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Morning Musume – Only you May 29, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Morning Musume.
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Hey guys, remember me? 😉

Ahh, so the proverbial feces has definitely impacted the fan in regards to my school work. Which is certainly a shame since there is literally SO MUCH STUFF THAT I WANT TO WRITE ABOUT NOW. Morning Musume, Kikka, Mano, and heck, even AKB48 are all subjects I want to discuss a bit. I only have two weeks longer, so you should definitely see those articles. You know, eventually…

So, since I’m here now, what topic shall I discuss? Well, if you didn’t read the title, nor if you eyes hadn’t already been drawn immediately below, Morning Musume’s 46th single and PV for “Only you!”

Here are my thoughts:

  • The Good:
    • Return to a More Mature Sound: I liked “Maji Desu ka Ska!,” but I think I might just enjoy the mature sound a bit better with these members. Hopefully though, we’ll see a more even mix of genki and mature in the future to keep everyone from getting sick of one or the other. =D
      Something else I have to give props for is that they pulled of the mature sound pretty well even though half the group are tweens. Albeit that might be because most of those members weren’t used much…
    • That is a Gorgeous Looking PV: It really is. The girls all look beautiful in those costumes, and no one got short-changed à la “Seishun Collection” (seriously, those pants looked pretty awful, and for gosh sake, somebody get Junjun a belt like the other girls!). While the white set is a little bland, it’s not bad, but when they threw the colored lights on? Fantastic!
  • The Indifferent:
    • Risa’s Solo Lines: A general rule I have for Morning Musume is More Risa = More Better. Pretty logical right, you can’t really screw that up. So how could two legitimate solos not make it up there on the good list? Well, they tried to screw it up. I mean really, could they have used any more effects over her voice? Luckily, the absolute fierceness of her deliveries barely saved it.
  • The Bad:
    • That is a Heck of a Lot of Takahashi and Tanaka: Seriously. You don’t even hear any of the other girls until a minute ten in. While I can’t deny that they sound great here, c’mon let somebody else sing. Honestly though, at this point it almost seems futile to even keep complaining about this.
    • Riho Being Pushed to the Front: I can’t say this is a surprise, but I really do hope that the other three ninth gen members aren’t going to be constantly in the back like the 8th was. Also, while I agree that Riho is certainly an incredibly talented dancer she still really can’t sing all that well compared to the current front girls Takahashi and Tanaka.
    • Takahashi’s Hair: This honestly could have been the greatest, most transcendent song in all of human history, with a promotional video so fantastic and moving that future generations would cite it as the single event that set the ball rolling towards world peace, and I would still complain about Takahashi’s hair. I don’t think she looks bad with really short hair (see “Mikan”), but that blonde looks really awful to me. Like really, really awful. I hate to say, but if you take away the ultra-feminine clothes, I’d swear she could be a member of any generic Japanese boy band. Albeit, a really short member. =D

So overall I enjoyed it, but not without a few serious caveats. So, what did you guys think?


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!

The Other Side of Aya: Enkyori no Renai (遠距離の恋愛) February 20, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Matsuura Aya.
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Today, I wanted to take a look at “Enkyori no Renai” the coupling track of “♥Momoiro Kataomoi♥,” Aya’s best selling single, released on the 2nd of February 2002:

Romaji Lyrics:

koibito ni narenai mama ne
kono mama nara kitto muri ne
hontou no koto iwanai ienai
hikkoshi suru mitai watashi

hanarete shimattara
sugu ni aenaku naru
hanarete shimattara
chikai ko ga ii desho?

anata wa
nanni mo shiranakute ii
watashi ni furareta dake na no yo
nanni mo shiranai hou ga ii wa…

sore na no ni denwa shitai
ima ijou ni suki ni naru wa

waza to tsumetai kotoba
tsukatteru no ni anata
yasashiku shite kureru
yasashiku shite kureru

futari wa
doushite deatta no yo
motto iroiro shiritakatta
doushite deatta no yo doushite…


futari wa
doushite deatta no yo
motto iroiro shiritakatta
doushite deatta no yo doushite…

Translated Lyrics:

Looks like we can’t hook up
Surely it’s impossible now
I won’t tell you the truth; I can’t
It looks like I’m moving

If I go far away
I won’t be able to see you soon
If I go far away
You’d prefer a closer girl, right?

Don’t need to know anything
Just that we’ve broken up
It’s better that you don’t know anything

Even so, I want to call you
I love you even more now

I talk to you coldly on purpose
But you
You’re so nice to me
You’re so nice to me

The two of us
Why did we meet?
I wanted to know more about you
Why did we meet, why…


The two of us
Why did we meet?
I wanted to know more about you
Why did we meet, why…

Romaji and translated lyrics from ProjectHello

Out of all of Aya’s B-sides I’ve covered so far, this one is easily my favorite. It has a very “cool” air to it, certainly contrasting starkly to “♥Momoiro Kataomoi♥.” I especially love the part where she starts to hum. It’s simple, but I think it just adds so much to the song in terms of atmosphere.

I would actually really like to see Aya take another stab at performing this song today. It’s far more mature than many of her other earlier works, and I think it would certainly benefit from the greater control that she has gained over her voice in the years since her debut. That isn’t to say that she doesn’t sound good here, in fact quite the opposite, especially considering that she was fifteen when this song was recorded!

Ai-chan is in LA! February 1, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Morning Musume, Takahashi Ai.
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How awesome is that?

Now, I certainly didn’t look up the location of every “The Body Shop” in the Los Angeles area and compare their storefronts to come to the conclusion that she was in the Beverly Center. I didn’t note that not only do the storefronts match, but so do the floor tile pattern, and the presence of the “Scene” store directly adjacent to it. I totally didn’t do that.

131 North La Cienega Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90048, sixth floor near Macy’s.

What? Don’t judge me! ><

Ai is actually scheduled to have a new photobook come out this March 28, and a new solo DVD on April 20th. Is she shooting these in LA? No clue, but it would be really cool if she did. It would be pretty neat to actually recognize some of the locations she visited in a photobook. Of course I can't see a Los Angeles photobook seeming very "exotic," but I imagine the residents of Hawaii and Guam might share similar feelings!

She was a mere 25.9 miles away from me. So close, yet so far… 😉

Update: Ahh, it appears that her trip was for recreation and she wasn’t shooting her PB/solo DVD. Still, good for her. Glad she gets some time to herself to relax! ^^

Mano Erina – Seishun no Serenade January 20, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Mano Erina.
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On the 26th of this month Manoeri will be releasing her 9th single! Luckily for us the official PV err, MV is already available on Youtube! Check it out!

Save for one part, I really like this song and PV. Mano seems to be on a roll with getting a bit nicer PV’s compared to the rest of the H!P groups. While this one might not be as creative as “Genkimono de Ikō!” it is still quite pleasant (although, I must say I found the lack of spandex-clad middle-aged men being struck with whips to be a glaring omission). The school backdrop is interesting enough to look at and fits well into the “seishun” part of the title. Also, see if you guys can spot the vintage Momusu posters scattered throughout the set!

I really like her costume as well, as it is an interesting mishmash of styles. On one hand you have a copious amount of zippers and steel-lined belt holes which combined with the cut of the jacket conspire to give it a very strong or tough appearance. In contrast to this you have the very bright candy-apple red fabric, along with the soft hood and puff balls hanging from her belt moving it back towards “cute.” Combined, I think those elements work well together but I think it might have been a little better suited for a slightly more aggressive song.

I have to say though, I did find the costume to be slightly reminiscent of another famous one…

Mano Jackson

I know they aren’t that close, but I couldn’t shake that comparison from my head after watching the PV! I’m pretty sure it’s just from the diagonal black stripes and zippers, but still! Mano Jackson? ><

So, what was that one part I’m not so keen about? Well, it starts at the 3:09 mark, but trust me, I doubt you missed it. I don’t even know what to call it. Besides weird, that is. Personally, I think it almost ruins the song. You have a very pleasant, happy little diddy, and then that thing thrown in the middle. I could see something like that working significantly better in a song like her previous single Genkimono de Ikou!, but not here. It just doesn’t fit.


Hey, on the bright side of things it did make for a fantastic gif! 😀

A bit more on Takahashi Ai’s graduation January 10, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Morning Musume, Takahashi Ai.
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Last night’s post was a bit of a knee jerk reaction, but I must say that most of my points still hold up. While her graduation was inevitable, and I am sad to see her going now, I still think the timing of this announcement is really quite premature.

When I discovered this news I was actually browsing around on Twitter, which is a very rare thing for me to do, and I stumbled upon this post by the Hello! Ranking staff:


As soon as I saw that my heart sank. You know that feeling in your stomach you get when something truly awful happens? Yup, right there. I immediately tried to verify that post wasn’t some horrible prank and then went into panic-mode and texted my one good friend who also likes H!P. We talked a bit on AIM and then I wrote that post I made here last night.

I was pretty bitter last night, and I’m still not exactly happy now, but the thing is, it’s not exactly like no one saw this coming, and nor is Ai-chan is being cut short. She’s been leader for longer than any other member, and she’s even been in the group longer than anyone else sans Risa. She leads nearly every single, and has really been in the forefront for a large portion of her time in the group. It would be a disservice to her to say she’s had a good run. She’s had a great run, arguably even the best run so far of any member in the group’s history.

This brings up another concern, though. What the heck will Morning Musume be like without Ai-chan? Undoubtedly the group will adapt, as it will have to, but it will still be a strange sight. This really isn’t a new situation though, as this has happened before when Abe Natsumi left, as Isilwentari has pointed out, and that certainly didn’t spell the end of Morning Musume then (even though many people said it would). Another thing to think about is what will happen to Takahashi’s lines? For a song like “Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game,” where her and Reina together share the majority of the song’s lines it would be almost over bearing if Reina kept her portion of the lines, and Takahashi’s were distributed among the remaining members. Something to think about.

Thanks to Turbos86 over at Hello!Online we have translations of both Tsunku’s comment on the graduation, and Ai-chan’s official message about it.

This is the comment regarding Takahashi Ai’s graduation from Morning Musume

Thank you for your continual support as always.
As announced directly herself on the stage of January 9th’s show at Nakano Sunplaza,
5th generation member, Takahashi Ai will be graduating from both Morning Musume and Hello! Project in Morning Musume’s concert tour this fall.

When the proposal for Kamei Eri’s graduation was made last year,
I told Takahashi Ai, “It’s about time you should consider the timing of your own graduation and what you want to pursuit afterward” as an advice.

The 5th generation members will have joined Morning Musume for 10 years.
Takahashi Ai is the 6th leader and has been in this position for 3 years and 7 months.
Takahashi Ai holds the record for being the longest in the group and the longest to hold the leader position.
Looking back, she has honestly carried the responsibility for all this time.

(In no disrespect to all former members and leaders of the group…excuse me)

I have talked with her about various things, such as her activities afterward
As announced in the new year concert, her graduation will be in Morning Musume’s Autumn concert tour,
this was the right time to make the announcement.

Since there are still more than half a year to go,
the 9th generation members have to familiarize themselves with Morning Musume’s music
and dances, to become self aware that they are part of the group.
Takahashi plans to properly finish her job as leader in the mean time.

Please be looking forward to what will become of Morning Musume.

Takahashi Ai will continue to be active in music, theater, and live events after her graduation.
Details will gradually be released.

Also, after Takahashi Ai’s graduation, Niigaki Risa will assume the leader position of the group,
and become the longest active member of Morning Musume

Morning Musume Producer

That really is a fairly nice message, but the one thing that bugs me is his feelings that this was the “right time to make the announcement.”

Now, I know others are happy that this was announced so early, as this gives them the opportunity to cherish the time they have left with Ai-chan in the group, and I can sympathize with that position. For me personally, I’ll worry over this long before I should. I’m already a little on edge over something that’ll be happening almost a whole year from now, for gosh sakes!

Another thing that bothers me a bit is that there have been a LOT of changes to Morning Musume’s roster over the last few weeks. Eri, Junjun and Linlin have just graduated, the ninth generation were revealed just a week ago, and now Takahashi is to graduate? That is a whole heck of a lot to take in. I really wish they would have at least given us a little while to get used to the ninth gen. before announcing her graduation, as it really does put a bit of a dark cloud over the whole thing.

Make no mistake though, I’m almost entirely sure the reason this was announced so early was to spur goods sales. This is going to be a sentimental year for all of her fans, and I know they’ll be plenty of opportunities for them to turn that sentiment into something a bit more tangible, something I’m sure I’ll be guilty of as well… ><

Something that really intrigues me about Tsunku's comment is his assurance that Ai-chan, "will continue to be active in music, theater, and live events." The theatre part is especially interesting, as we know that she has always dreamed of being a part of Takarazuka, and while maybe she hasn't actually joined that group, maybe she’ll move her career more into musical theatre? While that may not be my cup of tea, I’d certainly be happy for her as I’m sure that would be something she would greatly enjoy.

Here is Takahashi’s official comment:

It has been decided that, I, Takahashi Ai, during Morning Musume’s concert tour this Autumn,
will be graduating from Morning Musume and Hello! Project.
At the time when Kamei Eri, JunJun and LinLin’s graduations were decided,
Tsunku-san told me, “It’s about time Takahashi should think about your own graduation’s timing!”
which has gotten me thinking.

I will have been in Morning Musume for 10 years comes this August,
So I thought it will be a good time! to graduate in the Autumn Morning Musume concert tour.

As there are still around 9 months left, I will do my best as leader until that time to shape up this new Morning Musume.

I will be affectionate to the newly added 9th generation members as I try to teach them various things, everyone please rest assured.

This too reasserts the fact that it was a positive decision by Ai to graduate at this time. I do admit that Tsunku’s comment sounds a bit like, “When the heck are you gonna leave?” but I don’t think one can really try to infer that much out of a translation. 😉

I must also admit I’m really excited for Risa. I always slightly feared that Ai and Risa would graduate together, which would have taken this chance away from her. Heck, if there ever was a girl better groomed to be leader I can’t imagine it. There’s no doubt she’ll be far more proactive that Ai was, and her love and passion for the group is second to none. She’ll make an amazing leader, and will hopefully be given a fair while to make a legacy for herself. In the meantime, though, I’m sure she’ll have her hands full helping Ai get the ninth gen in line! ^^

So, honestly, I really should try to look at the glass as half full. Even though Ai-chan leaving the group will irreversibly tear a huge hole into the Morning Musume line-up I’ve grown to love, she’ll still be with us for the majority of the year, and her leadership will be replaced by someone who could be no more deserving or competent for the job. I imagine I might have to say that to myself quite a bit over this year. ><

How do you ruin a year? January 9, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Morning Musume, Takahashi Ai.
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That’s a good question for you. How could one possibly ruin a year?

I was pretty darn excited for Morning Musume this year. Four new members who all seem pretty solid, how could one not be excited?

So, how can one kill such excitement in an instant? Announce that Takahashi Ai will be graduating at the end of this year’s Fall tour.

I don’t hide the fact that I’m pretty fond of Ai-chan. I really like her. A lot. I also knew that this was going to happen. It had to, eventually. But why now?

Seriously. Isn’t four new members enough of a roster change for this year? We haven’t seen any new members since 2007. It’s a big enough deal in and of itself. Also, why the HECK did this have to be announced only NINE DAYS into this year? This news is going to be hanging over my head for the next twelve months. How can I enjoy the new generation if I’m constantly counting down the remaining months/singles/concerts Ai has left?

Now, I admit I’m being a bit melodramatic. The year hasn’t been entirely ruined. I still am really interested in seeing the ninth gen. and what they’ll bring to the group. I really am, but the magic, that sense of enthusiasm, has certainly been curbed by quite a bit. I just figured (horribly incorrectly, I might add) that after that last mass graduation we’d be safe for a little while… 😦

Morning Musume 9th Generation Revealed! January 2, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Morning Musume.
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For the first time since 2007 a new generation of members have been added to Morning Musume. The four member ninth generation consists of Suzuki Kanon, Sayashi Riho, Ikuta Erina, and Fukumura Mizuki.

This is also the first time since the start of Morning Musume that there has been a 12(!!!) year difference in the age of the youngest and oldest members. Ai-chan is literally twice as old as Suzuki Kanon and Sayashi Riho, heck those girls were literally toddlers when the fifth gen joined Momusu! To be honest I am still a little weary about having such young members in the group. Since I became a fan of Morning Musume during their 9-nin era with Koharu I am much more used to having all of the girls being much closer in age, and frankly older. I rather like Morning Musume’s more mature image, and find it hard to believe that Morning Musume now has members that are younger than those that are in Berryz Kobo and C-ute! The Hello! Project Kids groups! The madness!

More seriously though, I am pretty psyched that Sayashi Riho made it into the group. She was by far my favorite during the auditions (you can catch clips of it here and here if you haven’t already seen them). She seems like she already has a fair amount of talent, so I’m really looking forward to what she’ll have in store for us in the future.

I’m also rather pleased to see Ikuta Erina make it as well. She seemed fairly well rounded during the auditions, and I imagine she’ll make a good member. What I am a little surprised about is that Mogi Minami didn’t make it. It’s not that I thought she was so talented that it would be a shame if she didn’t make the cut (like with Riho), but with Tsunku’s seeming fixation with underdogs I thought that if she had somehow managed to come this far there must be something pretty special he sees in her.

I’m also pretty surprised to see a Hello! Pro Egg make it into the group since none were featured on the audition special. I’m glad that some of them are getting something out of their Hello! Project involvement, as I’ve always felt a bit bad about how for most of them their big role is that they get to be back-up dancers in the Hello! Project concerts.

As for Suzuki Kanon? I admit I’m rather indifferent. I certainly don’t dislike the girl, but she didn’t really stand out to me during the audition special. She might grow on me during the following year, though. It’ll be interesting to see.

“Interesting” I think will be the keyword for Morning Musume in 2011. This is a huge shift in the roster, with nearly half the group being not only new, but significantly younger than any of the previous members. That being said, I am massively anticipating their next single. I really want to see how these new members will integrate into the group. Like I said, it should be an interesting year at the very least 😀

Long live 9-nin Morning Musume!

No, seriously. No more graduations, please. At least not for a while, okay?

The Twelve Days of Tsunku-mas: Gomattou Medley December 25, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop.
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On the twelfth day of Tsunku-mas, my true love gave to a Gomattou Christmas medley:

This performance also comes to us via the Happy Xmas Show, but this time from Christmas Day 2004.

Now, while they were never called Gomattou during that show or performance, c’mon, that’s Gomattou. Aya, Miki, and Gocchin are easily my favorite of the “Elder Club” members (is that even a relevant term anymore?) so to see them all together is just amazing.

First, to mention the music. We have a live orchestra, which is always fantastic, but we also get to hear renditions of classic Japanese pop songs, something a person like me doesn’t really have the opportunity to hear, which is also pretty neat. And with these three girls, there really is no doubt about the quality of their renditions. =D

Then secondly we have the visual presentation. The girls’ dresses are absolutely gorgeous, and when they are all on the same stage together the colors contrast fantastically with each other. Seeing them all decked out like that is really something. It reminds me of the “Mopremes” segment from the 2003 Happy Xmas Show, just taken to a whole new level.

Thirdly, we have the conductor. Seriously. He’s fantastic in his own right. 😀

Honestly, this is one of my favorite performances in general, and the fact that it just happened to be Christmas related gave me a fantastic excuse to share it with you guys!

I hope you all have a fantastic and safe Christmas with all of your family and loved ones!

The Twelve Days of Tsunku-mas: The Mopremes December 24, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Morning Musume.
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On the eleventh day of Tsunku-mas, my true love gave to me the Mopremes:

This performance dates from the December 23, 2003 edition of the Happy Xmas Show, the same program where Aya performed “Kobito ga Santa Claus.”

Hehe, “The Mopremes,” I mean really, how can you not absolutely adore that performance? The girls all look amazing in their retro-style costumes and jewelry, not to mention the sets, which are actually quite impressive in not only their magnitude and variety, but quality as well. Also, props to Mari and Yossi as they actually did a darn good job with their English as well.

This performance is actually a pretty good example of one of the reasons I love idol pop. You could try asking yourself why Morning Musume is pretending to be an an American pop group from the 1960’s to celebrate Christmas, but frankly it doesn’t really matter. It’s fun, and that’s all the justification it needs.

I hope you all have a pleasant Christmas Eve with your loved ones! ^^