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[Article/Pimp] Diary of a Mad H!P Fan

Where have I been, blogosphere? Where, oh where has Vee gone? I'm sure you've all missed the absolute nothing I bring you, but I've noticed that a lot of blogs on IW and elsewhere seem to be slowing down. I have a nice little excuse tied up in a pretty bow, though: I've been experimenting. Technically, I've been running this experiment since late last year, but just now is it all beginning to coalesce into something that's worth writing about.

Before I tell you a little bit about what it's like to be an H!P Groupdubber, though, I'll share with you this:

...that's me, dancing Tokaikko Junjou on my new YouTube account (pinkwota) after my last account (ShadowOmega) was not-so-ceremoniously suspended and purged by avex's lawyers. D: I think this dance is head and shoulders above my last attempt - Honto no Jibun, if you remember - and I really wish for it to meet with the approval of the fan masses. Well, the fan masses who like to see overweight American wota gals replicating dances originally done by 80 pound Japanese girls. Eh. I did my best, and I'm happy with it.

I have a survey to complete, too, by none other than one of my favorite people in whole blogosphere, Celestia, but duty calls for the moment.

We are the ones who search 'Auditions Needed' on a daily basisCollapse )

Here are a few links to acquaint you with the magical world of H!P YouTube Groupdubbing:

"Groupdubs I'm In" [My playlist.]

"Kanashimi Twilight" [This is an example of a single singer stealing the show. I made this dub - organized it, stressed over it, mixed it, and let me just say that all those comments about JPNSinger101 sounding "just like Miki" are RIGHT ON]

Chibi♥Love do 'Koisuru Angel Heart' - Nami and Mari are my favorite singers on YT, probably, and it's all because they sound so AMAZING together.

KawaiiiMusume [The great original]

HenryProvince [I'm this dude's #1 fan - he rocks it out, and I am so glad to hear a guy daring to sing H!P songs. We're set to do a duet of 'Sakura Mankai']

And, as if all that weren't enough, I feel compelled to share things I can't share elsewhere on YouTube - namely, my Ayumi Hamasaki songs that would get me banned. These are my favorites to sing. Boo.

"Independent" by Vee
"Evolution" by Vee
"HEAVEN" by Vee
"Pride" by Vee

...will that do in lieu of a PinkCast this month?

[Survey] Cutie Party's Music Questionnaire

1. What was the first Japanese song that you ever listened to? Traveling back in time, I'll admit it was 'Give A Reason' by Megumi Hayashibara, which was the theme song to one of my first anime series', Slayers NEXT. I would say it was the Tenchi Muyo or Sailor Moon theme song, but it wasn't - I didn't listen to either of those in the original Japanese until after I'd fallen in love with the Slayers soundtracks.

2. Did it inspire you to like that group/singer, or did it turn you away? Totally inspired me. I was spending hours downloading huge .wav files of ripped tunes by Hayashibara, and ordering (expensive, and still usually bootleg) anime soundtracks soon after. I still love listening to all those old CD's - Hayashibara's voice stands the test of time. Back in the day (1996-1999?) it was a common thing to say Megumi Hayashibara was the most overrated thing in all of J-Pop, because of her connection to anime. At least that's what I kept hearing whenever I'd go on bbs and ask for more info about her.

3. What is the one song that you have been listening to for the longest time? Wow...I'd say Ayumi Hamasaki's 'Trust'. Or Matsuura Aya's 'Ne~e?' or 'LOVE Namidairo'

4. What group/singer have you liked the longest? This has to be Megumi Hayashibara, but since I never followed her beyond about 2001, I can't say I know much of her stuff from beyond then. Actually, I know none of it. So...if we're talking about time I've followed a singer/group's actual career, that would have to be Morning Musume.

5. What is the song with the most plays on your itunes/media player? It says here Melon Kinenbi's 'Saa~! Koibito ni Narou'

6. Is that song your favorite? It's definitely in my list of favorites, yes. But I couldn't ever pick a "favorite" song and be 100% sure about it.

7. If not, what is? See above. If I had to make an educated guess at this, though, I'd say it's a toss-up amongst Garnet Crow's 'Float World', Ayumi Hamasaki's 'Humming 7/4', and Morning Musume's 'Say Yeah! Motto Miracle Night'

8. Is there any one group that you can listen to all/most of the songs by? Ayumi Hamasaki. I have yet to find a song of hers that hasn't had multiple listens by me, even if I claim I don't like it. I will still listen to it over and over, just to confirm that. Usually I'll end up liking it. Funny, that.

9. What is your favorite agency? avex trax, most definitely. Ayumi, Namie, BoA, AAA, Koda Kumi, Kato Kazuki, and now Maki Goto? Wow, they're lookin' to take over the world, and I'll go right along with that.

10. What is your favorite group/singer? Well, this should be an easy one for most, shouldn't it? However, I must make the distinction between group and singer. Garnet Crow is my favorite group. Ayumi Hamasaki is my favorite singer. Distinction made so I can provide two answers to one question.

I should be in bed. Now I'm up listening to old Slayers songs.


[lol avex] Welcome back, Gomaki!

avex really has a way of turning its idols into tarted-up, high-dollar hookers.

I am just sayin'. I'm not sayin' I disapprove, I am just sayin'.

Icon is appropriate.
PREFACE: Those of you close to me have heard, no doubt, whether directly or indirectly, that I've been staid from blogging due to a finger injury. Well, I'm writing this little bit of nonsense in a rare hour or so of unbandaged glory, while my finger is still board-straight and not prone to danger, but I don't have a pesky half-ton of splint and gauze weighing down my dominant hand.

So AiWish wrote an article that really got me thinking, about things I've thought of again and again. Remarkably, it's not so much the argument about Japanese wota being batshit crazy that taps into my blogger urges - I'm in full agreement that these guys are almost unilaterally creepy and overzealous. Even when I consider the "older" Western wota that I know personally or semi-personally, there is no way they come anywhere near the infamous dudes on the Berryz wotagei video.

What sparks my interest, rather, is the concept of "wota" being a subjugated term, much like "otaku" has become here in America over the last ten years. It's not even worth it, for the most part, to explain to the 14-year-olds in the manga section that otaku was and is a derogatory term in Japan. Don't bring up the murderer news story. Just smile and nod and hope they don't wreck the section so I'll have to come and re-organize it later. Those who know the origin and meaning of otaku either don't buy into it and politely keep their mouths shut over the whole categorization issue, instead using the more appropriate Western term "fangirl" or "fanboy", which is equally derisive amongst certain social groups but comes nowhere near bearing the stigma of otaku...OR...they feel the need to point it out to everyone who uses the word, along with pitch-perfect pronunciation. These are also the people who painstakingly correct how others say "manga", or, even more ridiculously, "yaoi", because lord knows there's a correct pronunciation for that...okay, I'm ranting. It's been a while and I'm working on a new book. Ray at least will know what I mean by that. Either way, we're still part of a fan subculture wherein a term has been propagated and reinvented by its Western wannabes (what? Americans, steal things from other cultures? No wai!). Now that the anime and manga fandoms have become phenomena here in the United States, it's unlikely to change the way up-and-coming fans view their newfound cultural identity. Having a cultural identity is part of what makes being a genre fan so much fun, especially in your early teens when life is one huge crisis after another. Even if you're worrying about whether daddy will buy you a Benz or a Range Rover at your Super Sweet 16 bash, being a teenager is nothing but drama. Trust me, I remember. I have really embarrassing journals to prove it. So, you don't really care about the history of the term "otaku" - you just know your friends are using it, the net is using it, and that's what you are. Search up "otaku" on Google, if you dare, and you'll understand if you don't already.

Such is how I feel about "wota". The word, not the people. If I were to go out on a limb, I'd say that the Wota propagation began with the AW/IW crowd. I would love to see it grow, but I'm not sure it will. J-Pop is still such a fuzzy area, even to existing consumers of Japanese culture in the United States. Idol groups are the biggest problem. Looking past the "pedophilia parade", as one coworker dubbed the H!P concert I was watching on YouTube at work, looking past the commercialization of young, attractive, scantily-clad girls...it's a difficult thing, I would imagine. As a young girl, it's easier. As an older girl - as an older anything - it's hard. Let's face it - it's nearly become illegal to have fun in the United States. Everything, even genre (almost especially genre) has to be SRS FKNG BSNS or else UR DOIN IT WRONG. God forbid I listen to Ayaya to feel happy to put a smile on my face before work, god forbid I do the Love Revolution dance to boost morale and look goofy in the process. I just don't see these things catching on with the OMFG SRS FKNG BSNS crowd of fans out there today. Bitches don't know 'bout J-Pop.

But enough of my curmudgeonly tirade, there. What I'm saying, dear readers, is this: in a culture where identifying yourself by what you like and what you do is the norm, we are wota. It's a subjugated form of the original term, yes, but we are just that. We're a subjugated form of wota. After all, the vast majority of us don't even have access to half of the things Japanese wota do. But we still enjoy our idols, they still make us happy, they still make us angry, and we still listen to the music. To follow the news and developments of Japanese idol groups, even casually? You're doing more than 99% of the Western population. You're something different, buckaroo. You're wota. So you're not waiting in line for five hours with a clutch of perverts for a chance to catch a glimpse of Risako, but you're this thing called wota nonetheless. What does it mean, in the United States and beyond? In places other than Japan, what does it mean to be wota? Well, I think we're laying down the groundwork for that, now. If we play our cards right, those of us who show pride and a modicum of self-restraint early in the stages of J-Pop's Western spread (and let's hope these are early stages...and that the fad doesn't die away and turn us into foreigners preaching the gospel of long-since-defunct groups ten years after the fact...) will influence the way things will go from this point forward.

Which isn't to say we're that important. Hooray! Five more people are showing a passing interest in Morning Musume! VIVA LA REVOLUCION! Still. What did I say before? Not everything is SRS FKNG BSNS, and that's not how I'd like wota to be seen in the non-Japanese world. Catfights, shit-talking, lots of things I could point out? At least we're not all drooling over pantyshots of Mai, but those things still turn me off from being a vocal wota - and have recently made me consider giving up blogging, and turning it over to the blogging maneaters. I'd like harmony, balance, and a genuine loveliness that just can't be defined. Wait. I'm talking about the Golden Age of MM.

Maybe that's a nice guideline, right there.

Ever read The Outsiders?

Be Golden Age, Western wota. Be Golden Age.

Now the splint goes back on, and I shut up for another stretch of time. I'm sure some of you love that part. ;)
I know this first bit should go on Date Kouji Can't Stop Crying, but humor me. This is a BFD.

Well, a couple of days ago I chanced to check the Official Prince of Tennis Musical Site, and I was at first excited beyond all comprehension to see a new cast list up for Hyotei - mostly because several of my boys were returning. I could have predicted that Kato Kazuki, Takumi Saitoh, and Date Kouji would not return (though I don't get why no one can see "no reason why Date isn't returning" - EXCUSE ME HELLO HE HAS GIGS, TOO. Just because he isn't an avex superstar-in-waiting like Kato doesn't mean that he isn't playing the little clubs and DEAR GOD I WANT TO SNUGGLE THAT BOY), but I could never have expected the ***DRAMA*** that played out in relation to their replacements. OK, just one replacement. Apparently Oshitari's and Date's replacements were well-received by the Japanese fans. The English-speaking ones didn't seem to have THAT much to say about them either - only lamenting that the old guard wasn't returning. But Atobe? Oh my God. I would never have expected this, but it happened: A CAST MEMBER WAS KICKED OUT OF THE PRINCE OF TENNIS MUSICAL because of what bordered on fan REVOLT. He was cast for nepotism, I hear on the grapevine, and he's been a bad boy who's been photographed doing pretty much everything Kago Ai has, only with the opposite gender. >__> And he's only 16. Not to mention, fan revolt was mostly over the fact that he was...well...not Atobe. "They kicked him out because he was ugly" many fangirls have espoused, though this is not entirely true. He's a cute enough kid, but "cute" is hardly the embodiment of Atobe Keigo. I'm just sayin'. So, in what was perhaps the week's greatest upset, A-no-be was booted from the TeniMyu cast rather unceremoniously. The official website APOLOGIZED for the inconvenience, in a way that sort of made me think "sorry about that whole Atobe mess, we promise we'll try to get it right next time." nicovideo clips read of multiple thanks and expressions of relief for this decision. Ouch. Poor kid.

Now that you've read all that (or haven't), on to the reason I really opened the UPDATE window in the first place.

They changed the High King video.

NO YOU GUYS I'M TOTALLY SERIOUS THEY CHANGED IT. And they took out one of my favorite parts (Reina's cute little "juunichi" camera hog replete with spinning inside-the-platform point-of-view. That whole sequence is gone. Well, Hell. That was half of what made the PV sparkle for me. Not just Reina, but the whole look of that sequence.

Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love C/C

The actual guise of a PV review is just a cover for the fact that I want to say a few words about this song. Now, Tsunku knows what makes good music, but oft-times he'll throw in a few elements that destroy the broad picture. With 'C/C', I think he finally manages to get it right after a long spell of "almost, but not quite". It's not the main hook, although that is wonderfully cliche R&B made for mass consumption at its best.

It's the chorus. How the beat suddenly changes, how the quality of the vocals shift (and the vocals are already pure quality - every girl on this single is made of win), how the tango rhythm is punctuated by the minor key transitions of the girls. That sort of thing, musically, burrows under my skin in a very pleasant way. This could have easily been another 'Kowaranai ai ga Hoshii no' (it even has the "YES YES YO!", though only a few embarrassing exclamations of "COME!") or 'Suki Sugite Baka Mitai' (super-group, anyone?).

The blend of voices is just superb. The more mature-voiced girls are complemented by the "kawaii" ones. as for the PV, if Takahashi Ai could stop fidgeting with her face and hat for about five seconds she would be pulling off something genuinely sexy. Reina needs something other than those ponytails. Saki, Maimi, and our new favorite Egg (except Sayaka. Sayaka is still my favorite) need more screen-time, but look fabulous.

My favorite part is how the camerawork breaks down the old "spinning platform" thing at the 3:00 mark - that's very well-done. And Reina brings home the gold star for her ultra-cool and ultra-kawaii treatment at 2:40. Most people will call that camera-hogging. Those are the Reina-haters. Watch for them.

To be honest, I was hoping for a more dynamic dance. This has its moments, certainly, but the old 'Krishna Arms' gimmick is getting old (though I like how they handled it in this, better than 'Resonant Blue's take). I mean, these girls are all AMAZING dancers, right? Oh, well, we can't have it all.

All told, I can't stop listening to this song. and I really hope 'High King' isn't just a one-time deal.

[Personal] Why We Blog

I think, or at least I would like to think, that my reaction to Brian's survey, without even the context of writing, says all that needs to be said about my reasons for blogging. I've found myself thinking about these questions, my answers, the existential purpose of me as a beautiful and unique snowflake in the blizzard of blogs, off and on since he posted it. The prospect of finally typing up my answers gave my pause, but it also made me smile. I knew I couldn't plan ahead on the whys, because I find that my fingers have a bizarre habit of typing whatever they damn well feel like regardless of how much forethought I've put into whatever I'm writing. This explains my consistent tangents. Case in point, now.

This is for Brian, but it's also for me. If other readers and fellow bloggers may derive some edification or inspiration from it, to whatever end, I'll be doubly satisfied. These are things I think about occasionally, but never for too long. Only when the chips look down on the personal end and I decide to take it out on my outlets. So, onward with the soul-baring.

I want those Sharks With Lasers on Their Heads.



[PinkCast] All Killer, No Filler

Sorry for stealing your line, Ru. >__> This PinkCast presented without comment, because why would I record something if I had the presence of mind to write an article?

I'm currently obsessed with Sayaa-kun, but that seems secondary to my obsession with Robert Downey, Jr., which was around before Iron Man, THANK YOU.

I recorded this yesterday, on my day off.

x 01 x Aiko Kitahara x Little Honda x
x 02 x Morning Musume x Wagamama x
x 03 x Ayumi Hamasaki x SURREAL + evolution + SURREAL x
x 04 x Shuntaro Okino x Cloud Age Symphony x
x 05 x Hyotei Gakuen (TeniMyu) x Koori no Emperor II x

PinkCast 05



...make this one it.

I sort of jest...but not really. As the concert that took place just a few days prior to the press release announcing Ayumi Hamasaki's diagnosed deafness in one ear, Countdown Live 2007-2008 10th Anniversary, it sort of makes sense that watching this made me wonder where Ayu had gone and what they'd done with her. Who was this woman singing? Trying to sing? I didn't know.

On May 9th Ayumi's Official Website (look at them making an English page for it. Bless, they try so hard) announced the upcoming release of the CDL 07-08 DVD. The DVD version of any CDL concert is always interesting to compare next to the "live" television airing, as the vocals are usually cleaned up and the direction is almost always better. But I will be most intrigued to see what they do with this one. It was a lackluster concert, at best. 'Together When...' and 'untitled ~for her~' were definitely the stand-outs. Some of the stagings were very innovative and fun, especially Ayumi in a leather Catwoman costume for the coda of 'Ladies Night', but there is a give-and-take between showmanship and vocals. Her vocals were, for the most part, atrocious during CDL 07-08. She started off about a quarter-note off in 'talkin' 2 myself' and rarely recovered. I was so shamed, watching the concert I'd personally hyped like a well-paid shill, that I daren't breathe a word of it at length on Pink Wota. Well, here I am to tell you: not the Ayumi DVD you want to buy. If you want to see a great show, pick up her Tour of Secret disc set.

Or, if you're a completionist/masochist like me, you're going to go ahead and get this one anyway. After all, it does have Ayumi in a Catwoman costume. The price is way too much for something like this. For ten dollars more on YesAsia you can pick up the stunning Countdown Live 2004~2005 - worth every penny, that one.

I also note, with no small amount of amusement, that every shred of CDL 2007-2008 has been stripped from all my usual internet streaming video sites. Not that I blame avex at all.

But here's someone - a die-hard fan, at that - telling you it's a trap.


Pinkヲタ - A Fangirl's Perspective on J-Pop
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