Well, it’s that time again…2010 seemed to fly by, at least if you’re me. In fact, I spent most of it working my butt off in the “real world”, so I’m pretty sure the quality of posts here went down a little. It seems it was a year of pic spams here at Itsumo Genki. However, pic spams are fun and at least this place is still alive and kicking. Even with the lack of coherence that sometimes occurs here, I am always writing, always loving Momusu and Yossy and H!P even though it is now three times smaller and over-run with children.
I love this picture of Momusu here. So much rabu! I will really miss the current Momusu but I am ready for a change. I am anticipating exciting things next year for them and whichever new member(s) Tsunku decides to add. With that, here is my review of this busy, busy year.
Fave Singles of 2010
Morning Musume – Onna no Otoko Lullaby Game
Definitely this was the strongest single this year. I liked the others, but this one was stylish and catchy. It wasn’t as busy as ‘Onna ni Medatte…’ and it wasn’t bland like Seishun Collection. I love the dance and I love the covers. You can look at my review here.
What I found interesting about this year in terms of singles, was that that Momusu had much stronger b-sides than they had a-sides. If you’ll notice, the b-sides were always much more sophistocated, there was an actual attempt at line distribution and a real sense of Tsunku trying something new. I loved ‘Nakidasu Kamo Shirenai no’ for it’s moody, hip-hop and the hint of rap. I loved the basic epicness of ‘Aisaresugiru…’. ‘Tomo’ is a bit more nostalgic, but there is something wonderful about that. Tsunku seemed to utilize the closeness of 8-nin Momusu for that song. They have commented on it all year – how they all get along, how they all bicker like family and how they’ve been together non-stop. I kinda wish that ‘Tomo’ had been the b-side for ‘Onna no Otoko’. It would have been a nice song to say goodbye to Kamei and JunLin.
Here’s hoping that we get singles like ‘Fantasy ga Hajimaru’ and that songs like that won’t be pushed to mere album tracks. I want to hear everyone and I want to be excited.
Berryz Koubou – Tomodachi wa Tomodachi Nanda/Otakebi Boy WAO!
I picspammed the hell out of these two pvs for a reason. Otakebi is completely epic in every way. Everyone gets lines, everyone pwns them, everyone is tough and everyone some how pulls off a dance that is both ridiculous and awesome. Tomodachi is just plain fun and sweet. Berryz has finally developed a distinct sound (to a newbie like me, anyway). I think this is a song only Berryz could have done, like Madayade. The dance is adorable! It’s one of their better routines as far as I’m concerned. I find myself constantly underwhelmed by Berryz dances, but I can’t think of anything I don’t like about this one. I can never get this song out of my head once it’s in there.
Both of these songs are the usual Oatbag, Momo and Diamond-sucker fests, but everyone manages to get in there. Captain is especially adorable in ‘Tomodachi…’ and I love Maasa in pretty much anything.
Some of you might be wondering why I never talked about Shining Power and all it’s “Kumai is hawt’ epicness.
That is because Kumai being hawt is the only thing I took away from that single. The pv is boring (except for the aforementioned hawtness ). I do like the song more every time I hear it. Everyone sings, Captain pwns and Chinami is all kinds of win, but COME ON! What is with the fact that Maasa, the table-tennis champion of awesome doesn’t even get to play!?? Risako trying to get in the center every two seconds and pouting the whole time?? Yet another disco dance moment, ala Ryuusei Boy!?? Forget it!!
Let’s all just acknowledge that Kumai has finally grown into how tall she is.
And Chinami pwns!
I like Maji Bomber also, but I suspect it’s because I just really love the pv. I don’t even know why. Aren’t you loving the sudden emphasis on Kumai in the singles?
I don’t know if this even counts, but the single was good enough to inspire my one and only Mano post. I still don’t get what it is about her. She is very pretty and cute, being the child of Shige and Goto, but she didn’t quite get Goto’s singing skills or all of Shige’s charm. It’s like everything is cut in half when it comes to her.
Leaving aside her appeal, or lackthereof, I really like this song. It was something completely different for her, but it utilized her voice in an interesting way. I couldn’t figure out what the hell she was saying, but it’s been explained to me (by a few people) that she was saying, “please, please want your love”. Lack of grammar aside, it’s a great little addition. There isn’t much I can say except I liked it, in spite of my utter indifference to her. Here’s hoping for more Mano stuff I can get behind. I really want to like her.
C-ute – Dance de Bakoon!
Ever since Tokkaiko Junjou you’ve been waiting for them to do something as completely epic. You didn’t even notice the lack of line distribution on that single, because of the epic, did you? You were pwned by that amazing dance and the complete abandon with which they performed it, weren’t you? Every single since then you were waiting for the same pwn-age. I think they came close to it with Forever Love, but it wasn’t the same.
Well, this single has the awesome costumes, the completely awesome dance and this wonderful attitude that has been sorely lacking of late. It really did make me feel like C-ute was back, before the underwhelming ‘Aitai Lonely
Utterly Boring Christmas “. I’m sure that song has its good points, but I had no patience for it after this. C-ute can dance and they can mix attitude with…well, cuteness better than most H!P groups out there. They need to be given more singles like this one. Hell, even another SHINES would suit me. Why wasn’t SHINES a single? That could have been C-ute’s ‘I Wish’. It has epic-always-nostalgic concert performance written all over it!
Buono only released one single this year, but lucky for us it is absolutely wonderful. There is nothing I don’t love about this song, even weirdo Momo. It gives me a jolt of energy and puts a spring in my step whenever I hear it. It’s catchy and sweet, with enough rock thrown in to be just a bit different from most of H!P. I suppose that could sum up just about any Buono song, but that just shows how consistent they are as a group. They haven’t really had a weak single. Even the ones I don’t love as much, like Take it Easy or Co.No.Mi.Chi are awesome at second listen. Their sound is as repetitive as any pop group, but there is something fresh every time.
And yes, it does eat me up a little that I’m praising a group comprised of freakin’ children so much. Until these three are twenty they will be H!P kidz to me. I can’t help it. Airiri seems like she’s always been singing in H!P, but she’s ONLY SIXTEEN!!
Fave Albums of 2010
I love every single track on this album. I can have this on in the background or I can sing my heart out to it and it’s complete win either way. Other than the awesome singles, I really loved Independant Girl. The lyrics are fantastic and the girls completely murder the vocals. There is a sense of the epic with Buono and I am not sure where that comes from. This album seems a bit more adult than their previous releases. The songs feel more aggressive and less bubble-gum and they eased into the sound seamlessly.
Buono pretty much rules. I really tried not to like them, but they are always, always winning me over. I didn’t think I would like their concert until I saw a performance of Independant Girl and was put very soundly in my place. It’s over. This album pretty much cemented my love of Buono at least in terms of their music. Momo still freaks me out, quite a lot.
Morning Musume – 10MyMe + Juuichi (I couldn’t choose one or the other)
I loved the covers for 10MyMe. This was the first year that Tsunku gave us two original albums. I don’t think he’s ever given us two Momusu albums in a year, unless you count the cover album or the 7.5 thing (and most people don’t). I love this album opener. It’s slightly weird and epic. There are gems like Namidacchi, which is already becoming a concert favourite of mine and Ookii Hitomi. The sixth gen is hardly my favourite, but I like that they finally have a song to themselves and that it suits them. Every generation gets a song on here: Ano hi Modoritai is smooth with lovely vocals and I love the Osaka song, because of Linlin (who, if you remember, is a house of POWER), but I’d say the sixth gen’s song is the most dynamic of the three. The Chinese version of Ame is very pretty, but I think they did that song a little too much. Personally, I would have Namidacchi close the album instead of Ame, but what can you do.
I already reviewed Fantasy Juuichi here, but I will say again that it is another step in their sound and I really loved it. Standouts for me: Fantasy ga Hajimaru (my WORD!), Onna Gokoro to Nanto Yara and Itoshiku Kurushii Kono Yoru Ni. I wish we had more singles in this year, especially now that Kamei and JunLin have graduated. I confess, the more I think about that, the more it doesn’t seem real.
So on that note…
Graduation Shout Outs
To Junjun: I have a lot I want to thank you for. I confess, it wasn’t your singing that won me over, it was your personality. Thank you for being so outspoken and weird. I loved your fights with Koharu that made no sense and how you baffled everyone by refusing to play a game properly and eating a banana when you felt like it. I loved how you could suddenly just murder a dance routine and I loved how you pwned the camera on every one of your photos. Thank you for being Yossy-esque for a few singles, when you weren’t being like Shige (and totally freaking her out). I will truly miss the way you were not afraid to speak up in a group of girls who were just saying, “yes, yes”. I will never forget you on Utaban when you yelled at Nakai for “not caring enough about China”. I will never forget you on the promotions for Shoganai when you refused to put your sign down and insisted everyone see that your name is ‘Junjun’, even though there was barely enough room on camera. Thank you, most of all, for basking in your spotlight. Thank you for loving singing so clearly and thank you for loving those stupid giant bows. I will miss you so much!!
I don’t feel quite as close to Junjun as I might. I really don’t know why. I guess her singing never became as strong as it could have been; she didn’t wow me, the way Linlin and Kamei did. I will really miss her personality though. They need a weirdo again. I thought it was interesting that even though she was older, she found it very easy to rely on others and, as Takahashi put it on their grad dvd “allow herself to be spoiled”. I wish she had more time so we could figure her out. I will always think she is beautiful. Cute, but beautiful too.
To Linlin: Do your best!! You can do it!! I think that your singing is beautiful. I love the power in your vocals and how all the happiness you feel about performing is right there in the notes. There is a vulnerability about you that always made me want to reach out and give you a hug, but even with that you seemed to smile no matter what. I love that you were never afraid to say you were homesick. I love that even though there were times you cried, you saved so many of the members with your earnest smiles. Thank you for never being afraid to sing your heart out or to be a completely spastic goof. Take care of yourself and don’t stop singing!! I will miss you!!!
Linlin didn’t seem to be a favourite with some because of her spastic humour, or I guess because people are insane and just didn’t pay attention to her, but she grew on me very quickly. I’ve gone on about her voice, but more than that, I loved how she allowed her personality to come forth. She was so shy and then suddenly became this dorky little sister character. I loved her weirdo answers in the Pocket Mornings (What do you think of your leader? A: I think she’s a Japanese! *facepalm*) and I loved reading her blog because she could write the sweetest things out of nowhere.TakaLin was my favourite pairing in 2010 and it wasn’t even one of those pairings I made up in my crazy brain (like the non-existent JunRi). I commented that they acted and looked like sisters and what did Takahashi say on the grad dvd in her message to Linlin? “You are like my sister and I want to always take care of you,” Then she started to cry and said, “Don’t you ever forget me. I love you!” Just thinking about it makes me feel teary.
There! I was right! I called it! Takalin for the win!!!
Damn, I will miss her.
Wasn’t the 9 then 8 member line-up awesome? I will miss that closeness so much.
To Eri-chan: You are beautiful. I know you might not feel that way with your condition, but you truly are. All I ever hear of you is how warm and sweet you are. Your fellow members always talk about it and tell stories of how funny and carefree you are. Even so, I know it is important to you, so good luck in everything you do now. I do hope to see you again. I loved your voice. Both your vocals and your dancing became downright amazing in the last few years. Be proud of how much you have grown!! I will miss you!!
Kamei was there the longest out of these three, but it is really only in recent years that I noticed her. Her photobooks, her dancing and her pure, sweet vocals got me. I understand that she is a weirdo and did many funny things on Hello Morning, but I never really watched them. I feel like going back and watching all the Kamezou corners and that corner where she tortured Mikitty. I want to watch her older concert performances and then her newer ones, where she is dancing so violently that she can barely stay on her feet. I was kinda shocked when she said that she felt she needed to become a beautiful woman, because to me she already is. I do kind-of understand where she is coming from though. She said that she doesn’t see herself as an adult; she still cannot do things on her own. Maybe dealing with her condition is her first step. I just hope she will be healthy and happy from now on. I hope we will hear from her again.
Going to watch grad dvds after this…
Obligatory Member Rankings
Rather than rank every single member of Momusu, like last year, I thought it would make more sense to just pick one member of each group. This is the year I really branched out (in my own eyes, anyway) and featured more than just Momusu. C-ute not so much, but that is only due to how tired I was this year. Berryz got some pic spam action and for me that is pretty new. S/mileage is the only group I have no interest in yet.
I see the one from High King, a Kago clone, a Kanna clone and then…another cutie pie. They don’t have such terrible voices and I don’t mind their debut single 15Sai(etc.etc), but really…no interest yet. Someone help. I really want to like them.
Here we go. I apologize if some of my choices are cliche.
Berryz Koubou – Chinami
Alo-hello, anyone? Her antics with Miyabi, utter failure at English and awesome reaction to getting a discount made me adore her. Also when she was at the beach and screaming at the water when she was waiting for it and saw it coming made me laugh a lot more than I expected to laugh.
Man she is adorable! I don’t even know if I like her voice. She isn’t exactly featured on singles and I don’t really listen to Berryz albums, but I’ve liked what little I’ve heard. I like her brightness and her mischief. Hopefully they will give Berryz more dvds like that one. I never would have realized she had a personality if not for this alo hello. CHINAMI FTW!
Oh make no mistake, she’s judging you. You can tell she is in every single inscrutable picture. Seriously! What else could that expression be!??
She knows very well that she’s an adorable little minx and will eat your soul if you get too close. She knows if she yells loud enough she can get whatever she wants (even a group with Nakazawa). She knows she can dance and sing like nobody’s business and she isn’t afraid to use internet resources to let everyone know that. Tsunku not giving her enough screen time? Fine! She’ll go to ITunes/Youtube and just pwn everyone on her own. TAKE THAT
In a group full of kidz (and let’s be honest, one total diva), she is the only one who has a consistent attitude and it that only makes you want to see more of her. Chisato completely murdered Dance de Bakoon and her forays into youtube and Itunes only made me love her more. I want to see a lot more of her next year!
Buono – Airiri
I’m sorry, if that isn’t a diva face, I don’t know what is! And why shouldn’t she be one? She could sing just as well when she was barely ten. She’s grown up in H!P and she’s a significant lead in two groups (one more successful than the other, but that is beside the point)! She’s very pretty even with
those baby teeth that crooked smile!
I really don’t know anything about her personality, so the diva comment is not in reference to that – I just think her singing is that aweosme. This cap is from the BravoBravo pv, obviously, but it was around that single that I really started to like her. Her voice has always been strong, but I really love her in Buono. She stands out so much. I guess I don’t need to hope to hear more of her in 2011; she’s pretty much sitting pretty. I would like to see what her personality is like. If only they had a show again…
Morning Musume – Takahashi Ai
Sorry guys, I just love riida very much. I think it’s easy to love Ai based soley on how gorgeous she is and how strong she is in singing and dancing (cause daYmn!!!), but what endears me to her continues to be her shyness and her leadership style. It’s hard for me to find shyness simply “boring” because I sympathize so much with it. When your occupation means you have to talk constantly, but the moment you stumble you feel crushed and panic, it takes a lot of willpower to keep on going. She has kept going for ten years. TEN YEARS! Being embarrassed when you stumble over your words is not so much a shyness issue as a personality issue – I think it’s pretty clear she is a perfectionist when it comes to herself.
Also, she is doing pretty well for being placed in a leadership role she wasn’t even prepared for – Momusu and now all of H!P! Riida’s style seemed to grow naturally from her personality. I think more than perhaps any of the other leaders, she can sympathize with the others, especially when they stumble. The age difference really seemed less in 8/9 nin Momusu and so it was easier for her to see even her kouhai as more equal; maybe that’s why she didn’t want them to call her ‘Takahashi-san’ and kept telling everyone that ‘Ai-chan’ was better.
I loved hearing stories about her doing ‘leader’ things. Junjun said that when she first joined she was criticized for “just doing her makeup” and not practicing her dancing with the others. Ai took her aside and told her about it. JJ yelled angrily at Ai that she had been practicing at home. Ai responded by bursting into tears and saying, “I believe you, but we don’t see what you do at home. Everyone worked hard to get to this point, so we need to see you working hard too.” More than one member has told stories about how terrible she is at cheering them up because she just ends up crying too. I think that is so endearing though. It takes a rare sort of person to take on the emotions of others. Maybe it’s not productive, but it certainly creates a bond. Isn’t unity what you want in a group?
I also loved the stories of how she tried to bring JJ and Linlin out of themselves a little bit. For instance, she would sit with Linlin when they traveled to try and get her to open up a little, talking with her, letting her cry or listening to music with her (seems Linlin wasn’t very good at relying on others. ). There is a great maternal sense in her leadership style and I love that about her. That is why 8/9 nin was so close; they united like family. I really think Ai-chan is amazing.
This has been a light year for headers too. I had very few ideas, despite all the awesome photos we got this year. Here are the few I thought turned out well.
Some of my favourites in H!P. I really love Nacchi here.
I really wanted to use these photos of Nacchi, because she is just too adorable, but it took forever to position them right and then another couple hours to figure out where the name of the site would be. Whew.
Matsuura is downright gorgeous in this pv.
The cutest photo set ever.
Nacchi is too gorgeous.
This came from the pwn that was the Rival Survival Tour costumes and the grad announcement. These three are lovely and will be missed!
Will miss this Momusu so very much…
Let’s get ready for more good things next year! I can honestly say I have no idea what to expect.
But I’m excited for it.
Happy New Year everybody!