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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 😀


Out of who remains in Morning Musume, who is your favorite and why? December 24, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Morning Musume, Niigaki Risa, Uncategorized.
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My favorite member would have to be Risa Niigaki.

The thing I really love about Risa is that during all of their live performances you can tell that not only is she going at 110% the entire time, but she’s having the time of her life while doing so. She really is an absolute joy to watch up on stage.

She’s pretty great off stage as well. When I was first getting into Morning Musume I watched her first Alo-Hello! and that’s what really made me stop and say, "Okay, she’s pretty darn awesome." I just really found her scenes in the supermarket to be absolutely adorable, and her encounter with the Argentinian man on the beach is a fantastic example of just how nice a person she really is. She didn’t even skip a beat when he came up to her.

Ask me anything!!

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!

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! 😀

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.

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 😀