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Posts Tagged ‘elder club

So, I’ve been away from the blogging world for a little while since I broke my ankle.  Between being in the hospital, and in pain, and on meds, I’ve been kind of useless. However, my meds aren’t quite as strong now, and the pain isn’t quite so bad, so I’m going to get back into blogging. But, it would be boring for me to go back and talk about all of the stuff that happened, and would be lame to just ease back in without talking about my absence, so I’m going to do a special post: a rundown of H!P lips. I didn’t include every member, but I included all of Momusu, Berryz and C-ute, plus a handful of “important” others, a few of whom have graduated. I’ll show them using the three most important idol lip positions: smiling, not smiling, and CHU!. I’ll let you know my favorites and I’ll name some important distinctions!

First up? Momusu!

momusuThere’s something great about lips, and Morning Musume proves it. No girls lips are really even remotely the same, and I have no shame for noticing and liking that.
* Takahashi Ai has great lips, but her upper lip tends to look darker than her lower lip if she isn’t wearing lipstick (see her “Not Smiling” pic). It was something I used to notice in every picture she took, but she wears a lot more lipstick as Leader, so I’m finding her more and more attractive lately.
* Niigaki Risa’s lips are slightly awkward by themselves. Overall, she’s a pretty girl, but her lips and smile are not her best feature.
* Tanaka Reina is the queen of the CHU! pose. In fact, I had to go through over 100 pictures of her before I could find one where she was actually smiling.
* Michishige Sayumi has a surprisingly sexy pout.
* Kamei Eri has a somewhat strange shape to her lips where they connect, and has a tendency to show her “fangs” over the edges of her lips, but it tends to be appealing anyway. What gives?
* Kusumi Koharu is the girl of 1 million smiles, so it was odd for me to discover that when she doesn’t smile, she gives a natural “Chu!”. The only way I could tell the difference was the rest of her face. She has surprisingly pretty lips.
* Mitsui Aika reminds me of a combination between a grandmother and The Joker. Her lips extend so far to the sides of her face, and her smile looks a bit like dentures. Also, the girl has not yet learned her CHU! face. Work on it, Mittsi!
* JunJun! She might be slightly chubby compared to the other girls, but those chubby cheeks offset her lips in a great way.
* Linlin is far from my favorite H!P member, and I think the reason might be her lips. They seem thin and not very expressive to me.

Best lips: Kamei Eri. They’re interesting, and a charm point!
Worst lips: I think this is a tie between Mittsi and Linlin, though Mittsui has more potential, I think.

Next, Berryz Koubou!
berryz* Sugaya Risako has teeth that seem vaguely rounded. Is she a vegetarian??? But, her lips are full. Her smile isn’t the best, but she’s got a decent pout.
* Tsugunaga Momoko has the thinnest upper lip of an idol, ever. It’s always struck me as unattractive.
* Natsuyaki Miyabi’s lips seem kind of idol-average. Not too bad, not too good.
* Tokunaga Chinami surprised me when I went looking for pics. I don’t always think that her lips look good on her face, but by themselves they are practically flawless. That CHU!
* Sudou Maasa has bee-stung lips if there ever were any. They tend to overwhelm her a bit, but don’t look too out-of-place most of the time.
* Kumai Yurina’s top lip almost disappears in the middle. But, she works it. The good teeth help a lot.
* Shimizu Saki has always rather been a favorite of mine, but her lips tend not to work with her. Her smiles often look a little cheesy, but I think she’s finally starting to learn how to work them.

Best Lips: Chinami for the win.
Worst Lips: Momo. ;_; But, damn, does she try anyway.

Next, °C-ute:
c-ute* Yajima Maimi is often said to have the best smile in H!P. I beg to differ. It’s just kind of average.
* Suzuki Airi may have a wonky tooth, but that smile is adorable. And, KAPPA CHU!
* Hagiwara Mai doesn’t smile as much as she used to, and her bottom lip kind of comes up in the middle in a strange way, but it’s still cute.
* Umeda Erika’s smile is a little too small for her face, and her teeth tend to jut out a bit, but her closed mouth is rather attractive.
* Chisato Okai’s lips are kind of meh to me. She overworks them, seriously.
* Nakajima Saki = CANNIBAL. At least, that’s what a lot of people who look at her mouth think. It is significantly too large for her face, and kind of Julia Roberts-esque (never a compliment in my book).
* Arihana Kanna has an adorable smile, and may actually be the reason I started this post up in the first place. Her teeth are a bit shorter on one side, it seems, (odd, I know) but there’s a sincerity there I adore, and I like that she doesn’t always force a smile!

Best Lips: Kanna for the win.
Worst Lips: Nakki for the fail.

And, finally, 8 current and former H!P members who I felt like looking at pictures of:
otherhp* Yaguchi Mari’s “Chu!” is probably as well-known as Hello! Project themselves. Her upper lip that makes that heart shape doesn’t look quite so good on her smile, though.
* Mano Erina has a bad tendency to give the same smile over and over and over again. And, while it’s adorable? Give me range of expression! All of her other expressions seem tensed.
* Matsuura Aya has a very prominent dip in her top lip. It’s mildly disconcerting to me, but that’s usually just in combination with her nose. Still, she wouldn’t be where she is without knowing how to work it.
* Fujimoto Miki’s lips give Maasa’s a run for their money. They’re nearly as puffy as the bags under her eyes. It looks rather good when she smiles, though.
* Goto Maki, for as charming and beautiful as she is, also has kind of average idol lips.
* Nakazawa Yuko has a very normal looking smile, but her CHU! is almost as flashy as she can be!
* Ogawa Makoto has a smile very similar to Yurina, but she’s practiced it so much more. Her CHU! is delightful.
* Kago Ai has gorgeous lips. I really can’t find anything bad to say whatsoever.

Best Lips: Kago Ai for president of Best! Lips.
Worst Lips: Mano Erina, but just for lack of practice.

Now, some overall awards!

Best Smile: Kago Ai
*****Runners-up: Kanna, Airi, Chinami, Koharu, Takahashi Ai
Best Not-a-Smile: Reina
*****Runners-up: Erika, Kanna, Makoto, Aibon
Best CHU!: Yaguchi Mari
*****Runners-up: Chinami, Reina, Kanna, Yuko, Makoto

So, BEST OVERALL LIPS: Arihana Kanna!
She may not have the best of anything, but she’s pretty close in all areas.
*****Runner-up: Kago Ai

Worst Overall Lips: Nakajima Saki.
Because, really, she’s kind of scary.
*****Runner-ups: Mitsui Aika, Linlin (I couldn’t decide before, and still can’t.)

There. A Saturday afternoon spent looking through thousands of H!P pictures isn’t a wasted one at all!

That’s Elder Club, in their winter 2006 concert, performing “Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari”. (I linked the subbed one because knowing what they’re saying *is* nice.)

I post this in fond remembrance of Hello! Project’s entire Elder Club because, as of March 31st, they will no longer fall under the umbrella of Hello! Project. Now, it’s very likely that they’ll still be represented by Up-Front Agency, but no more Elder Club concertrs after their final ones to occur on 1/31 and 2/1. Some of these girls may stop performing music altogether. Others may move on to other agencies. But, perhaps this is a good thing.

It cannot be said with enough vim and vigor that a lot of the members of Elder Club have been underused and underappreciated. On the song “Girl’s Psychology”, Yasuda Kei sounds a *LOT* like Goto Maki, but when was the last time she got to do anything with that? Nakazawa Yuko has been in plays for a while and loves it. Yaguchi Mari has moved on to a lot of other things, but obviously wants to move even further away from being an “idol”. Satoda Mai is going places with Hexagon/Pabo. Viyuuden was disbanded. Ayaka went and got married. Ayaya wants to start writing her own lyrics. Melon Kinenbi are stagnating, although they’re still wonderful. (See a bit further down for more about this.)

Yet, I cannot see any of this as a bad thing. H!P has put their focus on the Wonderful Hearts groups. It makes sense for them to release the other girls to a bit more freedom. They can focus on Morning Musume, Berryz Koubou, C-ute, Mano Erina, and the Egg groups without even having to think about what to do with everybody else.

I mean, it’s been over 10 years now. Things should change. And, I’m holding out a lot of hope for this to be a change that will let us see even more of our favorite girls. There’s no reason it shouldn’t. Maybe they won’t all be at the same concert anymore, and maybe not all of them will continue to sing-dance-smile for us, but they won’t have to wait in line behind younger girls who learned everything they know from them.

Still, I think it is important not to overreact. We’ve been given next to no information on this, so until we get something even remotely definititive, there’s no point in worrying as there is very likely nothing that we, as English-speaking fans, can do.

On the front of Melon Kinenbi, while browsing over at DohhhUp!, I came across a video from a recent live they did where they performed “Saa! Koibito ni Narou”… with Ogawa Makoto.

Mako-chan’s English and overall looks are probably the focus of this, but I was rather impressed by the performance that Melon Kinenbi put on. They’re rather good live, but this almost depresses me to watch because they’re not doing a whole lot. They’ve been a Hello! Project group longer than most girls have been *in* Hello! Project. I was never into MK much until I heard this, now I’ve really listened through their discography and I do really enjoy their voices.

I wish all of these girls the best and hope that their graduation concerts go amazingly well. I will definitely be making an effort to see as much of it as I can.

I want to discuss blogs with you guys. And, amazingly, not blogs like this one. (Although, International Wota recommends me now. Thanks!) I want to talk about blogs of H!P members past and present. Hello! Online posts translations of the blogs of Aibon, Nakazawa Yuko, and Maki Goto. Aibon’s is an interesting insight into the way she’s had to change to try to make it as a different kind of idol. There are a lot of entries about food and appearances, but if you’re an Aibon fan, even those can be kind of interesting. Yuko’s is pretty new. She’s a little more straightforward with her blogging, and obviously more adult. Gomaki’s was only used briefly back when she was training for avex, although she did have a different blog before that which no one seemed to really care about. Still, the best part? The pictures. Candid shots. No make-up shots. At home relaxing shots. It’s getting to see your idols for the people they are when they’re not on stage… well, at least a little. I’d definitely like to see more H!P personalities get blogs and talk about the things they do other than perform.

Hello! Online also posts translations of Pocket Morning Weekly, well, weekly… 95% of the time, the questions are un-interesting, although the girls do sometimes come up with some interesting answers. Still, do I care how the members of Morning Musume like their miso? No. Not in the slightest. However, the latest translation brings to light something that I hadn’t really thought about before… possible eating disorders among idols.

The question is something like, “If you had a magical piece of paper that you could write one wish on to come true, what would that wish be?” Some of the girls have relatively predictable answers. Takahashi wants to be taller (because that’s the only thing keeping her from dropping Morning Musume and joining Takarazuka full time?), Sayumi wants perfect pitch (so Tsunku will give her more lines that aren’t screaming?), LinLin wants a magic steak (because that’s more PC than fresh baby), Koharu and Aika want to never be sick again, and then there’s JunJun and Reina… who want to be skinnier.

I touched on the JunJun thing last post… She’s tall, so she’s not heavy for her height in the slightest, but because of the ridiculously small frames of the other MoMusu members, she does look bigger than she would in a crowd of normal-sized Chinese people. She’s even lost some weight since joining MoMusu, but singing, dancing, practicing and training will do that to you naturally. No big deal. When responding to this question, she even puts in an “lol” because she’s not that serious about it. That’s cool, JunJun. I love you even more, somehow.

Reina, though… she puts that she’s ashamed. (Now, granted, her wish was something like “To go back to the first year of middle school… or be thinner [ashamed;].) Still, Reina? You’re arguably the skinniest girl in Morning Musume. Your legs practically don’t exist. Your problem? Is that you have hips that prevent you from getting much skinnier. Too bad, so sad. Eat a cheeseburger. Yet, Reina’s never really worn a lot of tight clothing in her tenure of MoMusu. She’ll wear some for photobooks, but she never looks really happy in a bathing suit, especially if she’s facing the camera head-on. Most of what she wears is her “baggy Yankee fashion”. Girls with great bodies tend not to cloak themselves like this. Girls with eating disorders do.

But, there are girls in H!P who are even more likely to be secretly anorexic. Anyone notice how skinny Tsuji got for W? Anyone notice Rika’s ribs in most of her bikini shots that came after Viyuuden began? Then there’s the other end of the spectrum. Anyone notice how chubby Aibon got right before W? Anyone notice how Mika was swaddled in layers for the later Mini Moni singles?

It’s not too different from the American entertainment world, though. When all eyes are on you, you either stress and lose control, or you control yourself too much.

I hope JunJun doesn’t lose another pound, especially not from her chubby cheels. And I hope Reina gets some help to realize that she’ll still be wanted if she looks healthy rather than emaciated.

Lastly, I was looking up the lyrics to “Tottoko no Uta”, the first Tottoko Hamutaro opening song (Japanese version of Hamtaro if you couldn’t tell) because I like to sing along with it, but constantly misremember the order of the verses. I haven’t done so since I started my H!P love affair, it seems, or else I’m sure I would have laughed much sooner about the fact that this song in all of its goofy, “Trotting Hamtaro, I love sunflower seeds!”-ness was written by Tsunku. It’s no wonder that Mini-moni did a bunch of songs for it, then! Tsunku already had an in.

I’ll probably do some pic-spam later today or tomorrow since we all know that blogs aren’t successful as only walls of text. In fact, here, a pic of unhappy almost-naked Reina.

"I'd like to be thinner," my ass. >_<

And… blog 3! And, today I’ll talk more about some of the smaller H!P groups.

First off, Ongaku Gatas. Let me be the first to admit that I don’t really *get* this group yet. It’s a training grounds for some of the eggs, but it’s a full group, yet they’re still just “Eggs”, right? However, it’s also well-populated with people who don’t really have another group at the moment. Satoda Mai, the last member of Country Musume, plus three former members of Morning Musume… one of whom came back for the group, one of whom left Morning Musume as leader for the group, and another who is left with the group as her main job after her other group (which I liked better) disbanded… Yet, I look at it and wonder if it’s just going to be some kind of in-between project. Eggs seem to be in the group until Tsunku can decide what to do with them (like Manoeri) and older girls seem to go to the group when they’ve graduated from something else… and Tsunku hasn’t yet decided what to do with them. So, I wonder if we’ll see a notice soon saying that a certain *other* former MM member who has recently returned from down under will be joining OG.

What I’d like to see H!P do? Something with Elder Club! If you’re playing around with groups with former MM members, then why not toss Mako in with Marippe and Kei and a graduated Takahashi Ai (I’ll talk more about this tomorrow!) and make some kind of next-gen Tanpopo as Berryz has recently become a kind of next-gen Mini Moni. Mako would have the worst voice of the four, but she’d make up for it with charisma. They could pull away a bit from the genki-pop and shine. They’re all experienced. They can all work a crowd. Then again, that’s just wishful thinking. I want to see those girls more! (Of course, at this rate, they could just make an “Evening Musume” of all of the former members who are still with H!P.)

On another smaller group front, I’ll talk about Buono!. I’d really like to see this group get to do something other than Shugo Chara stuff. Sure, they made an album, but all of the singles are SC stuff… There are times when the harmonies on the tracks blend together in a somewhat robotic way, but they’re still good. I like that they’re Berryz-heavy, too. Still, to really keep me in, I want to see more than the same thing over and over again. Give me genki, but spin it a new way sometimes!

I’ll keep an eye on both of these groups and hope to see them become something a bit stronger. I’ll also hope that UFA won’t run them into the group like they have with Viyuuden and such. +