Archive for the C-ute Category

Mega Update #1

Posted in Berryz Koubou, C-ute, Hello!Project, Koharu Kusumi, Loot, V-u-den on January 12, 2009 by Pex

Well, funny how things turn out, isn’t it? Originally, I had planned to get the Tanpopo/Petitmoni Mega Best album toward the end, if not dead last, in my Mega Best Quest. Instead, because I found it cheap on eBay, I went ahead and bought it. It turns out that it arrived the same day as the Special and Shuffle Unit Mega Bests from YesAsia that I ordered earlier.

So basically, it’s three down and five to go. And those five, I’ll be getting for my birthday, along with the second V-u-den album. After that, I’ll probably want to get the fourth C-ute album, the Berryz Koubou Best album, and Kusumi’s Kirarin Best album. I like Best albums, apparently. In truth, I just like albums in general as they tend to be better value for money and often, when it comes to albums from the various groups, they also contain songs featuring the less-featured members of the groups, which is nice. The only downside to this is that the b-sides of the singles usually aren’t on the albums, to the best of my knowledge. If only H!P would do like Soul’d Out and release a collection of b-sides…

Anyway, at some point, I think I need to sit down and take stock of everything that’s currently available or coming soon that I want. It’ll be a while before I get most of them, but it would be good to know exactly how far behind I am. As G.I. Joe used to say, “knowing is half the battle…”


Obligatory H!P Best of 2008 – Pex’s oPinion

Posted in Ai Takahashi, Aya Matsuura, Berryz Koubou, C-ute, Hello!Project, Koharu Kusumi, Morning Musume, Risa Niigaki, Yuko Nakazawa on January 9, 2009 by Pex

Okay, so I saw this on Morningtime, and he saw it on Hello!Blog, who saw it on Merry Go Round, it’s basically an opinion poll on the Best of 2008 from the world of H!P.

What does the Pexmeister think about last year? Well…

Best Group Single – Cinderella Complex (High-King)

I did have this entry written already (with Resonant Blue getting the win), but then I remembered Cinderella Complex. I’m honestly shocked that I decided to change my decision, but as good as RB and its previous contenders (Pepper Keibu, Edo no Temari Uta II, and Dschinghis Khan) are, they can’t compare to this slice of aural excellence.

Best Soloist Single – Papancake (Koharu Kusumi) & Kizuna (Aya Matsuura) TIE

I used to want to smack people who gave “TIE” awards. I used to feel it was cheating. I still do, I guess, but I honestly can’t choose between the two. They both perfectly capture the twin sides of H!P for me. Papancake is sheer cracktastic Koharu at her best representing the sugary-kiddie-pop side of H!P which, let’s face it, has been around at least since the time of Minimoni. You can’t honestly tell me that you like the “Ai-n” songs but find Papancake silly. Well, you can tell me that, but I’ll laugh at you, because you’re being silly. On the other end of the spectrum, Kizuna represents the soulful introspective ballads the H!P soloists are usually best known for. In short, they are both the best there is at what they do, and I cannot choose between them. Nor do I wish to.

Best Group Album – Cover You (Morning Musume)

Although I got both 5(Five) and 3rd Love Escalation for Christmas, I have yet to listen to them. Even if I had, there’s just no way that those two albums would beat Cover You. Yes, none of the songs on the album are actually “Morning Musume Songs” as such, but that doesn’t matter. The girls take those songs and make them their ow…no, actually, I can’t really make that judgement. The only one I’d heard prior to the album’s release was Pepper Keibu, and even that one was “tainted” by MM from the very first time I heard it, because my first time hearing the song is via a clip from the docu-drama about the songwriter, and Ai-chan and Risa were singing it. So in my mind, all these songs are Morning Musume songs. With that in mind, Cover You stands out as their most…cohesive album to date. It’s currently tied with Sexy 8 Beat as my favorite MM album of all time.

Best Soloist Album – Legend (Yuko Nakazawa)

No, I don’t have it yet (I plan on getting it for my birthday), but I’ve seen some of the PVs, and though Nacchi has some good songs (and I plan on getting hers for my birthday as well), I’m looking forward to this one more. The Elder Stateswoman of H!P deserves no less than the Best, and so, I give her the award for Best Soloist Album.

Best PV – Resonant Blue (The Version that combines all the other versions into a proper PV)

I remember when music videos (as the non-JPop crowd – as well as myself – like to call PVs) used to tell a story. They would have different scenes, cutting back and forth and weaving a story, setting a mood, and entertaining us. I miss videos like that. Ai-chan on her exercise bike, Risa in the cab, Reina walking through the streets at night…these scenes all say “Resonant Blue” to me. I would choose the version containing only those elements, but there’s something inviting about watching the girls warm up and practicing their dance routines. It’s one of the most normal things I’ve ever seen them do, and I quite like that scene because of it. As a result, I could not separate the versions. I feel I must give an honorary mention to Edo no Temari Uta II because of Chisato’s outfit as well as the outstanding minimalist background silhouettes set design. It totally rocks. Just not enough to win.

Group With Best Overall Releases – Morning Musume

Yes, C-ute and Berryz both released more, but I don’t feel MM should be penalized because of the quantity of releases. They all did very well, but MM’s two singles are two of my favorites by them ever, so in the end, they just had to win.

Best New Group Debuted in 2008 – High-King

It’s funny that, even though I like all three members of Buono, I’ve only listened to maybe one or two of their songs. I don’t know why I can’t get into them. Laziness, I imagine. Either way, High-King refused to let me be lazy. You pretty much had to notice these girls, even if they only released one single and are unlikely to ever release any more. It was just that unforgettable.

Best New Soloist Debuted in 2008 – Erina Mano

Erm…isn’t she the only soloist to debut this year? I can’t remember. Anyway, I haven’t heard anything of hers yet, but since she supposedly plays her own piano music, I’ll give her props for that. I can’t even play Guitar Hero and talk at the same time.

Best Established Group Did Not Debut in 2008 – Morning Musume

C’mon, did you really think I was going to pick anyone else? They’re the flagship, and rightly so. They may not have had as many releases as the other groups (well, more than Melon Kinenbi, but you know what I mean), but the two they had were among the best the group has ever released, so I have to give them props. I will say that Berryz and C-ute both had very strong releases throughout the year.

Best Established Soloist Did Not Debut in 2008 – Koharu Kusumi

I like Koharu’s Kirarin singing voice. I said it, and I’m not ashamed. Her songs have always been fun, ever since Balalaika, and this year’s single, Papancake was no exception. I like her voice so much that I even consider the Milky Way songs and Pinponpan Taisou to be Kusumi solo songs, since she tends to feature so heavily on them. Normally I would feel silly saying that she “roxxors my soxxors”, but she does. Stop all the Koha-hating. It just makes you all seem like old fuddy-duddys.

Best Photobook – Happy Girl (Risa Niigaki)

Let me put it to you this way, Happy Girl and Maple (Eri Kamei) were the two photobooks whose scans wanted to make me start collecting photobooks, and although it was a surprise Christmas gift from my brother, Happy Girl would have been the first one I would have bought myself. Risa just looks absolutely frelling gorgeous, and has the most interesting variety of outfits, but I have to say that the outfit with the old baseball cap and old blue jeans and jacket is my favorite. That’s similar to how my dad (who is a farmer) tends to dress, and whenever I look at that picture, I can smell my dad coming home late at night with the fresh scent of night air on his coat, and it is just so familiar and inviting. I’d like to imagine Risa coming home to me smelling like that and wearing that outfit. It’d be like she had become a part of my family. A picture like that is worth way more than a thousand words, and that’s why this photobook, no matter what, will always be my favorite.

Hottest Idol 0f 2008 – Ai Takahashi

If you haven’t seen Ai-chan’s Pimp Hat and face-caressing skills, go watch High-King’s Cinderella Complex PV right now. She’s sweet, but the girl knows how to make you quiver in all the right ways. The way she puts her hand to her cheek with most of her fingers curled shyly away in that PV, the way her booty goes into turbo-boost overdrive in the Resonant Blue PV, those intense eyes that just reach into yours and say, “C’mere, Sexy!”, those long, luscious legs of hers…to quote Jayne from Firefly/Serenity, I’ll be in my bunk.

Worst Soloist Single/ PV/ Group Single / Vocalist – N/A

Sorry, Pexie don’t play that. I focus on positives in my blog. The most I could give you for any of these would be “Least Best”, and since I haven’t heard everything, I might accidentally give a “Bad” Award to something I will later consider to be good, and I just ain’t gonna do that, sorry.

Least Attractive Girl of 2008 – N/A

Weren’t you listening? Pexie don’t play that. They’re all good in my eyes.

* * *

Okay, I’d actually like to add a category, if I may, and since it’s my blog, I’m gonna do it anyway.

Most Improved Girl of 2008 – Risa Niigaki

I’ve always liked Risa, but her voice never really stood out before, in my mind. All that changed at the MM All Singles concert. She has really upped her game! Listen to her belting out the lyrics in Shabondama or The Manpower, and then go listen to her (almost) solo song from Cover You, Johnny e no Dengon. She really has a lot more range than I ever previously thought. I still think she’d have problems with Koi no Hana (like she did the previous time she sang it on Hello Pro Hour), but overall, she has improved muchly over the course of this past year. At least, I like to think she has. If she was always that good, I’m ashamed of myself for not noticing it any sooner.

* * *

Well, that’s it. That’s yer lot. Take it for what it’s worth, one man’s opinion. Your mileage may vary, etc., etc.

Christmas Loot 2008

Posted in Berryz Koubou, C-ute, Heartsdales, Hello!Project, Loot, Morning Musume, Risa Niigaki on December 26, 2008 by Pex

Just a short note to let you all know what I got for Christmas this year from the world of J-Pop.

Santa brought me the following:

  • Berryz Koubou – Koi no Jubaku (single)
  • Berryz Koubou – 5 (album)
  • C-ute – 3rd Love Escalation (album)
  • Heartsdales – Fantasy (single)
  • Chieco Kawabe – Candy Baby (single)
  • m-flo – Awards Super Nova Loves Best (album)

My brother got me the following items as well:

  • m-flo loves Emyli & Diggy-MO – Dopamine (single)
  • Morning Musume – Mikan (single w/photo booklet and Eri card)
  • Morning Musume – Resonant Blue (single w/ Another Vers. DVD)
  • Morning Musume – Pepper Keibu (single w/DVD, not sure which version)
  • Risa Niigaki – Happy Girl Photobook

I love everything I got, but I think I’m most happy about Happy Girl. You see, it’s my first ever photobook, and though I’ve seen pictures from a lot of the photobooks thanks to scans posted online, nothing compares to having that big smiling face of Risa’s adorning the cover of my very own copy of the book. I keep catching myself hugging it as if it were a teddy bear or a book I’d treasured since childhood.

Photobooks are expensive things, but I’d like to get more of them in future. In a dream world, I’d like to get them all, but for now I’m restricting myself to either favorite members or really gorgeous photobooks. I’ve been hinting to my brother that Eri’s Maple PB or one with Ai-chan would both be most excellent choices for potential birthday gifts from him (have to start hinting now, since my birthday is on Valentine’s Day). Beyond those, I’d really like to get Mari’s photobooks. I think they are the ones beyond the two I’ve already mentioned that I would like to have the most. Then, a pb from Yuko or Reina. Like I said though, I’d like to get them all eventually, so any that show up as presents would be fine. Of course, eBay might be the way to get some of the older ones. Perhaps if I get any money for my birthday, I might see about treating myself to one (or maybe two). I’m greedy, but the girls are just so purty, I can’t help it!

At any rate, I hope you all have had a Merry Christmas this year! Sorry for not updating this blog very much recently. I shall have to make a New Year’s Resolution to continue blogging more often.

Edo no Temari Uta II

Posted in C-ute, Hello!Project on July 24, 2008 by Pex

Hello!Online has the new C-ute video, courtesy of Dohhh UP!

My first impression is, I like it.  It’s laid back, kinda catchy, and has a very slight reggae/hip-hop vibe to it, particularly in the beginning.   The Japanese “twang” sound in the background is there, and that’s always a plus for me.  It gives the song a little bit of added flavor.  No, it doesn’t especially need it, but I think it enriches it even more.

The video is very vividly designed, with the contrast of the neon signs and the cardboard cutout mountains and clouds really standing out to me.  The costumes are exotic and stylish, with Chisato’s being my favorite.  No surprise there, since Chisato is my favorite member of the group.

One interesting thing: I noticed from the Hello!Online article that Tsunku didn’t write this song.  When I told my brother about it, his reaction was: “Is he sick?  Is he dying?!?”  Not as far as I’m aware, but with someone like this songwriter to fill in for him, I’m not as worried as I would be otherwise.

The really interesting thing is that I seem to be becoming a fan of C-ute.  I had never heard them before Tokkaiko Junjou, but now that I think about it, I find that I like everything they’ve done since then, except for the Rakuten Eagles song, which I haven’t heard yet.  As I mentioned before, Chisato is my favorite member of the group, probably due to her cuteness (no pun intended).  Nothing against the others, especially Mai and Airi, whom I also favor, but Chisato just really stands out for me.

So, at some point, I’ll probably be buying some C-ute singles or albums.  It really depends on what’s on the albums.  It won’t be for a while though, so we’ll see when the time comes.