What I Like About My Idols II: Presence in PVs

(Note: Read from the beginning of the series on, esp. the intro to this series of posts)

Here’s probably going to be the most fun post in this “What I Like About My Idols” series of magic and joy because I’ll be posting pictures and video links. Mainly video links, really.

But last time I told you that while I don’t care about the vocal skills of my idols, the songs are really the jumping point I have of a group (I kind of didn’t, but that’s what I meant). Vocal ability and songs might be what initially get me into a group, but PV appearances are really the jumping point of getting me into idols. If I hear a voice I can’t associate that with a person; I might go “Oh, pretty voice,” but that doesn’t make me take notice of that person.

However, a good appearance in a PV can really make me take interest in a specific idol. My strongest example that I have is how I became a fan of Berryz Koubou’s Tokunaga Chinami. Many people don’t know this, but the first H!P girl I liked and the first favorite in Berryz Koubou I had was Tsugunaga Momoko (yes. it’s true.). I suffer from terrible “I think my favorite is the first girl I really notice”itis, to the point where, when I get into a group, I have to think “OK, my preliminary favorite is her” but I know it isn’t going to last. Momoko was the main girl in the first H!P PV I saw, Gag 100Kaibun Aishite Kudasai, so I thought she was the best. But yes, I thought Momoko was my favorite in Berryz and that she was better than anyone.

That is, until…

That’s right, Berryz’s Dschinghis Khan PV. Back then I was still a new H!P fan, and this was right around when I started actually following releases. I was watching this PV, thinking that I liked Momoko, but then…

I must go deliver my cuteness upon the world!

I noticed one girl, Chinami. Before that Chinami had never really stood out to me; I thought her “No Nyu~” in Gag 100Kaibun was cute and I didn’t mind her, but I was way too focused on Momoko to really care about anyone else. It was when I saw the energy and fun that Chii provided to Dschinghis Khan and Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance in particular (though she really does bring this to every PV she’s a part of) that I took notice, started looking up more things of her, and she became one of my favorite girls from H!P and my (now second) favorite H!P Kid. And while I’m now really into C-ute and Maimi, Chinami’s appeal in PVs has never gone away, and to this day if I ever need something to cheer me up I watch something like Chinami’s solo PV for Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance.

BANZAIII~~ I seriously love the faces Chinami makes. It’s why she’s amazing.

And while for me, Chinami’s presence in PVs is certainly one of the most marked switch of favorites, almost all of my current favorites made me notice them with their presence in PVs, if it wasn’t the first thing I noticed about them. I noticed Ayaya’s cute/fun nature in her PV to “Ne~e”, I noticed Rika a lot in the PVs to v-u-den (though I went back to her other PVs and noticed her there). PVs are often the first time I see an idol, and thus it’s really the first time I will notice them. PVs really distinguish the girls, and so how a girl does in a PV is very important to me, and I imagine to a lot of JPop/idol fans.

What I Like About My Idols I: Vocal Ability

(Note: This is the first part in the series of entries relating why I like the idols I do and maybe thingking about why other people like their favorite idols. If you want more info check out the posts all labeled What I Like About My Idols)

(Also note that if I mention Ishikawa Rika too much, I’m not trying to be annoying or get you to like her; she’s just my favorite idol by a LONG shot, and so when I think about examples of things like this my mind goes to her.)

OK, so I’m sure there’s some smart ass who reads the title of the blog post and will think “Oh, her favorite idol is Ishikawa Rika, of COURSE she’s just going to say that vocal ability is unimportant.” Well, um, you’re partially right. (though I do think that Rika’s underestimated as a singer, but that’s a different topic). As a whole, when judging which idol in a group is my favorite, I really don’t care about vocal ability. Even when talking about my #2 favorite idol of all time, Matsuura Aya, who’s often lauded for her vocal abilities, that’s usually a few things down the list, and I don’t just say “I like her voice.”

However, this isn’t to say that vocals aren’t important or aren’t a good feature that draws people (including me) in when first discovering an idol. I remember discovering that I really liked Ayaya when I kept hearing about how amazing that she was and when I agreed with them I immediately wanted to watch more of her performances and more of her. However, on the flipside there are certain idols I’m sure I’d be much more tolerant of if I actually could tolerate their voices (I don’t want to be killed by angry wota so I’ll leave it at that). However, it’s not always vocal skill but more of “is their voice listenable to me and do I like the tone?” with the one exception of mine being Ayaya.

In fact, often I think that being an idol with stronger vocals might make it a bit more difficult to be, well, idolly. One of the things that wota like about idols and that I like to a certain degree is the idea that one must support and cheer on their favorite idol (which I think is part of what makes wotagei so popular; idols literally hear a fan’s support). It’s almost easier to support the underdog of the girl with decent vocals but not great vocals. It’s almost as if you start with
something (in this case someone, an idol) that is unpolished, it’s easier to feel proud of cheering that person on and feel pride in their successes.

I manifested that when I posted a small post with a Youtube clip of Rika singing, that I posted mainly because I was proud of her. With most idols (again, with the exception of Ayaya who never ceases to amaze me with her talent) if you have one who’s always good, it’s a bit harder to cheer them on and feel pride like you do with the others. An example of this is if you were a fan of Suzuki Airi, it’d be more of “wow, Airi sounds really good. Like last time” as opposed to a fan of Nakajima Saki being able to go “wow, Nakky has improved so much in the past year!” It’s personal preference, and the way that I feel idol fans can be, but sometimes a singer being too good (though not Aya level XD) can make it harder for me to support them.

However, when push comes to shove, vocal skills can bring me in or push me away, but they are in no way anything that makes me love or hate an idol. A good song with good vocals will pique my interest, but it’s really up to the girl(s) to keep my interest.