Why the worst matter

July 26, 2010

(This picture somehow seems appropriate)

We all feel this way at some point. Every time she shows her face- be it in concert, the middle of a music video, or on TV, we cringe. We want her gone. We wish the cameraman would stop worrying about spending somewhat equal time on all of the members, and just stay the heck away from this one.*

She’s a different member for each of us, but every wota can identify her in a heartbeat: Their least favorite.

I’m fairly vocal about my least favorite members, and even my friends who aren’t H!P fans (IE all of my friends…) can at least point to Risako or Reina and say “She’s the one you don’t like, right?”

So yes, I can’t stand Reina or Risako. I don’t like ManoEri either, although she’s kind of a special case (in that I’m terrified of her). I’m not going to talk about why I dislike these girls in this post. I feel like I mention my reasoning in every other post I make, and for the purpose of this article, reasons actually don’t matter all that much. I dislike these girls, and that’s all there is to it.


(Pure, murderous intent)

Whenever my least favorite gets half of the lines in their respective singles, I rail and rant about the unfairness. “It should have been Maasa/Captain/Lin/Sayumi/insertunderratedidolhere!” I say, closing my eyes in despair at the unfairness of it all.

However, there’s another layer to my Idol-Wota relationship when it comes to the least favorites. I dislike them, yes. But that’s not all.

I recently re-watched Berryz Koubou’s 2009 Aki ~Medachitai~ tour, and the above video made me angry enough to leave a comment essentially detailing everything that I hated about Risako. Someone else commented and agreed with me, and at first I was all happy to have found someone who felt the same as I did. But something in their comment didn’t sit right with me. This was their original comment (sorry, I can’t find the video again, and I don’t remember my exact comment) :

” I know! I can’t even say how much I hate her. 😛 She’s the worst in the group and she’s getting all the lines! I can’t say how much better my life would be if she just left Berryz forever. She’s just plain gross!”

What? Leave the group? Berryz Koubou without Risako’s annoying, pouty, face? Inconceivable!

I may hate on Risako. I may scream with indignation whenever Reina thinks that, just for a change, she’ll wink during her solo line. But I would never, ever want to see either of their groups without them.

This is the part where you, reader, will sit back and say to yourself “Rebecca, I read your blog because it occasionally makes me laugh, think, cough up phlegm, or do all three at once. I enjoy your solid convictions against your least favorites. What up?” I will tell you what is up, dear reader. Least favorites are essential to keeping interest in a group alive. Without them, my favorite groups would be cool and groovy rage-free zones, yes, but also terribly dull.

(Do I really want her out of the picture?)

Not convinced? Stay with me.

Take C-ute. I have my favorite in Okai Chisato. I champion her, and I like to say that her sultry vocals can spread world peace. But C-ute is my least favorite of all of H!P’s main groups, and I barely pay attention to them. I surely devote less time to them than BK or Morning Musume (for the sake of arguments, I’m leaving out S/mileage. They’re too new). And guess what? C-ute is the sole group without one member that I dislike. True, sometimes I whine about Nakky’s duck voice, but she is just so pretty and good at dancing. Yeah, Airi has pretty much taken over the group’s singles, but damnit, she’s gorgeous and talented, and if anyone’s going to have a solo single, it ought to be her. Maimi is a freakishly gorgeous cyborg woman, and Maimai is turning into a beautiful young lady.

When I watch C-ute’s concerts, there’s no suspense. I don’t care who gets a line or when, because no one in the group makes me rage. In fact, I tend to skip over most of C-ute’s performances, because I know that they’ll be good enough, but lacking anything that I need to watch out for. After Erika and Kanna left, I didn’t worry about who their lines would be performed by because as far as I was concerned, it could be anyone and I’d be happy.

When I finished watching C-ute’s Shocking Live tour, I felt like I’d watched a good concert. I ate some rice pudding. I felt guilty about doing so even though I wasn’t hungry, then remembered that I’m Jewish and that eating and feeling guilty is what we do. I felt better. I went to bed.

Cut to Morning Musume’s Genki Pikka Pikka tour. My god. I was practically glued to the screen during group songs, flashing back and forth between Youtube and Project!Hello’s colorcodes, wringing my hands and wondering who was going to get Kusumi’s lines. I was on an emotional roller coaster. I cheered when Linlin sang “Torokeru torokeru yumegokochi” in Aishite Aishite Ato Ippun, groaned when Reina (and Ai)  got all of the graduated Nutjob’s lines in Resonant Blue. It should have been Sayumi- her voice would have been squeaky, but at least it would have been someone different. I commented multiple times to that effect, and with each new performance I felt something new- rage, happiness, relief, and at one point, extreme hatred toward all maxi dresses ever.

(I hope this fad is eaten by Lady Gaga and dies.)

What that concert was over, I stayed up late writing this article, then talked on the phone for an hour with my cousin (who is tolerant of my Wotaism and even occasionally indulges in some herself). I went to bed tired, partially annoyed, but more importantly, really excited to see the next Momusu concert. Who knows? Maybe the lines would be rearranged. Maybe Reina would lose her voice and be forced to sit to the side for the entire concert, desperately winking every time the camera swivels past her on its way to someone more talented (hey, I didn’t say that I wouldn’t mind the groups without Reina or Rii’s voices. Just their presence. 😉 )

So yes. I will continue to preach dislike of my least favorites. I might cry a little bit when once again, Saki is pushed to the back in favor of Risako. But you won’t hear me wish them out of the group. Hello! Project is all the better for their presence.

(…Yeah.)

*No, I’m not talking about Aika on a bad hair day ( Y’know. Most days).

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Aibon no more

April 7, 2008

Kago is back, but...

She’s a born-again Ai.

Kago Ai tried to kill herself (I got this information from this article).

I’m so sad and confused about this. But more than that, I feel disillusioned. My mom once made a comment to me about how damaging it must be for an idol to lose her popularity and fall from the adoration of the public. That comment really bothered me, and now I know why. When I was very unhappy and lonely, I discovered Berryz Koubou. As I continued to learn more about H!P and idols in general, I felt that I’d found something to count on that cheered me up. Idols are an illusion that I desperately want to believe in, an illusion of eternal cheer and happiness. More than anything sad going on in my personal life, or anything unfair going on in this world, I wanted to believe in the illusion given by idol happiness.

The power of a smile

The epitome of endless cheer

Ai has made that difficult. Ai was the quintessential idol, one of the best there’s ever been. A near-perfect illusion. And then the dream ended. She was rocked by multiple scandals and plummeted from grace. Just when she seemed to be picking up the pieces, she screwed up again (literally) and was fired, this time for good. Today I learned that a year ago, when she was newly released from her contract, Ai tried to slit her wrists and end her life.

Trying to kill yourself is the ultimate outward expression of unhappiness. There can be no more illusion of Aibon the ever-smiling idol, an illusion I’d kept in my mind even through her scandals and multiple falls from grace. She has ceased to be part of the idol-induced dream I’ve placed myself in. I’m awake now, and I’m not sure I want to be.

How will this affect my views on idols in general? I’m not sure. I think that deep down I already realized that this was a potentially dangerous environment for young girls to grow up in, that even an idol can’t always be immune from sadness. I’d like to think that despite knowing this, idols will continue to be a source of happiness and interest for me. Only now I’ll know not to rely completely on the idol illusion.

Bye-bye, Aibon.

Bye-bye, Aibon. Hello, Kago Ai.


Wut?

March 13, 2008

8th-gen-this-is-a-good-start.jpg

This is just a venting post about Resonant Blue.

I love this song. I really, really do. It’s fun, the vocals are pretty good, sure it’s not original, but it’s got a nice sound all the same.

And then I saw the PV. And all I can say is WHAT THE FUCK. I do not say “fuck” often, but I’m saying it now. What the FUCK?! It’s… it’s one long dance shot. With a few close-ups of Koharu, Reina and Ai. A dance shot. I mean, even La la la shiawase no Uta had something aside from just dancing and a few close-ups, despite how flimsy that something was. I’m just so furious! The first few seconds gave me so much hope: A close up on the 8th gen, and cool dark outfits. Then Mittsi and the pandas danced out to the back and sides and stayed there for the ENTIRE pv. And the thing is…the girls who do get screentime and singing time at all are some of my lesser favorites in Momusu. In fact, two out of the three who get up any real screen-time make up my MM Bottom Two.

thats-right-kussun.jpg

Yes, Kusumi. Hide your face in shame at this sad PV.

Another thing: What are they wearing? Ai and Reina look kinda cool (in a goth/pirate sort of way), but Kusumi is wearing what appears to be black sweatpants, and her dad’s shirt and vest. And the girls who don’t get to solo sing at all (IE everyone else) are dressed in head-to-toe black. All black is what the stage crew wears on opening night. They wear that so no one can see them as they set up props. The point of being a Musume is being SEEN. Blending in is not good.

give-kamei-a-line.jpg

Oh mighty lord Tsunku, give Kamei a line already!

To wrap up this pointless rant on a positive note, the few good things about this PV: Everyone, from the glimpses of them that I got over Reina, Kussun and Ai’s shoulders looked great, and Sayumin’s “HELP ME!” line was adorable and well done (A la Shabondama?).

this-is-good.jpg

Those Gaki/Kame shared lines may be the only thing that makes me want to watch this PV again.

if-only-sayu.jpg

“HELP ME!”

I’m sorry, Sayu. If only I could.