In Which Isilie Reviews 2017~~

I think saying, “What a year!” is quite the understatement. There have been so many changes, it’s hard to know where to start. Even someone like me, who pretty much only follows Morning Musume, couldn’t help but take notice. I don’t think any group, except Tsubaki Factory is exempt from the relentless changes this year. Although they did unexpectedly get good.

Country Girls got split up and placed into other groups; Momoko finally graduated, but then Shige decided to return; Kobushi Factory got chopped from 8 to 5 without ceremony; Kuudo Harukins left us for acting; Some of the Eggs (they will always be Eggs to me) debuted with a fabulous, fabulous song.

There’s probably more, but let’s try and talk about one thing at a time, shall we? This is gonna be LONG.

(Unless otherwise stated, any gifs aren’t mine; random google searches)

Continue reading “In Which Isilie Reviews 2017~~”

The Strange Case of Eri-pon

ikuta-erina-669712The first time I ever met Ikuta Erina…ok, well, the only time I likely will ever meet her, was during the handshake portion of 2014’s New York concert.

I remember I’d just been overwhelmed by my Zukki moment and then floored by how warm and sweet Riho had been, then there was Eri-pon.

And I just froze, dumbfounded. She’s so very, very small. I’ve never seen a human that is that small. I mean, short, yes, but skinny, with a tiny face. This isn’t a criticism, by the way. It honestly shocked me. I had sort of expected BOSS and Oda to be small and gorgeous, but this level of tiny was entirely different.

Eri-pon spoke, saying, “arigatou gozaimasu” and her voice was incredibly high-pitched. I looked in her eyes as I shakily remembered to take her hand and saw that wince. She had smiled, but her eyes had that ‘I think that went badly’ wince that I kept seeing in variety shows or dvd magazines. Before I could say anything, apologize for what I’m sure was a strange, nonplussed face, I was pushed on

When Bro and I compared notes later, he said that he’d basically burst out laughing the second she spoke and he’d felt terrible, but couldn’t stop laughing. It was that high-pitched voice and the wince that you can’t un-see once you start to notice it.

And it’s not that either of us are mocking her or think she’s somehow laughable.
There was just something so odd about her. Continue reading “The Strange Case of Eri-pon”

H!P (de)Evolves Yet Again: The Other ‘Half of it’

Permit me a small freak-out post, even though you and I both know that everything is going to be fine.

I suppose ‘evolution’ is the word I want. But this is starting to be more than I can handle. I’m not trying to pick on AKB (although I suspect it will come across that way), but that is not a format I want for H!P. It’s not what H!P is. If H!P becomes a giant, unstable idol factory in which every group can just be shuffled at will and auditions don’t mean anything and groups that have worked hard get unceremoniously split up or the group name just suddenly disappears-

Let me explain a bit less dramatically.

Continue reading “H!P (de)Evolves Yet Again: The Other ‘Half of it’”

In Which Platinum Gen Changed Everything: Part Three

PART THREE: Paving the way for Colourful Era

I still think the Platinum Era members of Momusu had it tough and it’s only now that people are realizing how amazing that group became. During promotions for their 20th anniversary, Shige said that if people were going to praise the members of that time, she wishes they would have done it back then. As Takahashi pointed out, “No one called it ‘Platinum’ at that time!” One of the most frustrating things they heard back then was, “What is Morning Musume up to nowadays?”

There were many factors contributing to their lack of popularity in Japan, but one of the major ones I cited was the appearance of AKB48. They were younger, newer, they were more accessible (at the time) and they had the variety emphasis Momusu no longer had. Momusu had to figure out what it wanted to be in the bridge period between the Golden Era and whatever they were to become. I think people generally agree that their Golden Era ended when Yossy graduated, but the usual transition was interrupted by Fujimoto Miki unexpectedly resigning to be with the man she eventually married (“Shoujiiiiii!”). Until Tsunku could find our ninth generation, Momusu had to recreate itself without their senpai to help.

One of the main things I kept seeing in blogs was ranting about ‘stagnation’ and it still bothers me. For a period of such immense changes, people didn’t seem to see anything but the lack of auditions and reliance on the same types of songs for each new release. I’m going to try and explain why I feel they didn’t stagnate; in fact, I think their development raised the bar for future generations and paved the way for the Colourful Era.

Continue reading “In Which Platinum Gen Changed Everything: Part Three”

In Which BOSS Leaving Isn’t Even the Half of it.

I am shocked.

I’m disappointed.

Mostly, I’m just shocked.

I had no idea. NONE. Like everyone else (at least everyone I’ve read), I assumed that Iikubo or maybe Fuku-hime would be next in line to graduate. See, we were all thinking about ages, huh? We didn’t think about one of the girls actually wanting to leave, because she honestly loves acting more than idol-ing.

It happens, people. Even to those who pwn our idol socks right off.

I was all ready to start posting about Kudo’s graduation, but then the bizarre revival of the shuffles happened and now I don’t even know where to start…So I split things up and I’ll just focus on one at a time.

Let’s pretend for a moment BOSS graduating is still all there is to it…

And while I’m at it, sneak in a small pv review.

Continue reading “In Which BOSS Leaving Isn’t Even the Half of it.”

In Which it’s Been 20 Years of Momusu.

I don’t think I can express to you what Momusu means to me. I haven’t been a fan since the beginning, of course. I don’t live in Japan, can barely speak/understand the language (workin’ on it!) and can only understand idol culture on a surface level. What I can do is come out of my long hiatus, full of writer’s block and lack of motivation, to tell you about what being a fan of Momusu for the last ten years has meant to me.

(Unless otherwise stated, all caps/gifs are from random google-searches/tumblrs – not mine!)

Continue reading “In Which it’s Been 20 Years of Momusu.”

Dancing, Singing, Exciting C-uuuuuute!

c-ute-hagiwara-mai-nakajima-saki-okai-chisato-suzuki-airi-yajima-maimi-653941I usually hate doing these list posts.   I feel like I should have more to say about these girls, but since I really can’t think of anything, I can talk about the only thing I know about them: their singles.

One of the best things about C -ute is that when they pop up on the radar they give me something that takes over my life for a little bit, whether that’s an amazing bit of choreography that I can’t stop watching or a song that keeps playing endlessly in my head from the moment I hear it. If Momusu is my H!P home, then C-ute is my exciting vacation: they’re lovely for a time and then I head home feeling refreshed.

So, without further adieu: Isilie’s favourite C-ute pvs/singles!

(WARNING: Lots of youtube embeds. Look out!)

Continue reading “Dancing, Singing, Exciting C-uuuuuute!”

Brand New Ace Formation

bnm04676

We’re back everybody (and once again, I’m absurdly behind in my reviews)! After a brief and glorious respite from the heavy formation choreography and the blatant pushing of an Ace member – it’s all made a comeback in Brand New Morning, Momusu’s declaration of war on 2017.

Ok, well it’s actually not a war declaration. It’s an uplifting song about moving forward in confusing times and using all your power for good and so forth; it’s the usual morning fare with perhaps a whiff of politics (although to say this song is about Trump seems stupid to me). But this is a BRAND NEW morning (get it?) and we have two fabulous new members to shake things up.

Continue reading “Brand New Ace Formation”

In Which Platinum Gen Changed Everything – Part Two

PART TWO: The Stagnation Situation

After about two years of Platinum generation, with their slowly declining sales and lack of television presence, it seemed like every post about Momusu involved the word ‘stagnation’. The O.Gs were almost always onscreen when Momusu got to appear and as a result, the concept of the Golden Age became a topic of endless, heated debate. This is also the first time I ever encountered the concept of ‘rage-quitting’ a fandom: “They are just so bad that I am QUITTING them dammit!!.

Never mind all the changes that had happened two years ago and how lightning quick O.Gs had graduated or just exited (it was hard to catch your breath after Abe Natsumi graduated); Never mind the unprecedented move of having Chinese members in Momusu, or the fact that long-time shows had ended and new shows had taken their places; Never mind how H!P was slowly condensing, splitting into Elder Club and WonderfulheartsLand only to have a massive Elder Club exodus in only a couple years; Never mind how very different concerts became when there wasn’t that strong emphasis on variety anymore and how each girl had to step up her game.

Nope. All that mattered was Momusu was the same as it was a year ago, and let’s not forget the looming juggernaut of the emerging AKB48!

What was Itsumo Genki, Momusu-Supporter, to do? Was it really that bad? Let’s take a look at some of the things that I can remember people hating about the Platinum era.

Continue reading “In Which Platinum Gen Changed Everything – Part Two”