Archive for the 'Maki' Category

Jun 24 2010

Live Singing

I’ve finished part one of my redone top 100 project! Now with all live performance clips, easier to read titles, new songs, lots of changes in ranking especially in the bottom half, and more! Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t make the original version with live performances. I just find them so much more interesting to watch.  So first,  the video, then some musing about live singing, so stick around for that if you’re interested. IMHO, it’s some of my better blogging.

I’m at 64,000 video views now. I’m hoping to hit 100,000 with completion of this latest project. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Recently, I’ve been wondering why it is that I dislike lipsyncing so much. I mean, idols are entertainers first, singers second (acting, modeling, or other things might also rank above singing), and I realize that many of them just can’t sing very well. And singing while dancing is hard! I know it is. You get out of breath, you’re trying to concentrate on the dance moves at the same time as you’re trying to control your voice, the stage lights are hot, and the crowd is loud and distracting. Far from ideal conditions to produce the best possible sound. Try it. You’d be surprised how difficult it is. So yes, lipsyncing often sounds “better”. And shouldn’t I prefer listening to better singing?

There’s no way to discuss this topic without bringing up AKB again. See, I’ve heard AKB fans actually criticize h!p for not lipsyncing, saying that it’s better to focus on one task at a time so you don’t do both of them half-assed. But, all that said, I still hate the fact that AKB lipsyncs most of the time. In fact, if they switched to mostly live singing, I’d probably consider becoming a fan of theirs. The lipsyncing is the one major barrier standing in the way of that, and I just can’t get around it.  It’s not because I think it proves their inferiority as singers or anything like that. It’s really that I flat out don’t enjoy watching a lipsynced performance as much as I enjoy watching a live one.

I think the major problem is that in a live performance, a girl can put the emotion she is feeling into her voice. She can reflect the energy of the crowd and her excitement and joy at being on stage. She can really “get into” a song in a way that she can’t in the recording studio. With a lipsynced performance, though her dancing and expressions might say she’s totally feeling it, her voice will have been recorded in a calm studio environment. That mismatch just feels off to me as a viewer. It’s frustrating when I watch a girl giving 100% with her performance, but the energy level in her voice is stuck at 50%.

Another big issue is the “sameyness” of every performance. Every nuance is the same. There are no bad performances, but there are also no extraordinary performances. I can’t get excited because, “Wow! So-and-so sounded great on that solo line tonight!” because she always sounds exactly the same every time. And when AKB performs the same stage for over a year, and every time a girl opens her mouth to sing a certain solo line, it sounds just as she recorded it over a year ago, it honestly just gets boring. I don’t mind watching the same song performed multiple times if it’s actually a different performance.

And lipsyncing removes the pleasure of seeing your favorite idols struggle and improve, at least in the vocal category. And even if singing is not the main point of being an idol, it’s still an important one. If a girl messes up on a line, I can forgive her, especially if she totally nails it the next time. That’s part of why we cheer for idols, isn’t it? Because they’re not perfect, and we love them anyway. Lipsyncing removes the risk of excruciatingly bad singing, but it also takes away the opportunity for “shivers down your back” heart-touching singing. The kind of experience you have as an audience member knowing that that music you are hearing has been created once, in this moment, and it will never exist in the same way again. Imagine if LinLin’s fantastic solo version of Aozora had been lipsynced. Could it have still had the same impact? I’d say definitely not.

End of musing.

Now if there are any AKB fans out there bristling with defensiveness, don’t try to tell me AKB doesn’t lipsync their shows. I’ve been to a couple of them. I’ve seen many LODs, and in recent times, live singing is very much the exception, not the rule. Really, I don’t know why they don’t drop the farce and do it “PV style”. No microphones. They’d have another arm free for dancing! And yes, I realize that MM lipsyncs occasionally too. But in their case, it’s lipsyncing that’s the exception. Live singing is the rule. And I have also heard the argument that AKB performs so much that singing live all the time would be too much strain on their voices. I find that hard to buy, but even if that is truly the case, how about singing live at least half the time? Even just singing the solo and duet lines live would be a major improvement. I don’t believe that AKB lipsyncs because they are terrible singers, at least not by idol standards. They do it because it’s safe. It’s predictable and controllable, and that’s how management likes things. However, by taking that route, I believe they are doing the fans, and the girls themselves, a great disservice.

Thoughts?

~Celestia~

33 responses so far

Dec 10 2009

Hello Project Top 100: The “Almost Made It”s

I couldn’t resist making one last video for my top 100 series. This is 20 songs that I really wanted to include, but I just didn’t have room for. It’s shorter clips, but more songs, and they’re in no particular order. It’s the also rans. I just know there’s going to be someone out there who’s all, “Those are all my favorite songs! How dare you not include them!”. I really do like these songs, and a bunch that aren’t going to be featured at all, but there’s just too much competition.

I didn’t use the VUDen version of “Nanimo Iwazu ni” because I think that song is really best with a large choral arrangement, not just 3 girls.

3 responses so far

Oct 30 2009

Top 100 Project: Part 2

Here already are numbers 90-81! First appearance by Berryz and C-ute, plus, a sure sign that the world has gone mad, a Kirari solo.

~Celestia~

7 responses so far

Sep 28 2008

Costume Hall of Shame: Next Time, Hire a Professional

Just when you thought I had run out of costume-related pet peeves, another emerges from the shadows! This time I would like to focus on what is, perhaps, one of the worst costume sins h!p commits, the cheap-looking, poorly made costume. Ugly costumes…well…that’s a matter of taste, but poorly-made= amateur. It looks like *shudders* cosplay. Not good cosplay either. Junior high kid with one year of home economics classes and no sewing machine cosplay. If H!p wants to have any hope of maintaining dignity as legitimate artists in the Japanese people’s eyes, they simply cannot let their idols trot onstage wearing an unhemmed ill-fitted mess of scraps. A previous hall of shame inductee (CLICK), Country Musume’s orange dresses would have fit well into this category. But enough with the old, on with the new!

Okay Maki. It’s nice that you love mermaids, and I know that your mommy went to a lot of trouble making your Halloween costume, but don’t you think you’re getting just a tiny bit too old for trick-or-treating? Does that costume even go all the way around? It looks like her mom might have just pinned a scaly breastplate and tail over Maki’s favorite lacy 1 sleeved, 1 bicep cuffed, dress.

H!p may have fallen on hard times, but that’s no reason to start literally dressing Risa in rags. It’s like she rolled in a bin of fabric scraps at Quilts R Us. Pull one thread, and the entire shirt falls to pieces. Hey…maybe h!p knows what they’re doing after all.

Points to Koharu for finding a way to recycle all of that old Christmas ribbon. Very environmentally friendly of her, don’t you think? Minus points for the sheer tackiness of her attempt at decking the halls. Christmas-present bow corsages should never be bigger than your head. Actually, Christmas-present bow corsages just shouldn’t be.  And what’s that white thing peaking around from behind her? Is that a tail?! Double minus points for the overt cosplay!

And this is completely unrelated to today’s topic but…

RIKA! How many times do I have to tell you!? Your underwear goes under your skirt, NOT over it.

End bitchery for today,

~Celestia~

7 responses so far

Jun 09 2008

Let’s Play Another Game

I had so much fun with my last little contest that I’ve created another. This time the name of the game is identifying which PV the following images were taken from. Give it a try! What have you got to lose?

RULES/INSTRUCTIONS

1. Entries must be submitted via numbered list in the comments section.

2. You may add things/change you submission ONE time so make it count

3. Only the title of the song needs to be submitted, not group, version, or what exactly you’re looking at

4. All images come from h!p single PVs, this means NO ‘Best Shots’ or PVs that were made for album songs of B-sides, but any version of the A-side PV may be used

5. If the single is a double A-side, either PV might be used

6. All images have their number in the file name, so double check that before submitting in case your browser misaligns them

7. Deadline for submissions is June 30th, or whenever someone answers all 30 of them correctly

8. The person with the most correct answers wins

9. PRIZE IS $20 TO YESASIA.COM, IF ALL ARE CORRECT: $30

10. An important hint. Images are from PVs by the following groups: Morning Musume (including Gumis), C-ute, Berryz, Buono, W, Kirari/Kirari-related groups, Matsuura Aya, GAM, Summer shuffle units, Country Musume (any variation), Tanpopo, Minimoni, VUDen, Pucchimoni, Goto Maki, Fujimoto Miki, and Abe Natsumi. If you don’t see a unit or soloist on this list, they are not included. Every unit here appears in the answers at least once. It might seem like a long list, but I’ve actually eliminated quite a few.

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Alternately, if you’re having trouble viewing the images you can download the full set HERE 

Play Ball!

~Celestia~ 

 

5 responses so far

Feb 01 2008

A Costume Hall of Shame for all Seasons

The Japanese are known for having a deep appreciation for their four unique seasons. They express this appreciation through two time honored methods: haiku and ugly h!p costumes. You may find one of those to be an unusual method to commemorate the seasons, but you’ll just have to trust me and my extensive knowledge of Japanese culture on this one. Haiku really are supposed to have a seasonal theme.


When Autumn (aki) rolls around, things start to get a bit chilly, but that won’t stop C-ute! They don’t even let the fact that mustard yellow looks good on absolutely no one slow them down. While Maimi’s plaid short-shorts may be fashionable, they do nothing to protect her rear from the brisk breezes of fall, so she has attached a fuzzy green butt-warmer. It is practical as well as fashionable; doubling as protective padding should she slip on some fallen leaves and land on her ass. From what I hear, it was quite cheap too. She said she found it in a garbage can in a nice little neighborhood called Sesame Street. Say Maimi, next time you’re there can you ask about my friend Oscar? I haven’t heard from him for a while, and I’m starting to get worried.


Next up, Rika Ishikawa is looking festive for the holiday season, Winter (fuyu). According to a recent interview, her motto is, “if less is more, then more is even more than that, and that’s better, right?” She explained that she started with a nice beaded evening gown, but it just wasn’t enough. It needed something. It needed to be festooned with gigantic poofy bows, taffeta flounces of alternating colors, and a couple of leftover tartan kilts from her latest photobook “Alo Hello Rika Ishikawa in Scotland.” To finish off, she looked for a necklace, but they were all tangled together in a clumpy mess. “More is more” she thought, humming to herself and fastening the whole thing around her neck.


Ah Spring (haru). Here Ayaya demonstrates that nothing says ‘Spring’ quite like a gigantic butterfly perched on your head (for best results butterfly should be larger than head). How nice to see that she’s been taking fashion tips from Rika and has chosen to festoon one of the legs of her pants in floppy multicolored bows which doesn’t look ridiculous at all. It looks so not ridiculous that I almost didn’t notice that her shiny silver leather pants (there’s four words that should never appear together in a sentence) seem to have been violently sprayed with blood recently. You know, between the gore and the butterfly, the ruffly almost-vest isn’t even worth commenting on.

On a hot Summer (natsu) day, there’s nothing better than a nice dip in the pool. How very clever of Maki to wear what is clearly a bikini directly over her old T-shirt. Throw on a few belts and some red streamers and the whole audience is fooled into thinking that she’s wearing a concert costume. The protruding fringe of her bloomers making it look like she’s one of those little kids who wears a diaper under her swimsuit is a small price to pay to be able to hit the pool immediately after the concert. Sure, most people in this situation would wear the swimsuit under their clothes, but Maki is being a non-conformist, and you’ve got to respect her for that.

I’ll end with my own haiku.

Is Rika crazy?

I think she wants to eat me

I’m afraid. Send help!

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One response so far

Jan 27 2008

Top 2 Lists: Maki, VUDen, and Gumi’s

Published by under Maki,Momusu,top lists,VUDen

Man, I’m in a good mood today. I just got back from renting a cabin at the mountain for the weekend with my boyfriend and another couple, and it was just the sort of break from school that I needed. There was lots of snow! When I got back, I watched Buono’s new PV, and it really made me smile. I was impressed by how good all three girls looked. Finally, I realized that I am almost done with making my top lists of h!p songs by groups, so soon I will be able to compose the list of my favorites out of all of h!p, which is something I’ve been working up to for a while. Today I’m going to finish off my ‘by groups’ lists with the Morning Musume ‘gumi’ groups, Maki Goto, and VUDen.


Maki Goto- You might be surprised that she only is on a top 1-2 list instead of a top 5 or even 10 given all the solo material she has produced. The reason really comes down to my personal preference for groups over soloists. I like seeing the group interactions and how their personalities and voices come together. Also, more effort and planning seems to go into h!p’s groups than their soloists. H!P solo work (with the notable exception of early Matsuura Aya) doesn’t tend to interest me much.

2. Suppin no Namida It’s a theme song for a drama, and it certainly sounds like it. With ballads either they really get to me or, more often, I get bored before I’m halfway through the song . There’s really no in between. This happens to be one of the ones that gets to me. You can tell that there’s a story behind it, and it shows in the emotion that she puts into her voice.

1. Sukisugite Baka Mitai (Goto version)- Oh that’s where this song ended up! Yeah, it’s a great song, but I picked the Maki version over the original for one important reason… Rika Ishikawa. It’s not that I don’t like Rika, she has her place, but that place is not alongside three of the strongest singers in h!p. Her voice sticks out like a sore thumb, and quite frankly, ruins the song for me. Of the individual versions, I like Maki’s the best because she can portray the attitude of the song a bit better than Aya or Nacchi. See what I mean about solo songs? My favorite song of Maki’s is technically a group song anyway.

Otome/Sakura Gumi- I actually really like all of the Gumi songs, but I’m only allowing myself to pick my top 2.

2. Sakura Mankai- This song might just have my favorite PV out of all of Hello Project. It’s just so pretty! The song is also very pretty, and it’s one of the few h!p songs that incorporates the traditional Japanese feel without sounding forced and annoying me. I love it when they whip out their fans.

1. Ai no Sono~ Touch my Heart!~ Originally I was a bit turned off by the strange English (hey every time I’m so proud of you?) but I quickly got over that and now happily perform the hand motions every time that part plays. Now this is the right use for a Rika Ishikawa. Her “bye bye” lines are quite nice. This song is really a lot of fun.


VUDen- So they broke up huh? I swear, every time I leave something happens. I go to Florida for Spring Break and they add Chinese members to Morning Musume. I visit my brother in college and Maki quits. I go up to the mountain and VUDen disbands. For my two cents on the matter… meh… another wrong use of a Rika. She was never meant to front a group. I’m surprised they lasted as long as they did.

2. Koi no Nukegara- Uh… this song only makes the list because I really like the music at the beginning. Their voices are whiny and annoying… I just really like that intro, okay?!?

1. Koi suru Angel Heart- This one is a really cute song. The girls aren’t trying to be overly sexy, and it’s got a nice catchy melody. I think another group probably could have sung it better though since Rika’s voice goes pretty thin on the high notes, but at least they put a lot of spirit into it I guess.

Woo! I’m done! I’m going to try to compose my master list now. I can’t wait to find out which songs I like best. I’ve always wondered about that. Lol. Not sure how this post ended up so Rika focused though. Even Maki’s section was full of Rika, huh?

the other reason I’m in a good mood is that the new KT pv is out, and it’s so freaking hot… Jin’s little smirk at the end..*dies*


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Jan 06 2008

The Costume Hall of Shame Rodeo

Today’s costume hall of shame can be summed up in one word, a word which I personally feel should never be associated with Hello Project in any way. “Yeeeehaw!!!”



To start us off, Berryz, dressed as proper cowboys. At first glance, it’s not so bad. I’m not a fan of cowboy costumes being worn by anyone other than actual cowboys or 4-year-olds on Halloween, but I guess these are sort of cute. What really bugs meare the tiny hats. They’re supposed to be cute, but they remind me of clown hats. You know how clowns always have accessories that are the wrong size, right? Oversized shoes and bowties, cars and hats that are too small, etc. Worse, the clown with the tiny cowboy hatis notthe happy fun clown. He’s the sad kind of clown. He’s the clown that’s always getting pied in the face, or,at therodeo, chased by the raging bull. While I worry that the Ghengis Khan song is some kind of cruel joke on the Berryz, let’s not demote them to “sad clown” just yet.



Excuse me. Miss Running Deer? I hate to break this to you, but you’re not actually an indian priestess. You’re really a Japanese girl named Maki Goto. You see, there is no real tribe of Native Americans who make their traditional clothing out of sparkly brown camouflage fabric. Try to take it easy on the peyote next time, okay?



Ayaya is hereby crowned Queen of the Rodeo! She’s not just wearing a costume inspired by rodeo queens: I’m worried that she might have assaulted an actual rodeo queen and stolen her dress before this photo was taken. Or maybe she only stole half of a dress and made the other half herself, because I’m pretty sure this is actually the right and left half of two similar, but slightly different dresses sewn together. The hem is way shorter on one side, and there’s a seam down the middle. Good thing this outfit couldn’t get any worse.



Hoo! This little black number would be hot, if she hadn’t retained the heavily fringed arm warmers. At least all of the fringe sort of blended in with the equally fringe-happy rodeo queen dress. With all of the fringing concentrated on her arms, at best it looks like she’s wearing a silly minicape, and at worst it looks like she has a very serious arm-hair problem.

Well, that there’s perti’near it for the costume hall of shame rodeo. I’m gonna go ride off into one’a them sunsets now. Yeeeeehaw!


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Dec 01 2007

Costume Hall of Shame’s is to Wonder Why

Since more and more bad costumes seem to keep piling up (and I swear, I’m trying to be lenient), The Costume Hall of Shame has left me with many questions. Mostly, they are along the lines of “Why??” and “Are they blind??” (the answers to which are “see the answer to question 2” and “yes”), but I often find myself left with questions that are more difficult to answer than these two. Perhaps you will have more luck with them than I have.

What the hell is on Maki’s face?

What the hell is on Rika’s head? Is the costume a homage to the famous Princess Leia/gold bikini scene from Star Wars? Is Rika a fan of Star Wars or is she just hoping to appeal to Star Wars geeks in the audience?

Is Ayaya trying to appeal to Renaissance fair geeks in the audience, or is she actually on her way to slay a dragon?

If you have to take a second look to make sure a girl is wearing an actual costume underneath her boas, is she wearing too many boas? Is there such a thing as too many boas in the h!p world?

How about too many plaids? Is that why Yossie is so angry here?

Did Sayu just realize she forgot to pull her napkin out of her shirt-front after her lunch break? Does she think it’s okay to leave it that way because her napkin happened to match her bloomers? Why is she even wearing bloomers? Is that why Yossie is so angry?

Where will Maki’s crazy crochet-happy grandmother strike next!?!? (just try to tell me that this costume didn’t start out life as an afghan or table cloth made by an insane octogenarian)

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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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