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State of the Fangirl 02

November 24, 2009 2 comments

I know, I know. I said in the first post that this would be a weekly thing. So it’s best to set an actual day for it to be weekly, no? Because it always annoys me at the end of the year when major releases in Japan are shunted from the usual Wednesday to January 1st, no matter what day it is. I’m odd like that.

o1/ Arashi’s MY GIRL single hits me on so many levels. One, the title song is bland. I’m sure as I watch the drama more, it’ll grow on me, but I don’t know how likely that is considering the source material (again, manga), is much cuter. I am considering continuing it past the first episode just for the little girl. She’s cute, she can act, and she gets Aiba teased. What’s not to like? On the other hand, I haven’t watched 0 Goushitsu no Kyaku, the drama in which Ohno stars in the first arc, but I’m rather enjoying Tokei Jikake no UMBRELLA, its theme song. Well, except for Sho’s rap. It honestly feels like they stuck it in there because Sho wouldn’t really have a rap on this single otherwise. I’m sure the fangirls are enjoying the orgasmic “Uh, mou dame” in the middle. Well, that and the recent news of Kobayashi Mao’s engagement to Ichikawa Ebizo. (Note to self: Avoid the topic of the engagement at the Johnny’s fanmeet on December 6th. Or tonzura koite out of the room if it gets brought up.) The rest of the song returns listeners to the dark dramatic atmosphere that made truth such a hit with fans, though the accordion calls to mind Professor Layton. It’s also a fun song to lip-sync too, since they’re so passionate in it.

But no, the best track is SUPER FRESH, by far. I’m almost sad to say that I love it best because it feels so Western, rather than by default. There’s the club-style beat, so easy to get addicted to. The monotone quick-paced singing, carrying you through the song to the chorus. There is one brass section at the end that throws me back to WISH, but overall Arashi songs are mostly known for their energy, so this is definitely a change of pace. But who’s to say it can’t be a good one?

o2/ Ohitorisama: I’m going to be honest. Like many w-inds. fangirls, I’m watching this for the novelty of seeing one Tachibana Keita act. I only just got through the first episode this past week with my sister (who is watching it for Koike Teppei – looking considerably aged from when we saw him in Shibatora – and Maya Miki). To my surprise, there’s a lot more musical artists in this show than I thought. Of course, heroine Mizuki Arisa is a singer, and Teppei and Keita are part of WaT and w-inds. respectively, along with having their own solo works. Matsushita Nao, another teacher who seems to have plans for Teppei’s character, put out an album earlier this year, but has been around since 2006. And Suzuki Ami – yes, that Suzuki Ami, Nakata Yasutaka fans – shows up as the school nurse. Unfortunately, this also means that some of the acting in this drama kind of sucks. I’m going to stick with it for my sister, though. (To you guys, I suggest you go watch JIN. Tied with MR. BRAIN for the best drama of the year in my opinion.) And because I want to know what the hell Keita’s character does that lets him do what seems to be sit at home and play games all day. Hook a sister up, will you?

o3/ Let’s get ugly. And by ugly I mean self-servicing. In case you don’t know and want to follow me, I have a Twitter. The Twitter, much like myself, is abundant with inanity. If you like my blog, you might like my Twitter, I don’t know. Follow me so I can call you a stalker. But onto the actual subject – having a Twitter means I am a victim of… Twitter operations! On November 17th (in Japan), the person behind the uwasako LiveJournal initiated an attempt to get Japanese pop as a trending topic, after seeing various KPop ones coast up the Twitter Trending Topic Top 10 list.

She chose the fun hastag of #deadfisheyes. It worked, sending them flying to just under New Moon, I think. Hey, I contributed one to the attempt myself. Though admittedly I didn’t actually know what it was for at the time. And now due to the success (or at least latching onto the originality of it in the latter case), two more operations are going on this coming week. On the 24th, Project #eggplant, for Akanishi Jin. (I don’t know why that date.) On the 26th, in honor of Ohno’s birthday, Operations #tsuribaka and #wemakestorm. (Girls, can I say that while I know there are a lot of Arashi fans on Twitter, I suggest PICK ONE AND STICK WITH IT. Or else you’ll end up like the Chinese elections here in New York and get nowhere. I prefer the latter for all Arashi tweets. Just sayin’.)

While I’m sick of seeing Wonder Girls on my Twitter feed – mostly thanks to one person, not saying it’s a bad thing to enjoy fandom, but not being a fan, I’ve had enough – I’m sort of ambivalent about Johnny’s Twitter spam too. Nonetheless, it won’t hurt too many, I think. I’ll get back to you about the murders I’ve committed in reaction to it after the event’s over.

o4/ avex, when will you stop with the underage kiddies? Not that certain people won’t enjoy it. So based off a show called Tensai Terebi MAX, apparently, a new group called Dream5 has been formed. If you’re like me, the first thing you thought of when you saw that name was Folder/5. (Speaking of which, I only recently discovered that it’s HIKARI playing Light’s little sister in the Death Note movie. Also, I’ve only recently watched the Death Note movie. It took an iPod for me to do it. Don’t judge me.) These kids are all younger than any underage group we’ve seen from avex in the past – Folder and SweetS being what come to mind. The youngest is a fourth grader, the eldest two are 7th graders. And the sole guy in the group is in the middle, being a 6th grader. He’s also adorable, but please ignore my pedophilia. They also follow in the path of main singers + backup dancers. I can’t see this one succeeding any longer than SweetS did, especially since their debut single I don’t obey ~Bokura no PRIDE~ is lacking in quality. (Has Togashi Akio lost his touch?) But hey, whatever gets me more cute little boys to fawn over.

In case you’re waiting for a report on Shingo’s Talk Like Singing musical – keep your eyes peeled… actually, don’t. That’s disgusting. But now that the musical has finished its run in NYC and I don’t have to worry about details being spoiler-ish, it’ll be along!

State of the Fangirl

November 19, 2009 3 comments

Man, I suck horribly at this blogging thing. A great deal of it could be attributed to my inherent laziness, and another bunch to the fact that I’ve never actually been inclined to spill out my feelings or keep a diary, so having blogs to begin with goes against who I am.

But I guess a few things in my head insisted on kicking themselves out as I mentally prep myself to watch Shingo’s musical Talk Like Singing today.

1) Ninkyo HELPER: I never managed to do a drama post for the Summer season (nor the Fall), but it’s one of the ones that stuck out at me from the beginning as being a winner. Did I ever underestimate that – the final episodes just build up into a crescendo, and then a very satisfying ending. Things are tied up, Yuki Jutta does hand motions that he should never do again, and even if you don’t particularly like the elderly, you will definitely at least feel for the old people on the show. Also, I may have become a pedophile, but Kato Seishiro’s squishable cheeks are entirely worth it. How did that boy EVER get only third place for Best Supporting Actor? I cried while watching this show. I can’t believe I just admitted that on a public forum.

2) Watarirouka Hashiritai‘s 3rd single, also known as Kanpeki Gu~no Ne!, also known as the first (and current) ending to anime Fairy Tail. I have a friend who hates Fairy Tail with possibly every fiber of her being, mostly because – as she says – it’s an imitator of ONE PIECE, and not creator Mashima Hiro’s first try at it, either. Me, I don’t care about the similarities, so I’m still able to enjoy it. The opening theme song, by FUNKIST, is a light pop-rock number in the style of SID. Take that with a grain of salt, I’ve only really listened to two SID songs and one was a live version (Yuukan Collection, in case you’re wondering). But oh, the ending. It is upbeat and catchy and cute as hell, and I was totally fine with it being stuck in my head when I thought it was done by a seiyuu group with Hirano Aya in it. (I sort of imagined the others to include Kugimiya Rie, who also voices a character on the show.) Then I looked it up, and found out Watarirouka Hashiritai was an AKB48 subgroup, composed of mostly Team B girls. And it. Just. Won’t. Leave. My. Head. I’ve listened to it a grand total of four times, and I have the melody completely memorized.

…Susan was right. Fairy Tail is bad for me. LISTEN TO IT. IT WILL EAT YOUR SOUL.

3) Hold Up Down:  V6 fans have known about this gem for 4 years now, and if you’re not a V6 fan, there’s no guarantee you’ll enjoy this movie. But essentially, it’s a crack fest. The plot barely exists. The acting is about as much as you can expect from the individual members of V6. Bananaman makes cameo appearances – or one of them does. The other one is a running joke. And as is apparently expected of director Sabu, there are over the top car chases and a spectacularly over-the-top fight scene. But no, there is only one reason you should watch this. To join the Church of Frozen Jesus Homeless Guitar Player Okada Statue. Because as this movie will show you – he is truly awesome.

4) LIAR GAME Season 2: Longtime readers of the blog, if they exist, will remember my hearty approval of LIAR GAME when the show first aired. So season 2 and a movie was announced, and now the former has begun airing. It just isn’t as good. Matsuda Shota has always been prone to overacting for the role of Akiyama Shinichi, but this time his magnificently feminine hair isn’t a distraction. Toda Erika slipped comfortably back into her role as Kanzaki Nao, but the fame of being active these past two years has added a sort of maturity to her image that doesn’t fit the naive Nao. The new dealer, Solario, will haunt you in your nightmares with his bulgy-eyed mask. And now that the show has been lengthened to an hour, it seems like they had no idea how to fill up the time other than to replay “dramatic” moments in triplicate. Of course, there’s always Suzuki Kosuke’s excellent performance as Fukunaga Jun to keep viewers in. But maybe I shouldn’t have read the manga, because the magic’s sort of lost.

5) The DBSK vs. SME lawsuit grows tiresome. It’s also a prime example of why I don’t like stepping out into fandom – it’s a pretty ugly creature. For the people who’ve never cared, or the Tohorangers fans living under rocks on Pluto, basically a couple of months back The Girl, Ultra Mushroom, and Kamen Laser as I’ve identified them (Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu to everyone else), sued SM Entertainment. Apparently they were investing in other ventures and SM wanted a cut of the profits from that, declaring that the ventures were making money from the name of DBSK being attached to it, and SM, being the creator of DBSK, had a right to it. This evolved into a dispute over the clasues in their contracts, and then into overall unfairness (their exclusive contracts are for 13 years). The remaining two, Bondage Ranger (Yunho) and Gi (Changmin), kind of stood off to the side until we were suddenly told they’d taken SM’s side – and what’s more, the three suers had a deadline to return to the group so activities would be continued. The deadline – November 12th, I think – passed, and the three didn’t return, leading SM to announce that the Shenzhen concert was canceled. Throughout all this, fans have mostly been “Pfft, SM, WE KNOW WHAT YOU’RE UP TO YOU BASTARDS.” and started a boycott of SM products to make SM lose more money show their support for DBSK.

Well, it’s probably just me, but though SM was kind of stupid for wanting profits out of the boys’ side investments, they do have a point in saying that DBSK wouldn’t exist without them. Jaechunsu can also make a point in not “returning” to the group, but let’s face it, even if the contract had only been 5 or 7 years, they totally would’ve renewed it to end up being 13 years (or more) anyways. SM is good at creating the image Korea wants, after all. (And JYPYG already has BIG BANG. JYP has 2AM/PM. Thanks to Catherine for enlightening me further on the confusing world of Korean boybands!) As for the fans, if SM’s not making any money off DBSK, what’s to say they’ll keep them? Never mind that the boycott could be costing them money from other artists. So who’s the biggest loser here? Me, for actually reading fans whining and bitching and moaning about this over and over. Can we be done with this already?

6) AAA‘s latest single, Hide-away/Find you/Hide & Seek. On one hand, reusing the composition for all three songs with a different sound each time is supposed to make them comparable to Hamasaki Ayumi (Sunrise/Sunset), I guess. On the other, it’s cheap and makes it really easy to get really tired of the songs really quickly. And mostly, I’m sick of the splits. AAA is 5 guys and 2 girls together, not 5 guys and 2 girls occasionally smashed up in a hot aural orgy that’s cooling by the second. At this rate, 6th Anniversary will be two separate concerts – one girls-only, one guys-only. And neither crowd will be pretty.

7) Johnny’s, Johnny’s, Johnny’s. Earlier this week/last week, a Fuji TV member named Miyakawa Naoki sent out a cry for help through LiveJournal, trying to contact SMAP fans in the US for a story that aired on Monday. Well, that wasn’t the problem – hey, look, they know about LJ. Fuuuun. Well, no, one of the questions was “7. What is your favorite song of Smap’s, and your favorite drama, in which any of Smap members act?” If you can’t see the problem here, here’s a reminder – downloading/torrenting dramas is technically a gray area, but still a no-no. And while for a lot of people it’s easy to say Long Vacation or Hero or any other drama that has been out for years, some people are like me, only recent fans, yeah? And their favorite is quite possibly the amazing amazing MR. BRAIN that aired earlier this summer. Too early for DVDs. Or perhaps there was a mention of SMAPxSMAP or Utaban, the latter which would of course never be on DVDs. People did answer, though, and in the Tokudane clip no mention was made (not that I was really paying attention) of it, so hopefully this doesn’t open up a can of worms. (But but but Johnny’s, if you were to decide the US is a lucrative market, I’d be all up for going into the watching-when-it-airs-concert-attending-shrieking-fangirl business.)

I’m half-considering switching this blog thing up. Rather than having every entry – whenever they appear – focus on a singular topic, a weekly post of everything remotely interesting and related to the main subject of this blog. Perhaps something much like this. A valiant attempt to get back into the spirit of regularly blogging. To my non-existent readers, any non-existent thoughts?

I think this title is begging for a spanking joke.

April 10, 2009 2 comments

It’s really quite ironic.

If you don’t know this by now, Raid and I are big fans of Urata Naoya. We were waiting for the release of his solo album, TURN OVER, for ages. Since it was announced that he’d be working on a solo project, at least.

Somewhere along the way, it went totally wrong, and based on the web reactions (for example, Brett over at Kurayami Monogatari and Noah at stylejapan), there are definitely people out there who love it. Us, on the other hand? We’re not entirely impressed. Or maybe that’s just me. Raid’s the one you want for lines like “OMGAH THIS SUCKS”, after all.

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Categories: AAA, avex, Music, Reviews, Urata Naoya

Why Did I Fall In Love With You?

April 1, 2009 3 comments

Something I’ve noticed during my stint in various fandoms is that people are loyal. If they obsessively like something, then they will support anything related to it, no matter how distantly related it is. For example, when the music of ORANGE RANGE’s KIRIKIRIMAI was used in the Fantastic Four movie’s motorbike stunt scene, there was a huge buzz. Never mind that not a second of the vocals showed up, or that it wouldn’t be on the soundtrack. It was in the movie! People went to watch the movie for that reason alone!

Not me. I don’t have the attention span to stick with fandoms to the point of micromanagement. You see, somehow, over the course of the two weeks in which I kept the Music Station episode on which both Arashi and Tohoshinki/DBSK/”SCREW THIS NAMING SCHEME, SM, I GIVE UP” appeared to promote and perform their latest singles, I ended up becoming a definite fan of the latter. There are dreams, there is the knowing of songs without really looking up the lyrics (and this is really harder because the Tohorangers still have accents, and I only listen to their Japanese releases of yet), and there is the looking up of variety appearances.

Honestly, I only have the attention span for one #-member boyband at a time. The instant I became a fan of V6, any consideration for NEWS was immediately shoved out of my head – KAT-TUN was never in the running. Kanjani8 used to not get any love because NEWS was also formerly 8 members, and they still don’t because AAA now also has 7 members. Tackey & Tsubasa don’t have a chance against KinKi, and while I tried to get into SMAP and TOKIO a lot more than I currently am – which is still saying something –  they never could surpass Arashi. (Luckily for w-inds., there are few, if any other, 3-member boybands in Japan.) But somehow, the Tohorangers (perhaps due in part to my nicknaming them the “Tohorangers”) are edging their way in there.

And so it is only appropriate that the single I next review is their 23rd, どうして君を好きになってしまったんだろう? [Doushite Kimi wo Suki ni Natte Shimattan darou?] At least they were kind enough to provide a song to help explain my feelings.

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Categories: avex, DBSK/THSK, Music, Reviews

Like the creepy-crawlies they are.

February 17, 2009 2 comments

In the last quarter of 2006, I watched Remote starring Domoto Koichi and became a fan of Tsuyoshi’s Toilet-on-a-White-Horse. (Unless you’re a KinKi fan, spare yourselves and don’t ask. And even if you are, spare yourself and don’t ask.)

In the last quarter of 2007, I watched Yamada Taro Monogatari starring Ninomiya Kazunari and Sakurai Sho and was condemned to being just another of the many in the ranks of overseas Johnny’s fans.

In the last week of 2008, I watched the music video for 呪文-MIROTIC- [Jumon -MIROTIC-] by Tohoshinki/Dong Bang Shin Ki/TVXQ/that group with far too many names for my liking and am now endangered.

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Categories: avex, DBSK/THSK, Music, PVs

Tell me something I don’t know

February 9, 2009 3 comments

I’ve listened to Japanese music for probably 9/10 years now. They didn’t get the brainwashing in too early, but it’s there all the same.

I’ve actively considered myself a fan of various artists for 6/7 years. It’s a bit of a scary thought.

But there are still some things I can’t wrap my head around.

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Bet on them or not?

February 4, 2009 1 comment

I’ve been informed that I’m pretty lacking as an AAA fan of late, and also because I’ve sort of just left them hanging on this blog. This is apparently not allowed, and justice must be done, especially before their next album comes up.

So let’s go back in time a bit and finish up with the boys-only efforts, before they stopped being an actual boyband and went back to being a boyband with two (possibly 4) girls in it. I’m referring, of course, to the official release, CHOICE IS YOURS.

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Categories: AAA, avex, Music, Reviews