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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?

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

It’s worth a second try.

February 24, 2008 1 comment

I’ve mentioned from a few times before on this blog that I’m a member of Sekai no Melody. (6th Generation, Kristallen, represent!) If clicking the link isn’t good enough for you, Sekai no Melody is an internet singing organization, mostly influenced by the music of anime and Hello!Project, and comprised of girls from around the world. Some people join and promptly forget they’ve joined, others eventually “graduate”, and yet others stick around for crazy Internet hijinks.

I know I’ve definitely mentioned how odd it is for me to be in that particular group as my interest in anime has faded away, my interest in Hello!Project is nil, and frankly, my vocal range and most songs they do don’t quite match. And the songs I could absolutely do don’t often come up. Luckily, I recently got to start my own subproject focusing on the J-Pop niche I can handle, boyband songs.

Not-so-luckily, I’d forgotten how large the boyband industry still is in East Asia. And so, accepting that limiting boybands to “Johnny’s, wFL, and the technicality I squeezed AAA in on” is just as bad as saying all J-Pop begins and ends with Hamasaki Ayumi or Gackt, I figured I’d give another of the 5-member boybands a try. Hello, 東方神起. Dong Bang Shin Ki/Gi, Tohoshinki, TVXQ!, whatever the hell your name is. Nice to meet you. Whenever you decide to invade into the mental area reserved for fangirling, try not to completely oust the other two five-men pop groups, okay?

Granted, I don’t know who’s who, what’s what, and since they’re Korean it may take a while longer for me to figure out where to start, much less for any sort of fangirling to start. (Then again, they have an advantage. They don’t have a Matsumoto Jun.) But after listening to the Runaway/My Girfriend single, I may not have to care about any of that.

Categories: avex, DBSK/THSK, Music, Reviews