Sunday, 29 September 2013

Former Houkago Princess Members form a Group

For the few HouPri fans out there, this will make some people happy~

Former Houkago Princess members Chiba Sakino, who graduated the group on July 21st, and Noda Hitomi, who was dismissed on September 10th after she had been caught contacting a fan, made an appearance at Ikebukuro WHITE BASE on September 28th as SakiHito. There, the girls performed and made a special announcement regarding their desires to resume idol activities.

During their performance, the girls announced that they would be a part of a new group called READY TO KISS. There will be six members, including Hitomi and Saki, who make up the group.

The group members are as follows:

Name: Chiba Sakino
D.O.B: July 9th
Hometown: Saitama Prefecture
Star Sign: Cancer
Blood Type: A

Name: Noda Hitomi
D.O.B: August 10th
Hometown: Chiba Prefecture
Star Sign: Leo
Blood Type: O

Name: Suzukawa Kana
D.O.B: November 16th (17 years old)
Hometown: Aichi Prefecture
Star Sign: Scorpio
Blood Type: ----

Name: Kobayashi Rena
D.O.B: September 3rd
Hometown: Saitama Prefecture
Star Sign: Virgo
Blood Type: ----

Name: Nagafuji Aoi
D.O.B: July 3rd
Hometown: Chiba Prefecture
Star Sign: Cancer
Blood Type: O

The sixth member is Ichinose Anju, and currently I am unable to find images of her or even information about her. However, the interesting thing about READY TO KISS as a unit is that almost all members of the group are former 'students' of Houkago Princess (that makes life easier for me, because I have their profiles already. YAY!!!) so most of them already know each other and have already worked together.

The group are under Get Crazy, a company that specialises in made-for-order costumes (it explains why Saki is under the label, as she wants to go into fashion) who have previously worked with Houkago Princess. The group aims to go on as the six members that they are right now, so please support them!

Currently, SakiHito have an official website and twitter. Nagafuji Aoi has a new twitter that fans can follow as well.

Official SakiHito Website
Official Get-Crazy Website
Official SakiHito Twitter
Official Nagafuji Aoi Twitter
Official Chiba Sakino Twitter
Official Noda Hitomi Twitter
Chiba Sakino Official Blog
Noda Hitomi Official Blog

Please support READY TO KISS, and patiently await more news from them! <3


PING!!! Recommended Jpop♀ Reading: September 2013, Part Two

The Dull and Embarrassingly Erotic Berryz Kobou PV's

All thoughts and opinions regarding the group, music videos and songs are my own and no one else's. Don't like it? Don't care. Thanks~

When was the last time I reviewed a Berryz Kobou PV? Like, a proper PV review, and not an analysis or essay of the group that I care so little about?

February. Last February of this year was when I did a PV review of the group, and I hated it then because it was bloody Asian Celebration. The two before that were WANT! and Cha Cha SING, because for a few beautiful months Berryz created masterpieces... for Hello! Project, that is. But, for the most part, I ignore what this group create, because damn, they are dull as fuck.

Which is also the case with the two PV's we have been given for the groups new single, Motto Zutto Issho ni Itta Katta/ROCK Erotic, though H!P did make at least one of them somewhat interesting, thank the Lord.

So, despite the fact that both PV's are the usual H!P drivel that we are usually handed and lack basic group chemistry and personality, why am I bothering to review it? Well, I have something I want to say about each PV I guess, and also something that I realised when thinking about how bland the group is despite the fact that I actually quite like their songs. Also, after writing my little essay on my issue with Berryz, and the greatly unexpected response from everyone that it got, I decided that I needed to tackle these PV's as well in the form of a double PV review, so yeah... here we are.

Another awkward dance for the Hello! Project acts
The first of the two PV's on this double A-side single is Motto Zutto, another long-ass title of a song that, surprisingly, fits most of the voices of Berryz Kobou, which in a way can be hard to do now, what with Risako's forced vibrato and her awkward voice in general, and both Yurina, Maasa and Saki's nasal-toned vocals. So, I was extremely surprised when I heard the song and how well it suited everyone... especially Momoko, who either rocks a song or ruins it. Thank goodness she rocked this one!

Miyabeam: NO!!! MY MAASA </3
I am actually very surprised by how good this song is, to be honest with you. The groups last single was a bit lack-lustre and extremely bland (especially Golden Chinatown) so this song, and how good it sounds as a whole, was pleasantly unexpected. I especially liked Risako in this song, especially the speaking part where her voice is very girlish and quite unlike that fail tone she uses when she sings, but she really did work with the song. Another girl I liked in this singing-wise was Momoko. Undeniably, she was the best in the entire song, and I would have liked to hear more of her over Miyabi, who actually didn't suit the song as much as the others did, but whatever.

Again, the song was a nice surprise. I pretty much expected a bland song again, one that didn't fit Risako at all, but it was nice, and I do like the song.

"Why am I here? Aren't we dead yet as a group? URGH!"
Sadly, I can't say the same for the PV. Of the two you get in this up-coming single, this one is the most boring music video, and the worst of the year probably. It's nothing more than a basic close-up and dance shot. Now, all H!P music videos are like this, with a few alternative scenes thrown in (and we do get those here, but only for, like... one scene) but I want to argue that the other groups in H!P who get the same PV's like this, just with different backgrounds, work well because the groups performing in them at least look like they work well together, and also have the expressions of dearly enjoying what the hell they do. Berryz don't, so it makes a major difference for how well the PV works for them.

They also look awkward when dancing, but that's because they have awkward choreography.

I must also mention that the costumes, or a good amount of them, are hideous. The exceptions are Saki, Yurina and Momoko's outfits.

... but I do like Risako's hat.

"... I fucking hate this outfit."
So, whilst the PV is a bit of a fail (I don't care how many people try to tell me it's meant to be 'cool' and 'moody', it's fucking boring and lacks chemistry in my eyes) and really does nothing for the group, I at least like the song. For once, there is an instrumental composition that suits Berryz Kobou as a group, and compliments Risako. It's nice to finally hear something like that.

Speaking of Risako, and the PV again... this scene here... why the fuck is it even in the entire PV? It probably shows up about twice at most, and Risako is the only one we see in the scene. I see no point in it other than to plug that Hatty Risako is the lead here, and other than that, it's useless. Then again, H!P like plugging in useless scenes in their Berryz PV's. That Sayonara whatever it;s called single had all of three boxes in the PV, right? Then we never say them again after they were shown once with certain members in it.

Useless scenes are annoying to me.

Anyway, the conclusion of Motto Zutto Issho ni Itta Katta is that the PV is bland as hell, but the song is the true strong point of the entire thing, because finally, we have something that works with almost all of the Beryz girls' voices! Sadly, the costumes and PV's are horrible, but hey... they attempted something, I guess.

Admittedly, this is pretty damn sexy... even if Risako's bunny-hat looks awkward as fuck.
Next up is ROCK Erotic, the undeniable favourite of many from this Double A-side, and really, can you blame people for enjoying this one? This is the most exciting PV from Berryz since WANT! because of the cool look, the adult nature of the costumes and song, and just how amazing Maasa, Yurina and Chinami look as men. This is probably one of the most well-balanced Berryz PV's from this year, actually, and one of the best looking ones in terms of costumes and imagery. What Motto Zutto lacked in for their PV, ROCK Erotic certainly made up for with their music video.

Chinami: "Look at the floor, Chi, not the boobs, the floor..."
 The song isn't even that bad, either. In fact, it's pretty damn good! I mean, despite being called ROCK Erotic, it is Idol rock at best, but I do hear something in there close to the sound of a rock-infused instrumental. Sadly, however, Risako has returned to yelling her lines in this song as opposed to singing them, and doesn't suit this song as much as Momoko, Yurina or Miyabi here, but she sounds decent and bearable enough to make me like her more.

I also think that this is one of the groups more original compositions that they have come out with as well, because seriously, most of their recent songs have sounded similar to WANT!, and no matter how amazing that song is, it has been tiring hearing that in their recent instrumentals, so yay for a new sound!

Going back to the music video, this is certainly a lot more entertaining to watch than Motto Zutto was, but it does have its downfalls. The first being Risako and how embarrassing she is to watch in this video. I mean, in the first few opening scenes, she tries to act 'sexy', and it just makes me cringe when I watch her! I really wish she would cut out the sexy act all together, because there are members who can pull it off in Hello! Project without even trying... like Nakky, or Airi. Hell, even Maimi pulls off sexy better than Risako! So, I seriously think that she should cut it out, because she would probably look sexier if she didn't try so damn hard to pull off that aura. It just looks tacky, try-hard and cringe worthy.

There were also a few scenes during the dance where it looked a little uncomfortable, such as when Yurina, Maasa or Chinami placed their fingers under certain girls' chins as they stood up. But, other than that, the rest of the dance is pretty good, and Yurina looks like she is having a ton of fun cross-dressing and pimpin' out with the ladies!

Momoko doesn't have a clue that she is biggest sore thumb in this entire PV
Of course, one of the most awkward things in this entire PV, other than Risako trying to be 'erotic' and failing hard, is Momoko Tsugunaga. Now, don't get me wrong, her voice is amazing in this and she should be a damn lead over Miyabi or Risako sometimes, but visually she is truly an eyesore.

It's not that she's wearing her stupid pigtails or anything, or that she's acting like a child again, because she actually seemed to try and act mature in this video (for once), but her entire wardrobe and look just screams child here... and that is completely the stylists fault. Out of everyone, Momoko stands out, and she looks awkward against everyone else. She looks like a child amongst adulterous women who doesn't understand what is going on, but tries to pretend she knows what is happening around her. I mean, Miabi, Risako and Saki are wearing freakin' bodices that accentuate their figures, as if they have stepped out of a damn Anne Summers or Victoria's Secret catalogue. Momoko looks like she has stepped out of a Baby, the Stars Shine Bright magazine.

Momoko: "OMG where's my Mommy? I'm lost in an Anne Summers party!"
I mean Momoko looks cute, don't get me wrong, and I like the look on her because it is so sweet and fitting for her image, but it does not, in any way, suit the tone of the video or the look of the other girls. If the PV was different, it would probably suit the tone better, but for this sort of adulterous Victoria's Secret-esque PV, it is out of place and looks like an eyesore.

Maasa: "When can I leave this group?"
That all said and done regarding Momoko and how out of place she is, I think that everyone else in the video looks amazing! I especially love the looks of Yurina, Maasa and Chinami. It reminds me of when Morning Musume did the Appare Kaiten Zushi profiles where half the girls were men, and the other half were women, except here they aren't military officials but, instead, Gothic, Vampy looking young men at a dance party with a few temptresses and a Lolita. It's pretty refreshing to see this side of Berryz, because usually they look very girly, or wear ugly outfits, so this is a nice change of pace.

And now that Maasa and Chinami have short hair, they can seriously pull off that boyish look! Hell, even though Yurina's hair is long, in that ponytail she looks like a dashing Vampire playboy! I would totally date her, and yes, I dig the whole cross-dressing thing for girls! Why else would I like Fudanjuku?

That said... Can we please transfer Chinami and Maasa to Fudanjuku when Berryz collapses and disbands?

So, if you can't guess, I do enjoy this video a considerable amount more than Motto Zutto. It offers a more diverse look at Berryz, and shows us that mature side to them (if you don't count Momoko's look) that we have barely seen before, but what management have tried to execute in previous videos only to fail quite badly. This is a lot darker and more mature than what we have experienced from the group before, and whilst the video may be the usually Hello! Project fare, it is very stylish and well done, and weirdly enough, the group seem to have some chemistry, though they still look awkward together, but they do look like they are trying to work with one another, and that counts for something... right?

Visually and musically, this is probably one of the best songs and videos to come out of Berryz in a while. The group somewhat fit together, the dance is pretty nice, and the look and tone of the video is stylish, dark and rather adulterous (this is my favourite word for this video it seems) and, thank goodness, it actually works for Berryz. I also like that it seems like some of the girls, especially Yurina, are having fun and enjoying the song and video, because as of late they have all seemed bored by everything that they have been doing, so it's nice to see emotion put to their faces as they perform.

This isn't the best video out there, but it's got the right vibe to it, and I think that's all I am asking for as a viewer right now when it concerns Berryz.

The Conclusion:

All in all, I do like both the songs, and one of the PV's has truly won me over (which is shocking in itself, believe me). Going back to the beginning of my post, I did say that one of the PV's, ROCK Erotic, was somewhat interesting, and it truly is. I don't find it to be the best, but it certainly isn't the worst video to come out, either, and whilst it is great in its own way, I do think it can be rather awkward to watch because of how embarrassing Risako can be when trying to look or act sexy, or whenever Momoko pops up. There are also times where Maasa and Chinami seem so disconnected from the group, and I think that their looks of boredom don't help, either. I also think that Saki being so forgettable isn't a good thing either, but other than that, the group look pretty good in this. Their chemistry needs work, but they have certainly gotten a bit better in this.

PV's aside though, I recently came to the conclusion that, for me, Berryz are a pretty great group when it comes to their music. Ever since Ai no Dangan (with the exception of that shite single Aa, Yo ga Akeru), I have found that I enjoy listening to what Berryz create, rather than what is created for them in a visual sense. Admittedly, their songs are a strong point for them as a group to the point where they actually wouldn't need a PV to help them sell sometimes, because they really do have great music under their belts if you look hard enough.

Visually they are an utter and complete mess, but when it comes to their music, they actually fit rather well together. Sure, Risako rarely suits what they create now vocals (and visual) wise, but I do like what they have when it comes to what I listen to. Berryz are the sort of group who work together well vocally, which is weird considering how well the other H!P units work together visually, but that's how I feel about them. I mean, if they didn't have PV's to sell them, I would actually like them a lot more I think and pay them more attention because their music is pretty damn good, it's just the PV's dragging them down thanks to their lack of group chemistry. Sometimes, a PV affects how you hear something, and in the case of Berryz, it really does put me off of them as a group and also puts me off of their music. It's a shame, because I do like their songs.

I rarely compliment Berryz, a lot of you know that, and it's because I find a lot wrong with their group dynamic and how they work together in a visual sense, but when I listen to their music I really do enjoy them. Their music is pretty good, and it's probably why Tsunku keeps them on as a group right now, because together as a vocal unit, they sound awesome.

Or maybe that's just me. Who knows?


PING!!! Recommended Jpop♀ Reading: September 2013, Part Two

Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Issue With Berryz

All opinions within this post, and on this blog in general, are my own and no one else's. I know that my opinion is not favoured by most people, but it is my opinion and this is my blog, so please respect it, and I will in return respect yours. Thank you.

For a while now, I have wanted to write a post on Berryz Kobou and my feelings towards the group; You do not have to agree with what I say, you do not have to even read what I put, but if you do, just tolerate what I am writing. This will not be a favourable post with many people, but that is life, and honestly, I am not here to write what everyone else wants me to write, and that is that.

Let's get into the post, shall we?

I think that it is pretty safe to say that I am not the biggest fan of Berryz Kobou, and honestly, I make it very obvious that I don't care about them. Whether it is in my Digests or other posts, I make it aware that this group is so low on my list when it comes to most idol groups, and that I really can't be bothered to follow them sometimes. In fact, the only reason why I seem to tolerate the group right now is because they are in Hello! Project. That, and I have been waiting for a while now for this group and management to get their act together and produce something great, and to possibly look like a group again.

It's not that I don't like songs by Berryz Kobou or the girls themselves, because I do. Individually, the girls are wonderful. I have a particular fondness for Chinami and Yurina as we all know, and I have recently started to enjoy Maasa and appreciate how beautiful she is. Risako has also started to appeal to me more once again as of late, which is... weird. Concerning the singles that the group has released, I think that there are a few stand-out A-sides that have been released, but as a whole, I find that the group is an utter and complete mess right now.

Actually, the group has been a mess for a while now, probably around the time Heroine ni Narou Ka! came out. For some reason, after all their Anime songs were finished and the group were once again being given music that wouldn't be promoted alongside an animation, the group seemed to go downhill for a while. The strange thing is, it wasn't the music that was going downhill, but the group itself. It seemed like the girls no longer connected with each other, as if they had all grown up suddenly and became bored with their group mates. Watching the PV's as of late, it has become painfully obvious to me that all of the girls have gone in different directions, and don't seem to care about Berryz Kobou any more. Heck, the only one who does seem to care about the group is Shimizu Saki, and possibly Kumai Yurina, but that's it. The rest of them are clearly bored and done with the group.

I mean, looking at the group now, it just looks like a bunch of girls have been shoved together and told to perform and look pretty, and it's very awkward watching them sometimes... especially when they are told to perform a song that is 'sexy' and 'mature'. Most of the time, the girls look bored and uninterested in what they are doing, and other times, it's horrible to watch them as they try and pull off a more mature and sexual look to appeal to the fans watching the videos. It's not just their images that don't fit with the theme they are going for, but also their emotional impact towards the song. There is no emotional impact if you ask me, and I don't think that the members being so disconnected from each other helps, either.

Also, I think that their images don't help them much either. Especially Tsugunaga Momoko.

I think we know how I feel towards this girl by now, especially her character 'Momochi'. Now, I don't hate Momoko. In fact, she is a very good singer, one of the best in Berryz if you ask me, and she is very smart to take on such an annoying persona and make it popular, and also to be able to suffer through the torment she goes through from comedians and hosts. The thing is, it is very obvious that she does not suit Berryz Kobou... or at least, not now. Maybe a few years ago, back when they looked good together and were still young and genki, this persona would have still fit, but right now when the group is trying to promote a more mature and sexual Berryz Kobou, she sticks out like a sore thumb. Tsugunaga Momoko looks like a kid among women, to put it bluntly, and most of the time she ruins the serious nature or the mature tone of a PV with how she looks and acts, which isn't her fault, because you can't help how you look, but for me she ruins a PV because of what she is wearing or how she is acting in the video. Her voice fits the songs sometimes, (not all the time) but when it comes to her image, she really does spoil the mood of a video and makes it awkward to watch.

To be completely honest with you, Momoko is probably the only reason why Berryz is still around right now. She's the only one who has real popularity outside of the group, kind of like Sayumi when Morning Musume was still in its rut because promotion sucked and the group were boring and running dry, and Momoko is doing very well for herself I believe. I honestly think that Momoko, as she is now, should be given a solo career within Hello! Project. She's the only one in Berryz who has the talent and image to do it if you ask me. She also has the drive to promote herself which helps, so she should really just quit the group and become a soloist. That would honestly be the best thing for her, and I would possibly pay more attention to her if she did that, too, but as a member of this group... well, she annoys me, and she looks like she should be in S/mileage, not Berryz.

Other than Momoko though, the rest of the Berryz members don't seem to know where they want to go, whether it is in the PV or outside of the group. They don't mesh well together, and most of what they do looks awkward and forced. There is no group chemistry there at all, and whilst their songs sound pretty good (I swear, Motto Zutto is pretty much perfect for a Berryz song) the group itself is just one giant hot mess, and I don't see why Tsunku or UFP want to continue promoting them when the only thing that I (and others) can give them credit for is Momoko's great promotion of herself and Berryz, and some of their music. The group is on a very thin thread right now, one that is breaking ever so slowly, and I think that the promotion they are getting now is only there to try and salvage Berryz to see if they are still worth keeping together as a group, and not as individual members or singers.

In my opinion, I think that Berryz going to Budokan will probably be the deciding factor for whether or not UFP will keep them; I mean, I think the girls will have a good amount of fans come to see them, but I doubt they will sell out like C-ute did and gain a day two at Budokan. They aren't like C-ute, who undeniably came together so well after the graduation of Erika and proved to be a force in Hello! Project, and Berryz don't have that saving factor that Morning Musume and S/mileage have where they can add new members to revive the group - they are just one group with one set amount of girls, and it just so happens that those girls grew up and possibly lost interest in being idols, or lost interest in each other. It's sad, but it's true.

Unless Berryz comes together as a group again, one that meshes well together and where the other members genuinely like each other, I think that they should disband. Currently, they are in the spot Morning Musume were in a few years ago before the mass graduations and auditions happened, but like I said before, Berryz don't have auditions, but graduations are still an option, too; if the group happened to lose a member, possibly a lead vocalist, I think that it would refresh the group and probably be a good thing, but after being together for so long without any change in lead vocalists or line-up, it might also jeopardize the group. Who knows? Either way, Berryz is in need of a change, (and not a musical one) or they need to disband, and honestly, I don't even think that one member leaving will do much to save how the group works together, though it could possibly help their image a little.

I don't hate Berryz, I like their music enough to continue caring about them a little (being in Hello! Project also helps) but I think that they are past their sell by date... they need a wake up call, or they need to disband, and honestly, the latter would be the most preferable choice for me, because Berryz have truly become boring.

So, to summarise: Disband Berryz, make Momoko a soloist, and also, revive Buono! That's the logical step in my opinion, because damn, at least Momoko and Buono! would make money and be promoted for their talent and group chemistry.

... And that is all I have to say on this matter.


PING!!! Recommended Jpop♀ Reading: September 2013, Part Two

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Okay! Musume Digest #70

Minna, Digest Dayo? What shall we Digest today?

In this weeks Digest...

FINALLY, some S/mileage news! Mano Erina's Photobook cover + previews released! Mano Erina will act in a live-action series? Michishige Sayumi to release a new photobook! NEW KENSHUUSEI!!!! The H!P Kenshuusei also get a TV Show! 30 Candidates selected for AKB48's Draft Kaigi! SKE to release a new single! An ex-AKB member is in a relationship!? PV previews galore! Miss iD 2014 is here, and she won't smile! And more! Are you ready to Digest today?

Friday, 20 September 2013

Ruhara Renji to Graduate Fudanjuku

On September 8th in a blog entry, Ruhara Renji of Fudanjuku announced his graduation from the group. The Anime/Manga Otaku who bore the flaming colour of orange has been in the group since 2008, however has decided to graduate the group due to physical health problems that had previously stopped him from finishing the groups summer national tour, FUDANJUKU Ranbu TOUR 2013 -12 locations nation-wide Ichi Dozen Time-, and also stopped him from participating in the music video recording for Fudanjuku's latest release, Danso Revolution.

Ruhara Renji wrote the reason behind his graduation decision, which has been translated by Tokyohive (original and complete entry in Japanese is HERE):

"Hello. This is Ruhara Renji.I have decided to graduate from FUDANJUKU.Everyone, thank you so much for supporting me for a long time.I am so much better now. I am well enough to have no problem in my daily life.However, the doctor has stopped me from strenuous physical activity for my current condition, and the situation makes it very difficult for me to perform at live shows. 
I can still have a normal life, but this situation of "not being able to participate in live shows" equals to losing the core essence of my participation in FUDANJUKU. I've made this decision after much thought, and these are my true feelings." - Ruhara Renji
Ruhara Renji had been diagnosed with thyroid disorder before, however the disorder did not affect Renji until recently, and now it has halted what he can do as a performer. Because of this, it was decided by Renji that he would graduate the group with the release of Fudanjuku's new single, Danso Revolution, which was released on September 18th.

Ruhara Renji, who is also known as Harada Mariru, his female Idol counterpart, has been a part of the group since December 2008 and has participated in singles since the groups second official single release, Ore no Sora.


I think my heart broke when I saw the announcement on Tokyohive today. I mean, I had previously told myself that this would probably happen after I found out that Renji-kun had taken leave from the tour suddenly, and when I saw that he wasn't in the PV for Danso Revolution (and cried when I couldn't find him anywhere) I tried to prepare myself a little for the worst to happen, such as Renji graduating the group... and of course, that has happened now, but seeing it in front of me is very painful, and once again, I have cried because Renji is not going to be a part of Fudanjuku any more, a group I like, even love, a lot.

Ruhara Renji, from when I first watched Fudanjuku and started to enjoy them, has been one of my favourite members. He was the first member I really wanted to support as a fan, and the one who appealed to me the most. Of course, I love all the members, and I have a few more favourites now such as Kouki, Kyouhei and Ryouma, but Renji was my favourite, and not seeing him in Danso Revolution broke my heart when I first watched it and tried to find him. He is a joy to watch, and for me, is the coolest member who really stole my heart when I first started to follow Fudanjuku.

I am deeply saddened by his graduation, but I did know that deep down, it would probably come to this after I read that he had been ill and could not participate in the groups tour. It must be heart breaking for Renji as a performer, and Mariru as an idol, to leave a group that they have been a part for just under five years, a group that they have helped to build to what Fudanjuku is now, and a group that they love and have watched grow. It must have been difficult to make this decision, but like many Idols before Renji who have left their agencies and groups behind due to illness, Renji has made the right decision in order to save their health. It is, for many fans, a sad decision, but it is the right one.

I love Ruhara Renji, and the news has saddened me so much, but I am thankful to know that Renji has made a decision to save their health. Yes, it's painful to watch them go as a fan, but it is for the best, and all I can do right now (other than cry) is to wish Renji the best, and hope that they watch Fudanjuku with love, support and kindness as the group grows, and to also watch over them and future members who may come into the group as a fan, supporter and former member.

Renji-kun, good luck. I wish you the best, even if it is sad and painful to see you go. I love you so much. You are my Fudanjuku Favourite, my Oshi of the group. Daisuki~

The song I have been listening to as I wrote this is Shita wo Muite Kaerou. I don't know why, but it just seemed to be fitting for me right now... also, Renji is beautiful in this. So bad-ass and hot, and on fire! I loved him in this, and his solo line was the one that made me think 'Amazing... this is the Renji I love'. I will miss him so much, but I wish Renji the best as he returns to being Mariru, and pursues a normal life. Good luck, and goodbye. We fans love you, and we hope for the best. Please, get well soon, and be happy.


PING!!! Recommended Jpop♀ Reading: September 2013, Part Two

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Okay! Musume Digest #69

Minna, Digest Dayo? Are you ready to Digest some Idol News today???

This week, in Digest News...

Up Up Girls to release a new single! NMB48 reveal PV previews for their 8th single! Who won the AKB48 4th Janken Tournament? Yurina and Airi to sing for the sake of Green Tea! MoMusu for Budokan! Afilia Saga to release a new single! Kashiwagi Yuki, NMB48 and Yokoyama Rurika release covers for their new singles! And more!!!! Are you ready to Digest?

Class has been Dismissed for Noda Hitomi of Houkago Princess

All thoughts and opinions are my own. Also, translations may be horrible. I suck, I'm sorry.

I decided to look on Houkago Princess' website today to see if there were any updates, like new members or whatever, but found nothing... I then went to Ameba, because I made a blog to follow some Idols there, and when I looked at an update, I saw the title and noticed the shortness of it, and then clicked...

We know where this is going, don't we?

On September 10th, the Staff of Houkago Princess and Noda Hitomi, a first generation member who helped to kick-start the group, left a notice of Noda Hitomi's sudden dismissal from the group. It was, with deep regret, found that Noda Hitomi had been keeping contact with a fan of the group, even though relationships between fans and Idols are not permitted.

Here are both the Staff message and Hitomi's message:

Staff Message:

For the companionship with a fan that has been discovered, the Lunch Chairman Noda Hitomi will be dismissed as of today. The fan she has been communicating will be banned from future Houkago Princess performances.

Noda, who initially began working when the group Houkago Princess as one of the first students, participated in activities with the fan in such a way that is truly a pity, and also heartbreaking.

In the future, we will strengthen checks, such as monitoring conversations during the two shots with fans, checking fan mail, gifts, and also watching over handshake meetings.

To the fans, thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Noda Hitomi Message:

I have sinned.

To all of you, I have an important announcement to make.

As of today, my dismissal from Houkago Princess has been decided.

The reason is that my association with a fan has been discovered.

I have done something that is not allowed of an Idol.

Everyone who has been cheering for me up until now,
I am truly sorry.

I continued in Houkago Princess these last two years, and there were many meetings with a lot of people!

It was filled with gratitude to all of you each and every time.

I will not be in front of you any more
but I will never forget your encouragement for me.

Thank you very much.

Hitomi Noda


... I don't know what to think, to be honest. I'm shocked, that's for sure, because this is a scandal that Hitomin is going out on. In fact, this is the first scandal from Houkago Princess since the group debuted back in August 2011. Now, whilst I never expected a scandal from this group, I didn't think that Hitomin of all Idols would be the one to go out like this.

Surprisingly, though... I'm not sad. Or at least, I'm not sad yet. I haven't cried, but I also don't know how to feel. Right now I am in-between feeling sad, angry and surprised... either way, I am at a bit of a loss right now, because Hitomin was my favourite member of HouPri... but I really don't think that this news has sunk in yet...

So I kind of dread to think what I will feel like when it does eventually set in. I have a feeling I will be more angry than sad, because I guess I am somewhat disappointed in Hitomin. The thing is, I can't be mad at the Dating rule this time; it seems that Hitomi associated with the fan, but there is no hint of dating at all in the statements made, but because she associated with a fan, she has been dismissed from Houkago Princess as of September 10th, 2013.

Did she date the fan? I don't know, because it has not been clarified. All we know is that she swapped messages with the fan and possibly met up with them, and it breached her contract. I mean, I don't like the rules Idols have set for them as much as the next person, but right now... well, I really don't know what to think. I'm confused, and hurt.

I love Hitomin, I still do, and I am sad she had to go out this way... a Class Dismissal, it seems. How befitting for an After School Princess who has done wrong in the eyes of the fans and staff members.

Noda Hitomi Notice Post
Staff Notice Post


PING!!! Recommended Jpop♀ Reading: September 2013, Part Two

Saturday, 14 September 2013

September 14th: Anniversaries and Birthdays, So Please, Celebrate~

A year ago today, September 14th, Morning Musume introduced their sole 11th generation member, Oda Sakura. She originally auditioned for S/mileage in 2011, however did not get through, and was placed in the trainees. She then auditioned for Morning Musume in 2012, and was the sole winner who had been announced on the groups 15th Anniversary.

Now, a year later, she has truly blossomed into one of Morning Musume's Star members, with an incredible voice, a growing personality, and better hair. Only a year has passed, but many more are to come for Oda Sakura. So, Sakuranbo... Happy 1st Anniversary! Keep on being incredible, and never stop singing! We love you <3

27 years ago today, Takahashi Ai was born. She became a fifth generation member of Morning Musume, and then went on to become the leader in 2007. For years she had become the face and voice of Morning Musume, leading the group with love and kindness, before graduating in 2011 when she finally felt that it was time to pass the baton to a new generation of Musume. Even now, she is an idol to many, and she still has many wonderful fans who love her voice and wish for her well-being.

It has been almost two years since Takahashi Ai graduated from Morning Musume, and it has truly evolved into a new, rather unrecognisable group, but Takahashi Ai herself has become a matre, strong young woman, and an amazing actress. Takahashi Ai, Happy Birthday! 27, but still an Idol and someone that everyone can look up to. Here is to many more Idol years!!! Kampai!!!

Of course, 21 years ago in September of 1992, I was born on the 14th. Then, a year later (20 years ago :p) my younger sister was born on my first birthday. She's my best friend, and I am her annoying older sister who acts like I am the baby of the family, not her. We have been together for a long time now, and we share a lot of interests with each other, such as a shared love of Hello! Project (It gets a bit annoying when you find you have the same Oshi's, though >____>) and we both enjoy Anime and Manga, and also we love Harry Potter <3 I know that, for some people, having an older or younger sibling, especially one who shares your birthday, is annoying, but I enjoy sharing my birthday with my sister. I love her a lot, and I would be lost without her.

I am glad we share a lot in common, and that we love the same things, because I have someone to talk to about what I enjoy. It's also amazing to have our birthday land on a Morning Musume members birthday, because we love the group, and it is even more amazing to share our birthday with Oda Sakura's Anniversary in the group, because again, we love the group, and we like Sakura.

September 14th is a great day for us. Sure, I don't want to 21, it scares me, and I have been in a foul mood today, but I am happy that I share it with my sister, with Oda Sakura, and with Takahashi Ai. My birthday is special to me, and whilst it may mark another year of growing older, it also marks another year with my sister, which is wonderful if you ask me.

Three good things happened to me lately... 500 posts, 200,000 page views, and not a birthday... Now I just have to get through November, which will mark my blogs 3rd year Anniversary. Hoo boy... ;)

So, omedetou Oda Sakura, Happy Birthday Takahashi Ai, and Happy Birthday to my sister and, of course, myself~ It's weird being 21, but hey... I can now legally drink in America ;) WHOOP WHOOP!!!!

Until next time though~


Thursday, 12 September 2013

200,000 Page Views? Let the Cheese Begin...~

On Tuesday 10th September, I hit 200, 000 page views... wow. Right now, I am on around 200,600, which is pretty damn amazing if you ask me... My blog has been read that many times, and for a while, I thought that I wouldn't get to this point until around December-New Years time.

Much like Serenyty of Happy Disco, when Ray announced that he and Idolminded would go on a 2 month Hiatus, I thought for sure that my view count would be shot. Now, like Serenyty, I pay attention to my view count. Some days I will ignore it, other days I will pay close attention to the views I have, because honestly, it's fun to do! It is nice to know people read what you write, even if you are the most shocking write on Earth... but please be assured, I write because I enjoy it, but knowing that people who read my posts and enjoy them makes me enjoy it more, because I am sharing this passion with you, and you are sharing it with me by reading what I write.

But, I was honestly surprised that even with Idolminded going on Hiatus, I was still hitting my usual amount of page views a day - and yes, that sincerely shocked me when I realised it. Now, I am slightly boasting here, I know, but I am happy that I was able to keep up the same amount of page views, even though Idolminded is on hiatus (and here is Karma, hitting me in the face, and making all of my readers stop reading, hahahahaha!!!) and also, I am happy that I was able to get to this point as a blogger... 200,000 page views all time! I am happy, and very thankful, to everyone who has read my blog up until now. It is like you are all supporting me in a way, and sharing my love for Idols and enjoyment for writing.

Now, to be all cheesy and stupid, because that is how I am and I like it that way, I have a few thank you's that I need to address...

Firstly, I want to thank everyone who comments, especially Shayna; Shayna has been commenting on this blog for a while now, and is easily one of my top commenters. Recently, on my 500 Posts post, she dropped a lovely big hint about being in an O!MT awards where she is the most obnoxious commenter... well, I had actually planned a while ago that, if ever I hit 200,000 page views, I would talk about commenters and such, especially the more consistent ones. Shayna is one of those commenters, and reading her comments makes me happy. The one I have screen capped made me especially happy because she noted how she finds me fun to read and how she enjoys the blog. It makes me really happy to see that, because I'm not the most confident in my writing (I find it pretty bad most of the time XD) and I sometimes wonder if you guys think I am stupid or just all around terrible at what I do, but it is nice to see some encouragement from Shayna. Also, I love the honesty she gives; she doesn't read everything, because I do create long posts, and yes, I swear like a sailor... but I like that honesty, and I'd rather she tell me the truth than lie and say 'Oh YEAH, I read EVERYTHING... desu desu!' or something along those lines.

So yeah, Shayna is, like, my top commenter, and she's funny and makes me happy. Smiles all around, and an award for Shayna for being my Top Commenter... or Stalker Commenter... or whatever. YATTA!!!

Kira Alexander is another commenter who is very active here when I post, especially if it concerns the greatness of Dream5, whom Kira loves dearly. I look forward to Kira's comment, especially where it concerns the beloved Dream5, because they are positive and encouraging, and also a delight to read. Kira is very passionate about groups that he/she (I don't know your gender... ;w;) adores and loves, and it is great to see such enthusiasm from a fan of any group, so I especially enjoy Kira's comments because they are always so enthusiastic for that group. I also love that Kira takes a great delight in knowing that others enjoy a product of a group they like, because it really shows in their comments.

Gustave154 is a regular commenter, and has been commenting for a while now I believe. Gustave is enthusiastic (me likey) and recently, they gave me a comment which really made me happy, and also, it made me cry. Said comment is the image above, where Gustave stated that they personally find my writing entertaining, and that they hope I write forever. That really made me emotional (xD) because I want to be a writer... script, Journalism, stories, whatever it may be, I want to write as a career, so to know that someone out there hopes I write forever pleases me greatly, because it gives me that hope that I can do it and become a writer of some sort... so Gustave, thank you. You really made me happy with your comment~

Sonda, who is the final commenter I am screen capping, is another regular here! I think Sonda is hilarious, they have such a great sense of humour which makes me laugh a lot when I read some of his/her comments (another genderless commenter, it seems!) because they seem to poke fun at what I do in a loving way XD Sonda always finds a way of entertaining me, and I always find their comments fun to read, and do look forward to them >3<

Of course, all my comments are precious... even the ones that call me a Hater/bitch/evil being/Satan or whatever else, because I do learn from the comments I get... a lot of readers pick up on mistakes and tell me about them, or I get told off for thinking a certain way, or I am told another point of view that allows me to broaden my thoughts on a person, song or video. I mean, I don't like the negative comments (who does?) but criticism is a part of life, and I take the criticism because, if I don't, then I can't improve, so to everyone who comments, whether it is positive, negative, or if it is there to help me, thank you, because it has allowed me to basically help myself as a writer on this blog, and to open my mind more.

Now, I need to also go through some other cheesy thank you's, so, please, stay for a moment...

Now, first things first, no, I am not thanking Perfume. If they visited my blog, or even knew of its existence, then yeah, I would thank them, but they haven't, and probably never will... No, I am thanking Nia of Nia's Wonderland, because she is one of my (many) blogging buddies, and has been very supportive of me. We both talk a lot online, and we have little play fights about who is better (recently, it was Pikarin and Kyary, and how we dislike one or the other, and basically niggle over who is better xD) as well as update each other and get all excited over groups, or debate and talk about how generic a few groups are... it's like that with us, and I really love Nia. She has also read a few of my blog posts before I even post them, because I think 'Oh, I don't think this looks good... NIA!!! READ IT!!!' and she tells me if I can post it, because I need a boost of confidence sometimes.

I think that Nia has really helped me, and I love her so much. She is also an amazing writer, who is just... <3 Also, her love for Perfume is undying, and I admire that a lot. I know I am not a fan of them like she is, but her devotion to Perfume is so admirable, and her writing is also to die for. She is so sarcastic sometimes, funny, and just a wonderful writer. I wish I had her ability to write, it is amazing. Ahh... <3

Another Blogger who needs thanks (and page views, GO THERE, PEOPLE!!!) is Serenyty of Happy Disco. I am also friends with Serenyty online, and she is so lovely. I also find her incredibly smart and an extremely talented write, and sometimes it is a shame that she doesn't update her blog regularly, because she really is someone who grips you as a reader when she writes... but yeah, she's fantastic. I may not talk to her as much as I do Nia, but when I talk to her, I feel like I am a Kouhai with a well-respected Senpai who, in a way, I fear and admire at the same time. I find her incredible to talk to, because she is someone who likes to learn about Idols and gain knowledge about them, and she is really enthusiastic about not just the groups she loves, but also groups that are unknown or new. She has a regular series which I like where she updates about groups who go to the yearly Idol festival, Tokyo Idol Festival, and gives us all the low-down on these groups, allowing us to learn more about them whilst she herself finds out about them. Other than all of this... I really do think she is a fantastic writer, and she is someone that I admire and think highly of as a blogger. I actually consider it a blessing that she talks to me sometimes! Really... I think of her so highly, she is my Senpai!!!

... I think that the only reason I have Isilie of Itsumo Genki in here, other than to obviously thank her for something, is because I want to fawn over her... really, I idolise Isilie. I admire Serenyty as a blogger and see her as a Senpai, Nia is like my Blogging sister, but Isilie... Isilie is my Idol. She is my Sayumi to my being Iikubo. It's just like that for me, and really... I just love her <3

But, thank you's... Isilie actually comments on here, and whenever I see her comment pop up on a blog post I have done, I want to cry with happiness. Back when I was idolising Isilie, and when this blog was new and on about 10 page views a month or something, I never thought she would look at my blog, let alone comment. Even now, that is the case... it still shocks me that she looks on here and comments, but it makes me so damn happy when she does! It's like <3 and ;w;. I love her, I seriously do, and I thank her for commenting, because it makes me happy and gives me the desire to write more knowing that someone I admire, love and idolise has encouraged me write... ahhh, I love her <3


Now, it feels stupidly cheesy to put this one here (because this post totally isn't made up of varying amounts of cheese already..) but I really do thank Ray from Idolminded a whole lot for supporting me as a blogger and writer. He picked me up when I was kind of down at one point in my life, and since then I have just admired and been thankful towards him. He is like a boss of sorts for me, and like the Master of the Blogging Universe in my mind (along with Greg), and I just think that he is amazing. He works hard on Idolminded, and has allowed me to become a staff member and keep me on when he moved from International Wota to Idolminded. I am just so in debt to him in my opinion, he has been so kind and understanding towards me, and he has been able to help me get to this point as a blogger... so yeah, I am thankful to him, and I really admire this God-like blogger. Thanks, sir!!!

Hm, this is getting soppy... -gets mop and bucket- I really should shut up and cut the cheese out of my blog posts, but whatever... :p

Basically, I am thankful to a lot of you. Readers, supporters... everyone. I am happy that you all read this blog and go out of your way to comment or even look at my posts. Seriously, thank you! I know I spout a lot of nonsense, my opinions are not always appreciated, and I sometimes ramble like a buffoon, but you seem to have stuck around... so thanks a lot, thank you for staying and putting up with my nonsense! It makes me happy, and it does keep me writing, because knowing that people care enough to read this blog, write a comment, or talk to me about it, it all encourages me to continue writing on here. I love writing on here, I always have, but you guys have made me love it more.

SO cheese over, sappiness mopped up... that's all for now I guess, until I hit 500,000 page views in about 40 years. Yeah...



PING!!! Recommended Community Reading: September 2013

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Okay! Musume Digest #68

Minna, Digest Dayo! Are you ready to Digest?

This week, in Digest News...

Morning Musume to release a 15th Anniversary Photobook! Natsuyaki Miyabi sprains her ankle! C-ute on the cover of Young Gangan! Juice=Juice are opening acts for C-ute! Up Up Girls and THE Possible to perform together! An ex-AKB48 member is married! Miyazaki Hayao on his retirement! YuiKaori PV Preview for their new album's title song, and more! Are you ready to Digest?

Monday, 9 September 2013

A Premature Debut: Where Chiima Ponders and feels Butthurt over Juice=Juice's Major Debut (Essentially, this is Part 2!)

All thoughts and opinions are my own, and basically, you can't tell me what to think, WOOHOO, YAY, NAMIDA let's drink tea, kay? :3

... Here we go again, aye?

Back in June, about the time that Juice=Juice's Major debut was announced, I wrote a post on Idolminded all about how I felt Juice=Juice were debuting too early, and now that it's closer to the date, I still can't help but feel the same way; it is still too early, despite the fact that I have been given a few months to mull over that on September 11th, they will have officially debuted as a Major group within Hello! Project.

... Essentially, this is Part 2 of my thoughts on this matter. I may just be repeating myself, though, but who cares. Onto the Post!

Now, I know that other people think differently; I have been told plenty of times that it is the right thing to do, that Juice=Juice not only have the talent to debut so quickly, but also have the strength and the fanbase to support them. They aren't S/mileage, who at the time they debuted were still trying to establish themselves way back when the Trainee system was terrible, and I understand that, but I do think that Juice=Juice should have been given more time to grow as a group, rather than have the Major Debut announcement thrown out there as quickly as possible.

I mean, look at it this way; Hello! Projects main acts have, in one way or another, gone through an indies phase that took a period of a year and four singles (C-ute, S/mileage), or they have gone through a challenge of some sort (Morning Musume, S/mileage + S/mileage newbs) to allow them to establish themselves of being worthy of their Major debut. The only group who have not done this are Berryz Kobou, though you can count two years as the H!P Kids and helping out in various sub-units (4Kids), being in PV's (Boogie Train '03, Ganbacchae! and ALL FOR ONE & ONE FOR ALL to name a few) and participating in songs as their own challenge of sorts that helped towards their major debut. With Juice=Juice... well, I feel that this all a bit premature, even if you do say that they have proven they are good enough or deserve it because certain girls have waited for so long, etc etc.

Ooooh, the buuuuurns and tears and huuuuurt! ARRRGH!!!! -eats orange-

To be honest, I do think that one of the main reasons for the announcement being as sudden as it was is because Aina had been pulled out of the group. I feel that, in order to keep the Wota happy, UFP decided to create a bit of a hype surrounding Juice=Juice and announced their major debut. Because the announcement of Juice=Juice's major debut was made, this pretty much softened the blow that Aina was leaving, which was of course announced after the debut announcement. It was pretty clear that only Aina knew she would never major debut with her group members when it was announced at that time, because she was the only one who looked miserable as the other girls squealed in excitement. When the announcement for J=J's major debut happened, and I wrote my original thoughts on it, I really did not find any sense in such a rushed announcement, especially when the group was so fresh, but once Aina left, I understood it more; they needed something to make up for the fact that one of their most popular members was leaving, and a major debut was just that.

Still, I don't like it. I don't think I ever will, because I like the idea of watching a group grow in a year as a group and see them blossom and shine. I have never experienced that as a fan; S/mileage's major debut happened a year after I become a fan of Morning Musume, but during the year they were indies, I didn't really care for H!P that much or Morning Musume, so for me, Juice=Juice was a chance to watch a group start from the bottom and work their way up. I wanted to see four singles out of this group, and I also wanted to see different styles from them to see what worked with them best... you know, like how S/mileage had these differing sounds to test the waters. Of course, we never got that. And yeah, I am quite butthurt by it.

I am especially butthurt that I will not be seeing Juice=Juice take on a challenge like MoMusu or S/mileage did when they were going to Major debut. It would have been nice to see that happen, because I find Tsunku's method of Major Debuting quite interesting, but I may have to wait for another group to take on that challenge if that happens again... maybe it will, maybe it won't. We'll cross that bridge when it comes to it, of course.

Of course, there is one more thing that I want to address, and that is the whole 'switching members' thing. Tsunku had originally intended that idea for Berryz Kobou and the kids who would become C-ute, and then went to play on that idea with S/mileage (never playing them out, mind you) and also suggested the idea for Juice=Juice, that there was the chance that he would take out members and put in other girls from the trainees to see who fit the best. Now, I like Juice=Juice as they are now, I won't deny that, but I would have liked for Tsunku to have at least tried that method with the members; I can understand that, with Berryz, S/mileage and Juice=Juice, he may feel that the groups are good as they are, but I would have liked to have seen him try to switch out a member, or even add one, to see what would happen with a different voice and personality. But nope. Nuh uh, no way!

I know that I am basically trying to move a log by screaming at it by complaining right now, but I wanted my thoughts out there, as I always do. I know that there are a lot of you out there who are ecstatic that Juice=Juice are debuting now (especially the Karin fans!) and that they will possibly surpass the other groups (if their songs stay cool, and their dances Dinosaur-centric) in terms of vocal talent and overall epicness, but for me, it is still far far too early for them to debut, no matter how good they are. Next time, if a new group comes in, I hope that they stick around for a year, or they are just major debut straight away. It would just be easier on my fickle nature.

So, what are your thoughts? Is this a Premature Debut in your eyes, or just about damn time? Leave your thoughts and let me know!