In Which Isilie Reviews 2016: New Hope

krwbhicI won’t promise you that I’ll post more next year, because I do that almost every year and fail. I will say that my fandom is not over, even if I don’t post much, and if I have something to talk about, I will talk about it. I think the unceremonious (for me) loss of Idolminded put a huge dent in my motivation. Pretty feeble, I know. I didn’t realize how much I relied on it and took it for granted.

For those unaware, Idolminded (originally International Wota) was a site that gathered different articles/posts from the idol blogosphere for people to easily access. Sometimes they’d just describe the articles, but sometimes they’d comment on them, or feature them specifically, especially if multiple authors had weighed in on a certain subject.

I received so much encouragement, in regards to my writing, and so much information, in regards to the fandom. Because of this site, people started to read mine and I’ve always been humbled and grateful for that. In October 2015 they stopped posting. I hello_project-673768haven’t been able to discover why, but I’m guessing it’s just that real life became more important and that is absolutely understandable.

I just want to thank anyone and everyone involved in that site, if they are reading this, for all the confidence you’ve given me over the years and all your hard work. You have no idea how much you’ve helped this community. And I hope we’ll all keep writing and finding each other as long as this fandom continues. m (_ _) m

I really should try out some forums, huh?

Anyway, I didn’t post much this year, of course, but that’s not to say I didn’t notice anything that happened. Like I said, I felt a distinct lack of motivation. I think I’ve stopped thinking of posting as fun and started to feel obligated. I don’t like that. I don’t see why it can’t be both. H!P is still a great love of mine, after all.

Despite what so many say, I don’t think H!P ever really stagnates, it just doesn’t always change as fast as people want, or in the way that people expect. In fact I think sometimes the problem is the opposite: that H!P stays the same for a while and people have no attention span don’t like that.

Before we look forward, let’s look back a bit, shall we?

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In Which it’s too Real

tumblr_o26u13zPvS1rnzpzzo2_1280Zukki is graduating.

To sum up the announcement that I’m sure you’ve all read by now: she’s graduating at the end of the Spring tour to eventually work in “welfare”. It’s unclear if she means social work exactly, but based on her inspiration for the decision (the Satouyama things), it’s probably something humanitarian.

It’s the usual “did my best”, “thought long and hard about this decision”, “please support me” and so forth.

Bro and I were watching Shige’s last Music Station performance the other day (a pitifully short clip) and afterwards he sighed mournfully, like seeing her was painful. I teased him until he reminded me that she didn’t just graduate, she left show business altogether (“It’s over after graduation.”). Zukki is doing the same thing.

In a sense, it’s way too real.

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In Which Isilie Reviews 2015: Triple-A-Sides all around!

tumblr_nv56opi5r31u3sw5uo1_1280I know I didn’t post much this year…again. And I apologize for that. Real life took up a lot of time and a game series called Dynasty Warriors (full disclosure). Plus the excessive amount of triple-a-sides for every group, every release, overwhelmed me a little. There’s still a forth-coming post about Imasugu Tobikumo Yuuki…

Anyway, usually at the end of the year I post about everything that I liked , or interesting things I saw during the year around H!P. It’s an Itsumo Genki tradition and even if no one reads this anymore, I still feel I have to write one or the year can’t really end.

I’ve gotten more and more sick of my own format though. Especially since I don’t post as often anymore, it doesn’t make sense to really call it a review of the year. I can’t think of much of anything that I covered, except, of course, for Momusu. So, let’s keep the title, for old times sake.

Here is what I loved and didn’t love in 2015.

(Just a heads up: I have nothing to say about C-ute or Country Girls, for various reasons, none of which mean that I hate them. I didn’t invest much time in C-ute and Country Musume has yet to bleep my radar. Plus, Momo still frightens me.)

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Don’t Underestimate the Zuk!

zukkifromzukkilovetumblrI’m just going to put this out there: I love Zukki. It’s true that I feel strongly about her now because I had the opportunity to go to New York and see her perform and shake her hand. We had a moment and I still squee thinking about that. The thing is I had a lot of affection for her before any of that. This had nothing to do with my own weight, or with some feeling of pity for her and everything to do with the fact that from the start Zukki hasn’t been anything like any other member.

(fabulous gif from OtsukaKannon on tumblr)

Zukki has always been a hard character to pin down. She has been genki, but also oddly bashful, vulnerable and yet fearless (especially on variety). She began as a strange and funny character, doing impressions of bugs and such. Then it was like something changed and, yes, she gained some weight.

For a while it was hard to get her to talk, let alone be onscreen during appearances. She doesn’t get many singing lines and her dancing, despite improving, is hard to see when she’s always in the background. When she did get to talk she did some funny faces (that the agency asked her to do) and not much else, despite her variety talent. She did generally seem delighted with the other girls, like she was happy they were getting attention and didn’t want to get in the way of that.

She used to be a bit smaller, but she’s never been skinny the way that Iikubo or Ayumin are skinny and yet I’ve never heard her speak of dieting the way Konno or Ogawa used to. In Japan all they ever have to say to her is, “why so fat?” and yet when she came to New York, before she could even introduce herself, we all cheered so loud for her that we drowned out her mic.

Japan was absurdly shocked about this and the only explanation that they could come up with was, “she’s American-sized”. Zukki herself said this line also, because almost every post-NY interviewer asked her, “Why do they love you overseas?” like they couldn’t figure it out. It feels like a company line.


I’m going to have to talk about this, aren’t I?

I am so gonna get flamed…

Continue reading “Don’t Underestimate the Zuk!”