Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Thoughts on Recent Releases

My copies of Resonant Blue, Namida no Iro, and Okitegami showed up in the mail yesterday. I'm mainly putting this post together because I haven't seen anyone say anything about Okitegami yet, and that's a shame.

I love it. I love it I love it I love it. There are so many good things about this single.
- First of's Mikitty, and she sounds as good as ever (if not better), so automatic win there.
- Somehow, the c/w is on par with the main track, and I mean that in the most literal sense possible. I think you could switch the two and it would still feel 'right'.
- Real-instrument backing track. This is something that is disappointingly underused in J-Pop, especially H!P. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the people writing/arranging the music for J-Pop artists know that it will sell just as well with synth instruments as it would with the real deal...but I'm also aware that this isn't an H!P release, nor is it J-Pop. Regardless, to hear Mikitty's voice backed by a full band is a wonderful thing.
- Even without Mikitty or the orchestra (I think? maybe a partial orchestra XD), these are a couple of very well-written songs. I've had Okitegami stuck in my head off and on since I first saw that clip of her singing it at a publicity event a month or so ago. Once I get a bit more familiar with the c/w, I'm sure I'll have that stuck in my head as well.

Resonant Blue
- As expected, the A-Side is great, just like it was the first several times I heard it while watching the PV.
- As for the c/w...another blogger (who it was I don't remember) said that it sucked...but I think it's okay. If you happen to be someone who is especially fond of the more mature sound of Resonant Blue, I can understand disliking the goofier sound of RB's A-Side...but I've always been fond of that sound for Morning Musume (plus I'm a sucker for anything with a rhythm that emphasizes the off-beats), and it makes me happy to know that H!P hasn't completely dropped it for the 'reborn' Momusu.

Namida no Iro
- Like RB, the A-Side is great, as expected.
- C-ute's version of Darling I Love You is exactly the same as the Berryz version, only C-ute is singing it. I like the Berryz version better, but only because I'm more of a Berryz fan...I mean, they're the exact same song. To be honest, this is kinda lame.

So, basically, they're all great releases in my opinion, with C-ute ranking slightly below the others. C-ute probably would have been received more favorably if the B-Side hadn't already been done by an artist I like more anyway.
- cfb

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Who would I marry based purely on voice?

Raid posed the question "Who would you marry based purely on voice?", and since a lot of the other H!P bloggers seem to have answered the call, I might as well do it too.

3. Shiina Ringo

Maybe not so much her voice as the songs she writes...but still, they wouldn't be the same if she didn't sing them. She may not have the greatest control, or the most finely-tuned voice, but you can just tell from the way she sings that she lives for her music (and/or is totally insane), and I admire that.

2. Matsuura Aya

What's there to say? It's Ayaya. She's the best-selling solo artist in Hello!Project for a reason.

1. Fujimoto Miki

Seeing as Miki's voice was the reason I even began to like her as an idol, she was an obvious choice for first place. This post discusses everything I have to say about the matter.

- cfb

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Hello!Online has posted more Goto Maki blog translations.

Iced caramel macchiato with whipped cream? I must say, that sounds tempting...I'll probably try it sometime soon. Maybe I should call it the 'Goto Maki Special', if only to confuse the clerk.

- cfb

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Because I could.

Which Morning Musume Member Are You?
created with
You scored as Mitsui Aika

You are most like Mitsui Aika! She is the most recent member of Momusu, and the only one to join in the 8th generation. Little is known about her personality so far, however she comes off as being friendly, nervous, and somewhat spacey. Time will tell if this will change.

Mitsui Aika


Kamei Eri


Fujimoto Miki


Tanaka Reina


Takahashi Ai


Michishige Sayumi.


Kusumi Koharu


Niigaki Risa


Yoshizawa Hitomi


Apparently I'm not all that much like any Momusu member, since my highest similarity was 50%. XD

Oh well.
- cfb

Thursday, April 3, 2008

How Much is Too Much?

I don't know if anyone else in the community has this problem, and I've only begun to consider this as such in the last year or so, but I've always had difficulty keeping myself from getting too deep into any one thing. Over the last several years, I've become obsessively involved with a variety of things, including: skateboarding, ska (a variant of reggae), They Might Be Giants, Shiina Ringo, and now, Hello!Project. The only interest that has stayed with me throughout my life is video games, and even then I went through a phase where I declared myself a 'video game collector' and bought every game I could find (and, as a result, I now have 300+ games and 20+ consoles sitting in my room, which I'm still quite proud of). After going through all of these cycles, I've begun to ask myself: how much is too much?

When it comes to obsessive fandom, wotas are about the most clear-cut example you can have. We've all seen the pictures of a Japanese wota's room, covered wall-to-wall with H!P posters, the rest of the space filled with various types of merchandise all related to their group(s) of choice. Some would say that these people have chosen their hobbies over their friends and family, and I'm sure that a lot of them actually have. This is the line that, for me, defines a 'hardcore fan' versus a 'casual fan'. Not necessarily in such an extreme manner as to ostracize yourself from your friends and family, but perhaps to where you place a high enough priority on your hobbies so as to put them one step below or on the same level as the so-called 'normal' facets of life (friends, family, job, etc).

It's difficult to describe exactly where I sit on this scale...there's no exact place I can pinpoint myself to, but I think that my focus is always on H!P until something else interrupts it, whether that be school or my job or friends or whatever (and even then, depending on how I feel, I may continue focusing on H!P). There's a progression that's brought me to this point (and may bring me further into the depths of self-indulgent anti-social wota-ism), and it obviously started when I got into H!P.

From the beginning, none of my friends ever liked Hello!Project. Cal likes certain members and songs, but that's only because he and I hang out so much, and he is by no means a fan. Souki is essentially the same case as Cal, only he likes it even less. Every one of my other friends (all of whom are attending college, and were when I first got into Berryz Koubou last summer) essentially hates H!P, and I can't blame them. From an outside view, my Berryz fandom looks like nothing more than a pedo obsessing over a bunch of little girls (and that's not to say that I can completely deny that - no male Berryz fan that's my age can - but that is not the reason I'm into H!P). Regardless, from that point on, all my friends except Cal and Souki immediately took a "LALALAIMNOTLISTENING" stance when I mentioned any H!P group, and that caused me to talk about H!P around Cal and Souki even more, which, over time, caused them to quickly lose patience when it came to my relentless fanboy moe-fests.

As a result, I began making a conscious effort to avoid talking about H!P around my friends, and especially those college friends I spoke of. While that certainly made everyone else enjoy my company much more, it did nothing to strengthen my friendship with them, and the fact that I wasn't talking about H!P just increased my desire to go watch a PV or something. And so, I began to dislike hanging out with friends. Even when I felt like I wanted to hang out with people, I would quickly become bored unless we were out and about (and, even then, I would tend to get bored, as nothing that I saw held much interest for me). It became that, when I started to feel like perhaps I wanted to hang out with people, there would be this feeling that all I really wanted was someone to tell about my latest H!P obsession, and I would IM Cal or Souki so that I could get it out of my system, then go back to what I was doing...although, lately, I've given up on that as well.

Now, as for 'how much is too much'...I'm of the belief that everyone should do whatever it is that makes them happy, and I can say that H!P undoubtedly does that for me. Is this kind of fandom too much? In all honesty, it is, and I know that...but, in my opinion, regardless of what someone is doing, as long as they have a sense of self-awareness and aren't hurting others in the process, let them do what they want (obviously, everyone's definition of 'hurting others' is different, but that's not something I really feel like discussing right now). Of course, that doesn't do much to help defend my approach to H!P fandom, but it explains why I'm essentially okay with my current state of affairs.

I will say that I haven't given up on my 'real' life, since I'm sure that's the impression most people will get from this blog. I'm still going to school, I still have a job, and, if my friends want to hang out when they're in town (or, for those who still live in town, when they have the time), I'll do it, even if I may feel like hiding in my room with my photobooks & CDs & DVDs & whatever other H!P merchandise I throw my money at. Despite all that I've said here, if I had to choose between Hello!Project and my friends, I would definitely pick my friends (I'm not that stupid...yet XD).

Still...of the petty, unimportant, not-essential-to-life things that I spend most of my time obsessing over, Hello!Project is undeniably at the top. Right now, that's what I'm choosing to focus on, because that's what makes me the happiest at the end of the day. It is NOT the end-all be-all, and I hope it never is, because as much joy as my favorite H!P members bring me, I can never become their friend, or hold a conversation with them, or go out for a night on the town with them, or do anything that I can do with the people that I know and will come to know in my life. And that over-arching mentality is what separates a hardcore wota from a socially fucked, over-obsessive stalker.

- cfb