As ever YesAsia are taking their time shipping my latest order, but luckily my order of Morning Musume's Pepper Keibu singles and Sayu's recent PB release Love Letter are now in a "Ready to be Shipped" status so fingers crossed I should have them in a week or so.
Interestingly Love Letter has to be one of the few PB releases I've not seen any previews of, mostly thanks to the odd redesign of UTB where we were so kindly given one black and white page as a preview (UTB Vol.187). So at the moment the only thing I've had as a real sneak peak into what wonders that lay this release is a preview of the Love Story DVD uploaded onto :::Dohhh Up!::: and from what I've seen Sayu has outdone herself, I thought she'd mastered the whole cute/sexy combo in her last PB release but how wrong was I!
The music in this preview is really odd, not the music I would have necessarily of chosen to help promote the release, but amazingly it fits in really well although it does give the impression that perhaps this it's advertising a romantic film set in America featuring cowboys, adventure and treasure.
Sayu's cute image is something I enjoy a lot and it's my most favourite aspect about her, the sexy image that has been slowly making an appearance in her most recent PB releases is something that I've enjoyed but have never really rated above her cute image, but on looking at the footage in the clip below I have to say that well perhaps I'm mistaken...skip in 1 minute and 39 seconds, that's a whole new side to Sayu right there, seriously sexy! Damn you YesAsia, where the hell is my PB!!!
If you can believe it I was actually considering not buying the Love Story DVD, what with it getting closer to Christmas the idea had crossed my mind to hold back on some of the H!P releases and save some money, well it looks like that this will be one thing I won't be passing on, there's no way I'd be able to resist getting a copy of this ♥
Well it looks like the time has come, with every post I make about Morning Musume tour merchandise I always mention how I want to but a Sayumi shirt and every time I never do, so to stop my comments from getting boring and repetitive (lol, I'm sure it's already gone way past that) I'll be placing my order for a pink Sayu shirt with Ohta over the next few days.
The tour merchandise for the Resonant Live tour is out and obviously Ohta has them up on his site. As with the recent Concert Shirts I'm not overly impressed with the designs, unlike the recent Berryz Koubou and C-ute shirts it's nothing to do with the design being simple it's due to not actually really liking the design on the shirt, the chequered print across the chest isn't the greatest of designs, but as with all these promotional shots for the shirts they're are a little too small to fully judge how they look.
The towels look great and as ever I'm tempted to buy one, obviously Koha's is the towel I'm after and she looks amazing on it...it's probably just me but for some reason she really reminds of Aichan in this shot. But again the chequered design on them is putting me off.
It looks like that :::Dohhh Up!::: has undergone a change and quite an impressive change it is as well. First off is the immediately obvious improvement of speed, which has always been my one problem with the site, as much as I love the site and value it as a great H!P resource the loading times can be a drag and sometimes I've found myself sitting at my PC for a good 5 minutes to wait for a video to load in entirely. Tonight I've watched numerous videos and the loading time of all of them has been amazingly quick :)
Secondly, and less obviously, is the ability to embed the video clips featured on the site into other sites, much as you would with Veoh and YouTube videos (scroll to the bottom of the video you want to embed on :::Dohhh Up!::: and copy the code found there, again much like you would with YouTub of Veoh). At the moment only the two most recent clips allow themselves to be embedded but this is a great idea. There's the obvious bonus of not having to need to embed low quality versions from other sites but what I find most interesting is the potential the admins over at :::Dohhh Up!::: have for logging the usage to these embeds, if ever there was a way to show UFA that a fan base exists outside of Japan and Asia this would be the way to do it, they should be able to track which sites embed which video clips and even how often they are played from said site.
One of the two videos currently being allowed to be embedded is a PV for the latest single release from Berryz Koubou, Dschinghis Khan Tarutaru Mix.
A remix of both the original German version and the Berryz Koubou version, the only thing odder than the actual song itself has to be the PV!
The remix although not awful falls where a lot of other remixes fall and that's not improving on the original, in this case it fails to improve on either version of the track, but where this does succeed I feel is with the PV, much like the song itself it's a remix of the original video/performance and the Berryz version, but it's done in such a great way that I find myself liking the song more when I watch it along with this PV.
As you can imagine if you've already heard the song, the PV is slightly wacky and by slightly I mean a lot :S It starts with what must be a first for music videos...dancing sheep with hats on!! When the PV is not featuring these sheep it has speeded up clips from both versions of the PV all mixed together with a cartoonish type feel, which really gives a unique look...well to be honest I think the dancing sheep wearing hats did that :S
Sadly the PV only lasts for just over 2 minutes, but it has enticed me enough to put an order in for the Single V release, interestingly on the CDJapan description of this release it says that there'll be a Making Of segment included with it, I imagine this is going to be slightly different from the standard making of footage included with these releases.
CD Release Date : 17 - 09 - 08 DVD Release Date : 26 - 11 - 08
Let it never be said that H!P as a whole isn't original when it comes to naming album releases and with that in mind Berryz Koubou's fifth album 5(Five) arrived in the post a few days ago along with C-ute's Cutie Queen Vol.1 ;p
Both been fighting for a place to be listened to whilst I'm the train, but thanks to (...thanks to??!!... :S) a fatality on the train tracks on Tuesday afternoon it meant that I spent about 3 hours sitting on a train with nothing to do except listen to them both.
For me 5(Five) has been an album I've eagerly anticipating, with it featuring the two awesome single tracks released this year, Dshingus Khan and Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance, it was clear to me even before I listened to it that I was going to enjoy this immensely. With Morning Musume being a bit quiet with their single releases this year my concentration has been firmly focused on both Berryz and C-ute and this allowed me not only to enjoy their music more but also to delve deeper into the personalities of the girls and this has given me the chance I've been dying for to get to them know better, well as much as you can get to know someone from watching DVDs.
It's clear from comparing my thoughts from their last album 4th Ai no Nanchara Shisuu to this album that my liking of Berryz has grown, there has been no hesitation in listening to it and no doubts as to whether I'd like it or not, and the included DVD is something I'm really enjoying, although I've yet to watch all of it (I've watched the two live performances and the hand shake segment at the end, which leaves the game sections in between to be watched when I next get a quiet half an hour) for once I find myself thinking that I'm enjoying the bonus DVD, which I think is a first for me?
Much like C-ute I feel that Berryz this year have upped their game so much that I think Morning Musume had best be watching their backs, certainly their joint concert DVD Berryz Kamen vs Cutie Ranger was a clear indication of this as in my opinion it's by far my most favourite H!P concert that I've seen. And this level of excellence is carried over into this new album, right from the very first track. HAPPY!Stand Up is one of my favourite non single tracks on the album and really sets a good tone for the start of the album, up beat, lively and funky, I had to resist the urge to loop it the first time I heard it. The great thing with this track is that both the vocals and the music really compliment each other so well.
Then came the shock of the second track, in contrast to HAPPY! Stand Up, with Kono Yubi Tomare! I wasn't fighting the urge to put it on loop but actually skipping the whole song altogether, with the first 45 seconds sounding like a really poor Shaft theme rip off I was beginning to get a little worried that the album wasn't all I thought it was going to be, but luckily after that 45 seconds the song picks itself up and is actually quite good, well except for the few instances where it goes back to that Shaft type sound, but the vocals and chorus of this track is what really makes this a song worth waiting for, at times I've gotten past the intro and completely forgotten what I was listening too only to be surprised when checking to see what track it is.
Jumping past Baka ni Shinaide and straight to what I've recently come to the conclusion of is my favourite Berryz track ever, Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance, as an indication of how much I like this track it would seem that I've played it so much whilst working lately that Chris has threaten to kill himself if he hears it one more time. The song itself is only bettered by the PV and the use of those chimp suits :) Jumping one more track and onto Clap! another amazingly good song, lighter in sound than the tracks before it, the combination of voices (Miyabi, Chinami, Yurina) really appeals to me and the girls sound great together, at the moment I can't quite decide what is more catchier this or HAPPY! Stand Up.
Real Love, if ever there was a song that was going to convert people into becoming Risako fans this is certainly it, with quite a mature sound to it, it stands out amongst the other tracks, again I'm finding myself putting this song at the top of the pile as one of my favourite tracks.
Following Real Love is, Yume Wo Hitotsubu - Berryz Kamen Ending Theme which is my least favourite track on the album, I'm not really keen on either the vocals or the music. But luckily when this song finishes it's onto my most favourite part of the whole album, the last 4 songs of this album, two single releases, an album track and a remix, they work so well together and in their own way they are totally amazing. Dschinghis Khan the first of these songs doesn't really need any mentioning as to how good it is, much like Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance it's a track I've listened to so much that Katherine has made comments when ever I've mentioned that I'm going to play a song in the car that I'm not going to play that "Uhh! Haa!" song, I guess it's having a similar affect as Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance is having on Chris, except in a more positive way as when ever it comes on she sings and dances along to the "Uhh! Haa!" and "Waa Haa Haa!" bits. Tsukiatteru No Ni Kataomoi is next in the line up of the final four and I'm glad to see that this song has grown on me since hearing when it came out as a single, although I liked it, it wasn't a track that I thought was as good as other Berryz releases but hearing here it sounds perfect, fitted between Dschinghis Khan and BE. And what a track BE is!! It's the perfect come down and end to an album (although admittedly it's not the last song), slower and softer than anything else on the album and anything I've heard from Berryz before it's works so well with the liveliness of the previous two tracks. What I particularly like about this track is that it really does sound like a closing song so much so that when I first heard it I totally forgot about the remix of Special Generation and when the song finished I wasn't expecting or prepared for the music to pick back up. The Special Generation Eccentric Remix although not a touch on the original (very few remixes are) is still an excellent version of the song and the electric guitar and cut up/repeated vocals really have that much more of an impact after following BE.
Overall I have to say this is a great album, with so many songs that I'm liking an equal amount, so much so that I'm finding it hard to rate them in an order of preference.
The packaging for this release unfortunately isn't anything fancy, no cardboard case or anything like that it's goes with the now common (standard?) bonus DVD, which I think is a real shame considering how amazing the inlay looks, the outfits worn have a 60's feel to them and as per usual everyone looks amazing, I won't go into detail on them (as I've posted scans below) but all I'll say is that the group shots are amazing!
As I've mentioned at the start of the post I'm really enjoying the bonus DVD included with this release, from the information I've seen on CDJapan the footage was taken from an Event in July, featuring live performances of both tracks from the Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance single, a fun looking games section (which I've still to watch fully) and a fan handshake section that had me again thinking how great Chinami is, if you don't believe me just watch it, she's clearly the stand out member in the whole clip, although she does need someone to guide her on how to wink properly by the looks of things, but it doesn't stop this winking section being my most favourite part of the DVD, and the oddness of her winking only adds to the cuteness. At this rate I think both Risako and Momo best hold on as it looks like Chinami is racing to the top of my favourite Berryz members.
So, a couple of things have kept me from posting on here this week (I'd imagine by the time I finish this post, it should read 'last week'), first is a sudden drop in my work load, odd I know as I would have thought that with a little extra time on my hands I would have jumped at the chance to get some of my posts up, but this mixed with my internet still playing up and having to completely reinstall my PC has meant that on the odd occasion that I've been online I've been downloading updates and software, and although I'm still struggling with finding some DVD converting software (well not really struggling, just looking for something better than what I'm currently using) everything is else pretty much ready to go.
This past couple of weeks have really shown me how much I rely on the internet as my main source of entertainment when at home and it's left me feeling a little empty when sat around with nothing to do, I guess it really goes to show how much of a major part of my life H!P has actually become, more so than just sitting around and watching/listening to their performances, DVDs and TV appearances etc, etc, but not being able to quickly and easily check for any H!P news updates has made me feel that in the few days since I've last checked that I've fallen so far behind. Fingers crossed my connection will stay up long enough for to catch back up!?
Have to admit to being a little worried with the first bit of news I saw, heading over to Wotaku Now! I read the post about the new unit Shugo Chara Egg and seeing as how it's for the same show that Buono! do the themes for my heart jumped into my mouth...an end to Buono!? Luckily that's not the case as it seems that they will be doing the closing theme whilst Shugo Chara Egg will be doing the opening theme, I'm really curious to see how the two units fit together musically, if in fact they do at all, having listened to the fan recording that Shirow posted up in the post it's clear that the style of music suits the overall image of the unit, SUPER KAWAII!!! I'm also wondering how the singles for each unit will be sold, if the pattern continues with the release dates for the current scheduled singles than it looks like we'll have a staggering and they won't really be competing with each other for sales.
Looking at the photos on the official site (shugo-chara-egg.com) it really does looks like we're in for a great deal of cuteness with the unit and I'm really looking forward to seeing what will be done with them.
Next I read over at Totally Hello! Project that the finalist for theH!P Taiwan Auditions had been decided, I have to admit to paying very little notice to the auditions after the first couple of weeks but with this news my interest has obviously picked up again as I'm dying to hear what these girls sound like. It's interesting to see that the girls will be releasing a mini album in early 2009 as it suggests that they are to be taken quite seriously and not just one of those units that we get to hear a release from and then we have to wait ages for another release, but then thinking about it this would really have to be case to draw in the fans from Taiwan, as they have their own official H!P website it's clear that UFA are taking the whole thing seriously and to include them in the H!P line up and then to put them out the way with no releases would only disapoint fans.
As I have no idea what any of the girls sound like it's hard to get excited or no which will draw me in, but I'm looking forward to discovering what these girls are capable of!
And then last, but far from least, was the news that Chinami has had a phone stolen and photos from it leaked onto the net! Image links can be found over at 「☆☆☆」. As to how her phone got stolen I'm not entirely sure, but one thing is certain it's worrying that supposedly a fan has done this! It's one of these things that always gets me thinking, much like the Morning Musume Hidden Camera DVD, my curiosity is something that will always win me over, no matter how much I'd like not to look and no matter how much I say it's wrong I have to hold my hands up and say that as soon as I heard this I opened up all the images and had a look, much like when I watched the Hidden Camera DVD I feel wrong for doing it, although no where near as bad as I felt when I watched the DVD. It's crossing the line and stepping from the world of H!P into their personal lives. For me the step into the personal lives of a H!P member is something I'm not keen on doing, normally because it means something that the fans don't want to hear/see; boyfriends, smoking, babies...scandals. On the plus side no scandals photos seem to have been taken so it would seem more of an annoyance than anything else for H!P, but photos aside the thing that really got me was the possible numbers/email address that could potentially be on there and things like that as I'm sure that's the most worrying thing, who couldn't resist the urge to call their favourite Berryz member?
A couple of weeks ago a post on Morningtime had news of the UK release date for Yo Yo Girl Cop, with it being available to buy next Monday I know exactly where I'll be on my lunch break and what I'll be doing when I finish work. With this being the first proper release (in the sense that it's not an import magazine, CD DVD etc) featuring H!P members in the UK, I'm really planning on savouring the moment that I go into HMV and buy this, sad I know but the thought of buying this in a shop is getting me excited.
So with the release date being so I've been keeping my out eye on all the film and entertainment magazines on the off chance I'll be able to read a review of the film, personally I'm really interested in seeing what the Western press will make of it and as to how much they'll delve into the world of H!P, with so many members starring in the cast there's certainly no excuse for them not to. But as yet I've not a single review of the film which is a really disappointing, I'm hoping that when the next issues come out they'll be at least one review available and with the cover of the DVD stating the Battle Royale films I'm sure it'll attract the attention of someone.
So whilst I keep on hunting for a review of the film I'll show you what I have found so far and that's a half page advert promoting the film, which is in the latest issue of Neo, I imagine the people next to me in the station were wondering why I suddenly got so happy as I flicked through my magazine! The DVD itself looks like it features all the same extras of the Japanese edition that I own, but with the added bonus of subtitles! I was hoping that Neo would of had a review of within the most current issue but unfortunately no such luck, I wonder if perhaps it will be in the next issue?
I want to write this post in a way so that I can get my preconceptions about this release out the way.
When it comes to covers I'm always a little sceptical especially when it comes to pop groups, I think it's being brought up in a country where anyone can a No.1 hit just by doing a cover...can you say Robson and Jerome (lol, is that showing my age?). Personally I feel like it's a cop out, very rarely it seems that any sort of effort has been put in to try and differentiate from the original, now this may not necessarily be a bad thing as with the majority of covers being older popular songs little effort is needed to improve on them, because of this they automatically appeal to the older fans of the original whilst also appealing to the younger range of fans who may not be totally aware of the original release.
I had my doubts when Berryz Koubou released Ghengis Khan, but these doubts were every so slightly different to what I'm feeling now, with Berryz my worry wasn't so much that it was a cover, but a random Eurovision cover. Luckily this quirky little song worked completely in their favour and it was a complete joy to listen and watch, as I find is much the case when a not so popular song is covered, as it can be tweaked into a new form without losing the fan base of the original. My worry with Morning Musume's cover of Pink Lady's debut single Pepper Keibu isn't that it's going to be bad, far from it I think it's going to be amazing and if I'm completely honest I'm surprised it's taken this long for them to cover the song. Ever since Kanashimi Twilight helped knock Pink Lady down and push Morning Musume into the No.1 Selling Female Group within Japan it's only really been a matter of time before a cover was released. The worry I have with this single is perhaps it's been done the for the wrong reasons...or depending on how you look at it, all the right reasons? A quick and easy attempt at building up sales and Oricon charting positioning. Then there's my feelings of having heard that it was going to be cover I was disappointed that we weren't going to have a new original release.
It looks like this is another move to step in and again (although I wasn't a fan of the alternative versions of Resonant Blue it was a great idea to make them so varied) shut the fans up from talking about low sales and the "end of Morning Musume" and it's an idea that is pure genius. I imagine that the song will be left pretty much in it's original state, obviously they'll be a move to make it sound more modern but for the most part I'd say it's going to be sounding pretty much like the original, this way UFA have things pretty much sorted, with what appears to me to be an extremely hectic schedule, this release seems to be a bit of a comfort release, if that makes sense?
I'm guessing they've got an almost guaranteed No.1 on their hands, having not even heard the original at the moment all what I'm saying here is a pure speculation for all I know the original could be complete toilet, but I'm guessing as the cover comes from a group like Pink Lady they had a large selection of chart topping singles to choose from and they wouldn't have chosen an awful one, in fact the choice to me again seems to be a work of genius, by going with the debut single it's bound to call up fond memories of the older generation who were fans of the group. And what with the recent TV drama portraying Aichan and Gakisan as the Pink Lady duo, they're on their way to getting some fairly decent coverage of the single.
I guess at this point it would be a good idea for me to actually listen to the original, I've managed to find two version on this song performed by Pink Lady, a live performance and an updated version of the song made in 2004.
I'm glad to see that the original song itself is actaully a good listen and very upbeat, it's certainly something that I think that Morning Musume can make their own. Although it's also quite sad seeing the updated version of the song as although the vocals are great the actual music sounds extremely cheesy, when I listen to it I get the impression there's a third rate hotel band playing in the background and even then I'm sure the keyboardist is pushing all them preset tunes.
With both the clips there are two things that really stick out to me and have really added to the excitement of this release, first of Mie and Kei look amazing in both clips, the outfits worn are jaw droppers and I'd imagine to keep with the 'feel' of the song something similar will be worn in the Morning Musume PV. Secondly the dance, what an odd but highly entertaining dance again much like the outfits this is something that must be carried over into the new version and with this combination of song, outfits and dance routine I can't see this being a bad thing. I guess now's the time to actually listen to Morning Musume's version.
OK...WOW! Dance routine, check! Short skirts and lot's of leg, check! Have to say I'm liking the PV! The feel really suits the song and has a really modern approach to a 70's feel. Right from the start with the slightly grainy introduction, spinning disco ball and melow keyboard it sets a great scene, when the girls start to sing it gives the initial impression that the sound both musically and vocally is going to be a near perfect copy of the original but then 46 seconds into it, it all gets taken up a notch. The dullness and graininess of the video goes and those apparently greenish costumes turn to a great shade of turquoisey blue, the song and vocals although still very similar to the original are more modern and sped up and are altered slightly in places to allow for the great dance routine to be put to good use.
Much the same as recent releases it seems that Reina is the main focus, as you would of guessed if you've seen the covers of the single, but it's good to see that unlike Resonant Blue everyone gets a go singing and no one is left in the background. And again much like the Resonant Blue PV Sayu gets a little bit towards the end which just features her, which as you can imagine has made my day, I love Sayu and I love her voice!
For me Mittsi is the hi light of the PV as she looks great in her outfit and I love her hairstyle, these mixed with the dance routine really have me transfixed when she's on the screen :)
Again, much like Ghengis Khan, my worries were unfounded, Morning Musume have certainly put their mark to this song and have improved on the original. Even my feelings of not having a new original song to listen to have gone, I'd imagine that this is partly to do with the fact that this was also the first time I've heard the original, lol. And, I'm positive this will sell well, for all the reasons I've mentioned above and the now obvious reason that this is simply a great release.
This release has the welcome return of the photo booklet as a Limited Edition. With this missing from the last single release I was extremely concerned that we'd seen the last of this bonus material and UFA were resorting to just DVD Limited Editions, lol I'm sure I don't need to go into that any further, I feel like I've covered it so many times, simply put I'm happy to see it's return and can't wait to see what wonderful shots are contained within it's pages!
Ohta managed to give me a pleasant surprise with these shirts, well with one of them. Originally I had asked if he was able to order me a couple of birthday shirts, Sayumi's 19th and Koharu's 16th, unfortunately at the time of asking no one on Yahoo Auctions was selling the Sayumi shirt and there was only one of Koha's. So knowing this I quickly mailed back with my maximum bid for the available shirt and decided to get a C-ute Wonderful Hearts 2008 Summer Tour shirt instead of the unavailable Sayumi tshirt. Keeping an eye on the auction on Yahoo, I was disappointed to see that at the end the price was just over my bid by about 500yen and with no email from Ohta confirming a win I just presumed that some lucky so and so had got it instead of me. Then a week ago I get an email saying my shirts are ready to be sent. That's right, Ohta being the top guy he is uped my bid and won it...one of the best surprises I've had in awhile.
The Wonderful Hearts shirts from the 2008 Summer Tour are something that I haven't covered on the site before as I was away when Ohta originally put them up for sale, and to be honest I wasn't really even thinking of getting any of them, but I'm pleased that I did. It's my first C-ute group shirt and with my increased interest in them lately I'm glad that I've got around to ordering it, I was however slightly worried about the colour combination of yellow and orange. Although yellow is a colour I've really grown to love to wear the thought of an equally bright orange on top of it was one that had me worried would make the whole thing a little overpowering, but thankfully the colours go well together and although the orange is a little bright the yellow is more pale than usual.
The design of the birthday shirts this year remind of a design I've seen elsewhere but as per usual with things like this I can't remember where I think I've seen it before :S Again the colour combination was something I was worried about, as ever the pink was an issue in my head but luckily only in my head as seeing and wearing it, it looks great. Oddly the size is ever so slightly larger than normal...either that I've lost some weight, but with the amount of junk food and take aways I've eaten lately I know which one I think it is.
I'm also really impressed with the accompanying photos, especially the C-ute set. Nakki's photo really caught my attention obviously her winning smile was part of the reason but it's also because of how young she looks in it, comparing her photo alongside Maimai's I'd say that she looks younger. Airi's haircut is looking great in her shot...my interest in Airi seems to be growing quite a lot lately, I'm really tempted to put an order in her for her latest PB, perhaps with my next order?
With my internet connection being unbelievably flaky the past week, there's quite a few posts that I want to get up I just haven't had the opportunity to post, there's this post, a post about some items I've received and one about the new Morning Musume single, which I think I'll probably be leaving until :::Dohhh Up!::: release the PV for it. So moving onto this post...
Another tour means another set of tour merchandise and Ohta as per usual is ready to fill our cravings. Berryz Koubou ~Berikore!~ tour kicked off a few days and there's the usual selection of goodies along with the not to so frequent but still cropping up every now and then mobile straps.
The tshirts design are slightly less basic than the recent C-ute shirts (~Wasuretakunai Natsu~ Tour Merchandise) but they've still verging on a simple-ish design, personally I prefer the C-ute shirts over these, in fact my minds decided, after weeks of decidedness I'm going to head over to Ohta's store and buy Chisato's shirt. But out of all the variations of the Berryz shirts, Yurina's would be the one that I'm liking the most as it's a really great colour combination.
The real unfortunate thing is that having moved over to an iPhone I'm lacking the little place to hook any sort of strap to it, which is a shame as I'd love to get a Chinami one.
So whilst H!P seem to be struggling to get into the pages of UTB (well at least the colour pages) let along the cover, Kindai remains a magazine where such thing doesn't seem to be a problem, looking through the back issues page shows us that this year alone there have been 4 (including this issue) issues where a H!P unit has featured on the cover and the pages are always crammed with (colour) H!P goodness.
I don't know if this has happened with any of the previous issue (I'm feeling too lazy at the moment to go and check, lol) but not only do Buono! feature on the cover but they also feature on the back cover (which I've just noticed I've left the price on in the scan so you can see the extortionate amount of money I paid for it) with a full page advert for their latest single, Gachinko de Ikou!. Inside features a great line up, 5 pages of Buono!, 2 pages showing us the song line up for the Hello!Project 2008 Summer Wonderful Hearts Tour, 3 pages of Ongaku Gatas, 2 pages of Manoeri and 3 pages of Cutie House 2nd Edition, so including both the covers that's a total of a whopping 18 pages!
Although Buono! feature on the cover, they don't appear in the magazine until after the huge Johnny's Live and Stage 2008 Summer section, which makes this issue even more of a buy if you're a fan of both H!P and Johnny's Entertainment artists. Buono's article is a promotion for their recent single release, we're treated to some great full page solo shots and a collection of making of style photos of the single cover photo shoot and PV. Much like with the PV my usual favourite of the group Momo is over shadowed by the cuteness that is Airi, with my favourite photo being the one where Airi has her arms around Miyabi whilst she's playing the drums. The mix of outfits worn in this release has me still debating in my head which is best...short skirts/hot pants and long socks or suits?
The two page spread showing us the song list of the Wonderful Hearts 2008 Summer tour is such a great way of wetting our appetites, the little preview images showing us the costumes worn for selected performances is just so good and it's got me dying to see the concert, the only disappointment?...That Berryz don't perfom Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance in their monkey outfits :(
The performance that I'm really looking forward to seeing is that of Manoeri's Manopiano, after seeing the great clip uploaded awhile ago (Manopiano Live) I can't wait to see a high quality version of this and I'm still curious as to how it all fits into the whole concert and if there will be a troop of Eggs dancing around the keyboard.
"Yes officer, the girl that beat the crap out of me was dressed in a short leather skirt, bright orange leather jacket, leather studded gloves and cow boy boots..." thankfully with the release of Come Together that description wouldn't pull in some sort of crazy hairy biker woman but the welcome surprise of a full police line up, which would look something like the photoshoot in this issue of Kindai, well except possibly with less smiles. I find it quite surprising how such a powerfully strong bright orange isn't overpowering in these shots, but instead really looks good.
In my previous post I made a comment, "Is it me or does Manoeri just get cuter cuter each time you see her?", and this shoot again goes on to prove my point, but I wonder can she top this? It looks like Manoeri has raided Nono's closet and grabbed her Curious Nono jean short dungaree combo outfit. The scary thing is that although I love Nono in this outfit and have always thought it's probably the best outfit she's worn, I have to say the Manoeri looks better in it, just look at the shot of her resting against the rail...
Lastly, we have what has to be the best Cutie House ever, Nakki and Erike!! And as an excuse to stare at Erika for that little bit longer I decided to attempt to read what was written on her shirt "cant help but talking a liking to you. I wonder if you can understand how i feel about you?"...so close, if only they would run them by a proof reader every now and then!
We're now into the third issue of the revamped Up to Boy and I'm still uncertain as to what to really call it. As with the previous issues we're still waiting for someone from H!P to appear on the cover (it must be something like 9-10 issues without any appearances on there) and although the cover is H!P-less it still looks amazing and I know that when eventually we are treated to a member on the cover it's going to be worth the wait!
If you've already seen the scans at the bottom of this post you'll no doubt be wondering exactly what I was wondering when I flicked through the magazine, "where are the PB previews and why is almost everything H!P related in black and white?". This is something that has really got me worried, my main worry being on the PB previews. With the last issue, UTB Vol.186 I remarked that the preview for Kohachan's PB was only one page and in black and white, but to be honest I really didn't think much of it, first off the picture of her sitting on the desk had my jaw dropping to the floor and secondly I just presumed it was a one of, so I wasn't really concerned, but now with the latest issue alarm bells are starting to ringing...WHERE ARE THE COLOUR PB PREVIEWS!? With three PBs scheduled for release (and one of them already available) it was a safe bet that this issue would feature a preview of at least one of these and it does, in fact it features both Nacchi's and Sayumi's but much like Koha's both of these are only one page and are not in colour. What's going on?
This issue takes a slightly different approach than usual with the first half of the magazine featuring a section titled "caster♡love" which appears to be dedicated to Japanese female news presenters, with such a large section taking up the first half of the magazine there's not much space left for all the other idols, and in this case we only get four colour pages featuring H!P members. Having been reading this magazine for about 2 and half years now I've grown accustom to H!P featuring heavily in each issue, the move away from featuring them on the covers wasn't something that really affected the content of the magazine as they still featured alot throughout, and although the amount of pages that focus on H!P aren't really any less than usual, my concern is with this apparent step away from promoting the PB releases, both Sayumi and Nacchi deserve much more than just one page each.
Interestingly though, Manoeri has another 4 page spread (I've only scanned in three pages as the first part of these photos is just a photo of a field and the title of the shoot) it really looks like that UFA are pushing her quite a lot, with the news that her second single is to be released next month it's clear why. And if the last issue and single are anything to go by, the outfit worn here will be what is worn in the inlay for this new release. Is it me or does Manoeri just get cuter cuter each time you see her?
The other pages are again black and white and feature Buono!, Maasa and C-ute members Maimi and Maimai. It's articles like this where I wish I was able to read Japanese as from the pictures they look like quite an enjoyable read. But it's the C-ute cook off article that I enjoy the most, first off Maimi's image had me a little confused as to why she's called one of the dogs drawn "Colon"? But it's the end result that I like the best, seeing the cute little dog faced food they've made, Maimai's wins handsdown for me it's just too cute, it's good to see that she can make food as equally cute as herself!
So with my astonishment of seeing a H!P member on the cover of a recent issue of Friday (Three Weeks of Friday) I was even more surprised when I picked up the latest issue over the weekend only to see that again a H!P member graces the cover.
This week, Ayaya appears on the cover. I have to admit to being a little sceptical as to whether she was going to feature in the magazine, with no releases coming out any time soon I thought that perhaps it was going to be similar to the previous weeks issues where Suzanne from Pabo was on the cover but there was no actual article in the magazine about her that I could see (well accept for a few sentences on the bottom of the contents page), but luckily we're not only treated to four pages of Ayaya shots, but also another four pages of Nacchi as well. Looking through the photos of Ayaya, it made me suddenly realise why I didn't mention her in my recent post PBs I'd Like To See, it's been far to long since with seen any sort of PB/DVD release from her.
Personally I feel a little odd seeing H!P members appearing on the cover of Friday, although I appreciate that it's target audience are obviously going to appreciate the H!P girls featuring in between it's pages but I still feel slightly off as you can never tell when a scandal will be appearing in it. Admittedly these types of stories are going to sell the magazine as although we all hate these stories for obvious reasons, we all instantly flock to them when we hear about them, speaking from personal experience before I knew that Friday was available through the Japan Centre when I initially heard about the first Aibon scandal that appeared in this publication I emailed Ohta and asked if he was able to send me a copy. In some respects I think that these scandals that crop up have their plus points, it draws in the fans and starts discussions. But with Friday's covering of Aibon's return to H!P and then her return to showbiz outside of H!P, I guess it shows that they aren't all bad, they just like to stir things up occasionally.
Also last week :::Dohhh Up!::: put a preview clip of Nacchi's Nac"chu"ral DVD. What I find interesting about these releases is how even the most mundane and boring things are transformed into something instantly entertaining. From the first ever H!P DVD I ever watched, Love Hello! Mari Yaguchi, I've discovered that watching the girls no matter what they're doing is always an enjoyable experience. What Airi has done for golf Nacchi now does for fishing. I'm a fan of fishing, grab a few beers sit by a lake and throw maggots at each other it's a great day, but watching it on TV...YAWN! It's bizarre how man times I've sat through the clip of Nacchi fishing on the boat but I just love it, the music playing in the background suits the clip perfectly, although I can't help but feel that the noises she's making are going to attract any fish.