I've been moaning about the current exchange rate on and off for sometime now, mainly in reply comments to posts, but it's not until today that I've realised what a complete pain in the arse the value of the Pound is again the Yen.
Having made a number of purchases this week, I've noticed the increasing price. And today when I arrived home from work I had one of them annoying letters from the lovely people at Parcel Force saying that they have my items and I need to pay the import costs and handling charges. With an additional £20 being added onto the cost of these items it's knocked it up to a whopping £85. I guess you're thinking that I must of bought a hell of lot to have such a high total, well let's see. Buono's single co. no. mi. chi, Ayaya's album Omoi Afurete and lastly Gakisan's Alo Hello 2. Not exactly a great deal is it? Admitidly the overall price includes shipping and the extra costs, but totalling it up and splitting it three ways each item comes to £28 each.
In CDJapan's favour they have had added additional rewards to compensate for these high prices adding an additoinal 3% of points to order over ¥5000, but obviously they involve me coming back and spending even more money.
The high cost of this is slighlty my thought as I totally forgot to take into consideration the import and handling charges, I was originally going to order these items through YesAsia but with the costs being slighly higher I thought I was actually doing myself a favour by ordering at the lower rate, but when thinking about it now although I would have had a longer wait for the items using YesAsia I wouldn't have had to pay the additional £20 due to how they're shipped.
At the end of the day it's fairly pointless to moan about something I was more than willing to do and it's really only this annoyance of having to pay the additional handling costs, but I guess the thing that really gets me worried is what happens in the future as there's no way I can continue to pay this sort of money. Sure I can be a little bit more picky on what items I buy and hunt around more trying to find the store selling it at the lowest cost but at the end of the day there's not going to be any massive differences in price and H!P are going to continue churning out the releases, I'm guessing even more so with the graduation of the Elder CLub members drawing closer and closer. The real question I'll be asking myself is will I be skipping on releases because of the cost and will I start downloading releases instead? On the downloading side of things, I'd like to think that I wouldn't because I'm still of the view that it's best to buy and support artists this way. But this may not be an option if I want to listen to H!P.
Another quite concerning thing is eBay stores. Ohta's eBay Store has always been a great source of merchandise (it still is) but even here we're seeing the prices increase, and I know from the past couple of tour merchandise that they're items I would normally buy but have passed on simply because this increase in price. With this it's not so much missing out on the merchandise, obvioulsy I'm a fan of the shirts but I have plenty to keep going and I can always buy the odd one, my main worry is what happens if everybody reacts in a similar way? Could this effect what items Ohta sells, could this possibly that due to a loss of sales that prices will go up again?
It's late and I'm probably stressing over nothing, I just need sleep. I imagine that when the items turn up on Thursday (maybe tomorrow if I go and collect them) then I'll totally forget about the cost, much like I usually do, and just marvel at the greatness of Gaki's smile and the Ayaya's really amazing and beautiful voice.
So these have been up on Ohta's eBay Store for quite some time, I'm not sure whether an email was sent out for these items as lately I've been having the odd problem with my iPhone waking me in the morning with emails and in my half awake half asleep state I have no idea what I'm doing and generally delete them only to wake up in the morning wondering whether I dreamt getting an email or not :S
But here they are, the merchandise for the last Elder Club tour ～ Thank you for your LOVE! ～. This in it self is an incentive for me to delve in and buy some merchandise.
As to what I'd buy it's a bit of a toughy, I really like the maroon coloured tour shirt but it doesn't come with any photos which for this particular event I'd really like. So I'm wondering if perhaps whether I should buy a group shirt or not? The only problem with that is I'd want to get the shirt with the Ayaya photo, but then the member shirts look like they have a silver logo?...The problem with that is I'm not overly keen on the metallic look on some of the shirts in the past, glitter fine but solid shine I'm not so keen on it. But as ever it's very hard to tell exactly what the shirts are like because of the quality of the images.
I've spent the night out drinking (not as heavy as I would have liked unfortunately, lol I'm in need of a big drinking session) the inevitable journey home on the train was upon us, having a good old chat when randomly Chris decides to chuck in a comment in passing, along the lines of "Adam and Joe mention Morning Musume on their latest radio show".....whoa there! What was that?
It's actually not really a big mention but it's worth mentioning because it's one of the few references I've heard to them with UK media, the others being a mention in an article in the The Observer and on Japanorama, which although having watched most of the episodes I actually missed and didn't realize until Gina mentioned in a recent post.
The comment is made in reference to the new series of Skins on Channel 4, basically Skins is one of my favorite shows on TV. With this new series the characters in the previous episodes have all been replaced with a new line up and it's this switch that is referenced to Morning Musume. Amusingly the name is pronounced ever so slightly wrong, Morning Matsume lol, close enough!
Anyway just thought I'd give it a mention, if you want to have a listen the link is below and the start of the talk is 2 hours 7 minutes and 11 seconds in. As I say it's only a tiny reference but give it a listen as the whole section is hilarious!
I've genuinely spent most of this evening with my Nakki scarf wrapped around me trying to figure why the hell it's so cold, I only realised about an hour ago that the heating was off since this morning...that would explain it!
So it would seem that Ohta had a little trouble getting the scarfs due to a daily with the H!P shop not sending them out. This has unfortunately meant that the scarf has turned up a little later than expected missing out on that snowy freezing cold week awhile back, but luckily the weather hasn't changed that drastically the snow has been replaced with rain and although it's not as cold it's certainly still scarf wearing weather.
This is my 3rd H!P scarf in as many years (V-u-den Single and Alo-Hello DVD, Why Do These Things Always Happen To Me?) and as ever I'm extremely impressed with it. The scarfs are all made from the same material (fleece I think, I'm useless with materials) but they differ in the colour and obviously the stitching of the autograph and the design around it. This years it's dark blue in colour and the stitching is a criss cross design, colour wise I think this has to be my favourite out of all three the dark blue looks really nice, I still think the first scarf I purchased has the best design on it though, although that doesn't mean I'm complaining about this one it's still great!
The scarf for me is something that I enjoy picking as I always try to pick the member within H!P that has really stood out to me the most. The first year was Sayumi's a long standing favourite member within Morning Musume, then last year was the obvoius choice of Koha. This year, I decided to look outside of Morning Musume, for me last year was about really getting into the other two Wonderful Hearts units Berryz Koubou and C-ute and although both unit has impressed me the past year C-ute is the unit that has really stood out to me the most. So looking within C-ute the choice was then whose would I get? Out of all of the units, I find it hardest to say who within C-ute I like the most it's such a strong unit with a totally amazing line up of personality and voices. In the end I opted for the Nakki scarf, having got an Erika Valentines set (Sweet Valentine and Hello Pro Award Photo Sets) at the start of last year it's only fair that I get the Nakki scarf, plus ever since seeing the Forever Love PV I've been even more amazed with her.
So this is my 3rd attempt at writing this post, the problem I've been having is that I've been finding it really hard not to be totally negative in my writing about both the song and the PV for Morning Musume's latest single release Naichau Kamo. I've sat and had the song on repeat for the past few nights in the hope that it would start appealing to me. I guess the question I need to ask myself is has it?
When I originally saw that :::Dohhh Up!::: had uploaded the PV I have to say I was a little shocked, with the release at the time over a month away (I think by a day or two) it was a pleasant surprise to see it up.
On my first listen to the song I wasn't overly keen on it, nothing about it stood out to me if anything I'd say it was a bit boring. My main complaint with the song is still the lack of lines for anyone other than the like of Aichan and Reina, it's a real shame that the other members aren't really a focal point when it comes to the vocals. Especially when you consider the 8th Gen girls, I may be wrong but I can't think of a single release where they get a fair share of the lines. And that's not even taken into consideration how little they appear in the PV.
The song has grow on me the more I've listen to it, but the PV however is something that my opinion hasn't changed. Watching it reminds me why I dislike the Resonant Blue PVs, specifically the extremely well titled Another Version. This was just essentially a mash up of the other PVs which to me looked and felt bad, Naichau Kamo's PV is not quite as bad as this, but it's getting there. The only possible redeeming feature I can take away from the PV is how good everybody's hair looks, everything else is a let down, it's pretty much more of the same but done to a lesser degree.
Considering that Morning Musume only had the 2 single releases last year they must have saved enough of a budget to do something exciting with the PV? Compare it to any of Berryz or C-ute's PVs from last year and in my opinion there's such a huge difference between them that I'm finding it a little strange that H!P's flagship group doesn't get anything as creative of simply as good as these other units.
And one final thought on the PV...Reina, what is that face she pulls about in the solo shot sections? She doesn't look sad...she just looks like The Brain from Pinky and The Brain :S
The thing is I look back at Mikan and the reaction it caused among the Morning Musume fans and then I look at this and think to myself, but I like this less (I actually quite liked Mikan) both in regards to the PV and the actual song itself?
This is a lot shorter than I had hoped, but I find it quite hard to write something so negative about a group I love so much.
Another saddening thing that I've noticed when sorting out the links to the sites below stocking the CD, is that yet again the booklet has been dropped in favour of two Limited Releases with DVDs, each with an alternative PV. I'm curious to see what these other versions will look like, but I'm guessing it's not going to be anything that'll make me change my mind on it. But let's wait and see, who knows? I don't need to moan about how dissapointed I am about the lack of the booklet, it's something I've complained about far too much on here about.
CD Release Date : 18 - 02 - 09 DVD Release Date : 25 - 02 - 09
I've been meaning to post for a few days now as I'm getting an ever growing amount of things to write up about. :::Dohhh Up!::: uploaded the new Morning Musume PV for Naichau Kamo, of which I'm still undecided on my opinion, hopefully I'll post about it tonight when I get in from work, there's also the build up of CDs, DVDs, photos and magazines that I want to post about as well. And I know if I don't start it now I'll probably end up skipping some of them, which I really don't want to do.
I thought the best thing to do was to grab a quick photo of it all together just to make a start. As you can see from the photo I kind of went on a C-ute overload spending spree just before the new year, ordering their mini album and I think about 20 photos, C-ute are just to amazing for words they've got me totally hooked.
There's also a couple of magazines that I need to scan in, Kindai and an issue of Friday from a week or two back. Both obviously feature H!P in, Kindai as always has a ton of H!P photos, whist Friday has a shot or two of Satoda and Ayaya.
Then there's the amazing Alo Hello 3 DVD, there's just no beating a DVD full of beach games with the Morning Musume girls. LinLin's running always manages to make me laugh, she runs just like the T-1000...so amusing.
And finally there's the Melon Kinenbi's Mega Melon album and Koha's Kirari to Fuyu, both of which I've listened to, but have yet to watch the DVDs.
So, form an orderly queue and get ready to give me a kick up the backside, I feel I've been getting far too lazy lately.
I'd totally forgotten to post about this upload from :::Dohhh Up!::: until I was reminded about girls in bikinis a bit earlier this evening. With Morning Musume's Alo Hello 3 out (I really need to post about it at some point) we've now got Gakisan Alo Hello 2 DVD to look forward to.
I have to say that out of all of the Alo Hello and Love Hello DVDs that have some out recently Gaki's has to be the one I'm most impressed with. Sayu's last DVDs although being amazingly cute don't have that feel good factor I get from Gaki's, her last Alo Hello DVD was really what turned me into a huge Gaki fan. Not that I wasn't before, but watching the DVD really made me realise how great someone's smile can make you feel. If I'm in foul mood watching this DVD will always put me right, her personality mixed with what I still think is the most contagious smile in H!P really make for an awesome combo...I guess the added bonus that she's also my favourite Morning Musume member in a bikini ;p
So, this is a must buy for me and with the added bonus of it being released on the same day as Ayaya's new album, I'm going to be so happy when they turn up together!
So I was beginning to worry that it was the unfortunate fate of the Elder CLub members to be ignored not just by H!P at times, but in Maki's case her new label AVEX, but thankfully it looks like the delay is finally over as we have the promise of a new release from her on 21st of this month, just a week away!
As for the reason for the delay whose to know? Probably a mix of a number things, coaching in both singing and dancing, image revamp and the possibility of leaving her comeback as long as possible so the normal folk forget about wota association with H!P? What ever the reason it's great to see that she's back and in fact the timing for this couldn't really be more perfect, after the formation of Hangry and Angry and the promise of a US (and European please!) performance this is yet another indication that there is in fact life after H!P.
Having first read the news of this release on Hello!Online (ooh, just rechecked the link and there's a new video featuring a little preview of the PV) I was a little confused, the title of the song is Fly Away but the artist is SWEET BLACK feat. MAKI GOTO, this actually got me into a little panic the whole 'featuring' thing made me think that perhaps that this was just a small vocal appearance from Maki, but on looking into it a bit further (thanks to CK's post on IntlWota), SWEET BLACK is actually a "Mixi-sponsored cross-media project", which essentially means that the song was based on the lyrics by a young author called Hitomi Kanehara. As you imagine I was extremely relieved to hear that it's going to be a proper Maki release!
I have to say that I'm really impressed with the little preview we've been given. The song sounds great, it's reported to be a dance track, but from the preview it doesn't sound that all that dancey, but it's only a preview so who knows. The other great thing with this is the footage that's played in the background, it's really good to see Maki again and she's looking as amazing as ever, perhaps even a little more so?
I am however a little cautious of this track, as reading through some of the comments people are saying that the song is sounding like a Koda Kumi track, which for me isn't a good thing. The only track of her's that I like is the theme from the Cutie Honey film, I've attempted to listen to some more of her releases but they really don't appeal to me at all.
Well, at the moment I'm happy with the knowledge that I like what I've heard so far. Roll on the 21st so we can get a proper listen to what this track sounds like.
It's makes me feel sad that London is such a bland, grey, drab and unrecognisable place. It makes me feel sad that tourists all come to Leicester Square and marvel at what is essentially a crap Coke commercial, so it's been in a film or two (at the moment I can only think of American Werewolf in London...amazing film, much better than the crappy and unnecessary sequel in Paris) have they seen the screens at Time Square? Still fairly crappy but they kick arse over what we have to offer. Hell, have they wandered around Tokyo? There's much more impressive advertising screens round there, really impressive ones, ones that make your jaw drop and the only thing that come out of you mouth is "wooooooooow".
It makes me sad to be reminded of all of this from a Buono! PV. Walking through an artists impression of London the only colours we see are the red of the phone boxes (of which there are extremely few of now days), the soldiers uniforms and the double decker bus (if you look closely you can probably see me slumped up against the window asleep...I love sleeping on public transport so relaxing). We also get treated to the wonderful blue sky, lol I haven't seen one of those over London in what feels like ages. But still it was cool seeing Buono! walking around London inspired scenery, it did actually put a big fat smile on my face. How can anywhere look dull with Buono! walking through it!?
With the Lotta Love, Lotta Love PV steering away from the usual Buono! charm (although it's grown on me so much since I posted about it) it's good to see that it wasn't a permanent shift in direction. Although it could be said that this is indeed another low budget video, with the whole filmed on a blue screen and locations put in afterwards, it does have a charm that only Momo, Miyabi and Airi can pull off. Well....I say that, perhaps W pulled it off better? Aa Ii na! anybody?
The humour is back into their PV and there's more than just you standard Dance Shot/Close Up affair, we're treated to a number of outfits. The usual Buono! outfits for the girls, socks, short skirts and shorts, which are used when dancing and strolling through London. I'm guessing that it's probably a good choice, when I think London and then fashion two things come to my mind, Punks which was 20 years ago and moving to the present, Vice magazine wannabes...and no one wants to look like that!
There's also a really cute outfit as the girls dress up as Inuits (always wanted to use that in a blog post, I literally never thought I'd get a chance!) and this section of the PV has some really cute cold type expressions, I think the hoods they wear really add to the overall cute image here.
There's also some unflattering but highly amusing Safari outftis, they just look so geeky! And whilst we're talking about highly amusing and unflattering, there's the outfits that I can only describe as American Farmers? I was going to call it the Redneck outfit, but I they all still have their teeth and I see no banjo. But again as unflattering as they are the walk in this section has to be my favourite, it kind of reminds me of an extremely cute variation on how the The Bushwhackers used wander around the WWF ring (just incase you have no idea what I'm talking about, click here).
And lastly we have the beach outfits, I'm not exactly sure where they're meant to be in this section, my first guess was Hawaii but then those stone heads fell down, so could it be Easter Island?? Or are they Tiki Gods??...In which case it'll be Hawaii.
I think I've rambled too much! The song is the usual high standard of Buono!, they've yet to release a bad or average song and by the way things are going, it doesn't look like they ever will, these girls seriously rock!
CD Release Date : 04 - 02 - 09 DVD Release Date : 11 - 02 - 09
Quite a busy weekend has meant that I haven't had a chance to write up about either of the recent PVs put up on :::Dohhh Up!:::, I've spent most of today in the pub probably a good 6 hours worth of drinking, luckily I've sobered up a bit now as I hate to think what rubbish I would have written about Koha's latest PV and by rubbish I mean complete and utter unreadable nonsense (fingers crossed tomorrow afternoon I should get my Buono! post up). So with my slightly saw head, lets begin, apologise in advance for what will probably be a post of awful grammar, spelling mistakes and quite possibly on the short side.
The thing I really love about the Kirarin Revolution PVs are the costumes, whether it's Koha's solo songs, KiraPika or MilkyWay the costumes never fail to impress me. This release is no exception to this rule, with a costume along similar lines to that used in Happy ☆ (in the sense it's shorts and socks rather than a dress) Koha looks her usual breathtaking self, she's just always so cute! The outfit has a hidden extra, although not as impressive or unobvious as the dress in Chance, I was wondering throughout most of the PV what the strange antennas were on her back and then out they whip and her cape comes out, she turns into Super Koha, lol.
The song and the PV are just as great as ever, another notch on Koha's amazing releases. The introduction to this release is superb, it doesn't quite have the same butterfly affect as Koi Kana has on my stomach but it's close, especially when watched with the PV. The beeping combined with the poses are just a great combination.
The dances in these releases are again something I always enjoy, they've always fairly simple but look great, the little march type dance she does could quite possibly be my favorite in any of her releases so far, it just looks so cool in that outfit!!
And there's the bits that don't involve the dancing, the bits with Koha acting her usual cute self, as ever its always entertaining to sit back and watch her be cute, the part where she offers to the screen is my favorite from these parts a expression in her 2nd attempt just puts a massive smile on my face.
The only bad point I can take away from this release is the little section with Koha sitting on a pink background with the usual star in the top corner, it just looks a little cheap and like someone was supposed to add a background or something in but they ran out of time...all very odd.
CD Release Date : 04 - 02 - 09 DVD Release Date : 11 - 02 - 09
As to which version of the CD I'll be getting I'm not entirely sure, both version look great although there's not much difference between the two. I think the Regular Edition version appears to me more as we get to see more of that great costume.
Watching this on :::Dohhh Up!::: I have to admit to having felt a slight case of deja-vu, I was excited new PV from Ice Creamusume, but at the same time in the back of my mind I couldn't help but think..."have I seen this before?" Yes, that's right I'm an idiot! I'd seen the Taiwan version of the PV on YouTube previously but I'd complete forgot, it wasn't till heading over to Hello!Online that I actually reliased that this song came in two flavours, this being the Japanese version.
Obviously we can take from this that the PVs for both the Taiwan and the Japanese version are similar, but then that's really to be expected it's the same song from the same unit just in a different language, there's subtle differences but nothing major, but if I had to choose a version of the PV I preferred I'd have to go with the Japanese version as it seems to feature a but more of the girls singing rather than just larking about with bubble and goggle eyes, not that that's a bad thing these clips are actually quite humorous.
Although the PVs are quite possibly the most basic H!P have ever churned out I'm liking it, I'm also thinking that's it extremely suited for a debut PV. I attempted to follow the Taiwan auditions and to an extent I did, the start and the end but even then what I caught of the end wasn't a great deal, just some clips of the winners nothing of any particular importance, nothing that would make me get a feel for the girls apart from an instant visual liking for the girls. In this PVs simplicity I think lies it's excellence, the clean white background and carbon copy outfits mean that we're not distracted in any way from the girls and not so much on any girl in particular on watching this PV my focus was on everyone, sure I have my faves but I didn't focus on them throughout which sometimes happens with other units PVs. The dance scenes were again simple but impressive and the bits that focused on the boots were great...I love boots...and again it doesn't draw our attention to any particular member, everything is fairly balanced.
The scenes that don't feature the dancing of which I can think of three; the bubble blowing, the sun glasses and the indiviual sections, all really add to the PV in a way that I really love (and one of the main reasons why I enjoyed the Monkey Version of Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance) it gives us a feel for the members we can see a little bit of their personality come through and in a debut single of which I no practically nothing about the units members is something I think that's important.
From the PV alone I can say that I have two faves within the unit, ShenShen and PeiPei. Both look amazing, ShenShen looks so much like Sawachan from Ongaku Gatas I'm wondering if we'll ever see them in the same room together? And PeiPei pulls some great facial expressions throughout the PV, plus I love her mouth...odd I know, but I do, lol.
The styling of both Guu-chan and ReiRei is extremely similar and together they look like a mighty duo I'm curious to see if this is really the case or if in fact they are just styled similar.
All in all I'm impressed and looking forward to hearing more from them and with the album a week away there's not long to wait. Curiously I'm wondering if this album is getting a Japanese release? I've had a hunt around on both Amazon and CDJapan and can't seem to find it, the only place I've managed to find it is on YesAsia and I have to admit to being super impressed with the price of it, at £9.35 it's a bargain, isn't that around about the price that H!P singles are these days? If anyone knows if there's going to be a Japanese release could you let me know, I'm curious as to whether they'll be any differences between versions.
This post is a bit later than I had expected, damn work! Taken from Amy's Merry Go Round blog, a questionaire that really got me thinking about last years releases;
Best Group Single Quite a tough one as I feel that Berryz, C-ute and Buono! have all had an amazing year in regards to single releases. But I find the single that I listen to most of all has to be C-ute's Edo no Temari Uta II. It may have been bit on the short side but it when I first heard it I was amazed at unique the song sounded and it still feels that way with each listen.
I've also started growing a likeness to listening to the instrumentals and this has to be one of my favourites to listen to, just so damm funky!
Best Soloist Single I really want to say that my favourite solo track from 2008 is Manoeri's Manopiano, it's not perfect but it's such a grower that with each listen you can't help but fall in love with it but unforuntaly the complete awesomeness of Ayaya always wins me over when it comes to solo releases, so I'll have to pick Kizuna I don't think anyone can touch Ayaya vocally.
Best Group Album With out any doubt in my mind Cafe Buono has to be the best group album of the year. There's not a bad song on the album...there's not even an average song on the album, every track on there is amazing. There's no growers, every song is a pleasure to listen to straight from the start! And the rock/pop feel to the songs is still a nice unique sound which I never tire of.
Best Soloist Album Koha's Kirarin to Fuyu is the obvious choice for me...actaully can it be considered a solo album? With it featuring the Milky Way tracks it's got me wondering..
Best PV Easy! Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance is by far the best PV of the year. It has that certain something that I find missing from a lot of H!P PVs and that a sense of humour and that something extra that makes it stand out above the usual H!P PVs. I still remember the feeling when I first watched it, with the girls dancing in their normalish outfits and then suddenly....WOW! Monkey Suits!!!! And the normal version of the PV is only topped by the excellent Monkey Version, 100% monkey outfits all filmed in one take with the girls actaully showing us a huge chunk of personality and what likes genuine fun!
Group With Best Overall Releases For me this year has been all about C-ute. Everything they've got their hands on this year has been of such a high standard and that's not just including Singles and their album, their concert DVDs have been great to watch as well. But it's not just the quality of their releases that have impressed me so much, it's how each of their single releases have had their own sound, the anticipation of listening to a new C-ute single is something I enjoy greatly as I never know what to expect.
Best New Group (debuted in 2008) The best group that debuted this year for me has to be Milky Way. Obviously I'm estatic to have any excuse for more Koha, but with the introduction of this unit I got familiar with two members of H!P that I've shown no interest in before; Kikka and Saaya. Saaya stomach is still something that impresses me everytime I see it in the Anataboshi PV and Kikka's amazingly cute looks have grown on me so much since their first release.
Best New Soloist (debuted in 2008) Even if there had been any competition Manoeri would have won. The simple fact that she's adding something to H!P which I haven't seen before, the introduction to something more in her performances, the use of the piano. I've really got into the whole H!P and live instruments over the past month or two, having had the oppurtunity to watch both of Ayaya's and Nacchi's recent concert DVDs I've been able to see how much this adds to their performances and the thought of always seeing Mano with her piano perfoming excities me alot.
Best Established Group (did not debut in 2008) As I've said previously this year for me has all been about C-ute, so it's C-ute again. I just can't get enough of C-ute at the mo I just want more and more and more! Argh! Why isn't their album out sooner!!
Best Established Soloist (did not debut in 2008) As ever Ayaya has to be my fave soloist within 2008. First off Kizuna was a great song but it's more her recent concert DVD that really pushed her for me over Nacchi. Although both of their recent concerts are great and feature a live band, Ayaya's was the first I saw and so it holds that extra little bit of fondness for me. And then there's the simple reasoning that I LOVE AYAYA!
Best Photobook The choice of best PB falls to either Gaki or Sayu. Gaki, is by my most favourite H!P member to see in a bikini so obvious reasons as to why her book is here. Happy Girl is also the most perfect name for this release, when I think of Gaki I think of the best smile within H!P so Happy Girl suits it perfectly. Hmmmm, but Sayu's was extremely impressive, in fact sod it, Sayu's was the best PB of the year! Taking that step from cute to sexy is always a difficult one, espeically if you can do cute as well as Sayu, but her PB was at times mind blowingly sexy whilst turning the page revealed a totally cute photo! Sayu has the best of both worlds!!
Hottest Idol of 2008 Well, I don't think I could name one I have to give this to two girls that have really amazed me this year. Chinami and Chisato, both girls that I've never considered to be the attractive members of their units, but recently with a few adjustment to both of their haircuts my eyes were opened to the beauty of both of them! And Chinami's legs...I've no idea how I hadn't noticed them before!...Seriosuly where the hell was I looking?
Worst Group Single I can't actually think of a bad group single. Hmmm, maybe Minna no Tamago? It's the only single that I can't actually remember how it sounds.
Worst Soloist Single Okitegami was probably my least favourite single of the year, although I still like it it's just that it wasn't really what I was expecting to hear from Mikity upon her return.
Worst PV The only PV that really sticks in my mind when I think bad PVs has to be the ones for Resonant Blue, I know a lot of people loved the PVs but for me they just felt like on big cop out, I was so disapointed with them. Perhaps it was the mix that they dropped the mini booklet in favour of a crappy rehash PV, I'm so hoping for good things this year from them!!
Worst Vocalist of 2008 Although I love Koha, my fave Morning Musume member...I just always feel a little dissapointed when I see her perform live, it's more the fact that she normally alway lip syncs :(
Least Attractive Girl of 2008 There's unattactive girls in H!P?? Where?!
So whilst searching the net for a bit of inspiration (just got an XBox360 Dev Kit...exciting times!) I found myself searching a Japanese site linking to quite a few Freeware and Shareware based games, having downloaded a some of them I started to load a coupl up and try them out, then I got to one called "Hello Project Battle Festival"...it can't be can it??!
Having seen screen shots from another Hello! Project fighter (Hello Project Game) quite sometime ago I knew that they existed but I've never found a download link before, so you can imagine how please I was that the installer was already sitting on my hard disk without me even realising what the game was.
The game is actually really amusing, the people that created the game obviously have a great sense of humour and love of H!P, the Nono and Gakisan characters are the most amusingly designed in my opinion and they really play with the aspects of the members characteristics to great comedic effect. But for me Yossie's character is the one that impresses me much in turns of effort put into moves, the Mr Moonlight outfit is genius as are the moves associated with it, but what I love the most is when she turns into her Gatas uniform and kicks you across the screen, so much thought and effort has gone in here.
I did think about putting images up of the game, but I felt I'd attempt to upload a video of me playing the game (...badly, lol) annoyingly, if only I'd recorded my previous game as I got past Reina (who is really difficult) and up to Kaori.
If you want to download game it can be got from here, but don't forget to check the rest of the site out as there's quite a useful character control guide, check it out here, ハロプロ格闘ゲーム作ろうぜ！
I had a little trouble getting it installed, but switching over the Regional Setting of my PC over to Japanese fixed the problem. Basically switch the Regional Setting over to Japanese, unzip the file and play!! The only downside is I haven't figured out a way of playing it with the setting on UK...oh well, a little annoyance for some H!P gaming!!
Damn the current financial crisis that seems be gripping everyone at the moment! Damn the crappy exchange rate that makes buying H!P goods even more expensive than it already is! Damn UFA for always releasing merchandise that's always so tempting to buy!
So whilst I've been cruising Hello Shop trying to think of reasons why I shouldn't go spending money on a pair of C-ute Chopsticks (how else am I going to eat the Kare Raisu I cooked tonight, thanks for the recipe Hexi!! If you anyone feels like giving it ago check out the recipe here, I can vouch that it tastes pretty damn good!) or a Morning Musume Umbrella (it's always going to rain, especially in the UK!) I've noticed that Ohta has the latest Wonderful Hearts tour merchandise up for sale at his eBay store. Mr Bank Manager is really not going to like me if I decide to get a tshirt from this tour...especially after the C-ute photo frenzy I went on a couple nights back whist hunting around eBay.
As ever with the preview shots provided for these types of thing the quality isn't too great and they're of a tiny size, so actually making out the exact design is a bit hard but if I squint and stare about 1cm away from the screen I can get a rough idea of what they look like. By the looks of things the Wonderful Hearts logo is on the front with the group name running across the top of the back of the shirt with the member listing beneath it. Although the design of the group shirts isn't the most exciting I'm loving the colour combinations especially Berryz Koubou and C-ute's, I guess the question can I afford to buy any of them? With the amount of releases schedule for January...probably not.
I hope everybody is having a great start to their New Year! Is it me or did last year go so quickly? It feels like only yesterday that I was taking taken down my W 2007 Calendar and replacing it with 2008's Morning Musume Calendar and now this morning that's replaced with the 2009 version.
What a year 2008 was, for me it's certainly been an eye opener, I've discovered a few more artists outside of H!P that I just can't get enough (Wonder Girls, Hey Girl and Kayo Aiko being the ones that really stick in my mind) but also within H!P I've taken more of an interest to the other Wonderful Hearts units.
Although I really feel that Morning Musume should have done so much more on the whole Singles front last year it's thanks to this lack of releases that has really allowed me to sit back and get into both Berryz Koubou and C-ute. In my opinion 2008 was all about C-ute, they really smashed it with their releases, with each single release better than the last. Also it's given me the chance to really get to know the girls within each unit and instead of just having a handful of favourites from both units I can say that all the girls now appeal to me much like they do within Mornning Musume and actually putting them into an ordered favourites list is something that I would have to give serious consideration to. And as for favourite releases of 2008 that's another thing that is going to need some serious consideration, the only thing I can say for certain is that the PV for Yuke Yuke Money Dance has to be my favourite. I'm about half way through typing up my answers to Amy's H!P Best of 2008 Poll but before I finish it off I thought that it would be good to see what actually were the best selling releases of last year. CDJapan has it's usual end of year Top 100 Charts (full listing for all the charts can be found here) and it's always interesting to see where H!P feature in these.
I think the most impressive thing with H!P's first appearance in this chart is the fact that it's Morning Musume's Cover You album, with it only being on sale for a little over a month it must have sold a great deal which I guess is understandable, with a year extremely short in CD releases from them an album is always going to draw the fans in.
Although, when looking at it Buono!'s Buono Cafe kicks the arse of Cover You with both the Regular and Limited versions appearing within a couple of positions of each other.
No. 94 C-ute Concert Tour 2008 Natsu - Wasuretaku nai Natsu
No. 97 C-ute Single V: Edo no Temari Uta II
No. 100 Sayumi Michishige Love Story
Much like the previous years I've checked this, Hello!Project really comes into it's own when you look at the JPop DVD releases. Although there are no releases within the Top 10, H!P still manage to take up a quarter of this chart which is amazing. I'm also really pleased to see that Sayumi's Love Story DVD managed to creep in there, although it's at the bottom it seems to be the only DVD of that sort within the whole list!