Hello! Project Fankora Concert Review- pt 5

I’ve been a bad reviewer. Now where was I.

MC3
Featuring S/Mileage! I hear a surprising amount of shouts for “AYACHO” when she’s one of the least popular members of S/Mileage. They introduce their next single, which I affectionately refer to as “Onaji something something Bijin Mama”. Or “something something pretty mom.”  Yuukarin has an interesting button on:

To tell us that she’s apparently a Pink Secret Agent. Saki talks about the concept of the song, which is that their friend’s mom is their rival in love. I swear, I get a weird vibe from this song, but it’s catchy and cute so I ignore it.
The girls also seem kind of intimidated by Yossy, who’s not as funny as she normally is. Especially in that weird/ugly dress. 
The one that I think stood out the most was Saki; she got a big laugh from the audience, and did a lot of talking. Yuuka was super cute, so she’s fun. I was a bit disappointed, because I like all of them, but Kanon didn’t talk all that much, and my favorite, Wada, didn’t speak all that much. But when Ayacho DID say one thing near the end that made the audience AND other H!P members laugh and cheer. Man, this is when I wish my Japanese was better, because Ayaka’s pretty hilarious from what I do understand. Otherwise, it wasn’t that interesting.
Chu! Natsu Party
Another favorite of mine! Despite my complaints about the covers of songs earlier, this is probably the best cover song so far. S/Mileage performs it with a lot of really nice energy, using mic stands.
In my opinion this is one of the better performances of the concert thus far. All the girls give the song appropriate energy, and while the vocals aren’t their best (for some reason, I keep thinking that Yuuka isn’t doing as well as she should..?), the performance aspects of the performance more than make up for it. 
Occasionally the energy level dropped a little, but that was during things like when they were singing and I don’t think it could have gotten much better. All four of them look excited and happy to be singing this classic H!P song, so all in all I really enjoy this performance. 
Oh, I forgot to mention; this is the Fankora section of the concert now, so it’s the rotating songs that the “fans chose.” Now I put that in quotations because while IIRC the last song performed by each group/ManoEri was their most requested, we don’t know how often the other songs were requested. So while it’s really nice that these groups are doing older songs, how were the not-most popular songs chosen? Just curious. (BTW, they never performed my choice, I&YOU&I&YOU&I, a 2nd gen Tanpopo song. S/Mileage DID perform 2nd gen Tanpopo, but it wasn’t recorded).
That reminds me again; why WEREN’T there multiple DVD releases? This just doesn’t make sense to me. Instead of just releasing one concert, why not release them all, or find a way to make it so people can see everything. H!P’s not super popular anymore, but concert tickets aren’t cheap and you don’t know the setlist until you get in. What if you REALLY want to see a certain performance? I was sure that they’d monetize on the multiple setlist aspect of Fankora. H!P, I don’t get you sometimes.
Anyways. Chu! Natsu Party was adorable, good energy, and I REALLY like the dynamic that S/Mileage has going on. They’re one of the two H!P groups that has the best group dynamic, IMO. 
aMa no Jaku

OK. So basically, even though Chu! Natsu Party is a better song, this was a better performance. Take the C!NP performance, and add better/more in-time dancing, better vocals and even more energy. 
S/Mileage really seems like they’re in their element; they’ve practiced this song/dance like crazy since their Indies debut, and it really shows. They work together well, and I think this is the point where they totally deserve this group of theirs. 
For being H!P’s newest act, I’d say that they brought their A-game. So far, S/Mileage’s performances have been some of the most fun and enjoyable, and they really show how they fully deserved being moved up to a major label. None of the members in particular stand out as being particularly good at singing (though, even though I’m a fan, I’ll be the first to admit that Ayaka’s the worst singer), or particularly good at dancing, but this works. They feel like equals, and you can really tell that they’ve bonded as a group, which is a bit surprising considering how new they are. 
Consensus: S/Mileage can improve, but they’re being really great right now! Keep up the good work, S/Mileage!!

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.