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PASSPO☆ – Kiss = Suki January 28, 2012

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Jpop, Other Idols.
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Today I wanted to talk about a Passpo, a group I’ve never covered here before on Nights4Blogging!

I’ve listened to a few of their songs previously, but I never was all that impressed. Then about mid-December (yeah, I’ve been meaning to make this post for quite a while now… ^^;) I saw the PV for their newest songs “Kiss = Suki,” and I must say I was reasonably impressed.

Everything about the song is just fun. The melody is fun (not to mention how catchy the chorus is), the choreography is fun, and I love the visual presentation!

Passpo’s gimmick, so to speak, is the airline theme. This is pretty obvious in the PV with the cute stewardess uniforms and the airport background. This theme goes far beyond that, though. For example, instead of having a leader and sub-leader they have a “Captain” and “Cheif Purser” (aka: head stewardess), events are referred to as “Flights,” and the multiple versions of their singles are split into Business, First and Economy classes.

It’s a neat idea, and I certainly appreciate the cute uniforms that it entails itself to. I have to say I imagine that it could potentially get a little stale after a while. Still, from what I have seen of them,I can’t complain.

Iwamura Natsumi obviously graduated from the "Michishige School of Trying Way Too Hard to be Cute and Succeeding"

Generally speaking, I couldn’t call these girls quite as talented as maybe some of the other larger idol groups. Their dancing isn’t as tight, and I can’t say I noticed any really strong vocalists in the group. Though, to discount them because of that would be completely unfair. The fact of the matter is that for what they are trying to accomplish, here cute idol pop, they are all competent, and work together perfectly well. The final product here is more than solid in fact. Also, who is to say that they won’t grow in talent in the future? This will definitely be a group I’ll keep an eye on.

Out of the whole group one girl did catch my eye. Negishi Ai (on the far right above) is the Captain of the group, and really quite beautiful.

She also provided the perfect way to end this post 😀

Niigaki Risa to Graduate From Morning Musume January 14, 2012

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Morning Musume, Niigaki Risa.
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Well, I’ve certainly put off writing this post for long enough.

I admit that when I first heard the news of her graduation I wasn’t livid like I had been at the last two graduation announcements. No, frankly, I was broken. Risa is the last member of Morning Musume I really like. When I listen to a Morning Musume song it’s her voice I listen for. When I watch on of their performances, it’s her dancing that I keep an eye on. Sure, I enjoy the work of the other girls, but they aren’t the main attraction for me.

Like Ai’s graduation this certainly wasn’t that big of a surprise. She’s been a member of the group for well over ten years, and frankly after the addition of the last two generations it’s fairly obvious that there is a conscious effort to lower the age of the group.

I am rather relieved that Risa was at least allowed to graduate on her own after Ai (you can read about that, and translated versions of the official statements here). A double graduation of both Ai and Risa would have been really quite traumatic. Risa is the last link the current Morning Musume has to their “Golden Age” so to speak. If the graduation of Ai signified the end of an era, so will Risa’s graduation, albeit a bit more subtly.

I’m also rather glad she was at least allowed to be leader, even if just for these few short months. She always seemed like she would make a perfect leader when she was second-in-command, and combined with the fact that she was charged with breaking-in the brand new tenth gen I am happy that she was given some important tasks to accomplish during her last few months.

I’m not quite so thrilled that she’s graduating on April 1st, though. Since I’ve finally been able to put some money aside I made up my mind that I’d finally make the pilgrimage, so to speak, to Japan this fall. If she was graduating in the Fall I would have gone to that concert. Absolutely no question. But May? There’s no way I can take off that much time so soon.

Also, it’s not like I just wouldn’t mind seeing her stick around a little bit longer, especially considering that PyocoPyoco Ultra (Risa’s probable graduation single) is the first Momusu single in quite a while that I rather dislike. Tsunku has tweeted a few snippets that there might be a new single with a “cool” image, so I certainly hope that that does come to be. Well, comes to be before May that is.

Something else that bothers me a bit is how the leadership of Hello! Project as a whole will shift from Morning Musume to Berryz Kobo, Shimizu Saki to be specific. I have nothing against Shimizu, but it still seems like an odd turn of events. Is MM losing their flagship status in Hello! Project? Or is there so little faith in Sayumi as a leader that they won’t give her that responsibility? That last question would somewhat address the reason as to why the position of sub-leader seemed to be abolished once tradition would have dictated that Sayu would have been given the position.

So after Risa leaves I’m certainly not going to lose interest in Morning Musume. The sixth gen are still enjoyable to watch. The ninth gen is solid, and I’m still looking forward to what the tenth gen can bring to the table. My main draw, Risa’s fierce delivery of nearly everything she did, will be gone though, and I’m not going to lie when I say that I can’t help but imagine that it will diminish my enthusiasm a bit.