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Moritaka Chisato’s 25th Anniversary! May 25, 2012

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Jpop, Other Idols.
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Twenty five years ago today Moritaka Chisato debuted with the single New Season:

Ahh, look at that hair! So very, very big!

To be perfectly honest with you 25 years seems like a lifetime to me, which is fitting seeing how her debut was a little more than a year before my birth… 😉

While she has been fairly quiet since the late nineties, it seems that she and her staff are pulling no stops in celebrating this milestone, including a full-force assault on nearly every social media outlet. You can now “Like” her on Facebook (or Google+ if you’re into that kind of thing), follow her staffs’ tweets, or subscribe to her on Youtube! Heck even her personal website has been given a fresh coat of paint (which is saying a lot because I always thought it was already especially spiffy for a Japanese entertainer)!

What has me most excited though, is her new Youtube Channel! Standing in front of the now infamous bridge over the Watarase River, Moritaka introduces her new “200 Songs Self Cover Project:”

This project will consist of video clips, live performances and commentaries on nearly every song she released from 1987 to 1999!

I mean, wow! How frigg’n amazing is that? I can barely even comprehend the scale of such an undertaking.

Oh, and if all that weren’t enough for you, she’s also releasing The Singles, which is, fittingly enough, a complete collection of all of her singles. And in the fall a commentary collection taken from interviews all throughout her career. And by the end of the year an album box set containing remastered versions of her previous albums. And by this time next year a Blu-Ray box set.

I don’t know about you, but that is how you celebrate a 25th anniversary properly!

I think it’s fair to say that Moritaka Chisato is back. Sure, she might just be riding the nostalgia train, but I’m more than okay with that. Heck, I’ve already got my first class ticket in hand! 😀

A Personal Memory about Niigaki Risa and Mitsui Aika May 18, 2012

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Morning Musume, Niigaki Risa.
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So that time is finally upon us, that time I’ve been dreading for months now. Risa is really going to graduate in a few hours. I can’t even really believe that it’s going to happen. ><

Well, in the same fashion as I have with all of the other recent graduations I'd like to share a personal memory I have about Risa and Aika from the time when I was able to interact with them at Anime Expo 2009.

At Anime Expo there were two autograph sessions, both of which I was fortunate enough to attend. The first session happened immediately after their very first event, a Q&A session with the fans. I of course attended that Q&A but had less than stellar seats, so this autograph session was really the first time I was able to really see the girls.

So, not only was I up-close to them, but I was actually interacting with them.

It freaked me out pretty bad. A mix of disbelief, shock, awe, happiness and probably a few other superlative emotions all combined to turn me into a grinning fool who could barely squeak out a "Hello," and "Thank you," to these girls.

Risa would have none of that however. As soon as she finished signing my poster she stuck her hand out for a handshake. I could barely believe it. So despite my state of now compound shock, I of course I shook her hand.

That autograph session was pretty relaxed in terms of atmosphere, and all of the girls were shaking hands with the fans, but only when the fans initiated it. Risa was the only one of them to put her hand out and shake with every single fan. Her desire to connect with her fans was something that really impressed me then, and still impresses me now. It's no small secret how much she loves Morning Musume, but after seeing that I really think she cares about the fans just as much.

As for poor Aika, unfortunately I can't say I have a particular story about her. She was upbeat and enthusiastic every time she was with the fans, which was something I certainly appreciated. I also found her to be a bit cuter in person than in photographs or video. She never really mastered being as photogenic as the other members.

It was hard for me to accept Ai leaving the group, but Risa's graduation is on a whole another level. She could sing and dance with the best of them in Morning Musume, but the thing I really loved about her performances was the raw energy she brought to everything. She made it clear as day that she absolutely loved what she was doing, and that kind of transparent happiness is always a joy to behold.

So thank you Risa for helping make these last three years I've been following Morning Musume so enjoyable. I anxiously await your next endeavor 😀

Mitsui Aika to Graduate From Morning Musume May 14, 2012

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Morning Musume.
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As I’m sure you are all aware of now, Mitsui Aika is going to graduate alongside Niigaki Risa on May 18 at the Morning Musume Concert Tour 2012 Spring ~Ultra Smart~ Niigaki Risa Graduation Special. Apparently Aika’s ankle injury didn’t heal properly and it would pose too great a risk for her to continue performing with the group.

I hate to say it, but I don’t feel Morning Musume is really losing anything of great value here with Aika. For me the girl just never “clicked” into any role in the group. Her singing and dancing were never particularly great (or for that matter bad enough to admonish). Her personality seemed a bit dull, and she didn’t even seem to fit in all that well with the other members in the group. She was always this odd little background member.

One thing that is unique about her graduation is simply the timing of the announcement only two weeks before the event. As far as I’m aware, that’s the shortest span for any member that has left the group in a legitimate (read: non-scandal) manner. To me it almost seems a bit suspicious. While I have little doubt that her ankle injury was legitimate, I feel that there is something that is being left out of the story, because frankly, the reason they are giving about the injury healing improperly hardly seems to justify the rush graduation. Possibly the injury is much worse than they’ve been letting on, or there was some contractual dispute rising from her resent absences?

The kind of funny thing is that around December, one of my friends and I were talking and I was telling him all about how I thought that Aika would be the next to graduate. Even at that time I was starting to feel that her ankle injury was taking a bit too long to heal and she would be forced to leave the group because of that. Well, being half right isn’t too shabby!

All that being said, I do feel a bit bad for the girl regarding the circumstances of her graduation. Seeing how the announcement was only two weeks before the event, I imagine that many of her fans that would have liked to have attended simply won’t have the chance. Then there’s the whole bit about that particular concert already having been named the Niigaki Risa Graduation Special (albeit, as a Risa fan, I can’t say I’ll be losing sleep on that one ;D)

Oh, and yeah, the blog isn’t entirely dead …yet! 😀