Archive for July, 2012

Jul 25 2012

H!p, On a Roll?

Published by under Momusu

I wanted to share some opinions on the latest round of single releases in h!p.

Firstly, MM breaks the 100,000 mark in single sales for the first time since “Ai Araba It’s All Right” (2004), beats the TOTAL sales of everything since Ai Araba (likely to pass it this week), and gets over 100,000 first week sales for the first time since “Koko ni Iruzee” (2002)!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I knew the song would do well. It’s a great song with tons of promotion, but I never would have dared to dream it would do this well. It’s kind of special to me that they’re selling around the “Ai Araba It’s All Right” level, because I became a fan around the time of that single’s release, and that was the song that first got me into Momusu. There’s been a lot of talk of the possibility of a “new golden age” of MM. I have always been hopeful that MM could become more popular again, but I have also always found the idea of them pulling 6 digit sales figures again unlikely. Who knows what could happen from here on out? They really are a fresh, new group now, but with an established fan base and years of excellent songs to back them up. They’ve been appearing on that Black Variety show again, which continues to be highly entertaining and remind me of the good old days of Utaban. Returning to their solid and respectable 40-55K sales is certainly a possibility, but there is also a real chance that they could continue this momentum. It’s a very exciting time to be a Morning Musume fan!

Quick shout out to Chou Happy Song! Love it!

Next down the line, Berryz Kobo’s new cover song “Cha Ching Sing”. At first, I though the song was really annoying, but I’ll have to admit, it’s an earworm. I still think it’s about a minute too long, but its incessant ability to play in my head has made it grow on me. Berryz did quite well with their last quirky cover song, so I could see them having a lot of success with this. Good thing, because their sales have been on a pretty sharp decline since they stopped doing tie-ins with that soccer anime. One thing I’m wondering, do Thai people find it offensive to have Japanese girls dressing and dancing in such a stereotypically Thai way?

I’m super excited about C-ute’s new single, Aitai Aitai Aitai na. Well, excited about everything except the title. Can’t Tsunku come up with something more creative?  How about no more song titles containing the words “Ai” or “Suki”? Also, C-ute already has a song called “Kirai de Kirai de Kirai”. Anyway, c-ute’s more intense, dancey, songs are always my favorites (Tokaikko Junjou, Kiss me Aishiteru), and I think this one is no exception. Have I ever mentioned that I HATE “Kimi wa jitensha blah blah blah”? It’s just so dreary! I think that the good sales are less a result of how good the song is and more a refection of C-ute’s growing popularity (well, actually probably just Airi’s growing popularity. She’s been shooting up the mixi charts, and she’s number one in not only current h!p, but past h!p as well). I think this single can surpass it, and I hope it does! I don’t want “Kimi wa Jitensha…” to go down as C-ute’s best selling single.

Mano Erina’s graduating? Well, I’ve never been a huge fan of her, though I like some of her songs (Doki Doki Baby was good). It’ll be weird having no soloist in h!p. Wonder if they’ll find a new one out of the eggs?

Then there’s S/mileage. Sigh. I used to like S/mileage so much. Uchouten love was brilliant! But lately, I’m just not buying it, and I think the fans aren’t either, judging by how quickly the members are losing mixi numbers.  It’s such a shame. It’s not just that Yuka and Saki were irreplaceable (it’s a matter of opinion), but losing them and adding the new members really shifted the dynamic of the group, and not in a good way. As for their new song, “Suki yo, Junjou Hankouki”, the song is fine… but not with these girls singing it live. It’s just too challenging for many of them, and listening to the screechy live recording, I was wincing a lot of the time. I may like the studio version, but Tsunku needs to stop giving these girls lines they can’t sing live. It’s the falsettos in “Chotto Matte Kudasai” all over again.

Also, new “nature” themed units Peaberry and DIY have debuted. Overall, I’m pleased with both! I’m surprised at how well Riho and Dawa’s voices blend, and DIY’s song is interesting and catchy. I hope there are PVs and a real release of these songs! I’m kind of expecting this to be like Tanpopo#, Pucchimoni V, etc though. Concert units with their songs just showing up on a compilation CD.

I can’t wait until we start getting footage of the 11th gen auditions! Hope it’s soon!

~Celestia~

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Jul 03 2012

Picking Favorites

Published by under Momusu

I’ve had some time to settle into this new Morning Musume lineup. Last time I ranked them, they were practically a different group, so I think it’s time to make a new list.

I commented before on how I was having a hard time figuring out which members were my favorites and least favorites since there really isn’t a girl in the group who I dislike right now, and that still holds true. However, I think I’ve managed to come up with a list that I’m happy with right now. When picking favorites, there are a bunch of things to consider: looks, personality, performance skills, etc. but ultimately I think it just comes down to gut feeling. Starting from the bottom:

10. Ikubo Haruna: Again, I don’t dislike the girl. She has a pretty face and a kind of innocent, wide-eyed look and personality that I adore. She ends up at the bottom of the list because she’s not up to par performance-wise yet. Her singing is pretty weak, but I’m much more concerned about her dancing, because while they can give her the “Sayumi treatment” when it comes to solo lines, it’s hard to hide how awkward she looks. I think that her singing can improve, but I’m worried that she might have that Kaori Iida tall-girl awkwardness to her dancing for a long time.

9. Fukumura Mizuki: She’s a lovely girl, good dancing and decent singing, looks fantastic in the 1,2,3 PV, but her personality bores me.

8. Sato Masaki: What I love about Masaki is the youthful energy she brings to the group. There are a lot of young members right now, but she’s the only one who really strikes me as childish. I think Morning Musume needs a character like that.

7. Suzuki Kanon: Unfortunately Kanon has fallen quite a bit. I still remember the cute, funny, girl with her ridiculous bug impressions, but lately she seems so…sad. She put on a little weight, which I think may be messing with her self-esteem, because it seems like she’s lost her sparkle. I’m still holding out hope that she can make a comeback though!

6. Ikuta Erina: She’s made a lot of improvements in pretty much every area since she’s joined! I find her very entertaining, and that’s really the most important thing for an idol. Doesn’t hurt that she’s a Niigaki fan.

5. Ishida Ayumi: I used to think she wasn’t all that pretty, but damn if she didn’t look great in the 1,2,3 pv. This is a girl who takes very well to makeup. The real reason she ranks so highly is how much joy and energy she projects while she is performing. Reminds me of my former favorite MM member…

4. Tanaka Reina: Sure, most of us are a little tired of Reina’s schtick, myself included, but I have to respect the girl. Her consistent vocal performance is crucial to MM’s songs right now. If I were a new MM fan who hadn’t been watching Reina for years, I’m sure I would be drawn to her.

3. Michishige Sayumi: I think she’s doing quite well as leader so far, don’t you? I like her quick wit, but mostly, I just like to look at her.

2. Kudo Haruka: I love her cool attitude, and how despite being a tiny 12 year-old girl, she can act, look, and sound so mature. She was awesome in “Stacy’s”, and I’m looking forward to great things from her in the future.

1. Sayashi Riho: I kind of resisted making Riho number one just because she’s so popular, and I generally prefer to cheer for the underdogs, but in the end, I had to put her on top. She’s such a star, confidently taking the lead in performances. She’s grown by leaps and bounds since joining. I really admire her ambition. And screw the haters, more than any of the other new members she deserves to be in front, because she is the best of them.

~Celestia~

3 responses so far