Land of Sayumi doll

October 23, 2011

Sayumi’s new PB, Sayumilandoll, is due to come out soon, and recently a few preview images have been made available in order to tempt our little wota hearts. I’m a huge fan of Sayumi, and her photobooks are always gorgeous, so of course I was pleased to hear about the previews. I was expecting Sayumilandoll to be somewhat typical H!P fare- Sayu standing around looking sexy in a bikini, looking forlorn in casual clothes, posing in the middle of the woods in improbably fancy dresses, and the like. I would have been perfectly happy with all of that- heck, I’m happy to see Sayumi’s blurry, overexposed blog photos. But on seeing the previews today, I’m pleasantly surprised. These images are so fun, so different from most H!P photobooks.

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This first picture reminds me a bit of synchronized swimming outfits.g

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Sayumi, the idol with a flamingo growing from her head.

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These are two of my favorites from among the preview images. And honestly, they don’t differ too radically from the usual formula H!P uses in its photobooks. Sayumi is still posing in a generally skimpy outfit, making a fairly straightforward expression. What sets these apart is their use of an interesting set and/or unusual make-up (and wigs). The soft whites of the first image set off Sayumi’s natural beauty, with the wig serving as the real kicker. We’re so used to seeing our Sayumi with black hair that the wig casts Sayu in a whole new light; we can’t just gloss over the picture and go on to the next one, because it is so unusual. Our brains can’t quite take in what our eyes are seeing. In the second picture, the theme is one we’re much more familiar with. What’s jarring about this one is the barrage of bright colors- the candy pink of the balloons (echoed in Sayumi’s liptsick), the lilac power puff, and especially the bright headband against Sayu’s dark hair. It’s almost so much that you don’t notice the inexplicable flamingo head in the background. It’s so different from the usual muted, romantic colors of a Hello! Project photobook.

A lot of people seem put off by these previews. The general consensus is that the images are too weird, too artificial, too out of the ordinary.

Excuse me? Hasn’t everyone also been upset over how “stagnant” Hello!Project has been lately? Anyone who thinks that a couple of wigs and some cosplay is too strange and daring by H!P standards needs to sit down and think for a moment about what they’re expecting from their idols. The fact that this photobook is so different is what makes it great.

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But where are her knees…?

One thing that really struck me with this PB was that it can appeal to a wider range of people than most H!P releases. The stand Hello! Project photobook is designed to give the owner of the book a feeling of closeness with the idol. It’s a way of carrying on the virtual girlfriend aspect of female Idols. Many PBs come close to mimicking a private photo albums- making the viewer feel like they’re looking back on a cherished summer vacation to Guam with his pretty girlfriend, or a few private moments in a rented cabin with his significant other. Those kinds of PBs appeal to wota more than any other demographic. True, a casual fan might still pick up a book full of Sayumi gazing languorously at the camera while lolling about on the floor,  but for the most part Hello! Project PBs are made for the wota almost exclusively.

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If you were a boy-obsessed 14  year old girl, would you really care about a romantic date in a field with Sayumi?

Sayumilandoll doesn’t bother with any of that stuff. Sayu becomes a strange, unknown creature, beautiful and fashionable and over the top. There’s nothing romantic and comforting about any of these images. While that may seem to make the PB less appealing, I don’t think so. Casual fans can pick the book up because Sayumi looks gorgeous. Stylish girls can pick it up because she’s fashionable and her make-up is done in a striking, modern way. Anime fans might buy it on seeing the Lum-like cover outfit, and of course the wota will buy it because, well, it’s Sayumi.

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I don’t want to read too much into one release, but seeing this makes me very excited about the future of Momusu with Sayumi as a front-girl. She’s a strong, interesting character; gorgeous, and relevant to more than just the wota demographic. In a way, Sayumi is one of the few Momusu members who can really pull something like this off. She’s one of the more universally visible members with her constant appearances on TV shows, and she’s appeared quite a few times in alternative fashion magazines (Kera especially has hosted Sayumi before). If it were Niigaki or Aika posing in a fluffy white floral headpiece, I might be among those people crying out that this release seems off. But because it’s Sayumi, I can accept it. And with Sayumi trying new things, it might be that we’ll start to see the other H!P members shake things up a bit, too- and if they do, it won’t feel as strange now that Sayumi’s lead the way.

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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. 😉 )


The morning after…

September 8, 2008

Just a bit of follow-up from my last post.

Yes, my pageviews did increase quite a bit. What does that prove?

That men (and some women) like boobs.

So basically, I proved something we all already knew.

My god, I feel like that guy who made “Supersize Me.” Remember him? He’s the guy who said, one day, “Yes, I think I’m going to prove that fast food is bad for you by eating a lot of it. Here goes!”

Well, that’s fine by me. Have some Turtle-flavored fanservice for reading this. :3


Do you guys like me yet?

September 1, 2008

Alternate title: Usa-chan’s blog needs a “mature-content” warning.

Times are hard. Gas prices are soaring, stocks are falling, and people are making sacrifices worldwide to make ends meet. What does this have to do with blogging? Probably nothing. But I do know that I’ve been getting fewer and fewer pageviews lately. Thus, my blogging ego is plummeting along with my pageviews, and I’m going to blame it on the recession. Wow, I’m talking just like an adult already!

What am I going to do about this?

I’m going to figure out what all you readers out there want and give you a post devoted to that. As far as I can tell, most of you out there look for one or more of three things when reading a post:

1. Humor. Who doesn’t like to laugh?

2. New opinions, or something you didn’t already know.

3. Boobs. Do I really need to explain?

The easiest of those three things is, of course, the last. And because school has started and thanks to sadistic teachers I already have homework, I’m only choosing to give you one of those three. So here you go:

Usa-chan’s super awesome fanservice post!

Why not start out with a bang (pun intended)? Besides, according to my research (IE bored musings), the pictures are probably the only things you’ll actually look at in this post.

Personally, I find Nacchi to be one of the sexiest members of H!P. Plus, if you back waaay up, tilt your head and kinda squint, not only will you look incredibly silly, but Nacchi’s bathing suit kinda blends into her skin. z0ngz! Yes,all you need after doing that is a bit of imagination, and bam! You’ve got naked Nacchi!

I find Rika’s ribs here to be kinda disturbing. But the point of this part of the post is boobies, not ribs, so there you go, you perverts.

This was just too funny not to include. Whoever made this .gif, come talk to me, because you’re hilarious.

Yuiboobs are the only ones in H!P that I think might be the result of plastic surgery. She went from flat to boobalicious in a very short amount of time (see below). No push-up bra could do that.

It’s like anti-fanservice on the left there.

I’d love to see another Konkon photobook, now that she’s back in H!P.

Thank Gaki for fans who know how to use photoshop (no, they didn’t actually kiss. but if they had…)

So, whaddaya say, guys? Are the pageviews going to start pouring in?


Happy 15!

August 4, 2008

So, ever since learned that Yurina and i share a birthday, I’ve wanted to have a birthday party with her! But strangely enough, she never returned my invitations. It seems that she was plotting something behind the scenes…

One morning, Usa-chan woke up bright and early to a feeling of excitement! It was her 15th birthday, August the 3rd, 2008! She sprang out of bed, ready to devour her cake and open her presents.

However, a certain member of Berryz Koubou had different ideas…

“Ha ha ha!” the songstress laughed. “I have stolen all but one slice of your cake! Now what shall you do?”

Needless to say, Usa-chan was quite horriffied at the actions taken by her #2 member of Berryz, and quickly sent her back off to Japan, but not before giving her birthday wishes and withdrawing hostilities.

However, she’s still guarding that last slice of cake carefully…

Happy birthday, Yurina!


Now she’s just a yolk…?

April 28, 2008

Lovely

I’m so sad about this. Mucchi is/was my favorite Egg.

(My dear friend gave me the idea for this title when she asked that of Mucchi as I wailed in despair. Really, I did.

Aaaagh!

Like that.)

On to the rest of the post!

First

This is what Mutou Mika looked like when I was first starting to discover the Eggs (I always sort of glossed over them- I saw them in concerts, and it’s like they didn’t register until I saw the 2006 Wonderful Hearts Summer). And when I saw this picture I thought “She has to be the ugliest member of H!P. Ever.” And yet she was the only one whose name I could remember, or whom I could pick out whenever a camera man accidentally caught a moment of Eggie-face while panning to get a better view of Nacchi, or Reina, or Yui(‘s boobs).

I love Mucchi!

To me, this picture sums up what I love about Mucchi the most: She is NOT an idol. She’s up there flashing a cheerful and cute peace sign, and yet her expression is so serious and almost bored. The total clash between the two shows that she didn’t totally know what she was doing, and I love that about her. She’s kinda like Maasa in that respect. Maybe I just like the weird girls?

Mucchi!

Mucchi rocks with longer hair, I must say. And does anyone else see a hint of Matsuura Aya in her? Perhaps around the eyes?

Mu power!

In case anyone needed proof that Mucchi was hot as well as being a cutie, here it is. And I just love that expression!

Matsuura\'d!

As if to lend weight to the Matsuura Aya likeness, here she is doing Ayaya’s famous cheek-puffing out face… Well alright, not really. But that’s what I thought of when I saw this! Yes, I am a spazz.

Moar mu

Moar

Final proof that Mutou Mika has her own special charm. Even up against H!P greats like Rika, Yossy and Konno, and even just next to the slightly more popular eggs such as Noto Arisa and fan-favorite Mano Erina, Mucchi manages to hold her own.

I’ll miss you, Mucchi! The next Ongaku Egg on my list?

SawaYu