Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hello! Café Decadent Desserts

Welcome to Hello! Café! Today we're sampling some decadent desserts.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mini Mari!

I would like to declare today, May 25, as Yaguchi Mari Day! You might ask, why May 25? Well, it's the 145th day of the year. One day for every centimeter of Mari's height! In celebration I've compiled a mini-album of Yaguchi solo songs. Enjoy!

Click here to download the mini-album.

Hyagu Pasento (ヒャグ パセント; 100 Yagu Percent)
Yaguchi Mari

1. Marine Sports! (マリーンスポーツ!)
2. Kaze wo Sagashite (風をさがして) / with Straw Hat
3. Sentimental Minamimuki (センチメンタル南向き)
4. Seinaru Kane ga Hibiku Yoru (聖なる鐘がひびく夜)
5. Hitoribocchi no Heya (ひとりぼっちの部屋)
6. Chuuou Freeway (中央フリーウェイ) / with Melon Kinenbi
7. Seishun Boku (青春僕)

Track 1 is a fan-club-only single from 2001. Track 2 is Yaguchi's most recent single, and the 12th opening theme of the anime One Piece. Track 3 is Mari's solo track from Tanpopo's first album TANPOPO 1. Track 4 is the Mari solo version of Tanpopo's fourth single "Seinaru Kane ga Hibiku Yoru" released as a coupling track on the single. Tracks 5 and 6 are from the compilation album FS4 FOLK SONGS 4. Track 7 is Mari's debut solo single.

Note: this is not an official release but a fan-made compilation.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Daburuyuu Joshi Koutou Gakkou: Math

The study of mathematics strengthens the foundation of a rational mind and a scientific education. I myself have found it to be an intriguing subject for as long as I can remember, and I liked it well enough to get a degree in it. The students at Daburuyuu Joshi Koutou Gakkou can look forward to passionate instruction and a high standards in this department.

Now, don't be late to class! Look for the door marked 数学 (suugaku).

Daburuyuu Joshi Koutou Gakkou: Math

Friday, April 16, 2010

Daburuyuu Joshi Koutou Gakkou Special Edition: °C-ute's 12th major single "Campus Life ~Umarete Kite Yokatta~"

The PV for °C-ute's 12th major single "Campus Life ~Umarete Kite Yokatta~" was released today on the UP FRONT YouTube channel. The single will be released on April 28 and the Single V on May 12.

This is a really outstanding PV! Firstly, the girls are looking GREAT! Everyone looked so wan in the "SHOCK!" PV. Here everyone looks healthy and pretty and happy. Well, I'll do the regular break down.

The Outfits

So, for the dance and close-up shots we get the cover outfits:

And they're pretty rockin'. Especially those shoes! They're like a much more wearable version of the "SHOCK!" boots. They look sexy as hell, but they would be good for summer because they are so open. The rest of the the look is very cute. It fits their image well. I especially like the ties.

For the rest of the PV we get to see casual looks.

Maimi and Saki are looking sweet and feminine. I can't tell if Saki's got on a romper or a really short dress.

The second grouping is Airi, Mai, and Chisato. I think Airi's hair is a little ridiculous, and her outfit is definitely my least favorite. Mai and Chisato both look cute as BUTTONS. I don't think Chisato has ever looked that good before and Mai actually looks her age.

The Song

I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of the song. It reminds me a lot of "Ai no Suki Suki Shisuu Joushou Chuu," the opening track on Berryz Koubou's fourth album 4th Ai no Nanchara Shisuu. Obviously the "suki suki" hook is a big part of that. I'm just not a fan of this style of song, not even live. At least it's not another glorified solo for Airi?

The Dance

We don't get to see a lot of it, which is fine by me. The only part that really stuck out to me was during Maimi's "suki suki suki."

It's like she's saying, "I like you, but it's a secret ;)" Oh Maimi, I like you, too! Lets not keep it a secret...

The Rest

So like everyone else I will mention the iPod Touches that are so prominent.

Are iPods as ubiquitous in Japan as they are in the US? I don't know. But the image of girlfriends sharing songs on a portable music device isn't so strange to me.

What sticks out more to me is the softball. In the US softball is often associated with lesbians. Is that the case in Japan? Once again, I don't know. But Mai and Chisato were definitely paired in this video more than the other girls, and their looks are not as femmy.

And I hate to say this, because I feel like everyone else is in love with her, but I don't understand Nakajima Saki's appeal.

I find her mouth unsettling, like she might at any moment open it obscenely wide and eat a person whole. I think it's the fact that her teeth are big compared to the rest of her face. Her voice does seem to be improving though.

I'll let Maimi have the last word here.

"Call me, bitches."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hello! Café Sweet Shop

Welcome to Hello! Café! If you have a bit of sweet tooth then you've come to the right place.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Daburuyuu Joshi Koutou Gakkou: Art

Here at Daburuyuu Joshi Koutou Gakkou we want to cultivate the artistic tastes and talents of our youth. Art education improves students' performance in all areas because it exercises their brains' right hemispheres and delateralizes their thinking.

Now, don't be late to class! Look for the door marked 芸 (gei).

Daburuyuu Joshi Koutou Gakkou: Art

Friday, April 9, 2010

Daburuyuu Joshi Koutou Gakkou: Social Studies

Social studies is the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities in order to promote civic competence. At least, that's how the English wikipedia describes it. Here we're going to be studying Asian history, geography, and civics.

Now, don't be late to class! Look for the door marked 物理学 (shakaika).

Daburuyuu Joshi Koutou Gakkou: Social Studies

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Daburuyuu Joshi Koutou Gakkou: Physics

Social studies is the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities in order to promote civic competence. At least, that's how the English wikipedia describes it. Here we're

Now, don't be late to class! Look for the door marked 物理学 (shakaika).

Daburuyuu Joshi Koutou Gakkou: Physics

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hello! Café Pâtisserie

Welcome to Hello! Café! Today we have fresh cake hot from the oven.

Daburuyuu Joshi Koutou Gakkou: Orientation

Welcome to Daburuyuu Joshi Koutou Gakkou! As you surely already know we are Japan's #1 all girls school. Now that you are about to join our illustrious student body you'll need to go through student orientation.

Daburuyuu Joshi Koutou Gakkou: Orientation

Hello! Project 2010 WINTER Kachou Fuugetsu ~Shuffle Date~

I watched the Shuffle Date concert a few nights ago. It was Glorious

1. Uwaki na Honey Pie / All

It seems that from the solo line distribution the “leaders” of the shuffle groups are as such:

High-King: Reina + Ai-chan
Zoku v-u-den: Risako
Shin Minimoni: Linlin
Aa!: Miyabi
ZYX-alpha: Risa
Petitmoni V: Mano Erina
Tanpopo#: Eri

They all make sense except Zoku v-u-den. Why did Risako get the solo and not Sayumi?

As for the song, “Uwaki na Honey Pie” has always been a favorite of mine. I love the knee-knocking choreography :D

The bright-colored plastic + zebra-print faux fur things are… bizarre.

2. VTR

Nothing too impressive. Every one looks cute of course!

3. MC

I’d much rather have one of the girls MCing than Makoto. His stupid bowl cut just gets more and more irritating.

4. Pen Pen Kyoudai / Shin Minimoni

Oh god. Minimoni is, was, and will always be the best unit ever. The outfits are ridiculously adorable. Plaid! Purses! Tiny capes! Leg warmers! MITTENS! And all of the girls are singing fabulously, especially considering all that jumping. This is one of the best revival unit songs, which is saying a lot since they’re all pretty good.

5. Mini. Strawberry~ Pie / Shin Minimoni

Girls, I would eat a mini strawberry pie from you all any day. This is the perfect unit.

6. GOING ON / Guardians 4

Meh. Boring song. Why did they use so much yellow lighting for this one? Everything just looks kind of jaundiced. Eww. And why can’t we ever get Aika bangs anymore?

7. MC

Oh, it’s 6th gen Morning Musume. What’s up ladies? Eri’s side braid is uggggly. Now they are showing off their ‘r’-rolling skills.

Now, I couldn’t follow this conversation entirely, but it seems that Junjun thinks Captain’s dancing is really cool and that she’s cute. Then she made a full on confession (kokuhaku), complete with a present, that she loved Captain (daisuki!). Looks like Junjun is also getting intimate with another High-King member:

When Junjun confesses again in front of everyone the ladies are SCANDALIZED! Ai-chan is in fits of laughter over this scene:

Risa is outraged and scolds Junjun:

Captain thanks her sweetly though and they move on.

Then there’s some story about Chinami and Ogawa Saki. I cannot follow it. Ai-chan is apparently amused by this one as well though:

Also, did you notice how outrageously large Tanabe Nanami (the newest Egg)’s pigtails are? Each one is literally bigger than her head. Damn. (I've tinkered with the brightness and contrast around her head because it's difficult to see black pigtails against a black background)


I like this song, but I miss Reina’s voice in it :/ She had such a distinct (a.k.a. kind of weird) way of pronouncing her ‘k’s that I loved in her early H!P years. Also, I can’t wait for Miyabi to be rid of those awful extensions

9. Yume no Genjitsu / Aa!

A really fabulous song with outstanding choreography. What more could we ask for? Well, I would ask for better styling. I don’t like anything about those outfits (except maybe the boots) and they all have awful hair. Still, what a rockin’ live song. I hope this one becomes a standard!

10. Pira! Otome no Negai / Petitmoni V

Okay, so this song benefits a lot from some visuals. And those are some spot-on Petitmoni outfits. The choreography is good, too. I love Maimai shaking her nothing of a chest during the bridge

11. Chokotto LOVE / Petitmoni V

Aww, this is a delightfully goofy song, isn’t it? They did really well with it. And the Eggs just added just enough insanity.

12. MC

I think this is a ranking of whom you would most want to kiss? Those are NOT the top three girls I’d want to kiss! For me that would be Ai-chan, Linlin, and Maimi. Mostly Ai-chan though.

Apparently Maasa has voluminous, erotic lips? Oh my!

I have no idea what the Ai-chan/Risako/Linlin thing was, but Linlin has the cutest Chinese accent ^__^

13. Oujisama to Yuki no Yoru / Tanpopo#

Oh, now I see why they are dressed like foppish little princelings. It’s because they are singing “Oujisama to Yuki no Yoru!” Makes a lot of sense now. And holy hairbow does Aika look perfect in hers. Seriously how can her body look like that? It’s unreal. The girls all sound really great. Tsunku put together a top-notch Tanpopo#. But it’s kind of sad to hear and see this song with no Aibon, no Charmy, no Marippe, and no Kaorin :(

14. Umbrella / Tanpopo#

Another great revival unit song. Major props to the arranger and the choreographer. The dance is reminiscent of “Otome Pasta ni Kandou.” And going back to the outfits, why with even as low of heels as the other girls got did Aika get completely flat boots? She always has flat boots. Is it a foot problem?

15. Bravo☆Bravo / Buono!

Sweet boots. Momo looks wonderful (as usual). Miyabi’s shorts are très adorable. I really couldn’t care less about the song though. The best part about it is the inexplicable “P-A-T-I.” WHAT IS THAT SUPPOSED TO SPELL? Is it an acronym for “Please Apply Tapeworms Indiscriminately?” Or maybe "Punch that Asshole Tsunku In the face?"

16. Renai♥Rider / Buono!

Now this is a great Buono! song. They sound a little tired though.

17. BE ALL RIGHT / Risa, Mai, Linlin, Mano Erina, Chinami, Junjun, Chisato, Maeda Yuuka, Ogawa Saki, Fukuda Kanon, Saho Akari, Wasa Ayaka, Takeuchi Akari

Never one of my favorite shuffle songs, and I would have preferred to see Linlin, Junjun, and Risa in smaller groups. And why is this the only mix group to not get a special outfit?

18. MC

There sure is a lot of Junjun and Linlin love in the MCs! I think Linlin said something about revolving cheese. Weird. Also, I just noticed something again that I had noticed in some of the pics from this concert. Linlin’s bag is red, white, blue, and star-spangled. The reason Mika had Americana accessories is that she was actually from America. Shouldn’t Linlin’s Minimoni accessories be red and gold with stars?

19. Suki Sugite Baka Mitai / Sayumi, Reina, Maimi, Maasa

Please stop trying to substitute Sayumi for Rika. Rika could actually sing pretty well and was about a trillion times cuter than Sayumi. On a happier note, Reina really sings well and Maimi is a major hotty even though she’s not in the least bit curvaceous. It must just be her awesome stage presence.

20. LOVE LIKE CRAZY / Eri, Saki, Ai-chan

Love the song. Love the girls. Love the outfits. Love the dance. I’m in raptures watching this performance. Yep, definitely rewatching this as soon it’s over. Can someone explain why Captain’s talents are being absolutely wasted in the background of Berryz Koubou and why she has no photobook?

21. Shiroi TOKYO / ZYX-alpha

Now this was great styling all around. Although the asymmetry of their arm apparel makes it look they got lightly mauled by wild animals on their way to the stage. See what I mean?

Saki’s fuchsia five of hearts is probably my favorite accessory:

22. Iku ZYX! Fly High / ZYX-alpha

How did I never notice before that they spell out ZYX with their bodies at the intro to this song? That is one of the neatest bits of choreography I’ve seen in Hello! Project! Maasa for some reason sticks out as looking super gorgeous in this performance. This unit in its 6nin form is really outstanding. Why didn’t they get a new song?

23. MC

Oooh, a ZYX MC. I bet Maasa is VERY warm in that get up. If I was here I would sit around naked back stage for a while.

24. ONLY YOU / Zoku v-u-den

Damn Risako. You really have some pipes. And that outfit certainly emphasizes your *ahem* Western figure. Junjun looks really nice in the get up as well.

25. Koisuru♡Angel♡Heart / Zoku v-u-den

All the bending over is wasted on those outfits. WHERE’S THE CLEAVAGE? Is this v-u-den or not? And why don’t Junjun and Risako get garters? Those stockings aren’t staying up!

26. DESTINY LOVE / High-King

I wish they did more wide shots for this song. I want to see the dance! Specifically I want to see Saki dancing. And Maimi. And Ai-chan. With Yuuka and Reina I’m kind of take-em-or-leave-em.

Side note: I think I hear women shouting in the audience! Woo hoo.

27. DIAMONDS / High-King

Thank goodness for Saki shorts, but why do Ai-chan and Maimi both get long pants? Surely it’s a sin to cover up legs like those! I do love this song though.

28. C/C Cinderella/Complex / High-King

Yes yes yo, indeed. We’d all be better off with more of this song in our lives I think. This unit is the closest thing to perfection Hello! Project has seen since Morning Musume Sakuragumi.

29. MC

Those corduroy shorts and white T-shirts look even better in motion than they did in photos. Double thumbs up for Linlin, Risako, Aika, and Eri.

30. Renai Revolution 21 / All

I love how during this song they all sort of subtly shifted from being grouped in their shuffle units to being grouped into their usual units.

31. Ending

Awwww, good bye ladies! That was a really superb concert. Probably my favorite since Berry Kamen vs. Cutie Ranger! Maybe one day I’ll be able to go to Japan and see you all live!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Maeda Yuki's 10th single "Mianeyo ~Gomennasai~"

The PV for "Mianeyo ~Gomennasai~" has been released on Dohhh UP! This single will be released on April 7.

Link to video on Dohhh UP!

Wow, Maeda Yuki is just getting more and more beautiful as the years go on. At 30 years old she is more gorgeous than she was at her debut ten years ago.

The song is lovely as well. It sounds almost whispered at times, and so heartfelt. I feel like she's really apologizing to me for breaking my heart.

The PV is a truly mature one. All the settings are so beautiful and sensual. It's so sad at the end to see her drinking away her pain :(

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Berryz Koubou's 6th album "6th Otakebi Album"

Berryz Koubou's sixth album 6th Otakebi Album (6th 雄叫びアルバム) was released on March 31, 2010.

1. Otakebi Boy WAO! (雄叫びボーイ WAO!)

This really is a song worth naming an album after. The throaty voices are outstanding! And the percussion is much better than usual. There’s some really interesting stuff going on in the backing track!

2. Rival (ライバル)

Such a sweet song! It reminds me of riding my bicycle all over the city during the summer. It’s just a cute little pop song, but one of the best of it’s kind in recent years from Hello! Project. The spoken parts are really just icing on the cake, aren’t they? A cake full of counting, “go go fight!”s, and a sort of ‘50s feel.

3. Ryuusei Boy (流星ボーイ)

This has a truly funky backing track! It’s one of those songs you can’t help dancing to at least a little when it’s playing. The dance break is a little much though.

4. Ai ni wa Ai Desho (愛には 愛でしょ)
Natsuyaki Miyabi, Tsugunaga Momoko

I’m not totally in love with this song, but it’s certainly not something I’d skip. I’m sure it will be great live. How could it not be with Miyabi and Momoko? On the other hand, why pair two girls who are already in a small unit together?

5. Seishun Bus Guide (青春バスガイド)

Definitely the weakest of the Inazuma tracks. Still a decent tune. It’s just too monotonous.

6. Kimi no Tomodachi (君の友達)

Is it just me or does that piano in the background sound like it was sampled from a Final Fantasy game or something? I think this is a pretty strong track. Makes me feel like I’m walking through a fantastic landscape in a video game. I could have done without Risako’s monologue though. Why does she seem to get all of them in Berryz songs?

7. Grand demo Rouka demo Medatsu Kimi (グランドでも廊下でも目立つ君)
Kumai Yurina, Sudou Maasa

I prefer the Maasa half of this song, but the whole thing is honestly pretty weak. There’s not enough variation in the instrumentals and it’s just kind of monotonous. It reminds me of Kirby music a little though.

8. Tomodachi wa Tomodachi Nanda! (友達は友達なんだ!)

I know I wouldn’t like this song half so well without the PV, but I like it never the less. I like to think that the Berryz girls really are all friends, and that Momoko is the glue that holds them together. It’s such a sweet image. Momo certainly stands out vocally on the track. I really do like her voice!

9. Kibou no Yoru (希望の夜)

I’m really glad this album only got the one mediocre ballad, but oof, I do not look forward to hearing that opening line sung live. It’s painful enough after being tinkered with in AutoTune. I think I hear Saki’s vocals among the studio singers. I always like to hear her in a chorus. It makes me feel like there’s at least one perk to being Captain.

10. Dakishimete Dakishimete (抱きしめて 抱きしめて)

I still love this song as much as I did a year ago. In fact, I probably love it even more now.

11. Yakimochi wo Kudasai! (ヤキモチをください!)
Shimizu Saki, Tokunaga Chinami, Sugaya Risako

This track is kind of fun. Everyone sings so nasally though! All three of them tend to, but it’s a little extreme here. I hope this will have a cute dance for Captain when it’s performed live.

12. Watashi no Mirai no Danna-sama (私の未来のだんな様)

Hands down the best non-Inazuma track from the girls’ last three singles. I think everyone likes the echo parts in the verse. The chorus isn’t bad either. It seems like sort of a strange choice for a last track though. The album seems incomplete.

So this is definitely not as good as 5 (FIVE), which is disappointing but not unexpected. It was at least better than Shocking 5 though. The original tracks were extremely forgettable. In fact I listened to this album several times through before writing this review and not one stuck out in my mind. The whole thing was saved by strong single tracks, so it’s probably a good thing that 7 out of 12 were in that category.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I voted!

I voted in this year's Hello! Blog poll, and so can you!

Click here to vote

Hello! Café Ice Cream Parlour

Welcome to Hello! Café! Wouldn't a sweet frozen treat be delightful right now?

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Covert Operation - Mission 8: Cover Yourself

Taiyou to Ciscomoon / T&C Bomber was active for only a year and a half, but they managed to release eight singes and two albums during that time. Since then they have been covered SIX times by other Hello! Project acts. Aside from Morning Musume, which has been active for more than 12 years and has more than five times as much material, it is the most covered unit.

Mission 8: Cover Yourself (Taiyou to Ciscomoon / T&C Bomber

Hello! Café Drag Show

Welcome to Hello! Café! We were just about to start our after hours drag show!

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Covert Operation - Mission 7: Til Death

Nine years after the release of Morning Musume's ninth single "Happy Summer Wedding" (ハッピーサマーウェディング) Hello! Project returned to the theme with the compilation album Champloo① ~Happy Marriage Song Cover Shuu~ (チャンプル① ~ハッピーマリッジソングカバー集~). So let's get ready to say "til death do us part."

Mission 7: Til Death

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Countdown to Spring! ~Roku~

Welcome to spring! Today as a special treat you get three songs instead of two AND some sweet downloads. That's right, I've got my own Hello! Project Spring Collection for you along with The Douyou Pops 2 Haru no Uta Shuu (a collection of spring-themed children's songs).

Download links:
The Douyou Pops 2 Haru no Uta Shuu
Spring Collection

Haru da yo (春だよ)
Heike Michiyo

Haru no Uta (春の歌)
Iida Kaori, Yaguchi Mari, Ishikawa Rika, Yoshizawa Hitomi

Haru Beautiful Everyday (春 ビューティフル エブリディ)
Kamei Eri, Mitsui Aika

Friday, March 19, 2010

Countdown to Spring! ~Go~

It's Spring Eve, folks! Tomorrow is the first day of spring, so make sure you stop by to see the last entry and to get your special spring surprise.

Hokkaido Shalala (北海道シャララ)
Country Musume

Zukyun LOVE (ズキュンLOVE)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Countdown to Spring! ~Yon~

Today we celebrate the breeze of spring time.

I walk at least a mile outside every day, and I've been noticing lately how much sweeter the air is starting to smell. There are flowers blooming and trees budding, and the grass is starting to get green. And thankfully Tsunku has supplied us with some songs about the winds of spring!

Haru no Arashi (春の嵐)
Mano Erina

Purple Wind (パープルウィンド)
Morning Musume

Please enjoy the songs, and the spring breeze!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Countdown to Spring! ~San~

Berryz Koubou's fourth album 4th Ai no Nanchara Shisuu (4th 愛のなんちゃら指数) was an outstanding release full of really great tracks, and the last two were no exception. "Sakura wa Raku Sa" and "Sakura→Nyuugakushiki" are about as different as Hello! Project tracks get, but they shared a common theme: cherry blossoms, the Japanese image of spring time. Thus I bring you sweet springtime cherry Berryz.

Sakura wa Raku Sa
Berryz Koubou

Sakura→Nyuugakushiki (桜→入学式)
Berryz Koubou

Come back tomorrow for more spriiiiiing time songs.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Morning Musume's 10th album "10 MY ME"

Morning Musume's 10th album ⑩ MY ME was released today, March 16, 2010. You can buy it right now at JapanFiles.

I'm going to start out by talking about the worst part of the release: the cover! Risa looks middle-aged, Aika looks like she's about to cry, Linlin looks pissed, Sayumi looks lost, and everyone else looks bored. I know that Ai-chan, Aika, and Linlin look smoking in the outfits, but this cover doesn't do any one justice.

Now let's get down to business. The album blows the pants off of Shocking 5, hands down. Starting with the opening track

1. Moonlight night ~Tsukiyo no Ban da yo~
Moonlight night ~月夜の晩だよ~

Holy fucking god DAMN. This. Is. The. Best. Thing. From. Morning. Musume. In. Years. This is EXACTLY what I've been wanting to hear from them. It starts out so crazy and just stays that way. The electroconvulsive therapy. The instrumental moment of enlightenment. The falsetto. The shouting in the chorus. The ethereal dance break. Sayumi's distorted "let's dance." Oh god, it's perfection. I could listen to this forever. I've already listened to it six times I think. I credit all of this awesomeness to the arranger, Tanaka Nao. He has arranged most of my favorite recent H!P songs (Google 田中直

2. Kimagure Princess

After "Moonlight night" "Kimagure Princess" sounds so tame. I can see where they were trying to go with song, it just didn't quite make it. Still, I like the song. I just think it maybe should have switched places with "Shouganai Yume Oibito" on this album.

3. Genki Pikappika!

At this point I started to lose faith, because this song kind of sucks. Had all of the awesome been packed into the opening track? That's what happened with SEXY 8 BEAT after all.

4. Namidacchi

I wasn't sure about this song at first. On the one hand, it started out with some nice Linlin vocals, but it was also a little boring. But then it picked up and got super fun! The driving beat in the chorus is a nice contrast to the saccharine piano-ful verse. And then the little rap break just put it over the edge. My final verdict: cute and fun!

5. Onna ga Medatte Naze Ikenai
女が目立って なぜイケナイ

Well, I just don't know what to make of this single. The guitar and the real violin are interesting, but I just can't bring myself to like the song. Maybe I just need more time.

6. Ookii Hitomi
Kamei Eri, Michishige Sayumi, Tanaka Reina

They've finally found a way to make Sayumi's voice palettable! Just AutoTune the dickens out of it. But seriously, this is a fun song. I enjoyed it, especially the Sayumi parts.

7. Ano Hi ni Modoritai
Takahashi Ai, Niigaki Risa

*yawn* This song is booooring.

8. Nanchatte Renai

Love it. Loved it since the beginning. Still needs more Linlin.

9. Osaka Oishiinen
大阪 美味しいねん
Mitsui Aika, Junjun, Linlin

Waaaaaaaaaa~~~!!!!! TOOOOOOO CUUUUUUUUUTE. If this song doesn't turn you into an absolute Linlinatic then you are hopeless. She's just so unbelievably fabulous. Junjun and Aika really slathered on the awesome (Chinese mutterings and rolled Rs!), but there's no competition with my Lin-chan. Would I like this as well if it wasn't an 8th-gen thing? Probably not. But I love it anyway.

10. Loving you forever


11. Shouganai Yume Oibito
しょうがない 夢追い人

Not my favorite single on this album, but a good track nonetheless.

12. Ame no Furanai Hoshi de wa Aisenai Darou? (Chinese Ver.)
雨の降らない星では愛せないだろう? (中国語Ver.)

Good lord, Linlin. That note was the best thing I've ever heard. I ADORE this arrangement. I almost wish it was just a Linlin solo thought! Still, an absolutely breath-taking song.

Over all a very book-ended album: the first and last tracks were by far the best. And we got to hear quite a bit of 8th-gen, which is always nice. Now I'm really looking forward to 6th Otakebi Album!!

Countdown to Spring! ~Ni~

It's the second day of spring celebration. I'm apologize to anyone in the southern hemisphere, but in Japan at least there are only 4 more days of winter!

Today we're celebrating spring as berry season. Enjoy these springtime Berryz Koubou singles!

Berryz Koubou

Munasawagi Scarlet (胸さわぎスカーレット)
Berryz Koubou

Come back tomorrow for more spring celebration. There will also be a special treat on March 20, so stay tuned!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Countdown to Spring! ~Ichi~

The vernal equinox is on March 20 this year, so let's have a countdown to spring!

Urara (うらら)
Nakazawa Yuko

A very sentimental song of spring time and Yuu-chan's penultimate single.

Sakurairo no Yakusoku (サクラ色の約束)
Melon Kinenbi

The theme here is casting off winter and donning spring.

Come back tomorrow for more spring time celebration.


Well, I've added something new to my blog: a microblog!

I'm already a frequent tweeter, but not about Hello! Project. That's now going to change.

Follow Zou Musume on Twitter

Thursday, March 11, 2010

5 Days of Linlin! (Day V)


And even though she's the one turning 19 years old, she's got some things "for you..."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

5 Days of Linlin! (Day IV)

Oh just one more day! Today let's celebrate with something cute.

Day 4: Heart in Hand

I swear, Linlin does more heart hands than anyone else! It's super cute ^__^

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

5 Days of Linlin! (Day III)

So we've seen that Linlin is a beauty, sings like an angel, and looks decent in a bikini. Today we're going to celebrate her great energy.

Day 3: Genkilin!

Monday, March 8, 2010

5 Days of Linlin! (Day II)

I think it is now pretty widely accepted that Linlin's only competition for best vocalist in Morning Musume is Ai-chan, who has been in the business for many years longer. Today we celebrate Linlin's "fat" vocals.

Day 2: Vocalista

22sai no Watashi

Happy Birthday to me! Today I turn 22, and Tsunku wrote a song perfectly suited to the occasion. I bring you Abe Natsumi's debut single, "22sai no Watashi."

Sunday, March 7, 2010

5 Days of Linlin! (Day I)

Linlin is turning 19 on March 11! As my #1 H!P girl currently I thought I would do a little celebration.

Day 1: Solo Shots

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hello! Café Lunch Specials

Welcome to Hello! Café! Would you like to see our lunch specials?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hello! Café Breakfast Treats

Ohayo!! Welcome back to Hello! Café! We're now serving breakfast.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Covert Operation - Mission 6: Cover Yuu

It wasn't long after Morning Musume replaced Pink Lady as the best-selling girl group in Japan that the Heisei-period girls released a tribute album to the man who wrote the Showa-period ladies' best-selling hits. Released 2008.11.26, COVER YOU features 14 songs written by master songwriter Aku Yuu, including three tracks originally by Pink Lady themselves.

Mission 6: Cover Yuu

The angles of Risako

Isn't it amazing what a different camera angle and hairdo can do for a lady's figure?

I'm really curious to see this Zoku v-u-den performance. I hope it's better than the summer Champloo one. It would be hard for it to be worse after all.

New sites for S/mileage!

S/mileage's new website has debuted!

Check it out!

The site is very well laid out and it fits the group's image perfectly. I'm especially fond of the front page photo which changes! Every time you visit one of six images pops up and it will (usually) be different when you return. The front page also features news and twitter feeds.

Each of the girls has been assigned a sort of image fruit based on their favorite foods: melon for Ogawa Saki, peaches for Maeda Yuuka, cherries and berries for Wada Ayaka, and, of course, strawberries for Fukuda Kanon. Yum!

We're also treated to blog and Twitter links.

Also, not directly related to S/mileage's new site, but Up Front has a relatively new channel on YouTube, and they posted this video of S/mileage:

I believe Kanon's shirt says "i ♡ baby shoot." Such violent Engrish!

S/mileage's 4th indie single "Otona ni Narutte Muzukashii!!!"

S/mileage's 4th indie single Otona ni Narutte Muzukashii!!! (オトナになるって難しい!!!) will be released on March 14.


Wow. Ok. Whoa.

The Outfits

I wasn't a huge fan of the promo outfits for Suki-chan, but I really like these! I'm in love with the cardigan. I wish I had one just like it! Everything else is just so cute! The pink plaid fits their image really well, and of course I like the tiny hats :) I'll admit, I was a little uncomfortable with how good Kanon looks in the costume. She's really growing up fast!

The casual outfits are pretty boring though. I would even say DAWA's is ugly. It looks like she's wearing an acid-wash denim jacket. Boo, I say.

The Song

Well, it looks like someone figured out that the whisper chants in "Suki-chan" were a big hit. The "waku waku waku waku," "doki doki doki doki," etc. bits were very sweet and fun. The more I listen to the song the more I like it. The backing track is cute and youthful, just like the girls. I'm also a huge fan of the title. "Otona ni Narutte Muzukashii!!" translates to "becoming an adult is difficult!!!" Truer words were never spoken, my friends.

The Set

Well, the set is all green screened in, and I think it's wonderful! It's a similar style to Morning Musume's "3,2,1 BREAKIN' OUT!" but I think this PV is a better composition. Granted, it looks a bit amateur-ish in comparison, but I think that fits with the image of the group and song. On the other hand, we get two outfits. We get swings and bike riding. We get heads and torsos gliding across the screen (also seen in Minimoni's "Lucky Cha Cha Cha!"). We get adorable antics and dramatically sighing Kanon. It would be a lot more impressive without the "3,2,1 BREAKIN' OUT!" PV having preceded it, but I still give it two thumbs up.

The Dance

Well, since this isn't just a glorified dance shot, I can't make a lot of judgements about the dance. It looks pretty simple, but still energetic. There's a lot of follow-the-leader moves, which seems to be a fad in H!P right now.

The Cover

This cover is pure lol. Whoever put it together needs to fired. The composition is awful! At first glance Saki looks like a contortionist with enormous calves, but upon closer inspection those legs belong to Kanon, who is flying through the air with the aid of an electric fan. Saki also appears to be fending off the popcorn eruption that DAWA has an extremely contrived shock at. Meanwhile, Yuuka is sighing over a big a present that displays the "Produced by Tsunku." That box is probably full of old Sharam Q cassettes.

I really can't wait for S/mileage's first major release, which should be coming soon! Their debut concert is just 4 weeks away. After 4 great PVs I'm actually a little worried that the quality of their releases might actually go down with their major debut. Or that, like fellow graduated Egg Mano Erina before them, they will get a great debut song and then a trail of blah.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Morning Musume Fall 2009 Concert Tour NINE SMILE

The DVD of Morning Musume's Fall 2009 Concert Tour Morning Musume Concert Tour 2009 Aki ~NINE SMILE~ was released yesterday, February 24, 2010.

This is my first concert review!


Okay, the cow costumes are a little weird, but some of them are super cute! I especially like Aika's. Why does she look so damn cute in a hood? The song is one of my favorites, but their vocals aren't the strongest here. Probably not quite warmed up yet.

2. HOW DO YOU LIKE JAPAN? ~Nihon wa Donna Kanji Dekka?~

I've never been a huge fan of this song, but they really rocked it! Ai-chan, Gaki, and Linlin especially stuck out as having energy and power.

3. VTR - Member Introduction

As far as VTRs go this one was pretty good. I never really cared for the NINE SMILE promo outfits (except for Linlin's), but the way to put this animation together was very nice and graphic. Thumbs up!

4. Kimagure Princess

Oh, I love the modified KP outfits! Much more flattering than the originals. The lace chaps really show off those "charming rears" too. Aika looks especially rockin'. This song really is great live! I only wish there was a little more 8th gen. Once again, Ai-chan pronounces the word sexy better than any else in Hello! Project ever has.

5. MC1

Just noticed Koharu's obnoxiously large hair bow and pony tail. She looks about 12 feet tall.

6. Nanchatte Renai

Oh Koharu, I'm so sad to see go even though you have a silly, whiny little voice. This song is hands down the best single out of this 9nin Morning Musume. Sounds and looks great live. The rapping was a little weak, otherwise I was pleased.

7. Genki+

No one looks very genki in this song! They sound outstanding though, even Sayumi and Koharu. And a giant yay for Linlin solos! It's great to see this song brought out again. It's too good to only be performed on one tour.

8. Ame no Furanai Hoshi dewa Aisenai Darou? (Chinese Ver.) / Morning Musume featuring Linlin and Junjun

Oh this makes me excited to hear this song on the upcoming album! Probably the best performance of the song I've seen.

9. Sukiyaki / Niigaki Risa, Kusumi Koharu

Those outfits look like 12 colors of cotton candy all mixed together and then glued onto the girls on the most unflattering places possible. The song is cute of course, a good kind of tune for Koharu. The hugging is really heartwarming too. I wonder if they did that at all the concerts or just this one because of Koha's graduation.

10. MC / Niigaki Risa, Junjun, Linlin, Kamei Eri

Awwwwwwwwwww, sleepy Junjun! And were they calling her an old woman? Also, awwwwwwwwwwww, sleepy Linlin (and Linlin's cute Chinese accent).

11. Haru Beautiful Everyday / Kamei Eri, Mitsui Aika

Oh, Eririn looks really looks very pretty in that plaid dress. Aika's hat is stupid. This song is very sweet, and I like it better live than the recorded version, but Aika's vocals are pretty weak here. Also, Tsunku really needs to learn the difference between "everyday" and "every day." "Everyday" is an adjective, not an adverb like he seems to think. And why are they singing about beautiful spring days in autumn?

12. Kioku no Meiro / Takahashi Ai, Tanaka Reina

All that fur plus the giant hair bow make Reina look very feline. Ai-chan's look is a little spartan in comparison, and I'm getting kind of bored with the fedora+vest+miniskirt thing for High-King. I've never been a huge fan of this song, and it's especially lackluster without Saki and Maimi. The dance at the end is very sexy though.

13. Aruiteru / Michishige Sayumi, then Morning Musume

Oh god, worst Hello! Project singer ever + my least favorite Morning Musume single = bleeding ears. On the other hand, Risa and Koharu's circus outfits are really cute when you take away the puff! Sayumi's plaid/leopard thing is ugly as sin though. And what the hell are Junjun and Linlin wearing?

14. Aki Urara

Ouch, Ai really botched the opening line. But that second half of the verse section sounded spectacular. Great harmonies, ladies!

15. Shouganai Yume Oibito

I'm ready for a costume change. I think Ai-chan's voice is getting a little tired at this point. She sounds reeeally rough. But her finger-biting thing is pretty hot.

16. MC / Michishige Sayumi, Tanaka Reina

Pajamas? What? Reina, surely you never wear pajamas. You probably wear some kind of couture negligee to bed.

17. Sakura Mankai / Takahashi Ai, Niigaki Risa, Kamei Eri, Mitsui Aika, Linlin

Oh, all my favorite members performing one of the best Hello! Project songs ever! Beautiful. The pink spangly outfits are pretty unattractive. And I don't care for the accessories. Linlin's giant flower and Aika's cheap pink earrings are no bueno. This song makes me really miss Kago :( I enjoyed the wota's very slow "L. O. V. E. Lovely Blah Blah."

18. Yuujou ~Kokoro no Busu niwa Naranee!~ / Michishige Sayumi, Tanaka Reina, Kusumi Koharu, Junjun

The purple spangly outfits are a little better. I would have preferred to hear Otomegumi's other single "Ai no Sono ~Touch My Hear~" though. And as much as Sayumi is marked as the second coming of Charmy, she really can't compete, and this song is no good without Rika (and Tsuji :( )

19. Dekkai Uchuu ni Ai ga Aru

Wow, those are some happy cut outs! Eri is really stealing the show vocal-wise in this concert. She's really improved recently.

20. MC

Well, that was short.

21. Coupling Medley: Bon Kyu! Bon Kyu! BOMB GIRL / Please! Jiyuu no Tobira / Hand made CITY / Odore! Morning Curry

A pretty good selection of B-sides. "Please!" isn't my favorite, but it was fun. The silver outfits are an improvement. They look nice and cool at least. The arrangement of "Hand made" was a little too choppy for my tastes. "Odore!" was goofy and fun, as expected. A fun dance for "BOMB GIRL." No bon-kyu-bon girls in Morning Musume though really. Aww, more hugs for Koharu! "Happy happy..." part sounded fab. Good job, Risa!

22. MC

Another short one.

23. Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari

Wish I had translations for the solo bits. I think Linlin said something about her flavor. And did Koharu call all her sempai sexy or say that she was sexy in comparison? Sayumi called Eri a lying idiot! This song is always fun even if I have no idea what's going on ^___^

24. Naichau Kamo

This song sounds so blue, but the PV and lighting here are red. For some reason I can't enjoy the song with the red visuals. Does anyone else have this problem?

25. Resonant Blue

Good lord, this is a superb song. From the dance break on it's pretty much just perfection.

26. Rainbow Pink / Koha-pink, Shige-pink

Perfection. My number 1 guilty pleasure, and this is the best live performance of it ever. THIS is why I'm going to miss Koharu :'( :'( :'( Oh god, the little interaction at the end almost had me crying in the middle of the public library. I bet the graduation ceremony will have me actually crying.

27. Koharu's graduation ceremony.

I'll start by saying I don't like the outfits. I think Koharu's graduation outfits should have been pink. These remind of of the Tsuji/Kago graduation.

Watching this, all I'm think that Koharu has always had a surplus of charisma and cute, but I think she has now developed some poise and grace as well. She looks so grown-up and mature.

I kind of wish they had left Sayumi last, because we all knew that was going to be emotional. It seemed strange to have Reina come up after her. On the other hand, I think it made Reina all the more sentimental. I really love it when the girls whisper to each other after the big talk. Whatever they are saying must mean so much more being private. And I really don't understand why they don't tuck a handkerchief somewhere in their costumes during the graduation ceremonies. It's sad seeing them try to wipe away their snot.

I at least managed to not cry during the ceremony.

28. Furusato / featuring Kusumi Koharu

I was surprised how good Koharu sounded singing her graduation song. She worked must have worked really hard on it. I think this is the first time we've really heard a solo song be her live since all of her Kirari stuff was lip synch'd. But I don't think there will ever be a graduation song as touching as Kago and Tsuji's "I WISH."


This track seems kind of out of place. I want something either happy or sad after a graduation ceremony, not sexy and ferocious.

30. MC


31. LOVE Machine

Koharu's last dance with Morning Musume. Poor Sayumi looked like she was holding in tears as hard as she could. I bet she just bawled when the girls got back stage.

I'm pretty happy with this concert release. Final thoughts
  • Needs more Linlin.
  • Koharu, I will miss you
  • Sayumi can't sing
  • Eri is wonderful :)

°C-ute's 5th album "Shocking 5"

°C-ute's fifth album Shocking 5 was released yesterday, February 25, 2010.

My first thoughts: it's a bland, mushy, boring, pitiful excuse for an album. Shocking 5? More like Sucking 5.

1. EVERYDAY Zekkouchou!! (EVERYDAY 絶好調!!)

Why did the album title Shocking 5 not start with the song "SHOCK!"? Instead it gets off to a boring start with this single, which isn't my favorite one from the group by far. Even though it's Erika's final single she doesn't get even one solo line! It's just a mess of the sappy "SEISHUN!!!!"-ful diarrhea Tsunku has been excreting on us lately.

2. The Party!

Worst. Party. Ever. That exclamation point in the title: completely unwarranted. This is like the very first part of the party where a small handful of people have taken the start time literally and it's just them and hosts. Every one is getting a little antsy and thinking of maybe going somewhere else. And then some more people show up and everyone gets trashed. Except in this song, that last part never happens. The guests do go home and we're left with a lone crooning Airi.

3. Aa Koi (嗚呼 恋) / Suzuki Airi

This kind of sound's like the inside of one of Bowser's castles. It's an alright track, I suppose. Certainly one of the best one's on this album at least. I don't think it's as strong as Airi's previous album tracks though.

4. Bye Bye Bye!

Compared to the rest of this album I almost like "Bye Bye Bye!" Wait... nope, I still hate it. It probably doesn't help that it's sandwiched between the best two tracks on the album. Maimi's little climax is still the best part of the song.

5. Lonely girl's night / Yajima Maimi

Well, I wasn't expecting anything that would rival "Natsu DOKI Lipstick," but I was hoping for something a little upbeat. The track is still is pretty good, it just could be stronger. Still, Maimi could probably make anything sound like solid gold.

6. Kimi no Senpou (君の戦法) / Nakajima Saki, Okai Chisato, Hagiwara Mai

Oh, I have a great idea! Let's put all the weakest vocalists on a track together, and while we're at it we'll just give them a boring backing track with minimal chorus behind them! Seriously, this is a real trash pile of a song.


Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I like "SHOCK!" Of course I hate the line distribution, but that doesn't stop it from being a fun track.

8. Shigatsu Sengen (四月宣言)

You know, who ever they hired to do the guitar on this album was really trying his/her hardest to make the songs good. Everything else on this track: AWFUL. Even the PV they made for it is boring.

9. "Zansho Omimai Moushiagemasu." (「残暑 お見舞い 申し上げます。」) / Suzuki Airi

So Airi basically gets three solo songs. I do not approve. This song is okay, but I would have left it a B-side. I guess Tsunku wanted something of his own work from their summer single on the album since he had no hand in what made "Shochuu Omomai Moushiagemasu" awesome.

10. Yume ga Aru Kara (夢があるから)

Aw, and now we get to the heart-warming group ballad song at the end of the album. Except that's what the rest of the album has been. Of course the song is sweet and pretty, just like the countless sound-alikes that came before it. And this time we only get five girls, three of whom are weak singers, to provide that full vocal sound.

11. Shochuu Omimai Moushiagemasu (H22 Remix) (暑中お見舞い申し上げます (H22 Remix))

How did they manage the make the best thing °C-ute released in the last year into something just as balls-rific as the rest of this album? Do people actually like remixes, ever? The only one's I've ever cared for are "Koibito wa Kokoro no Ouendan (Hyper Dance Version)," "Ai~n! Dance no Uta (MORE TRANCE REMIX)," and "Dschinghis Khan Tartar Mix." This one sounds like °C-ute stuck in a Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix nightmare.

Final verdict: DO NOT WANT. Also, I miss Kanna and Erika :'(

Hello! Café Tea Break

Welcome back to Hello! Café! Have you come for a tea break?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Covert Operation - Mission 5: Folked Up

By the end of 2001 Nakazawa Yuko had served her tenure in Morning Musume and established a solo career. In November of that year she teamed up with former second-gen musume Ichii Sayaka to release a folk music cover album, FOLK SONGS. The album turned into a five-part series with two concerts.

Mission 5: Folked Up

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Covert Operation - Mission 4: Singled Out

For five years Tsunku wrote nearly every single released by Hello! Project, but in late 2002 Goto Maki released the double A-side Sans Toi Ma Mie / Kimi to Itsumademo. "Sans Toi Ma Mie" was a cover of a Salvatore Adamo song that Tsunku had translated into Japanese. Two months later Morning Musume released a cover of "Hyokkori Hyoutanjima," the theme song of an old children's show of the same name. It was the first true Hello! Project cover single, and seven H!P acts have gone on to release cover singles as well.

Edit: A new discovery! Heike Michiyo's second single, "Sotsugyou ~TOP OF THE WORLD~" (卒業 〜TOP OF THE WORLD〜), is a cover of The Carpenters' 1973 hit single "Top of the World." Former Sharam Q member Makoto wrote the Japanese lyrics for Michiyo's version.

Mission 4: Singled Out