I didn’t post as much as I wanted, that is true, but I did manage to do one post a day for a week (Alo-Hello Week!) as a personal challenge. I decided to try and contribute to Sora to Kujira. This is a commitment for the new year and a new challenge. I’m so nervous and grateful!!
I decided to do Isilie Returns, posts consisting of things that I wanted to talk about but didn’t really have a whole post about which made me more concise and took some of the pressure off.
The happy event of Tanaka Reina (or Winky as she’s known here) FINALLY graduating happened in 2013 to much fanfare and happiness (on my part, anyway). I’d been waiting and waiting for that and let me tell you, the relief when she was no longer in the single and I got to hear Fukuhime and Masaki and FINALLY Sakura…man, so happy. SO happy!
Berryz and C-ute went to Budokan…which I didn’t really investigate, but still, YAY! S/mileage finally made me like a single enough to listen to it more than once. And then there is Juice = Juice.
This might be longer than I thought.
First of all, of course, is Morning Musume.
Best Single: Help Me!
I’m surprised at myself, because we had amazing songs like Wagamama and Brainstorming this year and those songs blew my mind. Also, this song still contains Winky and is one of the most high-pitched, busy songs ever.
But I’m sorry.
I can’t overcome my personal love of the song, even in the face of Winky and mirror-crackin’ high-notes.
Do you ever listen to a song in a particularly vulnerable moment and it just takes hold of your heart and won’t let go? Dramatic metaphors aside, I was listening to this song during some of my lowest moments this year, and even though it’s ostensibly about a girl waiting for the guy to call her and hating that she is waiting, I interpreted it differently. I won’t explain any further than to say it matched my feelings perfectly and it made me want to grit my teeth and keep moving, even though I was so sad and so beaten down. It’s not even the lyrics for me, really. The busy, robo music and the desperation inside are also very satisfying. Let’s not forget that interesting, complicated choreography, the debut of sleepy-Sakura-power-voice that impressed everybody, and that this was the first of three number ones for Momusu in a row.
Shame about those costumes though.
The costumes have improved since then.
I also love the b-sides on this single so much…
Member of the Year
Ishida Ayumi – I don’t call her Daishi, but I do tend to call her Ayumin.
I could watch that gif for hours. Thank you Wota in Translation.
Perhaps it’s her face when she’s dancing, or that strange ‘poor-character’ she seems to have in the eyes of some wota, but mostly it’s because she’s become this adorable little ball of energy. She’s still a great dancer, but her singing is getting slowly better. I can’t stop watching her. If she really is this country-bumpkin, who takes her costumes home and such, or if that’s just the impression, it’s still something we haven’t really seen before.
It’s still not the same as how I felt about Yossy (what ever will be?), but it’s fun to have somebody to watch again. She’s just so adorable.
Kudo Haruka AKA. BOSS attempting Mr Moonlight. From Kudo Haruka Birthday Event ~Chuugakusei NIGHT!!~
I haven’t watched the whole dvd yet, so I can’t comment on anything but this one performance that Bro said I needed to see. I thought that the moment someone other than Yossy tried to do this, I would hate it. It’s one of those songs that can only succeed in powerful hands. You can’t half-ass it and you must immerse yourself in that host persona or no one will buy it.
Well, Haru-kins does her best. She doesn’t quite get any of the high-notes and her “Oide! Odorou!” is more of a question than a command to a giggling Masaki-kins, but it’s the damn cutest thing I saw in all of 2013!!! It felt like watching a little sister in a talent show with all her little friends. Riho is bellowing as best she can, but this is when her voice clearly needed a rest that she wasn’t giving it and Masaki is no Abe Natsumi, but it’s such a fun performance. If you can find it, check it out, because it’s so adorable it won me over.
BOSS, or Haru-kins, whichever she is at any given time takes risks and it’s awesome.
Not Yossy-level, but damn if she isn’t cute-ing her arse off trying!
Berryz didn’t have the best year. I don’t remember ever reading as much criticism for them as I did this year. Usually when I do things like rag on Risako’s diamond-sucking-smirk or call Miyabi Oatbag (which I haven’t done in quite a while, actually) people rush to defend the group as “the reason they got into H!P” and the group they have the most affection for, but this year almost everybody seemed dissatisfied and downright pissed with how badly they did.
Sure, they went overseas and they got a Budokan concert (yay!), but in terms of singles was there anything really that memorable?
I’ll use the Rock Erotic nonsense as an example of a risk they took that just didn’t pay off at all. I will admit that seeing Maasa work that coat in the pv was a treat, but I can’t get past Risako’s stupid rabbit ears and Momoko looking like a damn three-year-old. Song wasn’t even that good.
Or, if it was, I don’t remember it.
I think it’s the air guitar. Never do air-guitar in a song talking about “erotic” rock.
And what is this about Tsunku saying they’re all fat in some press conference?! Isn’t that unnecessarily harsh?
And why are people complaining that they are all different heights, and that means they don’t look good as a group, as though this is something no one has noticed before?
Anyway, people are saying maybe they’re done and need to move on, but I’m oddly not ready to let them go. I’ve never been their biggest fan, it’s true, but whether it’s Chinami’s legs, or Maasa’s super-awesome-happy smile, they managed to win me over. They can do cool and fun and even skirt the sexy-tongue-in-cheek thing, if it’s done right. For whatever reason, Berryz just had a bad year.
They’ve been around too long to just give in now. It’s different if the girls aren’t into it anymore, but it seems more like Tsunku was too busy to really give them much to work with. At least until this Rock stuff where he just plain tried too hard. Did anyone find this erotic??
I mean, aside from Captain.
Thank you Hyatt Land on tumblr!
Anyone else notice she’s fully into her ‘Wait-a-minute-I’m-awesome’ phase? I do remember being constantly taken aback by how amazing she looked and sounded in 2013. She sang Matsuura Aya’s Dearest in one of the H!P concerts and it was just beautiful.
And ok, Maasa is perfect, but still! (from here)
The only song of Berryz that I remember or liked even a little bit was Asian Celebration and that isn’t even because it’s a particularly good song. Parts are fun, but the chorus is quite annoying. Rather it’s more of what Berryz do best: quirky, spunky, strange songs that are kinda embarrassing to listen to (like Monkey Dance) but you can’t help loving (like Cha Cha Sing). When they do stuff that is too serious, when there isn’t that tongue-in-cheek edge, something is lost. I’m not saying, don’t take risks, because of course you have to, but I think there is a fine line between taking a risk and trying too hard.
Their new single looks interesting, at least.
And, hey, Momoko?
Do this more often. This should have been a makeover that STUCK!!!
Seriously. If she’d looked like this, maybe that pv would have…
Meh. Maybe not.
C-ute was, like Berryz, not on my radar last year, but when I did look them up, they were always dynamic, sexy, and powerful.
All their singles were strong, but I think Crazy Kanzen na Otona, for me was the most memorable, if only for those costumes. The vocals were strong too and that choreography…
There isn’t much I can say about them, as impressive as they are.
Don’t worry. I plan to catch up on concerts this year.
C-ute seems to be the strongest when they are live and can spread that power all over the stage.
I also want to highlight Chisato, because she’s not only hit her ‘wait-a-minute-I’m-awesome’ stage of her idol career, but she’s passed fully into ‘force-to-be-reckoned-with’ territory.
Observe her murder Only You, complete with embarrassing mic trouble that doesn’t phase her at all.
Looking forward to 2014.
PS: When did Brat become an adult?
Two words: Ee ka?
Love it. Squeaky raps? Random spazz attacks?
Technically, they had me at Yattaru-chan. Those are the only two I liked this year, but the fact that I liked them enough to listen to them more than once is a huge step in terms of my S/mileage fandom (if such a thing exists for Isilie).
More of this please. I might even learn their names this year.
Like this one.
We always just call her ‘the boy from S/mileage’.
Juice = Juice
I don’t know their names yet, minus Miyamoto, whom people have been going on about for years now. I remember her from Shin Mini Moni because she was so excited to be on stage that she was practically flying, shrieking out “Pen pen pen PEN PEN PEN!” It was pretty endearing, actually. I don’t remember her from Eggs, or whatever they are called now, because I’ve never followed them. But according to Wiki, these girls are gathered from there and debuted in 2013 after only two indie singles.
I had no interest and I scoffed.
But then I thought, “Why are you scoffing, Isilie? Why not take this opportunity to let a new unit of kids win you over? You can watch them from the start, support them in the future, and stop being this bitter old crank who only likes Momusu. I mean, you’re Itsumo Genki, not Itsumo can’t-be-arsed!”
Yes. I have these kinds of interactions with myself. Tell me you don’t. I won’t believe you.
So I gave Juice=Juice a chance. I got myself all their singles and pvs and watched them all. Listened to it all.
And honestly? They are a breath of fresh air. I really like them. Their ero-kawaii thing actually works without making me feel uncomfortable, something H!P has always been pretty good at. Tsunku has given them fun, interesting music and cute choreography with just a touch of class. Colour me invested.
Favourite member so far is Kanazawa Tomoko.
She has the best voice, as far as I can tell and despite the fact that Miyamoto is clearly the ace.
But I keep watching Akari too, because she looks like the little sister of AKB’s Kojima Haruna. I keep feeling like I’ve seen her somewhere before.
I liked all their releases for the use of real instruments (as much as I love robo-Hello!Pro, real instruments are a welcome change), the vocals and because I just can’t get the choruses out of my head.
My favourite of theirs so far is their debut Romance no Tochuu.
LOVE this song. Played it endlessly.
I’m really excited to see them in a concert.
They will be featured here, dammit! I WILL NOT BE A GRUMPY OLD BLOGGER!!
They won me over with their music. I’m curious to see what they’re like in variety.
Koi no Dance site, featuring my favourite caps. These I got from my own post about Momusu dancing. What can I say? They were good caps…
I really love this one. It just made me happy to see all those balloons and some of my fave members from Platinum Era.
Loved these costumes. I wanted to make it a 9th gen pic, but Sakura was too adorable not to include…besides, I included Shige in…
This one! 10th gen! I made Iikubo and Ayumin hold hands just cause it looked good (and Ayumin is bent oddly as it is).
Let me just end this by saying: WINKY IS GONE!!!!
I’ve made my feelings clear. Very clear.
It was the best. I even loved her grad concert, which was way less of a bow-wink-pink-squirrel fest than I expected. Can’t wait for 2014. Going to do my best to keep up and to read more blogs and comment when I feel the urge (cause I don’t do that enough).
Thank you, everyone who still reads this.
I mean it. ❤
Let’s have a genki year!
(Yeah I said it! *blush*)