Review Monday: C-ute’s Tokai no Hitorigurashi + Ai tte Motto Zanshin

C-ute is a group I’ve followed occasionally, and I’ve even bought some Maimi goods, but I don’t know if I would consider myself a big fan of theirs. Nothing wrong with C-ute, mind you, but I really don’t pay attention to them as much as other groups. However, their career has had a really interesting trajectory. Starting off as the ‘leftover group’ from the H!P Kids, C-ute has grown to surpass the original H!P Kids group Berryz Koubou, and has lately gotten even more recognition. They’ve gone from a group that did Ooki na Ai de Motenashite to a group that does more adult things like Crazy Kanzen na Otona. So how does their new single hold up?

Tokai no Hitorigurashi

Song: This song had to grow on me. I definitely liked it at first, but it’s not immediately catchy. The best word I can use to describe this song is pleasant. There isn’t anything immediately interesting about the song or anything mind-blowing about it, but I do like the song. The chorus is a lot more interesting than the verses (especially the repeated “Why Not” sections), but the verses grew on me too.

My biggest complaint is the arrangement. It’s a nice sounding instrumental track, but the electronic backing doesn’t fit as well. If they had used real instruments (I’m thinking this would be brass heavy, but would have some piano and strings in there), the song would sound a lot nicer. This isn’t an electronic song like some of Morning Musume’s latest fare; those songs make sense to have mostly electronic stuff going on. This is not the same type of song, and the instrumental is just disappointing. I like the melody and song enough that that would make this transcend from being just good to really great.

The lyrics are nice; Tsunku isn’t a master lyricist or anything but they aren’t bad. The only thing that made me pause was the line about being chubby. Um, no one in C-ute is even remotely chubby.

Nice and pleasant are the ultimate words I will use in reference to this song. I like it a lot better than some of the recent stuff C-ute has done, but it’s not going to be on my top song list of the year or anything.

PV: PVs are not H!P’s forte. It’s gotten to the point where, if H!P has a PV that’s even remotely good or interesting, I’ll be excited and happy for them. I have to think this is where this PV stands. If you are comparing it to all idol groups, it’s not the most interesting of PVs. However, compared to H!P, this is wonderful.

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The biggest thing I admire about this PV is its unified aesthetic choice. It’s doing this style which feels unique and fresh, but also appealing. This goes a long way for turning a PV from boring and average to being interesting.

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The best part are the member introductions at the beginning. They’re designed well, all the girls look nice, and it has a really dynamic feel to it. I think a good part of that is because the girls move into the still shots of them, instead of just featuring the still shots. There’s a lot of motion in this PV, which I always like.

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One of the things that’s hard to show in the screencaps is that there is a fairly long, single take shot on what looks to be a handheld camera (or at least not a steadycam shot). It’s very fluid, moving between the girls in a way that I don’t always see from H!P PVs. It adds a lot to the PV and is something I appreciate.

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Another thing I like is the set. I’m not sure where it is or if H!P built it, but the white serves a nice contrast to the girls, and all the stairs, mirrors and windows make for a much more interesting set than we’re used to.

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The effects add a nice burst of color to the plain white surroundings, and make it look interesting. Yet the effects never look tacky or just plain awful. They add a lot to making the PV look great.

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The dance shot is the worst part of the PV, by far. While C-ute does well with dancing, like always, I just don’t get some of the choices made. Could they have chosen a more boring place for their dance shot? Even if they rented this place out, surely they could have picked a better pace than a boring white wall. It just doesn’t fit with the reset of the great set.

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Compare this Airi…

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To this Airi. Notice anything? The answer is the lighting changed! Most of the PV has nice lighting. H!P PVs often have iffy lighting at best, so I was really excited to see how good the lighting looked until I saw the dance shot. Everything looks so drab, dark and flat in the dance shot that not even the visual effects can brighten it up. I would have probably not cared that much with this lighting had the rest of the PV not been lit well. Worse than being bad, it’s inconsistent.

Overall, Tokai no Hitorigurashi is a solid song/PV from C-ute. It has its share of issues, but is more than passable and even steps things up from an average Hello!Project release.

Ai tte Motto Zanshin

Song: This has the opposite issue to me than Tokai no Hitorigurashi; the chorus here isn’t what works. Up until the chorus I really enjoy this song a lot. It’s a cool song with a bit of a darker tone and utilizes some deeper vocals than I’m used to with C-ute. The instrumental sounds fitting and I don’t wish for a different arrangement like I do with Tokai no Hitorigurashi. However, everything I like about the song disappears with the chorus. It’s not a bad chorus, per say, but it has a very different feeling. The verses have a lot of oomph to them, for lack of a better term. The chorus sounds a lot happier and lighter, which feels wrong with the rest of the song.

The arrangement also falls flat in the chorus in that it feels empty. There’s a lot going on in the rest of the song, but it feels like most of that drops out for the substandard chorus.

I really like the heavy, dark feel of the song, and if the chorus could harness more of that I would be totally on board. However, the chorus alone keeps me from really feeling like this is an outstanding song. Which is a shame.

PV: Speaking of lighting…

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I love it. Seriously, H!P, keep this lighting designer please. This isn’t inconsistent, but just good. It plays a lot with light and shadow, all the while making sure that all the girls look good.

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Occasionally the girls are slightly overlit (one of my H!P PV pet peeves) BUT this is almost always a temporary thing and done for effect. But seriously, H!P, this is how you light a PV. This PV always looks gorgeous and visually interesting, even though it’s mostly just close-ups and dance shots. Despite the simplicity, the basic elements are done well, which means that I’ll want to watch this over most H!P PVs.

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Location wise… Dirty, falling apart warehouse? It’s not my first choice for a great PV location, but it this type of situation facilitated the lighting then I’m all for it. Plus it really goes well with the feel of most of the song.

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This PV also has a really nice sense of movement to it. The camera is rarely stationary, moving well with the C-ute members and aiding in the transitions. This makes for another fluid PV that doesn’t feel choppy. The best part is again at the beginning and whenever the girls do solo dances. The camera work and the editing work well together.

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The worst part of the PV are the cheap filters that are put on things. It doesn’t happen often enough that it feels like a proper part to the PV, like the effects in Tokai no Hitorigurashi. It just looks cheap and unnecessary.

The other negative is that it is a fairly simple PV. It’s comprised of the group dance shots, solo dance shots, solo closeups and some brief group closeups. I know that I said it’s done well enough that it makes it better, which is true. I love the lighting in this enough to make this one of my favorite C-ute PVs. However, just a bit more would make this PV really special.

Overall: Much like Tokai no Hitorigurashi, a few shortcomings make Ai tte Motto Zanshin fall a bit short of its potential. A lot of good things are there in the song and PV, but the issues keep it from being as good it can be.

This is a solid C-ute single and a solid H!P single. There are a lot of things I like, but enough frustrating things that make me wish that it had been done just a bit better.

Clearly Tsunku Doesn’t Read Happy Disco

Hey guys who read Happy Disco; sorry for the LOOONG time where I didn’t write. I currently have one blog post that’s taking me forever and a day to write (my contest winner post, which is a really great topic but just a bit time consuming), but I’ve neglected Happy Disco. I am sorry. I’m currently balancing being a full time Film/Media Studies student while working two part time jobs (30 hours of work total). By the end of my day I kind of just want to play tetris and not write a blog about what I write in class. But I still love idols/Happy Disco.

Anyways, a while ago I wrote a blog entry for Intl Wota for the Summer Refreshment Program, writing about idols and summer. In case you haven’t seen it, HERE it is. One of the things I talked about was how AKB48 tends to go on a yearly schedule, with spring/graduation songs in the spring, happy summer songs in the summer, and other stuff year round. It’s a schedule that I think has worked for them, because they deliver something that’s expected while simultaneously giving new songs. It’s a good system.

Fall’s here and soon it will be winter. While there’s definitely a feel for winter in terms of tone and style, I never really think of any specific fall style. This tends to be when AKB in particular releases stuff that doesn’t really fit in the season, such as Beginner, RIVER, and the soon to be released Kaze wa Fuiteiru. For a long time, when considering seasons and idols, I always thought that fall was like the free space on a Bingo sheet, that it didn’t matter what you released as long as you released something.

Then I saw Amazuppai Haru ni Sakura Saku.

For those who aren’t aware, this is the upcoming collaboration single that Berryz Koubou and C-ute are doing together. This is a great idea for many fans.

But the concept of the song/PV are not great ideas.

Hear me out. I’m not talking about the song/PV. I think the song’s pretty boring, myself, and while the PV could be better I think that it’s pretty good considering that these are H!P PVs we’re talking about. No, I’m just going to talk about the concept.

The song/PV is focusing on a spring/graduation theme. In November. Now, admittedly, I don’t know the full translation to the song; my Japanese isn’t good enough to pick it up on just a couple of listens. For all I know there could be a line in there about how it’s about their boyfriend and how their blooming love is like the blooming sakura blossoms in Spring. Even if that was the case, the song is still about blooming cherry blossoms and the bittersweet spring. That’s what the title says, and even if the lyrics subvert it then the first listen or two will be thinking about spring. In fall.

Even if the song absolutely had nothing to do with spring, then the PV is all about graduations. They get a diploma. It’s a graduation PV, which happens in the spring.

Now throughout all of this I just have to wonder why. Why did UFA choose to do this? Was the song/PV too good of an idea to wait? It’s just a pretty standard thing. The song/PV aren’t special, and even if they realized “guys, I want to do a graduation song” why couldn’t they have done it in the spring, when those songs/PVs are actually marketable? In my other post I wrote:

” if AKB48 were to go “Christmas in July, we’re going to dance around dressed as Santa!” it would probably end up selling a good deal of copies to hardcore fans. However, that’s probably not going to grab the casual listener, unless the casual listener likes that kind of silliness. ”

I stand by that AKB could probably pull it off because it’s AKB. However, Berryz Koubou and C-ute aren’t AKB48, and their sales are in general dropping. The last thing they want to do is lose fans, and what they desperately want is to gain fans, but I don’t see how this song/PV could attract casual listeners to become Berryz or C-ute fans.

Like I said, my big question is why. If they wanted to capitalize on the seasons, why couldn’t they wait a bit longer, or do a holiday-themed song/PV in vein of Aitai Lonely Christmas. I’m honestly baffled at the decision making skills here, and like I said, clearly Tsunku (and UFA) doesn’t read Happy Disco. I just really can’t see why this was considered to be a good idea on a sales standpoint.

You might be going “ah, Serenyty, stop with the sales already, they don’t care about sales.” If that’s true, then why do a graduation song now? What artistic goal are they trying to achieve by this? I’m really wondering, what would make this happen?

So therefore, I just have no idea why Berryz and C-ute are doing this, and I know others are confused too. Confusing and potentially alienating an audience is the thing they have to think about, and they might just be close to doing that.

On a separate note I saw the Mobekimasu song/PV and it’s alright. The main things I got from it are that I absolutely love the dresses they’re wearing, and that Maimi is really really adorable.

In Memoriam: Idols In Tough Times

First of all, an apology and an explanation. I moved to this new blog on Intlwota and I’ve lately been neglecting it, at least more than I did on my blogspot blog. It didn’t go unmissed, but it wasn’t really something I felt up to this past weekend. The reason being, and I don’t want Happy Disco to get into a sob fest or to get too unhappy, is because this morning my Grandpa passed away. This wasn’t a surprise, because he’s been struggling with Lewy Body Dementia for a while now, and this was inevitable given his disease.

To be honest, I didn’t think I would be blogging about this. I thought I’d take some time off, get happier and be able to move on. Initially, when thinking about this in the nursing home while sitting with my Grandpa, idols weren’t really on my mind. I actually thought about the character of Kate Beckett from the show Castle, who had to deal with the death of her Mother. I told myself to “be strong like Kate” and that did help me through.

However, one song and PV in particular jumped into my head at various intervals. I didn’t try to think of it, and it was tough to think of (I initially started to cry again when I thought of it) but it really fit my situation.

AKB48’s Sakura no Ki ni Narou. Now the lyrics seem to be a bit more ambiguous, but the PV’s definitely not. The PV features Jurina as the friend of the front girls who has died, but is still there with them. Some people might be all “Jurina’s a ghost!” (even though I haven’t seen that reaction) but I tend to think it’s more symbolic, to show how the people you love are always there with you, even if you’ve lost them. In the wide group shot, the presence of an empty chair is in my opinion one of the most poignant things I’ve seen in an idol PV. It really shows that when it comes to people you love, when they leave that absence really cannot be filled in your life.

It’s a beautiful PV that came to mind, and while I can’t say it made me feel better, necessarily, it made me feel a bit of comfort in that how I feel now has been felt before.

Last night, when I came back from the nursing home after sitting with my Grandpa, that’s when idols came to my aid and comfort. I was depressed, knowing that things weren’t going well with my Grandpa, but there was nothing I can do. The one thing that made me feel better was idol music, listening to things like Sekai Ichi Happy na Onna no Ko and Wagamama Collection and watching Oota Aika’s confession scene from AKB48 1/48 Idol to Koishitara.

I’ve seen people get not necessarily upset but criticize idol music and idols in general for being escapist, for idol fans to use idols as a way of escaping their drab lives. I’ve seen this most as people criticizing idols for being “fake girlfriends” or something like that. I’ve even seen this said by AKB48 fans, wishing that AKB would go back to edgier songs like Keibetsu Shiteita Aijou and Seifuku ga Jama wo Suru. And yes, I’d say that idols can be escapism. But you know what, I say “So what?” If giving me a few moments reprieve from grief, then I accept the escapism with open arms.

Idols are chiefly about happiness, at least that’s what I would say. That’s part of why I love idols and why I named this blog Happy Disco. Like Aoi Usa said in her post I covered for IW, idols can be friends when you need them. And when I needed some happiness yesterday, I was able to turn to idols.

So thank you, AKB48, C-ute, Momoiro Clover, Morning Musume, and all the other idols I hold dear. I appreciate it.

 

Sekai Ichi HAPPY na Onna no Ko song/PV review

Here’s just something straight away before I get to this. I a fond spot for C-ute; Maimi and Nakky are two of my favorite H!P members period, and two of the reasons I still follow C-ute news whenever I can. I like the other members too, though. This doesn’t mean that I like everything that C-ute has ever released (can I just forget The Party now? *shudder*), it just means that I can tolerate something average more than I can tolerate with some other groups.

So alright, the reason that I’m reviewing this, my first H!P song/PV review in a while, is that I’m absolutely completely charmed by the song and PV, and to be honest, part of me doesn’t know why. I think the components are well done, but the way I’m reacting is not the way that I’ve reacted to H!P in a while; the last song I reacted this way to was Reconquista.

The song: I really think that the way that someone looks at this song will honestly depend on what they’re looking for in an idol song. To some, it may seem really generic, and I respect that. This is a pretty typical type of idol song that reminds me vaguely of S/Mileage’s Suki-chan in terms of tone and style. If you’re looking for something out there, completely unique, edgy or anything similar to that, Sekaiichi HAPPY na Onna no Ko is not the song for you. Some people will probably find this song boring. However, I LOVE cute idol music, and upbeat/happy songs are why I choose to listen to idol music (hence Happy Disco). Upbeat happy idol songs are the type of thing I listen to while walking to work or school that just make me feel happier, and this song fits the bill.

The first time I listened to it, I didn’t really like the song except for the chorus; however, for me at least, it’s one of those songs that has really grown on me. I think those are the songs that tend to be earworms for me; songs that start out uneventful but that I really start to like.

The song isn’t perfect to me, though; the rushed line Maimi sings before the chorus feels kind of out of place and almost like Maimi herself can’t get those words out. Also, is it just me, or does Chisato sound really weirdly high-pitched in the first verse?

I might be biased because of the songs I tend to like and the fact that the word “Happy” is so prominently placed: this song is now the theme song of Happy Disco (if someone mixes this song with Perfume’s One Room Disco, I think I’ll have to start a Happy Disco podcast to use it). Still, it’s a fun, cute song that is exactly what I’m interested in. C-ute’s moving in a… well, cuter direction (judging by this and Momoiro Sparkling) and I can’t say I complain!

PV: The one thing that I like that kind of puzzles me is how much I really love the PV. It doesn’t have a story, it’s on one set in the standard white backdrop of H!P PVs. And yet…

I have to think of the PV as being a subversion of the other PVs H!P does. So many H!P PVs are really bland and colorless these days, set in the same set. However, the abundance of color in this PV seemingly coming from the idols in their idol rooms makes it seem like C-ute is adding color to this bland world. And cuteness!

The PV is gloriously colorful and I appreciate it for that. I also think that the little domino stunt they did with the books to make the word “happy” was really obvious but also really adorable, so I can forgive it. The idea of the girls all having their own different rooms is for some reason appealing to me; maybe it’s because I love the PV for Perfume’s One Room Disco so much (which is admittedly a far superior PV to this), but they could have easily made the PV with one backdrop, some closeups with different backgrounds based off their image color. This feels like some effort was made, which I have to appreciate.

The other part that’s great is that the girls are really at their top game here. The one really notable thing about H!P groups nowadays (especially Berryz and C-ute) is that they’ve been around together for years, so they work off each other well, especially in the dancing and the group shot here.

The PV isn’t the best that’s ever existed ever, but it’s fun and colorful, which makes it one of the better PVs H!P has released recently.

So overall, in my opinion, H!P managed to do a really great job here and I appreciate it!

30 Day Idol Challenge Day 29


Day 29: In your opinion, who is/was the best leader of an I
dol group?


This is honestly fairly easy for me. Granted, I could be biased as hell. Ishikawa Rika was v-u-den’s leader, and I really think she did an excellent job; Erika and Yui were brand new when added to v-u-den, and yet the group really gelled like they’d been there for a while. No one felt weird or out of place, at least to me. I also love Yajima Maimi, and she impresses me as a leader, too. She really does take care of her group. One thing I saw was an interview with both Berryz and C-ute around the time of their concert together. The whole group was talking about their H!P Kids days, but Kanna wasn’t a part of that (since she was added later). Maimi made an effort to ask Kanna what she thought. 


This also brings up the question of what makes a good leader. Leadership is really not THAT significant, because the idol who’s the leader doesn’t make any of the business decisions, doesn’t write the songs, doesn’t make any of the big decisions. Often times, I don’t really think that leaders of idol groups do all that much at all.


However, a good leader of an idol group is one that I think brings all the girls in the group together behind that one person, loves and works hard for the group that she’s in, and works hard for the others. And the person I think does that best is…

AKB48’s Takahashi Minami.

I just can’t help but admire the ways she really loves AKB and puts so much effort into making it a great idol group. I always have had the impression that even if Takamina wasn’t in the most popular idol group around, she’d still love the group dearly. She’s a member that the others can get behind, and I really appreciate that!

30 Day Idol Challenge Day 28

Day 28: An Idol who reminds you of someone special or that was special.

C-ute’s Nakajima Saki.
I love C-ute and I love Nakky, but whenever I see Nakky I have to think of my friend Dani. Nakky’s Dani’s favorite idol ever. Dani is the one lasting friend I’ve made from the idol fan community; we’ve been friends for about two years or so, I think. There are amazing people in the wota fan community, and I enjoy the time I spend on various forums and chats (hi people of Wotachat!) but Dani is the closest friend I’ve made from this fandom, and so I’m really grateful to the fandom for that. 


おめでとう、Happy Disco!!

People who read my blog (I love you!!) I have some news.

This is my 100th post on Happy Disco. Yaay!!

This is the first image you get if you search Happy Disco on Google Images. 



My infatuation with idol music isn’t going away anytime soon! Usually when I start up projects/blogs like this I get bored quickly and stoop doing it, but I really do enjoy what I do here on Happy Disco.

First up: If you guys read this and have read my blog before, what types of posts do you like? Would you prefer more straight up reviews, more lists, more rambles about the nature of idol pop? I’m just curious to see what people would want to read from me.

Secondly: I’m still continuing my 30 Day Idol Challenge and Tokyo Idol Festival series’, but I’m thinking that since the 30 Day Idol Challenge will end soon that I will start a new regular segment. What do you guys think I should do? Reader feedback yay.

And since I want to make this a fun 100th post, in honor of my long posts here on Happy Disco I’m going to do a list of my top 10 idol PVs. (in no particular order).

Note: This list is largely personal, and I’m also betting that in a day or two I’ll find a PV that will make me wish I included it in this list. Also it’s only idols, nothing else.

SKE48- 1! 2! 3! 4! Yoroshiku! 





I feel like, if anything, this PV is proof that you don’t necessarily need to have a story to make an interesting PV. This is in my opinion a perfect idol PV. It’s shot well, edited interestingly, and even when they’re focusing on things like the dance shot, it’s not shot at some unmoving flat angle, but moves around and really makes it interesting. This is the first of SKE48’s “Let’s hire the entirety of Aichi prefecture to be in our PVs”, and while I really like Banzai Venus, I think that the extras had a better role here. They really do a lot to add to the excitement and really keep the energy up high.

Finally, the PV really plays to the strengths of the girls which is always something that a good idol PV should do. This one plays to the fact that SKE48 has really strong dancers by having the dance-off scene as well as focusing a lot on the dance shot, since they have an interesting dance.

This PV is just a joy to watch, and I absolutely love it.

v-u-den: Kurenai no Kisetsu

In my opinion, this is the forgotten v-u-den PV; the one that no one really knows or thinks about. However, it’s one of my favorite PVs of all time.

Again, there’s no story except Rika, Erika and Yui all have to look sad. However, the scenery and set pieces in the PV are absolutely gorgeous. I’m not very knowledgeable about cameras, lightings and settings for those things, but I’m curious about what they did with the color with some of this. I think they might have changed something? But the colors do seem warmer some places and cooler in the dance shot, and whatever it is it looks cool.

The part that just wows me and that I love about this PV is all the playing around with mirrors. In addition to being great set pieces (the cracked mirrors near Erika are particularly stunning), the way that shots play around with them is amazing. I’m particularly fond of whenever they look into the mirror so that it looks directly at the camera. Also, from what I know of filming, I know that mirrors have their own set of issues, since they tend to reflect things which often can include the people filming the thing. When the PV director inevitably went “alright, this PV will center around MIRRORS” they were obviously taking a bit of a chance, but it totally paid off.

Beginner (original ver)- AKB48

I’m so happy that AKB48 released this PV on DVD so I didn’t have to use the low quality PV obviously filmed by a phone that I first saw this PV from.

This PV is very well known among current idol fans as the one that got banned, that AKB wasn’t allowed to air on TV so they had scramble and come up with their PV that got on the DVDs and could be aired places, a mix of the dance shot and the making of.

However, the original PV is now in high quality thanks to new DVDs and it totally deserves the praise it’s given. It has a really interesting Matrix-like story of the girls being plugged into games and banding together to stand up and stop fighting each other but fight the system, the machine they’re in. The moment when Acchan finishes screaming, tears away from her old arm and evolves to be able to fight the system just sends shivers up my spine, as well as the moment when Yuko hugs Takamina so Jurina can pull the plug.

This is a PV where I desperately want more, so I can know a back story. And that’s why it’s up there among my top ten PVs.

Top Secret- Hangry & Angry





This is definitely a bit of a personal choice for me, but a year and 9 months or so later (wow, it does NOT feel like that long ago) I STILL love this PV and watch it on a regular basis. This is another one with amazing sets, good design, and it’s really edited interestingly.

However, in my opinion the biggest strength is the performance of Yossy and Rika. Like I said in my Reconquista review, one of the biggest strengths with Hangry & Angry is that Yossy and Rika have been active idols for over 10 years now, even though they were probably the most famous back at the start of their careers. They both have a LOT of experience and as such always give really fantastic performances live and in PVs, and this really reflects that. The way that the two of them act in the PV, interact with each other and the camera, it really speaks wonders of their experience.

So while the PV is made very well, Rika and Yossy are really the stars of the PV, as they should be.

Enkyori Poster- AKB48’s Team PB


However, despite the experience of Rika and Yossy lending well to their performances, the girls of Team PB do really well. So well that, after I saw this vid, for a while I decided that I was a “Team PB oshi” and that I would support all the Team PB girls forever. That’s not so true right now (though I do love all the girls in Team PB), as I’d probably, if anything, would classify myself as a Watarirouka Hashiritai wota.

HOWEVER, the point still stands that all the girls are outstanding in the PV. It solidified my bias towards Oota Aika and it definitely moved Maeda Ami and Miyazaki Miho up further in my ranks. Myao in particular.  She basically nailed this PV.

The one thing that eluded me for a long time, though, is WHY I thought Enkyori Poster was so brilliant. It’s fun to watch because the girls all look like they’re having a blast and they all do very well with their energy. But why is this PV considered one of my top 10, with such simple backgrounds and props?

Well, after thinking this it really hit me how brilliant this PV is. The song itself is pretty simple; it’s about the feelings of a fan who loves and supports their idol. The lyrics have in the past made me tear up with things like

    “though it seems that i can’t quite meet you you are there by my side more than anyone else
    at times I make mistakes and about to give up I will just gaze and dream of you meeting me face to face” (taken from Stage 48’s Studio 48.)
Those words are really particularly meaningful to me and a lot of idol fans; who hasn’t gone through a rough patch at school or work, and come home and just watch things with idols to self-medicate? I know that when I’m feeling down and when I feel like I can’t do anything, what I really do is watch something with Rika, Lovetan, Wasamin or one of my other favorites and just imagine them.

This PV takes those lyrics and takes that thought, and moves it to one guy’s room. Now, he’s fantasizing about the girl(s) (he’s totally Yukirin oshi) in his poster, but then we move to the posters. As we would expect from this being a PV, the girls sing and dance like usual. However, we sometimes see through to the other side of the room from in the poster, to see that it is really a poster, to remind us of what we’re watching. Furthermore, whenever the girls sing and dance around the room, the posters are blank, so we know that this is about the girls of the posters.

There’s more to it, though; one of the things that I liked a lot about the PV originally were the different angles that we see the girls at in the dance shot. However, the camera rarely moves during the dance shot; it moves once or twice panning the girls. But the thing I realized is that the angles that we see the girls in the dance shot, the unmoving shots, are really the angles that might be in a poster, further cementing this.

The other parts of the PV are close up shots and the girls dancing in the guy’s room. However, during the close up shots, nearly everything that the girls do is straight up posing in ways that would be seen on a poster. They only move freely in the guy’s room when the fantasy is at its peak. When the fantasy is confined to the posters, every move is a cute pose, reminding us that these girls are just on the poster and not in reality.

Finally, we see a shot of the man staring at Yukirin, cementing the fact that the PV was his fantasies of his 
idols, not reality.

Mirai Bowl- Momoiro Clover

First off, if you haven’t seen the extended version, do so now. You’ll be glad you did.

This is gold. It’s set up like a cheesy old-fashioned sitcom, with the introduction at the beginning and a laugh track and cheesy music. The story is an obvious Grease parallel… only that there’s a relationship between a girl named Sandy (Kanako) and Danny (Akari). Two newsies are there to get them together (Shiori and Momoka), I guess? Also, Danny is a super amazing bowler, so that’s important for the music part of the PV. However, Leader (Ayaka) wants Sandy too, with Reni as her assistant. In the drama part of the PV, I have to say that I love Ayaka and Reni’s part the best. Ayaka’s deep gangster voice and Reni figuring stuff out by going “give me chappa chappa etc.” is just amazing and hilarious. They kidnap Kanako by going “It’s a UFO” and pointing.

I love all MomoClo PVs dearly, but I had to pick this one because it has the most hilarious plot of all of them. The girls know how to ham it up in these roles and it’s just funny because it doesn’t begin to treat itself seriously. These girls are also really great dancers and performers and that in itself makes it really fun. The comics-style effects are also really fun, and the break where they actually have the bowling game over Kanako’s heart is just super fun to watch.

Not putting Ikuze Kaitou Shoujo, D’ no Junjou and Pinky Jones on this list was super hard,  but just by PVs Mirai Bowl never stops being really fun. It’s one of those PVs that seems like it must have had a fairly small budget, but made the most of whatever budget it had and then some. No matter how high or low MomoClo’s budget is, they totally make up for it and then some.

Keibetsu Shiteita Aijou – AKB48





Yes, I picked the suicide PV.

Keibetsu never fails to make me emotional and cry. You just feel the hopelessness of the girls throughout the PV, and the images of Yuko going to commit suicide are just heartbreaking.

This PV, even though it was in AKB’s early years, has a lot of depth and maturity to it. The way they act, when you see Sae leave the school because of bullying, leaving Yuko alone, you feel like there’s more to it than just what you see in the PV.

The color scheme is also dark, fitting in with the rest of the PV, and the looks of the girls at the end, almost going “You know what you did” just never fail to be haunting. I know people who miss AKB48 from when they were less popular because of stuff like this, and I honestly don’t blame them. I love the current happy idol music that AKB and co do, but songs and PVs like Keibetsu Shiteita Aijou are certainly missed in the current lineup.

Meguru Koi no Kisetsu- C-ute

This is definitely a big change of pace from Keibetsu. XD

I love this PV so much, you guys have no idea. On the one hand I really really like C-ute from a visual standpoint (if that makes any sense) because I love how they dance and perform with such energy. This is super apparent here in the dance shots, close up and other shots, where C-ute is in high form, doing very well.

The reason that Meguru Koi no Kisetsu is on my list and not any of the other C-ute PVs, however, is that this is a perfect example of how a budget isn’t anything. This PV doesn’t look like it cost  much of anything; a few backdrops, a few props, nothing radical that would cost a lot of money. However, the seamless way they move between all the backdrops and use them creatively is really something. I’ve seen a lot of people complain about the budget in H!P videos, when this PV would seriously counter that. PVs are a lot more interesting when they take whatever budget they have and use it creatively, like they did here.

This PV is fun, really enjoyable, and overall really well done.

Watarirouka Hashiritai- Gyu


Guys. I love Watarirouka Hashiritai. So much.

This is probably my most subjective pick on the list, but I don’t even care because I love it. The whole PV is like a drama; I can imagine that this is some romcom drama about five girls with their own problems and relationships and it’ll be one of those things where they all bond over their relationship troubles and stuff. This is something I want.

But anyways, they all have their relationship things:

Harugon (Nakagawa Haruka) doesn’t have any relationship issue. She and her “boyfriend” (which is one of the MSN messenger “people”; was this sponsored by MSN?) are all happy and in love. Good for her, I guess.
Lovetan (Oota Aika) has an unattentive boyfriend who flirts with other girls and not her, even though she’s the girlfriend. This is where you have to suspend disbelief in the PV, because who would choose other girls when there’s Lovetan. Though her slap is kind of my favorite moment ever in any PV. When this came out I watched that slap about 10 times in a row.
Nacchan (Hirajima Natsumi) is basically playing me, because she has a thing for her teacher. In the PV she hugs her teacher in what could potentially become harassment? Teaching the English word for hug, yeah right. And the whole classroom claps, which makes me think that the classroom is writing Nacchan/teacher fanfiction.
Ayarin (Kikuchi Ayaka) gets confessed to by a guy but then turns him down. Which makes me believe that this is the final test after her scandal; if she decided to get with the guy then she’s gone for good. But yay, Ayarin stays.
Mayuyu (Watanabe Mayu)… runs? Mayu, running isn’t acting, oh wait, for you it is, OK. I’ve heard theories that she’s romantically involved with another girl because they take Purikura together with some other girl (which is usually just with girls) and I like this theory a lot.

This is a fun PV with a fun story and it’s about hugging. I love hugs. So, it’s a favorite.

Zutto Suki de Ii Desu Ka- Matsuura Aya







The rest of the list is in no particular order, but this is my #1 favorite PV ever. I think it’s ridiculously well-crafted, creative and beautiful. The way that they use a continuous shot through all the beautiful sets is really well done. If you watch the PV making of it isn’t editing trickery or whatever; they really did do most of the filming in one fell swoop, with Aya running around the backs of sets to get where she needs to be. It reminds me a bit of one of the scenes of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that involved the main actors running around the backs of sets to get places. If I think “Oh, maybe Michel Gondry directed this PV?” then you KNOW it’s a great PV.

It’s not only doing the continuous effect, but it also has really gorgeous sets; I particularly like the one with the clocks. It has a twinge of a surreal feel, too, since you see the way it gets to all the different sets that are clearly fabricated.

Still it’s gorgeous and I love it.

A very subjective list (that took forever to write), but there you have it! Happy 100 posts, Happy Disco!!!

30 Day Idol Challenge Day 24

Day 24: An Idol that is not one of your favorites but you admit that they’re good.

What does this even mean?

For my idol fandom, I have a tendency to pick favorites. And by favorites, I mean the #1 favorite idol that will rule all the other idols in my idol rankings, but I tend to do that by group. For example, Ishikawa Rika is miles above any other Morning Musume member ever. It’s been changing a bit lately (in AKB48 fandom I love Oota Aika most, but Natori Wakana and Iwasa Misaki are pretty close, too), but I still do that. Furthermore, after the favorites then everyone tends to be pretty similarly ranked. For AKB48, I can do my top 10 members, but I can’t rank all of them simply because I like all of them and don’t want to put any one on the bottom.

So here, I have a lot of idols that aren’t my favorites, but I like all of them. So how do I pick among the myriad of idols?

I have one cop-out answer and one real answer to this question, so I’ll share both.

Cop-out:


SKE48 as a whole is my cop-out answer. The reason is that I love AKB48, and I follow them more than SKE48 or any of the xxx48 groups. However, I really like whatever I see of the members in SKE48. They all have nice personalities and in my opinion they’re a much stronger group than AKB48 at least in terms of dancing. 1!2!3!4! Yoroshiku is one of my favorite PVs, and I love every bit of music I hear from them.

Yet, for whatever reason, I follow AKB48 more. Maybe it’s part of the popularity thing, but if that was the case I couldn’t have Momoiro Clover as my chosen favorite idol group. So while I don’t know most of the girls in SKE48 (my favorites are Yagami Kumi and Matsui Jurina, two front girls), I really should follow them more, because SKE is quite a strong group in their own right.

However, since choosing a group for a singular idol might be considered cheating, I chose one.

Airi, if your jersey is referring to Rose Tyler from Doctor Who, we need to seriously be besties.

Even though my Hello!Project fandom is really being superseded by groups like Momoiro Clover and AKB48, I still follow all the groups somewhat, and I try to follow C-ute a lot. I’m mainly a fan of Yajima Maimi and Nakajima Saki when I follow C-ute and Hello!Project. 
HOWEVER, for the life of me I don’t know why I don’t follow Airi more. I mean, she’s great; she seems like she has a sweet personality, she’s cute, she’s a good performer and singer. Honestly, even though I want Maimi and Nakky to get the most screentime because they’re my favorites and my biases, I’m really fine with Airi being the C-ute front girl and have no problems with that at all. Recently on Hello!Online I said that the new Buono song needs more Airi, even though she has more lines than either Momoko or Miyabi, and I meant it. I quire like Airi, and approve of her hoarding lines.

30 Day Idol Challenge- Day 4

Day 04: If this Idol were a boy, who would be your boyfriend?


Why this question; anyone who knows my idol tastes knows that I go for the girliest of girly idols. I like my idols covered in frills and pink, dammit.

However, I could definitely date…

Yajima Maimi.

She’s not exactly SUPER manly, but she’s not the girliest of my favorite idols. She’s really nice, a great leader, and just a really fun person, I think. If she was a man, I’d totally go for Maimi.

Hello! Project Fankora Concert Review- pt 4

MC2

O hai thar, Yossy. I keep forgetting you’re in this concert as the sole shining representative of the amazingness that was the Elder Club. Next time bring Rika with you. We can jam.
This whole MC was basically Momoko going “LOOK AT ME I’M A LEADER OF MULTIPLE GROUPS OOOOOOOOH” and everyone else not caring. She’s being a little too attention-whorish for my tastes here. 
Aisu Kuriimu to My Purin

Can I just skip this? Please? PLEASE. No? Gah. 
Zoku. I just don’t like them. It’s nothing against the members; I just think that they are honestly the antithesis of what v-u-den WAS; in fact, no one in current H!P is fit. H!P is about youngness, youth. v-u-den was about women starting adulthood and that’s part of why I find them interesting and that they’re tied with Gatas for my favorite H!P group. I’ve ranted about this before, it shouldn’t be tough to find on the Disco.
Anyways, this performance keeps confirming what I originally thought about Zoku in my Zoku rant (in which I stated I would NEVER call them Zoku v-u-den. OK, yeah. don’t want to get into this. I like the members, but they don’t represent v-u-den’s v-u-denness. 
This was actually less offensive to me than Koisuru Angel Heart, but JUST BARELY. This song is not something to be taken seriously, but at the same time is actually supposed to be sexy. Playfully sexy, sexy in a “look at how silly fanservice can be!” kind of way, but nonetheless sexy. The impression I’ve always gotten from the Aisu PV is “haha, fanservice is ridiculous” but it’s still pretty hot. 
The dancing was not TOO bad, but it had some iffy bits; the kickline was uber fail, and no one was really a good dancer. It felt slightly unrehearsed, and, my main complaint about the group as a whole, like they really didn’t try. 
JunJun, you’re doing it wrong. 

Speaking of not trying too hard; I understand that Zoku’s only doing one song and that they all have other things to do. But seriously. The costumes? What are they supposed to be? I mean, even if they had to use them for the main groups. Why are the main groups using those costumes? 
Vocals weren’t too bad; Risako was really the best one there and I was happy that she got Rika’s long solo near the end. I wasn’t expecting amazingness from them, so. 
I don’t mean to sound mean; a LOT of this is my bias speaking. But say what you want about the original v-u-den, but their performance skills (not vocal, performance) were out of this world, and Zoku doesn’t come close to representing the original group I love so much. They honestly feel a tiny bit like a REALLY good cover group of the original, but certainly NOT the revival. So really, it’s my bias as a v-u-den enthusiast, but in my opinion the revival groups are that; trying to be the original group as best as they can. And this really wasn’t that bad of a cover, but when it comes down to representing what v-u-den was I can’t give Zoku the thumbs up. 
Oh, and Momoko attention whores. I know a lot of people found Momoko getting up and dancing cute, but I honestly thought it was pretty disrespectful (my GOD this review is going to get me flames). I liked her a lot before, but man I don’t know now. I just really thought it was rude, no matter how I felt about the actual performance going on. I mean, I don’t mind people going for attention, but IMO this was not the place to do it. 
Also, I was hoping to see Yossy rocking out in the back (she’s notorious for LOVING this song), but that didn’t happen. Perhaps she needed Rika to be there. 
Daite Yo! Please Go On!

Am I the only one that finds it awkward when solo songs become group ones? I don’t know, maybe I am. But the one thing that I keep focusing on here is just how it is of a group song. It MIGHT have been done another time, but the one memorable time that Daite yo! was used as a group song was for Goto Maki’s Captain Kouen concert, which was Gocchin, Tsuji Nozomi and v-u-den. It was really more of a solo song for Maki, but with the other four sang with the chorus. 
Also, there was a dance solo section before the rap. Speaking of, that would have been REALLY cool for High King. If High-King is excellent at one thing it’s dancing; in fact, I think that was the main theory for the group? I could be wrong. Anyways, while the girls ARE rather fierce here, I only wish that there had been a better arrangement of some kind to better feature their dancing.
However, despite preferring a more imaginative arrangement other than just the song sung by five people, I really like this performance. I can really tell why it was that these five girls were chosen; their dancing was all spot on and excellent to watch, and all of them seemed to be giving it their all. The singing, to be perfectly honest, was nothing special. To be frank, Goto Maki was much better than Aichan was here, and the others never wowed me. 
Though she IS fierce here

However, it was the dancing and the energy of this performance that made it really entertaining to watch. The five performers were all really excellent at performing, and it was so high energy that it made me forget the low energy-ness of Aisu Kuriimu. High-King’s never been my favorite unit ever (I love Maimi but I don’t really care that much about the others), but they really impressed me here.