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Posts Tagged ‘berryz koubou

Up until about 2 days ago, I didn’t like one particular Berryz single… “Tsukiatteru no ni Kataomoi”. I don’t know what it was about it (probably the fact that it was the first Berryz single to be released as I became a fan of H!P, but there was such a mismatch between the song and the image)… I seriously just avoided it as much as I could. But, it seems that a few years of Berryz appreciation and the recognition that Berryz is probably my single favorite musical group right now and my being on Youtube looking up concert clips two nights ago just all came together. I was glancing at dance shots for a moment, came across the “Tsukiatteru” one… and the song and dance have been in my head since. I barely know the song, but I was singing it something fierce at work yesterday… much to my co-workers’ dismay. I had thought it a little too strange, but as the Berryz I got “used to” was the Berryz who did “Dschinghis Khan” and “Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance”, now “Tsukiatteru” just don’t feel out of place, which is nice. That one song being not-a-favorite felt weird, so I’m glad I’ve finally conquered my preconceptions.

Also… the 2009 Winter Wonderful Hearts concert? Wow, all of those girls knocked it out of the park. I was very impressed. Although, favorite performance had to be “Mr. Moonlight” which surprised me because that’s pretty low on my list of Momusu songs, let alone singles.

5:40am. It’s time for me to go to work. ;_; Cry, cry, dono kurai… but… naichau kamo!

One of my favorite things about H!P? The dance shot. I don’t know why, really. All I know is that watching formations of attractive girls dance to the music I love with few or no cuts… totally makes me happy. It’s probably also why H!P PVs don’t often disappoint me. As they tend to be little more than dance shots with some mixed in close-ups, it’s right up my alley.

So, without further ado… my Top 20 favorite H!P dance shots.

1. Berryz Koubou – Special Generation

It was this video that started my love for Berryz, and especially for Captain. I saw that little girl dancing her heart out… make the mistake like most people thinking she was the youngest (because DAMN was she tiny!), and just… fell in love with this dance. Watching these girls move like that in those boots? It’s impressive. I can watch this one again and again and again… and I certainly have. I pretty much learned the girls’ personalities from this PV. Except Maasa. But, I love her now, so… ^_^

2. Morning Musume – Iroppoi Jirettai

“New image” aside, I think this is Mosumu’s sexiest dance, and perhaps also one of the most playful. The girls are seriously smokin’ hot throughout, but you get glimpses beyond like, like with the little “tag, you’re it” move. Just… watch those hips. They’re magical. This might have been one of my favorite incarnations of Momusu… They’re coordinated, but not overly so.

3. Goto Maki – Some Boys! Touch

Only Goto Maki could do this… show up in an ensemble pulled from both a cavewoman and a cowgirl and dance in front of two Hard Gay imitators and make me LOVE IT. This is perhaps one of those ones that is kind of lovely because it is ridiculous, but at the same time? Watch the Sansa SanDisk commercial. It’s really just Goto Maki moving to this music, which does show me maybe it’s not just the LOL factor or the “Gomaki… drool” factor.

4. Milky Way – Anataboshi

I distinctly remember hearing this song the first time and thinking something was wrong with the audio file. It’s hard to believe I love this song so much now, but half of it is the OMG COLORS of the PV. I love that Kikkawa Yuu is always kind of slightly-behind or slightly-ahead with her dancing. The use of the tambourines is great. Granted… I severely dislike Sayaka’s outfit, but what can you do, right? This raises my heart rate *every time*.

5. W – Koi no Fuga

This was the first W song I ever heard. I was searching around on Veoh for something (probably Momusu or MiniMoni) and saw a link to a live performance of this. I loved the outfits, and the girls, and searched around. First, wow is it difficult to search for a group whose name is a letter, and whose other name (Double U) is the name of another artist. As it is… this is where my Kago love truly sprang into action. She’s so damn cute in this, but with just a hint of sexiness. I love the kind of incesty-twin thing they’ve got going on, plus the outfits, plus the song itself… I’ve seen the regular version PV for this maybe 3 times because I always watch the dance shot.

6. Morning Musume – The MANPOWER!

I cannot be the only one confused at first about the fact that this was the regular edition PV. Here it is the dance itself that got me at first. (Although, my first introduction to it was a 2005 Music Station performance where they’re in baseball uniforms.) The only thing I don’t like in this is the move where Yossie looks really bored as she ducks down across the front, and *then* delivers an awesome “Yeah~!” I have actually learned this dance… along with about 3 others on this list (which I’ll list as I come to them) and 2 other easy ones (Momusu’s “Hyokkori Hyoutan-jima” and Mini Moni’s “Strawberry Pie”). It’s just… fun.

7. Berryz Koubou – Jiriri Kiteru

First off, I love the lighting and the energy in this dance. One of Berryz’ more complicated dances, they handle it well. I also cannot ignore the looks the girls give as they’re touching each other up. It’s awesome. I mean, granted, for a girl, I’m a huge H!P perv, but still! The coordination is awesome here, and the girls really seem to be feeling it, so it’s great. And who doesn’t love the ending pose?

8. Buono! – Gachinko de Ikou

Yes, for all that Buono! are great dancers, they’re barely in the top 10, and it’s all Momo’s fault. If I wanted to see her stick her ass out, I’d look at one of her PBs. Still, hot girls in heels are a total YES. I’m impressed with the jumping in those heels, too, although less so with Momo because she isn’t wearing a stiletto like the other girls, despite being the oldest. But, like the music… the dance is quirky and fun, so it’s at least this much win. ^_^

9. W – Miss Love Tantei

This is such a FUN dance. There are so many lame pseudo hip-hop moments, and “detective” moments… There is a handful of hot girl-on-girl touching, and hip shaking, and Kago having no idea what to do with her legs, and it’s awesome. I must really love W in white in front of orange-ish backgrounds. ^_^ I just really like watching it.

10. Viyuuden – Ajisai Ai Ai Monogatari

Rounding out the top 10, my favorite Viyuuden song, which is the fault of this PV. The girls are all dressed super-different, which almost makes it feel as though this was a practice run. This is another H!P dance that I’ve actually learned, and well! I swear I can watch this just for how Rika’s skirt shakes. This dance is Awkward!Love for me. I mean, how lame is the part where they lock arms? But, I love it. (Granted, I had to up it to Youtube since the only dance shot versions I could find there were a flipped one and a few groupdub ones.)

11. Goto Maki – Glass no Pumps

I wish the super-slutty-looking bg dancers were not there, but Goto Maki’s breasts and legs are the stars here. I absolutely love the energy of this dance, as well as that little rotating crouch move. It’s sexy, but not as overtly so as “Some Boys! TOUCH”.

12. W – Ai no Imi wo Oshiete

I have tried, for years now, to figure out what the hell the girls’ skirts are made of, and I think I’ve just given up. So, okay, this dance is absolutely ridiculous. It looks more Mini Moni than W, and that might be why I love it. The girls look really happy throughout the PV, and the fun part is that at the end of it, you get to see Tsuji retrieving something (A hair? A string?) from her outfit that had obviously been bothering her throughout the filming. Yeah… cause the dangling ribbons didn’t tickle enough.

13. Berryz Koubou – Dschinghis Khan


I couldn’t decide between the versions of this. The first version has happy galavanting children and flashing lights, but not really enough actual DANCE. The second has (2 sets of) weird costumes (3 if you think the original costumes are), but more dance, which is fun. This is another H!P dance that I actually know… probably because it’s not too difficult. I would have ranked this higher, but it really doesn’t deserve it. It’s good, but not better-than-the-regular-PV good, and with such a simple, repetitive dance? I’m amazed I ranked it this high.

14. Morning Musume – Kanashimi Twilight

From the first moment, this PV POPS. Various somewhat-punky schoolgirl outfits rule, and Ai’s high-kicks? DROOL. Yossie during her solo? ALSO DROOL. I kind of know this dance, but only because I know where to jump, and toss my head pretty much. This was the first Momusu dance shot to come out after I got into H!P, so it’s probably just part od that “special place in my heart” thing, but I love it. It’s simple, but well-executed.

15. Kusumi Koharu – Koi Kana

This is the one Koharu PV where I don’t think her legs look impossibly gangly. Also, her air-star drawing? Awesome. This is spastic Koharu before it went into overkill mode, and I appreciate it for all that it is.

16. Morning Musume – Resonant Blue


This one also has 2 (well, 3 counting the original) dance shot versions. The original is good and all, but I prefer these two. In the one shot dance version, it’s just impressive to watch the way the dance comes together. The Lesson Studio version, though, is awesome. You get to see the backs and fronts of the girls at the same time. Because of the angle, Linlin and Aika are hardly seen. And Junjun, Eri, and Sayumi (especially Eri) are pretty irresistable throughout. It’s also neat to see the girls dancing in what is supposedly the clothing they like to practice in the most. (Although, seriously, Gaki? Because of the lack of lighting, you look like you’ve wet your pants in some shots. And Reina’s pants are just ridiculous for trying to move in.)

17. Viyuuden – Aisu Cream to my Purin


Another 2 shot-er! First up, the Elegant Dance Version. Everyone’s boobs look huge in those costumes, although Rika looks disturbingly like she’s trying to channel Marilyn Monroe. This is the better version of the video for not looking awkward, really, but for pure drool factor, it’s got to be the Pretty Dance Version. The girls in bunny suits never fails to impress, even if Rika’s nails are super-awkward at some points because of everything hanging from them. This is seriously the video I show to all guys that I think could get interested in H!P.

18. Buono! – Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!

Once again, Momo’s ass is everywhere and she has the easiest heels to dance in. What’s really impressive here is how well the girls can jump in place. Also, I really like the costumes here. Sadly, I think the dance is a little convoluted (with all of the posing and jumping) or else this would be significantly higher.

19. Mini Moni – CRAZY ABOUT YOU

Mini Moni didn’t do a whole lot of dance shots, and this is probably on here for sheer camp value. The song is really good, even if it never really feels like Mini Moni. The dance is cute hip-pop all the way, and it is all about trying too hard. The outfits are ridiculous, but that’s probably 1/3 of the fun right there. Mika, like always, looks really out of place and kind of fat, but it’s not as noticeable here as it is in some things. She actually blends pretty well into the singing because she doesn’t have as much accent, and that helps blend her into the PV better, too.

20. Berryz Koubou – Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance


This also gets two dance versions (kind of). First up is the actual dance shot which, really, was one of the reasons I did this post at all. I was watching it and going, “You know, I really like parts of this. The two outfit colors are used in such a way that there’s usually not a person of one color off by herself (as happens in Momusu’s “Naichau Kamo” and °C-ute’s “LA LA LA Shiawase no Uta”), also? Repetitive bum-touching combined with hip rolls!” However, having just fallen in love with this dance shot, it places low on my list… but still places! The Monkey Version, while not having much of the actual dance… has fun, and lots of it. The girls show PERSONALITY, and that’s why we all love H!P, right?

There are a few honorable mentions here…
I love Koharu’s Balalaika, but her legs look soooo gawky and gangly and chicken-y that I just can’t quite get over it, even if she looks otherwise great. Also, I really wish the bear was there in the dance shot, too. ^_^
Also, there is a °C-ute song that might have made it on there if it had an actual dance shot: Massara Blue Jeans (hip thrusting and chearleading uniforms for the win). W’s “Koi no Vacance” would be 21 for sure, but a lot of it is the costumes and how they look being danced in, sadly. And, really, I can’t forget Momusu’s “Onna ni Sachi Are”, or the fun that is Berryz’ “Gag no 100kaibun Ashite Kudasai”. Both are all over the place in different, but wonderful ways.

I realized that I’ve never posted my personal rankings on here before… though you guys probably know my favorites from comments here and there, and least favorites from the hate I have been known to babble on about, but want to know how it all actually falls? Well, here we go. (Psst… I put my specially made ranking pictures after the explanations in order to save some surprises!)

MORNING MUSUME
1. Junjun – I really don’t know why I love her so much. She is not all that beautiful, really, but there’s something about her. From “Onna ni Sachi Are”, I knew she was my preferred panda, and each clip I’ve seen of her, and every note I can hear her sing, just brings her up another notch. She has this grating irritating throat voice she uses sometimes (like during certain points of Alo-Hello 3), and I’ve grown to love that too. She’s quirky, and not perfect, but she’s just so natural that I adore it.
2. Takahashi Ai – I’ve always been fond of people who can do just about anything, and Takitty is that in a nutshell. She is the overall package, and I think I find her more interesting for that than if she had a loud personality, as well. She’s satisfied being the talent of the group rather than the overall focus, and I’m okay with that too.
3. Kamei Eri – I like fanged girls in the first place, and I like idols with good thighs as well, and then you add in her bubbly, weird personality and awesome dancing abilities? If I liked her singing more, she’s probably top Takitty.
4. Michishige Sayumi – Imagine my surprise to see one of the most “untalented” girls rank up here, but Sayumi is intelligent, plus beautiful, and that’s sexy to me. I don’t care if she acts like a 7 year old studying physics. I LIKE that in a girl. And she is much-improved.
5. Kusumi Koharu – The other “untalented” one, right? No. Not quite. Koharu is a force to be reckoned with. She’s not a consistent singer in the slightest, and may not have a lot of vocal power, or dancing prowess, but when she really tries? It’s there. The miracle does happen.
6. Niigaki Risa – I am surprised I ranked Mame this high, actually. I don’t think she’s that pretty, or that talented, though I’ll give her genki. Still, her whole personality seems forced. Actually, I think she’s only here because of Cinderella. Risa’s man-voice is good, but once she gets into her upper register? It kills it for me.
7. Tanaka Reina – I used to love Reina. She was my end-all, be-all fantasy girl. But, then I got well-versed enough in H!P to realize that she’s such a one-trick pony. She’s got some talent there, it’s true, but it’s inconsistent. And with as long as she’s been around? She should know better.
8. Linlin – You guys all expected me to put her at the bottom, didn’t you? Well, she *is* close. But, I do sometimes think that Linlin is not that horrible… unless she’s singing. I really hate her voice. If it hadn’t been for the cooking portion of Alo-Hello 3, she’d probably be dead last.
9. Mitsui Aika – But Aika’s last instead! I don’t like her voice, I think she’s annoying, she’s too cutesy to be anything I actually want to look at… I could go on, but I just don’t care. If she wasn’t in a PV, I don’t think I’d notice at all.

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BERRYZ KOUBOU
1. Shimizu Saki – Okay, say what you guys will about Captain… but take the time to get to know her as an idol and you’ll probably love her, too. Yes, she does not photograph beautifully. She always has the cheesy poses and grins and all of that. But, watch her in videos. Watch making-ofs and DVD magazines and specials. She is fascinating. She blushes about being a leader, but she takes charge of it. She dances divinely with a more nuanced performance than anyone could expect from someone her age, and her singing isn’t the best, but is still serviceable and then some. She does amazing harmonies. And, oh yeah? She’s super-hot now.
2. Natsuyaki Miyabi – I’ve always been kind of fond of Miyabi, though much like Takitty, she’s up here for talent. Plus, her shyness that comes out now and again is adorable.
3. Tokunaga Chinami – To a point, I feel like I’ve hopped on the Chinami bandwagon… but I feel like I discovered her in different ways than a lot of her bandwagon fans. Because of everyone pointing her out suddenly, I took special notice of her while really getting into Berryz and watching PVs and making-ofs and specials, etc., and found that the hype was validated. Her voice isn’t great, but it is charming.
4. Sudou Maasa – Maasa is a force to be reckoned with, and I didn’t even realize how much until recently. Her vocals are kind of awesome. Her voice is similar to Saki’s, but smoother. Her lips are awesome. And, now we know she looks good in a bikini.
5. Kumai Yurina – I have no strong feelings about Yurina one way or another. She’s kind of water in the bottom of a pot to me. It’s there, it has the potential to be useful, but it’s not exciting in the slightest.
6. Sugaya Risako – Socko may be way down my list, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like her. I don’t think her fame is deserved, and most of what I have against her is her popularity versus her talent. She’s not that good, and often doesn’t even try that hard, so I wonder why she is consistently the front girl. She’s much-loved by fans, but that just seems to perpetuate a vicious cycle in which all of the other girls get shafted, except maybe Momoko and Miyabi, and they’re both in Buono! as well. Risako is getting there slowly with her talent, and I have faith in her, but her spot on this list comes mostly because of how I hate the fans who fawn over her every performance, especially the ones where she is quite horrible.
7. Tsugunaga Momoko – Momoko, I swear, is the bane of my ears’ existence. She squeaks, she shrieks, and she does so with a tone I would kill a piece of electronic equipment for making. In 5 years, she’s gotten a bit taller and filled out a tiny bit, and her voice has dropped a few notes and strengthened a bit… but she is otherwise exactly the same as she was. She’s been in the business longer than Reina, and has changed even less. Also, I don’t find her attractive. And her personality? I find it even less attractive. Yet, I wouldn’t have Berryz without her somehow.
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°C-UTE
1. Arihara Kanna – Kanna, of the currently-not-in-°C-ute-and-wasn’t-there-in-the-beginning-either is my favorite. She’s always last place in the H!P store sales rankings for some reason, despite the face that she’s beautiful. Yeah, the teeth on the right side of her mouth are shorter than the teeth on the left side, but it’s interesting looking. Kanna is also strange in that she is often photographed using un-idol-like behavior. Kanna can look downright surly! It’s hilarious! Plus, her love for Airi… her cute voice… I would love to see her do something I could stand to watch her in, since I don’t like °C-ute. You may ask then why I’m bothering to rank them. Well, I tried. Being an H!P fan, it’s hard to just avoid a group altogether… and I did try with °C-ute, a lot… so I have gotten to know the girls, though not as well as I know Berryz and Momusu. Continuing on!
2. Suzuki Airi – Airi’s voice does leave a little something to be desired… there’s a quality to it that is a little rough, but she’s still a good vocalist. She’s the domineering force in °C-ute, and the laid-back one in Buono!, and I love her for it. She is also praticularly attractive, though H!P tends to like to make her hair bigger than her head… which doesn’t work much for anyone.
3. Hagiwara Mai – Mai has the occasional bit of surly to her as well. Add in the attractiveness, and the fact that she’s a better vocalist than Risako “for her age” and add in the huge sunglasses that were her youth? Mai’s pretty cool, and really the last of the girls of °C-ute that I claim to like.
4. Umeda Erika – Erika is kind of like Yurina for me, only she’s not as attractive, and they like to give her hair like Airi’s with it being bigger than her head. I think she looks awkward and doesn’t sound all that great and is rather blah. Also, she has chipmunk teeth without the chipmunk face needed to pull it off.
5. Nakajima Saki – This Saki does not impress me much. I don’t like her look, her smile frankly makes me wet myself, though I can see that she does try hard. That gives her points, at least. She’s also a pretty decent dancer, though not nearly as good as better!Saki.
6. Okai Chisato – You all expected Chisato last, didn’t you? I give the girl enough grief, don’t I? But, Chisato has improved slightly. She is not an eyesore anymore, though I still can not stand her voice. Her tonal quality is wretched.
7. Yajima Maimi – When I originally wrote this out, I has Maimi at number 5, but as I started writing these little explanations, I realized… there is no excusing Maimi. She may be much-loved, and such a forever-front-girl, but she can’t sing, she dances awkwardly, and while her face can be attractive? It bothers me just how little she has in her bra. It’s as awkward-looking as her dancing. Her thighs may be the milk and honey of the gods, but I still think her voice sounds like she’s singing through a stoma.
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Now, to rank the current H!P groups/soloists.
1. Berryz Koubou
1.5. Morning Musume
3. Buono!
4. Kusumi Koharu
5. Shugo Chara Egg!
6. °C-ute
7. Mano Erina

My notation for Berryz and Momusu? It means that I’ve come to terms with the fact that I slightly prefer Berryz at the moment. They’re making better songs, and they’re being more consistent… and I like consistency. However, Morning Musume is still way up there… only very slightly behind, and they’ve got a lot more history, so they’re still number 1, just not as much. I know that’s lame, but they’re just that far in my heart. (That’s also lame, I know.)

Did I forget anyone? I figure Elder Club is technically gone at the end of the month, so I don’t need to rank them, and these are the only girls left in H!P other than the Eggs. (Though if I included them as a group, they’d be at number 6 instead.) Mano has potential, but her voice is kind of, um, bad. In a way, it’s worse than Koharu. At least Miss Crack-tastic always puts her all into it.

It’s March 3rd… the 5th Birthday of Berryz Koubou! On this date, Berryz released their first single.

“Dakishimete Dakishimete” makes the 6th annual Berryz Koubou single release to drop in March, so let’s figure out which is best? These are listed in order of release.

berryz_anata
1. Anata Nashi de wa Ikite Yukenai – The debut Berryz single!
(c/w BERRY FIELDS) In the PV, you are treated to more plaid than is probably healthy to witness, but it’s a great introduction for a group that has grabbed my heart quite a bit, especially considering I initially considered them rather untalented. And let’s not forget the girls in their other outfits… with the sideways caps on scooters, and playing on escalators, and just having fun. Both the main track and the c/w track have a lot of distortion to some of the vocals, and I think BERRY FIELDS is actually better sung. It was kind of the first Berryz theme song. A good handful of their songs have the word Berry or Berryz in the title. Overall, a fun single, and with pretty good distribution of lines, too.

berryz_gen
2. Special Generation – The one that got me into Berryz!
(c/w Koishiteru Toki wa Itsumo…) I saw this PV on Youtube(specifically, the dance shot) as I was watching through a bunch of Morning Musume videos. It came up as one of the videos to watch after everything else I watched, so I broke down and watched… and am now the Berryz fangirl you see before you. From the beginning, Captain was my favorite, despite her not having a lot of lines, or really many at all. But, she danced the heck out of this, and the song really grabbed me, too! It’s upbeat, not badly sung, and really shows the Berryz character. To be honest, I never noticed Maiha in this, except that she was the other girl in the white shirt, but I’m probably one of the few Berryz fans who thinks they’re better off without her. (I think it would have taken quite a bit for her to be able to grow into her face.) Then, there’s the c/w track. Berryz have a history (to me, at least), of having strong c/w tracks that wouldn’t really have appeal beyond the fans (excepting Furare Pattern, of course). This is one of those songs that really demonstrates that to me. This is a nice little ballad-y song with a decent amount of emotion in it. And, once again, good line distribution. Sure, the a-side doesn’t have it too much, but all of the girls at least get good shots in the PV. Overall, this is still one of my favorites.

berryz_jiriri
3. Jiriri Kiteru – The one that made me realize Berryz are HOT!
(c/w Toshoshitsu Taiki) This song is also one of my favorites. A lot of the music sounds almost classical, but with a big twist. The PV is also good. The dance is one of my favorites, and all of the girls are either doing so well in their running/crying scenes, or they look so hilarious that I can’t begrudge them their inability to act. The c/w doesn’t seem to fit with the a-side at all, but it’s still a nice song… though VERY similar in sound to Koishiteru Toki wa Itsumo… for me. There are the same kind of awkward sounding high notes that have become a Berryz charm point for me, a similar tempo, etc. Overall, again, one of my favorites.

berryz_verybeauty
4. Very Beauty – The ballady thing that divides all Berryz fan between Risako lovers and haters!
(c/w Gaki Taishou) The PV for this really is gorgeous. The dance shot bits are a bit overdone (the outfits can be a bit much to take in comparison to the simple outfits for the close-up bits), but everyone looks good, and almost everyone sounds good. I do not like the chorus to Very Beauty because it always sounds like someone is off. But, I even like Risako’s solo lines. This has some of those high notes that are typically reserved for the c/w track, and they actually work rather well here. Then, comes the actual c/w track which is much more upbeat and not too dissimilar from Berryz first single, but with more of a focus on the girls’ voices which have already improved drastically. Overall, a pleasant change from their previous singles, but not too large of a departure as to seem truly out of place. Not a favorite for me, but still very strong.

berryz_dschinghis
5. Dschinghis Khan – The one that sticks in your head and got an official remix single!
(c/w DARLING I LOVE YOU [Berryz Koubou ver.]) If you count in the two remix PVs, there are an astounding 13 versions of the PV. The regular, the dance shot, the Mongolian dance shot, the close-up, the 7 solo close-ups, and the two kinds of dancing sheep… and I love each and every single one. I was familiar with the song this was based off of, and Berryz killed that version in so many ways, some probably in ways old Genghis Khan might have disapproved of.
The song is so upbeat and fun, and so are all of the PVs. Everyone is loving it, except maybe Miyabi, and she’s still faking it well enough. This is widely accepted as a good Berryz song, so I’ll talk about the c/w track now. °C-ute had their own version of this song on whatever their single du jour was at the time, but Berryz owns their version, too. So, it’s two different songs that demonstate that Berryz does it better. Overall, two thumbs, a sheep, and a keytar up.

berryz_daki
6. Dakishimete Dakishimete – The new one!
(c/w Sono Subete no Ai ni) Somehow, the c/w track has leaked for this already, possibly just so I can do a full single review and not just a PV review. Although, I think I’ve covered all of my thoughts on this song and PV already. It’s awesome, wow Maasa’s voice, almost even line distro, persons A through G are HOTTTTTTT doing this/that/the next thing. Then, the c/w? It’s bringing back the ballad-y song with the higher notes that Berryz has done for about half of these. Only, everyone sounds really good now. The harmonies sound absolutely awesome (Thanks, Captain!) and Risako has really learned how to take control of her voice. Granted, it still needs a bit of work, but she’s getting there. Overall, this single holds promise to be among my Berryz top three, and the a-side is definitely there.

What I find here… is that all of the March Berryz singles are good, and are among their best songs. I cannot pick a favorite. 4 of the 6 are among my personal favorites! Does H!P just try harder around the anniversary of Berryz’ debut? Maybe not… but maybe the girls do. Props to them because I am falling something seriously hardcore for this group. Also, it’s been 5 years… and Momoko has not changed in the slightest. She looks the same, and sounds pretty much the same, too. But, that may be why she (and Reina from Momusu) is so popular.

On a side note, congrats to Maasa for getting her first PB! I’ve seen a couple of the bikini shots, and damn, girl! That’ll definitely be worth a look, and I have hope that the other Berryz girls will finally get PBs this year. Chinami could have one of just her legs, and it would sell well, and Captain needs one desperately. She’s just gotten more and more photogenic over the years, and while she doesn’t take the best pictures all the time, I think if the right photographer was brought in, it would work.

Let’s talk about some Berryz, guys. More specifically, my newfound inability to not watch/listen to their new PV. I mean… I have to be at work at 6:30am this morning (this hour typically doesn’t even exist in my vocabulary) and I willingly got out of bed at 5am because I realized I could get in a few more viewings of said PV over my bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. I am THAT far gone.

I was once one of those girls who thought that MoMusu could do no wrong and that the H!P Kids were merely a pale imitation of everything the flagship was/is. Only, now? I think I’m equally into MoMusu and Berryz, with Berryz trying very hard to take the lead. (I will never be a °C-ute fangirl with the current incarnation of the group, though.)

So, anyway… because I’ve already watched this thing 20+ times, let’s review the new Berryz PV “Dakishimete Dakishimete”.

This is another grown-up song from Berryz which is not a bad thing because much though I loved “Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance”, it was a bit childish for a group of girls who are all beginning to grow and mature. “Madayade” was maybe a bit *too* old? The girls are not yet old enough to be OLs, so the portrayal was a little off. But this is an uptempo love song sung by girls who are obviously old enough to be feeling those feelings (Miyabi’s pseudo-scandal, anyone?) I had initially only heard concert rips of this song, and was trying very hard to get into the feeling, though I’ll admit that I couldn’t make out of a lot of the details over the cheering and all that, though I did go in and fiddle with the sound enough in Adobe Audition that I think I had a rather better idea of the song than most people who only listened to that.

Let’s discuss the song itself before we head into the PV. Berryz can be vocally strong, but they are not terribly there in this release. Risako’s voice is unsure or something and while she’s more technically good than I’d say she has been in a while (and her nasal-ness does kind of fit along with this song), I wish she hadn’t gotten the 4-line solo. As it is, every girl gets at least 2 solo lines. Up until 3 minutes in, the song is equal between all Berryz. Miyabi gets one extra line after Risako’s solo, and she handles it much better. She’s developed such a smooth-sounding voice, though, that she’s beginning to sound as out of place as Momo did when she could only squeak.

The song is techno-y, which I love, and has some really good blends and harmonies and such and if you just listen to it (without viewing the PV), you can practically feel it. The chorus parts are really high-energy, and while the solo lines are a lot more restrained, there’s still a power behind them. There are a lot of “Woo!”‘s in it, and some weird distorted bits thrown in before Risako’s solo, but I really like listening to this song. I’ve probably already listened another dozen times just writing this.

Now that I’ve written over 500 words without actually touching on the PV, let’s talk about the looks that the girls are sporting. Saki is wearing a leopard-print fedora that is actually sex itself, and yet Captain looks even hotter than the hat. This defies explanation, but suffice it to say that while Saki’s get-up is cool (the black-and-white striped shirt with jeweled skull image, the layered skirt over jeans [I think], the two colors of combat boots), it doesn’t exactly fit her all that well. There’s too much fabric to the shirt, and Saki moves with her shoulders back so far that is nearly looks like she has no chest and a lot of stomach. Her hair, though, with the asymetry and the blue-black streak? Wow, Saki. Want. Please?

Miyabi is in printed tights, a teal shirt with black print, a short skirt, boots and a black fedora. Her hair has a pinkish streak, it seems? It looks kind of awesome. Really. But, she kind of fades to the background a lot because there’s nothing particularly flashy about her outfit.

Massa is looking particularly wonderful, too. The outfit doesn’t do her much justice as it looks like one of Junjun’s grandma-approved potato-sacks. But, her hair is awesome (also asymetrical) under that grey fedora, and she looks a bit thinner than she’s been looking.

Chinami and Risako look like the stylist raided Momusu’s closet for their outfits. Risako has a red jacket a’la Nai Chau Kamo, only splatted with black paint to make a black zebra print, plus the black skirt, and the stylist yanked a few feathers off the old Onna ni Sachi Are costumes to stick in her hair when some of the black paint got on them. Chinami, though, got the white jacket, and her black skirt was put in some bleach first so it turned kind of brown. Her hair ornament came from the old Iroppoi Jirettai costumes. Both of them have hair that is up with pretty drastic bangs that look kind of awesome.

Momoko is the only one rockin’ the pink (or is that red?) with a babydoll dress, and I think she works it. She’s got a leather half-jacket, too. She doesn’t look as out of place as she could.

Yurina has the most boring hair of everyone. It doesn’t really work with her facial features or her outfit which has the whole matching scarf/jumper thing and a white floofy skirt she stole from Momo, though I do like her leggings. When it shows her back at all, it looks like she’s strangely proportioned because of a hood/the scarf on her back.

Most of the girls have on one fingerless glove, and all of them are wearing relatively punk jewelry. There are a lot of leather collars in that room!

I guess I still haven’t really talked about the video itself yet, have I? And this is almost 1000 words in!

The video starts off with a showing of disco balls and some vague shots of Miyabi and Momo’s heads, I think. Yay?

From the start, the girls are into the dance. Their moves explode. It is awesome. I can’t wait to see the dance shot for this just because everyone looks so on their game. Chinami at times seems to fall a bit behind, but then I just notice her legs more, so I’m not complaining.

Someone thought it would be fun to let Berryz man the DJ booth. Most of the girls do a pretty good job, though I was put off a bit by Risako leaning down to put the record needle on, as well as Saki rotating the record. Hilariously, if you watch, a lot of the motions done during this section happen with pinkies up.

There’s also the slightly overdone moments where the Berryz members are multiplied. Yes, give me Saki dancing in front of a colorful background, but just one is fine. Eight of her? That’s perhaps a bit of overkill. It looks odd compared to everything else.

The main dance-shot portion has a lot of colored lights. It’s obvious that some of them were actually running while they were shooting (not many though) and the rest were added in later. It still works for it though. I do kind of feel like I’m in a club as I’m watching.

Other bits are shot with the girls in front of speakers with their color of light shining on it, and there are also some partial group shots with the girls in more light in front of part of the background (the silver ribbons hanging down).

The dance itself has a lot of popping and locking and chest thrusting and even some Para-Para like moments. There are moments that nod back to Berryz singles past, too. Tell me you don’t notice a move that reminds you a lot of Special Generation? The girls are a pretty well-oiled machine by this point, though. They’ve been together for a while and are really starting to be able to dance as a cohesive unit. It’s awesome, and while it’s a relatively simple-looking dance? It’s one every girl looks good doing and is deceptively easy. Watch Saki to see how it looks taken up a notch. She’s not exactly doing what everyone else is, but she doesn’t look out of place. Saki’s dancing reminds me a lot of BoA in this video which is very high praise indeed.

Still, there are 2 moments that stand out beyond all others in this. At 1:35? Chinami’s skirt. That is hot stuff right there. But even better? At 3:38, Saki’s movements as she sings along to the little “Woo!”? I want to manage to make an icon of that moment (though I think I need to wait for a higher quality version of the PV) because it is so awesome and amazing and wonderful.

So… 50+ listens in now, probably (only watching the PV about half the times I’ve played it) and this is undoubtably in my top 3 Berryz favorites. I need more of this kind of stuff from these girls, and the sooner? The better. This PV is very much in line with the kind of stuff Momusu has been doing lately, only done better because it really fits the song.

One final word: LOVE.

I figure that everyone else does it, and I certainly have the time to do so right now, so how about a year in review? Let’s go!

I’ll go through each group and talk about what they did, what I liked, and what I didn’t.

Morning Musume – Resonant Blue and Pepper Keibu were their only two singles, but they also released the Cover You album. They were in “Cinderella”, ended Haromoni@, started Yorosen!, had more PVs for a single song than ever before (Resonant Blue) and started to perform in places other than just Japan.  Personally, I liked all of that. It would have been nice for them to get one more single in there, but the album was almost like one big single anyway.

Berryz Koubou – Released Dschinghis Khan, plus the remix, as well as Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance and Madayade, and the studio album 5(FIVE). Performed/received an award at the Asia Song Festival. Ended Berikyuu! and joined Yorosen!. Lines started to be distributed a bit better. I’m also a fan of everything Berryz Koubou did this year. I generally like their singles, and I’m glad to see them divvying up the parts a bit more evenly.

°C-ute – Released LALALA Shiawase no Uta, Namida no Iro, Edo no Temari Uta II, FOREVER LOVE, Koero! Rakuten Eagles  plus the album 3rd ~Love Escalation~. Ended Berikyuu! and joined Yorosen!. Had a controversy about how Hitler was “taught” during Yorosen!. Maimi and Airi were lead on 3 of the 5 singles, and Maimi was center on 3 of the 5 singles. Those of you who read this blog know I’m not into °C-ute that much, so don’t be surprised that I wasn’t a fan of what they did this year. I prefered LALALA Shiawase no Uta to their other singles, but still didn’t particularly like it. And while I like Airi and Maimi? You’ve got 7 girls in the group. If Momusu can usually highlight their 9 members, why can’t you do 7? 2008 and still not a fan.

Ongaku Gatas – Released Come Together as well as the studio album 1st Goodsal. Mano Erina and Mika Muto graduated. Elder Club graduation was announced, which may signal the end of this group. OG didn’t do badly this year, though it would have been nice to have more than one single. They’ve only done 1 a year so far, though. I’ve got my fingers crossed that they’ll continue as a group outside of the H!P name because I do enjoy them, but I’m not that hopeful. Come Together was the worst single so far, but I think only because the other 2 were so much better, not that it was bad.

Buono! – Released Renai Rider, Kiss!Kiss!Kiss!, Gachinko de Ikou, and Rottara Rottara, plus the album Cafe Buono!. Were in Pizza-La commercials. Despite my dislike for Momoko, I still liked everything Buono! did this year. Their singles are amazingly catchy, and they have a distinct sound within H!P, too. Their outfits are always interesting, too.

High-King – Formed for the Cinderella musical from members of Momusu, Berryz, °C-ute, and the Eggs. This 5-member unit only did one single, but it was well-regarded as one of the best singles with possibly the best B-side ever in all of at least 2008. The group will likely not reform except possibly in concerts.

Milky Way – Released Anataboshi and Tan Tan Taan!. Both were good singles, and I’m definitely hoping for more Kikkawa Yuu now.

Athena & Robikerrottsu – Seishun Love Lunch was their final single, as the associated anime ended. I wasn’t a fan of any member of this group, so I’ll be honest… I didn’t even give it a listen.

Melon Kinenbi – Only released Charisma . Kirei. It had a shoddy video, but is still a decent song. The group announced that they would continue as a group after the Elder Club graduation.

Shugo Chara Eggs- Released Minna no Tamago. First major release by a group consisting solely of H!P Eggs. Cute, but not a bombshell of a song.

Viyuuden – Released “Nanni mo Iwazu ni I LOVE YOU”, a cover of a Momusu song. Disbanded shortly thereafter. I like the cover of this, and the video (with the very candid-looking bits) was a nice goodbye.

HANGRY & ANGRY – A non-H!P unit, technically, but they did release their first single “Kill Me Kiss Me”, a radical departure from the typical H!P fare. First group to have a MySpace, and to release formally in the USA. Announced plans to tour in the US and Europe, also a first. I adore this group, and think that they could definitely be going places, though after the Elder Club graduation, it definitely won’t be a part of H!P.

Abe Natsumi – Released 16sai no Koi Nante with Yajima Maimi from °C-ute, and Screen. Screen especially failed to report good results. But, I still found both songs easy to listen to, if not particularly memorable.

Matsuura Aya – Released Kizuna. Ayaya looked like a grandmother in this video, and the song was unimpressive.

Fujimoto Miki – Released Oki Tegami. Done in a different style than her previous solo work (similar to enka instead of the sugary pop), I found this my favorite of her songs, easily.

Koharu Kusumi – Released Papancake as a soloist. Got a lot of flac for her overexaggerated singing style. Released the Kirari to Fuyu album which received many more compliments for her singing style. None of it compares to her early Kirari stuff, I don’t think, but I still think it’s enjoyable to listen to.

Satoda Mai – Released Mou Sugu Christmas with Goda Kyoudai, as well as Hi wa, Mata Noboru with Aladdin. The Aladdin song did rather well on the charts, but I couldn’t get into it, or the Christmas song. Sorry, Satoda.

Mano Erina – Released Mano Piano, Lucky Aura, and LaLaLa-SoSoSo as indie singles. Never looked her age at all (17). I think Manoeri is charming. She’s a decent pianist. But, I think her voice leaves something to be desired.

Ice Creamusume – Formed through the NEW STAR auditions. My favorites are Youko (always Lightbulb to me, though) and Shenshen so far, but we’ll see when they actually start performing together?

I think that’s it? There’s quite a bit to look forward to in the new year, though. There’s a new MoMusu single on the horizon, and the promise of another new material album. Berryz has their first best-of coming out which will include a new song. Buono has a new single and album scheduled for early in the year. Matsuura Aya will get another album, Maeda Yuki will get a single. Satoda will put out another single with Goda Kyoudai. Koharu will release another single. C-ute will have another album. And that’s just in the first 2 months of 2009! It looks like it will shape up to be a good year. Elder Club’s graduation doesn’t seem to be hindering any of their releases, so hopefully the girls there will be more active post-graduation. My fingers are crossed!

I hope everyone is having good times during the final days of the year, and to help? Here’s H!P’s New Year’s card.

newyear2009

Oh, and to top it all off? Aibon is supposed to start releasing music again next year, too!

One question that some of the members of H!P have been asked is… “What is your charm point?” Some of them know. Others, not so much. So, I’ve gone through all of Wonderful Hearts and “found” a charm point for each girl… that little reason we get so fascinated. It’s both a reason for picspam, and a hopefully interesting insight into H!P fans and why they love the girls they do. It may be a physical characteristic, a flaw, or a little piece of their personality that pops up quite often. So, here we go!

Takahashi Ai is up first, again. What’s her charm point? High kicks and getting sweaty at concerts. ^_^
highkickai

Next, Niigaki Risa! Her genki-ness (and curly hair) are where I find her charm.
gakismile

Tanaka Reina’s easy, isn’t she? The wonky eye! (She winks so much in pictures to hide it.)
wonkyreina

Michishige Sayumi is the “cute” one, but the extra charm is in Usa-chan PEACE!
sayusapeace

Kamei Eri harkens back to her “turtleness” quite often. It’s charming!
kameikame

Kusumi Koharu is especially known for how much she acts like an anime character.
happykoharu

Mitsui Aika is so not a favorite of mine, but I kind of find her forehead charming!
aikahead

Junjun? Well, the bananas for sure, but also? Her thighs and chubby cheeks!
junjunthighs

Linlin’s charm? Her puppy-dog eyes. As I don’t like dogs at all, that’s probably where my hate comes from.
puppylinlin

Sugaya Risako’s odd charm? Her nostrils.
risakonostrils

Natsuyaki Miyabi’s charm is easy to see… because it’s her chin!
miyabichin

Tsugunaga Momoko doesn’t have the cutest face, so she makes up for it with her pinky finger!
momopinky

Sudou Maasa’s charm is her pillow-lips.
maasalips
Kumai Yurina is the tallest girl in H!P, isn’t she? It works for her!
tallkumai

Tokunaga Chinami? It’s allllllll in the legs.
chinami-legs

Shimizu Saki? It’s all in the eyebrows and cheesy grin.
sakibrow

Yajima Maimi? It’s all about how she looks in short shorts.
maimishorts

Suzuki Airi’s charm is in both her smile, and her kappa love.
airikappa

Hagiwara Mai? I personally think it’s her DJ Maimai personality.
djmaimai

Umeda Erika is a bit long in the teeth, but it works for her!
erikateeth

Nakajima Saki? It’s got to be the mouth (and the cannibalism?).
nakkieatyouup

Okai Chisato? I mostly hear people talking about loving her bad hair.
badchisatohair

Arihana Kanna has her lesbianism. (She’s going to grab you! Be careful, girls!)
lesbokanna

And, to round it all out, Mano Erina! What else could it be? The exuberant grin.
manogrin

If you feel that I haven’t properly shown the charm of your favorite idol, let it inspire a blog post about that girl’s charms. Picspam us all!