International Wota Summer Refreshment Program!

August 15, 2011

As some of you may know, International Wota has been hosting a series of posts dedicated to Summer refreshment, Idol style. Since this has been a hot summer, I decided that as long as someone else was paying, I might as well go out, get myself a refreshment, and think about Idols while enjoying it.

To that end I grabbed an old notebook that was laying about next to my bookcase and headed into the only significantly large town in Vermont. Being a Vermonter, a few things are near and dear to my stomach. Maple syrup, cheese, creemees (soft serve to the rest of you), apples, and perhaps our state’s most famous export, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. I love Ben and Jerry’s ice cream enough to ignore that I’m lactose intolerant, but today I was feeling like a good girl, so I bought…

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Sorbet! One scoop of Berry Berry Extraordinary and one scoop of Lemonade. Delicious and refreshing, and no stomach-ache later!

After sitting down to eat my guilt-free sorbet,  I opened the notebook and proceeded to write a long, heartfelt something-or-other concerning how much of my history has been inextricably linked to Idols. The idea was good, and I’d still like to turn it into a post, but there was nothing Summer-y,  nor anything refreshing about it. So I scrapped it, and spent a few weeks oscillating between conviction that I’d get my Summer Refreshment post done THAT VERY HOUR, or never get it done at all and be forever ten dollars in debt to Ray, a prospect which terrifies me. The solution to my terror came as I was staring at the cover of Buono!’s mini album, Partenza. Staring, in fact, at Miyabi’s legs. Her pants, to be even more specific. What a great change of pace to see an Idol in pants for once, how intriguing, how… refreshing.

Look at almost any random photo of an Idol. If she is from H!P, she will be wearing a poofy, glitzy tutu-monstrosity with dead birds and beanie-babies glued all over it. If she is from AKB48, she’ll be wearing a bikini. If she’s from any of the other dozens of Idol groups currently on the market, she’ll doubtless be wearing one of those two, or a school-girl uniform. Of course, you say. Why not? Idols thrive on their appearance of cute, attractive femininity. What better way to show that off than in a skirt, dress, or few centimeters of bathing suit?

For that very reason, seeing an Idol wearing pants is extremely refreshing. The look is so rare, so casual and slightly boyish that it can cast the Idol in a new light. Pants make you do a double-take, whether they’re part of an official costume, or a casual snap-shot from a blog entry. In appreciation of that fact, I dedicate my Summer Refreshment post to the Best of Idols wearing Pants.*

First off are the pants that sparked the idea for this post. On further inspection we find that these are, indeed, capris. No matter. Miyabi’s legs look long and slim, especially next to Airi’s giant maxi skirt. As a note, Momoko also wears pants in the alternate outfits for this mini-album. Jeans, even!

Speaking of jeans, Takahashi Ai is our next Idol in Pants. Ai’s blog is a great spot to find these kinds of pictures, since Takahashi’s love affair with denim has been recorded extensively in her near-daily outfit snaps.

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Ai-chan’s jeans tend to be slouchy and boyish. While Ai’s choice in legwear doesn’t rectify the impression she’s been giving off lately that she is G-dragon’s less feminine twin, she still looks great.

Ai’s partner in crime also occasionally dons pantaloons, as seen here:

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See how excited Gaki is? That’s because she can now do a deep-knee bend and a cartwheel without fear of flashing Ai. Not that Ai would mind…

Speaking of giant lesbians, there is one woman whom stylists put in pants at any opportunity. I almost considered not including her in this post, because it would be too easy. Luckily I came to my senses in time to provide you with these excellent images of Yoshizawa:

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Ignoring the fact that she looks vaguely clown-like with those shoes and socks, here we can see Yoshizawa doing what she does best- looking absolutely cool and princely, with just enough of a feminine edge to make EVERYONE question their sexuality. Here, have more:

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I hate jeans with holes in them. I think they’re silly. But those jeans… are good. I like them VERY much. 😀

Ayaka got the picture a long time ago, when she taught Yossy a very useful phrase:

She does, Ayaka. She does.

Let’s keep speaking about giant lesbians for a minute, and move on to Sayumi. Unlike Yossy, it’s nearly impossible to find pictures of Miss SugarPinkBunnyPrincess in pants. But they do exist, and I, dear readers, have found one for you:
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This is one of my favorite pictures of one of my favorite Idols, so if you were planning on scrolling past it quickly on the way to the rest of the post, I must humbly request that you stop and look again. And then again. For a full minute. Or else.**

Now that we’ve moved on to bikini shots, let’s consider the group that’s turned the bikini shot into high art; AKB48. One member of that group in particular is extremely fond of jeans. So fond, in fact, that back in 2009 she felt the need to share her love of jeans in her “private video.” I’m talking, of course, about Miyazawa Sae.
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(Apparently 2009 was also before they invented charisma. OOOOOH.)

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YEAH!

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The rest of AKB48 have worn pants rather more rarely. The most significant instance of it in my (admittedly lacking) memory would be this stage, Himawari-gumi’s first:

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Back when AKB still had the image of Idols you could Meet, I think jeans really suited them. The casual, girl-next-door vibe of denim worked in their favor. They look so relatable. When all is said and done, I think that the relatability factor is what I love the most about seeing Idols in pants. Take away their piles of glitter and enormous costumes, and they’re just girls…

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…albeit extremely beautiful ones. I am practically piddling myself over Koharu’s modeling career. Even more chances to see those legs in gorgeous, tailored pants!

Before I sign off on this post, let me leave you with a few videos that feature Idols in pants, in all of their leggy glory; from the classics, to the new, to the downright horrific:

The moment when Yoshizawa’s fate for the next five years was sealed. Also the last time real men were allowed in a Momusu PV.


Sayaka in paaaaannnntsss…

And now, the truly horrific, only in this post because the lovely Murr reminded me of its existence…

The murdered stuffed animals attached to their hips like war trophies, and Reina’s entire everything (those leggings, those “Say YEAHS”… Uuuugh),  are only saved by how unequivocally sexy Kamei and Gaki are in their jeans. Yum.

This post has been ridiculously fun. Expect to see a part 2 in the future!

Finally, enjoy the last few weeks of your Summer!

*Full-body jumpsuits, overalls, and male Idols are not included. Unless they look REALLY good.

** Or else what, you ask? Well, if you’re a little girl, Sayumi will come and molest you like she has Riho and Mizuki, and if you’re not a little girl, she WON’T come and molest you, and you’ll be sad (this joke was entirely tongue-in-cheek. 😉 )

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I wasn’t gonna do this, but…

August 13, 2008

I’m really not in the mood to blog right now (working on a farm all day’ll do that to you. YOU try coming up with something insightful to say about J-pop cuties after mucking out goat stalls and restraining struggling calfs all day), so I wasn’t planning on reviewing Buono!’s new PV. But on reading a few other reviews, I couldn’t help but become incredulous over the fact that no one has gone all spazzy over the adorable Momo/Airi glomp. I mean, no one’s even pointed it out (as far as I’ve read). So, Usa-chan takes it upon herself to right this wrong! So, on with the review!~

Momoko:

For me, Buono! is Momoko. Let me specify: Airi is the looker. Miya is the talent (one could arguably switch those adjectives). But there are good looking girls and sexy girls in dozens of other groups out there. Momoko, with her special monkeyish brand of goofiness, is what makes Buono! what it is. Everything about her just amuses me. Her odd expressions when the jenga tower almost falls (she reminds me of an owl there), her strange grin… it is all so buono. (PS: My new Gaia signature is this picture:   )

Miyabi:

Miya. Holy crap. She became hot in this PV. I love her hair like that, not just the color, but the style. She looks megatons better with her hair down and in her face. But somehow… there are no standout Miya Moments here. Momo gets her hug, the mosquito thing, Airi gets all those little “serious” close-ups… Miya has to work hard to stand out. And she suceeds, to an extent.

Airi:

If Miya became hot, Airi became stunning. I love seeing her more serious like that. Her expressions suit seriousness better, right? Right! I also love love love her dance outfit. I’d wear that shirt, and I have a weakness for girls with braids. Braids are so under-used within H!P! bring back braids, dammit!

The Dance:

This is a typical Buono!-ey dance, full of energy and fun. But somehow, this one has a lot more personality than Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! did. I love the lady-like little arm… flicks. I don’t know what to call those. You all know what I’m talking about, right?! Th eonly other standout part of the dance, for me, was how much more exaggerated Momo’s movements were. She sticks her hips out more. It makes her look like a better dancer than the others!

The Concept:

Games…. ‘kay. I like this PV the most out of any of Buono!’s other stuff. The bright colors and white background make for a really pleasing effect for the eye. Having the girls piss off those random musicians was brilliant. The random murdering of the mosquito? Not quite so sure about that. Also, the wierd pop-up head game in the end creeped me out. Disembodied heads much?

And now, the reason for this review:

How can you not love that?! Look at that! look at Momo’s cuteness! When I saw that, I suddenly really wanted to be friends with Momo, just so I could get a hug like that.

In All:

I give this PV a 10!


♪Here they come to save the day!♫

April 21, 2008

I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to post much lately. This fact was due to my being buried under a pile of homework. Currently I’m on spring break, looking at colleges for my brother (Any Adelphi alums out there? I’m typing from the Adelphi library).

So a little while ago I made a post about duo performances I’d want to see at the upcoming Berryz “Vs.” C-ute concert. Today I saw the setlist and, of course, not one of my predictions came true.

HowEVER! Some did come very close to coming true! I will get to hear Suzuki Airi singing Very Beauty (sadly I’ll have to hear her singing it with Risako instead of Miyabi, but ah well), and YES! I will get to hear a Tokunaga and Okai version of Bokura no Kagayaki! They will be joined by Kumai Yurina and one of my pairings consisting of Arihara Kanna and Sudou Maasa.

Berryz v. C-ute

For those interested, here’s the setlist from Wikki.theppn, along with my comments:

  1. ダーリン I LOVE YOU (Darling I LOVE YOU) {I don’t really like this song. Moving on!}
  2. スッペシャルジェネレ~ション (Special Generation){The classic h!p kids song that doesn’t normally sound that good live. Oh, and what was up with that Berryz/c-ute version of this song at the Hello! Project 2008 Winter ~Wonderful Hearts Nenjuu Mu Kyuu~ concert? Who in their right mind would let Airi do some of Miya’s “Whoa whoa”s? I thought that it was an unspoken rule that no one touched those lines if Miya was present in ANY performance of Special Generation?}
  3. 大きな愛でもてなして (Ooki na Ai de Motenashite) {I’m glad that this is being performed. It’s too weird a song not to like}.
  4. 我ら!Berryz仮面 (Warera! Berryz Kamen) VTR {Doesn’t a VTR mean that it’ll be up on a screen?This could either be very, very interesting or really stupid. Man, and I was looking forward to watching an actual performance of this, what with Risako getting NO LINES and all. Ah, wait. they perform it again at the end.}
  5. MC 1 {Don’t watch these, moving on.}
  6. 涙の色 (Namida no Iro) – °C-ute {So I don’t exactly love this song, but I want to see the dance live. Those cheesy slo-mo parts of the PV kind of ruined the effect of the dance for me}.
  7. 胸さわぎスカーレット (Munasawagi Scarlet) – Berryz Koubou {I love this song. They usually only sound okay singing it live. Oh well}.
  8. MC 2 – Berryz Koubou {Don’t watch these, moving on!}
  9. LALALA 幸せの歌 (LALALA Shiawase no Uta) – °C-ute then All {This song is a monstrosity}.
  10. ジンギスカン (Dschinghis Khan) – All then Berryz Koubou {I kind of want Risako to trip and fall on her face during a performance of this song. Then Chinami and Maasa could “accidentally” stomp on her, forcing her to sit on the sidelines pouting for the rest of the concert.}
  11. 都会っ子 純情 (Tokaikko Junjou) – °C-ute {Disheartened by her friend Risako’s defeat accident, Airi would suddenly find her voice deepening, gaining pitch control and depth. Surprise! She sounds just like she used to back in Aa!}
  12. 付き合ってるのに片思い (Tsukiatteru no ni Kataomoi) – Berryz Koubou {With no Risako around to make this song even more unbearable, Captain, Maa and Chinami will take her lines and steal the show}
  13. VERY BEAUTY – Sugaya Risako and Suzuki Airi {Silly fools, Risako has just been stepped on! Her little Berryz lungs are probably crushed! But oh, look, here comes Miyabi, bravely offering to take her place and complete this duet.}
  14. 僕らの輝き (Bokura no Kagayaki) – Kumai Yurina, Tokunaga Chinami, Sudou Maasa, Okai Chisato, and Arihara Kanna {Chinami will probably be surprisingly genki during this performance, for someone who just stepped on a fellow member’s fallen body. Oh, wait. Chinami’s always genki…}
  15. サヨナラ 激しき恋 (Sayonara Hageshiki Koi) – Natsuyaki Miyabi, Shimizu Saki, Nakajima Saki, Hagiwara Mai, Tsugunaga Momoko, and Yajima Maimi {They should wear black leather for this performance. Y’know, in mourning over Risako, and all.}
  16. That’s the POWER – All except Buono! {Erika is busy making some important phone calls to ensure that Risako never heals properly, and must thus give up her position as Berryz’ front-runner}
  17. ドドンカドン音頭 (Do Don Ga Don Ondou) – Umeda Erika {Having finished with this imprortant job, Erika shoos the others offstage, kicks ass and proceeds to sing… ondou music?}
  18. ホントのじぶん (Honto no Jibun) – Buono! {I love Buono! and this song too much to make any comments}
  19. 恋愛ライダー (Renai Rider) – Buono! {Ditto. Unless, of course, they learned how to swing on a trapeze and used that to make their entrance. That would be just cool}
  20. 夏 DOKI リップスティック (Natsu DOKI Lipstick) – Yajima Maimi, Nakajima Saki, and Shimizu Saki {During this performance, Saki S. and Maimi will ensure that Saki N. suffers a Sugaya-styled accident and turn this song into a duet. Sorry, Saki N. You’re cute, but your voice makes me cringe. The plus side is that these are three of the better H!P kid dancers…}
  21. まっさらブルージーンズ (Massara Blue Jeans) – °C-ute {The vocally born-again Airi leads the one-member short C-ute in a very nice rendition of this oddly-choreographed song (Pelvic thrusting much?). But from backstage, it seems that the twin evils of Sugaya and Nakajima(‘s vocal chords) are plotting something…}
  22. ジリリ キテル (Jiriri Kiteru) {As the unsuspecting 12-member group performs one of the best Berryz songs ever…}
  23. JUMP {…NakaSaki and Risako JUMP the stage (lame pun, sorry) and attempt to force their way back into the concert in a bloody revolution!}
  24. 友情 純情 oh 青春 (Yuujou Junjou oh Seishun) {Wota chanting reaches a fevered pitch as they root for which girls they wish to survive the coup. Just as Chisato is pulling out one of her numerous concealed knives, management comes in and drags the girls away to calm them down with cupcakes and pocky.}

Encore

  1. Skit {A much bruised Sugaya Risako uses this “skit” as a chance to attempt to re-start the bloodshed, but just when it looks as though her dastardly plot might succeed, we see something in the air! Is it a bird? plane? NO! It’s…}
  2. 我ら!Berryz仮面 (Warera! Berryz Kamen) {SUPER-MAASA! With Chinami the Genki Wonder and Mayuge-girl (Saki S), our masked heroine quickly restores peace and order.}
  3. MC 3{ Super-Maasa and co. take this chance to depart and return to the stage as their idol alter-egoes. Hmm, idol by day, superhero by night… there has to be an anime with that plotline!}
  4. 桜チラリ (Sakura Chirari) {With a final song, everyone calls it a day and heads backstage for some more cake. All is peaceful in the world of the H!P kids! For now…}

That’s all! Thank you for allowing my inner geek to show through. No, I don’t actually wish physical harm to NakaSaki. As for Risako… well…


H!P my way.

March 6, 2008

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the things “wrong” with Hello! Project, and seeing Maple GreanTea’s post made me finally make the effort to organize my thoughts. It seems I’ve been replying to Maple GreanTea’s thoughts lately, huh? (Maple GreanTea, let’s be friends!)

Things Aoi♥Usagi would change about h!p:

Morning Musume:

A new graduation would not occur for at least 6 months- 1 year.

There would be auditions held for the 9th generation before ANYONE else leaves. At least three girls would be chosen (no more of this one-member generation nonsense). Personally, I want to see a Korean member, a “mood maker” member (Hi, Yaguchi #2), and… a glasses member?

The T-man would continue releasing music with a sound similar to the disco-ey sound of Resonant Blue.

Kusumi Koharu would not get any more leads until she has intensive vocal lessons. Tanaka would not get any more leads until she stops warping her voice to sound “cute” and goes back to Shabondama-era Tanaka.

Kamei would begin to subtly come to the front more and more. She would not get many leads, but will contribute solid vocals as always.

The expansion into Asia would accelerate to ludicrous speed.

The line distribution would become FAR more even.

Berryz Koubou:

Risako would begin fading to the back. Since that will never happen outside of my dreams, she goes along with Kusumi to begin intensive singing lessons.

After learning to control her voice, Risako would surprise all us non-fans by being somewhat bearable. Like in Munasawagi Scarlet.

Maasa would come to the front during the time in which Risako takes her singing lessons.

Yurina and Chinami would begin to have an interchangeable places singing within the group.

– Yurina would develop a personality beyond space cadet. She’d also begin to take up modeling.

Momoko would begin using her Buono! voice and impressing everyone.

Miyabi would release a solo single but would NOT graduate. This would be a one-time thing, similar to Takahashi’s Yume Kara Samete.

Their musical style… would still remain all over the place.

The line distribution would become FAR more even.

C-ute

Their sound would immediately go back to Tokkaiko-esque. Like, right now.

Airi would remember how she used to sing (or be forced to remember). Like back in Aa!. She misses this style and starts singing that way again. Aoi♥Usagi weeps with joy.

– Okai Chisato, Yajima Maimi and the newly vocally reborn Airi would become the lead singers, with the other girls helping out liberally. No more of this “no lines for the less promoted girls” bit.

Yurina would call up her friend Erika and tells her how much fun modeling is. Erika gives it a try.

The line distribution would become FAR more even.

The rest of h!p:

Melon Kinenbi would either get some real, quality releases SOON or graduates within the year. Before they go, Oohtani would dye her hair every color known to man and be immortalized in the Hair Hall of Fame.

Ogawa would come back to be a soloist. With her new long brown hair and same kick-ass voice and personality, people would kick themselves for not promoting her talent before. They throw themselves at her feet. She laughs and goes on to conquer the charts.

Matsuura Aya would begin to get singles similar to Ki ga Tsukeba Anata; an upbeat mature sound suitable for an adult woman, but not another boring ballad.

GAM would reform and become Aya’a new hope for the future. They’d release music similar to Thanks!.

Ayaka’s Surprise English Lessons would come back in a big way.

Buono!’d continue doing what they’re doing. Eventually they’d move beyond the sphere of Shugo Chara and become a solid group.

Athena and Robbywhatever would stop releasing music for their anime. After a few months, however, the same four girls would team up again for a group with a cool image (Risa really can pull off kakkoi! Honest!). In their first single, Chisato will be featured in a room full of baseballs.

New Units:
– Kumai Yurina, Kamei Eri and Umeda Erika would team up for a group that has a sound similar to 2nd Gen. Tanpopo. I really want to see this group come into being. It’s basically my dream group.

Ai, Airi, and Aika would release one single on Valentine’s Day (please?). But no more after that.

Okada Yui and her boobs would create a new egg-centric group.

-After some rumors of a solo career, Miyoshi Erika would join Yui’s Egg group. Yui jiggles with happiness.


Important!

February 13, 2008

renai_rider_regular.jpg

We interrupt the regularly scheduled programming to tell you that the B-side to Buono’s Renai♥Rider single, Janakya Mottainai, is spectacular and must be listened to immediately! If you have not heard this song yet, it is a matter of national security that you listen to it right away.

Thank you!