A "Quick" Review of Battle and Romance

Very recently, my personal favorite idol group, Momoiro Clover Z released their first ever album entitled “Battle and Romance.” One thing that I immediately found interesting was that instead of promoting the singles that came right before this (Z Densetsu ~Owarinaki Kakumei and D’ no Junjou) they chose to promote the album instead (and by ‘they’ I mean the staff, people at the label, etc; MomoClo had nothing to do with it). In Japan, most artists focus on single sales, especially idols. The music industry really seems to do better with singles rather than with albums, and singles tend to sell much much better.

However, Momoiro Clover sold just under 10,000 copies for their first day, and by the second day (where they sold over 5000 copies) they outsold the overall sales of the previous two Morning Musume albums. So even though MomoClo might not be selling as well on the singles, I’m thinking that this album may be a sign that MomoClo is getting to be a bigger and bigger group to reckon with.

Methinks they are spoofing this Beatles album cover? Maybe? idk. 
Anyways, this is a review of the full album. I’ve heard the single songs and I’ve heard all the solo songs, but this is actually my first time with the album-original songs.
1. Z Densetsu ~Owarinaki Kakumei~
Number one thing I’ve learned from this song: that in Japan they say “Zed” instead of “Zee.” Like in Canada. So, I guess Momoiro Clover agrees with Canadians?
I love this song a lot. I’ve heard it described by a fellow MomoClo loving fan as the Ikuze! Kaitou Shoujo of newer Momoiro Clover Z fans, and I think this is a fair assessment. Both introduce all the girls in a fun, light-hearted song. I’d personally say that I prefer Ikuze, but maybe that’s just me. But I could definitely see myself watching the PV and falling for this group, like what happened for me when Ikuze Kaitou Shoujo first came out. 
The “BLUE” when they go over the colors makes me happy, because the group’s obviously recognizing that Akarin was there, but it also makes the absence even more noticeable. 
The only thing that I could potentially say about this is that occasionally the guy’s voice gets a bit old, and I don’t necessarily need it. I get what they’re trying to do, that it’s all a spoof of the sentai genre, but it’s a bit annoying. It’s not enough man voice to ruin the song for me (like how Tsunku ruined Uchouten Love, which I would have adored, with his wahHOO every two seconds), but I’d have liked less of it. 4.5/5

The song starts off kind of electronic sounding, but then transitions to being kind of an epic song with that electronic/dance music type feel. I find that I like the chorus a lot better than I like the verses; sometimes it feels like the drone of the music in the background in the verses doesn’t really fit that well with the melody that the girls are singing. I like the lead up to the chorus and the chorus much better. Like I’ve said, this is the first time I’ve heard this song, and so I haven’t seen any performances (if they’re out there yet; I have been saving this album up). However, I can definitely see this as being something with a pretty epic performance, given MomoClo’s energy.
I like the song; however, sometimes I’m a bit put off with the instrumental. Maybe it’s one of those songs where those parts will grow on me (I didn’t like Pinky Jones all that much after the first listen), but this seems like the type of song that I’ll have on my iPod but won’t be as heavily listened to as the others. 3/5

3. Mirai Bowl
I love love love this song and love the PV. Before I listened to this album I had no idea that they were going to rerecord  the old single songs. I’m honestly really torn about this. On the one hand, I miss Akari and it kind of feels like they’re sort of trying to erase her existence. On the other hand, though, they are really trying to reinvent themselves with the advent of Momoiro Clover Z, which feels like they’re really respecting Akari; saying that they’re not the same group without her, and acknowledging her in Z Densetsu. 
I love this song wholeheartedly, so this rerecorded version is kind of interesting to me. The biggest change is giving Akari’s rap part to Ayaka, which does change the tone of the rap somewhat. It’s giving the serious sounding rap to the youngest/girliest member who ended up doing it well, though changing the tone of the rap. That being said, the rest of the song is silly enough that it doesn’t really matter if the rap sounds a bit silly. I’m honestly thrilled that Ayaka got the part, because since I got into Momoiro Clover I’ve been convinced that Ayaka is Ishikawa Rika part two, so she really does excel in some of those speaking parts.
The song overall isn’t any better or worse without Akari; it’s just different. I can see myself choosing to listen to both versions pretty freely. And since I love this song, it definitely deserves: 5/5.

4. Wani to Shampoo 
Apparently this is the opening to some anime, as well as being entitled “Crocodile and Shampoo.” I love this title so much, so I’m very very hopeful before I even listen.
Listening to it right now, I can definitely hear how this would be a great anime opening. I love whenever they shout things. YABAI!! QUESTION!!
For some reason I’m having trouble pinning down what type of song this is; it’s a bit weird mixed with being a bit serious sounding. Yet I know that they’re singing about “owaranai Shukudai” so they’re singing about unfinished homework. That’s definitely ‘yabai.’ 
Also, there’s the part before the chorus where they’re all asked questions. The funniest is one of the English ones: Q: Where do you live now? Ayaka: Yes I do!
I think that even though it sounds like kind of a serious song it has a lot of silliness to it, which makes it a perfect MomoClo song. After one listen I have it stuck in my head, which shows the power of this type of song. Though for some reason I keep thinking it sounds like some song but I can’t pinpoint what song it sounds like! Still, it’s 5/5. Instant classic for MomoClo.
5. Pinky Jones
Chappa Chappa! People need to go around saying “Chappa Chappa” more and more. 
I love the pseudo-Indian feel of the song, with what sounds like a sitar? I think it’s supposed to be a sitar, if it really isn’t. And then there are what sound like bagpipes later in the instrumental. This is honestly what I love about Momoiro Clover’s music writing team; only MomoClo would have a JPop song with sitars and bagpipes. 
I actually notice Akari’s absence more in this song than I did in Mirai Bowl, which is a bit odd considering she had a much bigger presence in the PV of Mirai Bowl. It’s mixed just fine, but it just sounds a little weird. However, I have to say that they’ve been making great choices in allotting Akari’s lines among the rest of the group. The fact that Akari’s mystical sounding solo was given to Reni was a particularly great choice, since her character in the PV was supposed to be some sort of fortune teller, which was reprised in both Mirai Bowl and Z Densetsu (“Give me chappa chappa!!”). I personally liked that Ayaka got Akari’s line when they all sing with their names; she sounded particularly nice. 
Again, I like both versions a ton. This song is perfectly weird and eccentric for Momoiro Clover. 5/5

6. Kimi no Ato
Here’s the thing with me and ballads. I love a ballad with a really amazing voice, which is why some of the later albums of Matsuura Aya are some of my favorites. However, a lot of the times idol ballads can get really boring really fast, and if the vocals are subpar then I’ll probably not listen to the song very much. They can be done really well; I love the choir-style of AKB48’s Sakura no Shiori. However, as a whole, if the songs are equally well-written, I’ll normally choose an energetic idol song over a ballad.
That being said, the instrumental is very pretty and since Kanako’s voice at the beginning was really pretty, I had really high hopes going into it. And they were met; the girls all sound very pretty, and the instrumental is really good. It’s actually a bit more of a power ballad, with the instrumental and sound building up from the initial, beautiful piano. It’s definitely not MomoClo’s usual music, which makes it really special to listen to. It’s not really my thing, and I doubt I’ll be listening to this as much as I listen to the upbeat songs of the album, such as Wani to Shampoo. However, I really really enjoy it. It’s enjoyable, and exceeded my expectations, when I heard there was a Momoiro Clover Z ballad. 4/5

7. D’ no Junjou

This song is flawless. The way they build up tension throughout, the verses and go all out in the choruses, and the parts with “DASH DASH DASH DASH DASH” always give me shivers. It’s energetic, intense and amazing. The way they perform it in the PV is just 100% amazing.
I honestly have nothing more to say. A perfect song. 5/5

8. Ame no Tachikara wo

Another song with Indian influence; I think this one s a lot more direct than Pinky Jones, but I don’t listen to Indian music so I could be wrong on that count. The singing reminds me a tiny bit of traditional Japanese music, so that could be a bit more of what they’re trying to go for. Still, this song also has a lot of rock and pop influences, like the rest of Momoiro Clover Z’s music, and the song changes a lot between verses and the chorus. The chorus transitions to being more of a regular popular song. It’s fine, but nothing really extraordinary, especially since fans of MomoClo will be used to the concept of the girls switching styles a lot.
I like the song more during the verses than during the chorus. There’s nothing wrong with the song, but it doesn’t grab me the way that the other songs do. After a couple of listens none of the song really stuck with me, unlike some of the other songs on this album (Wani to Shampoo won’t let my brain alone). 3/5

9. Orange Note
We finally have the flawless Orange Note on recording! For people who don’t really follow MomoClo, Orange Note is one of the songs that has been with Momoiro Clover from the beginning, and so fans are super excited to have this on recording. The one thing that has changed is that now it’s Shiori doing the rap and not Akari, and while I love Akari’s original I have to say that Shiori did a really great job.
This is a great, high energy, fun song. When I first heard it last year I knew that it was a great song, and it still is. It’s stood the test of time, and I’m forever glad that it’s on the album. 5/5
10.  Ikuze! Kaitou Shoujo
OK, Pinky Jones was weird without Akari, but this is weirder. In the shout at the beginning, it goes from “RENI KANAKO AKARI SHIORI AYAKA MOMOKA” (which is btw how I learned all the members’ names originally) to “RENI KANAKOOOO SHIORI AYAKA MOMOKA” which is kind of awkward, but I don’t know how they’d be able to get past. Also, the part where they all count is a tiny bit awkward. 
Despite some awkwardness in how they did this song, they did a pretty solid job of covering Akari in this song. This is THE classic Momoiro Clover song in my opinion, so I’m glad they did it. However, the awkwardness, and Momoka’s unnecessary vocalizations at the end (seriously, WHY did they add that?) make the original the one I’m going to listen to. It’s a fantastic song, but it really is incomplete without Akari. 4.5/5

11. Stardust Serenade
References to their agency, FTW. 
This is kind of a lighter easy listening song; for some reason I keep getting a retro feel from it? Parts of it, for some reason (I have no idea why) remind me of The Partridge Family, which not something I’d ever really peg on JPop. Or Neil Diamond. Basically stuff that my mom plays in the car and listens to a lot. 
It’s a pretty easy song to like, and I really do appreciate some of the orchestral stuff that goes on in the instrumental. Orchestra instruments in rock music is my #1 weakness, as two of my favorite bands are the Electric Light Orchestra (or ELO as they’re better known) and The Last Shadow Puppets. 
All the girls sound really good in this song and they really fit it. I like it! 4/5

12. Kono Uta
I’ve heard this song before, actually, looking up stuff on Momoiro Clover. It never really stuck with me, but I think at that point I was too excited for Z Densetsu that I listened to that much more than I listened to this. I don’t know why, but this is a sweet-hearted, up beat song. It has kind of an epic feel, and it kind of sounds like it should be on the soundtrack to something? 
I really like this song, though, and can’t think of much else to say. It kind of reminds me of the feel of Hashire, and I think is that type of song for the group. A reprieve from the weirdness to make something very pretty. 5/5

13. MomoClo no Nippon Manzai!
This song is weird and wonderful; this is kind of like a modern Mini Moni, because they’re singing about various points in Japan, and prefectures. When they’re singing about prefectures I THINK (with my limited Japanese knowledge) they all sing extended things about their home prefecture? I know Ayaka sings about Kanagawa, which is her home prefecture. The style of the song changes to everything throughout the song, giving all of members opportunities to show their personality. Weird parts, slow parts, it’s all just fantastic. I happen to love really strange songs, which is part of why Momoiro Clover maintains its position as my favorite idol group.  
But yeah, this is like what would happen if Mini Moni and Momoiro Clover had a collaboration, which is what makes it amazing. 5/5


1. Taiyou to Ekubo- Kanako
This really has kind of a classic idol feel to it; it’s upbeat and happy and just sunny. I’ve loved it a lot since I first heard it and that hasn’t changed. Kanako sounds great and it’s just a fun song that’s easy to listen to. 
2. Fall Into Me – Akari
It’s kind of interesting that Akari got recorded over in the single songs on the album, but she got her solo song on the album. I’m not complaining, because this song really fits her, with the rock style and with all the rapping. This is really her forte, not so much the cutesy idol pop that MomoClo does. I miss her, and if she got to do stuff like this in the future I’d be really happy. 
3. …Ai Desu Ka? -Shiori
For some reason this title keeps reminding me of Kago Ai’s fanclub solo song, “Renai tte Nani”. Shiori, don’t turn out like Kago did, please.
This is another classic idol type song. I find the song kind of boring, and the fact that while I ADORE Shiori she’s not my favorite member doesn’t really help. The song’s cute, Shiori’s cute, and there’s nothing offensively bad about the song, but of the entire album this is probably the song that stands out least. 
4. Datte A~rin Da Mon!- Ayaka
I find it amusing that all the other members got fairly normal songs, and my favorite gets the weird song. It’s actually perfect for Ayaka, though; she’s the youngest member and is really cutesy, especially since she’s been in show business since she was 10 (on Oha Star). However, the sexy sounding interludes fit her really well, because even though she often does the cutesy image she also can be sexy.
Anyways, if you don’t like cutesy songs, strange songs or Ayaka, you’ll hate this song. If you love all those things, you’ll adore this song. 
5. Arigatou no Present- Momoka
Of all the members who could get a ballad as their solo song, Momoka is definitely the right choice. She has arguably the best singing voice, so it really fits her. The solo song doesn’t stand out to me that much, but ballads aren’t really my thing, like I’ve explained. It’s a nice, pretty song, that Momoka sings with a lot of heart. Good job, Momoka!
6. Koi wa Abare Ondekoza- Reni
Reni singing enka? I guess weirder things have happened.
While I’ve never really thought about it before, Reni’s voice sounds really good in this song. The opening drums/music reminds me of Phoenix Wright. If you’ve played the games with the sound on, you should know why. Anyways, Reni doing enka is a bit of a surprise, but she pulls it off really well!
Overall, this was a great album, with a lot of strengths. This definitely could go up to being one of my favorite idol albums ever, which is saying something. Momoiro Clover Z has been doing a great job of things so far, and in my opinion they totally deserve the fame they’ve been getting.

30 Day Idol Challenge Day 26

Day 26: An Idol whose character you like.

This one’s kind of tricky for me, because it’d be SO easy to name any one of my favorite idols. I’m going to say that this means character as in on-screen personality, and not actual character (i.e., not Charmy Ishikawa or Lovely Takahashi, actual separate characters).

With the given fact that any of my favorite idols (Ishikawa Rika, Oota Aika, Iwasa Misaki, Sasaki Ayaka etc.) would probably take this spot if I wasn’t trying to be comprehensive about things, a character I like is…

AKB48’s Sashihara Rino.
If you follow AKB then you’re probably very familiar with Sashiko’s antics, but if you’re not, Sasshi is a wota. Big time. She followed AKB a lot before she joined, does wotagei, and talks about idols. A lot. Sashiko has been growing in popularity, and I imagine that her wota fandom is a huge part of that. I know that I can identify with her; if I was anywhere near as outgoing as she is, I’d probably act as affectionate with idols, too.
I have no idea if this is true or not or what Sasshi’s fan demographics are, but I’d imagine she’d be a great figure for Japanese female idol fans, as a way of going “see, Sasshi’s into idols, it’s not super weird for me to love them as well.” Maybe the widespread appeal has been doing good things for her popularity?
Like I said, I really don’t know, but it’d be interesting to find out. But yeah, Sasshi’s very fun. She even has her own term for when she gets overly enthusiastic about her fellow idols, Sasshiharassment.

Which often is directed at my oshimen, Oota Aika. So yeah, I can totally relate to Sasshi.

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 25

Day 25: Your favorite Idol who is NOT Japanese.

News item of the day: I am not a big KPop fan.

I have nothing against it, and I LOVE a lot of KPop songs. But something about the industry kind of rubs me the wrong way, and I’ve found it hard to get into. Or maybe I’m just bitter because my favorite KPop group has had no luck in becoming big in the KPop industry, and with three releases I think two of those have been comebacks.

(though JQT IS supposed to be making their American debut this fall).
Again with yesterday, if I wanted to make a cop-out answer it’d be the entirety of JQT. I love all their songs, music videos, and everything I can find about them. 
However, my one idol answer is definitely…
After School’s Lizzy.
After School is one of the KPop groups I attempt to follow, even though half the time me following them really means “*grumble grumble* How does the Korean music industry work at all? Five comebacks? Makes no sense!”
Lizzy really impressed me in Orange Caramel (I love BANG!, but she wasn’t too prominent in that), and now she’s my favorite After School member. She really seems to have a funny, enjoyable personality, and I saw her on some variety show and she was pretty funny, even though I had no idea what she was saying.
(plus, who doesn’t love Mustache!Lizzy? Nana does!!)

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.


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 23

Day 23: Your favorite ex-Idol.

I kind of really want to be contrary and go “ah, but what does it mean to be an ex-idol?” when that’s actually a valid question. Can I count Ishikawa Rika, my favorite idol of all time, to be an ex-idol since she isn’t in a regular idol group? How does Dream Morning Musume count into this equation? Can they still be active in some regard, not just “idol” activities? What if they’re still doing some gravure (or AV) idol work, just not singing in an idol group?

Furthermore, when thinking about celebrities, I actually put idols and singers into a separate category. Idols can transition into being singers (which happens with soloists, I’ve noticed) and even from singers into idols (what happened to Morning Musume), but they’re just different.

And because of that reason, I have to say that my favorite ex idol is..

The ever wonderful Matsuura Aya.

I LOVE her idol stuff, don’t get me wrong. I think that all of her singles in her early days in H!P were excellent, and she really was an excellent idol.

However (regardless of the break she’s on) Aya is now a singer. She’s always had a beautiful voice, but there came that point where her singing and her music became more of a priority and she stopped doing straight up idol stuff. She started performing live, too (Aya the Witch is one of my all time favorite concert tours).

I know a lot of people who do write off her post-idol work as being boring, and I think that if you put it to an idol standard that yeah it could be considered boring. It’s considerably slower and less straight up exciting and happy than idol music, and lacks a lot of the things I love about idol music. Yet I still love a lot of her post-idol work; Double Rainbow is in my opinion one of the best albums released under the Hello!Project label, and is such a joy to listen to. I think it’s also material that is something that needs to be sung by someone focusing on their vocal skills, which is honestly not a priority for idols. Even though I do love my idol music a lot, occasionally I do want music with a great vocalist, and Aya is PERFECT for that.

Nevertheless, I love her music. Even though I didn’t find it up to par with the wonderful Double Rainbow (seriously, I love that album), I thought that Click You Link Me was quite excellent, and it really deserved better treatment from UFA. UFA, remember back when Ayaya was huge and selling up there with MoMusu? How about you promote her!

Though if you consider ex-idol as someone not in the public eye fairly regularly, here:

I really really like Ishiguro Aya (another Aya!) and I’m honestly really bummed she didn’t stay with Hello!Project/MM longer. She is honestly (IMO) the most enjoyable member to watch in the Love Machine PV, and I would have liked to see her do more idol songs, because Ayappe is really TOO fun in that PV.

Wait, what? I don’t even… eh? What is it I’m watching again?

I love weird things. If something is offbeat or strange, I’ll tend to prefer it to things that are more conventional. My brain just enjoys something  bit off.

Which is why, when I saw this, my heart nearly burst with glee:

Kyara (long nickname is long)’s PONPONPON.
Now, I don’t really pay attention to Japanese magazines, or Japanese celebrities unless they’re in the music industry. So until I got shared this vid I had no idea who she was. So now I know that she is an offbeat model who’s now making her music debut, which is making the internet fandom explode.
I love this video because of its strangeness, but what are some other strange videos out there? JPop has had some very crazy videos, and so I thought I’d make a list devoted to some of the weirdest videos JPop/idol music has to offer. If you think I ‘m missing something, let me know! 
-The first thing that was brought to my attention when I started asking some of my friends for what they thought were strange videos was DJ OZMA. Now I don’t follow Ravex, and since the DJ OZMA persona retired in 2008, right at the start of  my JPop fandom, I wasn’t around to see if there were any big reactions to his stuff. However, he loves using extras in funny/strange ways, so when I got recommended some of his vids I knew that I would have to include them here.
-Mini Moni is always a bundle of WTF-ism; I had multiple Mini Moni PVs suggested to include in this list. However, one alone is the fourth video when you search “Worst music video” on Google…

The video itself isn’t THAT bad… but Bakatonosama is the stuff of nightmares.
True story: I have a photocard of him that I got in a photocard lot floating around somewhere in my room.

– Another lovely suggestion! Coconuts Musume were kind of the red-headed stepchild of the Hello!Project empire, and probably one of the more forgotten groups. The only reason they really do have any recognition with today’s fans is the fact that the group produced Ayaka and Mika, who are definitely more famous than the group they originated from.

Honorable mention in the weirdness department goes to Watashi mo I Love You, but Tokonatsu Musume has to take the cake. All the random hawaiian images, the hula dancer, the mathematical improbability that is four flowers plus four flowers equals pineapple. Also, some of the editing is really off; at one point there are three images of Lehua on the screen at once. And Danielle, you have a solid voice, but your facial expressions are basically trying too hard.
-I first got into JPop early on in 2008, and back then AKB48 was out there but wasn’t the giant that it is today. My first AKB video was Skirt, Hirari, but my second video was….
Chocolove’s Ashita wa Ashita no Kimi ga Umareru. It’s one of those vids where it starts off weird (“OK, they’re lying there covered in blood…”) then you get caught up in all the normality. They’re going to meet each other in their own way, how sweet! You forget the beginning until “OH MY GOD THEY SHOT THE IDOLS.” It’s so unexpected with the tone of the PV. But then it’s OK… because they’re just bleeding chocolate?
I can’t decide on whether this is weirder/funnier when you consider that the main girl is now a porn star. I feel like there has to be a joke or something there, but I don’t quite know what that is right now. 
– I don’t blog about her much, but I actually quite like Otsuka Ai. I only have her best-of CD on my iPod, but Sakuranbo is one of my most played songs, and I genuinely like all that I listen of her music. I haven’t seen most of her PVs because they tend to get removed quickly off of YouTube. However, I have seen one of her PVs…

Ahh, Chu-Lip. First off it starts with a cow taking care of business. And then Ai flies out of a flower (luckily not the one that the cow pooed on) and goes into this strange PV with weird images, a guy dancing in front of and climbing in and out of a vagina and dancing in front of urinals.

Also, the guy on the left of Ai while dancing in front of the urinals TOTALLY looks like my Japanese teacher from my freshman year of college. I watch this PV and can’t help but wonder if it is Tazawa sensei or not. Probably not, but it’s uncanny.

Who doesn’t remember that moment when you realized Natsuo was Ayaya? When “he” took off his sunglasses and you’re like “AYA? WHAT?”. Aya’s faces in this PV are the BEST. Besides, it also features alien abduction. Summer romance obviously needs alien abductions!
Some Honorable Mentions:
-Mini Moni Jankenpyon, with the girl they do rock paper scissors with in the weird suit. Uh.. what.
– GAM in Melodies, making runny eggs sexy.
-Melon Kinenbi’s “Onegai Miwaku no Target”; thought process: “Let’s replace the idols with black guys! No one will notice!”
This isn’t a comprehensive list; if anyone has any PVs that they wish I’d included, tell me here!

30 Day Idol Challenge Day 22

Day 22: Favorite outfit an Idol has worn.

I have a confession to make.

I really hope that it’s not going to hurt my wota blogging cred, but it’s the truth.

I’m basically in love with Yasai Sisters. The song, the PV, I love them both.
I can’t really pick a favorite costume; I’d legit wear all of them. Well, except Sayaka’s. And Suuchan’s. But other than those, I’d gladly don the Tomato costume, the red pepper costume, Lovetan’s Petit Vert costume, all of them. 
I really like this PV/song more than I probably should.

30 Day Idol Challenge Day 21

Day 21: An Idol who has charisma.

Dictionary.com’s definition of charisma: “2. a spiritual power or personal quality that gives an individual influence or authority over large numbers of people.”

And since I seriously doubt that idols are dealing with spiritual powers. Unless we believe that Mikitty really is a goddess. In that case punish me, Miki-sama.

Charisma is, to me, the most important actor in an idol. While people go over singing skills, dancing skills, acting skills, personality and looks, all of those are second to the factor that is charisma. Charisma is simply the thing that sets apart an idol. All other flaws can be forgiven if a girl has serious charisma. Because it really is that “it” factor, the unknown thing that just makes someone interesting and appealing.

And the one idol I’d say has oodles of charisma…

AKB48’s number 1 front girl, Maeda Atsuko.
Now first off, let me preface this by saying that while I like Acchan, she’s not my favorite AKB girl. She’s definitely not in my top 5 members and probably not in my top 10 AKB members. However, she has oodles of charisma.
Acchan’s value as front girl of AKB48 is something that’s been contended for quite some time. And it’s somewhat fair. Acchan doesn’t have the best singing voice, the best dancing skills, the best looks (though she is very pretty) the best acting skills, and while she has a sweet, girl-next-door type of personality she’s not particular in that regard. Yet there’s just something about Acchan that’s compelling and hard to deny.

When I first got way into AKB, I was kind of anti-Acchan. Not TOO bad, but I’d definitely wonder what Acchan has that my favorites didn’t. However, what Acchan really has is this great charisma that makes her successful.

I think every idol needs charisma, but it’s Acchan that definitely has it.

Tokyo Idol Festival 2011 Part 4

Tokyo Cheer2 Party: Pronounced “Tokyo Cheer Cheer Party,” the first thing I found out about them was this Tokyohive article, where the group went to a station and cheered on the workers of Japan.


This is a really cute thing that is a bit of promotion, but also a good thing to do for the country, as well.
I admit that this is another group that I don’t know too much about. According to Japanese Wikipedia, they were formed in 2010 and have 17 members; the leader Sawa Miho is 18 but will turn 19 in a couple of days, whereas the youngest member Hirayama Kurumi is 10; quite a large age range!

They’ve released one single “Todoke! Yell Ai Kotoba” just in April this year, so I imagine that they’ll perform this at the idol festival, unless they’re really trying to promote future releases. They’ve also done a lot of other idol festivals like this, the one I found was the Idol Festival in Hibiya, so they seem like they’re really trying to make a name for themselves.

I can’t find a video for their first single, unfortunately; here’s the one thing I found, something from their first event:

The song they do isn’t very energetic, but I’m hoping for the best from this group!

Dorothy Little Happy: I didn’t know of this group before I started searching for the Tokyo Idol Festival, but apparently they do have a pretty good following! Pure Idol Heart did a wonderful write-up of them back in March, and that’s honestly so well done that I’m going to link it here:
If your current thought is “But Serenyty, clicking links is HARD and I love your blog so much”… first off, you’re lying (but thank you for loving my blog <3), but here’s a quick thing about them. Dorothy Little Happy is a Sendai local idol unit formed early 2010.
The reason they’re named Dorothy Little Happy is because the producer apparently took inspiration from the character Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, and wanted the girls to be like Dorothy. So far they’ve released two singles as well as a mini-album which was released by avextrax, so the fact that they’ve started to do things with Avex definitely raises their profile some. Vocals wise, they do have one main singer, Mari, but the other girls do sing some. Their music is definitely rock-tinged, which is interesting if you tend to like rock-influenced idol music.

I don’t know if I’m completely won over yet, but these girls definitely have a lot of promise, and I’m excited to see more from them!
Natural Point: This is another fairly obscure idol group, that was actually formed all the way back in 2005, believe it or not. They’re currently a duo group, though they originally had three members. As far as original music goes, they only released two singles. They released one, “Lovely” in 2005 and “Shinin'” in 2007, so they  don’t have that much original stuff that has actually been released. They actually did perform at last year’s Tokyo Idol Festival, though I don’t think I saw their performance, so maybe they have songs that they just never performed.
From this official site it seems like they’re active onlilne and also have their own DVD, but that’s currently about it.

So really, these girls are pretty unknown; they’re considered local idols. Still, Nachupo is a pretty cute group, regardless!

Vanilla Beans: Another group I know! They’re an idol duo that does more retro/classic idol sound, performing similar to much more old fashioned idols. And despite being on an indies label ( Flower Label) they’ve actually made a bit of a name for themselves within the idol world. Just last year they appeared on Music Japan’s female idol special, which also hosted Morning Musume, Momoiro Clover, S/Mileage, and AKB48, among other groups. So seeing that they’ve performed at the last Tokyo Idol Festival and will now perform at the 2011 festival is a bit of a surprise to me.

Still, I suppose that their sales really aren’t that great, which doesn’t really surprise me given the fact that they are appealing more to a niche demographic and not trying to make themselves the type of group that would appeal to absolutely everyone.

Despite some poor sales from the group, they actually released a single earlier this year and are slated to release their second full album in a week (they do have a mini album and a best of album, too). So they really are one of the more well-known/active acts of the Tokyo Idol Festival. Likeability wise, if you like the type of music they do you’ll love them. If your thing is energetic/happy idols, you’ll probably appreciate Vanilla Beans, but you probably won’t be inclined to follow them.