Berryz Koubou at Sakura-con: The First Day- In which I develop selective blindness for everyone that isn’t Risako, and cry

May 11, 2011

So you may have been wondering where my nightly coverage of Sakura-con was. Well, on the first night of the convention, I sat down and began recounting the day, putting down every. Single. Minute. Detail. After writing 2,000 words on just the first half of the first day, I balked. I’m sure very few of you actually want to read about what I ate for breakfast before going to BK’s Q&A session (nothing, for the curious). So I left the post to sit, and have only today felt able to come back to it.

I’ve decided to change my tactics a bit and spare you all from reading through (or skipping over) my detailed fangirl gushing. I’ve scrapped the original version of my post and re-typed it. This version will be slimmed down and broken into more parts- Days 1-3 will focus ONLY on my interactions with Berryz Kouboou, with final wrap-up post to catch the important non-Berryz moments, including reflections on meeting other fans and Japanese wota. As an aside, I did not take many pictures during the conventions, so I won’t be including many in my posts. Hello! Sayunii has some of the best photos and videos collected conveniently, so if you haven’t already, please go there.

For now, here’s Day 1.

The First Day- In which I develop selective blindness for everyone that isn’t Risako, and cry 

Events: Opening ceremonies, Q&A, signing, guest reception

I went into my first day of Sakura-con without expectations. I wanted to see the girls, and that was all. All of my energy, my focus, was on that one thought: To see them at long last. I chose not to go to the opening ceremonies, so the first time I laid eyes on Berryz was at the Q&A. When they came out, the feeling was surreal. Risako was the first one out, and for a long moment she was all that I could see. Even as the other girls came out, I could only see Rii. She was simply stunning, in the most literal sense of the word. Everything about her seemed so solid, and yet my overall impression was that she was somehow doll-like, somehow delicate. The sight of her was overwhelming, and I immediately started to cry.*

Now if you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that Risako has almost always been my least favorite member of the group, though in recent months my opinion of her has improved. I think that it might have been good that I could only focus on Risako at first; because my feelings for her (at that point) weren’t particularly strong, seeing her was probably not as mind-obliterating as seeing the girls that I really adored might have been. Seeing Risako let me ease into the shock. Imagine if Saki had come out first- I probably would’ve hyperventilated in my chair!

The rest of the girls must have come out when Risako did, but I could only focus on them once they were all seated. For the remainder of the session I spent my time staring from one girl to the next. Momoko seemed reserved, possibly a little bit sick (she constantly sniffled and coughed). Miyabi and Chinami both had oodles of energy, and Maasa and Risako seemed spaced out. Saki, my dear favorite member, seemed nervous.

For me personally, the two best moments of the Q&A were being able to speak to the girls (the interpreter chose me as the first person to explain how I’d discovered BK!), and watching Saki misinterpret a fan’s question and do an impromptu bit of hip-hop dancing. So cool, and so adorable!

I was planning on attending the signing on the last day of the convention, so my next Berryz encounter occurred that evening at the guest reception. I was lucky enough to be standing not three feet from where Berryz were gathered, waiting to go onstage and introduce themselves. They all looked somewhat nervous (but SO beautiful, of course!), and Maasa still looked spaced out, so I called out to her, “Maasa, genki desu ka?” The look of confusion that crossed over her face was too funny, but she rallied quickly and gave a forceful “genki!” in response. The girls then went onstage, and I moved until I was once again near them. I was across from Risako and Miyabi, and both of them were so sweet and friendly, waving and smiling at everyone. I caught their eyes more then once, especially Risako,  who again looked gorgeous. The first time I met eyes with Miyabi, I was so touched: She was already smiling fit to break, but on catching the eyes of a fan, she managed to smile even harder, making sure I knew that she was smiling at me. That one little moment improved my impression of Miya a thousand times.

The BK bit of the guest reception was brief, but it was the closest I had come to the girls so far, and it brought me to tears once again.

The main take-away from the first day was the simple fact of the Berryz girls’ physical presence. Seeing the girls, whom I’d only ever seen before on tiny video screens, brought home the adoration-from-afar that I’d been cultivating for years up until that point. Seeing Risako walk out in real life during the Q&A session felt like the beginning of a personal paradigm shift. As the second and third days of the convention commenced, that shift became more and more evident.

*Let it be known that I cry easily, especially when I’m happy or overwhelmed. I just can’t stop the tears, and I have no desire to, either… which is lucky, because I ended up crying a lot of happy tears at Sakura-con!

Up Next: Day Two- In which I learn wotagei and cry some more

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RR2!

March 7, 2009

The second installment of my Rankingu Revolution shall deal with the Berryz- my first and still favorite group of singing-dancing J-pop hamsters!

Last year’s thoughts

#7. Sugaya Risako

Former position: #7

Oooooooooooh C-ko, how I dislike thee! For all the standard reasons, of course; her hotter-than-thou persona, her refusal to sing like a civilized person, and her evident lack of effort when it comes to dancing.

Now, two of those three flaws also could apply to a certain Ishimura Maiha, adorable woodchuck Berry of my dreams (seriously, I love that girl), so what’s the difference, one wonders? Well, look at the difference in line distribution betwixt the two. See it? Good. Now go listen to Yume de Do Wop (Do up? Doo Wop? Uh… Nanchuu Koi wo Yatteru You Know’s b-side) and think about the Woodhchuck Berry, and sigh.

#6. Natsuyaki Miyabi

Former position (one wonders why I don’t say “former rank,” as this is a ranking…): #4

So at this point, rank doesn’t really matter any more. I love every single one of the non-Risako Berryz nearly equally. Where they rank just depends on how I’m feeling that day, or how they performed at the latest live.

So Miyabi gets ranked here, but there’s really very little change in how I feel about her from last year. She’s only getting more and more gorgeous, although lately I feel like she’s expressionless during live performances. I love her new haircut.

chinamilegs#5. Tokunaga Chinami

Former Position: #3

I could say that China and Momo are tied for their position, but that would be boring, wouldn’t it? I basically think that Chinami’s the hottest thing that’s ever walked around on two legs. Especially her two legs… She’s also nearly as funny as Momoko.

#4. Tsugunaga Momoko

Former Position: #5

I NAMED MY IPOD AFTER THIS MONKEYGIRL.

She’s entertaining and has the best singing ability (but not the best voice, that would be Miya) out of all of the Berryz. I absolutely adore her.

Also. What is with the Berryz looking like animals? Momoko is a strange monkeygirl, Miyabi is Seabiscuit, and Maiha was obviously descended from a long lineage of woodchucks. Kumai even has the word “bear” in her name! Hmm…

Idols genetically made to contain animal DNA…

It’s like a cross between Kirarin Revolution and Tokyo Mew Mew. OH GOD. THE SHOUJO. IT BURNS.

009#3. Kumai Yurina

Former Position: #2

After all this time, I still love Yurina. If I had to pick one Berryz member to meet, it would be Saki, and I’d fangirl all over her. But if I had to pick one Berryz member to call up when I was sad, it would be Yurina. Just looking at pictures of her calms me down, and watching her perform always has me sitting there with this stupid happy smile on my face. She exudes a sweet gentleness that always makes me glad to be around.

\

maasama#2. Sudou Maasa

Former Position: #1

Before I say anything; Maasa is getting her first photobook! Can I get a Hellz Yeah?! Whoever at UFA made that decision has my eternal love and respect. Then again, that same person might have had the idea to give Rii three (or was it four now?) photobooks before O CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN ever even got one, so… I revoke my respect.

I never download PBs- I’ve only done so on two occasions (That would be Kamei’s Maple and Yurina’s… whatever it’s called. Probably “Yurina” or something. First photobooks in H!P get the lamest titles), but I’m definitely going to find some way to download this one.

Maasa and Captain occasionally change places for first or second, depending on how I’m feeling that day. Maasa makes me laugh. I look at her, and I laugh. I can just feel that funny things are just around the corner. Maa has a strong personality, which is good when compared with such gentle creatures as as Kumai or Miyabi. She stands out. Plus she’s the only Berry who I think might be able to defend herself in a self-defense situation. Being the martial artist that I am, things like that matter to me.

captain-photo-by-chinami#1. ShimiSaki- O Kyaputen, my Kyaputen!

Former Position: #6

ShimiSaki can be so cool at times that I get as giddy as a middle schooler at a HSM concert. It’s like Return of the Yoshizawa Only Shorter and As Of Yet Not Blond. So on days when I want to fangirl my brains out, I look up Captain. She just has this amazing ability to draw one into the performance and keep you there, just like Yossy was always able to do.

The reason she’s come up so far in my Wota ranking is almost entirely the BK vs. C-ute concert. She did amazing things there.

All in all? I love the Berryz. It’s been five years since they came into the J-poposphere, and while they haven’t really made Musume-levlr strides om said microcosm, for this one fangirl, that doesn’t matter.

PS:

COMEBACKWOODCHUCK!


Not yet! My scarlet premonition isn’t showy!

October 18, 2008

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+

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Berryz needs a new shtick. Lyk nao.

For those who don’t know, Madayade means “Not yet.”

PS: Does Chinami look hot or what on the Madayade cover?


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!


Saki, you sexy beast!

July 16, 2008

Alternate title: So, Risako Didn’t Get Beaten to a Berryz Pulp, But After Watching this Concert, I Think She Deserves It.

WARNING: This will be a LONG review.

The Berryz vs. C-ute concert was kindly uploaded to Youtube a little while ago, but I’ve just gotten around to watching it. Each video is about ten minutes long and contains 2-3 songs. I’ll be reviewing every single one! YAY! For each section, I’ll also talk about who stood out, whether good or bad, and whatever else crosses my mind.

1. Huzzah, the opening! And… one of my least favorite H!P kids songs so far, Darling I Love You. There’s nothing interesting or catchy about this song to me. In fact, for some reason it just kinda REALLY annoys me to listen to it. So I’m going to pretend that the next song was actually the opening.

2. Special Generation is a great concert song. It’s fun to watch, the girls get right into it, and the wota are always really enthusiastic in their cheering for it. One thing I’ve learned to look out for when this is performed is the choreography in which Yurina and Momoko touch hands in the air (in this clip, it’s around the 6 minute mark). Just before they let go and Momoko sings “Suki to,” Yurina always mouths something to Momo, and Momo always looks even more under the influence of helium. It’s adorable, really.

3. The next song is Ookina Ai de Motenashite. It was around this point that the energy seems noticeably low. But it’s the beginning of the concert, so I can forgive them.

Stand outs for Part One: So far, no one’s really gotten into it (?)… but Momoko and Yurina both grabbed my attention, not just because they flirt during SpeGe, though that had a lot to do with it, for sure…

4. Part Two begins with a hilarious little video of each of the members suiting up for “battle.” I adore that Maasa and Kanna are their group’s leaders. And I LOVE how Yurina’s special “skill” is her height. That green outfit… she’s the Green Giant (I should be shot for that one). Good lord, Chinami’s got sexy legs. Is it just me, or is C-ute running MUCH faster than Berryz in the group-running scenes?

5. Member Introductions… pah. As if the wota didn’t know the girls already. Furthermore, I think tha- HOLY CRAP, SOMETHING’S EATING MIYABI’S HEAD! Quick, someone get a bucket of water! Kryptonite! A used towel! No, wait, someone go get some HAIR SPRAY, stat!

Oh, and I love Okai’s outfit.

6. Namida No Iro isn’t my favorite song, but I do love the dance. It’s fun to watch and very interesting. Throughout this whole performance, I can’t keep my eyes off of Kanna. She is absolutely spot-on with everything she sings, her expressions, her posture, it’s all great (She retains this throughout the concert, actually). Airi and Maimi do fine with their vocals, as usual. Hey… why do C-ute get those cute, somewhat-matching, modern looking clothes while half of Berryz get plaid lumberjack shirts? Shouldn’t Kanna be the one in a lumberjack outfit?

Standouts: Kanna and Chinami. Kanna, as stated, is solid not just in this clip but throughout the concert. And Chinami… Chinami’s got those killer legs.

7. I love this song! I love Munasawagi Scarlett, but not live. They always skip Chinami’s line, my favorite part of the song, and there’s just never enough ENERGY. They need to practically spit out the words. Another sore spot for me is the Miya/Momo duo line after the intense guitar solo. Their voices just don’t blend at all. but Yurina’s practically leaking sweetness all over the stage. So all is well in my little Berryz kingdom…

Miya Hair Check:

This might look like an innocent dance move, but in reality, if she lets go, it’ll explode.

8. I really am terrified of Tsunku’s voice at the start of La La La Shiawase no Uta. And I don’t like the beginning of it, or the middle, or, really, the end. But I do like the way that the crowd can easily interact with the girls in this song. Check out how simple a dance the chorus has, and how easy it is for the glowsticks to dance along. Nice. Maimi is fantastic here, all smiles and sparkles and… Maimi.

Miya Hair Check:

Is it… getting… BIGGER?!

9. Dschinghis Khan is a Chinami song. No two ways about it. She dominated the PV, and she’s dominating this, too. As for the vocals, well… Risako sounds like crap, Miya sounded really nice, and Momo sounds like a helium creature.  But one with good tone and control. Yurina’s still oozing cuteness, so good for her.

Standouts: Maimi was rather nice, and Yurina.

10. I really like Tokaikko Junjou live, and this was a great performance. Airi in particular had great vocals and her performance level has noticeably improved from the start of the concert. She did really well with that chest-popping move right after the bridge. Mai’s hair, I’m sorry to say, is bordering on Miyabi-like proportions, but the kid makes up for it in energy. She’s like a jack russel terrier, or something. If you’ve never seen one of those in action… Ah ha ha ha… ahem. And check out Kanna during Airi’s final line. I’m going to be singing her praises a lot during this review, because she’s constantly smiling and giving it her all, just like that.

11. I feel like this (Tsukiatteru no ni Kataomoi) is the song in which Berryz really starts getting their act together as a GROUP. They’re really solid in this performance. HOMG Risako makes the oddest, most awkward smile after her first line. It almost made me forgive her for sucking so much throughout the rest of the concert and for looking so awful in that shirt. Almost. This is also the first performance that inspired the title of this post. Saki begins pulling out the charm here, and it’s really fun to watch. I love her dancing during the instrumental break.

Standouts: Airi for vocals and Saki for sexy.

12. And then up comes Very Beauty… Oh. Mah. Gaki.

Risako, please. Please, just stop hurting my ears like this. Your performance here was sad, really. The “dancing” (slow walk down the stage) was half-hearted, your vocals… your vocals…

Airi. Thank you for trying to save this song from your friend. You almost did it. Well, at least you’re cute. I was right about you sounding good singing this song.

13. I was putting a lot of faith in the Bokura no Kagayaki performance. It contains all of my favorites from both groups, but aside from Chisato’s opening, I was disappointed. I mean, I’m all for Chisai getting lines, but couldn’t they have done a LITTLE bit more spreading around of lines? Most of all, I’m disappointed with Chinami. this could’ve been HER performance. It’s the perfect genki song for her, but she just wasn’t… there for me.

14. CAPTAIN YOU ARE OFFICIALLY AMAZING. Even though all she does is provide the sound effects, Captain is so cool and sexy throughout this performance of Sayonara Hageshiki Koi that she just owns the whole song, for me. This may, in fact, be my favorite performance of the whole concert. Maimi was also rather nice here, as was Miya. As a group, the only one who really doesn’t seem to fit here is Maimai.

Miya Hair Check:

It’s starting to look a little tired… maybe it mated with Mai’s hair-blob? That would explain Saki N.’s hair-do… well, hair-don’t.

Standouts: Saki. Saki Saki Saki Saki… SAKI. That’s Captain Saki, by the way.

15. I don’t totally understand Erika’s Tension Ageko character, but I still love her! I like how the wota get into the MC with the girls, and that makes this MC more fun. My friend and I now shout “used towel!” to each other whenever we see each other. And I certainly wouldn’t mind having Saki’s used towel… no, no, I’m not going to be a pervert. I’m younger then she is, darnit!

16. I was somehow really happy to have this song (That’s the Power) performed at this point in the concert, and whenever Erika interrupts with her “used towel” bits, I can’t help but smile. The atmosphere of this song is just so friendly and laid-back. It’s great. Well, more specifically, Erika is great.

17. See above paragraph, final sentence. Long live Do Don ga Don Ondou!

Standouts: This section is all about Erika, and it’s really nice. She proves herself to be a truly strong performer here. Buono! Stands out in that they’re conspicuously absent.

18. I really love Buono!, and their first single is by far my favorite. But somehow, the Eggs steal the show here. They’re soooo cute!

Miya Hair Check:

Oh, it’s starting to wilt a little…

19. Ouch, Miya had some difficulty in the beginning. And holy crap Airi, those shorts are SHORT. They’re practically panties. Shiny, black, panties. But Airi has really nice le-… Oh, what, the performance?! Yeah, that was pretty good. Nothing great or spectacular, though. The thing that really made this a good performance, however, was that the girls seem to take up with whole stage. They don’t make it feel static and stuck, like some of the other performances, regrettably, did.

20. ASDJKASFkl. Saki. Either Saki. Both Sakis. Whatever. I was totally not expecting them to just dance the whole time during Natsu Doki Lipstick, but I’m incredibly happy that they did. It sort of became a Saki Dance solo, with Maimi singing in the background. My second favorite performance of the concert, for sure. I can’t wait to see the Berryz footage, because that’ll be practically a solo shot of this dance for Captain.

21. Massara Blue Jeans is such a fun song! I’m constantly amazed at the stamina of these girls. Especially Maimi and Saki right now. Wow. Just… wow. And THEN the Berryz come in… SHUTUPRISAKO. Shutupshutupshutupkthx. Actually, her second line made me realize that this could be the PERFECT song for Risako. I mean, all she does is scream, and that’s all that this song requires.

Stand outs: The Sakis (mostly Captain because she’s just a sexy beast), and Airi’s shorts.

22. My first reaction to this performance was that Jiriri Kiteru is a great song to perform with lots of people. Everyone’s energy is through the roof, and the all look and sound great.

23. What the hell? This is barely an MC.

24. JUMP is an inspiring song, and when it’s sung by 14 cute girls in pretty costumes, it’s just that much better. Songs like this make a concert completely worth going to. The girls themselves do the song justice. Chisai’s “Wow!” was adorable.

25. My favorite H!P kids concert song, period, is Yujou Junjou OH Seishun. it’s so much better live than as an mp3, when the Berryz’ voices were still too young and squeaky to really fit the song. And right there confirming that opinion is Kanna, bundle of energy that she is. During the line “Yume nare donna toki mo”, she is completely performing the hell outta this song. Close behind her are Captain and Chinami. Captain is, I swear on my honor as a Yossy-fangirly, channeling the great Yoshizawa here. There’s a part where she points at the camera and just sort of raises her eyebrows, which nearly gave me a heart attack. If Captain started being a cool character within Berryz, I would be so happy. And Chinami, well, she always owns this song.

Stand outs: Everyone. Everyone is just great here.

26. This is just too precious. The H!P kids playing superheroes! Everyone is so adorable. Momo is especially cute with her “White is feeling a little blue” (or something like that) line. This whole MC is pure kitsch. I adore it, really. Maasa continuously cursing, Kanna and Maasa as the leaders, Airi being Airi…

Stand outs: That bat-monster thing. What IS it?

27. Warera! Berryz Kamen & C-utie Ranger. Maasa’s “big” solo is my new god, Kanna and Chisato should’ve gotten lines (especially Kanna, I mean, she’s the “leader”), and Captain is still incredibly managing to remind me of Yossy.

28. What a cute MC, damn this review is getting WAY too long! I’m just going to include the rest of the concert here: I can’t believe they ended with Sakura Chirari. What’s the point? It’s not energetic like Yujou Junjou, it’s not touching or inspiring like JUMP. It’s just… blah, although having Ganbacchae (the song that started it all!) as the ending background music was sweet and nostalgic. In all, this is one of the finest H!P concerts I’ve seen since becoming a fan.

Stand outs for the whole concert: In my mind, this concert was a great one for Captain especially. If she keeps this awesomeness up, she’ll be moving way up in my member rankings.

SO in the end, Berryz Kamen and C-utie Ranger teamed up and defeated their creepy bat-thing enemy. But in the end, we all know what the REAL enemy here was:


♪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…


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.