Category Archives: J-Pop

tsunku trolls us all again

imagesLast year, the name of Morning Musume’s Spring concert tour “Michishige SOUL11″ sparked speculation that Sayumi Michishige would be the next Morning Musume graduate. Shortly after, it was announced that the other 6th Generation member Reina Tanaka would be graduating instead.

Hello! Project producer tsunku loves trolling us all – but his latest announcement has shocked everyone. After annoucing the search for the “Mirai Shoujo” of Morning Musume, to which 5,600 girls applied, tsunku has now announced that no one has passed, as well as giving us a few other interesting morsels:

  • Morning Musume currently has it’s strongest lineup;
  • If the 12th gen applicants had applied at the time of the 9th gen auditions, they would have won and
  • No one of the 12th gen applicants is strong enough to join Momusu.

tsunku’s confidence is Momusu is amazing, but many old school Momusu fans don’t agree.  Vocally, Momusu are at one of their weajest points and have relied heavily on autotuned, electro-pop singles to mask this.

tsunku’s point about the 9th gen seems a little… insulting.  Although he mentions the 9th gen’s improvement, it begs to question whether they will be first to go once the graduations kick in.

I’m a big Platinum era fan, but a grievous error was made during this time.  tsunku took too long to insert new girls into the group, leaving Morning Musume vocally weak and now heavily dependent on Ayumi and Riho’s dancing abilities.  The current line up need to develop their singing ability.

I agree that Morning Musume didn’t need new members, but why was everyone’s time wasted in the first place with the auditions?

Oh tsunku!

(Source )


JE Decline in dramas?… yeah right!

According to a translated post on Arama Johnny’s Entertainment are being pulled out of leading roles in J-Dramas.

I wouldn’t call myself a die hard Johnny’s fan, but I do have a lot of time for them, and I also have a lot of time for dramas. I probably haven’t watched something starring a JE star since Uta no Onii-san in 2009. The Japanese public seem to have coined on to the idea that just because someone famous appears in the drama, it doesn’t essentially make it good.

It’s also quite amusing when considering this coupled with the sudden surge of AKB in drama. Hana Kimi 2 (which had one of it’s supporting roles played by Ikuta Tomo, a JE actor) has got dire ratings – and deservedly so as it seems like a selection of female cast popularity over series and male casting quality. Putting a large number of members of a female idol group dedicated to wota fanservice into a reverse harem drama which the subtitle is “Ikemen Paradise” is completely nonsensical, especially when members of that idol group need a few more acting lessons.

And despite this, JE still have a lot more roles than most other idol groups. In short – I don’t really think they’re in much trouble as some talent agencies would like to think. Maybe they’re just being more selective and not putting their talent in every drama available and chosing quality scripts and production teams in future over shows with sliding ratings.

OriUp’d Vol. 4

After taking a couple weeks off – I’m back. Last week’s top 5:

  1. Passpo – Shoujo Hikou (42,706)
  2. MBLAQ – Your Luv (40,281)
  3. THE ALFEE – Let It Go (23,0108)
  4. Jang Keun Suk – Let me cry (22,707)
  5. Shoujo Jidai – MR. TAXI / Run Devil Run (20,623)

Narrow sales margins between first and second, but really well done to Passpo, who have broken a couple of records with their debut #1.

This week has been the first in a while where we’re looking at the possibility of a top 10 full of new entries. Battling at the top are, also, three very different acts.

Male idol group Kanjani8 come back with the second of the trio of singles they’ll be releasing this summer, “My Home“. A gentle rocky number, with a nice guitar solo in the middle. The PV is pretty generic, switching between the boys doing DIY poorly in a house and them playing instruments and singing the song. JE fans will probably bump this to number 1.

BUMP OF CHICKEN are back with “Smile“, a simple acoustic number. It’s quite a nice track, and quite different to what we here in this half of the Oricon. I do love the screaming of “aaaaah” and any song with a key change at the end has to be epic. PV pretty bland – shots of cartoon like sketches.

French Kiss make sure the 48 franchise also has an entry this week with “Kakko Warui I love you“, an up-beat pop number being used as the theme to anime “SKET Dance“… not my favourite single this week, but none the less, selling well. PV is just dance shot + close up. I’m feeling pretty indifferent towards this.

Other entries include double a-sides from aiko and Tokyo Jihen, more anisong from UVERWORLD (CORE PRIDE for Ao no Exorcist) and May’n (Scarlet Ballet for Hidan no Aria).

May’n’s latest entry sounds slightly like they’re trying to turn her into Nana Mizuki. Stay true to your style May’n, you’re epic in your own way (although her PV does rock).

My favourite entry this week has to be Yuu Kikkawa‘s “Kikkake wa you” which has been stuck between 10-12 position, but I’ll save that for another post, but even if you’re not a Hello! Project fan at the moment, it’s really worth a listen as the B-sides are also really good.

So this week, amongst the boring PVs, I’ll leave you with a gem – Tokyo Jihen‘s “Onna no ko wa Daredemo“. I’m not a big fan of their style of music, but they’re PV is definitely the most interesting of the week!

Morning Musume Announces 10th Audition

Wow, this came out of the blue. Tsunku has announced that Morning Musume will now be accepting applicants for the 10th generation audition starting from today and ending on June 13th.

The theme of the new generation is “Genkijirushi” which my dictionary tells me means “Promising“. Looking back however, names are meaningless to a generation. Wasn’t Koharu supposed to be the Miracle? Miracle for her own solo career in Kirarin Revolution maybe, but not so much for Morning Musume. The age range is also very slim: 12 – 15 years it’s probably one of the most specific yet.

This announcement could be the prelude to something a little more ominous, however. Could another of the older members be graduating before the end of the year? Either that or the amount Ai‘s being paid is going to support two new members and excessive promoting alone (which I actually wouldn’t doubt). I would not at all be surprised if we saw Aika being the leader of Momusu within two years, as the new wash of talent being recruited and new style will definitely lead to Gaki, Reina and even possibly the “forever young” Sayu looking out of place with a bunch of under 16s.

But, the news isn’t all bad. New members wouldn’t have been put into the group unless the 9th generation were proving popular – right? Either something is going terribly wrong at Hello! Project HQ or tsunku thinks enough has already been done for the girls to attract new fans. Also, many fans have noticed the depletion in the stock of Eggs lately. Personally, I’ve never had much time for the Eggs, except for the MilkyWay girls. When they hatch, they can produce some excellent talent (S/mileage, ManoEri, V-U-DEN, Lin Lin), however, watching an Egg be incubated is sometimes a slow and monotonous process. Maybe it’s a secret ploy to get another Egg into H!P to stop a particular girl from leaving? Who knows?

I do wonder how the 9th generation will feel about this however. They were probably looking forward to being the juniors for a little bit longer, and instead, it looks like they could possibly be mentors with less than a year of experience. I would imagine that it will push them to really up their game and stand out. For me, Zukki (Kanon Suzuki) with her hilarious behaviour and Riho (Riho Sayashi) have done this alone. Riho is being branded the next Ai-chan, which we can see from her extraordinary dance skills. The problem is, none of the 9th generation have those exceptional vocal abilities that Ai-chan has. Out of the remaining members, Gaki and Reina are the only girls who have very, very good singing voices, but neither compare to Ai-chan.

All the same, I’m keeping my eyes open, as I suspect at the Summer Hello! Project concert we may hear another “shock” announcement from Gaki, Sayu or Reina.

Any chance they’ll let Mogi in this time?

You’re still my #1 Mogi! Speaking of age range, Mogi wouldn’t have been accepted by last years standards? I wonder how young the mysterious 6th girl who dropped out was? Maybe they felt that the ender 12s were too young?

Anywho, I’ll look forward to the current unfolding events from Hello! Project. They know how to keep me interested.

C-ute – Momoiro Sparkling

I’m a little confused by C-ute. Their last few singles have shown a move towards a more mature image, yet all of a sudden, they come out with fluffy, ubeat “Momoiro Sparkling“.

To be honest, from the reactions people were having to the song, I was expecting it to be a regression of the girls, but instead, I was nicely surprised. A bright, airy summer PV, traditional H!P backing vocals (it sounds like tsunku and Atsuko Inaba although as her contract with UFA has ended it probably isn’t) and… equal line distribution – in C-ute?! For me it’s always been a fact of life that C-ute was the Airi and Maimi show, but to see and hear so much of Nakky, Chisa and MaiMai is great!

As people have said, this single is a bit of a departure from their previous singles. Since Dance de BAKOON! C-ute have been pushing hard towards a sexier image, which really worked for them. But, although I can understand many fans’ disappointment, I’m glad that they can still put Maimai in some dungaree shorts, let the girls play with water-guns and inflatable balls and still pull it off. I think all the girls are wearing fantastic costume choices, and those killer heels still give all 5 girls an element of maturity. I especially love Chiasato in this PV. She’s really starting to stand out, in a very good way, in C-ute – and her hair and outfit are adorable.

For once, the main problem with this song isn’t the PV, the vocals, the balance or even the arrangement of the song. It’s that the song just isn’t very catchy. The chorus just doesn’t draw you in enough, there are no real hooks to the song, making the track forgettable.

Overall though, I love this PV, and the song does grow on you. H!P have seemed to perfect the “budget PV” (although I’d ask for your money back for those pink CGI bubbles) and regardless of making comparisons to other groups it’s a cracking effort from C-ute, going in a different direction to their usual one.