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Morning Musume — Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game (Close-Up Version) November 19, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Morning Musume, Niigaki Risa, Takahashi Ai.
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So just two days ago Morning Musume released their 44th single “Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game,” and if you happened to read my preview post from two weeks ago you’ll know I’m a pretty big fan of the song itself and the regular PV.

Strangely enough, I also really like the close-up version of the PV.

I say strangely because normally this version of the PV doesn’t appeal to me that much. Usually the close-up version is made just with cuts of the girls standing a fixed distance away from a static camera. And that’s it. Surprisingly (thankfully?) this isn’t the case with “Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game”, as we are treated to a completely different experience. Varying camera angles, non-static frames, the girls aren’t stationary, frankly it’s just an all around much more dynamic production.

I really do want to applaud the change in direction for this single, but instead of just droning on and on about how much better this one is than previous close-ups, I figured I would supply you guys with a few concrete examples on what makes this version of the PV so great in particular:

Reina Looks Great

Now, this single, like many previous Morning Musume singles, is pretty heavily Ai-Reina biased, but I really don’t mind that too much here considering how well those two girls work it in this PV (that is despite the fact that I would have liked to see the graduating members get a bit more fanservice =\). Back in June when I looked at the solo versions of “Seishun Collection,” I lambasted Reina a bit on the heavy silver eyeliner underneath her eyes, but I must say it looks pretty fantastic here. While I’m still not a huge fan of the dresses used in this PV, the light blue of her dress and the eyeliner is a very nice combination.

An interesting thing I noticed about Reina when I was trying to get a decent screen cap of her was that she seems to really flex her jaw muscles quite a bit when singing (or most likely lip-syncing here, but close enough). It actually made capping her a bit difficult since most frames I tried had her face look slightly misshapen because of that! 😀

Ai’s Ponytail Rocks

Look at that thing go. You want a point to draw your visual interest? Well, you honestly can’t do much better than that!

It might just be my prejudice after seeing the dance shot versions, but man, do I love to see her fling that thing around. It has “attitude” written all over it, and frankly its not like she even needs help pulling that off here. The ponytail just puts it over the top.

Speaking of the dance shots, I’ll probably make another post sometime just to post some gifs of her from that. She really is that amazing in those.

Risa Absolutely Owns Her Camera Time

Risa, bless her, gets one big solo line to herself in the second half of the song, and she totally owns that scene. It reminds me a bit of her solo in Nanchatte Renai, which she easily made the best part of that PV. Not that I would be biased or anything.

The thing I really love about these two gifs is how amazingly expressive she can be with her face, and especially her eyes. Without any sound, and just watching her lips move, I can clearly hear her saying “–sareru mo” in my mind. Enough to give me chills. 🙂


These girls (and Tsunku, and all of their other staff) work hard to create this content for us. If you guys enjoyed this single or its PV please consider purchasing a copy to show your support and to reward their hard work.

If you guys particularly liked the Close-up version of the PV I showcased here you can get your own copy from the Jacket/Type B version!


Previews From Matsuura Aya and Morning Musume November 5, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in ayaya, Hello! Project, Jpop, Matsuura Aya, Morning Musume.
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So this month we get to look forward to a new album from Matsuura Aya and a new single from Morning Musume.

Awesome, huh? 😀

So, we’ve been lucky enough to have been graced with three previews from Matsuura Aya’s new album Click you Link me and both the A and B side of Morning Musume’s “Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game.” Lets check them out!

“The Difference”

I’m really torn about this one. On one hand, I really love the style, but on the other hand, I don’t actually really like the song itself. The long English spoken verse in the middle seems really out of place compared to Aya’s voice, and I think it really ruins the flow of the song. I do think that this song could be pretty great live, and I do look forward to seeing that version of it.

Also, can you believe that this is a cover of Clyde Stubblefield? It really is. Try clicking on “The Walking Band,” they have their titles mixed up for some reason.

“Yokohama Rondo”

This appears to be a much more traditional style ballad that we by now should be pretty used to be seeing from her. Still, one cannot deny how beautiful her voice sounds here, so you certainly cannot fault the song for that.

Also, pay close attention to the little video they made for it’s promotion. It’s really quite simple, but darn, I really like it. It’s darn gorgeous. I don’t think you could ever pass it off as a “ready for TV” PV, but for its purposes to promote the song on Youtube, I think they did a magnificent job. Certainly better than what they did for “The Difference” (if you didn’t see it, look closely at the people’s faces in that one).

“only one”

I like how restrained the instruments are here, it really lets her voice shine through as the star of the song. It seems to have a very “soothing” tone to it, but otherwise, I can’t really say all that much about it.

“Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game”

I had actually started writing this post a couple of days ago, before this PV had even become available, so it might be a bit of a stretch to call this a “preview” anymore. Still, it’d be silly not to cover the full song when you have it available to you, eh?

So, to basically summarize my feelings toward this song: FUZZING AWESOME. I’m seriously racking my brain trying to figure out just why this song appeals to me so much, but I just can’t put my finger on it. I like the beat, it as it seems to be unique, but even then it seems reminiscent of “Kimagure Princess” and even features general pauses like in “Onna ga Medatte Naze Ikenai.” Still, I would have to say that all those elements are brought together to a much greater overall effect here.

Also, those general pauses? I love them. They seem to give the song a real sense of “attitude.”

I must say I also really like the PV. There are a decent amount of different sets, and surprisingly the “black pillow room” is actually kind of neat. The only thing I’m not a huge fan of are the girls’ monochrome dresses. They just look a bit silly to me. I’ll probably cap this and post about it again once a higher quality version becomes available, so look forward to that!

“Aisaresugiru Koto wa nai no yo”

As I imagine you could have told from the picture in the video, this preview is from the Rival Survival Concert Tour. I must say I also rather like this song. It’s very fast and very aggressive. The line distribution here also seems a lot more fair than “Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game,” which is heavily Ai and Reina biased, but it lacks a lot of the originality of “Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game” as well. As a B-side “Aisaresugiru Koto wa nai no yo” seems to complement its A-side rather well in keeping up with it’s rather aggressive pacing. I really look forward to actually hearing the studio version of this song and seeing how it compares to this live rendition.

The Weight of an Idol, Part 2 October 28, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Junjun, Morning Musume.
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I’ve finally been able to scrounge up a bit of free time, and although there are a few other things I’ve been wanting to write about (can you say Click you Link me preview?), I really want to finish up this topic as it has been on my mind a bit over the last couple of days.

As you can probably tell from the picture over on the right I’m going to be talking about Junjun this time. While I really do like Junjun, I admit that I don’t follow her quite as closely as some of the other girls in the group, and thus the observations I’m making here might seem a little dated or even obvious to some of you. I apologize in advance if that is the case.

The first time that I can personally remember seeing Junjun make a reference to her weight was in a post on her personal blog from the 26th of July. You can see the original here, and a English translated version by Hello! SG Fans here. In her post she relays how her manager lightly scolded her for ordering a medium pizza. I admit at the time I really didn’t think anything of it. She seems to be including the information about the mail from her manager as a humorous anecdote, especially with the little cutesy animated caricatures that she included with the post. Really, the impact of what she mentions here only really hit me after I read her replies for the Pocket Morning Weekly Q&A for the weeks of 9/05 and 10/03.

To summarize those two events, the question on 9/05 was “Is there anything you would like to ask the other members, but you can’t, and it bothers you?” and Junjun answered, “Why is everyone so slim?”, and the question on 10/03 was “‘No dinner for you today!’ What did you do to deserve this?’ and Junjun answered “Because I got fat again ><.” Ouch. It was actually her response to the question on 10/03 that prompted me to write this series of posts in the first place. I realize that I’m probably losing a bit of the original meaning from the translation process, but wow, she is using some pretty harsh words to describe herself there.

What really bothers me about all this, is just how wrong she is. Junjun is not fat. From what I have seen of her in her time in Morning Musume, she has never been fat. The fact of the matter is that Junjun is just physically larger than the other Morning Musume girls, and as such she really can’t hold herself accountable to be as thin as the other girls are. It simply wouldn’t be healthy for her. For this, though, I have to give her credit. While I have concern over the mental stress that she is under to be thinner, I really am not concerned about her physical health like I am for Risa. While she may wish to be as thin as the other members, thank god that she hasn’t pushed herself physically to do so, or at least to the point where it can become externally visible like Risa has in the past.

Another slight grievance I have is with the girls’ management. From the blog post I referenced above it’s pretty obvious that one of the major influences on making Junjun believe that she is overweight is her management. While I understand their desire to keep the girls fit, as an idol’s physique is one of her greatest assets, the pressure they must be putting on this girl must be completely out of line if they are making her believe that she is overweight. Even if it is just standard practice in the idol industry doesn’t mean that I have to like it.

Oh, and Junjun’s little J.J. chibi character for Muten Musume? Absolutely brilliant. 🙄

Look at her gorge herself with food. That's got to be great for her self-esteem.

Uso!!! Niigaki Risa turns 22! October 20, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Morning Musume, Niigaki Risa.
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Ahh, as I imagine you could have gathered from the title, today marks the 22nd birthday of our beloved sub-leader Niigaki Risa! I often feel that I rather neglect her here on my blog, even though she is my favorite Morning Musume member and all, so I couldn’t let her birthday pass by without making some sort of fuss over it.

This year has been pretty eventful for her to say the least. We’ve seen her open and constantly update her own blog, which has been a great way for us fans to get to know her even better. She’s even had the opportunity to star in her own motion picture. We also can’t forget that everyday that goes by adds one more to her record status as the longest serving member of Morning Musume.

So, to celebrate this grand day I wanted to share with you guys the video that forever cemented the true epicness of Gaki-san to me. I present her and Kamei Eri’s promotion for Alo Hello! 2 Niigaki Risa DVD from the now defunct Dohhh Up!, kindly subbed by OnDiet:

Oh yeah, make no mistake, that is a full-on inebriated Gaki-san. She’s waaaay past being merely “tipsy,” there. To be honest, I’m rather surprised their manager’s even allowed that video to be released to the public, but dang am I glad they did!

The chemistry between Risa and Eri is really fantastic here, and it’s absolutely hilarious how everything just falls apart after Risa utters, that little “HUN.” I really can’t imagine a better pair for a drunk Risa than Eri. I swear she was just egging her on half the time. 😀

Really though, my favorite part of the entire video has to be when Risa has fallen on the floor due to a combination of drink and laughter, and still has the tenacity to call out Eri for her un-idol-like story. That woman is tsukkomi through and through!

That's right Risa, you tell her!

So, here’s to a happy 22nd birthday to Niigaki Risa! May this year for her be filled with happiness, good fortune, and just a bit of sake! 😀

BOOKOFF’n: 20101011 October 15, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Morning Musume.
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As you might have taken from the title of my last post, there will be a second part. I’m working on the second part, and expect it sometime maybe in the middle of next week. I’m rather unhappy at how I came across in the last one, so I’m working a bit harder to make this next post sound a bit truer to what I’m actually trying to convey.

So, this little post is just documenting a stop I made at the Costa Mesa BOOFOFF on Monday when I happened to be down in the area.

Hey, I finally remembered to take a picture of the location!

The little Marukai subscript up there under the name is because this BOOKOFF is located in a shopping center dominated by a Marukai Supermarket. If I remember correctly they try and make you get a membership card to buy anything there, so if you happen to be in the area and are feeling the urge for some Gogo no Kocha or similar, I would suggest heading over to the Mitsuwa Marketplace on Paularino and Bristol instead. It’s only a couple minute drive and they also have a pretty nice food court there as well, so it’s well worth the extra effort.

Sooo, getting back to what I picked up. I found a copy of Morning Musume’s Aruiteru and hitomi’s huma-rhythm.

I was actually racking my brain about huma-rhythm while I was there. For some reason I had an inkling in my mind that I already had a copy, but I decided to purchase it anyway since it was pretty cheap, and in literally like brand new condition. I’m pretty glad I did, because it turned out I didn’t already have a copy. I think I was just confusing it’s cover with that of Samurai Drive, since in both she has feathers in her hair. Yes, a handful of feathers and a full-on Native-American headdress are two very different things, but I’m just trying to reason out what the heck I was thinking at the time. The copy of Aruiteru was a little beat up, and was actually a rental at some point, as there is a sticker still attached to the disc saying as much. Surprisingly though, the OBI was still included inside of the packaging, and for a dollar, you can’t go wrong.

Not a huge haul, but I happened to be in the area at the time, so it’s not too bad at all.


Switching topics a bit, and while I know this happened two weeks ago now, but my humble little blog was featured on International Wota! I was actually inspired to start my own blog after reading through some of the blogs that they had featured so it really is quite an honor to see my blog mentioned there as well! 🙂

The Weight of an Idol, Part 1 October 9, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Morning Musume, Niigaki Risa.
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A couple of days ago I was perusing through H!O’s picture board and I stumbled across this here picture from Aichan’s blog…

…and I thought to myself, “Darn, Risa, you’re looking pretty fine there.”

Then something struck me.

No, not how exceptionally fine she looked, but rather how she has lost quite a bit of weight. You can even start to see her rib cage poking out a bit there.

Those of you who went to Anime Expo (or who have seen the pictures taken there) no doubt remember how, and it pains me to say it, awful Risa looked during the event. She looked as if she were malnourished.

Risa at AX

Now, I certainly understand that there must be a significant amount of pressure on these girls to keep a very thin profile, but I have a seriously hard time imagining that anyone would think she looked “at her best” during that event. There exists a pretty well defined line between thin and sick, and Risa was unfortunately on the wrong side of it back in the Summer of 2009.

Also Risa at AX

So, she looked awful over a year ago, and now she looks great? Sounds fine until you realize that she didn’t just put on a little weight to get to her current physique, but rather lost some.

Being a bit cyclic in one’s weight really isn’t much to worry about, as it happens to all of us, but what concerns me about Risa isn’t only how drastic these changes are, but the speed at which they’ve happened.

For a comparison take a look at the two photos down below. The one on the left is a promotional for Seishun Collection, most likely taken sometime during April of this year. The one on the right was taken from a post on her blog from yesterday (the eighth of October), a difference of roughly five months.

Truthfully, her current state isn’t what is drawing my concern. My concern is directed more at a fear that she’ll continue to lose weight and return to the state that she was in during Anime Expo. People never want to see their idols in ill health, and to me that’s exactly how she looked like during the event.

I guess an even greater concern would be the actual reasons behind her weight loss, gain, and subsequent loss. I won’t even begin to speculate about this as there is really no way that we could ever know, and after Eri’s revelation, the crazy theories flying around in my head are really of no comfort. I will say though, that I hope, and rather suspect, that it was all a result of a mismanaged diet.

One thing that I do want to make abundantly clear is that I am NOT saying that she looked (or was) fat when she had a bit more weight on her, nor that she was any less attractive. If anything she was probably at a more healthy weight then than she is now. I just wanted to express my concern for her over my observation that she seems to have a quite volatile body mass.

BOOKOFF’n: 20100915 September 26, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in ayaya, Hello! Project, Jpop, Matsuura Aya, Melon Kinenbi, Morning Musume.
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A bit over a week ago I managed to make a trip down to the BOOKOFF in Costa Mesa and ended up picking up a pretty good collection of stuff, check it out!

Picked up copies of Nakazawa Yuko’s Tokyo Bijin and Futari Gurashi.

Also managed to find Melon Kinenbi’s This is Unmei and Chance of Love. Definitely excited about these two. This is Unmei is probably my favorite Melon Kinenbi song, and Chance of Love is certainly pretty awesome in it’s own right as well.

I also found some Morning Musume singles as well. Mr. Moonlight: Ai no Big Band, I WISH, and Morning Musume Single Medley ~Hawaiian~. Yeah, that disc there on the bottom really is a Morning Musume release. Apparently Morning Musume, Hawaiian Musume, Fujimoto Miki (who was still a soloist at the time) and Takagi Boo all collaborated on a Hawaiian-style melody of Morning Musume’s greatest hits and Furusato as well. I didn’t even know such a thing existed, so I’d say that’s a pretty cool find! =]

This was the only thing that managed to cost me more than a dollar, the Single V for Gomattou’s one and only single Shall We Love?

Unfortunately, last Thursday classes started again for me and my work has started back up again as well. This means I’m most likely going to be having significantly less free time, and I thus won’t be able to update quite as often as I have been. I’m going to try and keep up with at least one new entry a week, and I imagine I might try to focus on trying to get a few more entries into my “Other Side of Aya” series.

Later Days!

New Morning Musume Profile Pics! September 17, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Morning Musume, Niigaki Risa.
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This fall the ladies of Morning Musume are releasing a new single entitled Appare Kaiten Zushi! which advertises for a sushi chain. Nothing too out of the ordinary here, seeing as Morning Musume (and nearly everyone else in Hello! Project at one time or another) has advertised for the Rakuten Eagles in the past, except this single won’t actually be a Morning Musume single.


Yeah, apparently a new group entitled “Muten Musume” (taken from the name of the sushi chain itself) will release this single and not Morning Musume. The two groups just happen to have the exact same members, and Morning Musume are using their Muten Musume costumes in their official profile pictures.

Okay, so enough talk of the goofy advertising tactics and more talk about the costumes, because they are awesome. We have kind of an odd set-up because there are actually two distinct costumes, a green marching band-esque costume worn by Eri, Sayu, Junjun and Aika, and a pink flight stewardess like costume worn by Ai, Risa, Reina and Linlin. Now I actually like the green costumes quite a bit (in which Sayu I have to say looks pretty gosh darn smashing), but I really do prefer the pink costumes. As a stand out example of how amazing the pink costumes are I am going to use Risa. I am also going to say something that I’ve never said before:

I think Risa looks absolutely amazing here in her short hair.

Really, I can’t believe such a thing has happened. I was absolutely crushed when she cut her beautiful hair, and thought it looked pretty gosh darn awful in the PV for Seishun Collection, but this, this is truly fantastic. I mentioned that the costumes look reminiscent of a flight stewardess uniform, well Risa actually looks the part. I can totally imagine her serving cocktails on a DC-8 cruising smoothly at 40,000 feet in that get-up. Smoky air, strong drinks, and beautiful women. 😀

Now I admit, I don’t think her hair looks quite as good as it did in Nanchatte Renai, but I certainly like the overall look significantly better. I’m really looking forward to the PV for single. It certainly has the potential to be pretty amazing. Hopefully, UFA will go the same route as Manoeri’s Genkimono de Ikō! and give us something pretty crazy. Though I wouldn’t mind it too much if they held back on the whipping of spandex clad middle-age men in this one, thanks. 😉

It’s Crazy!!!!! September 11, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Morning Musume, Takahashi Ai.
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So I’ve just managed to watch the Hello! Project DVD Magazine Vol.22 and I have to say that I was quite surprised at how gosh darn entertaining it was, even for a person like me, who understands painfully little Japanese. It’s premise is that all the Hello! Project girls trying to sell you some items as if they were on some sort of television shopping channel. Absolutely brilliant if you ask me. Whoever thought up the premise behind this should definitely be given charge of the next set of Alo-Hello! DVD’s. I bet those things would be awesome.

Getting back on topic though, I would say that there was one member who’s segment really stood out to me, and that member was Aichan. Check it out below:

My gosh, could she be any cuter?

Her English absolutely slays me, but there’s even more than that. She is nearly bursting at the seems with energy, and it’s really quite adorable. At about 1:46 it looks like she’s really struggling to keep that exclamation in, as if it’s going to explode out of her at any moment. Now that is how you show enthusiasm for your product! 😀

Seriously though, I think she definitely might have found a new career possibility for herself after Morning Musume. With that catchphrase and that level of enthusiasm she certainly has just what it takes to hawk discount hifi’s and car stereos for some warehouse in a questionable part of Downtown L.A. I mean who else could honestly get you excited to buy a beat-up JVC tape deck? At this point I’m seriously considering if I need to get a washboard. That’s an almost frightening amount of influence.

This time I’m NOT going to forget to mention my dear Risa as well. She did a pretty gosh darn entertaining spiel too, and I definitely got a pretty good kick out of her suggestion to use rubber duckies as a way to wake a person up. So I would definitely say she is quite worthy of gif all her own 😀

The Unthinkable: Morning Musume and AKB48 Performing Side by Side August 28, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in AKB48, Hello! Project, Jpop, Morning Musume.
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That’s right, you just witnessed AKB48, Becky, Morisanchu, Morning Musume, Ohashi Nozomi and S/mileage all collaborate on Ghibli song medley for 24HOUR TV (a 24 hour charity program). A little crazy, no?

Just wait though, it get’s better, here’s Morning Musume, AKB48 and S/mileage all performing together on a rendition of Dekkai Uchuu ni Ai ga Aru:

AKB48 singing a Morning Musume song, along with Morning Musume and S/mileage? I really would have thought that kind of idea would be nothing short of crazy talk if anyone would have even suggested it. Now to be fair, there has been a rendition of Dekkai Uchuu ni Ai ga Aru performed every year (examples here and here) so it really wasn’t too much of a surprise to see it performed again this year and AKB48 just happened to be serving as hosts for this year’s event. Still crazy stuff.

Over on dreamtiny’s blog I had mentioned how I thought that just the two groups appearing together on the Music Japan Idol Special would be the closest they would ever get to doing a collaboration. What a way to eat one’s own words, huh? Still, if this can somehow promote a better relationship between the two fan groups, then heck, eating my words isn’t so bad after all. 😀