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).

Advertisements

Ranking Revolution!

February 28, 2009

Just sneaking out of my self-imposed hiatus for a moment or two to babble a bit… And I do mean it- look at that title! I used alliteration! Clearly, I’m babbling.

About a year ago, I did my Hello Project Rankings for C-ute, Berryz and Momusu. To say that they’ve changed drastically since then is an understatement. So, one year later, I’ve decided to re-examine those rankings. Girls will be listed from least to most favorite. I’ll start with the Head Honchos…

Morning Musume:

(Last Year’s Thoughts:)


reina-get-out-of-the-way-of-the-epic-win#9. Tanaka Reina

Former Postion: #9

So my opinion on Reina hasn’t changed. None, nary a wit, not at all. Stop winking, stop whining when you sing, dye your hair black again. Thanks.

(And yes. The only reason I saved that picture is because Linlin is being particularly awesome in the background).

sayuaika-grope1#8. Mitsui Aika

Former Position: #3

And here’s where the drastic changes start.  How could she have fallen so far? Well… honestly, she hasn’t done much at all that I can tell since joining Momusu two-ish years ago. Her voice, if anything, has gotten worse over time, and without bangs she has a kinda scary face. Also, she seems to be hanging out with Reina more often, and that reflects negatively on her in my eyes. She is, however important in once respect:

For me, Mittsi kind of stands for all the disappointments that MM’s current members seem to be bringing. They all seem content to stay safely within the world of genki and kawaii, and Mitsui is the epitome of that. She lets her voice go to seed, putting to shame the amazing debut lines she got in Egao Yes Nude. However, there’s more to it than that. Mitsui doesn’t need to be just another boring Musume in a long line of future boring Musumes. I sense future greatness in her… in fact, here’s a little prophecy:

She’s come to provide salvation, and reconciliation with the general public for (the majority of) the MM girls’ sins of boringness and Way-Too-Cuteness. To do so, she’ll sacrifice herself: She’ll accept the punishment of falling in my wota rankings to clear the other girls of their sins…

Thousands of years from now, there’ll be a religion that’s all to do with Mittsi. There’ll be Mittsimas, to celebrate the day she joined MM, and there’ll be Sotsugyou, to commemorate the day she hung up her microphone, thus taking with her all of the evils that Momusu-kind had collected over the years. And, of course, there’ll be a seemingly random holiday about eggs and rabbits celebrating the day she was suddenly resurrected to be on some dull quiz show as a judge.

(And yes, that is a picture of Mittsi(‘s butt). That’s Mitsui getting groped by  Sayumi on the big screen behind Koha and the others in that .gif).

#7. Kusumi Koharu

Former Position: #8

I respect Kusumi. She may be a Kirari-singing, scary-toothed crack fiend, but at least she’s confident about it. She has a lot more personality than, say, Aika or Junjun.

Then again… She’s also mildly terrifying, and her voice makes my brain crawl out my ears like so many gray slugs on more than one occasion.  Thus, she’s ranked down here. And yes, I chose that picture for a reason. I’m sure Koharu and Kanna would get along just fine…

jundress1#6. Junjun

Former Position: #2

So… yeah… Junjun… kinda like with Aika, I’ve seen little improvement in The Junster during her time in Momusu. I still like her because she’s abso-bloody-lutely gorgeous, but so are most of the other girls.

#5. Takitty

Former Position: #6

I just like Takitty lately. I don’t watch enough TV shows to say whether or not she’s gotten less boring when being interviewed, but during all of their concerts she’s got the most stage presence and best voice, and that’s what counts. Takitty has the ability to make old classics interesting again. Let’s face it: When you’re a fan of Morning Musume, you’re basically signed up to watch the girls perform the same songs over and over again in increasingly desperate outfits. Yet Takahashi always puts a new spin on whatever she’s singing, and that’s enough to keep my attention for an entire performance.

gakideiyaaaaa#4. GAKIIIIIIII

Former Position: #4

No opinion change here: I love Gaki, Gaki is great, when Gaki smiles, the whole world smiles along with her. And when she makes the “(°0°)” face, so does the rest of the world. I KNOW YOU’RE ALL MAKING THAT FACE WHILE YOU READ THIS.

sayuyu#3. Sayumi~♥

Former Position: #5

I didn’t want this to happen, but it has: I just love Sayumi.

She’s too cute to be real.

22#2. Kamei Eri

Former Position: #1

Uh-huh, I went there. I dropped the Turtley Musume down a place. I still love her and if she offered me a position as her adoring wota love-slave, I’d still drop everything and hop the next plane to Japan… I just love a certain Panda much more.

linlin3#1. Linlin

Former Position: #7

This is the real reason that I decided to re-do my rankings: Linlin has gone from being in my bottom three in MM to being not only my favorite Musume, but one of my favorite H!P members! It’s like Linlin just woke up one day and accidentally drank a glass of awesome for breakfast. Her voice stopped doing horrible squeaky things, and she started smiling comforably on camera. Plus, she says and does the oddest things. She’s what I feel Momusu is missing; Someone to play the Kemeko character to contrast all the sugary sweetness we’ve got with Gaki and Kamei and Sayumi and Reina and Junjun. Cuteness is great, but there need to be some girls willing to act like a fool to show the cute ones off. Linlin knows that.

And now, because it’s my blog and I can: LINLIN PICSPAM OF (not exactly) EPIC PROPORTIONS!
linlin1

linlin2lin-being-cute-in-silver

Also, for those of you who feel cheated out of their daily dosage of the Non-Panda 8th gen. girl, here’s a token picture of Mittsi:


At least she didn’t wink.

May 28, 2008

Alternate title: Reina, get out of the way, I can’t see Saki. Or Maimi. Or Yuuka. Hell, I can barely see Ai.

I’ll keep my opinions brief. By the way, I don’t think I’ve stressed this enough, so, I HATE REINA. She’s right down there with Risako on my H!P list. The fact that Reina is in this group totally ruined it for me.

-Honestly, this PV was exactly what I was expecting. A crapload of Reina screentime, a few seconds of Saki and Maimi, and a nice but not too difficult looking dance.

-What surprised me was the lack of Yuuka-time. I thought that, as a cutie pie l’il Eggie-poo, she’d be getting a fair amount of screen time, but she gets next to nothing.

-Ai can best pull the feeling of this song/PV off, but she surprisingly gets very little screen time when compared with Reina. And mind you, I’m using Reina’s name with as much annoyance and condescension as possible. I am just awful at thinking up snappy insults and will thus leave her name as is.

-Sakitan, there are people who think you’re pretty! I certainly do. I really, REALLY wanted her to do something attention grabbing, like, I dunno, start breakdancing or drop-kick Reina or start waving around Risako’s dismembered head like it was the head of Medusa.

-This whole PV would gain +200 points in my mind if the awesome pairing of Sakitan and Maimi were given a dance battle during the bridge. Heck, even just having those two dancing together, without Ai, Reina or Yuuka doing anything to disrupt would make it better.


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.


Rankings! Morning Musume

February 13, 2008

The poll going on over at Hello! Blog has given me the perfect excuse to do member rankings for each of the Big Three! Mua ha ha. I’ll start with Morning Musume.momusu-ranking.jpg

1st: The wonderful Turtely Musume! Kamei caught my eye almost entirely because of her Maple photobook. I’d liked her before that, too, but on seeing that she was actually seriously gorgeous, I decided to pay more attention to Kamei. What I saw was a sweet girl who was funny in such a gentle, unassuming manner that I immediately felt like I could easily talk to her. I also love her voice; some people may find it a bit odd sounding, but she has the most amazing range! Everyone cites “Haru Beautiful Everyday” as an example of her brilliant range, and, well, I agree. If you haven’t heard that song, from the Sexy 8 Beat album, it should be listened to. As soon as possible.

2nd: Next comes Li Chun! I liked her the best out of the two Chinese members, and I just get this… good feeling about her. Her responses to the cruel remarks in her blog really impressed me and what I can hear of her voice does not disappoint. Plus, and I will be entirely shallow here: She has an amazing body. Unlike some other members (Reina) she has a shape to her, and is not stick skinny. It’s a nice change of pace to see someone with a a somewhat more “normal” body type in an Idol group.

3rd: It really was hard for me to pick Junjun over Mittsi. I mean, Aika is just about the cutest creature to be born on this earth in the last few decades or so! Plus, she was the first member of Morning Musume that I could watch grow and change in real time. Her voice… can either be quite nice (Dekiru Onna) or kinda… odd. But I like it. I think her new short haircut suits her very well!

4th: Gaki. Gaki Gaki Gaki! I love Gaki. Her voice, her smile, the huge way in which she’s developed and changed over the years, everything. I feel like her voice is a clearer version of Takahashi Ai’s, and it doesn’t seem to go all deep when she’s exhausted. She always sounds great when she gets lines in singles, albums songs and the like, and so I’d love it if Gaki became a lead singer. Actually, she reminds me a bit of fellow 5th gen member Ogawa Makoto. They’re both very strong vocally, but they seem to fall back on the safe “genki/cute” personality that doesn’t help them to stand out much.

5th: My opinion has changed so much about Sayumi. Seriously, I could not stand this girl. Now? I think she’s too cute for words. I even kind of like her voice. But the best thing about her is her “secret” sexy side (that’s like a tongue twister). It’s this little hidden facet to her personality that I like.

6th: Takitty I like, but I do not love her. She’s very pretty and has a nice voice, but I feel that there’s something missing from her. I don’t know if what everyone says about her personality is true (IE, that she’s lacking one), but… it’s not like she’s Yossy, where you watch one little clip of her and know, immediately, what her character is like. I want to know more about Takahashi.

7th: The one whose face reminds me of a fox! I can’t say too much about Linlin. She kind of got this ranking because she’s not Kusumi or Tanaka. Sorry! But I did like her in that newcomers’ concert from a while ago. She sounded quite good in Special Generation! And there’s this one odd Linlin moment that I like: At the end of the 8th gen+ Kusumi performance of Furusato when Linlin says “Domo arigatou gozaimashita!, the way she says it is so weird that I can’t help loving it.

8th: I don’t hate Kusumi. I used to. I no longer do, and that is simply because she can be very, very entertaining. Actually, at first I adored Kusumi. This was back when Berryz was the only reason I knew of h!p. I was searching for videos of Yurina, and came up with the Yurina/Kusumi/Ogawa version of “Pittari Shitai Christmas” (on looking back, could they have made it any more obvious that Kusumi was to be the new Goto?). I really liked Kusumi in that video, and then I found her (then only two) solo singles and loved her. That later turned into dislike when she started being shoved in our faces all of the time even though she really can’t sing. But now that’s mellowed out, and I don’t mind her.

9th: Ohhhh dear. So, Tanaka is my least favorite member. She’s the only member I dislike, actually (it’s like this with all of the big three. The only member I dislike is the one I put last; all the others are at least okay). I would even go so far as to say she’s my least favorite member in all of H!P. And what really bothers me is I can’t seem to figure out a good reason why, other than that she gives off an air of fake-ness. Please don’t kill me, fans of Reina. But that’s what I feel from her. Out of all of Morning Musume, past and present, she is the only one to remind me of kids at my school, always posturing and all that. Although, like Kusumi, I used to like Reina. I liked her in Aa!. But unlike Kusumi, once I started to dislike her, my opinion didn’t mellow out with time.

Leaving off on that positive note, I thank you for reading. I shall rank Berryz next, and C-ute last.


When they leave us…

February 10, 2008

The first h!p graduation that really affected me was Konno Asami’s in the summer of 2006. I was just beginning to pay attention to individual members, and it was adorable Konno who stood out. So because I realized that she would be leaving h!p and I could no longer watch her grow and perform, it was a very personal graduation for me. After seeing a few more graduation concerts (Ishimura Maiha’s, Nono and Aibon’s and Iida Kaori’s), I came to think of graduations as sources of only negative feelings.

Thus when my all-time h!p favorite (Yossy) announced that she was graduating from Morning Musume, I was sure that nothing good could come of it. After all, I reasoned to myself, wasn’t Yossy the only member of Morning Musume I liked? Could I still listen to Momusu without my favorite member’s presence? I was already preparing to forget about Morning Musume.

However, something amazing happened. Instead of making me lose all interest in the group, Yossy’s graduation helped me to see the potential and talents of other members. Before her graduation, they were all eclipsed by Yossy’s presence and I could see only her. I had no second favorite within the group and couldn’t even tell most of their voices apart. But when Yoshizawa graduated, the other girls presented themselves to me in a whole different light. The first person about whom my opinion changed was Kamei Eri.

kamei-days.jpg

Before Yossy’s graduation Kamei was one of the few current members to have caught my attention at all. This was because I had read that she used to have a shy character, then underwent a transformation of sorts and become more social and such. That sort of change appealed to me. However, she didn’t stand out to me physically in any sense; I didn’t think she had much presence within the group and quickly disregarded her to go fangirl over some Yossy performances. Now? She’s my favorite current member, and perhaps my 3rd favorite member of H!P, overall. I would never have discovered just how much I love this girl had Yoshizawa not graduated when she did (Oh, and Eri’s Maple photobook probably helped a bit, too).

sayummy-san.jpg

Michishige Sayumi was the next girl about whom my opinion changed upon Yossy’s graduation. Before, I held little opinion on Sayu beyond “Oh, she can’t sing very well and thus she annoys me. Plus I don’t know why everyone says she’s so cute”. Now that there’s no Yossy around to overshadow her, Sayu has suddenly taken on another dimension in my eyes: She’s become sexy (Sayumi is secretly the sexiest member of Morning musume). I’ve even started liking her singing voice- to a degree. And now I can see why everyone thinks she’s so cute: She really is!

reina17.jpg

Reina may be the only member to have not benefited in my mind when Yossy left. I had to take notice of Reina now that Yossy had left, since she began to be pushed to the front more. And I didn’t like what I saw. I could devote a whole page towards figuring out exactly what it is about Reina that grates on me so much- her apparent dropping of the Yanki personality, her constant winking (I’m starting to worry that she should see a doctor about it) or just her voice when she tries to make it sound all cutesy- but that is perhaps the subject of another post.

In short? I’ve come to realize that the graduation of a member- whether they be your favorite, the one you never noticed, or the member you love to hate- is not nessecarily a bad thing. In my case, it was a very, very good thing indeed.