope that she can help to bring together the 10th generation members and the current members as soon as possible. (I guess because she’s in 10th gen, and she’s worked with current MM in the stage play) That is why she passed. ”

~Celestia~

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Sep 29 2011

Welcome Morning Musume 10th Gen Members

Published by under Momusu

And after a nail-biting late night of refreshing internet browsers over and over again, we now know the 10th generation members of Morning Musume!

It’s another 4 person gen, and personally, I think those are the best generations. Looking at my predictions, 4 of my top 5 picks got in, so I think I did pretty well! Before we get to the new members themselves, let’s look at the girls who (maybe surprisingly) didn’t make it.

First off, NO SATSUKI!! I feel bad that I was rooting against this girl so hard, but she had all the visual appeal of Aika (actually, Aika is cuter) combined with the abrasive singing voice of Koharu. So happy she’s not there.

Some were hoping for Miyamoto Karin as a surprise addition. I would have been happy with that, but looks like it’s not to be. I really want to know what UFA has planned for Karin, if not MM or S/mileage. They’ve just got to do something with her.

Many, myself included, are a disappointed and a bit mystified by the lack of Sara. I mean, in an audition that’s attempting  to find a replacement for Ai-chan’s vocals, Sara was the best girl for the job. Maybe her looks and personality just aren’t “idoly” enough? Maybe they want to make her a soloist instead? Maybe this heralds the beginning of an age where rather than a couple girls having the majority of the lines, the vocals are shared more evenly so the burden of carrying the song is spread out? (that one’s a long shot). My  best advice to everyone is to get over it, and focus on the new members that we did get.

I’ve commented on them before, but here’s a brief overview with pictures now that they’re official.

Ikubo Haruna

Good- Pretty face, stylish, fills the age gap between Aika and Mizuki, has the sexy “smoldering” look down. I liked what I saw of her personality.

Bad- Probably the weakest singer and dancer of the girls who passed (based on the final audition footage)

Ishida Ayumi

Good- Fierce dancer (Riho has some competition!), polished performer, pretty (though not exceptionally so), can project her voice well and hit the right notes.

Bad- Still not getting a good read on her personality, but that could change. A bit of a shouty tone in her singing. She’s a good singer technically, but she could work on making it prettier.

Sato Masaki

Good- Improved tremendously during the audition, which is an excellent sign. Really cute with her new haircut! Her singing reminds me of Risa when she auditioned (actually, it’s a little better), so I’m excited to see how she further transforms over the years.

Bad- Seems a little quiet or maybe shy, singing is better but definitely not there yet. Struggled to learn the dance (though she did pretty well at her final audition)

Kudo Haruka

Good- Distinctive, lovely voice. Good speaker, so should do well in interviews. Also good at dancing and very cute. Popular with the fans. The whole package!

Bad- Could be bad or good, but she’s the youngest member of Morning Musume EVER, and she may stand out a little because she’s so tiny. Also, I have a small worry that her “husky” voice may be due to vocal nodules. Hope I’m wrong about that though.
Overall, I’m very excited about this generation. Maybe not quite as thrilled as I was with 9th gen, but still very pleased. (MUCH happier than I was about 7th or 8th gen). I can’t wait to see how these girls fit into the group!

It’s 5AM. I’d say that means I should go to bed.

~Celestia~

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Sep 22 2011

Predictions Revised

Published by under Momusu

After watching the last segment of MM audition footage (I didn’t know they had another stage!), I’d like to revise my predictions a bit.

I’m still calling Haruna, Haruka, and Sara as the winners, but based on what I’ve seen today, I’d like to increase Masaki’s chances. She seems to have shown a lot of improvement and looked much cuter with a better hairstyle. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her chosen. Let’s put her up to a 3.

Oh, and clearly Meru and Miyagi Ayumi are out. Whether or not this was their own choice, their odds of getting in were already quite low due to limited screen time in the last episode. Probably they already knew they had dropped (or been dropped) out before airing that footage.

In order of most likely to get in the group to least likely to get in the group:

1.Haruka

2.Haruna

3. Sara

4. Masaki

5. Ayumi

6. Satsuki (Note: if Masaki gets in Satsuki won’t, and visa versa. These two are the same “type” of girl. They won’t both be picked)

7. Hinako

8. Fuuka

~Celestia~

PS. On a personal level, I really hope Satsuki doesn’t get in. I can see her becoming the next Mistui Aika. Anyone else I’d probably be fine with. Just remember Tsunku (or whoever): If you’re going to take a girl who isn’t talented, she MUST be unusually cute or pretty. You made a good call with Mogi, so I hope you learned your lesson with Aika.

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Sep 19 2011

10th Gen Predictions

Published by under Momusu

After viewing the latest audition footage a few times, I’d like to present my predictions. (Some of this is copied from my post on h!o)

First of all, I’m predicting a 3-5 member generation. There’s conflicting information there though… When the auditions were first announced, a smaller number (2) was indicated, but during the audition footage Tsunku was considering a much larger number, so it will be interesting to see how many we get. I’m leaning towards 3 though.  Also, it’s my opinion that Tsunku makes recommendations about who gets in the group, but it’s the agency higher-ups who have the final say. So, I think his opinion does matter… but it’s not everything.

Finally, I’m working under the assumption that the winners of the audition have already been chosen, and were already chosen by the time this footage aired, so whoever edited it made sure the girls who won were at least featured a little.

Each girl has been given a score out of 5.

5= Best chance of getting in. 1=Worst chance of getting in.

Kudo Haruka- Featured a lot in the audition, and seems to be very determined. Cute, and strong in all necessary areas, including personality. The only reason I could see her not getting in is if there are already other plans for her, and they are just using this audition to get her name and face out there. 5

Ikubo Haruna- Got a decent amount of screen time. Pretty, with lots of wota-appeal. 4

Satou Masaki- Good screen-time, but only because she was failing so badly at everything. Forgot both the lyrics AND the tune of the song, and generally seemed to not try hard enough.  2

Tashima Meru- Little screen-time. Too bad, because I kind of like her.  At least Natsu sensei seemed impressed with her speech. 1.5

Oogami Hinako- Again, just not shown much, though she did get a bit of attention for her dancing, and Tsunku liked her singing. 2.5

Miyagi Ayumi- Not featured AT ALL. 1

Miwa Satsuki- Good screen-time, but again, only because she was failing so badly. Still, she seemed to be trying pretty hard, and that is something they look for. 2.5 (decent odds if a large number of girls are picked, unlikely if it’s only a couple)

Ishida Ayumi- Featured a lot, and has the looks and the talent, but there seem to be some major problems in the personality department. She may be too polished, and Tsunku says it’s hard to tell what she’s really like. Comes off a bit fake? 3 (Looks like her odds are great, but my gut feeling is that it’ll be a “no”, so I stuck her in the middle)

Tanaka Fuuka- The other unfortunate girl who was not featured AT ALL. 1

Murakami Sara- Lots of screen-time. Tsunku said he’s looking for good singers since Ai-chan’s leaving, and she has the most natural singing talent. 5 (but the Japanese fans will be slow to warm up to her)

So, my prediction will officially stand at Haruka and Sara if there’s two, add Haruna if there’s three. If there are four, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Karin thrown in. In fact, I’ll be surprised if there isn’t some sort of “surprise”. (only 1 girl, more than 4 girls, adding someone not in the camp, etc).

~Celestia~

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Sep 15 2011

Cultural Differences

Published by under Momusu

Something pretty interesting has occurred to me lately.  It’s kind of an expansion of a theory that I’ve discussed recently on the Hello! Online forums, but what it basically boils down to is this:

I think I know how overwhelmingly popular groups such as Arashi and AKB48 (currently) can exist in Japan.

Keep in mind that every word I’m typing here is a generalization, and I am well aware that it does not apply to everyone. I’m just looking at general trends.

It comes down to what I think is a very important difference between American (possibly European too, but I can’t really speak for Europe) and Japanese fans. It all started with a debate about 10th gen and Sayashi Riho. People were complaining that everyone loved the talented little Riho at first, but then, once she rose to the top of the 9th gen heap, many turned on her.

“I used to love Riho, but now she’s “hogging the solo lines” (or “being pushed in our faces”) and so I don’t like her anymore.”

Logically, this doesn’t really make sense. Why should we dislike a girl for becoming popular? Whether her push to the front is a response to her popularity (and I think it is. She’s been rapidly gaining attention from the moment she appeared in auditions) or her popularity is a result of her push to the front, it can’t be denied that she is the most popular of the 9th gen with the Japanese fans, and that she has earned herself haters among the American fans as a result.

We can see this same pattern happening with the “front” members of any group really. Maeda Atsuko is another good example of a “pushed” girl the American fans love to hate. Just being in the front seems to immediately cause haters. In the mean time, members like my own favorite Niigaki Risa, who never seem to have quite enough spotlight, are often extremely popular with the foreign fans. That’s not to say that every “popular” girl will be hated by foreign fans and every “unpopular” girl will be loved, but if you look at the general trends, the girls who are the most popular in Japan are often relatively less popular in America, and the girls who are least popular in Japan are often very popular in America.

Now, one could argue that this comes down to different personality types being attractive in Japan as compared to America, and there is probably some truth to that, but it’s far from the whole picture. Riho’s personality has not changed dramatically, but American fans turned on her just the same once she started becoming a front girl, while Japanese fans embraced her with open arms. The key difference is this:

Americans have an almost pathological need to root for the underdog, while Japanese have a need to be part of the larger group.

These are deeply embedded cultural values I’m talking about here. Ameicans love the girl who has to fight her way up from the bottom, despite all the obstacles that seem to be in her way. We like to find that girl who’s not appreciated and cheer for her when “no one else” will. (I would say this is true whether or not she “deserves” it). One reason we don’t like the front girl is that she’s “stealing” the spotlight from our poor, unappreciated, underdog. We also don’t want to pick the girl who “everyone else” likes as our favorite because that’s so… cliche or conformist.  Japanese believe that if everyone else loves the girl, there’s a good reason. The group knows better than the individual, and if she’s so popular, she must be pretty special and worthy of consideration. Conversely, if she’s not very popular, she’s probably not so great. Conformist? That’s a compliment!

And THAT is how last year in Japan two groups swept the entire top 10 Oricon singles. How Arashi and AKB probably have over 10 TV shows and dozens of advertising campaigns between them this year (i’ve lost count). In America, if a group or singer reaches a certain degree of popularity, people automatically begin to dislike them because “they’re so mainstream”. It becomes uncool to like that particular group. A natural leveling off and even decline of popularity occurs. In Japan, popularity can continue to increase exponentially. More people liking a group makes more people become fans of that group, no matter how “mainstream” they become. Mainstream is a good thing in Japan.  It’s a positive feedback loop! Popularity can just keep going up and up, until they essentially run out of people to become fans or something better comes along. When I was in Japan I could hardly find a person who didn’t at least casually like Arashi. You would never find that in America with a band or singer that is still in the media forefront. (we’re not talking nostalgia here, because that’s another issue)

Eventually, the people will move on to the next big thing and AKB and Arashi will suffer a gradual decline in popularity, most likely still holding on to a sizable contingent of fans for a good long time. This will happen not because they got too popular, but because casual fans are fickle. Something else will start rising in popularity and they will happily jump aboard the bandwagon. Meanwhile, the American fans will continue to bemoan the fact that our favorite groups and members will always be pushed away in the corner, and they deserve to be in the front, totally unaware that if they were to become very popular for any extended period of time, we would probably like those groups and group members less for it.

Dang… I want to write a thesis on this or something,

~Celestia~

3 responses so far

Sep 13 2011

Top 20 Current H!p Members

I’ve finished my most recent video project! I put a lot of work into this one, and I think it came out pretty well (though I still can’t seem to top my Eri/Jun/Lin graduation OPV). This time it’s my Top 20 Current H!p members. I had to get this finished before Ai-chan graduates, or she couldn’t be included. The song is “All for One and One for All” because that HAS to be the song for something like this.

Hope you like it! The old youtube channel surpassed 400,000 views a while ago, and I’m pretty excited about that. Big thanks to everyone who’s watched my videos!

~Celestia~

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Sep 11 2011

Mistake

Published by under Momusu

There was a small mistake in the MM singles sporcle game (“in” instead of “ni”). Just wanted to thank those of you who called it to my attention and let you know it’s been fixed.

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Sep 09 2011

Odds and Ends

Published by under Momusu,S/mileage

There’s a few things I want to talk about, so I figured I’d just cram them all into one post. Sound good? No? Well I’m doing it anyway!

1. Kosuga Fuyuka has to drop out of S/mileage sub members due to severe anemia. Not much that can be said here other than “That’s so sad for her”. I bet her anemia was connected to how very skinny she is. Her departure may be a blow for S/mileage as she was the sub member gaining fans most quickly and seemed to be featured in the center of the new girls. I’m sure the other sub members are sad but… do you think some are thinking “Now that she’s gone, I have a better chance of becoming a full member”?

2. Maybe an unpopular opinion? Not to pick on the cripple but, You know what, I’ve been thinking about it, and I’m just going to come out and say it. I don’t like Mitsui Aika anymore. She’s just not a very good idol. She seemed to have potential at first, little miss smiley, and as the only member of her generation (at first), I was so excited by her addition. I really wanted her to become a great idol,  but she has just failed to develop into anything special, and every year I lose interest more. Her singing got a little better, then flatlined, and now it’s infuriatingly inconsistant. She can sound quite good on a line or two (usually lower lines), but then she comes out and sings the entirety of “Sungoi My Birthday” in this annoying, breathy “little girl” voice.  It sounds just awful and weird in a way that’s hard to describe. And that’s the voice she uses most of the time. Her looks are nothing special, and her personality seems to become blander by the day. She’s failed spectacularly at gathering fan support (her mixi community has been surpassed by half of 9th gen already, and Eripon will likely beat her in another month or two as well) And don’t tell me she hasn’t been given a chance to shine!  She had every chance in the world when she first debuted. She was the only girl in her generation at first, so all the attention was on her. She had prominent solo lines in both Egao Yes Nude and Kanashimi Twilight and a strong presence in Onna ni Sachi Are and Mikan. But management realized that they couldn’t sell her, so she was gradually pushed back to where she is today. In summary: To everyone saying “Mittsi deserves to be in the spotlight more! She’s so under appreciated! She shouldn’t be pushed back in favor of 9th gen members!” I say “She’s getting exactly what she deserves based on her popularity, talent, and level of charisma. Every member of 9th gen is already a way better idol than she is.” Was it a mistake picking Aika above Kikkawa Yuu? Oh hell yes it was. Yuu might not have much personality either, but at least she has a pretty voice.

Whew. Some might hate me for that, but I’m glad I got it off my chest.

3. Morning Musume 10th Gen Audition Footage. This week we got a quick teaser of the 10 finalists. Although… I still think there’s a possibility that s/mileage finalists are in the running but they didn’t have to go to the camp since they’ve already done a camp and UFA has seen enough to judge them. Anyway, we only saw a tiny bit of each girl, but here are my initial impressions. Of course, this could all change after next week’s audition footage. Not going to include pictures here. Maybe in a later post.

Kudo Haruka– Absolutely adorable, well-spoken (based on egg footage), and she has a nice strong voice. I don’t just like her because she’s an egg either, because there are plenty of eggs I don’t want anywhere near Morning Musume. The one drawback is not so much that she’s young (11)  but that she LOOKS young.  My First Choice

Ikubo Haruna– Pretty, fashionable, and seems charismatic. Also the right age to fill in the “gap” between Mittsi and 9th gen. Singing sounds weak though. Apparently she’s the “most improved”, which probably means she’s the “project” girl. You know, the one who kind of sucks at everything but might make it through on looks and personality? There’s certainly room for that kind of girl in MM, but only if she’s added alongside someone with more talent. I think she’d be popular. My Fourth Choice (as long as she’s not the only girl added)

Sato Masaki– Just not feeling it on this one. Vocally weak, and I don’t think she’s very cute either. Then again, she could prove me wrong. No Thanks (for now)

Tashima Meru– She’s cute in a weird way? Her voice is okay, not great, but there’s some potential there. At least she’s very facially expressive when singing. There’s something about her I like so I’m going to say Maybe.

Oogami Hinako– Long hair, good dancer, pretty, but no footage of her singing yet, so it’s hard to form an opinion. Unsure, need to hear her sing

Miyagi Ayumi– Okay singer, but I just don’t think she’s very cute. Kind of has a pinched face? And looks are important for idols, so I dunno. Maybe.. leaning towards no.

Miwa Satsuki– Looks a little like Berryz Captain to me. Unconventionally cute. Seems okay at singing. I’m not crazy about her, but she looks like the kind of girl Tsuku goes for, and I don’t dislike her so far. Maybe

Ishida Ayumi– The other standout “all arounder” (besides Haruka). Very good dancer, pretty face (looks like Riho in a couple years), and seems to be at least decent at singing. It’s hard to tell because Naichau Kamo is kind of a brutal song.  My Third Choice

Tanaka Fuuka– Good dancer, maybe the worst singer in this audition group (and she said she’s been taking singing lesson, so she probably won’t get much better). Cute, but not stand-out cute enough to make up for her voice (example: Sayu can get away with her singing because of her looks) No thanks, unless she turns out to have a fantastic personality

Murakami Sara– Probably the best singer out of this audition group, and she hasn’t even had lessons! For that reason alone, I like her, but she also has a good face and there are hints she might be a “cool” character (she plays the drums and has a cool hairstyle). That’s something that’s been missing since Yossie and Mikitty left. One drawback is that initially she doesn’t seem to be as popular with the Japanese wota as a few of the other girls. My Second Choice

So far, it looks like there is a lot of potential in this pool of girls. The best part is that there isn’t anyone so far that I’m thinking “Oh God no! Please don’t pick her!!” *cough Mogi cough*. There isn’t too long until we find out who the 10ki’s are, but I still can’t wait!

4. Sporcle Games. Have you guys ever been to that site? Great time waster. I’ve made a couple h!p themed games. The first is naming all Momusu singles (similar games existed, but weren’t up to date with recent singles), and all Berryz singles. If you like it, you can search for other h!p games that various users have made.

http://www.sporcle.com/games/Celestia/all-morning-musume-singles-

http://www.sporcle.com/games/Celestia/all-berryz-kobo-singles

~Celestia~

PS. Working on a new video of my top h!p members, and it’s going really well so far. Taking a long time though…

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