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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?

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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

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

Sweat Baby, Bang Baby…

January 19, 2009 2 comments

 

“…sex is a Texas drought.” I wasn’t entirely sure whether to title this post “Baby Got Bang” or “Baby Go Back”, but then I decided to pay homage to the Bloodhound Gang’s The Animal Song. It’s a song that will always be a classic source of nostalgia (oh, late nights in middle school watching VH1’s Insomnia and late night MTV when it was still about the music), and a karaoke staple.

Sacrilegious though it may be (especially given my past track record), I sort of wish I could say the same about the promotional track off Urata Naoya‘s upcoming album. Instead, Baby Bang! feat. SPHERE isn’t likely to head that way anytime soon.

I must give the song its props. It’s a dance track so it’ll make perfect use of Urata’s dancing chops, and based off the group dance shots in the video he’ll have a good performance to show us with this song. It grows on you too, if you haven’t outright decided that you hate it. Urata spends most of the track in a falsetto and his higher range, too, so when SPHERE makes his grand entrance it makes a perfect contrast. All the same, I’m hoping that the rest of the album doesn’t keep him in this area, because it will hurt to listen to within the first three days.

What I can’t stand is the video. It’s just ridiculous. The aforementioned group dance shots work. Urata walking down the empty street towards the camera? Come home to mama, baby (bang!). The solo dance shots with the paint-splattered backgrounds are nice too. But Urata’s solo scenes where he’s in that ridiculously colored hoodie, moving spastically against a metal closed-store grate, with equally horribly-colored lighting… y’know, I love a shot of pop star nipple as much as the next person, but not at the cost of my eyes. No, man, you can not get a kiss. That was just not sexy. SPHERE’s also pretty stupid looking when he’s not walking down the street. Stick with the street, guys, even if there’s an oncoming car. It’s really better for your image.

Even worse are the scenes where he molests a random Caucasian lady. Oh, I’m all for the molesting. It was really rather hot, even if she clearly didn’t think so. I’m just not for the goopy blue paint. What is this, a new form of protection? Thick blue paint will not stop your guy cooties from reaching her. It just makes her look more ugly and less sexually attractive. Actually, when the video started with her, it’d gotten to the point where I’m not even sure she was sexually attractive to begin with. Hell, even Urata has a guilty look as he smears the paint all over her limbs. “I’m sorry, I really didn’t mean to kill your skin cells like this.”

I’m still looking forward to this release, between Urata and the revelation that KURO (of HOME MADE KAZOKU) had a hand in the lyrics of a song, but avex is trying a bit too hard to not remind us that the man is already 26. Or turn him into a male Amuro Namie where we can’t remember he’s 26… and either way, it’s not working.

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

BEYOND~この曲ノカナタ

July 23, 2008 2 comments

If you’re an AAA fan and an astute reader of this blog, you’ll notice that their most recent single hasn’t been mentioned at all. Of course, some people might excuse it because of the promotion of the boys-only mini-album around the same time. Others might bring up that I was on a hiatus (if unannounced) from my ramblings.

For the past month and a half, that most recent single didn’t exist for me. In fact, have a quote from a forum conversation over AAA’s periods for me.

AAA 2005-October 2006 = growing into it. (Let us never bring back Hallelujah’s cornrows, Nissy.)
AAA November 2006-June 2007 = smoking hot and working the “idol” concept.
AAA July 2007-September 2007 = duck-ing. (As in, being like a duck. Not ducking under something. Though they did a lot of that too.)
AAA October 2007-January 2008 = experimental.
AAA February 2008-June 2008 = My fanhood is ashamed.

And that last line? Can all be blamed on BEYOND~カラダノカナタ [BEYOND~KARADA NO KANATA].

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Categories: AAA, avex, Music, Reviews

Dispersing the MIRAGE.

January 14, 2008 2 comments

It has come to my attention that I don’t get to continue calling myself an AAA fan unless I review the MIRAGE single. I assure you the perpetrator was swiftly dealt with, including techniques that involved (but were not limited to) setting rabid dogs after him into a maze of barbed wire and motion-activated flamethrowers. But you know, bodies are pretty incriminating, and I don’t have enough vats of acid to dump them all in, so I decided that I’d have to review the single anyways to shush any further naysayers.

And so, here we are. None of you are going to contest my claim as an AAA fan, yes? Good. On a slightly unrelated note, wow, it’s been a full month since I’ve done a review of any musical release on this blog. I guess I managed to uphold the “ramblings” part of the subtitle.

Categories: AAA, avex, Music, Reviews