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Kikka’s Laugh April 24, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Jpop, Kikkawa You.
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A quick post this week, but I just wanted to share something that I found to be rather interesting.

I’ve observed that generally when Kikka laughs she goes to cover up her mouth, as you can see an example below from Bijo Gaku 49.

It looks a bit like she just said something awful, doesn’t it? 😀

Now, honestly, I always thought that this was somewhat of a shame as I think Kikka has a gorgeous smile and really cannot fathom why she would want to cover it up. Still, as personality quirks go its certainly a cute one, and definitely not something I could hold against her.

It seems though, that maybe one of her managers might have agreed with me.

Yesterday she appeared on Ohayo Asahi Doyobi Desu (a Saturday morning informational program), and well, she seemed to behave just a bit differently.

On this program when she laughed she still brought her hands up to her face, but this time instead of covering her mouth, she placed her hands on the lower half of her cheeks!

Ooooooooooooooooooh!

I don’t know. Maybe I’m imagining this, or blowing this completely out of proportion, but I thought that it was kind of an awkward action. As in, she still really wanted to bring her hands up to cover her mouth but diverted them at the last second. It just doesn’t seem natural.

Did one of her managers maybe make this suggestion to keep her from covering up her smile in public? No idea, but it would certainly explain this behavior a bit. Or maybe I’m just making up conspiracy theories at this point. Either way, it’ll be interesting if she keeps this up on her next appearance.

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Kikkake wa YOU! Movie Trailer April 16, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Jpop, Kikkawa You.
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Back when it was originally announced that Kikka was going to debut as a soloist it was made known that not only would her first single be called “Kikkake wa YOU!” but that she would also get starring role in a movie of the same name. From the name of the song most people, myself included, thought that the movie would be a documentary about her debut similar to her Kikka Channel series on Youtube.

The movie’s trailer was released earlier this week, and frankly I’m still trying to wrap my head around it:

Well we were right, kinda.

The movie is certainly going to be about her debut, but I don’t think anyone expected it to be, you know, a dramatization.

Kikkawa You filmed a movie about Kikkawa You debuting as an idol while Kikkawa You was in the process of debuting as an idol. Also, Kikkawa You and Kikkawa You do indeed appear to be the same. Yup.

Now despite the fact that this is blowing my mind I can’t deny how awesome of a concept this is. She’s playing herself in a dramatic movie about current events in her life. It’s absolutely ridiculous. And that’s why it works.

It does bring up an interesting question though: Were the Kikka Channel videos staged as well (as the movie trailer is very obviously showing)?

I honestly don’t know, but I think I’m going to lean on the side that at least some of them were real. At about 17 seconds into the movie trailer you can see her in a recording studio in a plaid dress, the same one she was wearing in Kikka Channel #4. She’s even sporting the same hairstyle, and what looks to even be the same jewelry. The difference comes in the recording studio itself. The one featured in Kikka Channel has the microphone situated 180 degrees compared to the one in the movie. Additionally the camera man for the movie would have been seen by the mounted camera in Kikka Channel. Sure, they could both be shots from different recording sessions that day but I still think it’s an interesting observation.

Some are even going so far as to suggest that Kikka’s idol act was nothing more than ploy to promote the movie. I frankly find this a little hard to believe. Why would they go to the trouble of writing, composing, recording and producing three different B-sides if she would cease activity after the movie? Also why would Hello! Project keep such a close relationship with her (opening the Winter concerts, and allowing her to promote her movie at Berryz concerts) if she was indeed a “false” idol?

Oh, and speaking of Kikka’s acting, this isn’t even the first time she’s been in a movie. Unbeknown to me at the time I actually attended her world cinematic premier.

What?

Yup, she had a minor role in Mano Erina’s Kai-Ki: Tales of Terror from Tokyo, specifically in the “Tsukimono: The Possessed” story. She got one scene to herself, and it was pretty good. I don’t really want to describe as I don’t want to give anything away… ^^; (Speaking of which, when the heck are we going to get a Western DVD release?!?)

A Decade of Matsuura Aya April 11, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Matsuura Aya.
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Ten years ago today Matsuura Aya debuted with the single “Dokki Doki! Love Mail.” Ten years really is quite a long time. Heck, ten years ago I was a lowly little middle school student, and pretty much the only thing I can remember from that time period was that I was saving up to buy a used Dreamcast over the first half of that year.

My personal history aside, what really drove that point home for me was this little scene from the PV: Aya appearing on a bunch of televisions in an electronics store.

…a bunch of cathode ray tube televisions, that is. I can’t remember exactly when those things started to go extinct in electronics stores, but honestly the last time I ever remember seeing a display of them was when I bought my current TV with my parents somewhere around 2003, which was still 8 years ago. Even bargain warehouse stores such as Walmart don’t even carry those things anymore.

It might seem kind of silly now, but I imagine that a just a few years from now a regular tube television will be just as quaint and a sign of the times as a TV with UHF and VHF knobs or even a black and white screen.

Now last year I wrote about the ninth anniversary of “Dokki Doki! Love Mail,” and unfortunately I really don’t have much else to add about the single itself.

Looking at it now, what strikes me about the whole song and PV is that it’s almost like an entirely different person is performing it. Last night I watched the first episode of Sakura to Satsuki (Aya’s brand new drama series) and seeing how she has grown and matured over those ten years is really incredible. Yet, despite the ten year difference, there are still moments in “Dokki Doki! Love Mail” where unmistakably you can see glimpses of that beautiful woman she would eventually grow into.

So, here’s to the first ten years of Matsuura Aya’s career, and ten successful more!

Up-Front’s Cover of “Ai wa Katsu” April 7, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop.
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Up-Front Agency has start it’s own charity effort for the people effected by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami called the “Ganbarou Nippon Ai wa Katsu” project. This will include a major fundraising event in Yokohama on the 9th and will include a cover of KAN’s “Ai wa Katsu” by all of the various artists linked to Up-Front.

Yup, that’s right. Up-Front. As in all of Up-Front. Not just all of Hello! Project, heck not even Hello! Project plus NICE GIRL Project!, but absolutely everybody. That’s a whole heck of a lot of people. 131 to be exact.

[The song starts at about 1:12 for ye who be inpatient]

Now, I honestly don’t recognize about half of the people in that performance, but of those that I do recognize, there is a serious amount of talent present. Matsuura Aya, Morning Musume, the OG’s; literally everyone past and present who has had anything to do with Hello! Project who hasn’t completely retired or left the company. What excites me a little bit though, is Moritaka Chisato’s participation in it (she’s the one smack dab between Rika and Yossy on the right side of the thumbnail). Save for some CMs she really hasn’t been all too active as of late, so it’s great to see her singing again. Also, you can see her and Kikka together in a couple of the same shots. ❤

The song itself is really something, though. The choral effect that 131 people simultaneously singing inevitably gives is quite enchanting. It has that air of just making you feel a little bit better after hearing it, and that's without being over bearing. It's rather understated in execution, and I like that.

It will be released on the 9th on Recochoku, but should show up on other sources as well, such as iTunes. All proceeds will go to charity. If it becomes available to the West I'll update this post with the link.

Edit: The song is now available on the US iTunes.