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[Anniversary] Today, We are One

This is a few hours early, but I don't think I'll remember to post it tomorrow. Also, I posted it VERY early, one month ago today. Ray saw it. The rest of you who did: heh, sorry for the false alarm. This is the real deal.

Funny how time slips away from me. By this time I'd already wanted to get pinkwota.com completely set up on Wordpress. One year ago, Ru and I decided to make this little blog and post rotating reviews and/or good J-Pop downloads to share with our friends who might not otherwise have the desire nor the access. We both started off with nifty little articles chock-full of downloads, and already the potential for our combined J-Pop love became apparent. Now it's a year later. I've gained so many friends, we've all gone through so many things, our Pink Wota family has grown by three other bloggers, we've had guest bloggers, we've seen International Wota's first birthday, we've seen Eggs go solo, units disband, singles fly and singles flop. I've called things wrong, I've called things right. There have been arguments, there have been laughs.

I've done a lot of things around these internets since I first had my 28.8 Prodigy connection back in 1996, but I can say that in all that time not much has been as rewarding to me as a writer and a fangirl than Pink Wota. Sure, fandom is fine in any capacity, but unless you're writing it purposefully with the intention of changing the names later (>__> what, who's doing that? Not me), fanfiction always leaves an empty feeling inside, no matter how much you might love it as your work. I love my work for Pink Wota, and I want to constantly make it better. For myself, as a writer (especially with the advent of Intl Wota Press, which may be my first ticket to true publication. Because this novel doesn't seem to be getting edited. I'd make a joke about a layer of dust, but I wouldn't actually be kidding), and for the readers.

I really hope you all enjoy what's gone on here at Pink Wota v.1. v.2 is on the horizon, mostly because LiveJournal's Domain Aliasing technologies are terrible and I'm not paying for pinkwota.com without any thoughts toward expansion. I may even brave the waters of blogging sites I'm unfamiliar with. I do so hope you'll all follow me when that time comes. Pink Wota's LJ will remain open and active, unless all my fellow bloggers decide they want to follow me with accounts to update on Wordpress (where you can currently find the parked post heralding Pink Wota v.2).

...no cupcakes, sadly. No time for even making a suitable dinner for myself. Grand Opening is tomorrow. Ganbaremasu.
Usually I will hesitate to include a blatant use of profanity anywhere in my articles, most especially in the title, but there just seems no other way to say it. I've been gone for a while, pulling between 60 and 70 hours each week for the last month or so. Our store is open now, and Grand Opening festivities begin on Friday. I thought I'd take this little bit of downtime to mash out a new article. I've missed blogging - it's been calling to me, amidst the endless stream of work/sleep/eat/shower/work ad nauseum. Sure, I've been able to sneak in the odd Guerilla Wota moment - I convinced my first "regular customer" at our Mix 'n Burn station that she had to download Utada Hikaru's version of 'Fly Me To The Moon', and the woman (no less than 55, I'm certain, and a fan of torch songs and standards) ended up asking me to burn a mix of Clazziquai, w-inds., and Orange Pekoe (thanks, Wu!) after I gave her a listen on my iPod. I still have to make that CD, and I don't know how many laws I'll be breaking in the process. Maybe I'll meet her at Panera Bread for the drop-off, I don't know. I've been making sure to face out our copies of Shugo Chara!, though that's far more under the radar than searching up Morning Musume imports through our special order system.

All that is interesting and all, with the capability to hold my attention for days at a time while I don't have internet at my disposal, but not having anyone to fantard with takes a lot of the drama out of...well...wota drama. I can't believe how hard the news of Mutou Mika's departure hit me. She was the underdog, she was the ugly duckling who made me cheer for her despite all the fan-ribbing. And we only ribbed on her because we loved her, right? (You'd better damn well say yes) This was the blow I couldn't understand. I was just as baffled by the hyperspeed move of Manoeri from Gatas to soloist, but with her overwhelming popularity I could understand UFW trying to cash in on the possibility of having another successful soloist after lo these many years and lo these many scandals. Why baffled, why gobsmacked by restructuring within Ongaku Gatas?

Because, futsal gimmick aside, they had potential. I don't say this just out of a biased loyalty to the unit boasting both Yossie and Rika. I say it because their first two singles really were on par with the Big Three of Hello!Project. I go back now to my dear Wu's December post on OG and wonder at how prophecy may have been spoken in that article. Maybe the early album was too much too soon. I look at the line-up that produced NKnBELL and Yattarouze! now and I just can't stand to imagine it without Manoeri or Mucchi. Even though I never got around to a proper review of 1st GOODSAL, my thoughts were proliferated as best I could through the blogosphere - I considered it mediocre. I listened to it and thought "my girls can do so much better than this". I could easily imagine every track being as catchy and danceable as their two singles, but it's just not what happened. To be honest, I haven't even given the whole album more than two or three listens. Which also probably explains the lack of a review. But um, anyway, back on track.

Wu was right. There was a certain intrigue and romance about OG in the beginning, as wota went crazy for Manoeri and I marvelled at KonKon's puffy face being GoneGone (though her voice had improved markedly) and everyone's legs being just amazing.

Pull OG's fan favorite, and its fan least-favorite (though I really do believe all the hate-ons for Mucchi were in jest, for the most part. Who remembers when Tsuji was considered "the ugly one"??), and just watch what happens? Is that the plan, here? I really don't know what the future holds for Ongaku Gatas, but we know a few things for sure: Mai won't be spearheading a new Country Musume (and, frankly, Ayaka's auspicious graduation has me worried if they're on a "get rid of the last vestiges of the Golden Age" kick...) and Rika doesn't have her hands full with v-u-den anymore. This leaves four "major" H!P idols with not much else to do (exclusing Elder Club concerts) and four promising Eggs with not much else to do (excluding backup dancing). I'd have thought the sudden loss of two members would have meant a sudden push with a new single, a new concert, something. But maybe they're biding time on OG. Is it too late for that?

I can't find a suitable answer, and it's too trivial in the long run for me to think about it too much, but I want OG to be in the big leagues (sports pun unintentional, though damn I'm good). They've already got big league talent, and some big league potential. Even without Manoeri or Mucchi, they can and will persevere. But where do they fall on UFW's Priorities List? I'm sure there is one, and right at the top are things like "Release More Risako Photobooks" and "Keep Denying Eighth Generation Photobooks" and "Make HaroMoni@ Less Appealing". Maybe somewhere on there in a scribbled in suggestion: "Market Ongaku Gatas???? Maybe???", but as far as I know that might be under "Remember To Lock Koharu's Padded Cell at Night". Hmmm, now that I think about it, that has to be a pretty big priority. Maybe there is hope, after all.

I hope Vee doesn't mind. Ever since I read her article, I've really wanted to do my own. So, please suffer through mine. I'm not as musically... knowledgeable as Vee (up until last week I didn't know who Jimmy Hendricks was....and I still don't like him but playing guitar with your teeth is pretty impressive...D:)....Anyways, here we go!

If Buono! are out to beat me up, take my lunch money, and have me come crawling back for more, on the metaphorical fangirl level, then they just keep on landing punches. On the metaphorical fangirl level. I've been a busy bee these last couple of weeks, but today I had occasion to check out not only the PV preview, but also the full radio rip, for Buono!'s newest single, Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! (which I've already pre-ordered, of course) (that's where the "steal my lunch money" bit comes in).

I mean, the song is good enough as it is. Catchy, pure Buono!-style, complete with great vocals, arrangement, and a rockin' chorus. Oh, and Momoko's irresistible "Ai~shi~te~ru~!" Thank you, Momoko. I need to be told that as much as possible. :3 If that wasn't enough, the costumes are out of this world. Holding to the "seifuku-gone-punk power" theme that Buono! seems to be adopting, we've got a ties, oh boy have we got ties. But it's not quite that simple. Airi's rockin' an unexpected newsboy hat and suspenders complete with FLAIR, and all of them are bangin' out hardcore in the "close-up" shots.

But. But. Wait for it.

This song has harmonica in it.

Lo! I am raptured!

I think something must have happened to me in a past life, or possibly before I can remember...but no matter what, if a harmonica is involved in a song, that song usually gains a few points automatically. Usually. I'll perk up like a dog to a kettle whistle, get all doe-eyed, and go "ooooo!" But, like all things, the harmonica can be abused to oversaturate a song, but in the right genre sometimes even too much harmonica is too little. Why, yes, I listen to the blues. But I think having a fever and the only cure being More Harmonica came from listening to a lot of Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan in my youth. Dylan, mostly. The Beatles also had their notable harmonica victories. Simon and Garfunkel, too. So, you see, I zero in on the sound of a harmonica like JunJun zeroes in on bananas.

Buono! has the advantage of a harmonica inclusion that is not overbearing and not just a tease, and manages to be just right.

GO~! GO~! BU-O-NO~!

Also, I nominate this song, when written out with the band's name, to be the most gratuitous overuse of exclamation points in the well-known J-Pop library. I desperately want to be proven wrong because I crave the amusement, but I think four in a row sort of wins.
Or not.

This month's PinkCast (because I sincerely don't believe I'll get around to recording another one what with all the Grand Opening craziness coming up on us...) features an amalgam of old and new, J-Pop and American Indie and Brit Alternative and...okay, actually, there's nothing "new" here. It's all sort of dated. And I'm not sorry! How can you resist?

I wavered on whether or not to do a theme that used English-language songs with Asian themes, but when I figured out that, aside from 'Rains in Asia', I only really had 'Big in Japan' (Alphaville's version) and 'One Night in Bangkok' to choose from, I decided to shelve that idea. So I went with no theme at all. Bizarro Vee! Me do opposite of what normal Vee do!

I have some flash-lightening pink hair color to apply to my lovely Masae-inspired coif, and I also purchased a flattening iron so I can take proper care of the style. Finally, huh?

Hee hee, I'm listening to my Dream Live 3rd soundtrack and I am endlessly amused by how unexpectedly deep and sexy Hirofumi Araki's voice is. This is only amusing if you're familiar with what Araki looks like. For reference, check out the layout I did for ashkta, my idk bff/fellow blogger over at Date Kouji Can't Stop Crying. By the way, WE plan on doing a full-on running commentary to 'Boys Love' when she travels into town shortly...be on the look-out for that, it promises to be good times. Especially since it is, at it's core, a RIDICULOUS FILM.

OK, here comes the PinkCast!

x 01 x Rains in Asia x Jump x
x 02 x Yokushitsu x Shena Ringo x
x 03 x Lovestruck x Iko x
x 04 x See/Believe x Frente! x
x 05 x Call My Name x Garnet Crow x
x 06 x This is Cracker Soul x Cracker x

PinkCast 04


P.S. - One error - the "dicking around on guitar" quote is from Mr. Show with Bob and David, not MST3K. Bad me!


[Roundtable] Betrothed by Voice

Raid asks, and I answer. In his latest entry, he makes a compelling argument for the three singers he would marry based purely on voice. After explaining his choices comes this little nugget of why I love the blogosphere: "That said, I'd love to see some other bloggers' own views on the matter. ... Who would you guys marry based purely on voice?

Keep in mind, I am aching from head to toe, I really should just go to bed, but as blogging is something that gives me an intense rush of joy, I had to crank this one out. Raid, man, I just can't resist a direct address.

The answers may surprise you! Or maybe not. Depends on how well you know me...Collapse )

...now I'm so tired it's not even funny. But, there you have it, Raid! And anyone else who might care.

[Article] These are Unmei

Well, ten hour shift of unpacking and shelving is imminent tomorrow as Panama City Beach attempts to open its first Borders store, with yours truly at bat. It will be a fantastic hotspot for literati and just plain cool people. On the downside, I'm weary to my bones from yesterday's sort, but on the upside I'm really hyped to get stuff done. I don't know really, why I'm opening a Pink Wota article with a lengthy treatise on my own state of being, but in my most Garrison Keillor of moments I like to pretend that I can mix my personal with my objective blogging and something great will come of it. Hopefully this will not be people just scrolling past my introductory paragraphs; hopefully this will be a little way to bring you all inside my head, to show I mean it when I say "comfort blogging".

I was feeling very down and out about Pink Wota this week. Maybe it was just a lack of serotonin, or a lack of adrenaline, but suddenly it seemed like I couldn't, and didn't really want to, keep up with the crowd. Celestia said pretty much everything I wanted to say regarding the Resonant Blue Another Version PV, except this: Sayumi and Eri aren't exactly resonating sadness when they're having a ball at the amusement park. :\ It just seemed out of place. Everyone else seemed sorta lonely - even the Pandas. But Sayu and Eririn? Just chillin', eating ice cream. "Oh, I'm sorry, were we supposed to be resonating sadness? Okay, we'll just glare at the camera, here."

And yes. Koharu more than makes up for making me want to punch her for smiling all through the Dance Shot by being smoking hot in the story footage.

Thus, finding not much to say about current events in the J-Pop world - and learning that one of my longtime friends is going to be in Japan with the JET program for Ayumi Hamasaki's 10th Anniversary Tour (and has more or less promised to bring me back swag of epic proportions) - I find not much to do here on Pink Wota. Just a slump, just a slump.

What lies beneath is an article I've been kicking around for a month or so. It's not much, but I like to think a good retrospective is nice once in a while.

No secret that Melon Kinenbi's This is Unmei is one of my favorite H!P songs of all time. No secret that I practically worship Masae Ohtani and modeled my new split-level hairstyle after one of her many incarnations. No secret that Melon Kinenbi is just fantastical.

But what struck me as I started to stalk YouTube, watching performance after performance by the group (spurred on quite a bit by the live-footage PV of Charisma, Kirei, is that they work more effectively than any other H!P commodity as a live act. I don't mean this in the arena sense of "knock your socks off" showmanship, not really. Morning Musume, Berryz, C-ute, Ayaya, Gomaki, all have put on amazing concerts and cannot be discounted as things unforgettable by fans who have had the pleasure of seeing them in person. But Melon Kinenbi brings a more dressed-down, "club" feeling to their performances. This translates very well onto DVD. Most notably in their recent fan club release, ~LOCK ON!~

So I began to compile the live clips I could find of my favorite Melon Kinenbi song - This is Unmei - in order to extoll the virtues, the evolution, and the mystique behind Melon Kinenbi live.

Unmei dakara...Collapse )

[Eyecandy] Biyuuden's Last Stand

As we all know by now, Biyuuden's last single is here. I was very interested to learn that the last single would be an old school Morning Musume track. But by jove, I really love it. And the PV is so bittersweet. Such an amazing song for them, too bad it's the end.

Well, let's enjoy it while we can, ne? I want to bask in glory just one last time.

So, are we not supposed to be staring at their asses?

I'm not complaining. In fact, I'm having a bit of a crisis, here. The "image" of C-ute was already starting to shift to a more mature one with Tokkaiko Junjou, only to be obliterated by LALALA Shiawase no Uta. Now, with Namida no Iro, they are rocking the sort of smouldering sexiness that U-15's are far too good at pulling off, sometimes. Even Morning Musume's having a problem pulling this off lately. But, if nothing else - even if the debate of "is this too sexy too soon" consumes the blogosphere, I'll make two things known now:

1) I like the sexy C-ute. Nay, I LOVE the sexy C-ute. They seem more at home with this PV and with Tokkaiko Junjou.
2) If nothing else, these next few months should be magnificent for Hello!Project sales. There are passionate fans for every upcoming release - this, Anataboshi, Resonant Blue, Nannimo Iwazuni I LOVE YOU...an EPIC second quarter for H!P seems evident. At least, I can hope so.

Maybe it's my big sister complex kicking in and they're not as sexy as I see them, or maybe I'm a dirty U-15 pervert in disguise. Whatever the case, they manage it with demanding poise. Does that make sense? Take a look at the PV. They're dancing their hearts out (no knee-flapping or goofy moves in sight...), rocking wonderful costumes, and everyone (even MaiMai D:) seems to be saying, with her eyes, "bring it on". Oh, C-ute. You are working your way up my Hello!Project favorites list steadily and surely. True to the most optimistic speculations across the blogosphere, LALALA Shiawase no Uta seemed to just be a wrinkle in the C-ute fabric. It's almost (almost) safe at this point to assume that Berryz is being marketed now toward the safe, fun, charismatic "Golden Age MoMusu" crowd, and C-ute is playing right into the hands of the current J-Pop market. Which is fine by me. That the Kids groups seemed far too similar in the early couple of years was troubling, but I think here in 2008 they've finally discovered identities - or UFA has shaped them into those identities. Or maybe I'm just wildly speculating. Or maybe I'm just so excited about how cool this PV is that I'm going to try and spin some sort of credible yarn into my review without just slobbering my fangirl all over the page.

All that said, let's talk presences. Maimi (and her ass) is the Number One draw, as usual. And she deserves it. She looks absolutely stunning, sounds absolutely stunning, and...is Maimi. Is it just me or does it seem that she's grown about three years since we last saw her in that horrid pink furry chicken suit PV? Airi is, again, a force to be reckoned with, but much like my beloved Koha of Morning Musume, my beloved Airi of C-ute just doesn't seem to know when to turn off the kawaii and go for the kakkoi. She's stellar, vocally, as usually, and her ass looks great, but she's just a tad too happy-looking. This is not a happy song. It's not like she doesn't look great with a more sorrowful expression - past PV have proven this. But when she's singing, her whole face lights up. It might just be me, but it seems incongruent with the song and the rest of the images. Erika is the surprise winner of the PV, with numerous close-ups and a kickin' hat. MaiMai still pisses me off just a tad, and if I had any complaint about this PV she'd be it. But, I take C-ute as a whole, and she's part of the package. When she grows up by a couple of years I'll probably love her. Nakki, despite an unfortunately-screenprinted t-shirt (thanks for the free advertising, but this is a video about asses), looks downright fabulous and icy cool in something I would've worn while I was in high school (and probably did, with a different graphic. I'll try to find photos. That hat is just TOO familiar). She gets her fair share of screentime, as well.

It doesn't matter to me that Kanna and Chisato are shortchanged in the screentime department, because Chisato (my sentimental favorite, if you know me) just SHINES in this video, with a calm, mature radiance I always expected but never...prepared myself for, I suppose. If I could stop talking about these girls' costumes for a moment, I would, but I can't. Seriously, Chisato's outfit has to be my favorite, with the rad off-the-shoulder sweater, the single fingerless glove, and those boots. They're finally doing her hair right, too. She looks like a mini-me of Ohtani Masae, and I could only hope they'd follow this "punkish" image forward with her. That's just me, however. Every moment she's onscreen, she's completely in control. Kanna doesn't have the same sparkle, probably because they stuck her with the most unfortunate costume. Oh, well. Ass check? Terrific. This makes up for it.

What a great PV, what a great song. The lighting, the staging, the dancing, the screentime given to every girl - it all seems to be the antithesis of Resonant Blue (though I loved the dance on RB...I seem to be alone in that department...T___T). I'll quickly cast my vote for Namida no Iro (so help me, everytime I type that I want to type LOVE Namidairo!!!) having the best dance of this round of singles. The PV is a toss-up; are we even considering Dschingis Khan with this round, since it's already been released? Regardless, the styles are SO dissimilar, it doesn't matter! Berryz wins in their own way, C-ute wins in their own way. An ulcer that was threatening to form over my divided loyalties regarding the Kids groups has calmed, finally. Because they are now markedly different...if only UFA keeps this up.

Now...tons of screencaps, with commentary!!!Collapse )

[Article] Collab Creation Dreams...

In light of the recent Avril Leviathan (nope, I'm not a fan)/Puffy AmiYumi collaboration news, I thought instead of writing what would basically amount to an article agreeing with six of one side (I don't think Avril Lavigne is a talented songwriter by any means, and it sort of cheapens Puffy in the eyes of a lot of their longer-established American fans) and half a dozen of the other (Puffy will be able to say they have more to their name on the American cred tip than "Teen Titans", Avril is probably a fan like the rest of us and, you know, good for her in some way), it would be more productive (and fun!) to write an article about American/Japanese musical artist collaborations I'D love to see.

Of course, this whole thing is just a flight of fancy. But shall we just agree that Max Matsuura reads my blog, and might get an idea from this? And, hey, this is an open invitation for a blogosphere-wide dialog on Dream Collaborations. Because, of course, everyone has their preferences!

My Top Five Pipe Dreams...Collapse )


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