Restarting the Old Rusty Engine
(For the 2nd Time too)


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Monday, April 30, 2007

Thoughts on Haromoni@ 2 - Lesson Learned

After an observation of the first two HaroMoni@ episodes, and comparing with the 3rd and 4th episodes, I noticed big improvements.



Now it's more organized and more focussed. Instead having the Morning Musume girls running around aimlessly and randomly doing things, we have a proper controlled variety show.


As a result we have this --> The 10 running features/gags of HaroMoni@:
1) Proper intros with previews - Finally, the producers realize that they need to keep the viewers tuned in from the start with proper intros, instead of diving right into content.


2) Segmentation of trivia and discoveries - Proper organization of the show presentation and making use of CG's to highlight events and discoveries. I still don't understand the cabbage-guy interludes though. Must be TV Tokyo thing...


3) The girls continue to give out ad-tissues and promote the show - Well, I guess it's important to advertise themselves.

4) Less music clips used, but longer duration for each clip - So that it's less distracting

5) More interaction with the King - The girls pay attention to his lectures, and also try and guess the mission item beforehand with him.

6) Gaki-Discovery - Niigaki Risa the one to spot interesting stuff for the show. (at most times)

7) Catchphrase - Repeat "The King's Orders are Absolute" at the beginning of the show.

8) The King crack lame jokes - He's just.... trying to be funny.

9) Takahashi Ai is the King's favorite subject - Special attention and favoritism is given for Ai-chan, the baby-cart pusher.

10) Designated Special Investigator - Kamei Eri for impromptu reporting. Special Assistant (or victim) Fujimoto Miki is often dragged into helping. ^_^




Also, I think the producers of the show have probably limited the amount of money allowed for spending, having learned their lesson of allowing the girls to walk into any restaurants freely in the previous episodes. The kind of food they stop to buy are always below 1000 yen. However, knowing the girls, this will be exploited very, very soon. ^_^

In the middle of watching the show, I find that the girls are given many opportunities to test their skills at on-location reporting. Impromptu interviewing at a passer-by, and walk-ins to enquire stuff... etc. In HaroMoni@, Morning Musume are not idols, but TV talents. A way of allowing the girls to learn an extra skill? Or a strategy of attracting non-wota viewers?


Overall, I find the whole documentary variety show that HaroMoni@ has become, much more enjoyable. Probably it's because I enjoy watching documentaries and culture shows. I think HaroMoni@ will turn out alright..... Though I still think that the narrator's giggling and overall deliverance darn annoying.


As for their TV ratings, they are safe at the moment, it'll survive just like any other variety show on the TV Tokyo programme schedule. Just that it doesn't stand out in crowd, that's all. Not yet anyway.... ^_^



Coming up... a summary review of HaroMoni@ episodes 3 and 4.
>> Read the rest of this article

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Takahashi Ai Sprained Ankle ... But Displays Love

While I was sleeping yesterday, this happened. Damn. There's an epidemic going around here!!!

Takahashi Ai (20 yrs) of popular idol Morning Musume, accidentally sprained her right ankle, during a concert held at Yokosuka Art Center in Yokosukashi, Kanagawa on 28th April.

On the day where 2 performances are held at 2:30PM and 6:00PM, according to the management office, the accident happened on the afternoon performance. Towards the end of the performance, she stumbled on the stage, twirled and sprained her right ankle. She was sent straight to the hospital from the stage, but re-appeared on-stage in good form during the 7th song of the night performance.

Takahashi will also participate in a fan event in Osaka and Tokyo on 29th, just as previously scheduled.


Be comforted though... seems like she's okay now. The guys in H!O confirmed that. Lilangel reports that Ai-chan came back to sing with the other girls, though she didn't dance. While Firefly who attended the emotional concert, shared a great fan-report and witnessed the strong friendship and sisterhood bond amongst the girls in Morning Musume.

In the end, an emotional but exceptional concert performance was delivered. A blessing in disguise? A display of professionalism? No.... That's LOVE, my friends. And Ai is Love! ^_^

高橋 = Takahashi (High Bridge)
愛 = Ai (Love)


Get well soon, Ai-chan. (T-T)b


Source from Sports Hochi
>> Read the rest of this article

Friday, April 27, 2007

Tsuji Nozomi Exits from Theater, Yoshizawa Hitomi Substitutes

Following up with yesterday's news of Tsuji Nozomi dropping out of the theater performance, it is confirmed that Tsuji's condition was a case of acute gastroenteritis (bacterial infection of the gastro-intestinal area). Think stomach ulcer or gastritis but worse. Coupled with vomiting and frequent stomach cramps, and you'll have hell on earth. Believe me, I know... my wife's had it twice within the last 12 months.

Apparently, Nono had complained to the agency that she's not feeling well for the past week. After she was diagnosed with the condition, it is advised that she required 10 days of rest and medical treatment, and thus unable to participate in the theater performance. She is also unable to make it for the Tsuji Nozomi Fanclub event on the 28th and 30th. Currently she is recuperating at home.

Yoshizawa Hitomi will be stepping in, in place of Nono's role in the upcoming theater performance. The play starts next month. And since it was a double cast with Rika Ishikawa, Rika will be playing the role from 4th onwards, replacing Nono on the 7th, 8th, 10th and on the 14th. While Yossie will take over from the 13th onwards, replacing 7 of Nono's remaining performances. Good lord... what a HECTIC schedule!

The agency are accepting all requests for reimbursements of tickets due to the casting change.

Furthermore, Yossie's dinner show with Satoda Mai on the 24th and 25th on May will also be postponed.

I wish Tsuji Nozomi a speedy recovery, and may God watch over you.




......... but not without a few observations, I've been thinking.....

Why was Yossie chosen? I mean, I'm excited that Yossie's the substitute. BUT when considering the height, voice and acting ability.... the differences between her and Nono is way too many. Takahashi Ai would have been a better choice. We've seen her perform on Ribbon no Kishi, she'll do fine. BUT UFA have to go out of their way to push Yossie to act right after her graduation day, and postponed her dinner show schedules. Probably have delayed the schedule of her solo single or whatever new unit the agency have in store for her.

Was Yossie chosen because her graduation event is recent and therefore have more value to attract more patrons? No, that's not it... the tickets have been sold already.

Then why not Ai-chan? She's has something else lined up for her on May? Something BIG?
Maybe, because Ai-chan is still part of Morning Musume, while Yossie will be a solo act by then, therefore may have more schedule time compared to Ai-chan........


........ Sorry for the monologue, just typing along as I think..........

Back on topic..... Yossie's comments:

Due to my graduation on 6th of May, the practice period has become short. I will give my very best with all my might, so as not to inconvenience the co-stars and other related personnels.




Wikipedia entry on gastroenteritis
Announcement from Hello! Project official site
Source from Sponichi Annex
Source from Sanspo
>> Read the rest of this article

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tsuji Nozomi Down with Illness, Drops Out of Theater

Source from Daily Sports Online

Translation:

Tsuji Nozomi who was scheduled to appear in a musical stage "Itsu no Hi ka Kimi Kaeru" ~ "何日君再来 イツノヒカキミカエル", is forced to drop out of the lineup due to health problems.

Tsuji was double casted with Ishikawa Rika to participate in this play, that tells the story of tribulence based on the life of the late Teresa Teng, a young singer who made her debut after a substitute stint. Yoshizawa Hitomi is being considered to stand-in for Tsuji.

It was not made clear as what the health condition was, but a related personnel revealed that Tsuji was on painkillers, in order to participate in the launch event yesterday for the newly formed unit "Gyaruru" in Tsuchiurashi, Ibaraki prefecture. Since the theater includes many intense action scenes, it was decided that she should not participate.

After Tsuji's pledge to start on a new beginning, following her partner in W(DoubleU) Kago Ai's (19 yrs) 2nd smoking scandal and termination from the agency, she had to retire from stage with regret.

Tsuji have also dropped out of the Hello! Project Sports Festival in 2003 during the 1500m dash, due to hyperpnea syndrome (abnormal increase in the depth and rate of breathing; hyperventilation). Also, due to a leg injury in a concert July last year, she had to miss all performances that follow.





Damn... Why NOW of all times? Please get well soon! I wish you speedy recovery, dear Nono!

(T-T)/
>> Read the rest of this article

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Kanashimi Twilight Debuts at #2 on Oricon ..... A Tainted Celebration

Morning Musume's 33rd single Kanashimi Twilight, Yoshizawa Hitomi's last single with Momusu debuts at #2 on Oricon. Kinki Kids takes #1 with "Brand New Song". A remarkable achievement indeed.

See here.


With this achievement, Kinki Kids still hold the World Guinness Record of achieving #1 on the charts for ALL singles they have ever released. When I first heard that Kinki Kids would be on the charts to challenge the top spot, I knew that Momusu's chances would be slim.

First, some facts. The current top 5 chart positions are as noted in the image:
#1 Kinki Kids - "Brand New Song"
#2 Morning Musume - "Kanashimi Twilight"
#3 Orange Range - "Ika Summer"
#4 WaT (Wentz Eiji, Koike Teppei) - "Awaking Emotion 8/5/my brand new way"
#5 BoA - "Sweet Impact"

To be honest, I am at some point looking forward to see how Kanashimi would fare in the longest hit chart in Japan. Number 2 is still good, but... why am I not entirely happy? I find myself in swinging between balance of the truth and lies.

Ikimasshoi notes that the actual sales for Morning Musume are actually higher than what was stated in the Oricon website. And that is exactly what I am going discuss here...


Oricon - of lawsuits and reliability...
I have recently discovered that on December last year, Oricon had filed a civil suit against a well-known freelance music critic Ugaya Hiro for libel and defamation, and is demanding compensation for the damages he has caused.

Apparently, the magazine Cyzo had called up Ugaya for a short interview for an article which they are about to publish. The article speaks about how Oricon had "fixed" the sales numbers for certain artistes, using questionable statistical methods for their ranking chart, and how it favoured talents from Johnny's & Associates company(e.g. SMAP, KATTUN, V6). End of the day, the publisher Cyzo wasn't the one being served the papers - it was the freelancer Ugaya. The president of Oricon Wataru Koike said that they will drop the charges if Ugaya apologizes and admits that his statements are incorrect.

This case greatly reflects on today's ranking position, because, for those who didn't know - Kinki Kids is from Johnny's.

Here's a snippet of what quoted from the article entitled "The Lies Behind the Hits; Does Johnny's Get Super-VIP treatment?!; The Honeymoon Between the Talent Agency and Oricon":

In Japan, Oricon was the only hit chart to exist for a long time, so their statistical accuracy has been excessively valued. First of all, Oricon puts reservation copies in its count. There is a high probability that there are dummy reservations in there - that somebody reserved a copy and then later canceled the reservation. If the words "Oricon Debut #1" get used, you can later use that as promotion. I have also heard from multiple record company employees that "you can manipulate the Oricon numbers to a certain degree." Oricon is a mysterious organization to start with. They assert that they use "Oricon's unique statistical methodology" but almost never clarify those methods. In a normal statistical survey, you detail the methods publicly, so it's natural that you emphasize that there is no room to insert doubts about the [survey's] credibility. If you don't do that, it's like as I am saying, the statistical reliability is low.


Not only that, apparently Oricon made up the numbers at will!. Neomarxisme has the translation for that interview.

The part of the interview that concerns me:
When you were editing Geinou Shijou Chousa, did you go out personally to check exactly how many copies of records were selling at the stores?

No, no. For those rankings, I just made up the numbers at will.

The "A rank" meant it sold about 150 copies in a week. "B" was 130. C was 100. I just assigned the ABC ranking as I liked!

At that time, it's not like stores were really checking their inventories.

Well...

It was like...
"Did you have the data?"
"Sorry, Mr. Watanabe. We've been busy and haven't done it yet."
"Well, shoot. Today's the deadline, so please do it."
"Just please make up appropriate numbers, Mr. Watanabe."

"We made this record the #1 seller at that store" - "Oh, that! That's selling well at our place too. Please make it #1."



From the looks of it, Oricon is perhaps trying to protect its public image, and is concerned that this article could defame its reputation. However, after further searching on the net, I find that lots of people are already aware of Oricon's inaccuracy and questionable ranking methods for a long time.

Then why the lawsuit? Why make a standpoint for an "open secret" that is well known for a long time?

What about having the wrong party sued for the wrong reasons? Why is there a price to pay for freedom of speech? A method of shutting up the negative critics in a legal way? Taking the blame for another's fault?

.... Most importantly, is it true that the Johnny's are favoured by Oricon?

Questions, questions, questions...


A similar case have been going on in my country on a national level, which is why I can relate to this Oricon vs Ugaya case. Seems like wherever we go in the cyberspace, we still cannot run away from situations like this.

Sorry I have mix a moment of celebration with this piece. Just that I felt my joy over Momusu's achievement have been tainted over these news, and I don't know if I should continue to believe what was on ranking charts anymore.


Sources

Neomarxisme
Oricon Music Charts Sues Freelancer Over Quoted Comment in Article
Oricon vs. Ugaya Update: "I just made up the numbers at will."

Japantoday.com
Oricon case gives insights into Japan's democracy

The Japan Times Online
ORICON SUES OVER INTERVIEWEE'S COMMENT
Libel suit attacks free speech: defendant


Reporters Without Borders
Music chart company urged to drop lawsuit against freelance journalist who questioned its practices



Ugaya Hiro's side of the story
Letter of apppeal to public from Ugaya Hiro

Oricon's side of the story
Summary description of the case against the journalist Mr. Ugaya
>> Read the rest of this article

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

It's Official... Tsuji Nozomi, Gyaru Sone and Tokito Ami In New Unit "Gyaruru"

UPDATED 11:50 P.M.: Thanks for waiting... Have to run off to attend to my wife who fell ill, and in my haste made some mistakes on this post. Fixed the mistakes and added some more info.

For the past week, of shady news and such, magazine clips and speculations, it's official.

In an event and press announcement in Tsuchiura, Ibaraki - Tsuji Nozomi, Gyaru Sone and Tokito Ami will team up in a new Unit "Gyaruru". It's a ganguro fashion-based Para-Para gyaru unit, a trend that is popular in places like Shibuya, Tokyo. They each get a nickname for themselves - 'Tsujiji', 'Amimi' and 'Sonene'. I think you can guess who is who.



Surprise #1[EDIT]: Guess what? Gyaruru will be releasing a new single produced by Tsunku, and fashion coordination will be handled by one Gyaru manager/entrepreneur - Fujita Miho of G-Revo. The single is called "Boom Boom Mecha Macho" c/w "Onna no urutora", and will be released under TNX on 20th June this year.

Surprise #2: Tsuji talks about Aibon. This time she did it properly.

"あいぼん(加護)が東京に上京した時は頑張るぞと思っていたので、(あの騒動は)残念だった。自分自身としては“ギャルル”をイチからやって、“辻希美”として頑張っていきたい"

I think Aibon (Kago) did her best when she came to the capital city, Tokyo. It was unfortunate (that the scandal happened). I want to be myself and do "Gyaruru" from the start, and to do my best, as "Tsuji Nozomi".


Influenced by her sister's gyaru style, Tsuji admired her, and said that "I want to walk in the streets with this make-up. Center of the street will be nice. At that time, I want to be called 'Tsujiji' by others". Tokito on the other hand comments that "we enjoy the gap. And the glasses won't be taken off.", Gyaru Sone remarks that "Furthermore, it(the fashion) will keep on changing" with a appealing smile.

See the 3 girls' transformation to Gyaruru's gyaru look from Ranzuki magazine here -->
1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Personally, I don't care much about the gyaru or ganguro fashion thing. It's only natural Tsuji likes it because of her sister (those of us who remember Tsuji's home footage of her family after her addition to Momusu was announced would have seen her sister's ganguro look. ^_^)
What's important is that Tsuji has finally got something going on at the moment. I wonder if she will be allowed to appear in HaroMoni@ after that? ^_^



====================== @@@ ========================


UPDATE 070425 11:04 A.M.:
And the rumours that we have hearing all this while was true. The club tickets, posters and all ... Gyaruru DID perform at Club Pride as reported by Sanspo press.
Hello! Online has some pics, info and a fan recording for listening preview. Get it from Some Boys! if you can't reach it. I think it's great, suitable for a Initial D soundtrack. Heh! :) And Nono... sorry I meant Tsujiji's voice is so distinctive. ^_^

Additionally, the comments from the girls as reported by Sanspo are a bit different. Tsujiji's comment about Aibon:

地元・奈良で謹慎していた)あいぼんが(復帰に向けて)上京してきた時、一緒に頑張ろうと思っていたので残念です。(今でもWを)やりたい気持ちはあります」と少し寂しい表情を浮かべたが、気を取り直し「ギャルルを一から、辻希美として頑張っていきたい」

"It was unfortunate, when Aibon (who was suspended in her hometown, Nara) came to the city (towards working on her comeback), I had thought that we can work together again. (Even now)I have the feeling of doing it(W) again." said Tsuji, with a lonesome expression, but changes the mood with "Will give my best as 'Tsuji Nozomi', to do Gyaruru from the beginning".
Awww~~~ (T-T)


"私はなりきるタイプで、ミニモニ。では一気に子供っぽくなれたし、このギャルルの衣装を着たら、さばさばした自分を発見しました。この格好で見かけた時は『辻ちゃん』と呼ばれても振り向きません。『つじじ』と呼んで"

I'm the "be anything" type of person. In MiniMoni I can be very childish, but when I dress in this Gyaruru costume I discovered a candid side of me. When you see me dressed in this outlook, don't call me 'Tsuji-chan', I won't respond to it. Call me 'Tsujiji'.

Cute~~~! (^_^)/


Amimi, apparently the sexiest of the 3 by providing lots of cleavage for viewing pleasure, while she remarks:
3人では私が一番変わったと思いますが、そのギャップを楽しんで。でも、トレードマークのメガネは変わりませんよ

I think among the 3 of us I'm the one that changed the most, I enjoy this gap (between my usual image and now). But, I won't take down my trademark glasses.



I like the ending note by Sanspo:
イベントでは「土浦から東京、名古屋、大阪へと乗り込みます。最終目標は海外進出。ハワイへ行きた〜い」と語り、ギャルル旋風を巻き起こし、世界へ打って出ることを高らかに宣言した。Wで果たせなかった夢をギャルルで果たす!!

Gyaruru loudly declared in the event, that they want to move on the international level and creating a worldwide Gyaruru Boom, with the words "From Tsuchiura, we will move into Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka. Finally will advance to overseas. We want to go to Hawaii!". The dream that W was unable to achieve, is now fulfilled with Gyaruru!!



====================== @@@ ========================


UPDATE 070426 12:34 A.M.:
Japan Probe has a summary of the Mezamashi TV news report on the Gyaruru's event.





Sources
News from Yahoo! News
News from Sanspo
News from eltha
News from Japan-Zone
Single release from TNX
>> Read the rest of this article

Monday, April 23, 2007

Before There Was Morning Musume - Tokyo Performance Doll

Multi-membership. Graduations. Sub-units. Happy-poppy songs. Outrageous costumes. Dances with smiles. Energetic performances.

These are the things that are trademark to Morning Musume. But who started it all? In actuality, Morning Musume was not the original multi-member girl-group type of idols, and certainly the things that they do aren't new either.



During my researching for the article about the relationship between UFG Chairman Yamazaki Naoki and Tsunku, I came across this group that was supposedly Tsunku's initial motivation to become producer for Morning Musume. This group is called "Tokyo Performance Doll" ~ 東京パフォーマンスドール.



Tokyo Performance Doll or TPD for short was formed on April 1990, with Epic-Sony Records. It started out with 3 member unit called "Golbies" as core members, where the remaining future members of TPD will develop on. An interesting trivia is that the unit name "Golbies" was named after then Soviet Union's leader Mikhail Gorbachev nickname "Gorby", with intention of bringing about a "music revolution" within the entertainment industry. TPD's producer was Nakamura Ryouji.

The initial concept for TPD was "girls-next-door idols", but as the concept switched to "pro dancers" it gave them a neo-Takarazuka outlook, TPD's popularity soared to greater heights and attracted many more fans. TPD had since disbanded in 1996 but it became one of the many idol and musical influences to future entertainment acts. I find that Morning Musume is similar to TPD's style and concept in various ways.



Group Building
TPD's method of choosing a few core members, then building the group around them by recruiting more members was a new technique at that time and was copied by other entertainer producers. Among them was Okinawa Actor's School from which many popular acts were born, such as Super Monkeys (Amuro Namie and MAX), SPEED, D&D, Folder5, Y'z Factory etc. And of course, Hello! Project's Morning Musume.

Morning Musume started of with but 5 members, but the leads were mostly given to Fukuda Asuka and Abe Natsumi, while the others (Nakazawa Yuuko, Ishiguro Aya and Iida Kaori) provide the seconds and harmonies. With Fukuda's graduation, the main vocal was mainly Abe Natsumi even though the 2nd generation members were recruited, as noted in "Summer Night Town" and "Furusato". When the heat ran out, another ace was required, so in comes Goto Maki for "Love Machine". The entire Momusu act was built around the "aces" and "leads" as core members.


Sub-Units and shuffle units
When you have a big group with many members to play with, you can't resist shuffling them up to create new musical products. TPD had 8 sub-units where the core members and the "backing members" were shuffled together. Among them - Golbies, UL-SAYS, ViVA... etc. Hello! Project have many of these sub-units like Tanpopo and Pucchi Moni. And also the now defunct summer shuffle units. One interesting info is that one of the TPD sub-units is called "TWO TOPS". Sound familiar? Yup, that's the nickname that Okamura Takashi of manzai duo Ninety-Nine, gave to "unofficial duo group" of Mechaike Okajo Girls School series -> Tsuji Nozomi and Kago Ai.


Trainees
One element that sets TPD apart from other entertainment groups is the use of "trainees". Additional members that would join TPD were scouted and trained. These young hopefuls were normally used as back-dancers for TPD on live shows during their internship and training. After a period of observation and evaluation, gradually they would be included into official groups. A "newcomer's performance" was held in Harajuku Ruido 1 to 2 times per year where the trainees performed songs from the TPD official groups.

Again, sound familiar? Why, it's the Hello! Project Eggs of course. These young talents were in the Hello! Project grooming stables for some time now, and were normally used as back-dancers for Hello! Project concerts. The H!P Eggs are now preparing for their first "Newcomer's Concert" in May, where they will perform song from Hello! Project official acts.
Joining them are Jyun Jyun and Rin Rin(an H!P Egg herself), two Chinese girls added into Morning Musume as "exchange students"... or should we say "trainees" of sorts.



Conclusion
Seems like Tokyo Performance Doll's "music revolution" movement had influenced Hello! Project in more ways than one. From the looks of it, Hello! Project is now returning to its roots and the original reason why Tsunku accepted the role of producer and main songwriter for Hello! Project works in the first place. It would be a matter of time till the Summer Shuffle Units are brought back.... I think. ^_^

Through the many marketing strategies employed by UFA, this girl-group concept was brought to a higher level, and appealed to the fans more than TPD could have done. From my personal view, if TPD was a "revolution", then Hello! Project has expanded the concept through "evolution".


Thanks for reading. (^_^)/




Additional Info: Other 'Performance Dolls'
Following with the success of Tokyo Performance Doll, there were other 'Performance Dolls' that try to imitate their path. For example, four Chinese girls formed Shanghai Performance Dolls (SPD) and Yoshimoto Kogyo Co. Ltd produced a sister group to TPD called Osaka Performance Dolls (OPD). It is with OPD that an indirect connection between TPD and Hello! Project was created. Because the one of the founding members of OPD later became a member of Hello! Project group 'Taiyo and Ciscomoon'(later renamed to T&C Bomber) -> Inaba Atsuko. Inaba is currently Hello! Project chorus singer, MC, and dance choreographer.


And now, here are some of the videos of Tokyo Performance Doll in action.



"Catch" (1992)



Pocky Girls? No... it's Pretz Girls. They're both Glico products though.



... from the single "Hokago wa itsumo party" 放課後はいつもパーティ (1992)



Ex-member Miho Yonemitsu's solo single in 1998 - "Orenji" (Orange)



Wikipedia entry of Tokyo Performance Doll
"from IDOL POPS" entry of Tokyo Performance Doll
List of Youtube videos of Tokyo Performance Doll
Wikipedia entry of Osaka Performance Doll




Footnote:
In an upcoming post, I will discuss about yet another all-girl performing group that has been an influence to Hello! Project works, and is certainly one that I regard as the mother of all girl groups - the 52-member Onyanko Club. I had wanted to combine them with this post, but it felt like a little more research was deemed necessary before it gets published.
>> Read the rest of this article

Friday, April 20, 2007

Thoughts on HaroMoni@ [Edited]

Re-wrote this article, because I forgot to add a few things. Some reader comments inadvertently removed by mistake, sorry~~~ m(_ _)m

On April 2000, the morning show Hello! Morning was born. It featured ALL of members of Hello! Project family. Check out the lineup - Morning Musume, T&C Bomber, Coconuts Musume, Country Musume, Melon Kinenbi... etc. But as time goes by, probably about a year later, Hello! Morning seems to be reserved to Morning Musume only.

7 years later, on April 2007 Hello! Morning is now replaced with its second incarnation - HaroMoni@, and its airtime cut to half.

This time, it's definitely all Morning Musume. Now that the other units like Melon Kinenbi have been kept busy with other schedules like radio shows and variety shows, I guess it's understandable. Sole member of Country Musume Satoda Mai for that matter has made a name for herself as a popular TV talent - for her simple-mindedness no doubt.

It also have a SNS (Social Networking System) called "Haromoni@SNS Kingdom" where fans can join in and submit their feedback and other activities. From this pattern, I'm guessing that probably there will be more stuff added to it once they think of more segments for the show e.g. HaroMoni@XXXX. (replace XXXX with segment name). Unfortunately, this SNS is invitation-only, and not all fanclubs have access to it.

So far two episodes of HaroMoni@ have been aired, and honestly, I'm having love-hate feelings on this show.


The storyline goes like this:
King Akachin (meaning King Baby) lives in HaroMoni Kingdom. He will selfishly drag his animal citizens, who have been living peacefully on the island, to company him on numerous misadventures.


Trivia: The email that King Akachin sends out using his cellphone reads ->

Email
To: HONEY POT
Code name
H.R.M.N.@
Impervious
Command
processing duty


Weekly Tasks:
Morning Musume wear animal motifs on their head and a sling bag with a tail on it to pose as the animal citizens of HaroMoni@ Kingdom e.g. Gaki-san is a squirrel, Mittsi is a panda etc. They push a baby cart where a remote-controlled doll King Akachin sits and goes around to complete the mission for the week.

The missions so far is to return an item that a guest of the king have left behind on his last visit. During the journey, the girls are free to explore around and report whatever "interesting things" to their king. The narrator is a bit annoying though, with the way she talked. And I don't get that cabbage guy interlude...

The theme song for the HaroMoni@ gang is 'Cecilia' by Simon and Garfunkel. Other short classic song clips were played too:
E.g.
Beatles - With A Little Help From My Friends
The Jackson 5 - One more chance
Middle of the Road - Where's your Mama Gone
The Monkees - Daydream believer
Daniel Boone - Beautiful Sunday

In the first episode, the gang visits Kinsi-cho and on the second episode Kameari, both are districts in Tokyo. The overall enthusiasm has been mediocre at best. There were funny moments. Sometimes, the girls even ignores the king's lectures about the history and origin of the town and does things as they like. Even dumped the baby cart aside when they hear a ice-cream truck coming from afar. ^_^
Throughout the journey, the girls handed out ad tissues to people along the way and exclaimed "HaroMoni@ Desu~~~!" to people they met, in order to promote their show.



One thing I noticed is that the girls have totally exploited the show to get food...... or so I thought. In the end, turns out the girls are even more hard to handle than the king himself. ^_^



OK~~~ As usual, analysis time! (^_^)v

Reactions
There so many variety shows in the Japanese cable network, which makes me wonder why the producers of HaroMoni@ want to come into direct competition with the other TV programmes. It is so easy for the viewers to switch channels if they find the show a little boring, and it's only a half hour show. Rumours were circulating around that the TV ratings for the show have dropped below 1%. Maybe it's exaggerated, maybe it's not. Maybe the figure are not even accurate, but it has to come from somewhere. But... wherever the figures came from, one thing's for sure - the results aren't positive and fans/viewers acknowledged it.

Japanese BBS goers speculated that HaroMoni@ wouldn't last for more than 3 months, A Japanese friend that I got to know recently also confirms this and also expressed his disappointment.

Personally, I looked at this from a different angle. Here's what I think...



Advertise, advertise, advertise.
Supposing the idea of the old Hello! Morning show is considered as an investment by UFA to market the Hello! Project girls (the cost are covered with a few sponsors of course), then I'm assuming that beginning from last year's Hello! Morning episodes until now, that objective has morphed into 'generating revenue'.

Televisions networks/shows sustains mostly on one thing, and it is one of the most profitable among all their resources - advertisement. Doesn't matter if some of their shows sucks, if they can sustain themselves with sponsors and advertisers, it will be on the airtime slot for a time no matter what. Of course, if the advertisers find that their business and recognition have not improved after a while, or the cable network (TV Tokyo in HaroMoni@'s case) find that less sponsors are coming in, then eventually TV network will pull the plug. End of the day, what's important is making money.

With HaroMoni@ there are 3 types of advertising -> The first type is sponsor advertisements in between the breaks. The second is 'guerrilla advertising' -> the girls were handing out ad tissues and saying "We're HaroMoni@!" to passer-bys. It's a new show, so I guess it's understandable that they were instructed to promote themselves.


The third type is my focus, which is 'embedded advertisements' within the show itself. This way, out of HaroMoni@'s 30 minutes airtime, 6 minutes are for sponsor advertising. With embedded advertising, the remaining 24 minutes are also fully utilised to advertise other stuff. Now THAT's Japanese variety show industry.

Because, I don't think that those restaurants that the HaroMoni@ gang walked into, are by means a coincidence. It has to be scripted somehow. For example, in the second episode a 72 year old owner of the a monjyayaki restaurant came out to greet Kamei at the front door just as she was about to enter the restaurant. He must have been pre-contacted before the HaroMoni@ gang came.

Also, I personally don't buy the idea that Mikitty and Gaki-san are the type of girls that are into listening to amateur folk songs, written and produced by the owner of an ice-cream truck that they have never met. Yet they bought the CD, Mikitty showed it to the camera for a good close-up look, and the cameraman took a clear shot of the CD poster on the truck (with songlist and price) for good measure. That ice-cream truck only comes once a week to that area, it's no wonder the girls chased after the truck to stop it.

As for the acting part... probably a trend in Japanese variety shows. If TV Tokyo were ever questioned on this I wouldn't worry. Their response may be similar to TBS' response, when they were caught prearranging 'off-the-street' interview in the beginning of this month -> "We consider it to be within the permissible scope of acting for a variety show". Whether it is good or bad for the image, you decide. ^_^






Conclusion
HaroMoni@ has turned into a documentary variety show, endorsing commercial attractions and merchandise, featuring location culture & fun-facts, and battling for TV ratings with other variety shows at the same time. Morning Musume will be primary TV talents for this show.
Is HaroMoni@ doomed?

To be hopeful, I think it's still to early to decide the future of HaroMoni@. I guess they have moved on to the next phase, and we fans were expected to keep up with them.

To be fair, Japan IS currently embracing a TV trend of producing variety shows. Fine if the dudes at UFA want to do it this way, but it just... well, although I DO find some of those facts and culture stuff interesting, it is just not the like in the good ol' days of fun-games and electric-chair-quizzes, which I prefer very much.

So far it's only been two episodes, and the SNS network have only just begun building up. On the plus side, we saw some interactions and natural banters between the girls that we may never get see in the Hello! Morning studio recordings. I'm hoping that when the show's popularity picks up, the ROI(return on investment) will be worth it. And things may start to get a little more fun. Hopefully.

Another wait and see again, eh?


Peace (^_^)v
>> Read the rest of this article

Sunday, April 15, 2007

So who's the boss? Yamazaki Naoki or Tsunku?

I forget when was the last time I wrote a proper essay on this blog. For the past few months, the Hello! Project world has been riddled with gossip, news and scandals, I barely had time to sit down and write. Here's one out from my drafts. Have done extensive research on this one.


"Why, Tsunku why?!"
"Why did Tsunku graduate Nacchi?"
"What is Tsunku thinking?"
"Tsunku messed up."
"One new member only? What is on Tsunku's head?"

Sound familiar? I bet most of us fans of Hello! Project have said something similar at some point. Problem is... Is Tsunku really to be blamed?

When Tsunku came out and commented about Kago Ai a couple weeks ago, after hearing his comments and having watched the video streaming news, I felt as if Tsunku is saying that the decision to boot Aibon was not his own. Sure enough, he's a business man, a little poker-face acting has to be done. But was it really? I came to the assumption that Tsunku may not be as influential in the decision making of Hello! Project works as many have thought.

Commenter Malmeingehr seems to agree and has supplied a link that he thought "will be of interest" to me. That link was a result of crowd-sourcing work and contained collective links and information of the man which I am going to talk about - Yamazaki Naoki 山﨑直樹.


Background
Yamazaki Naoki, born 25th June 1949, is the current Chairman and Representative Director of Up-Front Group Co. Ltd.. I have touched a bit on Up Front Groups, and the functions of related companies, in brief again, is a mother company which has a group companies related to it, such as Up-Front Agency, Up-Front Works and Up-Front Planning. Yamazaki is also one of the Directors of the Japan Visual Industry Guild. He is often compared to the other giants in the entertainment biz such as Max Matsuura of Avex Group Holding and Johnny Kitagawa of Johnny's Office Co. Ltd. However, there are no public information about him anywhere, even photographs of him are scarce and outdated. But here's one, from 2004 H!P Sports festival, it's the short gentlemen on the left with white hair.






About the boss
Yamazaki is known to dislike the mass media. Not up to the point that he hates them, but because he has been always unavailable to the mass media for comments. It is his silence that caused the fans to picture him with image of, to quote Dilbert, "the evil pointy-haired boss". Furthermore suggesting that he does not care for the opinions of fans and makes decisions based on his own instincts, despite protests and criticism from fans.

The REAL producer of Morning Musume?
In 1997, an audition was held in ASAYAN to find a solo female vocalist for Tsunku's rock band Sharan Q. The winner was Heike Michiyo, and as we know, Morning Musume was formed out of the remaining finalist. However, during the course of the audition, the participating girls were put into a training-camp, where Tsunku mentioned that it was necessary to test "cooperativeness in group activity". This unnatural decision led to many believe that the audition was probably never meant to find a solo vocalist in the first place. (If that was true, then I pity Heike for her fate.)

In an interview with Cyzo, Yamazaki Naoki admitted that initially he wanted to form Morning Musume with around 10 members. But the cost of managing even with 5 members costs 5 million yen per month, and since the potential was still uncertain at that time, the idea was scrapped. He said that he created Morning Musume with reference to an American group that also have members joining and graduating from the band. Furthermore, every graduation and addition of members into Morning Musume will be decided by him beforehand.
(Note: It was not stated what American group it was. But I'm thinking along the lines of Jefferson Airplane. )

Additionally, Yamazaki decided that the group presents each member to her own personality. Tsunku comes up with the names for his ideas, like Tanpopo or Puchi Moni. But in the end, the (initial) planning was from Yamazaki, and Tsunku took care of music and the plan execution. However, Yamazaki denied that he used ASAYAN as a PR tool to market his projects. (Right up to ASAYAN's cancellation in 2002, which consists of Heike Michiyo, 4th gen Morning Musume, Nakazawa Yuuko, Tanpopo, Puchi Moni and Shuffle Units.)


In Conclusion
Looks like Hello! Project was not Tsunku's baby project after all. And even Morning Musume was not Tsunku's idea at all. Clearly, the chairman Yamazaki was behind all decisions within the UFG banner, and Tsunku just produce the music.

I must say that it's a bit weird. With all due respect, yes he's the CHAIRMAN of UFG. But doesn't the difference between two different business entities account for anything at all? Can he just cross-over to UFA/UFW anytime and decide on just anything at all?

Better yet..... did he have anything to do with Aibon's dismissal?

Among the things/ideas that apparently was decided by the chairman himself:
- Fujimoto Miki joining Morning Musume on the 6th gen intake
- Goto Maki's solo debut once she reaches 15 years of age on her birthday
- Yasuda Kei's graduation announcement, 6 months before the actual day
- 'Lending' Ishikawa Rika into Country Musume
- Rinne and Asami (Country Musume) was told to cut their hair short. :D LOL

Two interesting things about the chairman which caught my attention:
- He is keen on popularising Takahashi Ai (Sounds good!)
- Niigaki Risa was rumoured to be his granddaughter (What the heck?!)



Back to Tsunku... From what I found out, Tsunku took part as producer for Morning Musume because he was into Tokyo Performance Doll(a 90's Japanese Dance-Pop group disbanded on 1996) and was interested in managing a girl group like that. However, it probably turns out that Hello! Project was not what he expected, given the limited creative control he has over the girls. It was not made known to the public about his limitations, but something must have led him into creating his own company TNX, where he has direct control over his own artistes, to go whatever direction he wants.

I foresee someday Tsunku breaking away from Hello! Project. But Tsunku himself have said in an interview, that he would hate it if Morning Musume, Berryz Koubou and C-ute songs/lyrics were written by someone else other than him. So I guess he'll stick around for a while.


Thanks for reading.
Peace ^_^


Sources:

Yamazaki Naoki interview with Cyzo
Interview article scan

Wikipedia entry on Yamazaki Naoki
Japanese Wikipedia on Morning Musume.
Japanese Wikipedia entry on Tsunku
Collective links about Yamazaki Naoki
Up-Front Group Corporate Profile
Short info from Japanese fan site



>> Read the rest of this article

Friday, April 13, 2007

Niigaki Risa Internet Meme - "Gaki-san says..."

There is a popular internet meme within the Japanese web community going on, and is used to either make a statement or for a short humorous comment in forums or BBS. I call it the "Gaki-san says..."

Here are a few examples.
Gaki-san says...

Give me boobs!Aibon: Reflect on your mistakes.
Gaki: Speak for yourself!
My number is 072-4737(Random pics)
Nakanunara, watashi ga nakou, hototo kizu
(Fans of "Curious Nono" would be familiar with this.)
Am I cute?
No dirty jokes!Reina



I find it amusing and decided to see if we could adopt it ourselves. Just use the template here and with your favourite image editor, enter whatever caption you like, maybe something in your heart and you wanted to say out loud. Resize it if you have to.



I'll start: Gaki-san says...




I'm sure we can popularize this meme even further. I tag everyone (especially all Gaki-san lovers) out there to join me on this game!

Let me know if you've created one yourself. You can mention it in the comments section, and I'll add the image link or page link to this post. Good luck!

But before I go...........

(^o^)/
>> Read the rest of this article

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Yossie Birthday OPV

Welp... I did it!


Video Link

It's only a simple slideshow of UFA official pictures, featuring Yossie from her debut up till today. Used Yossie's solo song from the "Sexy 8 Beat" album "Sono Deau no Tame ni".

Youtube is being strict these days, so I hope that they don't take down the video... and my entire account with it.

The guitar video? Oh... well, that will have to come in another day. (^_^)/

Enjoy!
>> Read the rest of this article

Happy 22nd Birthday Yossie!

In case you didn't know it's 22nd birthday for current Morning Musume leader, Yoshizawa Hitomi!



Happy Birthday to you, Yossie!


I have two things lined-up to do in commemoration of this happy day - a Yossie OPV and a instrumental guitar song for Yossie's solo "Yoshite, yoshite".

Unfortunately, due to lack of time, I am unable to get it up by midnight yesterday.
Will see if I can manage to finish it up before the day is over tonight. *sweats* (^_^;A

Also I have a couple blog drafts in queue in which I hope to publish by Friday. Wait a minute... isn't tomorrow FRIDAY?! Oh, man..... (T.T)

.....But anyways, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
>> Read the rest of this article

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

H!P Theater Works... and Tsuji Nozomi Finally Opens Up

After Tsuji Nozomi's "no comment" on Kago Ai's scandal back when she was promoting her participation in the anime "Robby and Kerobby" as voice cast for "Atena", AND after Tsunku has told his side of the story.... still nothing from Nono? Not directly, no.

A month ago it was reported by Ikimasshoi that Ishikawa Rika & Tsuji Nozomi will be double casted in a theater play entitled "何日君再来" or "Itsu no hika kimi kaeru", from the title of the same song covered by the late Teresa Teng.



(Ironic, I might add, because the title literally means "When are you coming back again?")


Yesterday, the theater team held a production announcement press conference. Double casts Ishikawa Rika and Tsuji were also present, along with the main casts Kakei Toshio, Kuroki Meisa and Fujiwara Kazuhiro. In the article Rika-chan and Nono shares their experience and hardships encountered in the play.

EDIT:
Rika-chan commented "It was difficult to remember the script, and we have to go through the ordeal of 30-minute warming-up session before the practice. Because of that alone, we're so exhausted everytime.". Nono who plays the same role as Rika says "It was terrible because I couldn't read Kanji characters. Now I am at the stage of knowing the words and deliver them smoothly. But, until the actual performance, I will do my best so as not to fall behind Rika-chan or anyone else. Come and see a 'desperate' Tsuji Nozomi!". (The 'desperate' here means "driven to do one's best", I just can't find the right word for it.)

Additionally, Nono added that "From this theater, I realised the importance of companions, in a way it has become a great stage of love and dreams".

With that statement, after the conference has ended, a reporter asked Nono "Aren't you lonesome now (without Kago Ai)?", to which Nono, though perplexed, replies bravely with "Right now, I want to give my best, above all things".



Nono has "said it" herself - it's time to move on. SHE wants to move on.

For those reading this post who are still grieving over Aibon - have strength. It's okay, to move on... life's like that.


Sources:
News from Oricon
Headlines in Yahoo! News
Press image and news from Nikkan Sports.
News from Sanspo





>> Read the rest of this article

Monday, April 09, 2007

Morning Musume - Kanashimi Twilight ~悲しみトワイライト~ Nihongo lyrics, Romaji and Translation

Nihongo lyrics, Romaji and Translation for Morning Musume's 33rd Single - Kanashimi Twilight ~悲しみトワイライト~ .

I know, I said that I won't do anymore translations. But...

Because I'm doing this for Yossie.
Because Gaki-san and Kame mentioned/promoted the song on their GAKI*KAME radio show.
Because, heck, I LOVE this song!

Get the single, let it go on to hit Oricon at No. 1!


I'm letting the translation here to be as accurate and poetic at the same time as much as possible. As usual, if there are mistakes, please let me know. Thanks in advance.


Nihongo | Romaji | Translation <-- [ UPDATED - 4/10/07 10:53 AM ]

==================================================

Nihongo


悲しみトワイライト - モーニング娘。

好きにさせといて【藤本】 急にいなくならないで【藤本】
だから口づけも【高橋】 長く拒んでたの【高橋】
いつもこまめで優しくて【藤本道重】 電話もつかまるし【高橋久住】
気が付きゃどんどん許してた【吉澤新垣亀井田中光井】

男なんてなんて信じない【吉澤藤本】
だってだって 嘘ばかり【高橋亀井】
言い訳ぐらいしてみてよ【光井】

他のなんかなんか 男とは【藤本新垣】
きっときっと違うとか【高橋田中】 思い込んでたトワイライト【藤本】

恋に落ちていった【藤本】 それが恋とも知らずに【藤本】
心震えてる【高橋】 涙となる予感【高橋】
わざとわがまま言ったのに【藤本道重】 迎えに来てくれた 【高橋久住】
好きになるしかなかったみたい【吉澤新垣亀井田中光井】

私なんかなんか夢見てた【吉澤藤本】
なんかなんか のぼせてた【高橋亀井】
謝られても意味がない【田中】

いつかきっときっと こうなると【藤本新垣】
全部全部分かってた【高橋田中】 悲しき恋のトワイライト【新垣】

私なんかなんか夢見てた【吉澤】
なんかなんか のぼせてた【吉澤】
謝られても意味がない【吉澤】

いつかきっときっと こうなると【藤本新垣】
全部全部分かってた【高橋田中】 悲しき恋のトワイライト【高橋】




Romaji. Sourced from Some Boys! Blog. Fixed some typos.
Kanashimi Twilight - Morning Musume

Suki ni sasetoite     kyuu ni inaku naranaide
dakara kuchizuke wo     nagaku kobandeta no
Itsumo komame de yasashikute     denwa mo tsukamaru shi
kigatsukya dondon yurushiteta

Otoko nante nante shinjinai
datte datte     uso bakari
iiwake gurai shite mite yo

Hoka no nanka nanka     otoko to wa
kitto kitto chigau to ka     omoi kondeta Twilight

Koi ni ochiteitta     sore ga koi to mo shirazu ni
kokoro furueteru     namida to naru yokan
Wazato wagamama itta no ni     mukae ni kite kureta
suki ni naru shikanakatta mitai

Watashi nanka nanka yume miteta
nanka nanka     noboseteta
ayamararete mo imi ga nai

Itsuka kitto kitto     kou naru to
zenbu zenbu wakatteta     kanashiki koi no towairaito

Watashi nanka nanka yume miteta
nanka nanka     noboseteta
ayamararete mo imi ga nai

Itsuka kitto kitto kou naru to
zenbu zenbu wakatteta     kanashiki koi no towairaito




Translation
Update 4/10/07 10:53 AM: Edited the translations this morning, with corrections by Malmeingehr (Thanks!).


Sorrowful Twilight - Morning Musume

You caused me to like you, so don't leave me suddenly after that
That's why, I refused to be kissed for a long time
He was always gentle without fail, always received his phone calls
I found myself gradually letting my guard down

Why can't I trust boys?
Because they are nothing but lies
At least, try and give me an explanation (excuse)

Surely, he was different from some other boys
I was at the twilight of being convinced

I fell in love, even though I don't know if this is love at all
My heart is shivering, I have a premonition to cry
Even though I selfishly said it on purpose, but he came to welcome me
Seems like I had no choice but to fall in love

I dreamt of something, been dazed of something
There is no meaning to it, even if apologised

I had knew it all,
that surely, someday it will become like this
At the twilight of becoming a sorrowful love...

I dreamt of something, been dazed of something
There is no meaning to it, even if apologised

I had knew it all,
that surely, someday it will become like this
At the twilight of becoming a sorrowful love...



Enjoy! Peace ^_^
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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Morning Musume Performs "Kanashimi Twilight" on Music Station

Morning Musume performed "Kanashimi Twilight ~ 悲しみトワイライト" in Music Station live. I must say that I enjoyed the song and the performance overall. But... Gaki-san's hairdo is just... not right. (-_-;)
And the outfits looks like a rehash from "Roman ~MY DEAR BOY~" design.


Video Link

One thing that is just too obvious - Yossie is heavily highlighted in the entire performance. The dance formation put Yossie right in the center at most times. Or more accurately, in HTML terms "absmiddle" (absolute middle). Did the hosts talk about Yossie's graduation during the interview segment? And therefore gave her lots of screentime? Or maybe was it executed on the request of Morning Musume's agency, to prominently feature Yossie, as a precursor to her solo career later on.

I have a feeling that when Yossie goes solo, her genre will be J-Rock, like Aikawa Nanase.

This will be the last single for our beloved Yoshizawa Hitomi as a member of Morning Musume. *sniff* (T^T)

>> Read the rest of this article

Friday, April 06, 2007

Hello! Project Shinjin Kouen Concert..... Surprise, Surprise....

Moving on! Well, I have to... otherwise this blog may turn into a Kago Ai vent-site. Been busy these days, I have a lot to write, and made many drafts. Unfortunately, by now most of them drafts have outlive its spice, and is outdated news already. Oh well... ^_^

Last week's Hello! Morning gave us a surprise news. Tsunku announces that there will be a concert on May 13th, tentatively titled Hello! Project Newcomer's Performance or "Hello! Project Shinjin Kouen - ハロー!プロジェクト新人公演".

The Official Site - 第一回 ハロー!プロジェクト新人公演 さるの刻・とりの刻

The performers are:
Hello! Project Eggs
Mitsui Aika - 8th gen Morning Musume
Qian Li (Rin Rin) - 8th gen Morning Musume
Li Chun (Jyun Jyun) - 8th gen Morning Musume
The Possible
Arihara Kanna - C-ute

... Much to the surprise of Jyun Jyun, of course. Because she just got off the plane, and was told that she will be involved in a concert in a couple months time. Hehe!

It's split into two performance times named "Saru no Koku" and "Tori no Koku", literally "Monkey's Time" and "Chicken's Time" respectively. Don't ask me why. ^_^

Note that it says there "First Round", meaning that there will be more concerts like this coming up. I think it's a very good idea for a concert. At least the Eggs won't be stuck to being just backup-dancers for other H!P concerts all the time. Although I am only familiar with Fukuda Kanon(for her pedoliciousness) and Korenaga Miki(for her athletic ability in Gatas Brilhantes futsal team), it seems that I have overlooked the Hello! Project Eggs all this while, without knowing that there are good looking girls in there.

The set list for this concert of consists of many past Hello! Project songs, including Morning Musume, H!P Shuffles, Matsuura Aya, Pucchi Moni... etc. The Possible are the only ones with their own singles to perform. The performers list will be updated soon.

But guess what? Surprise number 2... guess who else is also in it?
Performers Profile List



That's right, ladies and gentlemen... Kikkawa Yuu is inducted into Hello! Project Eggs!

So after she failed to join Morning Musume in the Happy 8 Auditions, and after I speculated that she would be a Ayaya ver 2.0, it was decided that she join the Hello! Project Eggs instead.

Why, she even have a nickname - "Kikka". Check her profile.

I guess all Kikka fans now can rest easy, because we will finally be able to see her as a performer on stage. What a pleasant surprise, though I heard stories of her joining H!P before. I thought that she may be forming a new unit with some others, but I didn't expect she would be an Eggs member. *sigh* How I wish that Satou Sumire is involved in it as well.


On the side note: For those interested to know, Satou Sumire is currently involved in a musical Freddie the Leaf as noted in the musical's official blog and her personal blog - Sumire Melody.


The official site of Shinjin Kouen concert also have a rehearsal diary, where the performers tell their experience and show some photos.




Yup, that's Kikka there with the "Love" T-shirt. Seems like the girls have gotten along pretty well!

However... Mitsui Aika is in this concert as well. I wonder what Mittsi and Kikka is thinking and how are they feeling right now? One is a winner of the 8th gen audition and joined Momusu, while the other is a audition dropout to be inducted into H!P Eggs. Will there be a battle of pride between the two? Is there a feeling of uneasiness between them? Does Mittsi have sense of superiority over Kikka? Will Kikka repeat the history of Fujimoto Miki's career path and be included into Momusu later on?

Personally, I think the scales are quite even. Since they're both relatively new to showbiz and H!P, and they both suck at dancing. (^o^)/


Best of luck to all girls and I hope the concert is a great success!

Peace ^_^
>> Read the rest of this article

Monday, April 02, 2007

Tsunku comments about Kago Ai

Tsunku attended a press conference in Harajuku, Tokyo. Because of his producing of comedian duo Ogiyahagi's debut single. What transpired there, and why he is producing a comedy group's song I don't know (well, the song was supposed to be released as a tune to some commercial also). My focus is that he finally talks about Kago Ai. After the "no comment" from Tsuji Nozomi, finally Tsunku himself comments about Aibon.




Oricon's version. Also in Yahoo! News.

"It is regrettable, because I was looking forward towards the comeback. Whether she will return to the entertainment biz (in the future) or not, I will give support from a different parental love, and a teacher's heart. But rules are rules. We will take it (seriously)."

Actually, I don't quite understand that second last sentence => "芸能界に復帰するかどうかは別として親心、師匠気分で応援はしていきたい". "別として親心"?? Can anyone help, please? Malmeingehr, if you are reading this, I need your help please... Onegai shimasu~~ m(_ _)m


Nikkan Sports's version is a bit different. Where he was quoted:
"Rules are rules. Whether it is her or us, we have no choice but to accept it."


Sports Hochi has a different version. Also in Yahoo! News.
"It is regrettable, although we* have worked hard on the comeback. Aside from the return to the entertainment biz, will continue to give my support from a producer's parental love in an important way/sense."


* I'm not sure Tsunku is referring to himself or Aibon. So I'm don't know if it was a "we" or a "she".



I know that there are always some discrepancies in the news reports depending on the reporter. But this time the differences are significant to me..... because I understand them with totally different meanings.

I mean....
- Who decided on the termination? UFA? Tsunku? Or both?
- It sounded as if Tsunku wasn't part of the decision making.... Or was he?
- Does he want to take Aibon under his wing (TNX) after this?
- Was the comeback forced on Aibon or not?




So what's next... oh yeah, Flash (a men's magazine) have released their topic titles, and will talk about "the background history of the man who destroyed Kago Ai". This dude will be hounded with news till the end of the year, it seems.

This is not going anywhere... when will all this END??

UPDATE:
In the comments section, Malmeingehr pointed another version of the news clip. Additionally, added a link where a video stream of the interview can be found, and a full transcript of the interview... Well, just Tsunku's part at the final 45 seconds of the video.

Credit: Image taken from Oricon.
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Amateurism Revolution 21 - a Morning Musume and Rhymester Collaboration

"Amateurism Revolution 21" Morning Musume featuring Rhymester... or was it the other way 'round?

I discovered this video on the net about mid of last year, back when it was widely circulated among bloggers and in websites. It was uploaded on Youtube but as usual due to their rules and violation of copyrights, it was promptly taken down.


A couple months back, after some hard searching, I found it uploaded elsewhere. Thought I'd share it here, for those who have not seen it before. -->


モーニング娘。にライムスター/アマチュアリズム・レボリューション21
music mashup by onn@man(arashi no kemono@J-POP only party)
visual mashup by kamikaze(HONKY PRODUCTION)

It's slow to load. If you're having trouble with it go here, so at least we get a pause/start button.


Note:
"Amateurism Revolution 21" is a fan-made mashup video of Rhymester's "The Great Amateurism" and Morning Musume's "Renai Revolution 21". Very nicely done~~~! (^o^)/

"The Great Amateurism" is one of my all-time favourite songs by Rhymester, as is "Renai Revolution 21" by Morning Musume. The mashup vid is a little bit too noisy, and omitted/drowned out the Hip Hop elements of TGA. But after listening for a while, it was really enjoyable, and blended really well during the chorus.
If Momusu ever plan to go Hip Pop, this probably serves as a good preview. ^_^
Hey yo yo Mummy-D, please consider a collaboration project for real, man... (^_^)v

Now if I can only find a way to rip the FLV file and archive it in my hard disk...







EDIT 30-05-2007: This was re-uploaded on da Tube again.

Video Link.


The original videos here

The Great Amateurism - Rhymester

Video Link


Renai Revolution 21 - Morning Musume

Video Link
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