I've been reading quite a few posts on other blogs lately as to whether H!P, or specifically Morning Musume, could make it within the west. The majority of these posts looking at whether they could break America, being a UK fan I can't really comment as to whether they could or couldn't break America, but I can look at it in the sense of how a UK audience might react to them. The curious thing is I'm not entierly sure what would be an easier market to get into, both the UK and US are very similar but at the same time extremely different, you've only got to look at the amount of successful UK groups (within the UK) that are completely ignored by America. But it works the other way as well, as it's been an age since I last remember Country music appearing in our charts...although I'm not to sure how often it appears in the American charts, lol, I'm basing this whole opinion on the fact that I saw a performance by a country music group on the American version of Strictly Come Dancing (Dancing with the Stars as it's called over there) and if it's anything like the version we have over here the performers are always high selling popular artists. We are two similar countries and there's still this divide within the musical tastes, it seems quite a large step to take to think that we would welcome the J-Pop style of Morning Musume with welcome arms.
And don't forget that there's still the issue of language. I've said in previous posts how I feel that within the UK we are very narrow minded when it comes to foreign films and music, if it's not in English a lot of people will simply ignore it and brand it as rubbish, to quote a friend of mine "I think the English are a closed door when it comes to music by non-English speaking bands...as a nation, we're wankers when it comes to having any kind of interest in anything different". From a young age I've been a fan of Asian Cinema, starting with the obvious entry point for any young kid, Martial Arts films, with Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan providing great conversation in class when I really should have been working, as I got older Anime and Manga caught my eye; Akira and Ghost in the Shell, etc, spreading out into Hong Kong films like A Better Tomorrow (and all John Woo's non American films), A Chinese Ghost Story, Naked Killer and Mr Vampire to name a few, add to this a love of gaming, specifically 2d beat-em ups, and you can see how this would eventually lead me to J-Pop, not necessarily H!P but no doubt if I hadn't of discovered it when I did, it would have only been a matter of time. Having been into the films at such a young age, I've gotten used to the comments of others, friends and family on how odd my love of these 'rubbish subtitled films' are, these feelings and views are for the most part still applied by those who had them to begin with, to the music of H!P. I do however feel that although these views are still present they are thrown at you as often when compared to comments on subtitled films, people are more willing to sit down and spend 5 minutes listening to a couple of tracks of an album rather than spending that time watching a subtitled film, I think that as you don't necessarily have to understand the words within a song to appreciate it helps out quite a bit.
I think the biggest thing that could potentially scare people away from Morning Musume is the whole Idol thing. I say 'think', but that should be 'know'. Although music is a big part of Morning Musume, them being Idols plays a major part and it's something that hasn't really been seen over here before. Obviously we have groups of a simlar nature (which I'll go into in a minute) but nothing as extreme as Morning Musume, I could never imagine a group over here releasing anything like a PB or Alo!Hello DVD. As a country we're not totally unfamiliar with Idols, but we just don't call them by the same name, also there's none of this you can't date and other rules that apply, the more people they sleep around with, the more trouble they get in, the more times they come stumbling out of clubs drunk and wearing next to nothing the more we seem to like them. I think the closest we come to any kind of Idol over here are Page 3 glamour models (Leilani and Lucy Pinder being two of my all time favourites), they feature very heavily in newspapers and 'lad mags' and I would say that they are more similar to the like of Gravour Idols. The Queen of the Page 3 models would have to be Jordan (aka Katie Price), she started off working in The Sun newspaper and has pushed her career to cover almost everything a celebrity could do, acting, singing, chat show host and reality TV, I really don't know how her song never became our entry into the Eurovisioin song contest :S
There's also other factors to take into consideration when talking about Morning Musume (or in fact H!P as a whole) and that is the age range. It's very hard for people outside of the H!P fan base to look in and not think the classic question all of us I'm sure has been asked "How old is she!!". There can be no denying that some of the girls are young, with the likes of Aika, Linlin and Koharu within the group eyebrows will surely be raised and questions asked as to why these young girls are put on display in the outfits they wear when you consider the target audience. And of course this will no doubt be helped along with the media, who at any given opportunity love to exaggerate the truth, I wonder how long it would take before the papers wrote complete bollocks attempting to dirty their image, forget Friday magazine, the tabloids in the UK would love to find dirt on something whose image is supposed to be portrayed as clean and pure.
Right, tea break...Sorry for the long post, but I've still got a little left.
If Morning Musume were to consider coming our way a person that Tsunku should really have a long chat with is Simon Fuller, to quote Wikipedia 'He is a British entrepreneur and creator of the Idol series', looking through the acts and shows that he's created and worked with, it's hard not to think to yourself, did he create them or is he just ripping off aspects of H!P and repackaging them up for a western audience. First off there's the Spice Girls, a group of five girls selected from applicants from an advert in The Stage magazine, they were each given a unique personality which was pretty much force fed to the whole nation whether you liked it or not, 'Girl Power' was pretty much everywhere. Spice Girls are pretty much the UK equivalent of Morning Musume, when you look through their career and success, it's quite easy to compare. And with their recent reunion (a little after 10 years after their first single release) it's even easier to compare them with the recent Morning Musume and their recent 10th Anniversary. But that's just the start of the comparisons between Simon Fuller and H!P, next up is S Club 7.
Although the group consists of both male and female members there are similarities with them and Morning Musume, obviously there's the Pop style of music, but there's also the TV show that they had, although this was a scripted series, unlike Hello Morning or Haromoni, but it helped show off the characteristics of each member and build up their personalities. Another similarity is S Club 8, a younger unit formed primarily as a support group for S Club 7 when performing concerts, but later went on to release singles and albums. This again shows great similarity with the likes of Berryz and C-ute and suggests that perhaps, if marketed properly the likes of Morning Musume and Berryz, could in theory do well within the UK.
Next, is Pop Idol series, which I'm sure everybody must be familiar with. The premise of the show being that people would come to auditions and perform for the judges, out of these a selection would then on to perform and be voted off each week until one remained. The most successful winning group within the UK is Girls Aloud, they're still around today and produce some great pop music...they even have a song titled Love Machine.
I suppose it would also be useful to see how a foreign group entering into the UK market has done, one that really sticks out in my mind is a group that is similar in the way they are promoted, but for all different reasons. t.A.T.u a Russian group of two girls, at the time I think they were both 16, who were supposedly lesbians. The songs released weren't in Russian but in English, if they had been I doubt they would have had the success that they had. Their image was one that was the complete opposite of Morning Musume, blatant sexuality, it's a fact, guys like girl on girl action. It caused quite a lot of fuss and got the group a lot of publicity, which was helped by the fact that their releases were great. A high point (lol, well I liked it) being the video for All the Things She Said, school uniforms, rain and kissing. It's interesting how when I talk to people about Morning Musume, normally the question is always raised about the age of the girls and that you would have to be pervert to like them, but with t.A.T.u they generally see nothing wrong. Perhaps it's like the old 80's horror movies, it's what you don't show that really gets people thinking. Two girls in school uniforms kissing in the rain, people know what they're getting?
It also seems that every few years we get a boom with all things Japanese, you suddenly start seeing Manga and Anime appearing in shops, only for it die down and come back a few years later, at the moment Manga and Anime seems to be going from strength to strength, which can mean that if there was a time for Morning Musume to consider something like releasing music within the UK now would be the best time to do it. Although it would seem that all things Japanese are becoming more and more popular there's the fact that it's still not that popular. As far as I know currently there's only one magazine aimed at Japanese Music, DVDs and culture and that is Neo magazine, and although they feature Japanese music reviews and artists within it, I've never seen any mention of Morning Musume or anything H!P related, very odd.
I know quite a few people who are into Japan for one reason or another, fashion, anime, manga, gaming, etc, etc, but none of them are too keen on Japanese music, I also know a few people who are into their music and again they show little interest in it. It makes me wonder that if these people aren't interested then how can 'the average person' be interest?
So I guess what I'm trying to say (in a not so well put together way, sorry it's really late now and I'm trying my best to word and get my points out as best as possible) is that although I can see troubles with Morning Musume coming into a Western market, it's not impossible just highly unlikely. There's a lack of any real market for them over here, and although there groups have been around and still are around that share a great number of similarities with them, the potential for them to break into our countries holds a major risk factor which has the potential of alienating the fans back in Japan, which would be a major mistake.
I think the thing that worries me more than anything else, is that if they were to attempt to break into a UK or US market, it's not something that can be done easily or quickly, the songs would have be done in English to be a full success, all of this leading to the one thing I would never want to see happen to any unit within H!P and that's the westernisation of them, they are the daughters of Japan (or is that Asia now?) and that's the way it should stay, if they lose that then they lose what they are about.
Instead what I would really like UFA to start doing is to make more of an effort with us foreign fans, I'm not asking for releases in our countries, I'm more than happy to order off of the net, but with things like the Fan Club and performances in Hawaii, they should be open to people outside of Japan, all of us put in a great deal of effort into our fandom of H!P and we're a dedicated and devoted bunch, I can only see good things happening with an international Official Fan Club. Especially with things like their performances in Hawaii, it's a perfect opportunity to open it up to a more global community.
Another H!P concert, another chance to get some H!P merchandise. Ohta's store has it's usual amazing H!P tour products in, covering all the groups, we have Morning Musume, V-u-den, Berryz, C-ute and Ongaku Gatas. There's T-Shirts, Towels, Photos, Visual Books and DVDs, all the usual items, but I'm particulaly interested in the photos as they are described as 'metallic', I can't say that I've ever seen a metallic H!P photo set before, so I can't wait to see what they look like.
For once, I won't be ordering through Ohta for these items, I'm going to attempt to do it in person! My stomach is filling up with butterflies as I type this, the thought of being able to walk up to the shop selling these items and being able to just stand there in awe. I'm tempted with the photos, the Ongaku Gata and V-u-den T-Shirts. Although I know that being at one of these concerts will mean I'll probably walk away with a lot more than some photos and t-shirts.
I've taken 5 minutes to quickly jump on my PC and make a quick post (hopefully no one will notice that I'm gone) to thank both my girlfriend and MorningBerryz for some wonderful Christmas gifts. As I'm in a bit of rush, for the minute I'll post some photos and go into more detail about the items later, I should have sometime tomorrow to sit down and type something a bit more in-depth.
Kat got me some Maki merchandise, 2 singles (Some Boys Touch and Secret), Goto Maki Premium Best 1 (I now need 3rd Station to complete all of her albums) and 2 photos. As well as Bokura ga Ikiru My Asia and a Aichan 21st birthday t-shirt. The t-shirt comes with a larger than usual photo and a larger than usual sweat band. MorningBerryz's gift was a collection of Morning Musume Fan Club CDs, each one of the 10 CDs features two tracks, the first is a song by the member pictured on the front and the 2nd is message from them.
Just a quick post to wish everyone a Happy Christmas, I hope Santa manages to make it to everyone and that you all get the gifts you're after! I'll finish off with a clip from C-ute taken from :::Dohhh Up!:::, how amazing do they all look in their little christmas outfits!! Now I know how Santa manages to get the presents to everyone in one night, he has C-ute to help out!! I'll be staying up for awhile tonight on the hope that I'll be sharing a mince pie and a glass of brandy with Santa Erika...I hope the chimney doesn't dirty her outfit up ;p
What with it being Winter I wasn't expecting any Love Hello! releases, but I'm pleasantly surprised to see that Satoda Mai has a Love Hello PB and DVD being released on the 26th of December.
She has been one of the members that during my fandom of H!P I've overlooked for the most part. It's not really until Ongaku Gatas that I really sat up and took notice. Her last PB, My Life, really blew me away. She has an amazing body and the bikini shots were out of this world, so just the idea of a Love Hello! release is something that I'm really looking forward too. Fingers crossed this will be the first of many PBs featuring the Ongaku Gatas members, I'd love for Konkon to get a new PB. But then even more excitingly it would be great if the Eggs were to get their own PB, whether it be a group book or individual, it would certainly help thrust them even more into the limelight. I'm crossing my fingers for a Manoeri PB release.
PB Release Date : ?? - 12 - 07 DVD Release Data : 26 - 12 -07
As mentioned by Nozofan in the previous post (Even More H!P Merchandise), Ohta has some Morning Musume mouse mats up for sale at his store. Personally I haven't used a mouse mat in years, all thanks to the wonders of optical mice, but I'm really tempted to get one of these, as they are the perfect laptop accompaniment, worth having around for them rare occasions when I'm working on a surface that my mouse doesn't like, no longer would I be ripping sheets out of my notepad to put my mouse on. Although it looks like Ohta only has the Morning Musume versions up in his store they also come in Berryz, C-ute and Ongaku Gatas versions. On looking through the photos, my personal favourite would have to be Sayumi's, the photo of her looks really cute. I'm wondering whether it's possible to buy the photos separately, it would be great to a mat and just swap and change the photo within it depending on your mood.
Also, something else I saw up on Ohta's store is a Filofax for next year. There's only the one there at the moment (Nocchi from Ongaku Gatas), but this got me having a hunt around on Hello Shop to see what other versions are available.
Last year I passed on the Filofax and to be honest I would have probably passed on it this time as well, but having seen the C-ute versions of these, I'm going to be keeping an eager eye out for these next month, fingers crossed they'll still be some around. The covers these use are the same outfits worn on the 2008 calendars, and for me it's something that's finally helped me decide which 2008 calendar I'm going to order. I'll be getting a Morning Musume calendar and hopefully be getting a C-ute Filofax. Out of the C-ute calendar, by far my favourite picture is the months September and October, with Erikachan looking simply amazing and Nakki and Maimai looking just as great, but with the opportunity to have a photo of Erika in that outfit and to be able to look at 365 days off the year who needs the calendar ;p although I must admit to being tempted with the Nakki one as well.
Recently whilst I've been keeping eye out for the H!P Scarves I've been stumbling over merchandise that I never knew existed, obviously not understanding the links and menus on the site doesn't help too much, but the main reason is I rarely check the H!P sites for merchandise that often, unless I'm keeping an eye out for something in particular. And one site that I've never check is Mall-City, as I can never figure out how to actually get into it, but tonight I managed to get into it via a link from UFInews (Up Front International News) and what I saw has got me adding a huge amount of items I want to try and hunt down whilst I'm out in Tokyo and if I can't find it I'll more than likely be mailing Ohta upon my return.
First up are some Morning Musume T-Shirts. Recently Ohta had some Berryz t-shirts up on his store where the designs on the front were drawn by the members of the group, V-u-den also had similar shirts and I managed to grab myself one of Yui's (Yui T-Shirt and GAM Tour Merchandise). The good thing with these shirts is they add a little bit of uniqueness to the shirt and for the fans (or at least for me) the fact that you're not only wearing a H!P t-shirt but one that a member has sat down and helped design (however oddly they draw) adds a little something extra to them. I've always found it odd that both Berryz Koubou and V-u-den done this with their shirts and not Morning Musume, with some of the exceptional artisitic talent within the group they have to be amazing...just imagine the greatness Kamei could put on the front!
Well it looks like the recent Bon Kyu! Bon Kyu! BOMB Tour actually had some of these shirts. The front of each coloured shirt has a self portrait on it, with an accompanying photo of the member with the original sketch. Although the photos aren't too great, it looks like Kamei has lived up to my expectations, lol.
Along with Morning Musume's member design, it looks like C-ute has also done a similar shirt, which I think is from the Cutie Circuit 2007 Tour, the site only has 3 designs up, I'm guessing that perhaps the rest of the member shirts have sold out but on the plus side there's still some Erikachan ones in!! Also there's some standard Cutie Circuit Tour shirts in and it's good to see that they're coming in different colours rather than just black, when I look through my collection of H!P shirts I really prefer the coloured tour shirts over the black version and so I'm pleased to see these. Personally I'm a huge fan of the brown coloured one and I'm loving the accompanying photos.
Melon Kinenbi is a unit that I see very little tour merchandise for and I was surprised to see how great these shirts look, the fact that they're no just black and white but include other colours as well, is something that I've only even seen on couple of H!P shirts and the design on these shirts are amazing, the lettering on the shirts and one the truckers style cap (especially with the lightning bolt behind it) reminds me a lot of AC/DC's merchandise. Out of all the shirts I've seen on here these have to be the ones that I want to try and get the most and I'd go so far as to say I'd try and get the cap as well, I'm not really a hat person, but I'd make an exception for this, no matter how stupid it would probably make me look!
And what better way to pay for it all then on your H!P VISA Credit Card!! This has to be the most surprising item that I saw on the site, I never even thought something like this would be out, if only I lived in Japan I'd have this in an instant to rack up all my H!P debt on, lol! What better way to make money from the fans then to let them put all the latest H!P merchandise onto their H!P credit card and then make even more money from them off of the interest! UFA have got it sussed when it comes to milking us fans of our cash!
Back in July over at MorningBerryz blog (Someone's created their own H!P playing cards! and Someone has some H!P playing cards!) there was a couple of posts about Hello! Project playing cards that fans had made and I can remember thinking to myself how good it would be if an official deck was to be released, obviously with the amount of the members within H!P and the quality of all their photos it really makes for a great potential.
This evening I've been randomly surfing the net and eventually ended up on eBay and what did I come across? Some Official H!P playing cards, in 3 different sets! Anyone feel like a game of poker?
I've been checking Hello Shop and Ohta's Store every other day for about the past two weeks now on the hunt for H!P Scarfs and finally today I noticed that they're out! Ohta, has yet to get them in for pre-order, but hopefully he will over the next few days. I don't know what the weathers been like where elsewhere but where I am in the UK it's been really cold, today was a nice (if you can call it nice) 5°C but the past few days this week the nights have reached -4°C, luckily I've had my Sayu scarf from last year, but it's time for an update.
I'm really impressed with the design, I think that they look a lot better than last years (Winter's Coming), although I'm not knocking last years design, just that I prefer this one more, the darker colour looks a lot better (well in the photos at least) and if the emblem and signature are stitched like last years and not a print then they'll look amazing!
I was originally planning on getting a Erika scarf, but that was before I saw the photos accompanying the scarfs...what can I say as per usual I've fallen for Kohachan! Her photo just looks so cute, she's totally won me over.
What's happened to Gyaruru? Is it me or have they fallen off the face of the earth? I guess it's not really that uncommon for a group to go quiet for awhile, but Boom Boom Meccha Maccho! is TNX's highest selling single, why has Tsunku let these girls remain quiet for so long?? 6 months is far too long without even a hint that another release is coming. Surely with a push and some more releases as good as their first single, Gyaruru would be a great unit for TNX.
Ok, so they didn't get off to the best of starts, with Nono having to retire from the group before the single was released due to her pregnancy, but that didn't stop them, with Abe Asami replacing Nono, which for me personally made the unit even more interesting as Asami is one of the few JPop artists that I listen to outside of Hello! Project, her introduction to the unit, although quite literally as a filler, (they couldn't even be bothered to redesign the costume) stirred up a lot of interest in me and the hope that I'd be seeing more of an idol that I hadn't seen to much of.
Recently I've been routinely checking the Gyaruru Official Blog on the off chance that an update will be made with some information about upcoming releases, or at least a hint that the unit is still active. But again, it's nearly been six months since an update was made on there, and this for me is a bad sign (although no news is good news, right?), how hard is it to update a blog? Even if it has nothing really to do with the unit as a whole, keeping it active would keep the interest of the fans and give off a little hope that the unit won't be a one song unit. Interestingly, each of the members own blogs have been updated quite frequently, with only Sonene and Ami appearing in a photo together...but nothing to do with Gyaruru. I always tend to look for the worst in a situation, but with this unit I really don't want to, I really want to see a second single come out. What gets me I can't see why the unit has gone so quiet, everything about the unit, for me at least, was perfect. Tokito Ami, is an idol that up until Gyaruru I'd paid little interest too, neither her look and her solo singing career interested me in the slightest. The shots that I'd seen of her within Up to Boy and other magazines, didn't attract me to her and neither did the PVs for her solo releases, her image just didn't (and still doesn't) look right to me, but within Gyaruru her image was nailed. Sonene, the scary leader of the unit, who in the end really ended up adding some great fun to the Making of DVD and PV, she's an amazing character who I'd really love to see more of...I still can't get over how much she eats and how skinny she is!!
And then Asami, I know I've already covered this, but I was so happy to see her return. My first introduction to her was way back in 2004 with my first issue of Up to Boy, where there are some amazing shots of her, at this time I wasn't aware that she was Nacchi's sister or that she even had albums out, I just knew that she looked cute!
Then discovering her music (and that she was Nacchi's sister) my interested in her increased, only to find that she had vanished. Which for me was quite surprising considering how good her songs sounded, I'm also surprised that TNX or some other label hasn't given her a solo career.
Perhaps things would have been different if Nono hadn't of left, with her fan base behind the unit could of had the potential to sell more copies then it did, but even then this is still the best selling single to date from TNX, forget about THE Possible and Tokito Ami's solo career, Gyaruru should be the main focus at the moment. Perhaps they're waiting for the return of Nono? Add her back into the line up and make the 3 member unit into a 4?
I know I always say how good Ohta is, but this time he really has out done himself, words cannot express how happy am I with my most recent purchase from him, as I'm typing this my whole body is feeling tingly and my feet are wiggling, the excitement is building up in me.
A few days ago, I received a parcel containing a couple of items, first is the Special Edition Making of DVD from Koharu's recent PB POP, I was extremely surprised with the complete lack of any packaging, it comes quite literally in a sleeve free case, I'm guessing with these releases, no eye catching packaging is needed, this is purely for the fans, there's no impulse buying from attractive covers or anything like that, the only reason someone would buy this is for one reason, to see one of their favourite H!P idols. I've yet to watch it fully but I have a quick jump through the chapters to see what to expect and even from the few seconds that I've seen I know one thing, amazingly her PB just doesn't do her justice when compared to this. I loved POP, it's one of my favourite photo books, currently my copy doesn't even live with the rest of my PB collection as it's something I regularly flick through, so instead of it being on my shelf it sits on the corner of my desk, so the prospect of a 50 minute making of DVD for this release is something I've been looking forward to for ages, and I'm so pleased that it's looking like it's going to be a great watch!!
Also included in the package was a little photo of Kira☆Pika, both Koha and Maimai are looking so cute, I still think that their pairing is the cutest coupling H!P have ever done.
Now although the DVD is an exciting thing in it's self, it's not what has got me excited, this feeling is all for the envelope next to it! In the new year I will be heading off to Tokyo for just under two weeks. This will be my 3rd trip to Japan and will be my first trip as a fully fledged fan of H!P.
My first trip out there was a short one, it was only 7 days, but when you consider that also includes the flights, and at 9 hours each that's a good chunk of two days gone. For those of you that don't know how I discovered H!P, it was on this visit that I caught Aibon's and Nono's graduation on Tokyo TV, but at that point I had no idea who they were or what the group was called, I just knew that I wanted their CD...although it wasn't till my return that to the UK that I discovered who they were (Discovering Hello Project is a more in-depth post on how I discovered H!P). A year later and I returned to Tokyo, with a better idea of who and what I was looking for. But my knowledge was still limited, I was aware of the majority of the groups within H!P, but my focus was on three specific ones, Morning Musume, Mini Moni and W. Not knowing about the Official Stores, my shopping was limited to the usual places, music and book shops. But that didn't stop me from getting some great items!
It still brings a smile onto my face when I think about some of my trips into these shops, the one that sticks in my head the most is a book shop I went into, I stepped in and picked up the latest issue of Up to Boy and the latest Up to Boy Hello! Project Best Shot edition, strolling around I found a bookshelf just for H!P, I proceeded to pick a copy of each release and staggered to the till. Behind the counter was a lovely old lady who looked at me in amazement, the fact that my chin was resting on top of my pile and I hadn't fallen over clearly impressed her, lol, she quickly rushed to help me and got another member of staff to pack my books away into bags...how I wish I bought them later on in the day, my arms ached by the time I got back to the hotel. Now going back a third time, I not only know of the Official Stores, but I know where two of them are and I think a rough idea of where a third is...and the great thing is, Chris will also be coming on the trip with me and he loves the H!P stores (Holiday Horror for Non H!P Fans).
But back to the envelope and the reason why this is trip is getting me so excited. Having checked on the H!P website I noticed that the Hello! Project 2008 Winter ~Wonderful Hearts Nenjuu Mu Kyuu~ tour was going on, not knowing how I could get my hands on tickets I emailed Ohta in the hope that he could get me them or knew away for me to get them whilst I was out there. Thankfully the whole process was extremely easy and Ohta managed to get two FC tickets for January the 4th. The actual thought of going to see Morning Musume, Berryz and C-ute live is something that I don't think has quite sunk in yet, but the closer it's getting the more I'm realising it's going to happen, the more excited I'm getting.
My thoughts now turn to how I will react to being in the concert surrounded by other H!P fans, fans that more than likely have been living the H!P dream on a consistent basis, fans that know the chants and the strange dances. I think it's time that I started watching some of my concert DVDs in the hope that I can pick up some chants and not look so out of place.
Yesterday :::Dohhh Up!::: put up a preview of the Making Of DVD for Airichan's new PB CLEAR. It looks like that much like some of the recently released PB's an additional Making of Special Edition DVD will be available to buy from eLineUP!. Much like Kohachan's recent Special Edition Making of DVD (which I received yesterday, but have still yet to watch) it runs at approximately 50 minutes, it will be available for pre-order between the December 5th and January 8th.
Personally I would have rather see other members of C-ute getting PB releases, before Airi gets her second. I'm sure the reasoning behind Airi getting her second book is obviously her popularity and the fact that she's got a lot of extra publicity through Buono!, but I would have liked to have seen the other members of C-ute get releases before coming back to Airi. I'm still eagerly awaiting Erika's first PB release, but as yet there are no signs of it :(
It would seem that the Japan Centre may have caught onto the fact that I will buy anything in anyway H!P related, either that or they're finally starting to expand their magazine section and getting in other titles more regularly. Flash and Kindai are good examples of this, both were only in stock on very odd occasions and even then they only normally had a couple of copies max, recently both magazines have been in stock, with quite a few copies, on a regular basis. The shop has recently exapnded and I think this the reason why they seem to be getting some new stock in, whereas before the magazine/book section only took up a small section of the upstairs it's now been moved to the basement and takes up the entire floor, disappointingly though the CD section seems to have vanished completely. The other advantage with the magazine/book section expanding to an entire floor is that JPBooks around the corner seems to have sat and taken notice, as they've reorganised they're layout, hopefully this will cause both stores to start stocking some more magazine titles.
This months Kindai magazine is H!P heavy this month, 16 pages worth with Morning Musume featured on the cover. I was so surprised to see them on the cover, I really wasn't expecting it. The main reason for me seeing if this issue was for sale was because I saw some shots of it over at Hello!C-ute of Erika from C-ute being featured on the Cutie House articles, so you can imagine how happy I was when I opened the issue up to find out that it was packed full with Morning Musume, Gakisan, Berryz Koubou, Ongaku Gatas and C-ute. The last issue of Kindai I bought was April's edition (Kindai) and was a similar affair as it featured a similar line up. It's good to see that H!P is featuring regularly in this publication, they've even had 3 cover appearances this year. I'm particulaly happy with this issue of Kindai as all the singles within it, I've had to pass on this month, but I'm pleased to be able to see photo shots associated with these releases.
Having cancelled my order of Mikan to attempt to save some money this month ( :'( I hate that I've helped with the poor sales of this single), this is the first real chance I've had to see the outfits worn on the covers of the CDs and I have to say that I'm really impressed they look even more amazing than on the shots and scans of the singles that I've seen online. For me stand out members in the shots have to be both Kohachan and Mittsi. The yellow tracksuit top/dress type thing (is it all one piece?) really suits her, the brightness of it really suits her image and I think it's a good match for her personality, although admittedly on some of the shots it looks like shes had a major accident with a paint brush what with all the blue dots over it. Mittsi is a shock one for me, during the auditions for the 8th generation she was my favourite to join the group as I really loved her voice and her look, she's so cute! But for some reason up until this release she's never really caught my eye, I mentioned it over on MorningBerryz blog, that when I first saw his scans of the Limited CDs it took me a couple of seconds to actually recognise her, I'm loving the dungeree look she's got going on!
Included with this issue is an extra special bonus for Morning Musume fans and that's a document holder, similar to those that Up to Boy used to give away with each issue. I've had a little look and it seems I might be able to open the clear envelope and remove it without damaging the magazine, I've always wanted to use one of these but could never bring myself to damage any of my issues of Up to Boy, I may give it ago, but chances are I'll pass as knowing me it'll last a couple of days and then I'll spill a cup of tea all over it.
The sales for Mikan have been the cause for quite a few discussions and it's not surprising when you look at the sales figures for the release, so far total sales for this release come in at 28082 which are the lowest ever for a Morning Musume release. I feel partly responsible for these low figures, sure I couldn't have knocked it up by any great deal, but the figures would have been up to 28084...although maybe not as I'm not to sure if sales through online stores are included. But surely all this talk about Morning Musume being in big trouble is a little over the top? Sure sales of singles and albums have been on a slow decline and with this release the drop has increased, but let's not forget that this release still came in the top 10 for last weeks sales, sure No.6 is not within the top 5, but it's still within the top 10. And let's not forget that with the release of their last single Kanashimi Twilight Morning Musume got recognised as the best selling female group in Japan, in my head at least I can't take the step from that straight to a group that's in trouble. Sure sales are low, but the release was still a top 10 entry and let's not forget this is only one single, I'm sure the shrewd business men of UFA are not relying on sales of one single to support their acts.
My main confusion with the low selling of this single is the fact that well...I love it! The song took awhile to grow on me, but that's the point, it did grow on me. And then when you look at the packaging and items included with the release, I can't see how a fan can not want to own this single. I'm curious to know how many people out there actually don't like Mikan.
Again, having not ordered Shori no Big Wave!! it was good to see some shots of Gakisan, although I'm dying to get my hands on the limited edition release of this single as the photos include with the booklet look great. I think that this release is a good example of why I'm not to concerned about the low selling of Morning Musume's last single, within it's first week of sales, Shori no Big Wave!! only managed to rank in at number 31 with sales of 4461, if a release by Morning Musume ever came in this low, then I'd be panicking. This aside it's good to hear that Athena & Robikerots will be getting a second single out next year called Seishun! LOVE Launch, out on the 13th of February, fingers crossed the release will be as good and as cute as this.
Now Berryz. I managed to sit down for a while yesterday and watch some of the Hello! Project 2007 Summer Concert DVD and I was blown away, in the past live performances from Berryz have got me thinking about quickly running to the kitchen and get myself another drink or something similar, but their performances on this DVD are amazing, Special Generation and Kokuhaku no Funsui Hiroba had me watching them over and over again, with my work load decreasing as it gets closer to Christmas I'm hoping I can go through some of my older concert DVDs and re-watch some of the performances that I previously hadn't thought much of, chances are that I'm sure I'll find something that I somehow couldn't see before.
The outfits for Tsukiatteru no ni Kataomoi look amazing both in these photos and in the PV, but much like the PV it's Risako that really stands out, much like the PV these shots really show off her amazing smile.
Ongaku Gatas, what an amazing unit! I still can't get over how surprised I was when I first heard Nari Hajimeta Koi no Bell, there was the instant wanting to see more. Now with a second single coming out on Wednesday, their album 1st GOODSAL due for release on the 6th of Februrary and a tour of the same name following shortly after, it looks like they're here to stay. More Yossie, more Konkon and more Eggs! I can't wait!
And now the reason why I went out to purchase this magazine in the first place, Erika. C-ute is a unit that lately I've really gotten into, but for some reason unlike other units I don't own much of their releases. I have a couple of singles, one Single V release and that's about it. This is a step to try and change that. With Erika being my favourite within C-ute, my reasoning for getting this issue of Kindai was to have a flick through the article and check out the photos.
I still haven't decided which calendar I'll be getting for next year, the choice is either C-ute's or Morning Musume's, and I think this really goes to show how much I'm liking C-ute at the moment, in the three years that I've had a H!P calendar on my wall two of them have been Morning Musume and one has been W, if W hadn't of released a calendar last year then I would have gone with Morning Musume. I really love the originality of C-ute's calendar, the whole dressing up and posing for a different style of music is a great idea and works really well. I know that I'm leaving the decision later and later but I'm still in two minds, C-ute or Morning Musume, let's hope I can decide before places start selling out, lol.
With Gocchin's recent graduation from Hello!Project there's a gap that needs to be filled, that of which member now fits into the sexy role. Maki has always had that certain look about her, and I'd argue that she was H!P's sexiest member.
H!P has quite a few strong contenders that could take her on this role, but out of all of them I think only a member from V-u-den has the potential to fill this role, their image has consistently been sexy but with a mix of cuteness, when watching their PVs at times it can come across a little watered down or more tongue in cheek than some of Maki's, but they've still got it.
What got me started thinking about this, was the latest issue of Flash magazine which has a 4 page spread on Yui. She just looks amazing, unfortunately for her I think in the past she's fallen fowl to some of the worst haircut choices within H!P and this can really affect her overall appearance, on looking back through some of the her styles, the stylists should have been locked away, but recently I think they've really nailed her image perfectly.