Canaria Club


Well, hello again. Feels like I haven’t blogged in a while now, but it really wasn’t that long ago. I’ve been pretty ill these past few weeks– that and otherwise buried in homework. Those factors sort of combine together with the fact that nothing recent in the idol world has inspired me quite enough to make a big blog post about it (sometimes I think I have an attention span worse than Tsunku’s), but the recent Hello! Project ranking poll started by Hello! Blog that’s been going around and reading about everyone’s rankings has made me want to join in, too. So I’ll post up my rankings and explanations and combine a whole bunch of random thoughts I’ve had about recent events in the idol world later on in the entry. So, without further ado…

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So, I’ve got some time to kill before heading off to some Christmas festivities with my family… so why not spend it posting Christmas-y pictures of some of my favorite idols, I say! This entry’s going to be purely eyecandy, but expect an actual entry coming up sometime soon!

From the Canaria Club beauties:

  

   

  

And some Cutie Queens:
  

And to finish it all off, C-ute playing ‘Silent Night’ on bells.

Merry Christmas/Whatever You Celebrate, everyone!

It’s a proven fact: idols are cute. In some way or another, they’re all cute. It’d be hard to find one that wasn’t! But I want to focus on two particular idols I’ve seen that have a really distinctive kind of look to them. They’re often overlooked in their respective groups, but I think they are really, really the epitome of what “cute” is, in its most stable form. I find it really hard to overlook these two, myself– I can’t figure out if it’s because of their talents, personalities, or looks, or a combination of all three, but for some reason, these two girls have grabbed my attention and struck me as real distinct cuties– enough so to make me do a little write-up on the two.

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Once in a while, I need to get these things out of my system. There’s nothing too immense going on in the idol world right now that I feel the need to share my take on, so I’m going to put up a much more personal post. Not personal as in my actual boring life (trust me, even I’d want to be spared the excruciating details of the tale of another neuroscience class, kthx), but much more idol-based. So! I present to you, my current Top 10 in the idol world.

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So I’ve recently come to the conclusion that the Canaria Club, yet another one of the girl groups in the TNX and H!P world, need more love than they’re getting. For me, when the Canaria Club’s formation was first announced, I wasn’t entirely too excited about it. Oh, another TNX group, I thought– they all looked so cute, but nothing was released to listen to yet, so I didn’t take to them very quickly. I believe that was back in late March or early April, back when they were introduced as the Canary Club. Since then, they’ve gotten a slight name change and released two singles. And in that short span of time, they completely won me over.

I mean, come on, just look at them! All begging for your love! Well, except Ayubee, who is more like, “Check out my awesome glasses.” But Ayubee never seemed like the type to really BEG like the rest of them. You just sort of telepathically know she’s in there with the rest of them, pleading for some more love and attention just the same.

But anyway. What exactly was it about the Canaria Club that pulled me over into complete fangirl-ism? While, like I said, I thought they were all really adorable, it really took a song to catch my attention. Their first release was SWEET & TOUGHNESS, a song originally by the Minami Aoyama Shoujo Kageki Dan. SWEET & TOUGHNESS must have been a personal favorite of Tsunku’s, because not only did the Canaria Club cover it, Tokito Ami also did her own cover of it, and I’m pretty sure I’ve caught some videos on Youtube of her performing it with THE Possible. Before the Canaria Club released it, I’d never paid any attention to the song– nor even heard of it. I can’t quite recall the DAY I gave it a listen, but I was probably bored, and a little like, “Oh, hey! I remember those girls!” and decided to see if they were any good.

In fact, I’m pretty sure it was the PV preview of the song that I saw. That’s where it all began. The song was cute and catchy, and at that time, little did I know that it would become the song I’ve listened to the MOST, uh, EVER, according to my Last.fm charts. But at the time, I was distracted by the newness of it all. The PV preview was very, very plain. The girls were all dressed in their assigned outfits– still split into two groups, the CAN’S and A~ries (or A~riizu, that was never really sorted out), and dressed accordingly. But other than the two different outfits, there were really no other obvious differences. So there they all were– this fairly big group of girls, singing and dancing, in front of a completely nondescript white background. That was it. Sure, there were close-ups, some slightly fun lighting, and stars and hearts in their eyes, but that was all. Very, very low budget, but instead of really being disappointed by that, it… worked, somehow!

It made me focus a lot more on the girls themselves instead of looking around at the background and group as a whole; it gave an effect much more geared toward the individual girls. And as always, that sort of thing made me pick an early favorite in the Canaria Club. Based on that PV preview, I found one particular girl, with these big, beautiful, expressive eyes, that stood out the most to me. So, naturally, I went on a quest to discover who she was. After referencing the few photos out there, I found out it was Sugiura Riho. After that, my curiosity was just growing even more, so I set out to figure out who everyone was. Took a quick screencap of the PV, referenced some more photos, and eventually had them all labeled. It was a pretty fleeting accomplishment, though. The PV preview only entertained me for so long. I kept the song on repeat quite a bit, but they still hadn’t completely won me over.

Until the Single V came out. In July, the Single V was released, and this time, I got completely owned. Finally, the full-length PV was out. I could see the full thing with close-ups, I could see the full thing sans close-ups and just watch that adorable dance, and best of all, I could see the Making of. While I was familiar with the names by then, I’d barely gotten a glimpse at any of the personalities, and the Making of was JUST what I was looking for.

If you have the most remote interest in this group, I completely recommend watching the Making of. That video works WONDERS. Here’s a Youtube upload of it.

And this ultimately brings me to my reasons of why you should love this group. I’ll delve into my reaction to the Making of in more detail in one of my later reasons. But to start it off~

1. The Music. – If I didn’t convey that this music is frighteningly catchy already, I’ll do it now. This music is DAMN CATCHY! I’ve heard a lot of different opinions on this, but I took to SWEET & TOUGHNESS immediately. It’s a very upbeat song, has a good mix of group and solo lines, and there are harmonies! Their second single, Seishun Banzai, is another wonderfully catchy tune. It hasn’t hypnotized me quite like SWEET & TOUGHNESS did, but it’s still fantastically catchy. Seishun Banzai features a lot more full-group lines than SWEET & TOUGHNESS did. Well, actually, if I recall the song correctly, the entire song consists of group lines only. I think that’s the main reason why Seishun Banzai doesn’t have the same charm as SWEET & TOUGHNESS (henceforth S&T because I’m lazy). I loves me some solo lines. I like to hear the individual voices, and Seishun Banzai didn’t really allow for that. But either way, it’s still a good, solid song. I do have to admit that the b-sides are a bit disappointing on both singles. Both of them, Yume wo Shinjite (b-side to S&T) and Ready Steady Go! (b-side to Seishun Banzai) are VERY eighties-sounding. They just didn’t appeal to me like the a-sides have, but I’ve heard lots of good reviews of those b-sides, so I guess the moral of the story is to each his own!

2. You get presents! – Well, sort of! The Kokuchi-ch website is constantly updated with short videos, from Tokito Ami’s parapara dance lessons to introductions and advertisements to silly, candid backstage moments. More recently, the Canaria Club has pretty much BOMBARDED the website with lots of said backstage moments, and it’s a good way to get a really quick look into the more normal, behind-the-scenes aspect of this particular idol group. Basically, whenever I remember to check the website, there’s something new up there for me to watch, so I’m constantly entertained by these little clips.

3. The Girls – This one’s a pretty vital part of every idol group, so it seems a little silly that I should mention it, but these girls are SO much more entertaining than I would’ve ever predicted. The ages of all the girls of the group range between 10 and 22, so you can guess that there’s a pretty wide range of characters in this group.

Hashiguchi Erina.
Erina is the youngest of the group (she turns 11 this November), and from what I’ve seen of her, she’s your typical kid. Not that that’s a bad thing at all. She’s absolutely adorable, and she seems a little on the shy side, but she’s got her silly moments like any kid– there’s a part in the making of where she has this plastic cup suctioned onto her face, and she just makes weird noises while whoever’s holding the camera keeps zooming in and out. Very cute, and very much the little-sister of the group in comparison to all the other girls. I also want to note that she has pretty impressive dancing skills for being so young. She doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb when she’s dancing with the rest of the girls, and as for her voice, I’m also really impressed with it. I can’t describe it too well, but if you watch the S&T PV, there’s a close-up of her right when she sings her solo line near the beginning, so you’ll be able to figure out what she sounds like easily enough. Bottom line, this girl has a lot of star quality, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings for her!

Ogawa Mana.
In typical idol-group style, there’s always a front girl. Mana is the girl who gets the big push out of all the girls in the Canaria Club. She sings a good amount of solo lines and group lines in S&T, and even the bridge of the song is completely her solo. Since Seishun Banzai is all group lines, there isn’t any chance for any obvious front girl like there was in S&T, but otherwise, she’s VERY visible in this group. Mana is probably my least favorite out of the group. She does have a pretty pleasant-sounding voice, I will admit, but I’m honestly not that much of a fan of it. I’m not saying that I dislike her or anything– I really do love this whole group, so even being last on my list of favorites gets her a lot of love. As for her personality, Mana’s pretty chill. Throughout the making of, you never really see her going crazy when the other girls are (except for the end… but I’ll get to that in a bit), so she seems really laid-back and cool. Nothing wrong with that at all!

Takada Ayumi.
Now THIS girl is definitely one of my favorites in the group. Ayubee will be turning 23 this October, making her the oldest girl in the group, but that doesn’t mean she’s any less fun than any of the other girls. Much the opposite, in fact. From what I’ve seen of this girl’s personality, she’s the bipolar one of the group. A few times in the making of, you’ll see her being pretty mellow, but at other times, she’s the COMPLETE opposite, and she’ll be running at the camera, pulling her ear, and just generally being energetic and talkative. What I really love about Ayumi is her presence when she performs. I saw this video on Youtube of a performance of S&T, and in it, Ayumi TOTALLY rocks out. She does such an awesome job up there at the front– she’s really the most energetic dancer up there, and she really puts a lot of, well, OOMPH!, into her moves. The girl totally knows how to boogie, which scores her some major brownie points in my book. Overall, she’s a VERY strong member of the Canaria Club, and is quite the character, to boot!
        
Uchida Yuma.
At first, I didn’t get the appeal of this girl at all. She’s the second youngest of the group, so I attributed it to general shyness because of her age at first. After a while, though, I really grew fond of the girl. She doesn’t have the strongest voice, and can actually sound a bit out of place when you hear her solo lines in S&T, and she’s probably the weakest dancer of the group, but she’s ridiculously loveable. She’s the type you really want to root for and see her progress along the way. Near the beginning of that making of video, there are a few short clips of some of the girls dancing around backstage, and in one particular one, Yuma is dancing to one part by herself and sort of looking around nervously, then Mikiho rushes in and beckons the others over, so I get the sense that they all try to pull together and help Yuma out. It’s sort of funny how she can give off two completely different impressions. During the regular PV of S&T, if you’re not paying too much attention to her, you barely notice her nervousness at all. In her close-ups, she’s just perfect and bouncing around singing along, not looking nervous at all– she just really looks like she’s enjoying herself. But when you watch the Dance Shot of S&T, you can see a lot more of her anxiety. Sometimes she’ll get it and puts a big smile on her face, but in a lot of it, she looks pretty nervous, and you can really tell that she’s trying her best. That’s what I’ve really come to love about her. Yes, she’s a bit lost and lacking in comparison to the other girls, but she’s REALLY trying, and already, her progress is showing! I was SO pleasantly surprised by Yuma in the PV preview for Seishun Banzai. She really exudes SO much more confidence in this PV. Her dancing skills are obviously getting stronger, and while I can’t judge her singing skills since I can’t hear them all separately, I’d bet that her singing is improving, as well. I’m proud of her already!

Okada Reiko.
I never really noticed Reiko much until I saw the Making of. After that, I realized how awesome this girl could be. I don’t remember her getting featured all that much in the PV for S&T, but in the Making of, she’s ALL over the place. Reiko has a LOT of personality packed in her, and all of the other girls just seem to love her. Whether it’s making faces at the camera or just hanging out with the other girls, Reiko really stood out in the Making of. I do believe they put her in front for the dance in the Seishun Banzai PV, so I expect we’ll be seeing a lot more of her once the full PV is released. I wouldn’t say that she’s one of the dancers that really stands out, but she’s not exactly a weak dancer either, so I’m pretty curious to see how she’ll do!

Niwa Mikiho.
This girl is a total blast. Miki (Mickey is the way I’ve seen her nickname spelled, but it just reminds me too much of Mickey Mouse, so I’ll be referring to her as Miki) is right up there with Ayumi in terms of her energetic dancing. She’s a little less forceful in her moves than Ayumi, but she totally puts all she can into her dance moves, and it SHOWS. She’s got a lot of energy up on stage and even in the PV. She can also pull off the most adorable expressions. This girl really knows what she’s doing. Out of all of the girls, I’d really say that Miki has the most idol quality about her. She’s a good singer, great dancer, and she also has a VERY distinct personality. After watching the Making of video, Miki comes off as almost the mother-hen type of the group. (Just a very energetic mother hen.) She rushes in to the rescue when Yuma needs some dancing instruction, gathers the girls together, and just generally keeps the others in line. She even cuts off the explosion of YAY at the end (discussing that more later), and it’s so hysterical. She’s SUPER EXPRESSIVE AND ENERGETIC– UNTIL IT’S OVER. Then when it’s over, Miki MAKES SURE it’s over, smacking her hands together, and high-fiving everyone with that, “OKAY! ENOUGH OF THAT!” kind of attitude. She’s such a unique character, and is honestly another very vital member of the Canaria Club.

Ooura Ikuko.
Ikucchi is very much the engima of the group to me. I’m still really trying to figure her out. She sort of runs along the same vein as Ogawa Mana. She seems to be getting a little bit of a push as one of the front girls of the group, but her push is a LOT more subtle. She doesn’t have a big solo bridge like Mana, but after color-coding the lyrics to S&T, I realized she does get quite a few lines as well as her fair share of close-ups. She is a pretty good singer– her solo lines are the lower-pitched ones, so it’s nice to hear a girl that can handle that lower range. But she isn’t quite the greatest dancer. She’s generally on time with the dance, but there are times when she’ll get off step, or try a move a bit early and won’t really notice that she did it. She isn’t too energetic when she’s dancing, too, but I may just be noticing that because she’s placed so close to the ever-energetic Ayumi, so I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt on that one. Personality-wise, though, she’s definitely one of the less-energetic ones. Again, like Mana, she’s just pretty chill most of the time. From what I’ve heard, Ikucchi is one of the strong favorites over in Japan, so maybe they’re all seeing something I’m not. Either way, I do look forward to seeing her a bit more and learning more about her! She’s quite the mystery to me still.

Matsui Yurie.
Macchan here is another one of the really prominent personalities of the group. She’s a really beautiful girl, and I see her featured all the time on that Kokuchi-ch website (particularly in the Tsunku TV videos, in addition to the Canaria Club videos), so she gets a LOT of exposure and promotion outside of the music. In the Making of video, Macchan really captured my attention. She seems to be the type that’s there to make sure everyone’s not taking themselves too seriously. She’s not bouncing off the walls like some of them, but she’s got this perfect amount of energy and wit to really appeal to the camera. She isn’t afraid at all to be silly, but she’s really composed at the same time. In addition to that, she’s definitely one of the better dancers, and I DO believe she’s one of the ones who does the harmonies (seeing as she has no solo lines), which, alone, is pretty awesome. She definitely deserves all the promotion she’s getting!

Sugiura Riho.
Last and certainly not least is Sugiura Riho. I saved her for last because she IS my favorite out of the group. She was the one I picked as an early favorite when the PV preview for S&T came out. I liked her because she just had this… energy about her in that preview. Her eyes were really big and expressive, and, well, she just made me want to see more of her. Little could I tell from that PV preview that she would be even more awesome than I could’ve imagined. She looks so professional on camera and on stage that you’d never imagine what the girl was really like. In short, Osugi here acts like she’s on crack and seems like she could very easily qualify as the group badass. Throughout the Making of video, you can catch her just being cute whenever the camera falls on her. She pulls these fantastic faces, including this deadly GLARE at the camera at one point (she and Macchan both do it). So, already, you can tell while she has this adorable, high-pitched voice and the sweetest look about her, she’s really a LOT more than that. But at the very end, Osugi completely takes over and creates THE highlight of the entire video for me. They’ve all finished up working on the PV, and she spazzes out alone in front of the camera for about two seconds, ending with a very distinct “YAAY~!” She then proceeds to track down all the other members and create a PARADE of “YAAAY~!” She starts out going after Macchan, who has the most hilarious reaction of them all. We can’t see what Osugi’s doing off-screen while Macchan’s talking to the camera, but the way Macchan’s eyes widen and she basically pulls a “WHOA, WTF?! XD” expression, you can totally tell that Osugi’s doing SOMETHING crazy. In the next second, she runs in and joins Macchan for a “YAAAAY~!” The parade of YAAAY~ just builds until she’s gotten ALL the members to do it all together. It ends with Miki, who goes along with the idea and then sends them all on their way when it’s done, making for one fantastic ending. She didn’t only catch my attention there, though. In the videos I mentioned that are always posted up on Kokuchi-ch, there’s this one in particular, where she portrays that badass character I was talking about before. For most of that video, Ayumi’s talking, but at around 0:46, whoever’s holding the camera gets Osugi’s attention, and she answers with “Yes?” Then whoever’s holding the camera echoes her, and right then, she gets the tiniest bit frustrated and repeats, “YES?!” in the cutest badass way possible. She then talks for a bit, and ends it off with, you guessed it, another classic “YAAAAY~!” The girl is pure win, plain and simple.

 And now that I’ve rambled on about the Canaria Club for an INSANELY LONG TIME, I hope at least some of you have come to appreciate these girls even just a little bit more. If you’re just interested in the goods– links and downloads and things of that nature, here’s a list of a few resources if you want to hear/see more of these girls:

SWEET & TOUGHNESS Single Download – @ Some Boys! Blog
Full SWEET & TOUGHNESS PV
SWEET & TOUGHNESS Dance Shot Version
SWEET & TOUGHNESS Live Performance
Yume wo Shinjite Live Performance
Seishun Banzai Single Download
– @ Some Boys! Blog
Seishun Banzai PV Preview – @ Kokuchi-ch
Live Introductions

Hopefully that’s enough goodies for now! I’ll be ordering the Single V for Seishun Banzai, so I’m looking forward to even more Canaria Club Making of fun once that comes in! Now, go forth and spread the Canaria Club love!