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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.

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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.

Because I’m off from work today and I can’t do too much since I just got out of my cast, I watched Morning Musume’s Alo-Hello 3. I do not speak or read much Japanese, and I watched this unsubbed, so if I’m completely wrong about something that’s going on, I’m going solely based on what I saw. And, because what kind of post would this be without some picspam? There are accompanying pictures for each section. They’re screencaps, so not great quality, but enjoy nonetheless!

If for some reason you want to be surprised by what happens, don’t read this!

Alo-Hello 3 DVD start-o!

Alo-Hello 3 DVD start-o!

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

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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!

I just want you guys to know that I went through more pages of the Hello! Online picboard than I really want to remember to find all of the pics for this rather pic-heavy post. (Over 500 pages. >_< )

So, anyway… I browse said picboard occasionally and have noticed something: H!P tends to reuse costumes! That’s not to say that what Takahashi Ai wore two years ago some Egg is wearing now, but they do consistently reuse themes and ideas, and possibly even fabric? I’ve gone through and found 20 examples of this. There may be a few instances in here where the similar costumes were from the same event, but I don’t think there are any where I’m only comparing those possibilities.

Let’s start out with the ones that make the most sense:
redplaid
Morning Coffee is part of the whole reason that H!P even exists, so it’s no wonder they keep coming back to the red plaid. It looks good on the girls, especially the pleated skirts. The particular tartan changes up a bit, but generally stays just red and black. I had kilts like that as a little girl. (My grandmother is from Scotland. ^_^ )

Next, there’s the tradition of the huge concert where everyone gets a similar outfit!
tennisoutfit
Those are from 2 different years, as any fan can tell, but on first glance (or so I’m basing on a few friends and my husband) they look close enough to be “really similar”. Each group gets a different color, and every outfit is a bit different, so it’s really easy for two “sets” to blend together.

But what about when H!P plays up to stereotypes?

We’ve got the girls dressed in suits:
suits

And as princes:
princes

And cops:
cops

Not to mention OL:
ol

And the girls in kimono:
kimono

And, the All-American fantasy, cheerleaders:
cheer

But on top of that, sometimes they’ll do a bunch of similar outfits in similar colors!
yellow
These two *might* be part of the same set, but they’re hideous in entirely different ways, and I’m having a hard time really looking at them to tell.

redfrills
Sparkly, frilly, and red is an H!P equation for win.

gold
Because, really, who can’t remember all of the people complaining about how much the “Onna ni Sachi Are” costumes looked like the “The Peace” costumes?

But, perhaps the best ones of these to look at are the ones that seem like they were designed to match, but weren’t (or at least weren’t to my knowledge).

minikimono
Mini-kimonos? Last I checked, they weren’t too popular outside of the Sakura Mankai video, but here’s Yaguchi wearing one again. (And, yes, I know the first one is Konkon.)

pinkplaid
When I first saw this shot of Chisato, I immediately though of Berryz Koubou’s “Gag 100kaibun Aishite Kudasai” video, even though I hadn’t watched it in quite a while.

colorful
These outfits look way too similar to not be related, don’t they? The splotches of different brights colors, the poofs in the similar areas, but they definitely have their differences.

ayaking
Shall we welcome the newest member of High-King? Oh, wait. Oops! That’s just an Ayaya tour outfit. But, the resemblance is a bit scary. If it weren’t for the print on the sleeves, she’d fit right in.

kamen
Then Reina showed up as the latest member of Berryz Kamen in her new photobook!

green
And then we have Satoda Mai, Charmy and Yossie ready to hop into a Morning Musume concert to perform Pepper Keibu!

one4all
This actually might be the same outfit, but there are some very slight differences. The tie’s a different color, the shorts are slightly shorter for the one the Egg is wearing, and the pockets on those shorts are bigger. (I am quite the seamstress and notice these lame details.) If they are supposed to be the same outfit, why are the eggs wearing them now? (Or was this first picture mislabeled? I don’t recognize it as a member of Berryz…)

renaiwish
Airi’s ready to go back in time to join this photoshoot for MoMusu’s “I WISH”. Her green is a bit darker, but the similarity is a bit uncanny.

Finally, we also get the kind of costumes that the girls get to wear variations of…
momoserve
It appears that Momo is happy to serve… burgers and fries?

That’s all for now, folks. Tune in soon for another picspam post with the girls “charm points”. And, no, that’s not a euphemism for breasts.

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!