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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!

Comments»

1. isilwentari - April 12, 2011

She has always been talented, eh? I can remember watched the Momoiroetc pv with almost no interest, but then being totally won over by her vocals, her charm and her insane cuteness. Seriously, she is adorable. And you’re certainly right, that she’s become a formidable woman. I need to check her drama out…

2. clocutron - April 12, 2011

Wow, that screen cap from the PV is great. I wonder if I would’ve even noticed seeing as I spent 30+ years of my life with old-school TVs and the LCD I have now still seems weird and futuristic. Hell, I didn’t even have color until I was 13 and cable TV a few years later.

It’s fantastic that Aya has seen such a successful career over the past 10 years. I still miss her being in H!P but ultimately I suppose it was good for her to move on. Hopefully, she can continue to develop her acting career from here on.

I’d might check her drama out but I don’t think I’d watch much if there aren’t subs, although I did watch the DVDs of “Bi-shoujo nikki” while not understanding any of it.

3. Nights4Saturn - April 13, 2011

@isilwentari: I know what you mean; it was actually her “Yeah! Meccha Holiday” PV that got me hooked for those exact same reasons!

@clocutron: I still don’t have a flatscreen, nor does anyone else in my family, so they’re not quite extinct yet! I just thought it was a really neat little sign of the times. Just like the advent of color😀

I miss her in H!P as well, but I do think it was probably the best for her to leave. She was/still is trying to move away from her old idol image, so being under the H!P label was probably holding her back a bit in that department.

To you both: I actually really enjoyed the first episode her drama without even understanding it. It seems to have a fair mix of comedy and drama mixed together and it’s pretty fun. Still, it would be awesome if some sub group would pick it up!

4. Takoyaki - July 16, 2011

I keep wondering in an objective way what were the factors at these times which made Aya standing out among all these female Idols? And also the reasons of her success (selling a lot of albums, doing a lot of ads, selling a lot of goodies, spokesmodel for Pocky, etc)?

I was reading Aya’s sales ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aya_Matsuura ) and did you notice that UFA added Aya in sub-units at the key moments when her album sales started to decline? (according to my my guess)
Like for example:
– Def.Diva : was created in 2005 and in 2005 Aya’s sales started to stagnate. Then they relaunched Def. Diva in 2006 when Aya’s sales were under the symbolic 50k.
– GAM: was created at the end of 2006 and indeed GAM was selling more than Aya as soloist did (GAM usually sold around 30k whereas Aya at these times around 13k.

(I guess it was always to boost her career and bring her some freshness and hype).

I’m wondering what UFA is planning for Aya right now.
Maybe if Aya was still willing to be promoted as Idol in some way more or less, they might add her again in an sub-unit to gain media attention (maybe in GAM again since Miki is back).
But seeing how her career is handled right now and Aya who doesn’t want to be Idol anymore, even she prefers to disappear than to be again labelled as Idol…

If we compare Aya to BoA (same age and both celebrated their 10 years of career), BoA’s sales are also declining in Japan but she’s still doing activities (and she will do A-Nation 2011 since she has finished to record her movie COBU 3D).

Maybe you don’t follow DBSK (aka TVXQ), except the fact 3 members decided to leave their SM agency, Yunho who is the leader of DBSK said once he met little children and he asked them if they liked DBSK (since DBSK is hyper famous in Asia) and the children answered him that they didn’t know who were DBSK but they liked Snsd (girl group under SM agency). It was a bit shock for Yunho (lol) but somewhere it participated to the fact he wanted the group be back (even if half of the members left) in order that people don’t forgot DBSK.
Concerning Aya, I wonder if we ask random children if they know who is Matsuura Aya, if they would answer yes or no (or ask us is she is a new member of another girl group lol).
Maybe Aya doesn’t care at all if people doesn’t remember her…

Nights4Saturn - July 16, 2011

As for what made Aya initially successful, I would say being associated with Hello! Project. Back in 2001 Hello! Project was big. Like AKB48 big. Everything that was spun off from them was absolute gold. Splinter groups, expansions, soloists; didn’t matter. Aya was a part of that expansion, and because of that she hit it big on her very first release.

As for why her success continued to grow after that? Image and talent. She had the perfect saccharine sweet idol image; perfect to sell not only records, but also ice tea, color printers, or whatever else you please. On top of that she could actually sing exceptionally well for an idol, which had to help people take notice of her a bit.

As for the sub-units, I think you’re right that those were reactionary to her lower sales. Being in a unit doesn’t only build a little promotion for everyone in it, but also sells more goods, and in turn, makes more money.

As for what UFA has planned for her? From what we’ve seen, probably nothing. It honestly seems like everyone involved (including Aya) are perfectly content to just let her career slide away. It’s absolutely horrible, and I can’t really understand it.

I’ve spoken with a few Japanese people around my age (early 20’s), and if I bring Aya up, they immediately think of her early hits like Yeah! Meccha Holiday or Ne~e, but other than some commercials know absolutely nothing about any of her newer work. It’s disheartening:\

5. Takoyaki - July 16, 2011

The worst is I read some comments from Japanese people’s blogs who know who is Aya only with her Idol work but in the same time not liking her Idol work because it’s not corresponding with their taste.
So this is not win/win for Aya but most loose/loose for her because the general audience keep forgetting her with the time and even her fanbase is stopping to be interested in her work (as not renewing their membership for FC) (anyway she doesn’t do really much right now except hosting and time to time doing some perfs for special event).
It seems like there is a big gap with what the Japanese audience expects from Aya and what Aya wants herself.


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