Monday, March 30, 2009

A Tearful Goodbye to the Elder Club

I've been thinking about writing an entry like this, originally after I had watched the graduation DVDs. However, I ended up with a lot less money than I had expected after my Japan trip, and I cannot afford to buy them just yet. But don't worry. Within the next few months I will have my DVDs, and I will watch them, and I will cry my eyes out.

And so now, as I attempt to hold on to the last shreds of my composure and I resist the urge to fling myself on the ground and scream and cry "NOOOO ELDER CLUB DON'T GOOOOO", I will discuss the miracle that is Elder Club.


Elder Club is, to say the least, everything that is good about being a Hello! Project addict. In fact, the starting members of H!P make up a good deal of it.

Nakazawa Yuko was the first leader of Morning Musume and would set the tone for all leaders after her. She was strongwilled and not afraid to speak her mind, and being a good deal older than any of the other members, she easily filled in the role of 'mother'. She WAS Hello! Project. She hosted its shows and programs, she mentored its newest artists. She helped build a family, and without her H!P would not be what it is today.

And she is one of the most talented performers I have heard in H!P history.

Iida Kaori is THE leader of Morning Musume. When I think of the leader of MM, I don't think Takahashi or Yossie. I think of Iida. She was cute, she was funny, she was spacey. She knew she wasn't the most capable leader, but she made it work. She was her own person, her own leader, and gained the respect and love of everyone.

Ah, Abe Natsumi. Not the most interesting paper clip in the junk drawer, but god, was she hard to resist. That lovable smile, that voice... (For reason, whenever I think of her, I think of the PV of Renai Sentai Shitsu Ranger) She was the face of Morning Musume for much of her time in the group. Her solo career? Amazing. Her range and the variety of songs she can sing? It's great. I really enjoy her singles, and the last one, Screen, was just the icing on the cake.

Yasuda Kei never got much time to shine. She probably wouldn't even have been remembered if she didn't get teased so much on Utaban or if she didn't have such AWESOME characters on Hello! Morning. She had it all, voice, personality, and after some time (and after she grew out her hair) she proved to be a really beautiful woman. Poor Kemeko never got much a chance to show off her vocals, but every time I listen to Never Forget, I get goosebumps.

Ah, Yaguchi Mari. Actually, she's been off doing her own thing for some time, so maybe it won't feel like she's gone so much. But I will miss her during concerts, her adorable shortness and fiery personality brightening up the stage. Granted, she's not the greatest singer, but her voice has something about it that I really like. Yaguchi will always have a place in my heart, and I'll probably cry every time I hear her 'Sexy Beam'.

Ishikawa Rika actually had quite the career looking back at it. She was lucky enough to be in the fourth generation, the Golden Age of generations. The earlier generations covered the group vocally, so what this group of girls brought was sheer PERSONALITY. Take Charmy. She is easily one of the most beautiful girls H!P has seen, she has that adorable voice that wotas seem to love, she is charming, and SHE KNOWS IT. She flaunts her charm with everything she has, and that made the group very entertaining over the years. She led v-u-den, and even though she wasn't one of the strongest singers Elder Club has seen, it's enough to just see her on stage with everyone.

Yoshizawa Hitomi is probably the most popular member among non-Japanese fans... I'm not entirely sure about Japanese fans, but I know for a fact that most non-Japanese people are attracted to Yossie's dynamic personality. When she joined, she was quiet and didn't stand out all that much, and was often overshadowed by the other fourth generation members. Then, with Mr. Moonlight, she EXPLODED into this beloved personality. Maybe Tsunku pushed the tomboy image too hard, but it suited her, and she was able to shine through it. Like her verse in Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari, her appeal was a cute girl with a boyish style. Cute as hell, funny as hell, and one great singer, she really represented what Morning Musume was back then. And as much as I love the current lineup of Morning Musume, her graduation was in a way the death of what Morning Musume was. And she made Ongaku Gatas badass, BTW.

Tsuji Nozomi has always been an odd duck. Throughout Mini Moni, Morning Musume, and even W, she, with the assistance of Kago, has livened up many a broadcast with her out-there personality. She frightened millions of Americans with her bizarre "prairie dog" call during the "original Dramatic Chipmunk" clip (actually just a clip from Mini Moni's segment on Hello! Morning), frightened millions of Japanese and other fans when she suddenly went gyaru, and brought us all back with her blog. Seriously. I want a mom like that. I've always favored Kago over Tsuji for no particular reason, but I really like her now.

Konno Asami, according to Tsunku when he announced the winners of the fifth generation auditions, was never really supposed to be in the group. She wasn't really good at anything, singing, dancing, or acting. But he saw potential and that's why he added her to the group. And I am so glad he did. Konno is shy, quiet, with a soft voice. She is a little spacey and always has a surprised look on her face. But she is adorable, and although she is a bit forgettable, she is loveable. And really smart. Geez.

What isn't there to love about Ogawa Makoto? Loud, dense, but good-natured and funny. She followed Yossie around like a lost puppy for years, always grossing out the fellow group members with their almost-lovers-like relationship. I mean, she wrote in her blog that she found the matching ring that she bought with Yossie, and promised her that she'd never take it off again. If that isn't love, what is? xD Ogawa graced the group with her deep, powerful vocals, and was a lot like Yasuda. She was funny and charming, but often teased and her voice was overlooked often. She actually entered the fifth generation as Tsunku's first choice, and was the best dancer of the group until her graduation. I love Ogawa, and I hope she has a good run as a talento.

Fujimoto Miki is Fujimoto Miki. She has one of the best vocals in H!P, and will beat you up if you say otherwise. I can't remember who said it, but one of the bloggers I often read said that she completed Yoshizawa's leadership as sub-leader, that Yossie would give an order while Miki sent deathglares to the other members, silently telling them to obey or else. Fujimoto is a special case, as she was originally an employee at H!P, then became a soloist, and then joined the sixth generation a little later than the first three. But she brings so much talent and charisma with her, that the sixth generation would have been very different without her.

Inaba Atsuko is... Ah, geez... I always think back to the H!P 2002 summer concert, where she jumped around the stage wearing a shiny disco costume and sporting a ridiculously large afro. She was out there. Actually, all of T&C Bomber was out there. But Inaba is one of the few members that people know. She has one hell of a voice, and was a wonderful MC at many a H!P concert.

Satoda Mai has Pabo now, but still. H!P is her home. Without her, Country Musume would have crumbled to the ground years before it faded into memory, and her strong voice has carried many shuffles and subgroups. Her voice is distinct, recognizable, and is one of those classic Elder Club voices.

Saitou Hitomi is my favorite Melon Kinenbi member so far. She's cute, funny, and for some reason, I always seem to like the girls who are teased a lot by the Utaban guys. xD The amazing power of her sexiness always overpowers me, and that's another thing I like about her. She's always tagged as the sexy one, but she's elegant and classy at the same time, and I think she has the best voice out of the four. And that's really saying something.

Murata Megumi has gotten the short end of the stick for a long, long time. She's gotten significantly fewer lines than many of the other girls, and isn't the prettiest girl in the company. She seems a little misplaced, not entirely idol material, but not quite an independent entertainer either. But I like her. I like megane idols (idols with glasses), because they seem a little more modest and more girl-next-door material. I don't know. But Megumi, like the rest of the group, is a talented singer, and I hope she has more time to shine.

Ootani Masae is a badass chick. She will kick the crap out of you. She's cool and stylish and I LOVE that she dyes her hair all of those cool colors. She carried many a Melon Kinenbi single with her deep, strong voice, and if you doubt me, just listen to Nikutai wa Shoujiki na EROS. She's one of those singers that has a universal appeal, and I bet she could be quite popular here in the States. I know I will definitely miss her, but thank GOD Melon Kinenbi is still carrying on.

Shibata Ayumi is the Abe Natsumi, the Tanaka Reina, the Suzuki Airi, the Sugaya Risako of Melon Kinenbi. She got the lines, she got the lead, she got the center every single time. But it works, and she helped make Melon Kinenbi what it is today. Compared to the others, she isn't as strong vocally (the first single? Yikes!) but Tsunku was smart in placing her as the face. She's cute, she's funny, and she has that high voice that appeals to many a Japanese fan. Over the years, she has also been one of the most active members, appearing in many shuffles and other performances.

Maeda Yuki is very rarely noticed because she is an enka singer, and it's hard for enka singers to come together with the pop. In fact, it's strange that she's even a part of H!P at all! But she has one of the most beautiful voices I've heard, and her songs are great (Tokyo Kirigirisu is taking over my brain ;D). She rocked in Get Up! Rapper, the only shuffle she ever appeared in, and I wish that she could have been more popular. The woman deserves it. Hopefully, she will be able to continue singing enka and gain more recognition away from H!P.

What isn't there to love about Matsuura Aya? She was the cute little baby of H!P, just 15 when she broke out with her first single. She's cute, bubbly, and oh-so-infectious... Ayaya is the ultimate H!P soloist. It's hard not to love her. She's been in more subgroups than anyone else, I think, and all of her kouhai at H!P respect her. Even though her singles haven't sold particularly well, she is a master idol. Her voice is sweet and melodic, and even years later, she continues to amaze her fans. I love her dearly, and I will probably miss her the most.

(Random Ayaya-love moment) :



Miyoshi Erika of v-u-den is the tomboyish one, just appearance-wise. Often paired up with Yui, she didn't get as much publicity as Ishikawa, but her deep, strong voice held the group up. She's beautiful in an awkward way, and I hope that she gets more opportunities to sing.

Okada Yui was often overshadowed by Erika and Rika in v-u-den, but her distinct yet soft voice helped make the sound of the group. Like Erika, she is awkwardly pretty, but I hear that she's been doing some modeling. She's really amazingly sexy...

And, of course, Ongaku Gatas.

It's sad to see so many talented girls leave after only being in the spotlight for a brief time, but they have proven in Eggs that they are capable performers and entertainers. I don't know Korenaga Miki all that well, but I'm sure she will be able to apply what she has learned. Noto Arisa has done everything ranging from singing to acting to commercial work. She is obviously a talented girl, and she is one of the most successful Eggs when it comes to experience and fans. Sengoku Minami, like Korenaga, never struck me very much in Ongaku Gatas, and wasn't until I watched the History of H!P Eggs DVD did I truly like her. I mean, the girl did the splits and the most adorable, awkward reaction. I love her.

Sawada Yuri is my favorite Egg, so she gets her own paragraph. ;D She's beautiful and elegant. She has an air of professionalism that many idols lack, and she looks confident and like she knows what she's doing. I really wish she could have stayed in H!P, but I think this won't be the last that I see of her. Besides, I can always just watch the Ongaku Gatas concerts again. x3


Elder Club is H!P. They stunned millions of Japanese listeners with Morning Musume's debut single back in 1997. They built a solid fanbase in the early 21st century. They graced our television screens and movies, and proved to be truly talented individuals. They made us laugh, they made us cry. They gave us memorable TV appearances and quotes, and looking back they really made being a fan of H!P fun. Be it an outlandish character on Hello! Morning or an adlib in a song, there were always little things that rewarded the fans. They weren't just singers, they weren't just idols. They were entertainers, masters of their craft.

So, as today is your last day with Hello! Project, I thank you... I thoroughly and whole-heartedly thank you. I thank you for the laughs, I thank you for all of those memorable moments, I thank you for livening up my life with what you have worked so hard to produce, I thank you for your talent. And I thank you for changing the Japanese music industry completely.


As I finish up this post, which I have been working on for days, I would like to say good-bye to Elder Club. You have already made your public farewell during the concert at the beginning of the year, but to us fans, this is truly the end. But we know that you will still be around. Some of you will continue to make us laugh and cry and impress us with your vocals, but we know that some of you will fade into the background, stepping away from the music business altogether.

But whatever your decision is, members of Elder Club, I wish you luck. I sincerely hope that your lives can continue to be as fulfilling and wonderful as your years with Hello! Project, whether that be twelve years or just a few.

Iida, I hope that your recovery over the loss of your son is as smooth as possible. I hope that you get the chance again to realize your dream of being a mother.

Yaguchi, I wish you luck with your new single and blossoming solo career. I will be supporting you all the way, no matter what you do.

Yossie, I hope this is not the last that we see of you. I hope your performance in Seattle next month goes well, and maybe you and Ishikawa will have the chance to perform in even more cities.

Ogawa, you just came back from New Zealand, but I hope that you can continue your talento career. It would be a shame to lose someone like you.

Fujimoto, congratulations on your engagement. I hope you and your husband-to-be are very happy together in the years to come.

Melon Kinenbi, good luck away from Hello! Project. I hope Japan and the rest of the world can truly see how amazingly talented you four are.

Ayaya, I hope you get a new contract soon. You are too talented, too beloved to stop performing now. But any path you take, I will support you all the way.

The girls of Ongaku Gatas. You have only been idols, out on your own and away from the Eggs for a short time, but I hope that you are able to apply what you have learned during your time in H!P and develop successful careers for yourself. I hope to see you all again soon.



I promised myself I wouldn't cry while I wrote this, but here I am, crying. It is very sad to see you all graduating, but I wish you luck.

The Elder Club will always have a special place in my heart.


Thank you, everyone.



Elder Club
November 3rd, 1997---March 31st, 2009



Friday, March 27, 2009

A New Subgroup? Shugo Chara AGAIN?!

When did H!P become so obsessed with anime?

Koharu and her little Egg minions all star in the anime Kirarin Revolution, as well as provide the theme songs, and often cosplay as their respective characters. Tsuji originally voiced the main character of... whatever anime that was, and sang the theme song, only to be replaced by Gaki and HER Egg minions. Tanaka Reina is voicing the main character in an anime, and I think I remember someone saying that Kame got her own series, too. Berryz and c-ute have appeared in several anime, and even Yossie appeared as herself in Kirarin. Mini Moni had their own Hamtaro versions, too. Even groups like Melon Kinenbi and Tanpopo had songs appear as endings to anime.

And, of course, we all know Buono!.

Tsunku's daughter must really like Shugo Chara or something, because the amount of effort he puts into it is ridiculous. He formed Buono! out of three H!P Kids to sing the theme songs. And now that he's realized how popular they are, they're starting to break away and do their own thing.

He formed Shugo Chara! Egg to cosplay as the main character's little soul-chara-whatever they're called that appear in the anime. They were cute, but not very successful.

And now! A new Shugo Chara unit!

This time it's another group of four, all cosplaying as the school guardians, I think they're called? (I only watched the first few episodes a while back)

Anywho, it will consist of Kumai Yurina, Sugaya Risako, Mitsui Aika, and Nakajima Saki.


All-star team right there...!

Yurina and Aika have seen surprisingly little action when it comes to subgroups. None, actually, if you don't count concerts. Risako is the Queen of Berryz, so she doesn't count. And Saki was in Athena and the Robikerotts... Or however you spell it. xD

I'm looking forward to it. Personally, I don't think Risako suits such a cute anime, but still. Yuri and Mittsi and Saki-who-I-don't-really-care-about-but-am-starting-to-warm-up-to?

Yeah.


I'm looking forward to it. =3 I can never get enough of 5'11" tall idols. Nope.

Idol of the Week: Fujimoto Miki


3/21-3/27


Fujimoto Miki has won Idol of the Week~


Why, do you ask?

Well, not only is she graduating from H!P next week (Noooo, don't gooooo Elder Cluuuuub) and totally rocked the new concert DVD I got (from 2004, no less ;D) but yesterday (or was it Wednesday?) it was announced that....

*drumroll please*


Fujimoto Miki is getting married!


Most people who got into Morning Musume in 2007 remember the scandal involving Fujimoto. She was caught out and about with comedian Shouji Tomoharu, and ultimately led to her graduation. Well, she was about ready to go anyway, I think. She would have eaten the pandas alive, I think. xD

Anywho, so now she's marrying Shouji, and is scheduling a wedding in July.


You know, it's nice to know that she was able to maintain the relationship for two years. Many a H!P idol has been involved in a scandal, either caught dating a man or simply hanging out with him after work. But none of them have worked out, I don't think. Well, with the exception of Tsuji. But by the time they announced their relationship, they were already engaged and expecting little baby Noa. ;D

So I'm very happy for Fujimoto. I hope you two have a happy marriage~ And I hope Shouji understands that Mikitty has that sadistic side of her... He said in the engagement announcement that "I've been captivated by Miki's kindness and straightforward personality, so I decided it's about time to seal this almost 2-year-long relationship with a wedding. From now on, we plan to clasp our hands and work hard towards reaching happiness together."


Aww....


He's sweet.... =w=



BTW, the elder club has been having a lot of marriages lately. Ayaka got married a few months ago, and Tsuji and Iida have been as well, but for a bit longer. I wonder if Nakazawa will ever get married... Now that she's not part of H!P anymore and doesn't have to be the butt of all of those single-even-though-she's-in-her-late-ish-thirties jokes. xD

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Thought on the Eggs...

So, I got around to watching my new H!P DVDs (although, not entirely new... the most recent was from 2007. xD).

One of the ones I bought is a special event DVD, going through the history of the H!P Eggs. Now, at first I was disappointed and embarrassed that I had bought it thinking it was a concert, but it really is very cute. It's kinda epic, in a way. It takes you from the auditions to the pandas soon-t0-come debut, all in 27 minutes. xD Then there are interviews at the end.

My goodness.

I have a new appreciation for Sengoku Minami. She did the freaking splits, for Tsunku's sake! And then there was that awkward "Uhh.... what do I do next...?" moment after she reached the floor all the way, and after a minute, she resorted to the good old double peace signs. I fell for her hard. xD

Sawada Yuri is still my favorite egg, though. She's so composed and she looks AND acts like a star. And she has those dimples...!

If you had to point to any of those girls and say she would become a H!P soloist, Mano Erina would not be it. In her interview, she looked tired and a little sick, and she was shy and nervous. Now her shyness is part of her charm! It's a success story if you think about it. ;D

I like the Egg-turned-Possible Okada Robin Shouko? Not just because she has the same last name as a girl I went to Japan with over the summer ("All good Okada's get a full night's sleep", a girl said, and it has stuck in my head. xD) It's amazing; she's fluent in both English and Japanese, because she was raised in Boston~ I have huge respect for bilingual idols. And she just screams "American-raised". xD

Kikkawa Yuu was so adorably painful. xDD I mean, she looked so awkward and like a deer in headlights...!


Arihara Kanna... was an Egg?



And now the 8th gen. Aika was so cute back then. I mean, she still is, but now she's cute in a puppy sort of way. Back then she was just cute. Her long hair worked for her, I think. You never should have cut it~



Ohhh, Junjun. Oh, Junjun. Not only was your hair ridiculously long when you first joined H!P, but your Japanese...! I forgot how awful your Japanese was...! xD She overpronounces everything, and ends up just talking about food that she likes... Still cute, though.

Linlin's Japanese was a bit better, and it was obvious that she had been practicing longer (Junjun just sounded like she was reading off of a card or something) but still. Food? xD


Just a few thoughts on the Eggs. I want to watch their concerts now. xD

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pocket Morning Weekly Q&A Nerdy-ness III

FINALLY!

They finally ask the members about something other than food...!


Since I just got all of my H!P stuffeths today, and I'm so jazzed about a break from the food, and I found the answers pretty funny, here is part three of my Pocket Morning Weekly Q&A Nerdy-ness~

*Cue theme song!*

Warning... I'm kinda hyper, learning Nikutai wa Shojiki na EROS (Am I old enough to be singing this song...?) for an upcoming dub, and my answers may be random/silly/more stupid that usual.

(This week... Fan nicknames. ;D)

Question: What is the first thing you have on your mind when you wake up?

Takitty:

I wonder, when should I be leaving home today...?
I'm always thinking about my job.


GO SOLO!!!!

There isn't room for professional-ism in Morning Musume... >.>


Mame:

What will I have for breakfast~♪ (heehee) or
What should I do today´Ż░♪ (on a day off)

Do I find it weird that she giggles to herself first thing in the morning? Not at all. Who are you again?


Eririn:

My cultivation game!


....Wut.


Sayumin:

The flow of the day to come ☆(‐▽‐)


You're weird, Shige.


Tanakacchi:

I'm thinking about what DVD to watch. (●‐▽‐●)
The rule is to watch what I recorded as soon as
I wake up ☆ (my own personal rule, that is...haha)


You mean you watch yourself every morning...?

Sounds awfully wota-like to me... >.>


Miracle-chan:

What day is it today?


Whenever I read this, I lose the context of her answer and automatically think that she's really confused and lost. Repeat after me, Koha. "Today is WEDNESDAY."

(Or, to be uber-cool and Japanooze like, "Kyou wa suiyoubi da. ;D")

[BTW, when you type things in all caps, it's hard to tell if you spelled things correctly. xD)


Mittsi:

"Is it clear weather today?!!"
The weather is the first thing on my mind!!
If it's rainy, my tension goes down. ↓↓


So do you like rainy days or clear days? You seem like the type of person who would like sunny weather. Or maybe you'd be the type who really hates sunny days and startles everyone when you say so...


Junjun:

"Sorry to have kept you waiting, breakfast!"
I always talk to my breakfast!!


..... That is so freaking cute.

Do you speak to it in Japanese or Chinese?

Linlin:

First, I open my eyes...
There is nothingness...
My mind is empty....



Creepy. CREEPY LINLIN IS CREEPY!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

[PV] Bye Bye Bye

So this is my very first PV review of a c-ute song. Go me~

Now that I can finally tell the members apart (xD) and they've gotten good recently, here are a few screenshots~


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For a second I thought that they were pulling a Chokkan 2 and showing concert footage. xD

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Renai Revolution 21 much?

Tsunku really likes the laser-y lights this year.

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A little back-lit moment. ;D

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Le gasp?! Only six people?! =O

Kanna, good luck with your bunions. ;D

Outfits are cute, kinda Power Rangers like, though... >.>

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Surprise! The song is started off by Mai! =O

Actually, Mai has a good deal of solos. Now that Kanna is gone, Tsunku feels like it's safe to distribute lines to everyone? Sneaky, Tsunku.

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Airi is looking cute, as always. Gotta love those messed up teeth. x3

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Maimi looks really cute, too. Maybe it's the pose, but she looks a lot younger...

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Kinda dramatic set. xD

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Okay, I think I have a new random dance to do. =O I can add it with the Hyokkori Hyoutanjima dance, the Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari dance, Ayaya's ZUBATTO move, and the butt-first dance from Shiawase Kyouryuu Ondo. ;D

"Bye Bye Bye" *hop hop hop*

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Wow. This is the first time I've ever looked at Chisato and thought, "she's pretty". She's always had this confused/distressed expression, but her new hairstyle makes up for it. =O

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Even Mai is looking more like her age.

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My favorite, Erika. x3 She looks pretty~

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Here's a solo for you, Erika~

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Wut.


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Even Saki is looking cute.





Tsunku's really pulling out the big guns on hair and makeup. I think everyone looks GREAT these past few singles.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Idol of the Week: Kamei Eri


3/14/09-3/20/09

Okay, so I might have skipped IoTW last week, and was late this time.

I've been having a hard time in school. And it's been a slow few weeks in H!P news.


Anywho, in the same sort of way I BS my AP English essays, I picked any random idol and came up with a few pointless reasons why I picked that idol and now I will pretend like I had intended to pick this idol from the start. And probably by the end of the essay... err... I mean, entry.... you will all thoroughly believe that I know what I'm talking about. ;D

And maybe I'll get a six on the AP scale, who knows?

(Kokoro, you're taking that AP English thing too far... It wasn't funny, and it still isn't)


Anywho, so I picked Kamei Eri for this week's IotW!

Why?


Well, it all started when I was talking with a dubbing friend, Henry. Now, Henry loves Kamei Eri more than any other member of Morning Musume, so we talked about her and her upcoming solo in the new MM album. Of course, when you talk to a guy about his favorite member, of course there will be a lot of good feelings about that member floating around.

So I've been in a pretty pro-Kame mood for a while now.

What else?

Her solo in Platinum 9 Disc has stolen my soul. It's been stuck in my head, and I NEED TO FIND SOME FRIGGING LYRICS so I can dub it. Otherwise it will haunt me until the day I die. And even then, I'll probably bug all the other people in the cemetery with my humming.


She also won this year's "Everyone-wants-to-eat-yakitori-with-Junjun-but-she-picked-you-over-all-of-them" award. ;D



And then I was browsing through the picboard at H!O, and I found these gorgeous Platinum 9 Disc photos... (*points to Kamei Eri photo above*) And then I knew.

Kamei Eri would be receiving Idol of the Week.


BTW, since this song owns my life, here's a crappy slideshow-vid I made for it. ;D

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pocket Morning Weekly Q&A Nerdy-ness II

So this week's Pocket Morning Weekly is just as ridiculous and food-related as many of the other ones, but this one made me laugh quite a bit. xD

Let's take a look, shall we?

Question: You have 100 yakitoris in front of you. You are told to eat them all with one other person. Who would that be?


Takahashi Ai [AKA Takahashi]

Junjun.

Leader-panda yakitori time? I'd pay money to see their conversation. ;D



Niigaki Risa [AKA Gaki]


Linlin...she would probably eat
most of it for me ♪ I'm remembering
a time when we went to eat together (laughs).


Linlin stole your food, Gaki-sama? =O


Kamei Eri [AKA Kame]


Sayumi-saan ♪♪
Because the girl is a complete fool~♪♪

.... That doesn't exactly explain why you would want to share 100 yakitori with her... Maybe Kame-chan wants to trick her into giving her all of the yakitori? How sneaky, Kame. Shame on you. It's not Sayu's fault that all of her intelligence resides in those ridiculously huge bows she always wears.



Michishige Sayumi [AKA Shige Sayu]

Gakisan...
She would give more of them to me,
and help take care of me later.

Taking all of her food AND THEN asking Gaki to care for you when you're dying of indigestion? I take it back. Kame can have all of your yakitori.


Tanaka Reina [AKA Tanaka]


Probably Junjun (●^▽^●)
I think she'd eat it all for me (laughs).


...What is with these girls? How come the pandas are most likely to eat all of your food?


Kusumi Koharu [AKA Koha]


Jun②.
I'd make her eat it all.


AH HA! Finally, someone who admits it! Finally, someone who admits that they won't LET the pandas eat it all, but MAKE the pandas eat it all...! (BTW, I just learned the difference between saying 'allowing' someone to do something and 'making' someone do something in Japanese class. It's annoying, the two are almost identical...)

Koha is evil... >.>


Mitsui Aika [AKA Mittsi Aika]

Junjun ☆☆
Because she'd be able to eat a lot of them!! ☆☆


....Junjun, I think there is a general misconception that you aren't a panda but a goat...


Junjun [AKA Li Chun...?]

Kamei-san.


Haha, no one gets to feed their yakitori to Junjun! >=D


Linlin [....Wait, what was her real name again? Qian Li? xD]

Tanaka-san!
She has a little stomach,
so I could eat a lot (^▽^)HAHA♪

You're so ladylike, Linlin.

Monday, March 16, 2009

[Review] Platinum 9 Disc






So I got my hands on a copy of Morning Musume's newest album, Platinum 9 Disc.

As is customary, in a few moments I will press the 'PLAY' button on my iTunes playlist, and type out my thoughts of the songs as they occur to me while listening to it for the first time. Well, I lie. I've listened to a few songs already, of course.

Knowing me, my opinions will probably change in a few days, but it's always fun to get a stressed out teen's thoughts on a new album, isn't it?


First a few thoughts on the album cover.

The dresses are pretty, very much like the Pepper Keibu outfits, and the kira-kira sparkly effects are kinda cute.

Now that hair.

They did a good job with the leads, like Tanaka and Takahashi and Gaki, but look at the pandas...! Junjun's is so rushed, and Linlin looks better with short hair, I think. Mittsi's isn't so bad, it reminds me of when she had that lovely long hair, but still.

Oh well. The dresses make up for it, I think. ;D Better than some of their covers, I think. *coughcough*Sexy 8 Beat *coughcough*

Koha and Gaki win the best expressions. ;D They both look amazingly gorgeous.


Now onto the reviews!


Songs

I like the piano instrumental at the beginning. But then it transforms into this opening that reminds me of the music from Four Minutes (by Madonna and Justin Timberlake). But once you get past that part, the song is cool. Every album needs a funky, good dance song. And with some cheesy techno effects and a nice beat, I think this fills that role nicely. However, it's very Reina-centric, with a few solos by other members. Junjun's solo is great, and Linlin rocks her part (like always). It's growing on me~

Resonant Blue

Ah, Resonant Blue. I hate to listen to it, yet I love to sing it. It's a love-hate relationship. But that's old news.

Ame no Furanai Hoshi de wa Aisenai Darou

An alternative version of Ame no Furanai? The first version most of us heard had solos done by most of the usual members, with badass solos by the pandas to knock you out of your seat. But this is the version performed in concerts, with everyone singing until the Chinese lines. (It reminds me of the IceCream Musume version, actually). I like it better with the solos; it's more peaceful. But with updated JunLin solos, it sounds great! (I hate Tsunku's voice in this, though)

Take Off is Now!

I. Love. This. Song.

If it were in English, it could probably be a hit in America. Gaki and Takahashi and Tanaka are awesome! Watching the concert performance, the dance is cool, too. This is one of those songs that you can't help but dance to when you hear it. I'm probably going to have it stuck in my head for a long, long time.

Naichau Kamo

I really like this song. I've dubbed it so many times I'm a little tired of it, but I really do like it. (Yowamushi was kickass) Sayumi's solos should have been taken by one of the 8th gen.


Watashi no Miryoku ni Kizukanai Donkan na Hito


It's been a while since we last heard Aika sing, especially since she's been getting the short end of the stick lately when it comes to line distribution. (I mean, come on. You've been in the group longer than Linlin or Junjun, and they have you beat) But to tell you the truth, I really don't care for her voice all that much. I'm just waiting for the voice that wowed me in Egao YES Nude, but I know that it's never going to come back. Aika really needs to work on her vocals. She isn't progressing; she's regressing.

The song itself? Like something from a cheap anime. I don't like it all that much.


Guru Guru JUMP

Ah, the endless energy of Koharu and Linlin, with the neverending stream of cuteness from Junjun. Again, I heard this during a concert, but I really like it. Junjun sounds so cute. x3 And it really suits Koha and Linlin. But do you know what bothers me? The chorus sounds A LOT like Bokura ga Ikiru My Asia. Seriously. When it gets to the part, "GURU GURU toma wa/Aa dou ii tobete yo" it sounds JUST LIKE "fushigi na miwaku MY ASIA bokura ga ikiru MY ASIA".


Mikan

Mikan. It's cute, and it sounds weird to me to be on an album. xD It seems like such an old song.


Jounetsu no Kiss o Hitotsu

Is this the B-side to Take Off Is Now? xD I like it. If you paired the two songs onto a CD, it probably would be one of my favorite singles. xDD It's peaceful but has strong vocals from all three (Gaki FTW) and I have a strong urge to dub it... >.>


It's You

This ruined the album for me, thank you very much. I hate, hate, hate, hate Sayu's voice and the song itself is very late-80's/early-90's hip-hop, and it really bugs me. I don't think even Gaki could have saved this song.


Onna ni Sachi Are

After my post-It's You-depression, this brought me up again. ;D The first song featuring the current line-up, it always cheers me up, despite pretty unhappy lyrics. xD


Kataomoi no Owari ni

HELL YES. Kamei has been deserving of a good solo song for some time now (Namida ga Tomaranai Houkago just isn't working anymore) and this fits her perfectly. It shows off her cute, soft, endearing little voice, and it suits her personality, I think. No one but Kamei Eri could have sung this. I love it to pieces. It makes me feel happy, and that's all I ask for in a song. ;D Good job, Tsunku.


Kanashimi Twilight

And the album ends with a bit of a "huh?" moment. 'Kanashimi Twilight featured Fujimoto Miki and Yoshizawa Hitomi, didn't it, but how come Yossie and Mikitty aren't on the cover?' It's a great song, but it does bring back feelings that many fans shared when the two graduated. Oh well. It's badass, and no matter how hard Takahashi may try in concerts, no one can rock Yossie's solo like she did.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ten Often Under-appreciated H!P Songs

I like to pride myself in being one of the few H!P fans, or at least, H!P dubbers, who can say that she has listened to every song from the first three Morning Musume albums, know what T&C Bomber was called before it became T&C Bomber, and haven't just listened to This is Unmei, but ALL of the Melon Kinenbi singles.

I enjoy things that are "old", from the "good-old-days", back when things weren't so commercialized and popular... I mean, for Tsunku's sake, I still make it a point to let people know that I'm a Gaiaonline "oldbie", despite the fact that I don't hang around Gaia that often, only to check in with a roleplay or two and chat in the H!P guild...

Anywho, in my travels, I have encountered many people, some of whom can smile and say "Yes, I love the song Senkou Hanabi, too!", but, sadly, most of them don't even know there were three albums before Yossie or Kago or Tsuji came along.

So, in my quest for the spread of all-H!P-admiration, I present you with ten underrated, overlooked, or downright forgotten songs from the years of H!P. In my humble opinion. ;D


Note: The order of these songs in no way reflective of my personal preference. I just stuck them in whichever order they occured to me.



#1: Tropica~l Koishite~ru


Watch Aya Matsuura - TROPICAL koishiteru in Aya Matsuura | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Few people remember that Ayaya had a second single, that she didn't just skip from Dokkidoki! Love Mail to LOVE Namida Iro. In fact, I've witnessed several dubbers decide to sing all of the Matsuura Aya songs in order, only to completely ignore Tropical Koishiteru. It's a cute song, cheerful and oh-so-reminiscent of the little-Ayaya days (I mean, come on. Try watching the PV and NOT feel a strong urge to pinch those adorable baby-cheeks of hers... She totally won over anything H!P Kids had to offer). The sad part? Most people didn't even know the song existed until Junjun performed it at the H!P Summer 2008 concert.

(Though, personally, I thought Mai did a better job on the monologue than Ayaya. ;D)


#2: Chokkan ~Toki to Shite Ai wa~


Watch Chokkan ~Toki to Shite Koi wa~ in Morning Musume | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Hey, you all know the Morning Musume single Chokkan 2, right? Did you know that it was just a different version of a song featured on the Ai no Dai 6Kan album? That's right, there once was a version that featured Iida, Yaguchi, and Ishikawa, and the lyrics actually made sense...!

(Seriously. If you have time, go onto projecthello.com and compare the lyrics. Chokkan 2 is pure nonsense while Chokkan 1 makes some sense... Sorta. xD)

Most people just look at Chokkan 2 like they do Edo no Temari Uta II. Where's Edo no Temari Uta I? I don't remember seeing any Edo no Temaru Uta I... Oh well. Tsunku must be getting old. *shrugs and walks away*

I'd try giving it a listen. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a video that featured the original singers, but oh well. ;D


#3: Let's Go Rakuten Eagles


Watch DEF. DIVA - Let's Go Rakuten Eagles in Hello! Project | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Def.Diva is most commonly known for Suki Sugite Baka Mitai. I mean, it was glittery and para para-like, and had BALLOONS! What can be better? So what's the point in listening to any more of their music if Suki Sugite Baka Mitai is all you'll ever want or need?

H!P is notorious for providing cute, upbeat theme songs for the baseball team Rakuten Eagles. (Wait... it is baseball, right? Lemmee check the PV.... Looks like baseball to me. Or maybe gymnastics.... Did you see those guys roll and flip...?!)

Much like Suki Sugite Baka Mitai, Let's Go Rakuten Eagles is infectious and gets in your head, refusing to let go... And to tell you the truth, I love their hair in the PV... xD Rika's weird wig-looking-hairstyle really works for some strange reason.



#4: Uchuu de La Ta Ta



Watch Uchuu de La Ta Ta in T&C Bomber/Taiyou to Ciscomoon | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com



I didn't know that this song existed until I watched the Nochiura Natsumi concert. xD I fell in love with the song right away, and found out that Ayaya covered it with Inaba Atsuko as the B-side to her Kiseki no Kaori Dance single. And it took me a while to trace it back to its T&C Bomber roots...

Personally, I don't care for Inaba's voice much in this song, maybe because I heard the soft, melodic Ayaya version first (and the Goto/Ayaya version before that) but that doesn't change the fact that it's a great song. And the Chinese at the beginning is incredibly spiffeh.


#5: Amai Anata no Aji



Watch Melon Kinenbi - Amai Anata no Aji in Melon Kinenbi's promotional videos | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

I LOVE old-school Melon Kinenbi with a passion, and this song is one of my all-time favorites. This was their debut single, so they had something to prove, and they did amazingly through strong vocals, charmingly shy-sounding monologues by Ootani, and freaky hats...

This is one of those songs that I'm a little afraid to dub, because maybe it would totally ruin it for me. xD

Most people I meet who actually know who Melon Kinenbi is have only listened to This is Unmei or some of the later singles. Few fans actually pay much attention to the early-on singles, and that makes me sad... ;______; But most of all, it makes me want to hit them in the face repeatedly with my Melon Kinenbi First Anniversary album until they give old-school MK a chance.



#8: Koi no Dance Site



Watch Morning Musume - Koi no Dance Site (subtitled) | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com


Okay, so maybe I'm just feeling a little bad that I never gave this song a chance until just recently. I mean, it's a Morning Musume single, so of course it has its group of fans, right? It's just, I meet very little people in the dubbing community who are willing to give it a shot, most of whom claim it's because their favorite members aren't in it. As far as I know, it's one of the most obscure MM singles, right up there next to Ai no Tane and Manatsu no Kousen.

I don't have a lot to say, maybe because I put this up here for my own selfish reasons. ;D


#7: Harajuku 6:00 Shuugou



Okay, I admit, I didn't pay much attention to the 3rd Paradise album very much in the beginning. It wasn't one of the more well-known Morning Musume albums, and none of the songs really jumped out at me (not counting singles, of course). However, a few months ago I decided, in order to become a more well-rounded MM fan, listened to all of the albums in one go. xD

Long story short, I completely fell in love with this song. Hard.

Who doesn't love a song that starts off as a sort of Jurassic Park scene with roaring dinosaurs? And really, it isn't about dinosaurs at all? (Although, really, for those of you who have been to Harajuku, you will know what I'm talking about when I say that it really is like a jungle. ;D)

When you listen to this, make sure to read the translated lyrics as well. (You can find them here). The opening monologue is so wonderfully funny.


#8: Dokusenyoku





(I really wish I could find the original. ;D)

I first heard this song a few months ago when I was assigned to dub it, and was completely horrified when it got to Yossie's first rap part (which was my part to sing. xD) However, angry rap kinda works for them, and it has quickly won its way into my heart. Now that I think about it, I think it is one of the more well-known and acknowledged songs on this list, but it very rarely appears on anyone's favorites list. And come on. Who can resist its awesome badassness? xD

(I love it live, too. Especially this version. The people who get solos and do the rap suit it so much better than the original, I think. I don't think that Iida and Sayu are the strongest rappers in the world. ;D)


#9: Renai Sentai Shitsu Ranger



Watch Nochiura Natsumi - Renai Sentai Shitsu Ranger in Hello Project | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Nochiura Natsumi is just Def.Diva without Charmy, right? Actually, I think that Ishikawa wouldn't have been able to pull this song off. ;D Anywho.

This song rocks my Power Rangers-loving socks. Bright colors, upbeat music, and uber-glamorous alter-egos? It's one of the most interesting PVs, with an equally fun dance. I love it, I love it, I love it. The problem? Not many people pay attention to the mini-subgroups like Nochiura Natsumi (actually, for the longest time, I thought it was a person, not a group). So a lot of people are deprived of infectious music like this. ;_______;

(What is up with the Ayaya-Goto-Nacchi combination? It's the strongest trio H!P has ever seen, I think. Even more so than Fujimoto dancing-French-brothel-style with little Miyabi and Megumi back in the Sexy Otona Jan shuffle. xD)

#10: Hello! no Theme



Okay, I kinda lied. Almost everyone know about Hello! no Theme. It was H!P's theme in the early years, as well as the opening to Morning Musume's show, Hello! Morning. But to those of us who remember the Golden Age and what it meant, this song is full of a lot of memories and brings us back. In fact, I always get a little teary-eyed when I listen to it. xD (Which means I'll be a wreck when I watch the Elder Club graduation concert. xDD) I love this version the best; it features solos by Yoshizawa, the most recent leader (at the time) and Nakazawa, the very first leader of Morning Musume. There's just something about the song that touches me, and I think it's that feeling that is most overlooked by newer fans. It's the, as my AP English teacher would say, the connotation of the song, the emotions it brings up that makes this song THE H!P song.

But now I'm rambling. ;D




Anywho, now that you've read this, I hope you've gained some insight (I doubt it), appreciated some good old H!P music (probably not), and found some new songs to obsess over. ;D

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Not Again, Kago....!

I must admit, ever since Kago Ai returned to Japan from LA, I've been reluctant to call her Aibon.


Well, I'll start this entry off by saying that every country needs their Lindsay Lohan. I think Kago is settling into that role nicely, but, thankfully, she's not gaining her notoriety through drug use or binge drinking.


According to H!O, Kago has been involved in YET ANOTHER scandal involving a much older man.

This time, boys and girls, he's married...!

You can find the original article here.


Apparently Kago has been in an intimate relationship with actor Mizumoto Hidejiro (who is also 11 years older than her) despite his being married. Of course, by the time FRIDAY published the article, Mizumoto and his wife had been divorced for some time, but according to his ex-wife, the divorce occured because of the affair between her husband and Kago.

Now, those of you who read Kago's blog and any interviews with her recently, you might remember that she praised a certain psychic who helped her get through her return to Japan. Believe or not, Mizumoto is the son of said psychic, and they met through her...!

However, this is FRIDAY we're talking about, and every tabloid has a chance of making some things up. But considering Kago's past offenses... Things aren't looking too great for the past Morning Musume member.


It was just a few weeks ago that I decided to research Kago, and what really happened, because at the time it happened, I was just a fan, not the obsessive H!P wota that you see today. I was shocked, and a little angry. I mean, Kago just fell apart completely. According to one interview, she even said that she cut herself. I lost all respect for her. And if this continues, I probably won't be gaining that respect back anytime soon.


Kago, in my opinion, should just stay away from Japan. She seemed to be doing well in America (you know, once the depression thing passed) and she even was able to branch out into Hong Kong, as well. So far, whenever Japan is involved, nothing good comes of it.

And I'm not just saying she should return to America because I'm hoping that her English improves to the point that she can read any lecture I might give her if, by chance, we meet.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Rolling is Fun...

Ah, the woes of a minor with no steady income...

(Pay no attention to the title, BTW. I was just trying to get your attention. ;D)


So I'm buying a buttload of H!P stuff from a person in Singapore, I think, but I can't set a price until my parents change the money I have left over from Japan and decide on how much of it they'll give me. >.>

It would be preferable if I got all of it (I still don't see the difference in me spending it all in Japan and me spending it here, on stuff I would've wanted to buy in Japan if I had gotten the chance to) but even half or less would suffice...

I'm just feeling a little frustrated, because I would like to do this SOON so I can preorder the Elder Club graduation concerts DVDs.... >.>



Just a mini rant. I was bored. ;D

Friday, March 6, 2009

Idol of the Week: Tsugunaga Momoko


2/28-3/6

So Momoko has been having a pretty big Friday.

Not only is she featured as one of the centers of the new Berryz Koubou single coming out next week, but she has also won Idol of the Week #2!


Many fans know that today (or, rather, yesterday... I think it's the 7th already in Japan) is her seventeenth birthday.

My goodness, the H!P Kids are getting so old...! To think that she's already the same age or older of a handful of the members in Morning Musume.... They're not really the kids anymore. ;D

(The PV for Dakishimete Dakishimete proves that. x3)


If that weren't enough to insure her a spot in the IotW, today it was announced on H!O that Buono!, the group of which Momoko is a proud leader, will be making their European debut at Stockholm Japan Expo 2009 in Sweden.

Morning Musume making their debut in America, Buono! making their debut in Europe, next thing you know c-ute will be touring around Canada while Berryz visits the fans in Latin America.


(Don't say you don't think the same... ;D)



Yes, so, congratulations, Momoko, on another step towards adulthood, a new single, and a very exciting European performance.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

One Step Closer ;D

So I registered for AX today~


I'm one step closer to seeing MM live. I just need to get a B in AP US History (I got a C last semester) and not anger the gods (AKA my parents). Oh, and I should probably plan on getting there a few hours early. ^-^


Kokoro is ecstatic now.