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Buono! Gets Stockholm Syndrome, and H!P Takes Over the World

Posted on: March 6, 2009

Just announced? Buono… of the Berryz and °C-ute Buono’s… will be appearing at the Stockholm Japan Expo coming up May 24th. Yes, that’s right… before Morning Musume hits up Anime Expo in Los Angeles for the 4th of July, and not too terribly long after HANGRY & ANGRY appear at Sakuracon in Washington state with Smile.dk and girugamesh in mid-April.

Suddenly, the girls of H!P (and associated acts) are winging their way around the world. Sure, Berryz went to Korea for an award not that long ago, and Momusu went to Taiwan, but H!P previously seemed to be pretty content just staying in Japan. But, it seems that somewhere along the way, someone in UFA realized that people from all across the world are willing to drop major bucks to watch underage girls prance around in ways that only safety pants save from indecency.

I don’t know what all of the girls think of this. I’m pretty sure Buono! thinks “Well, we do anime songs, so an anime convention kind of works,” even though Stockholm Japan Expo is also a musical artists smorgasbord or something. HANGRY & ANGRY had their mini-album released in America as well as Japan, so they probably understand too. Morning Musume is obviously kind of miffed, though. Ai and Reina have both commented publicly that they don’t think people will recognize them. Reina sounds much more excited about the potential for good shopping in LA. They have no idea that there are people in the US who care at all, except a handful of wacky gaijin who show up at their concerts in Japan.

Now, I live in the US. Only, I live on the other side of the country from LA. I’m in North Carolina. You can get further away, but not by a significant amount. I’m still trying to find a way to afford to go see my girls. (If anyone wants to finance my trip, I will attempt to make out with the Morning Musume member of your choice and film it. I’m completely serious here. If I hadn’t broken my ankle in November, I’d have money now, instead of debts. So, in order to go, I either need to clear all debts and then stockpile money, or someone needs to pay for me to drool for a few days in July. Living paycheck to paycheck does not give me the $500+ I’d need to comfortably book a flight, a hotel, buy the con badge, the concert ticket upgrade, the miscellaneous expenses, loathe though I am to think about it.)

What does this mean to the world of H!P fans, though? Well, obviously the ones who live where these groups are going are ecstatic. The ones a bit further away, but still within reasonable travelling distance? They’re still very much so excited. Those of us who are far away, but are finding it much easier to contemplate a trip across the country (where our language is still the common one) instead of across the world are still almost peeing our pants.

I mentioned in my 2008 in review post (or some post around that time) that Tsunku had said in his blog that he had plans for 2009 that involved a lot more promotion. And, here we go. We’re 3 months and change into the year and we have what is almost an H!P World Tour compared to the past years of never hopping a flight past the other Japanese islands except to go to Hawaii for the fan club tour.

Morning Musume may not get it yet, but American wota money spends just as well as Japanese wota money, and there are just as many people who could be willing to part with their dollars if they could get H!P items without ridiculous markup and shipping fees. The concert hall that Morning Musume will play in holds 7000 people. They are guests of honor at the convention, and while the ticket upgrade costs money, a ticket to the convention itself is enough to get you in the door, I believe. That means that the hall will likely be full. 7000 people is more than appear at a lot of Morning Musume concerts in Japan. Yet, the girls are confused about why they’re going to America.

Tsunku knows his audience here. Wota are not always so far removed from the otaku they derive their name from. There are those of us who are just fascinated with Japanese pop culture in all of its forms. There are a certain number of them who can rightfully be called weeaboo, but for me? My interest in Japan came primarily from a video I watched in my high school World Geography class about the cultural traditions of Japan. I watched about indigo dying, and sword making, and shamisen playing, etc. The whole while, I drooled over the gorgeous oufits (KIMONO!) and the classical music, and the shrines, and the language (The start of my love for subtitles!). Then, I did a play where I played a daimyo and we sang the classic Japanese folk song, Sakura at the end. I fell hard for the traditional stuff several years before I learned what anime was. Granted, I’d seen some Voltron and Speed Racer and all of that as a kid, but I just recognized it as some fun, old-fashioned cartooning. Yet, as soon as I started to get into Japanese pop culture, my interest ballooned. This is not to say that I lost my love of the traditional, though. After I’d read “Memoirs of a Geisha” a dozen times, I picked up “Geisha: A Life” (or, the true story behind Memoirs…) and fell in love with kimono and dance and even more traditional Japanese arts.

Yet, above all of that, I adore H!P. I love loving the things I love, and I love hating the things I hate, and I love being indifferent about the things I’m indifferent about. If people threw money my way, it would go toward H!P. I’d buy every single… even the ones I don’t like. Every photobook would be mine, even if just to pull out to show people what I mean when I say that Konno Asami’s super-square jaw used to really bother me, as did the shape of Yasuda Kei’s eyes.

I feel like I’ve gone wayyyyyy off-topic here, so I’ll put myself back on track. Tsunku made this decision. And, honestly, the man is gold. It’s seemed like he hasn’t cared for the past 2 years or so, but now he does again, and it’s showing. We’re getting strong singles, and we’re spreading the love and the wealth.

I’m very much so looking forward to this year to see what else is in store. Where else will H!P tour to? If these events do go well, then where will they go next year? I feel more excited as an H!P fan now than I ever have before because it finally feels like there are possibilities.

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3 Responses to "Buono! Gets Stockholm Syndrome, and H!P Takes Over the World"

[…] [Blogs] Super Happy Genki Hyperforce GO! On the Timing of H!P’s World “Tour” Buono! Gets Stockholm Syndrome, and H!P Takes Over the World […]

Whether Sweden or L.A. or Seattle, it’s all good.

I’m in New York City and I am fortunate enuff to be able to afford to go. Got my tix and can’t wait! I really really hope you can make it! Good luck!

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