In Which Isilie Returns #4


kch251Picture that has nothing to do with anything: Just thought I’d give you some Ishikawa-puppy rabu. NO idea who made this, but it’s adorable. Does anybody else remember Hey Mirai??

Momusu + puppies = massive pwn.

Cuteness overload!!

In these entries, I will write about things that I’m thinking about that don’t require a full post. I will try to make it more interesting with pics, caps, gifs and by limiting myself to 100 words or less for each thought.It’s called a ‘return’ because I frequently seem to go too long without posting, mainly because my thoughts don’t always require a full post. Well – NO MORE!

That Being Established, Let’s take a Moment to Break my Own Rules to talk about Airiri Getting a BUDOKAN SOLO CONCERT/ALBUM!?

My first thought was, “She must have deep pockets!” I mean, I’m not saying that she isn’t talented. Frankly she is still one of my favourite voices ever, but I thought that going from Cotton Club to one of the biggest venues in Japan was quite the leap…

But then, you can’t separate her 15 (?) years of idol experience from solo work; it’s still the same concept, isn’t it? It’s not like Airi didn’t get tons of well-earned solo moments already. I supposed my initial skepticism came from the various other solo attempts in H!P history, none of which have really panned out to the point that any of them could hold Budokan on their own. Airiri feels different.

I listened to her solo album preview and it made me feel like, “Wow, her voice has finally been unleashed!”

Now I’m old enough to remember Goto Maki’s Avex “return” and how people kept going on about how now she could FINALLY make REAL music. She’d been the golden-child of the Golden Era and then had unceremoniously decided to graduate and go to America for a bit. People desperately wanted her back. It was like Goto made H!P legit or something. Things were in transition for a while. Some people just missed her as fans, but there were a lot of blog posts at the time about how she’d been robbed in H!P. After she returned, Goto even gave a sort-of controversial interview in which she said (to summarize) that Tsunku had so much control that she felt her voice wasn’t even her own anymore; she felt every voice had become the same.

Well, Tsunku doesn’t have as much control anymore, but he did find Goto, give her a chance, train her, promote her, and give her endless opportunities. Some of the fans felt her comments were at best ungrateful, at worst arrogant.

Why am I going on about Goto?
Because Airiri seems to have a similar amount of love. I doubt if she has the mythic status Goto had in her hey-day, but she certainly has a large, devoted fanbase. She doesn’t look raccoon-eyed, big-haired, and bejeweled either; she still looks like herself. It feels like rather than ‘re-inventing’ herself in a new company image, she’s simply continuing to grow.

In C-ute, they were allowed to become adults, still idol-like, but also fierce and mature. I don’t know if Tsunku would have done things like that or not, but we have to remember that Tsunku was a very different man when he was writing for Goto than when C-ute was basically taken out of his hands.

I’m saying this because I don’t want to imply that she can make “real” music now. I refuse to decry her time in H!P, no matter the argument. Idol music is still music. She’ll be able to hold that stage because of her established fanbase, her incredible voice, and the years and years of experience performing in venues of all sizes.

When I say her voice is ‘unleashed’, all I mean is, now she can sing without worrying about idol-affectations or pissing off Chisato (a legit worry – let’s all remember and learn from this disaster). She doesn’t have to worry about being too powerful, or not cute enough, or sounding too polished etc. You can’t deny idol-like singing is its own style and it comes with expectations. Part of its charm is the way you hear both strong and weak voices.

I’ve never followed C-ute, or Airiri enough to be able to comment on her personality, but I have read she’s a bit of a show-off. Now she can show-off all she likes. I hope she brings the roof down with that voice (metaphorically, of course).

One of the things I love most about her singing, is how stupidly happy she looks. I watch her beaming as she effortlessly hits those notes and it makes me happy too.

Sure, it might just be that she thinks she’s hot stuff, but I mean, you can’t argue with talent.

I really love this voice.

I want this album. Now.

We now Resume the Usual Format

Wada Ayaka is graduating. I was kinda shocked; she still feels too young to leave. I’m always curious to read about graduates I’m not familiar with; I don’t have the resources or energy to follow every single idol in H!P. Ayaka has always floated around my radar, but it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I really saw her as an important part of H!P. Her quiet devotion to the groups she led was nice to see. From her blog, I get a sense that she really cares for her juniors. It will be sad to lose her. (Word Count: 99)


I am obsessed with Say AHA. I can’t stop listening to this. (Word Count: 12)

 

I like that I can’t figure out if Yokoyama is being an insincere suck-up, or is genuinely delighted when her senpai spoil her. Similiarly, I love that Kaedi has become the popular, boy-member, whom everybody wants to take to lunch. And she barely even notices. They’ve fit in so seamlessly, it’s hard to imagine they have barely been in the group a year. (Word Count: 63)

 

Ogata goes into Derp-overdrive when Kaedi throws an arm around her.

I found this pic of Smile-time the other day and revisited some of their first singles. Their music has always been a little insane. It got more manageable (for my ears, anyway) after second gen but then seemed to slow. After Angel-May arrived, I discovered where all that manic energy that Tsunku put into their early songs went: behind the scenes. That’s why, when I see them backstage, they seem completely insane compared to the other groups. Wada described them as ‘animals’. I started to notice it in their choreography too. I hope that doesn’t change when Ayaka leaves. (Word Count: 99)

Besties!

Hungry, desperate, hard-working Ikuta! Her singing is getting better and I think she’s comfortable with her prickly, aloof character. Her athletics have earned her a place in every dance moment on stage and she’s milking it by working ever harder. All that’s needed now is to stop looking so severe every time it’s her turn to sing. (Word Count: 57)

(gif from google; not mine)

See you all next time,

Isilie

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