Thursday, January 19, 2012

Front Girls I am Not Okay With

A reminder: Yes, you are going to disagree with at least one of these.

Well here we are again.

Several days ago, I posted an entry discussing the likability and impact of front girls and which ones I was actually okay with at the front. To refresh your memory, a front girl is a member of an idol group who is excessively pushed to have the most solos/screen time/promotion/etc. She's also the one that often splits up the group's fanbase. She'll either be showered with love or condemned for weighing the group down and sometimes even both! But not all front girls are bad, as I put in the front girls I am okay with. In fact, a lot of front girls are pretty likable to me. But... that doesn't mean I'm okay with every front girl in the world.

Due to demand, I have now compiled a list of front girls I am not okay with. These are the girls I want shoved to the back, the girls I feel don't deserve to be so frequently pushed. Do you remember that lengthy, eloquent, well thought-out post I made providing fairly rational explanations of why I'm okay with certain idols being front girls?

Now forget about that. I'm entering bitch-mode. And bitch-mode is choppy, awkward, and can get very, very ugly.

Tanaka Reina


Oddly enough, I didn't start getting bothered by her until recently. As I've said before, I got into Momosu around late-2010/early-2011 so naturally I looked at their past discography. I started old and worked my way up from there and when I came across the 6th Gen.'s debut song, I was blown away by young Reina. Not only is Shabondama an awesome song but she really rocked the vocals for her age and was one of my favorite things about that single. So I decided to look further into what Reina was like in the group, how she acted, if she was still there, etc. And I was impressed by that too! I found out that in her early years of MM she was the group's "yankee", the American equivalent of a punk. She was blunt, sassy, snarky witty, flipped the bird, she was one of the most entertaining members of MM and I really liked her! So naturally I wanted her to get more lines and screen time so she could show off that yankee soul! But then... something went wrong. Like I said, I chronologically went through MM's discography and got to the point where Reina started getting a lot of focus (around Ambitious!). I also looked a the Making Ofs and I noticed that she didn't act the way she did in the older videos of her. Instead there was this entirely different persona of bows and glitter and peace signs; this was not the Reina I'd been so stunned by in Shabondama. Someone on another blog calls her Winky; and as much as I hate to say it, that nickname kinda fits her now. And that's what I see in the front, not this badass Yankee girl from so long ago. I wish I did though. Instead I get... Winky.

Itou Momoka


I really need to get into this group. But Momoka's one of the reasons why I don't want to. Why should I when there's only one person singing the damn songs? Seriously, when I watched the PV for More Kiss, I would have believed it was just an idol with backup dancers if it hadn't been for the title! I guess I would probably be able to tolerate this a bit more if there weren't six other highly trained members. With Tokyo Girls' Style, two of the five are pushed but the other three usually get screen time. In Fairies, I just see Momoka everywhere. Sure, they throw in the occasional close-up/duet with the other girls but it's still Momoka. To be fair, I probably need this group a second chance because I heard their next single did push one other girl but you still have five to go, Avex. At least with Berryz there are four front girls with one pushed as center (and yes, she is on the list but we'll get to her later), Fairies has one. I will say, she is talented and has a very nice, trained voice but so do the others! Not that I can tell because they never sing. One of my pet peeves is when you have a large group of singers that are genuinely talented but you only push one. And that's what Avex is doing with Momoka and I don't like that. I think one of the best ways to promote a group is to give the members equal attention. Because wouldn't there be more fans f you multiplied Momoka's fanbase by seven? Do you see my logic? So as good as good as this group is, I'll start caring when Avex starts caring about the six other members in the group.

Watanabe Mayu

I like Mayuyu. I wanted to put that out there before I got attacked by the horde of Mayuyu fans. So yes, I like Mayuyu. Just not a lot of her. I love her as a front girl in AKB and I'm looking forward to her as a soloist! She's got a great personality, a geeky side to her, and her Creeper Smile is scary-awesome! So why don't I like her as a front girl? The weird thing is, I really like her as a front girl in AKB48 itself yet for some reason whenever she has her own little subgroups (i.e. Warota 7 or the Team Surprise units) then she tends to get a lot more spotlight than the other members. Now in AKB48, you can argue that certain front girls get more spotlight than others but of all the girl groups out there, it's probably one of the slightly fairer groups in terms of line distribution. But when it comes to groups like Warota 7, that tends to fly out the window when Mayuyu is pushed to the front and the rest of the the girls are shafted. And I'm not talking about just a little shafted, I mean they get really shafted. Just check out some the color coded lyrics floating around Stage 48 to get what I'm talking about. I guess this sort of ties in to the same reason why I don't like Momoka as a front girl: the sheer number of members. If were say, a trio (like v-u-den) I'd still be a little pissed off but I can understand if the front girl is talented vocally. But Mayuyu is... not. She has a very distinctive squeaky voice and it's pretty constrained to the cute genre of idol music. I listened to the preview of her debut single and it could easily pass as just another Warota 7 song. Are her group's songs good? Yes, most of them are but I still get very annoyed by the fact that there are a lot of vocally talented girls in Warota 7 but they often get shafted because of Mayuyu's popularity in AKB. Actually, why don't they just kick Mayuyu out of Warota 7 to focus on her solo career? True, it might dampen the group's sales but I'd rather take that over a 7-member group with only one main singer in it. Again, I really do like Mayuyu but I also like some of the other members of Warota 7. Would it kill you to promote them too, Aki-P?

Sayashi Riho


I've mentioned before why I dislike RiDOS. Hence the nickname. I followed MM around the time they were finding their 9th Gen. so I did kinda sorta care about who they were going to pick. Like I really wanted Kanon in and wasn't too big on Eripon (but that quickly changed) and then there was Riho. MM fans liked her because of her confidence and dancing skills and she was instantly a fan favorite; me, not so much. While I do give her points for being an extremely good dancer, that's pretty much her only trick. At the auditions, I didn't even get that interested in her because to me she came off as a little bit cocky and I just knew she was going to be pushed. I just underestimated how much she was going to be pushed. By the time ONLY YOU rolled around, Riho was right up at the front with Takahashi Ai and Tanaka Reina. Keep in mind that's two singles in. And I didn't like that; I think you should have to work for a position at the front and if it's handed to you it doesn't mean much. I think that's what happened with Riho. There are other reasons I don't like her besides her mega-push; she really can't sing. And whilst she is a great dancer; I only see that in PVs. When I play an MM song on my iPod I'm only hearing her voice, her squeaky, Autotuned voice, not her dancing. Normally I wouldn't mind a bad voice; Sayu's voice is terrible but she's one of my favorite members because of her hilarious personality. And that's where Riho gets dislike from me: her personality, or should I say lack of one. I like idols that look like they're really having fun in what they're doing and Riho just looks miserable up at the front most of the time. Either that or she looks bored. Hell, she can barely manage a smile. She just doesn't look like she's having fun in the group and that really puts me off.

Wada Ayaka


I like Dawa. She's okay-ish to me. I liked her position in old S/mileage. She had just enough lines and screentime so that she wasn't in my face throughout the whole PV but wasn't shoved to the back like Kana and Rina are now. But seriously, guys. She hates foreigners! Actually, I'm pretty sure she didn't mean that but I never get tired of making that joke. But overused jokes aside, I still don't like Dawa as a front girl. Before S/mileage was turned on its head, she had a great position with just enough authority as the group's leader but not so much that she was the face of the group. Then... S/mileage just went crazy. Saki left, Yuuka left, that one member with anemia left after just one single, and we were left with Kanon, Dawa, and four new members. So UFA decided to push Kanon and Dawa along with Meimi and Take and leave Rina and Kana in the back to rot. And personally, I'm not really keen on pushing Dawa even though I can see why they would push her along with the flawless Kanon: for the older fans. One of the best ways to hang on to Old S/mileage's popularity is to naturally push the two members from the older era along with the newer members. But that doesn't mean I have to be okay with that. Don't get me wrong, I do like Dawa but to me she doesn't really make a very good front girl. She already has a weak voice and she almost always seems a little awkward in that center position; I'd rather have Kanon or even Meimi pushed more in lieu of Dawa. But I guess that's just me wanting the old S/mileage back. I liked Old Dawa... but Front-Girl Dawa is... meh.

Sugaya Risako


Ah, Berryz. Personally I like C-ute better but they're still a nice group and they have great chemistry. But there is a reason I prefer C-ute to Berryz and that's partially because of Risako. From the beginning of the formation of Berryz (way back n 2004), Risako was pushed to be the center and the vocalist. She almost always lead singles, always got the center position, and tended to get the most attention, photobooks, DVDs, other idol stuff. Miyabi and Momoko (and currently Yurina) don't trail to far behind but mostly, it's Risako. So if you don't like Risako being in the front, then you're probably not going to gravitate toward Berryz. I will say I don't mind Risako quite as much as some of the other idols on this list, but she's in the front just enough to bother me. One of my main problems with Risako as a front girl is her voice. Actually, it didn't bother me in their earlier singles because it sound as... screechy. That's the only word I can think of to describe Risako's voice. The pitch is very screechy and her notes are all over the place. This would be such a problem if she didn't take up half the vocals. But I also can't stand Momoko's voice so why isn't she on here too? Well, to me Risako doesn't really make the best center. I don't know if it's because of that duck-face she's always trying to make but I think it's mostly because she looks so stiff in PVs and single/album covers. I think because she was placed on such a high pedestal at such a young age, Risako tries her best to be this perfect idol everyone wants her to be but only comes halfway. I actually enjoy her much better off screen because I think she looks a lot more natural and relaxed. So to make a long explanation short, front girl Risako is okay, just not when she's trying so hard.

...

So there you have it. I actually had a very time writing about this which is why I didn't post it for a couple days. I think that's partially because I don't hate any of these front girls; I just don't want them at the front. Does that even make sense? I guess what I'm trying to say is I think there are members in groups with so much potential but they're always shoved to back in favor of safer, more marketable girls in the front. And that's what I think about these front girls. Once again, I do have front girls I'm completely okay with but these are the ones that get under my skin. I really did have a hard time writing this without coming off as an insensitive bitch and my writing got very choppy. Hopefully this didn't turn into a full blown rant; I tried to keep things under control. But hey, just because I like idol music doesn't mean I have to like everything about it. And that just happens to include some front girls.

But once again, what front girls can you not stand?

3 comments:

  1. In all honesty - I cannot stand Maeda Atsuko, Momoko, Risako or Riho. I can understand why Reina is a front girl though - she auditioned for Gen 5, got kicked out for being too young, then re-auditioned, and she was REALLY popular because of her talent.

    Anyway, I just dislike those girls I listed XD mainly because their faces annoy me, or they can't sing/ their voices grate my ears (literally, I hate Riho's voice, it's BLURGH)

    YAY LIST 8U <3 I enjoyed this lovely rant XD

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  2. hi nia i just wanna say i totally agree with you..

    but you know, in Fairies newest single "Hikari no Hate ni" Avex promote all the girls equally and all of them are getting equal screen time :D

    btw i love your blog keep blogging :D

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  3. This list is perfect. <3

    I liked Mayuyu until I started getting way too much of her. I could deal with it when it was just in Warota (even though that annoyed me too) but then she started getting a center push and a solo career ON TOP of that and that was enough Mayuyu for me. At least with Maeda, they didn't even bother giving her a regular subunit and went straight for a solo career. That's what they should have done here. Mayuyu getting solos on every WH7 single for years and then by herself was just OVERKILL. Maybe I'll start to like her again since WH has ended and it seems like with her disappointing election result, mgmt has decided to pull back on her push.

    And finally someone that agrees Riho can't really sing. It ruffles me every time someone tries to attribute her push to her vocal skills... she sounded no better than any of the other girls in her generation. I liked her at first because of her confidence and dancing skills but when people started overrating her singing ability and her bland personality it all went blah from there.

    I'm a Berryz fan but can completely agree on Risako. She sucks. Her singing "technique" relies on basically shouting and occasionally hitting a note in the process. It amazes me the people that actually list her among the best in H!P, it shows so plainly in songs where she can't belt just how bad she is. I'm not an Airi fan at all (which is the main reason I can't get into C-ute), but at least she justifies her push by actually being a good vocalist.

    Dawa's push and apparent popularity will never cease to amaze me. She can't sing, her personality is completely dull, nothing about her suggests "leader" and I guess she's pretty but her looks don't really do anything for me. I love both old and current S/m and she has always been my least favorite member. It annoys me so much to see her getting more lines over the superior 2nd gen members vocalists JUST because she's a 1st gen. Thankfully, 2nd gen has been getting more push this year but I'll never get over the disservice done to Samui ne... Meimei and Takechan would have been so amazing with those lines Dawa butchered. :-/

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