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Preview of Kikkawa You’s Second single “Hapirapi ~Sunrise~” July 17, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Jpop, Kikkawa You.
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Getting a preview of Kikka’s second single in less than 24 hours? Could I have been any more right about that in my last post? Heck, we don’t get just a preview but also a release date, September 21st (a fantastic early birthday present, I might add). Well, enough gloating (I was plenty wrong about other stuff as well, which I’ll get into below), and take a gander at the promotional spot for Hapirapi ~Sunrise~, Kikkawa You’s second single:

I must must say, it looks promising.

First of all, the PV looks like it’s going to be amazing. For a Summery song it makes sense to shoot it outdoors, and if the footage seen here is any indication it’s going to be spectacularly beautiful. A bit of over-saturation, a conscious use of lens flair, and a bit of a soft focus all combine together to make the whole imagery seem slightly dreamlike. As for Kikka’s fashion and hair, it seems their keeping things simple and feminine like in Kikkake wa You!, a rather wise choice.

Enough about the PV, how about the song itself? I like it, but I’m not blown away by it. It seems sweet and happy, and that’s nice, but I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed that it’s not a bit more demanding of her vocally to show off her talents a bit more. But wait! We may still get a more impressive song out of these release because there are going to be three different coupling songs released over FIVE different editions!

★初回限定盤A 【DVD付き:「ハピラピ~Sunrise~」 Music Video】 \1,500(tax in) UPCH-9676
★初回限定盤B 【c/w:「Love you forever」】  \1,000(tax in) UPCH-9677
★初回限定盤C 【c/w:「水色」】  \1,000(tax in) UPCH-9678
★初回限定盤D 【c/w:「Sweetie」】  \1,000(tax in) UPCH-9679
★通常盤 【c/w:「ハピラピ~Sunrise~(REMIX)」】  \1,000(tax in) UPCH-5718

Five editions, holy cow! Come on Universal, why must you take all of my money?

More seriously though, Love you forever and Mizuiro (Version C coupling song, aka light blue) both seem to have the potential to be a bit more powerful songs for her, but we’ll have to wait and see.

In my last post I suggested that her PB and image DVD might have been launched to help promote this single (which still might be slightly valid, as there is obvious cross promotion going on in that commercial), but with an entire month between the release dates I now find this to be slightly less probable. Now, I’m thinking this might be a ploy to simply keep a steady stream of goods coming out to keep interest up. Even though she debuted with her movie, it only came to DVD this month (in three different versions, no less) next month she gets her DVD and PB, and the month after a new single. The very nearly one month pacing might very well be a pattern.

Also, does anyone else now have a strong urge to buy some MDR-CD900STs?

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New Releases Coming From Kikkawa You! July 16, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Jpop, Kikkawa You.
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That’s right, it’s been recently announced that Kikka will have a simultaneous release of her first photobook and image DVD on the 17th of August.

DVD Cover

Both YOU! (the photobook) and YOU! ~The DVD~ (the umm, DVD) were shot in Okinawa. According to the photobook’s description, apparently there will be quite a few swimsuit pictures. I guess we’ll be seeing quite a bit more of Kikka come August! 😀

Photobook Cover

She’s also announced her second single via her Kikka mail (which by the way, you should totally sign up for if you already haven’t)! Titled Hapirapi ~Sunrise~, a release date has yet to be set, but with any luck we might be able to get a preview of it in the next 24 hours. How is that you may ask? She is scheduled to open the tomorrow’s Hello! Project Summer Concert with this new song! I totally hope we can get some good fan-recordings!

I must say, I am a little surprised at how fast she’s getting a photobook and DVD. I’ve always thought that these image releases were more or less a cheap way to make quick money off an established idol (although I must say it’s not like they aren’t appreciated ;D). True, she is not exactly new to the idol arena, but she will have only a solitary single (and corresponding movie) to her credit by the time these are released. I don’t know, maybe it just seems a little rushed to me?

Thinking more about it, this could possibly be a very good sign of things to come. While the release date for her next single has yet to be actually announced, it most likely will be some time near 8/17, thus roughly corresponding with her DVD and photobook. Remember, her first single launched along side a movie. Maybe her management is trying to pair all of her musical releases with some other kind of auxiliary content in order to drive interest? Certainly a neat thought.

Either way though, hopefully this DVD will be more than just a photobook making-of with 10 minutes of interview time edited in. It should be the other way around! A DVD full of activities and interviews with 10 minutes of photobook making-of edited in! Seriously, the recent image DVD’s from Hello! Project have all been a pretty big disappointment 😦 Maybe since Kikka is under Universal as a label, a different staff will be in charge? One can only hope.

SCANDAL at AM2 July 10, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Jpop.
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Last Sunday driving through downtown Anaheim on my way to the Anaheim Convention Center (the location of AM2, which is actually right across the street from Disneyland) that Sunday afternoon I started to notice some odd looking people walking on the street.

People wearing odd brightly colored clothes, outlandish unnatural wigs, and most telling of all, gigantic cardboard swords. Ahh, an anime convention must be afoot! I found it rather amusing how much more out of place a cosplayer walking on the street looks in more suburban Anaheim compared to urban Downtown Los Angeles. I wonder what the rest of Anaheim thought of the Narutos and Cloud Strifes walking around their town?

Despite seeing a decent handful of people on the street, I was pretty surprised at how small the convention really was once I arrived (after paying $15 to park my car of course XP ). There actually weren’t overbearing throngs of people! Maybe only one or two thousand people were there spread out over the main areas, which really isn’t that much considering the overall size of the Convention Center.

When I first arrived I decided to kill a bit of time by hitting up the main exhibition hall. There they had setup their vendor booths and Summer Festival game booths. When I first entered the hall I noticed they were playing some classic 1980’s idol pop, which was pretty cool, but it took me about 10 minutes to realize that it was actually live!

Turns out AM2 had live acts performing nearly continuously throughout the convention on their “Summer Festival Stage,” and on the 3rd they had Amy Singer perform at 3PM. She was actually quite good, and I managed to get her rendition of ANRI’s Cat’s Eye on video:

After Amy Singer finished up her set, a pre-teen band named IMPAKT came on, and I decided that would be a fine time to leave and check out AM2’s arcade.

To put it frankly, their arcade was pretty pathetic. They had a Strikers 1945, some version of Initial D, Beatmania, and a handful of other generic rhythm games. Where were the awesome games like Daytona USA, Scud Race, or even Super Hang-On? After being utterly crushed by the selection at the arcade (albeit not before dropping a buck in quarters into Strikers 1945) I decided it was high time to start queuing up for the concert.

And queue I did. For two and a half hours.

Something cool did happen while I was queuing, though, as I saw Ish again. Who is Ish you may ask? Ish was the staff member that was hanging around and talking with my group of friends while we waited to register for Anime Expo back in 2009 to see Morning Musume! I had almost completely forgot about that guy, but as soon as I saw him (and especially after hearing his stories again, lol) I immediately remembered. Apparently he decided to volunteer for AM2 instead of Anime Expo this year, still it was definitely very cool to see him again!

So after an epic two and a half hours of queuing I finally managed to be seated inside of the ballroom aka concert hall. Now, since I was in the standby line, aka “the cheapskates who didn’t by an AM2 passport or event ticket,” I didn’t get the best of seats. I ended up sitting on the aisle, just to right of the stage, which is actually pretty good if I wasn’t in the very back row. Still, they weren’t too bad as I could still see alright.

After about another thirty minutes of waiting inside, the show began! Set list courtesy of SCAN-DL:

SPECIAL LIVE in USA Set List:

1. SCANDAL のテーマ (SCANDAL no Theme)
2. Hi-Hi-Hi
3. EVERYBODY SAY YEAH
4. 少女 S (Shojo S)
5. 星の降る夜に (Hoshi no Furu Yoru ni)
6. DOLL
7. LOVE SURVIVE
8. ハルカ (Haruka)
9. ひかれ (Hika re)
10. 瞬間センチメンタル (Shunkan Sentimental)
11. カゲロウ (Kagerou)
12. SCANDAL BABY

Encore
13. Pride

What did I think of the performance? It was definitely a whole lot of fun. I was rather impressed by the level of energy that all of the girls were able to bring to the stage, and their music itself ranged from merely okay to quite good. There did seem to be a slight issue with the audio, though. While not quite as bad as what happened with Morning Musume at Anime Expo, the sound level of the instruments seemed to be turned out slightly too high as I found it rather difficult to make out the girl’s actual voices during the performance. Of course, this could have just been an issue for those of us in the back. As for my favorite song of the night, I actually really liked Haruka. While it wasn’t one of their more powerful numbers, it seemed the most well put together. I might actually pick up a copy of it on my next CD order!

While I certainly enjoyed myself at SCANDAL’s concert, I would have to put this one behind Morning Musume’s and AKB48’s events from the last two years. Though to be fair I think my opinion might be a bit tainted by the fantastic seats I had for those events, and my preference for that specific genre of Jpop. Still, I had a fantastic time at the event, and one couldn’t beat the price. Though, I hate to say it, if another group that I want to see comes to AM2 next year I might just buy a ticket or VIP pass to keep myself out of the nosebleeds…

Happy Fourth of July! July 4, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Eye Candy.
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RHETORICAL QUESTION TIME!

Q1: What’s more patriotic than Tokky?

A1: Quite a lot of things, actually.

Q2: What’s more patriotic than Tokky in a stars and stripes bikini?

A2: Significantly fewer things!

I hope everybody has a happy fourth! And remember: try not to lose too many fingers this year! They can come in reasonably handy at times.

(Expect to see a report on SCANDAL at AM2 soon!)

Nights4Blogging is heading down to AM2… July 1, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Jpop.
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…to see SCANDAL!

While they might not be idol pop per se, a group of teenage Japanese girls on stage singing in short skirts is close enough. 😀

Probably one of the coolest things about AM2 though is that it is completely free! Sure you can buy a premium pass for select seating, and a few special events but the mass majority of the event is simply open to the public. This includes the SCANDAL concert.

A free concert, pretty cool, huh?

So dear readers, if any of you happen to be in the greater Los Angeles area on the 3rd of July I really can’t think of a much better way to spend the evening without spending a dime (although, I do imagine the parking will be ridiculously overpriced).

You can of course expect a full report here after the event!