Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bad news round-up, with a touch of sexy bea~m

First off, I am sick :( I've had a fever all day, and after performing a nasal swab (most unpleasant thing ever), the doctor at the health center determined I have a virus, but not the flu. My roommate and his fiancée have been weening me back to health with orange juice, ice cream, and Rooster Booster Lite.

As for the news that you folks really care about: Kanna is out of °C-ute indefinitely and Kirarin☆Revolution is ending next month!


According to a news piece on Stardust Kanna has severe bunions and won't be participating in °C-ute until she is feeling better, which will be a while. According to the article, "The statement from H!P says that they expect her to be out of the upcoming °C-ute concert tour and promotional activities for °C-ute’s single 'Bye Bye Bye!'"

Kanna is one of my favorite members of °C-ute, in fact I think she's the "cutest" member. I really hope that she feels better soon! Th embedded video below is a slideshow I made as a get well wish.


According to ★Strawberrie★'s blog, the anime Kirarin☆Revolution that gave us Tsukishima Kirari starring Kusumi Koharu (Morning Musume), Kira☆Pika, Milky Way, and SHIPS will be ending March 27 after a 5-year-long run.

Suddenly the best-of album and live show makes a lot more sense. I've never seen an episode of Kirarin☆Revolution but I've loved the music it has spawned. Milky Way got two amazing singles, and I can only hope that Kikkawa Yuu will get another project. Will this be the end of Koha's solo career? I certainly hope not. Her releases were selling like hot cakes, and as she got older and her personality developed I really grew to love her solo work.

And now, a bit of good news

Yaguchi Mari performed her upcoming single "Seishun Boku" on Quiz! Hexagon II! You can watch it in the video embedded below.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Maimi × (PB + UTB) → ♥♡♥

It appears that Yajima Maimi's 3rd photobook will be released sometime in April. This photobook ought to be AWESOME as Maimi seems to grow exponentially more beautiful every day.

Speaking of beautiful Maimi, she appeared in the third installment of her feature in the April UTB.

All photos from the Hello! Online Picboard

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mano Erina's 1st major single "Otome no Inori"

The PV for "Otome no Inori" has been released on Dohhh UP! This single will be released on March 18 and the single V will be released on March 25.

Link to video on Dohhh UP!

A third release in as many days! I'm not yet sure how I feel about this release, but I definitely have a lot to say.

The song

This is a really different sound for Hello! Project, but not for Mano Erina. I quite like "Mano Piano," "Lucky Aura," and "Lalala-Sososo," but I was expecting something a little more for her major debut. It's great that Mano can play the piano and has a light, clean voice, but this sound is probably going to get old fast. You can feature the piano without every song sounding the same. A "Jiriri Kiteru"-type track would suit her well.

I am really impressed that she can actually play the piano though. It's certainly better than the Berryz attempts at playing their own songs!

The outfits

Yesterday I was all excited about getting three outfits from Maeda Yuki in "Kenchana ~Daijoubu~." In this PV we have more ouftis than have been seen since "Koi no Telephone GOAL!" There were SIX of them~!!

Navy blazer and red plaid seifuku from the regular and limited A covers

Cream blazer and blue plaid seifuku

A white sparkly dress with fuzzy accents and a necklace.

A different white sparkly dress. This time no fuzzies, no necklace, and different hair.

A navy and pink casual outfit with cute half-up hair.

A yellow shirt + denim shorts casual outfit with high ponytail.

Over all, pretty cute. I was disappointed to not see any purple as Mano looks gorgeous in purple:

But overall, good looks for her.

The set

It could just be me but the little room she was in reminded me of the "Chokotto LOVE" PV.

The little room was cute and it was nice to see her in a setting that wasn't all CG, but a little variety would have been nice! I guess they spent all of their budget on the six outfits and the piano :(

I did really like the overhead shots though:

It was very different camera work from what we usually see in a Hello! Project PV.


Mano hands leading out of the chorus!

Mano eyes! Clearly these are windows into her otome no tamashii,

Final verdict: Mano has decent looks and vocals, so what really sets her apart his her piano playing. That being said, it's good that she was playing in her major debut, but we need some variety!

I expect this single to sell well. Mano has been all over the magazines in the last few months, UFA is obviously pushing it (4 different editions, really?), and her latest indie single actually manage to chart. On the other hand, if she doesn't get some diversity in her sound people will get sick of it fast.

Now that all of the soloists (except Koharu) have graduated we need to replenish the supply! Also, we need more Eggs debuting! Sadly, the decisions are up to UFA, who haven't always made the best choices in the past.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Maeda Yuki's 9th single "Kenchana ~Daijoubu~"

The PV for "Kenchana ~Daijoubu~" has been released on Dohhh UP! This single will be released in CD and audio cassette formats on February 25.

Link to video on Dohhh UP!

From reading the forums on Hello! Online I gather that "kenchana" is a word with a similar meaning to "daijoubu" (in English it's something like "I'm all right"). The B-side also apparently has a Korean theme as it's called "Seoul no Ame" (rain in Seoul).

I can't tell if the PV is actually taking place in Korea as I know very little of Korean architecture. It doesn't help that, according to Wikipedia, many traditional Korean buildings were replaced with Japanese-style ones during the first half of the 20th century. The only other clues would be in the signs, which are all in Chinese characters. Like the Japanese, the Koreans adopted the Chinese writing system before developing their own, and during the Japanese occupation hangul (the Korean writing system) became all but outlawed.

But really, I doubt that UFA shelled out the money to cross Nihonkai for the filming of this PV.

The song itself is nice for an enka (or possibly teuroteu?) track. Maeda Yuki has a beautiful voice, but I am really not the target audience for this type of music.

I liked her outfits (she had three, which is more than we've seen in a Hello! Project PV since "Meguru Koi no Kisetsu" if I recall correctly), but none of them were as pretty as her bi-ploar-kimono-inspired one from "Ai Ai Daiko."

If singing is what makes her happy then I hope she continues to release music after she has graduated from Hello! Project. She still young though (turning 30 in August), so if she decides that enka isn't really her life's calling she has plenty of time to find something that is.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Shugo Chara Egg!'s 2nd single "Shugo Shugo!"

The PV for "Shugo Shugo!" has been released on Dohhh UP! This single will be released on February 25 and the single V will be released on March 4. "Shugo Shugo!" is the second opening theme for Shugo Chara!! Doki.

Link to video on Dohhh UP!

My overwhelming initial reaction:


I really don't think that girl could get any cuter, and she has such a surprisingly nice voice! She's turning 14 on March 12 (making her almost exactly 7 years younger than me), and I think she has a long and fruitful career ahead of her.

But on to the PV...

When I first heard about this unit last year I wasn't enthusiastic. I didn't know much about the Eggs and Maeda hadn't been a stand out in High-King (how could she be against Maimi and Saki and Ai?). I also assumed that since they were so young that it would be overly cutesy. Their first single was great thought! On sunny days I can't help but wander across campus singing "pyon pyon, fumu fumu, yeah yeah."

This second single is what I had expected the first to be like, sadly. There's nothing about the song that holds my interest. It's got a bland chorus and the intrumentals are too similar to those of "Minna no Tamago" and "Hajimari no Uta."

I was also disappointed to see the girls in the same outfits. I reallize that they are supposed to be the shugo chara, but I wish they had designed some alternate costumes for them. I don't think that these costumes translate very well to real people, and they are kind of boring.

It was nice to see that Wada and Saho have improved vocally. Their voices were a little grating in "Minna no Tamago."

The PV itself is pretty cute. I like the curtains that pull away for the girls' close-ups, the light-up egg chair, and the little eddies of hearts, clubs, spades, and diamonds. I would have preferred less of the anime clips though. They seemed sort of tucked in at random.

Overall I'd rate this release poor to mediocre. Let's hope it has a kick ass B-side!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sheer Hat Attack

There's something about Hello! Project Kids and tiny hats! Over the last several years we've seen them in miniature versions of berets, top hats, cowboy hats, garrison caps, tiaras, pillbox hats, and diner hats. I've spent the last week raiding the Hello! Online Picboard for instances of these delightful little pieces of headwear, and I kindly compiled them into a categorized Picassa album. If I've left out any note-worthy tiny hats, please tell me so I can complete my collection.

For your convenience, I've added some side-by-side comparisons of regular-sized and tiny hats!


Top Hat

Cowboy Hat

Garrison Cap


Pillbox Hat

Diner Hat

So what's next on the H!P Kids + Tiny Hats agenda? I have a few suggestions (as always)...


For the upcoming "Berryachi" single featuring Herb Alpert. ¡Olé!

Witch Hat

Tiny version needed now!


For when Nakajima Saki graduates to concentrate on her studies (in my dreams).

Chef Hat

Let's make a Berry tart!


Á la modestly hot Homsar:


For some reason I can really see Buono! in tiny fezzes.

Monday, February 16, 2009

How to use sexy

While looking through the Hello! Online picboard this evening I couldn't keep my jaw together. My best girls are looking b-e-a-u-tiful.

I love this costume. Saki is not a curvy girl , and probably never will be, but she is really looking like a young woman and not a pre-pubescent girl. In general, Saki = ♥.

On the other hand, Maimi, Saki... your bosoms... are looking womanly. O__O


Friday, February 13, 2009

Eagle eye

It's getting to be that time of year again: baseball season! I actually have no idea when baseball season is, but I know that Hello! Project has for the last four years released a cheer song for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in late March/early April, so I'm going to assume the trend will continue.

Let's start by reviewing what we've gotten so far:

2005 → THE Manpower!!! / Morning Musume

2006 → Let's Go Rakuten Eagles / DEF.DIVA

2007 → Daisuki Rakuten Eagles / GAM

2008 → Koero! Rakuten Eagles / °C-ute

I'm not sure which of these is my favorite. I'm not a huge fan of any of them, but I do love the dance in "Koero! Rakuten Eagles." I'll never have thighs like that.

An important feature of the last three songs is that they were all performed by groups that had debuted the year before. The only Hello! Project group that debuted last year (and wasn't associated with Kirarin☆Revolution or Shugo Chara!) was High-King. Does this mean High-King will be releasing a cheer song next month? I certainly don't know, but I would be ecstatic if that was the case.

The only thing as good as getting a new single from my all-time favorite special unit would be getting a single from a new and awesome unit. I've got a couple of ideas...


In the tradition of Gomattou and Nochiura Natsumi I've named this unit using kanji from the members' surnames. Isn't it lovely that Natsuaki Miyabi + Yajima Maimi = Summer Island?

Unless you're blind you're probably aware that Maimi and Miyabi are two of the most beautiful young women in Hello! Project, and they share a similar style. I think this pairing could really pull off the sports look (better than GAM did for sure), and they would sound beautiful together.

Eagle Egg

We need an Egg unit that isn't just for anime! Those girls are cute and talented and fresh, and as you can see from my name for this hypothetical unit Eggs are a perfect match for the Golden Eagles. I've hand-picked four Eggs based on their voices and cute factor:

Fukuda Kanon (cutest and best singer in Shugo Chara! Egg)

Tanaka Anri (the hair is reason enough, but she also has a nice voice)

Sekine Azusa (sounded amazing in concert singing "Romantic Ukare Mode")

Kikkawa Yuu (should have been in Morning Musume and is the best part of Milky Way)

The Anything-with-Kamei Unit

For whatever reason Kamei hasn't been in sub group or special unit ever (excluding Morning Musume Otemegumi which was just Morning Musume with dissociative identity disorder) so let's get her in one tout de suite!

On an only slightly related note, the way that "Golden Eagles" is pronounced in Japanese is the same as "Golden Igloos" would be, which brings some really unpleasant images to mind. I don't advice making an igloo from golden snow.