Hello! Project Fankora Concert Review- pt 6

Momoiro Kataomoi


Now we’re at the Mano Erina section. Oh ff. She’s doing Ayaya.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind ManoEri. I kind of like her, and she seems like a fine girl. However, why do they do this to us? I get that the whole point of the Fankora concert is that fans get to help pick songs that they want to hear again, but Mano Erina is no Matsuura Aya and whenever they have her perform these songs it’s a HUGE reminder.

Now this doesn’t make ManoEri bad, persay, that just makes her NOT Ayaya, who was one of the highest selling and most beloved H!P acts of all time. Ayaya was also one of the best singers and performers of H!P history, which is not something that we can say about Mano Erina. The difference is huge, and is seen like crazy in this performance.
ManoEri gets REALLY pitchy here. Like, not a little; it was pretty easy for me to discern how off pitch she was. Her energy level was also not as strong as it could be, even though that’s the type of song this is. To me, I can tell she’s trying her best, but it’s just not there.
Basically, my final verdict is that if you are unfamiliar with the original version or ADORE ManoEri, you’ll probably like this; it’s a good song and ManoEri’s pretty cute. However, as a fan of the original and a fan of Ayaya’s, this just sounds like a poorly done knock-off; having a weak voice sing a song by the best voice of H!P’s history is not really the best idea ever.
On a separate note, this concert’s really making me dislike Momoko a lot. I know she has a ton of fans, but man, the way that she keeps dancing on the sidelines is just annoying as hell to me. There’s a difference between dancing/jumping along on the sidelines and doing what Momoko is doing, which is holding a fake microphone and going out of her way to draw attention to herself. Drawing attention to yourself is fine, but this is not the time/place for Momoko to do so, during a ManoEri performance.

Haru no Arashi


This isn’t one of my favorite ManoEri songs ever, but I like it better than Onegai Dakara, so that’s good.

ManoEri’s voice is really not the best this concert, is it? It’s all over the place in this performance, even clashing with the background; are those just supporting vocals or are they doing the thing where they play the actual song in the back? All I know is that there’s some really iffy clashing of vocals here, and it’s not very pretty. Mano Erina’s not the worst vocalist H!P has to offer; far from it. However, it’s times like these where I have to wonder about her legitimacy as a soloist.

I mean, ManoEri’s not as bad a vocalist as H!P’s had, and she seems like a sweet girl. But I honestly don’t know what Tsunku/UFA found so compelling in her that they decided to make her the one soloist in H!P. Her vocals here are iffy at best and she never seems too energetic. Her performances thus far aren’t too compelling. She was fine back when she was in Gatas, but I don’t know how strong she is without a group to support her.
To her credit, she does get pretty fierce here and I can tell she’s getting into it, which is usually the thing I like most in idols. I don’t know; I guess if you’re her fan, you’ll like it, and if you don’t particularly care about ManoEri, like me, you’ll probably wonder why she’s a soloist, like me.

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. 

Hello! Project Fankora Concert Review- pt 3

Maji Bomber!!


Sorry to all you Berryz Koubou fans out there: Berryz may have gotten me into H!P, but as of recent times I just don’t follow them all that much. At all. They have lost a lot of spark that they might have had with me. In fact, when watching concert performances of Berryz for something like a review I have a little game I play, but I’ll explain that later.

Maji Bomber is a pretty good song; I wouldn’t consider it that interesting, but it’s pretty catchy and is a good song for a lot of the people involved. It’s a song where pretty much every Berryz memeber gets a solo and sounds great. Vocally, this performance isn’t bad at all. Some members sound better than others, but otherwise they all sound nice when singing it.

However, this is another issue of energy; they perform it well but not great. I don’t watch the performance and go “man that was better than in the PV!” or “oh man, that was epic;” it just feels standard. It was a solid performance, but nothing memorable.

Like, looking back I’d remember S/Mileage and C-ute’s performances as being particularly energetic and thus I’d feel positively towards the group. Conversely, nothing about this performance was particularly memorable; it was just. Good. Except…

When I watch a performance of Berryz I ALWAYS watch for Miyabi. Now you might be wondering why. Miya’s not my favorite Berryz member (that’s Chinami), but ever since I saw the performance of Nigiyaka na Fuyu with the fish costumes I realized that Miyabi never really looks super enthusiastic on stage. I have nothing against her as a person, but I just observed her lack of interest. So therefore, I have dubbed her face of “why am I doing thiiis?” to be “Miyabi Face” and now looking for evidence of Miyabi Face is my game.

Like here, sort of. Not my best. 

If there’s any point I want to make here is that I don’t find Berryz that interesting anymore. There weren’t any glaring things wrong with this performance, but it really didn’t hold interest for me.
Seishun Collection

Now here’s professionalism! Performing a fairly dull song with fairly dull choreography with ugly costumes, all of them look at least somewhat happy to be there. No Miyabi faces to be found!
Seriously, I really am not the biggest fan of this single to begin with. Now, I DO think it’s a move in a better direction. It’s upbeat and happy, which I honestly think is what the Japanese music market is looking for at the moment with AKB48. Unfortunately. This happened. Well, Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game looks to be better. 
Other than that I don’t have too much to say. It’s a nice performance, with all of them doing a good job, but no one doing particularly well. They all seem to be enjoying themselves and giving it their all; granted this isn’t saying THAT much, considering there’s not much to give when it comes to this song, but hey, I’ll take what I can get. 

Hello! Project Fankora Concert Review- pt 2

Genkimono de Ikou!


((on a side note, I just learned the grammatical reasons for Ikou. Yeah. Be jealous of my Japanese knowledge))

Speaking of Japanese knowledge, what does Genkimono de Ikou! mean? Why, I’ll tell you! It’s “Let’s go with Energetic Things!” Basically, it’s “yay energy.” Which is why it baffles me that they got Mano Erina of all people to do this song in particular and to get the budget her PV must have gotten, considering they hired a legitimate director and everything.

The vocals are fine for this performance. She has a few pitch issues, but she’s not horrendous, and never sounds too out of breath. However, man, the energy level was low. That’s why I made the point about the title. The song is LITERALLY about energy; the title is rather energetic. So why are you performing this like it’s “let’s go with slightly unenthusiastic things!”?

I’ve never been a huge proponent of H!P needing super strong vocalists. Hell, plenty of my favorites aren’t that great of vocalists, I know that. I think that as a soloist Mano Erina should be stronger than she is now, but she’s not super terrible or anything and that in itself is good. However, if there’s one thing that should not be missing from a lot of H!P songs it’s energy. They don’t always require amazing vocals (though some do; I’m looking at you, Ayaya), but they do require their performer to have the right level of energy and ManoEri just did NOT deliver the genki for this performance.

They also need to start training her on stage presence; I like her well enough as an idol, but man if you ALWAYS need four background dancers to fill the stage and you’re a soloist, then that’s a problem.

I don’t need THAT much from an idol. But come on. It’s the title of the song; energy should be a given.

Dance de Bakoon!


I’ve got it! C-ute stole Mano Erina’s energy!

In all seriousness, THIS is what I’m talking about when I’m talking about energy and what I need from idols. None of the girls here have perfect vocals; not even Airi or Chisato. I’d say that no one here is bad and that they’re all very good in their own right, but it’s not the greatest vocals ever. Why? Because they’re giving it all they’ve got into the dancing and the energy of the song, and so their singing skills suffer just a little.

The dancing here is INTENSE; I swear, these girls gave it their all and I’m beyond impressed. Lately I’ve been really into C-ute, mostly in thanks to my friend Dani who adores Nakky. This is the type of performance that confirms the reasoning behind liking them so much as of late. The energy here is intense.

Maimiiiii <333 and fierce!Airirin

I even like this performance better than in the PV; all the girls are performing their best, they all look very much into it. This is one of those performances that is super fun to watch and that I just have to love. At this point in the concert, only four songs in, I’m just thinking that this is the song and group to live up to. 

Hello! Project Fankora Concert Review- pt 1

I haven’t forgotten about my other review in the works; not at all. I’m still working on finishing my Gatas review. However, I decided I wanted to review Fankora while it was still relevant, whereas Gatas might not have another concert TO review.

So, here’s Fankora! First off the bat I’m a bit disappointed that they only had ONE concert to review, especially since it’s the one I was possibly LEAST excited about. Oh dear God I have to review Zoku. So it’s a bit disappointing I can’t see the Tanpopo# performance I wanted to see, however I still like the idea that they took fan contributions and did a lot of older numbers (even if they didn’t use my super epic suggestion of doing I&YOU&I&YOU&I *grumble*)


All For One and One For All


What a way to start out a concert; this IS the quintessential H!P as a whole song, excluding Hello! no Theme (HELLO HELLO HELLO DANCING…). However, I realized when watching this that it was the first time that we saw All For One without the Elder Club involved (if I recall correctly), and so…

We start with Takahashi and Niigaki. And then I realize. Oh my goodness. This is the Mobekimasu version of All For One. Why do I have to endure this?
This isn’t to say I dislike Mobekimasu; not at all. I like them. However, the fact that it’s not Yuko, Nacchi and Kaorin singing the first line just makes a little bit die inside.
I did like that the beginning started out with all of Morning Musume’s generations; it’s as if H!P’s saying “Yeah, MM>>the rest of them, woo!” I mean, I do miss the old distribution of lines, I really do. But that’s not super feasible without having a few Country Musume members to throw in, good soloists to throw in (why hello there, Yukidon; how’s enka-town?) etc. After a while, this song just gets to be really long. The one thing that made this song so good originally was that it WAS all of H!P; all 45-46 members of Hello!Project, with a bunch of different generations, showing just how vast H!P was but having all of them sing a song. It’s showing H!P’s history and the importance of each generation within the collective whole.
However, after MM’s generations, it just shuffles through the Mobekimasu order; MM, Berryz, C-ute, ManoEri and S/Mileage a few times. It’s slightly repetitive. 
(And goodness, whyyy did the unit I’ve been least impressed with lately have to sing the 4th gen lines? *sigh*)
The performance itself was OK. It was really nothing special, and honestly I got kind of bored part way through it. I mean, a few of them looked like they were into it (C-ute in particular, S/Mileage too) but about half way through there’s really not that much energy left and it’s kind of a let down. This is a song to perform with an abundance of energy, not holding it back. At one point I was looking through the Eggs to try and find my favorite, Sekine Azusa.
C’mon, Sekkii, I know you’re in there somewhere….

All in all (haha, see what I did there?) this is another performance to remind me yet again how much I miss the Elder Club. I don’t care how legit a decision it was, Tsunku, the Mobekimasu groups haven’t gotten better songs or PVs since they left; bring back the Elders. 
VTR

It’s a VTR. What do I have to say. Well. A couple of odds and ends.
1. Best MC roster. Ever.
Makoto’s a pimp. Yossy’s the pimp. We all win. Makoto, please never stop being the one male member of Hello!Project. You make everything more epic and more amazing. I hope to study abroad in Japan when the 2012 H!P summer concert will take place. I will cheer hard for Makoto. I was surprised this screen didn’t get more cheers; there’s obviously a deficiency in the Ishiyoshi wota in the audience. Wait, is that picture of Yossy from Tokyo Alice? If so, then that’s over a year older than the concert. Maybe I’m wrong, but I could have SWORN that was a picture from her stage play. Or maybe I’m totally off. 
2. That took a LONG time to get through ManoEri. I get she’s 1/5th of Mobekimasu. But really? 
MC1
Yossy’s funny. The first MC should be funny, yes? aaaand no. It’s sadness. Graduations. I’ve already blogged about Eririn/JunJun/LinLin graduating, but it is actually pretty sad to watch happen. JunJun and LinLin look pretty upset; like they haven’t actually accepted it. Because anyone who thinks it was 100% their choice to go back to China needs to get their brain straightened out. 
Aannd to the first main group song, which is….
OO Ganbaranakute mo Ee Nende!

Yay, I like S/Mileage. I’ve actually had a reaally big thing for this song ever since previews came out, and so seeing a live performance of it really warms the heart. I’m seriously really excited for whenever the DVD of S/Mileage’s solo concert comes out; I can see S/Mileage without sitting through ManoEri. It’s perfect!
The girls here are really fantastic; they have some really nice live vocals. Even the admittedly weak link Wada Ayaka (it’s OK, Ayacho, I still love you!) sounds really nice and never sounds too terribly out of place throughout this relatively vocally strong performance. It’s times like this that I’m still amazed at how little they’ve been around so far; they all sound great for debuting not that long ago. I mean, they were all Eggs, but even still; many Eggs still suck. 
You don’t suck! Cute Kanyon is cute!

Energy wise I love these girls. They’re all very energetic and are all very much into it, unless they’re somehow amazing actors. The dance is silly, but they do it well.
Oh, you girls be silly

I seriously have nothing but high hopes for the future of the group; they are all very solid at dancing (or at least the dances choreographed for them), solid at singing, and they jive really well together as a group, which is really important. They all look like they’re having fun with the silliness of this song. I maintain that this is one of the best single songs H!P has had in years, and while I’m not super into the Bijin Mama song.
More later!