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Kikkawa You at Anime Weekend Atlanta (Part 1) October 31, 2012

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Jpop, Kikkawa You.
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Preface: This post is taking so long to write that I decided to split it up into three parts: the first two days, the second two days, and my reflections on the event. Sorry for the wait everyone! m(_ _)m

In the weeks and days before I left for Atlanta I was progressively getting more and more excited. I’m a big fan of Kikka, and while I’ve seen and interacted with several other idols beforehand, never were they ones I was already really into. I was a casual fan of Morning Musume and Mano-chan when I saw them in Los Angeles, and I attended AKB48’s concert mostly out of curiosity and convenience. But Kikka? I was already smitten with the girl, and was going in with preconceptions that I was afraid that neither she nor the event would be able to live up to. Boy was I wrong.

It is truly a rare occurance when something comes along that blows away all of your expectations so completely that you are almost left in a complete daze after it ends. Kikkawa You’s visit to Atlanta, Georgia was just one of those events for me.

To be fair I’ve been putting off my write-up about this event for a while now. Sure, part of it is that I’ve been busy desperately trying to get caught back up at work, but mostly I’ve simply been afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do the event justice.

Better late than never, lets get this show on the road!

(more…)

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A Post About AWA is Coming Soon… October 17, 2012

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Eye Candy, Jpop, Kikkawa You.
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My write-up about seeing Kikka at AWA is coming soon, I swear! I’m still trying to catch up on work, and have just generally been pretty darn tired. Sorry. 😦

To try and hold you over for the next couple of days, take a gander at the LE cover of Kikka’s new cover album Vocalist?

Boy howdy, does she look stunning! This glamour style shot is certainly a departure from her previous covers, but I’m certainly not minding the change!

It seems the album is shaping up quite nicely in a sonic sense as well. Apparently any fears of her voice being entirely auto-tuned into oblivion can be laid to rest. Oh, and as a bit of a spoiler, she also sang that very song at AWA. And it was glorious.

Less Than a Month Until AWA! August 30, 2012

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Jpop, Kikkawa You.
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Yup, not even a month until Kikka’s American debut, and I’m getting almost uncomfortably excited! Not only to see Kikka, which is and of itself an understandably huge part of it, but just for the chance to travel. Throughout my 23 or so years on this rock I’ve never been more than 400 miles away from what I had considered home. I haven’t even been on an airplane. So, needless to say, this will be a vastly new experience for me. Sure, someday I’d like to visit Japan to see an idol concert there and generally weeaboo out, so doing the same in Atlanta seems like a nice first step.

Ha! Flying to Atlanta to, “see an idol concert there and generally weeabo out,” seems a little counter intuitive! 😀


Her English isn’t too bad, especially the shouting. 😉



Switching topics a bit, it has been revealed that the coupling track for Kikka’s new single “Darling to Madonna” will be a cover of Moritaka Chisato’s “Watashi ga Obasan ni Natte mo.” As one of my absolute favorite Moritaka songs, I’m a little apprehensive about how this will turn out. On one hand, it might turn out ABOSLUTELYFRIGG’NAWESOME. Which would be pretty good, I guess. Or not. I think I’m just afraid of being disappointed. Still, Kikka’s version of 17sai turned out pretty well, so I’m probably fretting over nothing.

One thing that certainly isn’t disappointing is the LE A cover! Sure, the others aren’t bad either (even the prerequisite anime tie-in one), but the LE A takes the cake for me. That leaning pose, the neon colors, the superfluous guitar (she had previously mentioned that her manager was teaching her to play it, though I seriously doubt we’ll ever hear her play it in a release), heck I even like the type face! For me it’s definitively a big improvement over the covers of her last two singles.

Kikkawa You is Going to Atlanta June 10, 2012

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Jpop, Kikkawa You.
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…which means I am too… ><

On the 8th during Berryz Kobo's events at AnimeNEXT the above flyer was distributed, and since I pulled that particular copy directly from UpFrontLink I think we can safely assume it’s official.

I’m pretty torn about this. On one hand I’m absolutely psyched I’ll get a chance to see her live and most likely get an autograph (as seems to be the custom at these events held at anime conventions), but on the other hand I’m a little pissed I have to go all the way to Georgia to do so. Georgia is clear on the other side of the continent compared to where I live, but as luck would have it, still only about 40% as expensive as a trip to Japan.

So, how about, any of you guys going to be heading out there too? The combination of really reasonable airfare, the convenience of an English speaking environment (getting around by myself in Japan is a thought that really does scare me a bit), and the fact that since this event takes place over a weekend I only have to take a few days off work make it an opportunity I can’t pass up.

Also, on the plus side, at least I don’t have to go to New Jersey 😀

UPDATE: Kikka is now officially listed on the Anime Weekend Atlanta guests list. Apparently she will be, “performing live on stage, have multiple autograph sessions, and will be participating in a variety of panels throughout the weekend.” Oh yeah, I’m psyched! 🙂

Merry Christmas! December 25, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Kikkawa You.
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MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I hope everybody has a very pleasant Holiday season filled with their friends and loved ones (and possibly a few idols too…) 😀

Kikkawa You – Hapirapi ~Sunrise~ November 26, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Jpop, Kikkawa You.
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Well this has certainly been a long time coming, huh?

Motivated by the recent preview of Kikka’s third single Konna Watashi de Yokattara (which is looking fantastic by the way) I thought that this would be as good of a time as ever to do far too thorough overview of Hapirapi ~Sunrise~:

Regular Edition:


Tracklist:

  1. Hapirapi ~Sunrise~
  2. Hapirapi ~Sunrise~ Remix
  3. Hapirapi ~Sunrise~ (Instrumental)

Hapirapi ~Sunrise~ is undeniably upbeat and genki, but unfortunately is also a little mundane. I think the song is primarily hurt by a lack of a great hook. The primary “hapirapi sunrise…” chorus attempts to serve as this, but you probably won’t find yourself humming it afterward. Vocally, Kikka is in fine form with a rather saccharine tone through the majority of the song, but she is certainly capable of more.

The song is a bit more interesting instrumentally. A synthesizer is the primary instrument, but with a bit more careful listen you can make out a faint but ever present backing acoustic guitar, which I thought was a neat touch. Also during the chorus and extending into the instrumental a horn is added to the mix which adds a huge boost to the “genki” feeling of the song.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the remix of Kikkake wa YOU!, and the story isn’t any different here. It’s okay I guess, but nothing I would really listen to normally. I really would have preferred another unique coupling track, or one less version I had to buy.

Limited Edition A:


Tracklist:

  1. Hapirapi ~Sunrise~
  2. Hapirapi ~Sunrise~ Remix
  3. Hapirapi ~Sunrise~ (Instrumental)

CD-wise this version is identical to the regular version. The difference lies in the fact that it includes a DVD of the PV for Hapirapi ~Sunrise~. The short version below should give you a good idea of what to expect:

First things first: I have no idea why, but I’m absolutely smitten with the little dance move where she dusts off her shoulder… ><

I've said it a few times before, but I really do love PVs that are shot outdoors as they just have a special natural feeling to them, and here that feeling definitely adds to the happy and warm tone of the song. The shot where she walks her dog in front of the yellow Volkswagen is also notable for its fantastic color composition.

As a note, I'm pretty sure they had to shoot the outdoor shots in Okinawa during the same time period they shot her image DVD and photobook as I can't imagine there are too many Econoline conversions and F-series work trucks on the mainland.

Limited Edition B:


Tracklist:

  1. Hapirapi ~Sunrise~
  2. LOVE YOU FOREVER
  3. Hapirapi ~Sunrise~ (Instrumental)
  4. LOVE YOU FOREVER (Instrumental)

Now were finally getting into the multiple coupling tracks!

LOVE YOU FOREVER sounds to me like a bit of a mix between a traditional R&B song and a ballad. The instrumental and about half of the vocals are done in an R&B style, where the other half of the vocals sound more like a normal ballad. The song is certainly unique, and Kikka sounds great in the ballad portions.

Limited Edition C:


Tracklist:

  1. Hapirapi ~Sunrise~
  2. Mizuiro
  3. Hapirapi ~Sunrise~ (Instrumental)
  4. Mizuiro (Instrumental)

Mizuiro is a fun pop track that starts off strong but tapers off quickly once Kikka starts singing, and unfortunately never quite regains that same level of aggression again. The song is certainly faster and more aggressive than anything else she has done before, but kind of leaves me wishing that it would have continued with that initial level of energy and been something “harder,” possibly something along the lines of hitomi’s MARIA. Still, I don’t want to give the impression that I’m selling the song short, as it really is quite good. It’s high energy and several key changes make the song interesting and fun to listen to.

Also, this is easily my favorite cover out of all of the versions (to be honest, they’re all pretty good except for LE D, she just looks a little awkward in that shot).

Limited Edition D:


Tracklist:

  1. Hapirapi ~Sunrise~
  2. Sweetie
  3. Hapirapi ~Sunrise~ (Instrumental)
  4. Sweetie (Instrumental)

Sweetie is another fun high energy pop entry from Kikka. The song jumps pretty rapidly between faster and slower sections and makes for an engaging listen. Unlike Hapirapi ~Sunrise~ I think Sweetie succeeds in creating a pretty catchy hook, as this is the only song from this release that I found to really stick with me. Also, when listening to the instrumental an interesting techno-ish synthesizer beat is clearly distinguishable; something that I hadn’t noticed in the regular version.

In Which Kikka Doesn’t Understand… August 22, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Blog Stuff, Jpop, Kikkawa You.
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Taken from the making of DVD for YOU!, her first photobook.



In completely unrelated news Nights4Blogging has become an official affiliate of HelloStoreUSA!


You might notice a few new banners over there on the right because of this. While I’m sure most of you have already heard of, or even patronized, them before I really can’t recommend them enough. They have truly top notch customer service, shipping that is surprisingly affordable and quick, and prices that you simply can’t beat for new goods. Best of all is that they’re really the only place outside of Japan where your purchases directly go to support your favorite idols. So if you’ve never been there before definitely click on one of the banners and see what you’ve been missing out on all this time (or if you have, still go and check out their latest additions)!

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?

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.

Kikkawa You Debuts! May 11, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Jpop, Kikkawa You.
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Today Kikkawa You finally made her solo debut with the release of “Kikkake wa YOU!”

And you know what? It’s about gosh darn time!

Surprisingly, my copies actually arrived in the mail today. According to Fedex they arrived in California before they left Japan, gotta love that International Dateline, huh? Seriously though, her coupling tracks are all pretty amazing and definitely give a real incentive to pick up more than one copy.

I really wish I could write more about it now, but to be honest with you guys I’m absolutely exhausted. She had a Ustream event this morning at 3:00AM my time to commemorate her debut, and because of that I ended up only getting about two and half hours of sleep. Still, it was worth it. 😀

So to wrap up, I just want to wish Kikka the best of luck on her debut! May lots of people purchase and enjoy your music! *cough*Look to your right!*cough*