Thursday, 27 March 2014

Update - With Myself

Hello there,

I've been really absent from my blog recently - and I know I did post around 4 day's ago (with Orange Caramel, but I honestly don't even remember writing it). I'm just sort of writing this post to say that I'll be checking myself in with a counselor tomorrow because I've become very depressed and tried to commit suicide recently - by taking too many pills. I failed, obviously (hence me writing this), but I think it is best I take a break from writing officially. I've also gained a slight eating disorder recently too - add insomnia to this list cause I haven't really slept in weeks. I'm really aware of my issues too, which makes this really hard to deny. I'm not really going to explain what happened, as it would become more real, but I am trying to get help, so please bare with my absence till I gain back some strength. And for the mean-time, enjoy this live performance by Kalafina back in 2012 - one of my fav live performances for this song.

Thank you.

- Konno Asami.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Orange Caramel - "Catallena"

The women of Orange Caramel have returned!

It's been awhile, but they have finally returned, and they have returned with one of the weirdest concepts ever: sushi/fish. I don't know why, but I never really reviewed anything by them, but I really love them. They are hilarious and unique. Their album, "Lipstick", was really good, and I'm still on the fence about buying it. I recently bought "Catallena", but I don't know if I want all of their CD's - Japanese and Korean - or should I just buy the Korean album, "Lipstick", and call it a day? Difficult decision...mostly because I really love them. But for sure I'll buy their Korean Album. Anyways, Orange Caramel have gone and did something that I'm not sure many would have thought of. And while the song has an actual deep-meaning, I question if it was necessary at all. Like no one's going saying, "Wow, OC new song actually relates to me". I feel like people are more focused on their concept than the actual song, "Catallena". I like that Catallena is considered the "popular fish" - or maybe popular girl - and how the OC women are just average and are nothing special - hence why they are marketed for "3 for 1" sales and are just your basic sushi options. While Catallena is the octopus, a rather expensive and delicious option. I like that the concept focuses on what people think of Catallena - being more popular and such - to what she/he really is - arrogant and egotistical.
She/He represents that mind-set that people have when they see someone popular/famous and don't care for their attitudes because it is not important, while the OC women are like your average everyday person whom doesn't get noticed because Catallena is more noticeable. It's really relatable to the idol-world and how so many great groups get shunned because - for example - SNSD released a new song (which is awful by everyone's standards, but doesn't matter because they are Catallena). Very interesting, but like I said, not many are really paying attention to this part of their comeback, which is not really a problem because of how they are marketed anyways, which is something I love and hate about OC. Oh well, I really do love this group. I always found it weird how popular they are compared to AfterSchool - odd, but not too harmful. Anyways, as for the actual style of the song, it's do u explain this? Pop-ish? With a lot of cuteness and high notes? Well I guess this is Euro-pop, but I'm not well diverse into it myself, so I can't call it 100%, but I believe so. The MV is very creative and really well-produced. I don't have a lot to say about it because it's pretty darn perfect. Pledis went all-out for this comeback, even though it's just a single-album. Orange Caramel really proves once more that they are very creative and even though their concepts are weird, they are really refreshing. A nice break from sexy/sensual song's. I personally can't wait to see how Crayon Pop will out-concept Orange Caramel because OC has had this pat down for awhile and no other group was able to out-crazy Orange Caramel. Also, shout-out to the mini-homosexual/Bi-sexual reference in the song. 4.7/5.

ENJOY! Side-note: Oddly, Raina is my fav AfterSchool member. Also, I love their outfits! I don't care how old-fashioned they are, I want all of them and I would wear them proudly.


Dance-practice: A.K.A funniest shit I've seen in awhile! Love Nana! Also, I love how this has almost the same views as the MV.


Thursday, 13 March 2014

Itano Tomomi - "Little"

I've never liked Itano; if anything, I always found her to be really annoying, but this song is extremely good.

Even though Itano is a huge part of AKB and has done a lot to get AKB recognized, I never found her personality to be enticing. Also, after she said that once she get's married she'll leave everything to be a house-wife, I felt she was using AKB for a very selfish reason. Which, to be fair, almost all do anyways, but her reason was something I found to be very rude. It's like making an idol not a hard job and saying that the work she's done is all because she wants to find a man. But I've let that slide because even I think she's matured since she's said that. I see her totally different now than I did when she was in AKB. Her post-AKB single, "Little", is really different than her other work. A strong sense of maturity is emitting from this single and I think Itano has grown a lot since her day's in AKB. She reminds me of Maeda Atsuko so much. I didn't really like Atsuko at first either, but I grew to like her more after she graduated. There's a different air to these women, especially in their music. They aren't AKB-idols anymore, they are soloists and they have their own image now. Atsuko's song's - post AKB - are incredibly fitting for her. I loved both "Seventh Chord" and "Time Machine nante iranai". As for Itano, I really never liked any of her song's except "Fui ni", and that song was not that memorable. But, "Little", blew my expectations out of the park. With the way the song was arranged, I would never have believe that Itano was going to sing it. The song start's off in this very low-tone, almost too low for Itano's voice, and you really don't like it at first, but it grow's on you so fast once you hear the full song. The instrumental's are melancholy in the way they are arranged and played - which matches the lyrics perfectly.

Speaking of lyrics, Itano wrote them. There's a very good reason why this song is so different from anything else she has released: she wrote how she felt. Before I even knew she wrote the lyrics, I was telling myself how impressive this song is - lyrics wise. I cried even listening to this song because of how sad and incredibly written the lyrics are. I was blown away when I found out she wrote them. The sadness that's within these lyrics seem all too real to think she made them up. They are written in such a depressing manner that when you listen to the song while really paying attention to the lyrics, you really get hurt; feeling damaged almost. The song seem's to have this "someone broke up with me vibe", but I'd argue that the song is about losing oneself in the midst of life. The appearance others expect of me isn't my real self. Trying to explain easily that I can't become as useful as I look. Please, who'll find me? I'm right here. Living in between dreams and reality. Shining, who'll find me? Toward the light of the era in front of us. Everything ends here unless you keep on going. Suicide was the first thing that came to my mind. The song's lyrics are about finding oneself, but how can one find them-self when the world doesn't want them and can't bare to see them exist. Why? Keep on Going. Really powerful lyrics, if you ask me. I can understand why some would think this is a brake-up song, as it is alluded to, but not really mentioned explicitly. Itano mentions someone, but not someone specific, and I think this "someone" can be someone just important in said person's life; doesn't have to be a lover. I'm just so impressed with Itano and this single. The music video is really reminiscent of Pan's Labyrinth - the movie - but I actually never saw that movie (which I should), but I found the MV to be quite fitting of the song. The darkness and loneliness in the MV match the lyrics perfectly. My favorite scene is her at the table with all those people in robes. She stands out. She looks different. And I think that scene matches the song the best because it show's that, yes being different has its down's, but hiding yourself will never bring you happiness. It's better to suffer as the person whom you want to be than suffer as the person whom everyone thinks you are. 5/5.

Enjoy! Side-note: I actually bought this and have become an official fan of Itano. Also, here's the MV. And, I know this single came out in February, but this has been my favorite song since Febraury. I just felt like reviewing it only now. Seriously, so impressed.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Jiyeon and Hyomin [From T-ARA] To Make Solo Debuts

Kind of surprising.

I'll always want a Soyeon  solo, so I think I'll get that out of the way (ultimate bias). I'm only surprised because this was really unexpected. Like if anything, I was expecting T-ARAN4 and QBS to make comebacks, since its been awhile, but instead CCM has decided to let two member's go solo. And interesting choices. I don't know if this is going to be a Korean-thing only, of this will have Japanese-version added to it, but I would 100% want their title song's to be made into Japanese-versions too. I love T-ARA's Japanese stuff. But Korean releases are more "home-y" to the women of T-ARA (for obvious reasons). T-ara’s agency, Core Contents Media said that Jiyeon and Hyomin will be releasing solo albums that are different from each other. Jiyeon will be teamed up with Duble Sidekick, while Hyomin will be working with Brave Brothers. But that's not it: Jiyeon and Hyomin, will have different composers, music video directors, choreographers, stylists and different staff to run the production of their solo albums. Are they debuting at the same time though? Like will they be going up against each other or something? And what about Shannon? She's suppose to debut as a soloist in April? When will this be released? I'll 100% buy both, just because I love T-ARA so much, but Jiyeon? I totally understand Hyomin, but Jiyeon? I think Jiyeon's voice is really nice and has matured a lot, but Eunjung seem's more...suitable for solo. Plus, Hyomin and Eunjung usually sing a lot and are good at it. I would love a Boram solo though - would be adorable, but no one would really buy it (not to be mean, but she's so not popular in Korea). Of course the popular member's get solo's, but whatever, I look forward to it, and if Hyomin is working with Brave Brothers, I know the song will be catchy as hell - and sexy I think. I wonder what Jiyeon will be offered? Not sexy, highly because Hyomin will be sexy, but not sure if she'll get a ballad - she does have a ballad-voice though? Hmmm, I really wonder. Anyways, I really look forward to it. 

Friday, 7 March 2014

T-ARA - "Lead The Way/ LA'BooN"

T-ARA released their first single of 2014, and even though I did buy all the editions (minus the box-set), I wouldn't call this their best.

I'm actually kind of in a rut for this release. It's not really "T-ARA", but I think I know why? This was written by an actual Japanese writer, and no help from their CEO (whom has put in his voice for all their releases). You can really tell this song has a different vibe. It doesn't sound K-pop influenced, but I wouldn't call this J-pop influenced either. It's not even a mix, it's rather odd. And don't get me started on "LA'BooN". It's an Arabian-themed song...I don't even know. "Lead The Way", the main song here, is a medium-tempo ballad, with slight rapping from Hyomin and Boram. Very basic and it's catchy enough that you can have it on repeat. As for it being memorable? I doubt it will be. The instrumental is really soothing though. I think I like the instrumental more than the actual song. As for "LA'BooN", I actually really enjoy it. It's kind of interesting. I've never heard an Arabian-themed song from my idols, and this would be a first for T-ARA too. The English is really bad though - same for "Lead The Way" - but I'm honestly looking forward to them performing this song over "Lead The Way". And can I say how boring the MV's are in "Lead The Way". I've watched all 7 versions - Solo's + actual MV - and none are really enticing. Yea, it's cool they get their own version, but the song is not that great to be repeated 7 times. I kind of got sick of it honestly. My fav solo is definitely Qri's - most elegant and suiting of the song. Eunjung's was weird though - the car thing...I don't get it. Boram's is funny cause she's in a bath tub. Soyeon's outfit is too distracting, but I do love her. Jiyeon's was
actually not bad. I loved Hyomin's setting, but I think they did too much make-up for Hyomin; her eyes looked really off (that mascara though). The MV that features all of them is probably the best. I love the pink curtains though - really pretty. Sadly though, "LA'BooN", does not get an MV (what the hell...double A-side my ass). I demand an MV for that song. It's actually really fun and catchy. Oh well I guess, what can I do. And it seems T-ARA has been missing something. I don't know what it was, but there was something special about "Bunny Style", that their company could not re-create. "Bunny Style" was released this time last year, and the fans still listen to their solo song's. I understand the company wanted to make up for the lack of MV's last year, with all the women in T-ARA getting a solo version, but it's the same doesn't really count, you know. I totally appreciate wallet doesn't...but I think the solo song's from last year was what we needed again. I know it's a lot of work and I don't want to overwork T-ARA, but I think if they are going to spend this much time and energy on creating 7 MV's, at least let the song's be different. Switch them up or something - have "LA'BooN" be featured, instead of 7 MV's with the same song. They aren't all that great either. And even though I did buy 8 out of the 9 editions, I was expecting more with how much I spent on this. I did get 7 mini posters - all different - which was fucking amazing, and I did get all 6 of the extra bonus photo's, and I did get 5 out of the 7 trading cards (I got two Jiyeon's, Two Soyeon's, Two Boram's, but one Eunjung, and, one Qri). So it wasn't bad for extra's, but musically speaking, I don't think I'll be listening to these two song's a lot. Which is a shame because I love every song by T-ARA, but I don't love these two, I just like them. 3.1/5 for "Lead The Way". And 3.8/5 for "LA'BooN".

ENJOY! Side-note: Here's the full MV - couldn't embed for some reason


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Happy 10th Anniversary Berryz Kobo

Sorry I've been away for awhile; personal issues.

Berryz Kobo have reached their 10 year mark; seriously, so impressive. Wow, how time has passed, you know. My first J-pop group was C-ute, if you didn't know, and I've followed C-ute since their indie Debut, back in 2005/2006. Berryz did debut before them, but thanks to C-ute, I actually got to meet Berryz in 2006 as well; 2 years later, but it was fine. I also met Morning Musume back in 2007; which was kind of late, but oh well - at least I got to know Berryz and C-ute well. Hello!Project is so dear to me because of their title as "first true" company to me. I've grown up with all of these women; if you don't know, I'm actually the same age as most of these girls (I'm 20). I do have to admit, I was actually always super jealous of them - they got to live my dream as an idol, which is something I always wanted, but of course, being in Canada, that dreamed died way before I could have even conceived it. Anyways, I lived my life watching these girls (and of course I grew to love so many more idols), doing concerts and stuff, and I loved every part of it. I always became 10x happier watching them than doing anything else in my life. I can't forget my first Berryz song embarrassing now that I think about it..."Gag 100 Kaibun Aishite Kudasai". Oh.My.God. Does that song bring back so many memories of Berryz. They were so young and Momochi had so many lines, I thought she was the leader you know because of that. Albeit, my favorite song is the Sailor Moon esque-single, "Kokuhaku no Funsui Hiroba". I loved it because it reminded me so much of Sailor Moon, and for some reason, I feel like this will always be my favorite song by them. It was really different from all the other releases in H!P at the time, especially since if you looked at Berryz discography at the time, this was really out there. I always considered this song to be the most mature too. But my biggest let down was Tsunku not using Maasa's voice a lot because her voice was the lowest at the time and this song needed her voice badly. They all did well, at the time, but seriously I loved when Maasa sang her lines. *Begin's tearing up*
I don't know what I'd do without Berryz and C-ute, they really do mean a lot for me. I know their music so well, and I may not know the girls themselves, but after watching them for almost 10 years, I'd like to think I know their personalities a little bit. Also, I demand that before they break-up as a group, they all get a solo single - inside of an album or something. I demand one because I want to hear all of them sing properly, and I want them to all get a song that represents them as persons, not idols. That's my biggest dream for them. Happy 10th Anniversary Berryz Kobo!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

48-Group Shuffle

Oh.My.God. So much to take in...

Last time I'll see them like this...
This shuffle was a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be. I knew something's were going to happen, but I guess I wasn't expecting full transfer's and such. My worst fear did come true though...I lost Ichikawa Miori to NMB48...and not even Team N...Team BII (the team I barely care for). I'm so disappointed. I barely get to see Lemon-sama as is, but Team BII will not suit her. She got a lot of backlash for being in NMB48, and I honestly doubt she'll be in senbatsu again...there are so many more popular girls than her in NMB48. At least Team B was very fitting of her image and you can 100% expect to see her being utilized, but BII...what role will she have in it. It's a full transfer too, not even a concurrency. Seriously, I'm so heartbroken over hearing this. I don't pay attention to BII at all. I really only liked Team N and sometimes I'll listen to Team M, but BII never got good song's. I always order Team N's CD. Now I'm slightly forced to buy BII's too...UGH (*sigh*). I'll get use to it though.Team BII does have Umeda Ayaka now; I really like her; Emika is the Captain, and she's great, and of course Yabushita Shu is already my fav member in BII, so I guess it won't be all too bad at the end. But I need to learn the other girl's in BII and I hope they get good song's now.

As for my oshimen, Kuramochi Asuka, this was really something I didn't see coming. Asuka lost quite a lot of popularity over the time and if anything, I saw graduation happening soon, but now she's captain of Team B...She'll do a decent job, but she herself doesn't have that cutesy image. She's sultry and sexy, not cute. So, I look forward to seeing her take the captain position, but Team B and Asuka aren't a good match. We'll see though because Ikoma Rina and Ogasawara Mayu are now in Team B...they'll make things really interesting for sure. Speaking of Rina, holy shit, A Nogizaka46-er is now in AKB? Wait, doesn't this defeat the purpose of being a rival group? Well, not like anyone actually believed they were rivals. I like Rina a lot, so I hope she excels in AKB. While on the topic of Nogizaka46, Matsui Rena, my fave SKE member, is now a concurrent member in Nogizaka46. I love it. I love Nogizaka46, and to be fair, the member's aren't really that enlightening. I think someone with good experience will help the group shine more - not in fan's, but just the member's being more open and expressing themselves. Only a select few in Nogizaka46 are really good at variety, the rest are just there awkwardly. I hope Rena makes them feel more comfortable. I wonder what the backlash will be for her? I hope none though...not like they have many options.

As for other shocking moments, Sato Sumire is officially transferred to SKE48 Team E. I love all the team's in SKE now, and I love Sato now (I use to really hate her, but I grew to love her). I wonder what she'll bring for Team E though...let's be honest, they have Suda Akari, not like Sato will do much in this group, but then again, I feel like she didn't do much in AKB anyways. I love how AKB Team A is so normal for me. I feel like all the women in Team A are just fine now. I wasn't surprised or sadden by anything. Same thing for Team K. The only thing to take note of is Sayaka (NMB48) is now concurrent with AKB48. Team B is the only sad group for Ichikawa...or Fujie Reina, but Owada Nana got promoted, and she's so cute. Fujie Reina got fully transferred to NMB48 Team M; so I look forward to that. In some sad news, Kikuchi Ayaka got fully transferred to NMB48 Team N, and Kashiwagi Yuki got a concurrency with Team N too. I'm not angry over Yuki-sama's concurrency, but she's so popular already, and I feel like they don't need her in Team N. She's fine in Team B. As for Ayaka, I'm happy she's in Team N, but I don't know if she'll get any push now. Team N is pretty superstar-ish now, so we'll see.

I don't consider this sad, but Kizaki Yuria got fully transferred to Team 4, and she is now Vice-captain. I got to know her last year, so I'm not sad, but I liked her in SKE more. But Team 4 will be interesting with her. Same goes for Kotani Riho and Shibuya Nagisa; not sad, but more or less disappointed. I'll look forward to their concurrency as well. Weirdest transfer/concurrency of them all is definitely Miyazawa Sae. She's become the leader of SKE48 Team S? And holds her concurrency with SNH48? I don't think she'll be happy because she made that speech about being fully devoted to SNH48, so this makes things awkward for her. But I think management wants her back because of how popular she is. All the women in the 48-Groups can appeal any changes made - Feb.26 is the latest - but we'll see if they do anything. I don't think they have much option, you know. As for HKT48, not anything shocking to me. Most shocking might be that Sashihara is not made a captain? I know she's the HKT manager, but still, seem's odd she doesn't get a captain position. At least Anai keeps her position as captain. I really look forward to Kimoto Kanon in Team KIV - so happy cause I really like her and her personality. Tomonaga Mio got a concurrency with Team B though, and I really look forward to that as well. Some of the transfer's/concurrency are really exciting, and some are odd, but let's give it a chance; maybe we'll like it more now that we know someone in every group. Gives us incentive to look at new group's now. Like, now I have to focus on Team BII because of Lemon-sama, but maybe I'll really love Team BII. As a final note, I feel bad for Chikana Rina. She got fully transferred to JKT48. She is so not gonna fit in. I wonder how much we'll even see her. Sad they didn't put anyone in SNH48 or even get Melody to come to AKB or something. I wanted more overseas stuff. Oh well, I still look forward to all the new teams, and my wallet will officially be empty now that I want to support every group/team in the 48-family.

Full-list of Shuffle