Wednesday, December 31, 2014


This is the year I'll finally realise my dream of keeping up with a Hello!Project blog. I've tried for many years because I genuinely want to write about Hello!Project (and a few other idols). I mean, I have so many thoughts about H!P and no one close by to share them with. Even if there's hardly a single reader, just the organising of thoughts sprinkled with pictures and video is therapeutic (and then re-reading later for nostalgia, wondering what it was like at that time, ahh....)

Just life always got in the way.

Or stage fright?

No matter.

My love of idols, most particularly H!P is stronger than ever. I've collected so much of my H!P backlog in CDs this year. I've gotten back to keeping up with all the awesome radio shows and blogs fans translate for us. I'm reminded why I love the music and members so much. I don't dislike a single member anymore. Even Katsuta is entertaining now. Even though one of my favorite groups is going on hiatus, my favorite member in all H!P is staying to lead a new group. So many new members were added and though none of them have stolen my preference for Momo, Duu, Maachan, and Zukki, I'm excited for them nonetheless. Even the Kenshuusei are on my radar now that they have original songs and get more screen time on Up Front's YouTube channels. It's a great time to be an H!P fan. Heck, it's a great time to be an international fan. And now there's a member who speaks English again, woohoo!

So yup, I'm in the mood to blog again. Reviews of new stuff. Reviews of all the CDs I've procured (because my enjoyment just doesn't feel complete without carefully listening and reviewing.) Reviews of all the old J-Pop I've managed to procure (mostly 80's idols.) Introductions and thoughts on groups and members (for friends I've utterly confused or people who randomly stumbled upon H!P and want to learn more.) Fan Art. Thoughts on new events and essays on relevant topics. Ranking, always fun! I want to do them all!

For now I'll end with some general thoughts.

I wish for another new group to be added to Hello!Project in 2015. Nothing big, just three members would be perfect (unless C-ute disbands), and made up of Kenshuusei. Crouton, Murotan, Rikako, and Manakan have debuted now. So unless there's a 13th Gen of Morning Musume around the corner, I would really like to see Funakki in particular debut in a new group!

With the number of new additions to Morning Musume, though, I get the sinking feeling one of the 9th or 10th Gen will announce their graduation by the end of 2015 (or 2016 Winter.)

Angerme is an awful name. First I only saw "germ", then everyone started noticing "anger me" and I just can't unsee. Murotan was mean for S/mileage! Uggh, I hope a compilation album comes out with all the recent A-sides and they don't completely start over as Angerme.

Speaking of albums, can Juice=Juice get an album someday, too? At this rate they'll need a best of album with two discs to include all the A-sides and a new track or two. That's the main downside to all these double and triple A-sides... I love buying albums more than singles because I'm thrifty in that regard, and some of these "A-sides" aren't making it to albums (Even coupling albums. I'm looking at you, Morning Musume '14!)

Thank goodness, Berryz Box!

Am I really going to follow a group called "Country Girls? Why, H!P?

Going to Budokan and getting new members were high points for S/mileage, but between the name change and the music, they didn't really have that great a year, huh?

Well, I'm looking forward to next year's Hello!Project! Angerme can only get better from here (I hope) and all the newness has me pumped up!

Now if only Buono! could stay as well...

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Fanart Corner - Those Silly Berryz

After this, the Morning Musume caricatures from 2009, then BRAND NEW ARTWORK! YAAY!!

Momoko Tsugunaga and Maasa Sudo

Maasa wrestling Momo. I said I would draw this after seeing a picture on deviantART (wondering what the Morning Musume girls were staring at, I suggested this scenario.) But I forgot who I had the original conversation with and it took a while to finally start.

Actually, I don't think this picture is canon with their characters. Maasa has looked annoyed at Momo in the past (almost everyone has, but not to the extreme of Chinami, who actually glares, haha.) But I think the two respect and look after each other. The most violent they might get with each other is a good-natured Momo Attack, hee.

Miyabi Natsuyaki, Momoko Tsugunaga, and Risako Sugaya

Miya, Momo, and Risako from Berryz Koubou. I started on this maybe three summers ago (I'm pretty sure it was in August of 2010) for a summer-themed Berryz Koubou contest on deviantART. They were all going to be eating shaved ice of their image color. I'm going to re-draw this.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fanart Corner - Love Them Or Hate Them

Now for the last of that chibi series!

Mai Hagiwara, Erina Mano, and Saki Nakajima Cartoons

Pucchimoni V: Maimai, Manoeri, and Nakky. I really liked their outfits for one of the concerts, and tried to emulate them, but I don't think I can capture this group's aura properly without color. I was more impressed with their performance than their chemistry or characters. Color would add coolness and movement.

Aika Mitsui

Aika Mitsui... with a husky and white tiger. Time to laugh? (Those legs look so uncomfortably drawn.) Or cry? (It has been less than two years since we saw her in a wheelchair.) Either the legs need reworking or the picture needs some cropping magic.

Fanart Corner - Flower Girls

It's time for the occasional AKB48 fan art!

Amina Sato

This is meant to be Amina Sato of AKB48, whose face I find really interesting. Never mind about her feet, I was just working out the structure of her foot. Since I've been uploading sketches, you can see how I've been forming these drawings, which are almost doodling. I'm going to be treatkin my future fanart more carefully, so maybe I'll be more proud of them.

Chisato Okai, Aika Mitsui, Eri Kamei, and Yurina Kumai Cartoons

Tanpopo#: Chisa, Mittsi, Kamei, and Yurina. Cute, cute, cute... TALL. I think I might redo and color this one, because I like it. I think the shorties' poses turned out good, but I always have trouble with Yurina (except for that caricature.) How do I pose her without her looking like Godzilla, ready to accidentally crush the other members?? But Tanpopo is supposed to be a fresh and calming group, so she's fine here, I guess.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Rankings - S/mileage v.2013

Ranking time! I'm not sure if I've ever actually made a "formal" ranking before, like on a forum post or such (I know I definitely haven't on this blog.) I used to have fun with the old Hello!Blog rankers and the ones on International Wota (and now on Idol Minded.) But I remember "ranking posts" being one of the fandom traditions that really intrigued me! It's been a goal of mine ever since to make my own ranking.

So here's my ranking for S/mileage. Rankings for the other Hello!Project groups,  other idols, and a few surprises will follow in the coming months.

#6 Rinapuu.

 I'm guessing her lethargic anti-genki character is supposed to be ironic and endearing (like Aika Mitsui's audition for Morning Musume), but I'm not a fan. She doesn't initiate anything funny or cute, with the exception of that hilarious yet sad Pocket Morning where she said she would use a time machine to see if she was still alive in the future (it's just not a very idol-like answer!) She follows the lead of the other girls as though she enjoys being around idols more than actually being an idol. (To her credit, she does act professionally while performing and can sing pretty good.) She has quirky looks (but I hope her back is okay) and I could be a fan of hers, but first she'll have to come out of the shadows with a quirky personality.

#5 DAWA.

 I love her funny faces and I've thought her cute and pretty ever since her Egg/trainee days. S/mileage is full of cute and funny girls, though, and something about DAWA doesn't "click" with me like with the other girls (whom I rank higher, that is.) She has adorable teeth (i.e. to me, that means slightly crooked and fanged) but a somewhat weak voice, but is otherwise too perfect for me. She's the S/mileage Barbie.

#4 Takechan.

 She could actually be tied with DAWA in this ranking since I sometimes find her uninteresting. But she has her funny moments. And she's not afraid to speak up. I also find her rivalry with H!P's other sporty member, Haruka, pretty cool. (But Haruka at least sounds like a boy... Takechan looks more like a boy but has a pretty, girly voice.)

#3 Kanyon.

 She was my favorite S/mileage member since the group formed, but then some of the noobs stole my heart. No wonder the original S/mileage members didn't seem too keen on new members being added. But at least she appears to have become a good role model for the girls and it's sweet how they have taken to her. I still think she's cute and I like her somewhat evil/mischievous personality. I wish that personality would show more because her Cinderella Revolution catchphrase was so corny (in a bad way) and so overdone (thank Tsunku she stopped... literally! Now if she could stop talking about her diets!)

#2 Kanana.

 Kanana's obsession with gorillas, however, never gets old. What new way will she be able to insert gorillas into a conversation next? And Kanana is officially the "oops, I'm kind of awkward and mess things up" character, which earns her lots of "aww" points. But she still maintains a unique personality- adorable, incompetent yet funny, sweet, peace and life-loving, and cool to be around. She's the kind of person I would have wanted to be friends with in high school. And she loves books, so we have something in common!

#1 Meimei.

 She's a professional adorable machine. Fangs, energy, weirding out the other members. She's amazing. Her charisma is magnetic or that could just be vampiric hypnotism. (This is the only reason I have to explain Kanana not being #1. Logic says Kanana, but after looking into Mei's eyes, I can only put Mei as #1.) MEIMEI IS NUMBER ONE.

I know a lot of fans were turned off by S/mileage's roster change in 2011, but it really turned out great for my enjoyment of the group! (I'm sorry if that comes off selfish... but I'm being honest!) Two of my least favorites left, I found favorites among the new members, and I like the group a lot more now. I find them entertaining personality-wise, where before, I mostly followed them for their cute music.

Also, I think the new members added life to the group literally, as three-fourths of the original members were fast approaching adulthood. DAWA and Kanyon are 18! I'm really glad Neo-S/mileage came to keep the group going!

Note: Please excuse the old pictures. I was going to/am still going to use them for a series and they were there. I can be obnoxiously meticulous and controlling, even when I'm having fun, and I just haven't had the time or inclination to scroll through new pictures and edit them to a standard size. The girls are just as cute now as back then if that's any consolation.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Idol Challenge 29 - The Model Leader

30 Day Idol Challenge #29: Who is your favorite idol leader?

Gaki. (I came up with these challenge answers before Gaki graduated. Now I would say Sayu, Morning Musume's evil pervert queen.)

Gaki is able to lead while not remaining in the background. She shares the spotlight very well. And she has an understanding nature that I think makes her a compassionate mentor. Videos of her backstage helping the newer members rehearse show her as someone that takes coaching very seriously. And she acknowledged that newer members now have it harder than she did ten years ago because of the large amount of material to learn to perform. Good leaders note things like that so they can see from the perspective of their charges. Also, Gaki strikes me as the more rational type, so she probably gives pretty sound advice, too.

(Okay, I know "leader" in H!P is a title bestowed by generation and age, not leadership qualities and this question was more "Who is your favorite among the leaders?" It's still Gaki, because her reactions to her silly group mates are hilarious and a lot more interesting than Captain and Maimi put together and even DAWA. But DAWA is closer to her when it come to the leaders I like most.)