…Guardians… 4…?

March 28, 2009

A new H!P group for Shugo Chara, H!P’s anime BFF, has been announced! It’s called Guardians 4 and consists of Kumai Yurina, Sugaya Risako, Nakajima Saki and Mitsui Aika.

So my initial reaction to the new group was this:

“Is that a g-word I spy? G as in… GRADUATION?! OHMIGOD. KUMAI’S GRADUATING?!”

After more careful perusal, I figured out that the word was indeed “guardian,” and not “graduation.”

Although I love the idea of a new grouping of H!P girls, I’m none too pleased with this one. All I can say is that as of now, even Yurina cannot save this painful grouping of girls. None of them can sing a jot aside from Yurina, who’s hit-and-miss. I HATE Mittsi’s ugly hair-cut, and Risako cannot dance. What was the inspiration behind this group?! Perhaps it’s a similarity to the characters?

In Shugo Chara, the main character (Amu) is part of what is essentially a souped-up school-council called the School Guardians. The girls in Guardians 4 are wearing the School Guardians’ outfits. Let’s compare the girls to some of the anime/manga’s School Guardians, shall we?

Kumai Yurina:

Comparable School Guardian: Nadeshiko/Nagihiko.

Nadeshiko is the gentle, feminine and reserved best friend of the main character. She has long, black hair and is somewhat tall. She is also a boy. There’s a little side story about how it’s tradition for the boys in his family to be raised as girls until they reach a certain age, to supposedly learn how to play female roles in traditional Japanese dance. Nagihiko is his name as a boy.

Yurina actually fits this character well. Yurina has a very refined, gentle and ladylike aura to her, just like Nadeshiko/Nagihiko. She’s a very traditional Japanese beauty… And if she’s actually a cross-dresser, more power to her.

Nakajima Saki:

Comparable School Guardian: Yaya Yuiko or Nadeshiko/Nagihiko as well.

Yaya is the youngest Guardian. She’s determined to act like a baby (in order to get her parents’ attention back from her baby brother). She is hyper and likes cute things. I say that Saki fits this image because she is sort of tiny and scrappy and cutesy like that.

The only reason that I say that Nadeshiko might suit Nakki is the way that her hair is in the preview images- She’s got it tied back in a bow, which was Nadeshiko’s signature look.

Sugaya Risako

Comparable School Guardian: Mashiro Rima

Rima is the gorgeous but stuck-up and aloof new girl at the school, who eventually joins the Guardians when Nadeshiko leaves to go… er, go away and then return as Nagihiko.

She fits my idea of Sugaya perfectly. Risako exudes this over-confident, aloof aura- she knows people love her, and she thinks that she’s totally deserving of that love no matter what. Many also find her to be indescribably gorgeous. Similarly, Rima stands aloof and doesn’t even try to make friends when she joins the Guardians- she insists that all she needs are her love-struck male “slaves,” the boys in the class who, having a crush on her, will do anything for her. Kinda like wota.

Mitsui Aika:

Comparable School Guardian: Soma Kukai

Kukai is the sporty, jocky, gung-ho character that’s friends with everyone and totally in your face. He’s loud and bright and cheerful, which to me totally fits with the slightly more mischievous, genki side of Mittsi. However, Kukai leaves the Guardian’s early on. What does this say about Mittsi’s prescence within the group?

SO, IN ALL?

Striking as they may be, as far as I’m concerned, these similarities are no excuse for such a tossed-together group. Weren’t Mittsi and Saki together already in that Robby & Kerobby or whatever group? I dunno. This grouping just seems so random. Well, we’ll see. I just hope that they aren’t going to be replacing Buono!

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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!


Mystery: Yurina

March 12, 2008

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Her looks and singing are hit-and-miss. She towers over everyone else. She has one of the most one-dimensional personalities in all of H!P. Chinami is more entertaining, Momoko and Miyabi better singers. And yet, there’s still something making me hang on to Kumai Yurina, something that makes her my second Berry (behind Maasa). And I want to find out why.

Going back in time to when I first got into Berryz and h!p in 2006, Yurina originally didn’t catch my eye; it was Miyabi. Miyabi with the interesting features and the superior voice. It wasn’t until I noticed that we shared a birthday that I started caring about Yurina at all. And then it was like I couldn’t think of ever liking another Berry. Honestly, she was even above Yossy for a while in my h!p ranking. If you looked at my browsing history a year or so ago, it was ALL Yurina. And then, slowly… she slid. I can’t say when it began to happen. it’s like one day I woke up and realized that Yurina wasn’t my favorite anymore.

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Needless to say, it was not an easy transition from “YURINA = #1” to being a multi-dimensional fan. I do not like change, and this was a pretty big one. But the more I tried to bring back my old feelings for Yurina, the less I was able to care about her. Her biggest disappointing factor for me is her personality, or lack thereof. When she was still young, it was was okay to have just be a permanent airhead. Now that her looks have matured, however, I’m waiting for her personality to mature along with them. And the fact that she’s hasn’t matured shows when she performs. In this performance of Omoitattara Kichi Desse, her emotional range DOES NOT CHANGE. She’s just cheerful, happy, or cheerful and happy. Chinami and Maasa are clearly doing a lot more acting and emoting (I couldn’t find a version without Miya’s solo attached, so that’s there too).

Now, for a song like that it’s okay to just be happy; it’s that kind of song. But what about songs with more mature themes? Take Jiriri Kiteru.

In the parts where the girls are running, everyone else does their best to at least look distressed or worried. But Yurina is grinning almost the entire time. Like “I’m runing! Isn’t it fun to run? Let’s all run and have fun! Wee!”. I get the feeling that the nature of songs like these just sort of goes over her head. As for her singing… on album songs, it tends to be strong and powerful. And she often does well in concerts. But her voice isn’t Miyabi-grade. It can go flat, and she misses notes quite a lot.

So with all of this negativity, what is it that still makes me cling to Yurina? My feelings about her are different than Yoshizawa or Maasa, or any other music favorites of mine. For example, when I see people stating their negative opinions of my number one Berry, Maasa, I laugh it off and don’t get too worked up. I certainly wouldn’t post something confronting those people. But if they were to say those things about Yurina? I’d get furious. It’s more likely that I’d confront them about it right there and then, ready to duel to the death in defense of my beloved Yurina. And that’s what confounds me so much! Why does she evoke such reactions from me?yurina-tan.jpg

The closest I can come to an answer is that watching people pick on Yurina is, for me, like watching someone kick a puppy. Since she is the airhead that she is, I get the feeling Yurina does nothing antagonistic on purpose, that she’s completely innocent. Someone so ditzy and kind can’t defend herself against someone else, so I feel like I have to do it for her.

Bah. Enough being philosophical. Here are some pretty pictures:

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I really adore Yurina.