musing


No, really. What’s so special about Buono? The question is 100% genuine– not to be taken in a sarcastic way at all, and it’s something that I’ve been trying to figure out for a while now.

When the formation of Buono! was announced back in the summer, I rolled my eyes in exasperation. Just what Hello! Project needed– even more Airi, Momoko, and Miyabi. Because we hadn’t seen or heard enough of them, of course. When I heard about the Athena & Robikerottsu unit, I had a very different reaction. That was a step in the right direction, I thought. Taking Risa, who has continually been overshadowed in Morning Musume, Aika, and Nakajima Saki and Okai Chisato from C-ute and throwing them together for a super-cute unit. This was the way to go about it– put a few of the lesser-known (and newer, in one case) girls in H!P with a more well-known, deserving member of H!P, and you’ll have success. Throwing Miyabi, Momoko, and Airi together into an anime-based unit seemed as redundant as a regular H!P single. These three girls have constantly gotten leading roles in their individual groups or Berryz Koubou and C-ute Suzuki Airi ft. the Rest of C-ute. Buono was neither new nor exciting. And on a more personal level, I didn’t particularly like any of them. Miyabi was the highest on my list out of the three of them, but she wasn’t enough to save the group for me. I just wasn’t interested.

But here I am, months later and loving Buono, without any explicable reason whatsoever.

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It took me forever to decide on a title for this post. I wanted to get across the point that it’d be about Risako, obviously, but I didn’t even know how to go about phrasing it. I’m not 100% happy about how in turned out– but it’ll do. It was either that, or replace ‘Mystery’ with ‘Power.’ (And then both of them led me to trying to form some pun like… Risakopower!! ga subarashii… and, just… anyway.) Power might be a bit more true to the entry, but it sounds awkward out of context and sounded more like some kind of late-night infomercial on alternative healing or something. But I guess that’s the inevitable trouble I face in trying to describe a girl as… extraordinary as Risako.

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Before I start this one, I just want to note that this entry was highly influenced by the events of my week; the title that reads like some bad scientific paper (and I had one due yesterday morning), the possible incoherence at times in this entry (due to the lovely concussion that I have), and, well, the most important of them all, my final Developmental Psychology class. What the hell does that have to do with Natsuyaki Miyabi? More than you may think!

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The first time I heard about AKB48, it was in a negative light. They were supposedly ripping off H!P’s idol groups, and some fans were not happy—so the information I came across told me.

“What’s this?! Some other idol group copying Morning Musume?! The injustice!” was my initial response. But really, I had to see this for myself. A quick Youtube search for AKB48 brought me to the PV for AKB48’s single, ‘Skirt, Hirari.’ I had no idea what I was in for. When I clicked on the link, I watched as these girls danced around in schoolgirl uniforms. They were all adorable. Some of them were good singers, and some of them were, well, not so good. I was kind of surprised to see some girls (particularly Maeda Atsuko) featured with a big solo in the song with a voice like that. But anyone who’s seen this PV can probably attest to the fact that this PV wasn’t about showcasing the vocal talent of this group. No, no. It was about, literally, skirts, fluttering. Pure and utter fanservice in one of its most obvious incarnations. At that point, my mind was made up about the whole debate—this group was not copying Morning Musume.

Not even close.

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With the release of another U-15 photobook comes the inevitable swimsuit debate. Well– not every U-15 photobook; those shots are a given for gravure idols, obviously, but when it’s someone who isn’t in the gravure industry, the announcement and release of a photobook always sparks this debate between fans. Just recently, Kusumi Koharu released her second solo photobook, POP. Before it was announced, I was wondering when the time for another photobook for Koharu would be. After all, she’d gained massive popularity from her seiyuu work in Kirarin Revolution, was given successively greater roles in Morning Musume (her center position in ‘Onna ni Sachi Are,’ highlights that best), and the slew of H!P Kids photobooks over the spring and summer gave a bit of a hint at what was next to come. And there it was– the announcement for POP. I happened to like the name when it was released– I had pretty high expectations for the photobook (which weren’t entirely met, but that’s off-topic), so I was looking forward to it.

By now, I’ve gotten pretty used to the H!P photobooks pattern– despite the age, there’s a huge chance that you’ll be getting some swimsuit shots. There have been a few exceptions, but more often than not, swimsuit pictures are part of the whole package. So, of course I was expecting swimsuit shots in Koharu’s new photobook, and needless to say, swimsuit shots did show up in POP, but these kind of things create a bit of a split in the fan community.

Before I put a cut on this entry, I’m just going to put a warning out there that there WILL be links to swimsuit pictures in the rest of the entry. I won’t thumbnail them, but I will be discussing specific pictures, so there will be corresponding links. If you’re sensitive to that kind of material, just don’t go blindly clicking on links. 🙂

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So I was browsing through a few H!P fanblogs, and I came across MorningBerryz’s recent entry about the new unit, Buono!, featuring Suzuki Airi, Natsuyaki Miyabi, and Tsugunaga Momoko. In that entry, MorningBerryz asked “Hmmm…if you could create your own mini H!P unit who’d you choose?” And that question got me really thinking. I wasn’t actually too pleased with the announcement of Buono; I liked the name, and I liked most of the girls enough, but they were three major, front-girls of their own groups. There is never a lack of Airi, Miyabi, or Momoko in any of their group singles, so this unit wasn’t anything new and fresh that I would’ve hoped for. I want some of the other girls to really get their chance to shine. So thinking up this group wasn’t too hard for me. Here’s what I came up with.

I apologize for the awful photoshop job there. Don’t have the best image-editing skills, but I think you get the point!

So, why these three?
Tokunaga Chinami – One of my favorite Berryz girls. This one was an easy pick. I absolutely love Chinami’s voice– along with her look, her attitude, everything. She’s so silly and fun, and does not get NEARLY enough lines as she deserves in group singles. She gets her fair share of lines in b-sides, but Chinami is a-side material! She was one of the lucky ones to actually get… one solo line… in Very Beauty, and her voice really puts this lovely little spin on the song. It really turns out well. Her voice in that line, to me, is really full of hope and optimism. She REALLY delivers, even in live shows! Watch this performance if you haven’t before– Chinami’s solo line is just PERFECT.

Honestly, if there was a new unit created, I’d want to see Chinami in it the most. It’s really time for this girl to shine, and getting almost no lines at all in Kokuhaku no Funsui Hiroba was a complete shame. With her personality and voice, Chinami would be a fantastic addition to any unit.

Umeda Erika – Now, anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love Erika. She’s probably my favorite girl in H!P, hands down. She’s gorgeous, has a beautiful voice, is a fantastic dancer, and I love her personality. Now, Erika’s been in a unit before– ZYX, so she has gotten a little more exposure, but I couldn’t possibly leave her out of my dream unit. Erika’s another one that really does awesome, even in lives. Need evidence of how awesome she is?

This girl has real star quality.

Linlin – Chinami and Erika were the easy choices. It was the third spot of this mini-unit that I took a lot of time thinking about. The first ones that came to mind were Nakajima Saki (because I love the relationship that she has with Erika, and I have a feeling they’d work well together) and Arihara Kanna (because she impressed me so much in the most recent C-ute concert DVD). But after going through and thinking, Linlin came to mind, and she was PERFECT for this unit! I think her voice would work really well with Erika and Chinami’s, and her goofy, cheerful personality would fit right in, too. If you’re not too familiar with her voice, here’s a fan-made video featuring a recording of Linlin singing solo:

 Now, I know there’s no chance of a Linlin/Erika/Chinami mini-unit happening (and if it did, I’m pretty sure I’d be hospitalized from passing out from the excitement), unless Tsunku/other H!P people magically tap into my brain/come across my blog, read English, and care, but hey, a fangirl can dream, right?