It's been awhile since I posted about all my Hello! Project buys, a mixture of laziness and I've managed to lose my camera (annoyingly as I just bought a new charger to replace the one I lost), relying only on my iPhone to take the snaps. It bugs me to have poor quality photos, but with the recent lot of purchases I've made I thought it was about time to sod off the worry of poor quality photos take a snap and post them up.
As an example of how long it's been since I posted down the bottom you'll see both Ayaya's and Nacchi's recent concert DVDs, I've managed to watch both and I have to say that they are both truly amazing concerts, worthy of everyones watch. Ayaya pulls off one of the quickest costume changes ever, literally the lights go down the crowd cheers the lights come back and we're treated to whole different costume! It's quite an awesome change as it's unexpected and begs the question, where did the previous one go? There's also an awesomely amusing appearance by Yossie and Rika in some amusing outfits. Nacchi's concert is quite possibly one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen, the concert hall itself is amazing, filmed at the openair Kawaguchiko Stellar Theater we get to see a nice green lanscape and see day turn into night and a nice fireworks display. Nacchi's awesome voice is accompanied by a varied amount of instruments and some quality performances. I really hope I find the time to post about these performances seperatly as they are both exceptional concerts.
Whilst on the subject of Nacchi, I also purchased her sisters, Asami's first album Wishes and 2nd DVD Asamix!. As much as I love Nacchi's looks, I do prefer Asamin's more, she's kind of a shorter slightly odder looking Nacchi, but damn does she look hot XD
Awhile back Zendra contacted me and said that he had double ordered a couple of concert DVDs (Cute Cutie Circuit 2008 - September 10 wa Cute no Hi - and Hello! Project 2008 Summer Wonderful Hearts Koen - Hishochi de Date Itashima Show) and wondered if I was interested in them, with them being two that I hadn't seen before I gladly accepted the offer. As yet I've not found the time to watch either of them, I get a feeling one of them will fit nicely into the free few hours I have tomorrow morning :D Thanks Zendra I really appreciate you sending these over!
Also this week I've had a couple of slips posted through the door saying that the postman has missed me and I have a couple of items waiting for me. Popping down this morning I picked up the last few items that i purchased from Gina (if you're interested in seeing what else she's selling check out page on the Hello-Online Forums) and the latest Buono! album which I'd ordered from CDJapan. The previous Saturday my signed C-ute arrived and today I picked up the two missing Morning Musume albums I'm missing along with a Maki Goto concert, a W and Berryz concert and a signed Yossie card.
In my excitement I opened up the parcel as soon as I got into my car, I oggled everything and headed home. Walking through the door I went to put the CDs away, but noticed that I was missing Morning Musume's first album in a panic I headed back to the car and searched the passenget seat, nothing, searched the back seat, nothing, searched the floor, nothing. The only thought that went through my head was that I had somehow dropped in the Post Office car park, so I started the car up and reversed out of my drive way... then just as I pulled away I noticed the smashed CD case on the floor, yes I dropped it as I stepped out the car :S
The casing is totally beyond repair, but luckily the sleeve and all the paper inside are unscratched which means all thats needed is a new case :D But unfortunatly the CD didn't come out so well as you can see from the above photo, but unbelivably it still plays all the way through with out any problems :S
I don't know what to say. Seriously I don't. I try not to swear on this blog, as I get a lot of people of all ages on here, but I think this warrants it.
Melon Kinenbi will perform their last concert day on May 3rd at Nakano Sun Plaza and (I think) will officially disband in the 30th June. I really can't express my frustration, I was planning a big long post but I literally can't bring myself to do it at the moment.
Put it this way, I haven't looked forward to an album this much since the days of W... And even worse is, having listened to it, it's more than I was expecting, so much more! I've literally been raving about the album the past 2 days, never has an album made me want to see a unit live as much as this, each song has it's own energy and it's own style. What I said to InsaneLampshade this morning pretty much sums up my opinion on the album "one of the best hp related albums EVER!".
WTF! Well, fingers crossed I'll recieve the album Melon's Not Dead in the post over the next few days (I couldn't wait for my copy so I downloaded it from iTunes as well) and I'll write a slightly more constructive post then. If you weren't thinking of buying it, my advice... buy it, it's AWESOME!!
I have to put my hand up and say "I'm part of the reason that the last Morning Musume single release done so badly". Why? Well I've literally paid it no attention at all. I didn't post a review on it here, I haven't ordered a copy and I guess worst of all I've still yet to actually sit down and listen to it more than twice.
And the most bizarre thing of all it's not because I rank it along side their recent tracks, which just don't do anything for me. The few times that I've listened to it I love it, I'm listening to it now and totally loving it. And it's not just the song I'm enjoying for once the PV is actually a great watch, it's not perfect... it's still lacking that 'omph' that the Berryz have been having lately but there's more going on than just the usual dance shot and pouting for the camera, sure it may just be walking down a catwalk or putting on a bit of makeup, but it's something. AND there seems to be pretty much equal screen time for everyone, both JunJun and LinLin may still be in the back corners when it comes to the dance but we get to see them strutting their on the catwalk and they look good, all the girls look good, they're all giving off some serious attitude in this PV.
Vocally there's not much difference and follows the same sort of pattern as we've come to expect, Aichan and Reina getting all the main lines with some of the members getting the odd line and a group chorus, but as much as I'd like to knock this as I'd love for some of the other members to get huge chunk of lines (I'm still waiting for a single release where both Junjun and Linlin are the main focus) I can't. Ai has an awesome voice, we all know it, we all wish that she wouldn't hog as much lines as she does but here in this song I find I can't complain what's there is great and for me brings my interest into the unit up.
As for my lack of interest in a song that I really like, I couldn't quite tell you. It's the first single release since Koharu's graduation, could that be a factor? Hmmm, honestly? No. I've always said that a unit is more than one person and a member graduating doesn't distract from my overall love of a unit and my current Linlin obsession is making up for any disinterest lost by her graduation. The odd thing I'm clearly not alone, this is the unit's 2nd worse selling single after and to be blunt I can't tell you why that is, as I've said comparing this to the other single release on their soon to be released 10th album 10 MY ME personally I'd of thought it would have sold the most... Well I guess I'll be heading over to CDJapan once i've written this and making sure I grab a copy, see if my purchase can keep it in the top 10 for another week XD
I guess I can't mention this post without mentioning AKB and their latest single Sakura no Shiori. With it's first day of single sales not only out selling Onna ga Medatte Naze Ikenai but the entire singles sold my Morning Musume in the whole of 2009, it really does make you wonder what are they doing that Morning Musume arent? Lampshade discusses it more on his blog, Pori.co.uk. As I mentioned in my previous post H!P vs AKB I don't follow AKB in the slightest, I know extremely little about the unit and it's releases. There are a number of reasons on Lampshades blog as to why this out sold Onna ga Medatte Naze Ikenai by so much, perfect timing, the theme to a popular drama, good general promotion of the unit and a well known director to do the PV.
All of these things play a part, but I think ultimatly what it comes down to it's just a really good song and one that's totally different to Morning Musume's release. The PV fits the song is great, we've even given an intro to the PV with the girls checking out fabrics and their outfits. We get a nice basic couple of dance shots with the rest of the PV focusing on the girls enjoying themselves, it's a nice, fun, beautiful PV that fits the song perfectly. I've been waiting so long for Morning Musume to have a PV release like this, something with a bit of feeling, something that gives us a little bit more to the girls.
Hopefully this blow will force H!P to pull their finger out, hopefully this will see releases with more omph, hopefully we'll see H!P come up with better ideas for making a 'different' PV then just chucking 3 guys in animal outfits doing absolutly nothing noteworthy thorugh out the whole PV (Going On! Full PV)
A few days ago, Hexi told me that she'd sent me a birthday card and present in the post and seemed a little concerned by the fact that she's now a poor stooodent. I think it's fairly safe to say that she had nothing to worry about XD
Getting home on Friday I waded through the usual post of bills and take away flyers there was a padded envelope on the floor that looked like it may have come from Hexi. How could I have guesed just from the envelope who it was from? Well take a look and then wonder if the bank know me well enough to send something like this out.
I'm slightly amused as to what my postman thinks of me lately, having put this through the door Friday morning and then whatever happened on Saturday. All I can remember is that he rung my bell at stupid o'clock (well... probably about 9ish, but that's early for me on a Saturday) I jumped out of bed in just my dressing gown, we had a conversation of which I have no recollection of, all I can remember is him turning around saying something about the tube in his bag (which I'll write about in my next post) and me taking it... if I think about what I'm generally like first thing in the morning the minute I wake up I might understand why he turned around, morning glory?
Not wanting to ruin such an awesome envelope out came the scissors and I made a slit in one of the sides and pulled out the cards and the presents. Both being Hello! Project fans, and knowing each other quite well, the presents were always going to be something I was going to love. A set of Buono! photos, a Koha photo and a LinLin strap and photo. It looks like I might have to get myself a case for my iPhone now as I desperatly want to have Linlin dangling from it!
Now as good as the presents are, they don't come close to how great the card is. There's always that special something with a gift made by someone, there's that little bit extra thought and effort gone into it that makes it something to remember. I think it's fairly to safe say that you had nothing to worry about Hexi, this card (and the presents) is totally awesome and I love it so so much! With still a couple of days to go until my birthday (I'm normally quite strict with myself when it come to presents and the like, always opening them on the day but with Hexi's I made an exception) it's the only card sitting on my side but even when I open up the rest it'll still have pride of place in front of the rest <3
So ever since LA I've been keeping an eye out for any Hello! Project performances outside of Asia with the intent of trying to get there and show my support, so far I think I'm not doing to bad attempting to get 3 out of the 4 apperances (and after seeing Hangry and Angry in France I'm really regretting not trying to get to Seattle) so any H!P'ness that comes our with this year I'm certainly going to try my hardest to get there. Even if it means staying in a slightly odd hostel with blood running up the stairs into the room opposite *shrugs* for £15 a night (or what ever it was, I forget) it was totally worth it!
As a fan I think it's great that so many of us have been going to these appearances with the sole intention of supporting our idols, I enjoyed seeing all the H!P fans at the front of the queues standing in line for hours just so that we can show our support. I've always just presumed that the fan support is the one thing that counts at these events, you put in a good showing they'll come back. To a certain extent I still belive that, I don't think anyone can deny that the support for both Morning Musume and Hangry & Angry at these appearances didn't 'wow' UFA into thinking that they should come back. But having been checking out a link CatchFiveBats sent me awhile ago it made me think about something that had never crossed my mind before, what if the people organising the venue are crap?
To be fair it would seem that H!P haven't had the best of luck when it comes to these Western performances, well I'd say at the moment it's a 50/50 swing. Personally I have no complaints with the Chibi Japan Expo, overall everything was organised extremely well, the staff were friendly and helpful especially considering the troubles we were probably all causing when it came to grabbing tickets for the autograph sessions and turning up and hogging queue space/seats a good few hours before any appearance was due and the expo itself was great I literally have no complaints. Not having attended Sakura-Con I can't really comment on what it was like, but let's put it this way I haven't heard anythind bad said about it. So in my book that's two pluses. But, on the other hand there was the Stokholm Japan Expo where poor ticket sales meant that the event was cancelled and now mixed with that we see the (possibly...as far as I know none of this is confirmed) troubles they had at AX, Anime Expo Situation As Seen By Silenced Staff Members.
Overall I had a great time at AX, I think all of us had our own little gripes and moans about how everything was organsied and handled, but overall it was a good fun. Personal complaints for me were the randomness of the staff not understanding me at times, the awful queuing systems, the lack of not actually telling people where the FAQ autograph session was being held (a squillion Morning Musume fans running all over the Expo in a mad rush was quite amusing though), the Nazi like running of the concert, I still don't quite understand why they needed to try and contain the 4 Japanese guys behind me who went a couple step out of their seats whilst getting into their dancing, or why we were threatened that we'd get our cameras taken away if they saw us taking photo whilst in the queue :S But, these are all minor annoyances that just bug a little as to what was a great trip. But then that's the side we got to experience as fans, if it was bad for us what was it like for those invited to attend? Surely they'd treat the guests with respect? Well, you'd imagine so. From the link above and the following link (Multiple Anime Expo Staffers Resign in Board Dispute) it's clear that the Expo is having some problems. With rumours of 80% of the staff threatening to resign, and as yet no industry or musical guests it's a bit of a concern as to how the next Expo will turn out. This in itself is a worry considering how big it is, but for me the thing that annoys me most is the apparent rudeness that someone would treat their guests, especially because it may give a negitive impression of these types of events. I've copied and pasted the two relevant H!P comments from the linked site below;
"5a)- In addition to lying about supposed contacts in Japanese industry, Lattanzio had initially refused to sign a contract previously agreed upon that allowed Morning Musume (last year's AX pop idol group) to releaes a DVD of their concert at AX in which 50% of the profits would go towards AX. After Morning Musume directly sent one of their people over, the contract was finally signed, but in the process, according to third party testimony by Chase, Lattanzio's attitudes toward the Morning Musume representative was extremely impolite (claming that he showed up in jeans and t-shirt) and called her a bitch. As a result, that person has refused to work with Lattanzio and subsquently the Anime Expo convention in the near future."
"2-Yes Michael Lattanzio was very rude to Morning Musume. Along with being rude he showed up to the meeting in flip flops, a t-shirt, and jeans. Though the rumors are wrong when they say he started cussing at them. They also got very pissed when he said he wanted money from the royalties from the show that they played at last AX."
Now rumours are rumours, and with regards to the Expo itself there are more things to be concerned about rather than the behaviour towards Morning Musume (haha, 2 plane tickets for the 5 memebers of Orange Range, WTF?), but as a fan reading this bugs me. Mainly because I'd hate for something so stupid to be factored into future appearances. To be fair, if this is true than I don't no how much of a concern it is, everyone has bad experiences and within business you shouldn't let one bad experience reflect on everything else, I guess what we can take away from this is that chances are they won't be working alongside AX again. I'm just pleased that as fans we were able to show our support to the girls, and at the end of the day that's all that really counts I'm sure!
Hello! Project finally branches out to the iPhone/iTouch with Koharu's Sugar Doll+ (Vol.1) app. I've yet to download it myself, yes I'm in that much of a dire straits for cash at the moment that I'll have to wait until Friday to download an app costing £1.79 <_< Put into the store yesterday (9th February) it looks like that this contains 59 offshot photos not included in the original PB, although I may be wrong...damn I need to download this and check!!
This isn't the first idol app avaible on the iTunes Store, personally I have a whole screen (although no doubt it'll eventually spread across numerous) reserved on my iPhone for idols and I've been eagerly awaiting the time when I'd be able to get a H!P member on there, and who better than Koha? It fills that hole that I have with Koha graduating. AKB have a couple of idol apps out as do numerous other idols, so it's about time the Up Front followed suit, it's not exactly a hard task to do once you've written the slideshow app you can churn out as many PB apps as they want, so fingers crossed we'll see a ton more appearing soon.
If you want to grab a copy, either search for Up Front Works on the AppStpre (you'll also be able to grab a Mana Ogawa app as well) or click the link below.
Whilst we wait for the second Hello! Party (which by the looks of things could actually be happening, check this out Alo-Hello! Party) a few of us have taken it upon ourselves to meet up on a regular basis get a little bit tipsy and have a sing song. There's some minor differences between the two UK and the US parties, the first difference is beer, there's lot of it, along with plum wine and the most evil tasting vodka know to man. Our organisational skills comes down to Matt_D setting a date, TasukiDaisuki booking the karaoke and the rest of us turning up and destroying the place XD With the UK fans being spread out over the country there's always the little problem of getting people down, so there's no large numbers just a small group of pretty damn cool (but ultimatly geeky ;P) people. And lastly there's and a first for one of out meets, a few tranvesites and a whole horde of Polish and Russian table dancers.
Along with the usual crowd of myself, CDevil, Choco, Lampshade, Matt_D, TasukiDaisuki, Tom and Yoriko we up'd a numbers by two and had the ever drunken Shirow and Blister. Things started off fairly normal, meeting up, getting punched by Yoriko, buying Lampshade his plum wine, CDevil getting denied booze and finding the best deal Tesco has on larger. Having met up with Shirow in Picaddily Circus we trundled off to Epoch to do some drinking and some singing.
The thing I've realised about karaoke and videos is that the girls get off so lightly, there can be no denying that Choco, TasukiDaisuki and Yoriko all have damn good voices and being girls they don't look like total idiots when doing H!P dance moves. So, the video stays pretty much on us guys attempts at stringing a couple of notes together and the odd drunken dance before we realise the cameras on us and we stick a couple of fingers and dive out of the way. I'm going to mentally set a reminder in my brain that on the next one I'll be keeping my eye on the girls, camera in hand ready for any embarassing moments! Personally I've still yet to attempt a Japanese song, I stick solely to English songs that I feel I my unique voice can compliment. To put it simply, I attmept a Black Grape and sung it badly...if you don't know who Black Grape are (and generally I find that not many people do) check out the link and be amazed at how I could possible sing In The Name Of The Father badly...but on the plus side I'd wager I can dance as well as Bez :D I also attempted a few more great songs but oddly I can only remember two of them, Despardo (which you'll find a short 15 second clip of below) and an awesome duet with CDevil of It Wasn't Me by the just as awesome Shaggy <_< But, me aside there was some equally great performances by the likes of Lampshade, CDevil and Shirow. If you follow me on Twitter chances are you may have seen Lamp-pinku and Devil-Pinku's version of Rainbow Pink, for those of you that think listening to the original is painful, you're in for a treat :D And also there's Lampshade and Shirow getting stuck into Tan Tan Taan!, this little clip may give you an indication as to how much I'd had to drink at this point.
After Karaoke a few of us decided to carry on drinking, whilst the others headed home or waited at the wrong cashpoint for 30 mins ;P Tucked into some tasty chinese food, unfortunatly we turned up too late to tuck into duck tongue and pigs trotters, much to my dissapointment. Next we headed out to carry on drinking, I don't think anyone can remember why we ended up where we did all I know that both places were recommendations of mine. First up was the transexual bar on Charing Cross, with nice glittery red walls, golden statues, a disco ball in the middle of the room and a couple of oddly attrative girls who looked like they needed a shave and were called Geoff... Sadly only CDevil got stopped at the door and asked if he knew what this place was and if he was sure he wanted to come in, the rest of us apparently looked like we frequented this place every Saturday night. Once inside and a few drinks down Matt_D needed an idol fix and out popped some Reina PBs, this got an interesting reaction from the guys in the bar. One even enticed Matt over but quickly realising that Reina doesn't have a penis his interest declined, but that's not to say that stopped people looking over his shoulder guys were checking out Reina and to be fair who can blame them, she is stunning... and I guess if you squint she kinda looks like a lady boy *hides from Reina fans*
Moving on and possibly in an attempt to reaffirm ourselves myself, Shirow and CDevil headed off to Shoreditch. In all the places we could have ended up we ended up at the not so reafirmingly titled Rainbow Sports Bar. Having described "one of London's most popular and premier strip tease venue" as a table dancing club with the worlds ugliest Eastern European girls I don't think anyones hopes were up for much, but surprisingly the girls weren't too bad, or perhaps it was the fact that we'd been drinking for 10 hours straight... who knows? All I do know is that within seconds of entering the place a cute little blonde approached me asked is I wanted a dance and when I asked "why would i want one with her?" the reply i got back meant that what I had planned as some sort of trick question that meant I could sit down and start on my beer ended up with me in a room trying to see if she did really mean 'anywhere'.... and for the record, she did XD
Finally when everyone realised that were coming to close to have no money at all, those girls were aggressive as hell. We headed home, a nice trip on the bus... unfortunatly it's been quite awhile since I got the night bus back from Liverpool Street I used my wonderful navigational skills (for those of you that have wandered around with me no how great I am with directions) to get us back, which only took a few hours :S
All in all, it was a great day and a night, a little different to the usual meet ups, but different is always good. So it's just a matter of time for the next meet up, at the mo I know there's a Hello!Online meetup this month which in London which a few of us are going along to and there's talk about a big Wota gathering heading down to Alton Towers (or somewhere), so if you're in the UK get involved! It's always good family fun!