Friday, March 26, 2010

Bijo Gaku Preview

Here is a preview of the new Hello! Project television show. While it is only a short preview, at first glance it sort of has the feel of a mix of the early days of Haromoni@ and AKB48`s Nemosu. My initial reaction is one of slight disappointment as I was hoping that we would see more of a comedy show ,however without seeing the full product yet ,it maybe wrong of me to judge the show without at least looking it over.

So I will toss the question to the readers and ask how do you feel about the new show, given only what you see in the preview?

Michishige Sayumi Becomes A TV Regular

Morning Musume`s  Michishige Sayumi along with former member of  Morning Musume  Yaguchi Mari and former member of Country Musume Satoda Mai have been named as  cast regulars for the TBS Midnight Show "Aimaike!" (Ambiguous) .The first episode will air on April 9

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Watarirouka Hashiritai #1 on Oricon[Updated]

Watarirouka Hashiritai, the unit made up of AKB48 members Oota Aika, Nakagawa Haruka, Hirajima Natsumi, Watanabe Mayu and Kikuchi Ayaka has entered the Oricon daily charts at #1 with their new single Akkanbe Bashi.

Akkanbe Bashi has a classic children’s song feel that is written in a way that is not only fun to listen to, but supports the individual members voices perfectly .The dance is cute and simple to follow.

If one didn’t know better this could have easily been taken from the pages of the old Hello!Project unit Minimoni as Akkanbe Bashi  definitely has that type of fun  & cute vibe to it, that can appeal to a cross section of listeners and ages . Watarirouka Hashiritai is a fun unit, which is worth the time to check out.

UPDATE- The single will also take the weekly #1 spot on Oricon


S/mileage Short Of 10,000 Smiles

The S/mileage girls have posted in their recent blog posts that they are 2,000 short with only 3 days left. Second hand reports put the number at 1,000 short after their recent fan event.

This is the last chance to get the word out or send in your pictures. Yuuka-chan feels that if they fail, they will not have a debut .My feeling is that they will reach their goal in the last seconds, just as Meetan [Ohori Megumi] of AKB48 reached her challenge on the final day.

Here is how you can help them. The following is the translations for sending in your picture, row by row, box by box of their photo entry section.

Step 1 Boxes in order

Your email address
o o -Female or Male
If you want to get their email magazine, check the box [The magazine will be in Japanese]

Submit button

Step 2 Boxes in order

Is a confirm section

Bottom bars

Left -Edit , Right -Go to upload page

Step 3
Upload your picture

Tanaka Reina Becomes A TV Regular

Morning Musume`s Tanaka Reina has become the first member of the current lineup to score a regular TV position. Tanaka will be a part of the cast for TV Tokyo’s Uta no Rakuen starting April 4.

Uta no Rakuen is a viewer’s request singing program, where viewers send in song requests for the cast to sing in a theme style setting.

Friday, March 19, 2010

AKB48 New Weekly TV Show [Update]

The Idol Queens AKB48,  have added another weekly variety show to their programming list.
The new show is called "Ariyoshi AKB Kyowakoku"[“Ariyoshi AKB Republic/Commonwealth"] and will air every Monday night at 25:25-25:55.

With this new program AKB48 will now have weekly  national variety comedy shows  airing on  Mondays,Wednesdays and Fridays on three networks ,TBS,NTV and TV Tokyo along with 1/48 AKB48 Yonjuuhachi bun no  ichi show on Enta 371

The show will be centered on the AKB48 trainees ,each week five trainees will be shown going on missions for Ariyoshi Hiroiki ,while AKB48 regular members will appear in the show's studio to provide commentary and support . Should the trainees fail in their mission , they will have to endure a penalty game.

Hosts- Ariyoshi Hiroiki, Kojima Haruna

 Ishiguro Atsuki, Shimazaki Haruka, Shimada Haruka, Takeuchi Miyu, Mori Anna


Thursday, March 18, 2010

AKB48 Wins Special Award

AKB48 Wins Special Award

The current Queens of Japanese Idol genre AKB48 also picked up a Japan Gold Disc Award, winning the Special Award honoring their overall achievements to the Japanese recording industry for the year 2009. With very little effort coming from other idol agencies to try to dethrone AKB48 , their firm control of the  female idol genre , rapidly growing sales and rising mainstream popularity look set to see no end. Look for AKB48 to make winning awards a routine event.

Mano Erina Wins Best New Artist Award.

Mano Erina Wins Best New Artist Award.

Solo idol Mano Erina has won the prestigious Japan Gold Disc “Best 5 New Artists”
Award. The Japan Gold Disc Awards is one of six yearly award programs that music artists can be nominated to receive awards. Being nominated for this level of award is an important accomplishment for any artist even without winning and it really sets the artist apart in the eyes of industry top brass from others in the industry. Mano joins Jasmine, Super cell, Big Bang and Hilcrhyme as this year’s winner for their 2009 body of work.

A little about the Japan Gold Disc Award

The Japan Gold Disc Award was established in 1987 and honors artists and their works for their great contribution to the Japanese recording industry .The awards are intended to let music fans recognize the achievement of their favorite artist’s actual sales for the past year.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

SKE48 Aozora Kataomoi PV Review

AKB48 sister unit SKE48 will be releasing their second single on March 24 .The new single is called Aozora Kataomoi and the promotional video features them performing on the roof of a high-rise building. Now I will be the first to admit that I have not followed SKE48 as close as I should have, saying that there is just too many idols in Japan and to some degree Korea to cover everyday is not an excuse and it has only been recently that I have taken a real interest in this unit.

 Aozora Kataomoi features SKE48 members Matsui Jurina, Matsui Rena, Yagami Kumi, Kinoshita Yukiko from Team S and Mukaida Manatsu, Takayanagi Akane, Ogiso Shiori from Team KII.

Each member brings their own special charm to this video especially front girls Matsui Jurina [it`s hard to believe she is just 12] and Matsui Rena, who knew that behind that cute smile lives Gekikara, the lunatic Queen from Episode 8 of Majisuka Gakuen. The double Matsui`s are definitely stars on the rise and look set to have popular careers. I apologize to SKE48 fans for not spotlighting the other members in this article; however, each one did have moments that caught my attention from a talent standpoint.

As for the members in this video, the  thing that I am reminded of in the presentation, is how much more talented they are as idol singers as compared to other idol groups. This however is to be expected from any unit created by the legendary Onyanko Club founder Akimoto Yasushi.

As for the video itself ,it`s really just a standard idol dance/close-up shot that you see coming out of most idol companies ,however what sets this apart is the overall package. It`s refreshing and impressive to see what a company can do to a standard idol dance video, when the company supporting them cares more about turning the group into a  franchise and not a fan service . The  rooftop setting ,the helicopter flyover shots ,the member shots, the music and the performance, along with the cheering crowd all gave the impression that this was an AVEX group and not idols and that is the point of this presentation to show the viewers that SKE48  like their big sisters AKB48 are pop groups 1st and idols second. It`s the little things that are worth the short term loss in production costs, that sets groups apart from others and leaves the viewers impressed and wanting more.

It takes a lot for me to be impressed by any music video or group, from the standpoint, that I will watch it more then once or recommend it to idol fans.  My standards have changed over the years, and what I am willing to accept from companies and groups has changed, and SKE48 with the release Aozora Kataomoi went a long way in impressing me and is worth the time to check them out on video or in their live events.

Aozora Kataomoi is a homerun in terms of quality and will help SKE48 in the years to come to pass other idol groups and it definitely will not be the last time that SKE48 appears on this site.

Gikikara [Matsui Rena]

CD Japan

Monday, March 15, 2010

Queen & Elizabeth :Love Wars [Updated]

[Update-Replaced deleted video and added CDJapan sales link]

AKB48 members Itano Tomomi and Kasai Tomomi have come together to create a dream collaboration unit known as Queen & Elizabeth. The double Tomomi`s are representing their Kamen Rider W drama characters, for a likely one off single Love Wars.

The single will be released on March 31.

CD Japan

S/mileage Major Debut Single Preview ?


With S/mileage racing towards their challenge goal, they have started singing their possible major debut single in live concerts.

The title is "Yume Miru 15sai" and the general theme is a 15 yr old girl with a dream. While it`s hard to get a good feel from live concert audio ,the song at first thought comes off to me as a sort of C-ute style release .

I expect the single to do well as they are a fresh idol group and this industry loves fresh, new groups. With a number of Idol groups or soloists scheduled for May releases, they could face a difficult ranking battle.

S/mileage taking their challenge campaign to JR Kaihimmakuhari Station in Chiba and it was a day of mixed results.

If you notice, S/mileage best results came when they asked girls and boys not much older then them.

In general, this should be H!P target crowd .It is something that has worked for AKB48.

Bijo Gaku

 Bijo Gaku is the new Hello!Project Television show that will start airing April 1. Not a lot of details is known at this time, however if the name is any indication of what to expect, then we could be facing another interview type program.

While I have hopes that Hello!Project will someday  return to their comedy variety show roots,  given the rise of AKB48 and other new idol groups outside of Hello!Project drawing media interest  my hopes are not that high anymore .Who knows anything is possible in Idol genre.

This story will be updated as more news comes out in the days ahead.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Musume 10 MY ME Radio Previews [Updated 2]

Morning Musume continue to release tracks from their upcoming album 10 MY ME.

Morning Musume - Moonlight Night ~Tsukiyo no ban da yo~

"Ooki Hitomi" (Kamei Eri, Michishige Sayumi, Tanaka Reina)

Morning Musume - Namidacchi

[Up Date]
More radio releases from the album

Ano hi ni Modoritai" - Takahashi Ai, Niigaki Risa

"Ame no Furanai Hoshi de wa Aisenai Darou?" (MM Chinese Ver.)

Osaka Oishiinen" - Mitsui Aika, LinLin, JunJun

Update #2
Loving You Forever

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Help S/mileage reach 10,000 smiles

Help S/mileage reach 10,000 smiles

Based on the members of S/mileage`s tweeter accounts they are around 6,000 short of passing the 10,000 smile photos debut challenge. Here is how you can help them. The following is the translations for sending in your picture, row by row, box by box of their photo entry section.

Step 1 Boxes in order

Your email address
o o -Female or Male
If you want to get their email magazine, check the box [The magazine will be in Japanese]

Submit button

Step 2 Boxes in order

Is a confirm section

Bottom bars

Left -Edit , Right -Go to upload page

Step 3
Upload your picture

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

10,000 Smiles For S/mileage[Updated #3]

Hello!Project`s ,newest unit  S/mileage has been given the “giant” task of collecting photos of 10,000 smiling faces and paste each one on a mosaic board. The payoff of the March 25th deadline is a major label debut in May. If they fail, who knows maybe Tsunku will leave them on top of Mt.Fuji, I kid of course.

 This is a tremendous promotional campaign for the new group, with the bulk of the photos coming by uploads to  S/mileage`s newly opened web site photo submission area, allowing fans to upload their pictures for S/mileage.

My first thought  about this challenge was that it was missing one element that would have made the challenge more meaningful.

Imagine S/mileage having to go from city to city completing their debut mission. Imagine video of the S/mileage members running around Shibuya asking to take to pictures of random people and that mission being played out each week before our eyes as S/mileage travels from city to city fighting to complete their mission. Ah! The possibilities.

Well no sooner was the ink dry on this little thought, the young ladies of S/mileage, started tweeting away the following.

“At the Tsukiji Market
Distributing the flyers
talk to me very friendly i was very happy.

Photos that the 4 of us took
is around 100”

Looks like the girls are working hard to reach their goal, it`s just a shame that Hello!Project can not  free a TV station out of the grip of AKB48,to watch it all unfold .Other tweets, mentioned the girl’s school members joining in.

Regardless of the  outcome for S/mileage challenge ,they are already winners as mainstream media has started to notice the challenge . It`s also not just the media that has taken notice , many fan communities outside of Japan have joined the fan communities here to send in pictures as follow up tweets have reported pictures coming in from foreigners . Messages are also being posted on sites that have no interest in Hello!Project ,offering to help S/mileage only because the members are cute and the challenge is fun to be a part of and they want them to face victory. Everyone it seems  is jumping on the S/mileage train and this has the young group ,excited and pushing forward.

There is no question that since 2004 Up-Front/Hello!Project`s management has often looked more like they didn’t know their head from a hole in the ground ,this is  however not one of those times.

In the last few days an considerable amount of effort has been underway to make sure that S/mileage`s major label debut will be a success .So far we have seen S/mileage members bump Morning Musume member Tanaka Reina off  the radio for their own show. This was followed by the opening of an impressive web site ,individual tweeter accounts , blogs and now this campaign.

While S/mileage ,still have much to learn yet, before the keys to the agency can be handed over to them ,the foundation for a long future is starting to develop before our eyes.  Let us not kid ourselves here , massive change will come at some point to Hello!Project ,that is just the way this industry works. The industry craves fresh groups and will continue to do so and we may see many more stroke’s of brilliance in the future out of  Up-Front/Hello!Project`s management in regards to S/mileage as they prepare for that day.

The 10,000 smiles  challenge for S/mileage is a taste of the future and the past ,after all a certain legendary Hello!Project unit ,known as Morning Musume also faced a debut challenge. Morning Musume passed their challenge and their legacy  is well known.

Who knows ,maybe after S/mileage passes their  challenge and their career is born ,we maybe finding ourselves debating a few years from now, the next generation S/mileage member auditions airing after their entertaining until the bus comes skit on S/mileage`s weekly TV show or asking ourselves ,can S/mileage continue their record of top 5 singles. Only time will tell ,however some signs are starting to point towards a plan for S/mileage ,one that was possibly first tested 13yrs ago with a 50,000 single release challenge.


UP-Front has provided subs for the S/mileage challenge message

S/Mileage hard at work “hitting up” their elder sister units for photos

Update #2
If S/mileage came to your office with a camera, would you tell them no? Answer-S/mileage gets the photos.

Update #3
S/mileage visiting Omokirii PON! To take smile pictures and to promote the challenge

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hangry & Angry To Tour Europe

Former Morning Musume Members turned  Pop Rock group Hitomi Yoshizawa (Hangry) and Rika Ishikawa (Angry) will be going on their first tour of Europe in May .Hangry & Angry ,have some Visual Kei elements to their look and sound , but are not true Visual Kei artists.

This mini tour presents Hangry & Angry a good European feeling out tour, after having toured in Japan and performed in Taiwan and the United States.

Tour Dates:

23.05.10 Sun Columbiaclub Berlin (Germany)
24.05.10 Mon Tavastia Helsinki (Finland)
27.05.10 Don The Underworld London (UK)
29.05.10 Sam La Maroquinerie Paris (France)

Ticket Information:

Top Secret from Hangry & Angry`s debut album Sadistic Dance

Thursday, March 4, 2010

S/mileage New Single [Updated]

Hello!Project`s  newest unit S/mileage have been continuing their preparations to join their big sister units as a major label recording artist by recently taking part in a series of Fan Club events this month.

The media and fans have really taken to these  young ladies  and if early feed back is any indication of their future  then "the age of smiles" ladies  could find themselves equaling their big sisters °C-ute, Berryz Koubou and H!P lead unit Morning Musume with a string of their own top 10 singles.

While it is still much too soon to place a projection on the future of S/mileage, the seeds for success are clearly in place .When looking at what could be in store for S/mileage all you need to do is look at the company they keep. With °C-ute, Berryz Koubou and 16 million in sales Morning Musume as teachers, S/mileage has three of the industries elite units to learn under.

S/mileage features all the tools for success, youth and idol cuteness along with growing singing abilities. With careful guidance from their elders, S/mileage could develop the skills needed to make a major impact in the world of Japanese idol music.

S/mileage will have one more Independent release “Otona ni Narutte Muzukashi!”  On March 14, before their major label debut.

Otona ni Narutte Muzukashii!!! Preview. [Updated radio preview replaced by PV]

S/milage`s most recent Indies release
Suki-chan PV

Morning Musume Genki Pikka Pikka Preview

Genki Pikka Pikka a song off of Morning Musume`s upcoming 10th album “10 MY ME [Juu MY ME]” has made it`s debut on radio.

Given that this is the first track released to radio, it is likely to be the main promotional track for the album.

Genki Pikka Pikka is a very much a Morning Musume type song and is typical of recent Morning Musume releases, meaning that your either going to like it or not, on first listen.

For those that like the track, it will take you at times to Morning Musume`s earlier sounding days and you will take to it right away. For those who just can`t find the love yet for the track at first listen, it may take a few turns to find the love.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Berryz Koubou Brings the WAO! [Updated]

The close up promotional video version of the Berryz Koubou second double A side single Otakebi Boy WAO! has been released. Having the close up come out, before the traditional version, is an interesting change of pace from the same old same old formula.

While it`s clear that the vocals have had some tweaks to enhance the overall single, it takes nothing away from the overall single.

All the members vocals really stand out in this release, In fact all the members certainly brought their vocal A game to this work and have nothing to be ashamed of.

It really seems as of late ,that any idol group not named Morning Musume ,have been coming out with singles that you wouldn’t mind hearing more then once and if you’re a fan of Berryz Koubou, this is one to be proud about.

Close Up Version

Normal Version