Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 - The Year of Perfume! (Oh yeah, and some other idols...)

Well, the year of 2013 is almost to a close. Just one more day and voila! Hello, 2014! Man, changing the date on all my papers is gonna suck for the next month or so... But anyways, as we near the end of 2013, the time has come on the Wonderland for me to go over all the craziness that's gone down this year! Album releases, graduations, name changes, auditions, everything that happened in the idolsphere that was of some significance to me and my writing!

So let's start with the first and the most important: Perfume! In my opinion, 2013 was a much more eventful year for Perfume than 2012. True, last year they had their first overseas tour, but this year, they did that and a bunch of other stuff! They released three singles, one album, did another overseas tour, and finally ended the year with a Dome Tour! I will admit, the first part of this year wasn't quite as stellar for Perfume. They released Mirai no Museum, or as I like to call it the Doraemon song, and overall, I found that single to be quite dull. Then again, it was for a kid's franchise so I wasn't expecting anything strange or experimental. After Mirai no Museum though came Magic of Love, my favorite Perfume single this year! Then things couldn't get any better when they announced not only a second world tour but also an album. Their first in two years! I was ecstatic for the album, but kind of bummed that the world tour would only be in Europe. I mean, I'm not trying to sound selfish but... okay, I am being selfish, I want to see Perfume in concert but I have no means of doing so if they don't come to America. There. I said it. I think what's more frustrating about this year's Perfume concerts is that they felt more... accessible? I mean, no I couldn't have gone to any of them, because they're all outside of America and I have no passport. I'm very happy for anyone who could go to their second world tour, I really am! But oh well, I guess I'll live if I never get to see Perfume in concert. But back to the happy stuff! Perfume did a ton of concerts this year and also released a bunch of stuff like singles, their DVD, an album, they really spread themselves quite thin this year! The one downside for Perfume this year were their phsyical sales; they went down, but I'm not surprised. That seemed to happen to a lot of artists this year. And I think with them doing all the overseas stuff, it was only natural their physical sales would go down a bit. I'm not worried too much. Other than that, I'm immensely satisfied with everything Perfume has done this year and all the effort from the girls! I'm sure they must be exhausted! Hopefully they'll get a break in 2014!

Hello! Project had a year filled with both stupidity and growth. Stupidity mainly stemming from Tsunku and UFP's promotional decisions and growth in both sales and size! It was really quite a mixed bag for H!P this year. Of course, one of the most significant things in Hello! Project was the introduction of a new group, Juice=Juice! Naturally, the new group generated a lot of buzz, and I think so far they've gotten of to a great start! All the other staple H!P groups had their usual ups and downs, with certain groups experiencing more ups than other groups. Morning Musume and C-ute both experienced the most significant changes in sales, with Momusu having three consecutive number one singles this year and C-ute selling higher and higher with each release. I'm honestly pretty happy for both groups, especially C-ute. I do hope this trend continues for both groups; it'd be great seeing Momusu reaching the numbers they did in their early days! Maybe that's a little idealistic, but who knows? Anything's possible if you put enough effort into it! S/mileage pretty much remained stagnant. Berryz Koubou's sales went up slightly but not by much. Unfortunately, the quality of Berryz music and the group's chemistry went down this year. I don't know why, but for whatever reason, Berryz Koubou just had a bummer year. Other than that, Morning Musume continued on their wave of electropop, and that electropop dance music began spreading to other H!P groups. As I predicted (and which I will forever gloat over), many fans complained about this switch to electronic dance songs plaguing the rest of Hello! Project, but when are the fans not complaining? Personally, I'm okay with the electropop as long as it's good electropop. And so far, I've yet to hear a horrible electropop song from H!P yet (knock on wood though). Now if I could only get UFP to start putting more effort into H!P's single art and PVs...

H!P wasn't the only agency to introduce a new group this year, AKS pulled another group card from their deck! HTK48, finally out of development hell, debuted this year with the cutesy-wootsy single Suki! Suki! Skip. Eugh. Just saying that name gives me cavities. Nonetheless, with Sasshi at the helm and a bunch of fresh faces, HKT48 debuted at #1 to the amount of sales you'd expect from a '48 group. Yeah, saleswise, none of the AKS groups experienced much decline. In fact, I'd say most of them got better! SKE48's sales were insanely high this year, along with NMB48's, and Nogizaka46 is finally climbing up to the big leagues, with Girl's Rule becoming their highest single! Of course, sales have nothing to do with quality. And the awful quality of AKB48's singles downright pissed me off this year. I think this is the first year in which I have dislike every single AKB48 A-side. Aki-P is putting absolutely no effort into giving them interesting music anymore, and that makes my blood boil. But the abysmal musical quality affected their single sales no way whatsoever, a fact that distresses me so. Luckily, the other AKS groups weren't dealt with such a god-awful songs tha AKB48 got slapped with this year. In fact, Nogizaka46 of all groups finally started to get some decent song. Sure, they have a long way to go, but I enjoyed all three of their singles this year. The accompanying music videos were really well-done too; Barrette has to be one of my favorite PVs from this year! SKE48 also did pretty decently; Choco no Dorei didn't jazz me that much, but I thought Utsukushii Inazuma and Sansei Kawaii! were both pretty good! Utuskushii Inazuma was definitely a change of sound for an SKE48 A-side! As for NMB48, they only released two singles this year, but they did release an album which did pretty well! Bokura no Eureka was kind of a dull song, but the PV was it was amazing! Kamonegix also bordered on being a generic dance song, but it was an easy listen. So other than AKB48, I think songwise, all the other AKS groups had a mixed to positive year in terms of music. And that money keeps rolling in, of course!

Of course, how can I forget about all the little idol groups outside of AKS and H!P? After all, some of those groups released better and more interesting music! Let's start with Tokyo Girls' Style, because... well, they're Tokyo Girls' Style! TGS kicked off 2013 with Yakusoku, their strongest album in my opinion, and continued that momentum with singles Unmei and Get the Star/Last Forever. I enjoyed both A-sides off both these singles, but I particularly loved Get the Star/Last Forever. I liked that it showed a different musical style for TGS, branching into less funk and R&B and more into straight-up rock. Both songs on the single are really good and I recommend checking them out! Unmei was also a pretty strong A-side, but nothing particularly new for TGS. But as someone who loves that 90s Avex sound TGS defaults to, I loved Unmei! Unfortunately, all the good music came to a crashing halt with Road to Budokan 2013 ~Chiisana Kiseki~. I've been over this before: I do not like Chiisana Kiseki. I think it's too happy and too generic for a group like TGS. Super Girls, it might sound good, but not for TGS. It's a shame the girls ended the year with such a bummer single, but at least the B-sides kind of made up for it. And the girls performed at Budokan again this year! Next month, they're also releasing a collaboration album called Matline Girls' Wave which features a solo song from each member! So it's nice to know they're continuing to be busy next year! I just wish their sales had improved a little bit... I guess Avex just doesn't promote them.

BiS, being BiS, had a year just as strange and unusual as last year! But I don't mind, because they released a boatload of music! Three singles, two collaboration singles, and one single featuring honorary member Koshino Junko to be exact! That's quite the boatdload for the unconventional idol group! For the most part, I liked mostly everything BiS released this year. Let me put it this way: I didn't hate anything they released this year! I think they had some pretty good songs, and one or two dull ones in the mix. BiS had planned on going to Budokan this year, but through various reasons including not being able to fill the venue, that didn't work out. Maybe next year! Speaking of unconventional idol groups, Momoiro Clover Z also had an interesting year! They started it out with 5th Dimension then waited several months to release Gounn, their only single this year! From what I can tell, fan reaction to 5th Dimension was pretty mixed, and I admit it's not as good as Battle and Romance. But I still think the album had its high points! And it became MomoClo's first number one album! Musically, I think Gounn could have been a better comeback song, but I think the PV was absolutely gorgeous. Lot's a of great imagery in it! MomoClo also got invited back to Kouhaku for a second, and Oricon sales showed that they were the fourth highest selling artist of 2013! It's a pretty amazing feat, and I'm extremely happy that a not-boring idol group can get up there with AKB48! Overall, I think 2013 just had more growth for MomoClo. Maybe not musically, but definitely in terms of popularity! To think that they might be able to overtake AKB48... oh, it gets the most diabolical parts of my mind giddy! Maybe in 2014 they'll have their big breakthrough and take over Japan, finally dethroning AKB48 and unleashing their undead army of... of... what was I talking about again? Something about Momoiro Clover Z... Oh well, moving on!

I can't think of anything else too significant with any of the other idol groups I follow. Kyarypamyupamyu (okay, technically she isn't an idol) released a boatload of stuff this year, especially in the first half of 2013. Three singles and an album. Nakata had the good sense to take a break and work on other stuff before producing Mottai Night Land. I know digitally Kyary does better with sales than physically, but album sales for Nanda Collection were still pretty good! Sure, I'd much prefer Perfume get sales like that but... You know, good for Kyary! Let's see, who else released an album... Oh yeah, Scandal! I think Scandal had a pretty normal year, nothing too out of the ordinary for them. Three singles and an album for them, and their sales were meh as usual. Of course, Over Drive was produced by Nakata, surreally enough. Standard isn't my favorite Scandal album, but I think it did have several high points on it. And that ending track is pure gold! On the subject of rock groups, Passpo... had a pretty dull year. Well, they had a dull year until the end of 2013, when they released Jejejejet!! What happened with Passpo was all the singles they released were really boring and had A-sides that weren't very interesting, save for one or two of them. So I was thinking Jejejejet!! would be an equally boring album. However, Passpo surprised me and ended up releasing an album where every single track was good except for the aforementioned A-sides. It was a very pleasant surprise, since I honestly thought Passpo had finally lost their spark! A group that has been losing their spark though is Weather Girls. Their first single of 2013 was good, but the next two and their album were all kind of disappointing. I don't know, I haven't given up one them or anything, but I do hope they haven't completely fizzled out! Let's see, other than that, I can't think of anything truly significant to report with any of the other idol groups I follow!

Now there were several idol groups that generated my interest this year, some new and some already established. The most prominent two for me were Kus Kus and Curumi Chronicle. Even though I found out about Curumi later in the year, her concept as a "technopop idol" really grabbed me. Because as you all know, I am a huge fan of technopop. I mean, you guys see how much Perfume is on my blog! However, I've been craving another new technopop artist with more of an idol edge to them. I mean yes, Kyarypamyupamyu exists, but her music is a little too cute for me sometimes. But then Curumi Chronicle dance in with her eponymous debut album, and after the first listen, I knew I was hooked. She reminded me of a younger idol-y Aira Mitsuki, and the music on her album is some high-quality technopop. I am totally keeping an eye out for her new releases in 2014! The other technopop group I got into this year was Kus Kus! Like Curumi Chronicle, they haven't released much: just one single. But that one single was enough for me. What I like about Kus Kus is how much they remind me of an indies Perfume. They're a three-member group, they release idol technopop, their first PV is incredibly cheap... can you see the parallels? I'm just hoping they evolve the same way Perfume evolves, or they evolve in their own unique way but still keep that technopop sound that made me love their first single so much! They're a new group, but I have high hopes for Kus Kus. One of the older idol groups I'm starting to get into is 9nine! You'd think I'd have started listening to them soonder what with A-chan's sister being in the group and all. But nope, just now! I do like what I've heard from 9nine though; they kind of remind me of a more idol-y Tokyo Girls' Style. I think overall, I didn't get into a huge number of new idols this year, but I am excited to hear more of the ones I did get into! And on the up side, I didn't lose interest in any of the groups I follow either! Well... maybe Berryz Koubou. Maybe.

How can I forget the excruciating ordeal that is idol graduations? There were several big ones this year from both groups I follow and groups I dont' follow. The one that hit the hardest for me was obviously Akimoto Sayaka's. She was my favorite member of AKB48, and I didn't want to see her go. However, I also understood that there was nothing left for her in AKB48, and the best thing she could do for her career was graduate. I can't live with that. I may not be okay with it, but I can live with it. The other major two graduations in AKB48 were Itano Tomomi and Shinoda Mariko. Mariko's especially came off as a surprise; I think everyone thought she'd never leave AKB48! It was practically a joke... But not anymore. Tomochin's didn't affect me hard, but she was still popular enough for me to notice. Outside of AKS, Hello! Project only had two major graudations this year: Mano Erina and Tanaka Reina. I don't know about you guys, but I was perfectly happy with Reina's graduation. I was more than ready to see her out of Momusu so I could finally hear some other girls in the group sing! I know I sound apathetic, but Reina was never my favorite in Morning Musume. Mano Erina's graduation was early in the year, but I think she'd been in H!P long enough. Would I have liked to see her stay longer? Maybe, but her graduation didn't affect me too hard. Not as much as Terashima Yufu's at least. Oh yeah, BiS also had several graduations for being such a small group. First Wacky jumped ship after BiSimulation, then Yufu shortly after, then Michel left after Fly/Hi. BiS quickly filled their spots though with more new members though, adding three in June and one more just recently. I like all the new members! They fit in well with BiS! I was sad to see Yufu go though; she was my favorite member of BiS. But I heard that she and Pour Lui didn't get along very well so... it makes sense for her to leave. On the up side though, she is debuting as a soloist! Hopefully in the near-future, I'll be able to hear her voice in her own solo work!

So what happened on the Wonderland itself? Well, I got a lot more views than I did last year! Around this time last year, I had about 30,000 hits. I looked on my stats today, and my total viewcount as gone up to 112,000. That means in the past year, my blog has generated 92,000 hits. That may not seem like a huge number, but for me, it's completely surreal. And I'm noticing that my monthly viewcount is also getting larger... Like this month is my peak! I know you guys probably get bored when I talk about my stats, but it's just so crazy that these numbers apply to my blog. I mean, other blogs, I could see but mine? It just doesn't seem... I don't know, real! I keep expecting to wake up back in the seventh grade! Eugh, I hope that never happens. I'm really happy that so many people over the past year have enjoyed reading all my inane ramblings and rants about Japanese pop music. I also wrote a little more this year than last year, which makes me feel very productive! Balancing both my education/social life and writing on the Wonderland sometimes can be very difficult, but I'm happy that I was able to do both this year! I hope I'm able to keep that up next year as well! But I do want to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to read what I've written! You guys really are the most wonderful viewers and commentors, and I don't know where I'd be without you!

So last year, I had several hopes and dreams for 2013. And as I did with last year's hopes and dreams for 2012, I'd like to take this year-end recap to find out if any of the ones from this year came true or not!

Aki-P Makes or Matsui Jurina Watanabe Mayu AKB48's New Ace

- I guess... this kind of happened? Honestly, I don't think AKB48 really had a new ace this year. In fact, this year, the center for AKB48's singles was different each time! For So Long! it was Mayuyu, for Sayonara Crawl it was Yuko, Mayuyu, Paruru, and Tomochin, for Koisuru Fortune Cookie it was Sasshi, for Heart Electric it was Harunyan, and for Suzukake Nanchara it was solely Jurina. Compare to that to 2011 when Acchan was center for four out of five singles, the only excpetion being the Janken single. This year didn't feel like AKB48's singles were dominated by one sole girl. Even though Jurina and Mayuyu were both prominently featured in AKB48, I would say neither one truly became ace. Hell, Mayuyu got trumped by Sasshi in the Senbatsu elections. And I think as long as Jurina's still center of SKE48, she can't really be center of AKB48 as well. The workload would be way too much for someone her age. The one ace management tried to push was Paruru, but fan reaction toward her was pretty mixed. So yeah, I didn't really think there was any ace at all this year. But maybe next year will bring forth one for all the fans to get pissed off about!

BiS Gets More Fans

- I want to say yes, but I honestly can't tell. I do think their sales improved a bit. You can't deny that BiS was pretty busy this year; they released released three singles. And BiS did a lot with other groups this year, like their collaborations with Dorothy Little Happy and Not to mention that single with honorary member Koshino Junko, a famous fashion designer. They also planned to go to Budokan this year, but I guess Pour Lui and management wanted to hold out until they had enough fans to fill the venue? I know that Pour Lui wants to disband the group on a high note, when they've reached their peak of success. I've got to think that, in her eyes at least, BiS isn't at that point yet. So I guess they did gain more fans, but not enough fans that Pour Lui wanted? I don't know, even if BiS didn't make it do Budokan this year, I still think they did a bunch of other interesting things this year that'll surely spread their name around!

C-ute Continues Selling Well

- Yes! Absolutely yes! In fact, I'd say they sold even better! Every single C-ute released this year sold even better than their last! For such a long time, their highest selling single was Tokaikko Junjou with  38,085 copies sold. Then their sales started getting better in 2012, and then in 2013, their highest selling single became Tokai no Hitorigurashi/Aitte Motto Zanshin with 67,748 copies sold. That may not seem like a huge number, but for C-ute, it's a pretty huge deal. And this year they finally had a solo concert at Budokan! It's not exactly Tokyo Dome, but for C-ute, performing solo at Budokan is still quite the feat! After being around for eight years, I think they rightly deserved it! Honestly, I couldn't be happier with how far C-ute's come this year! I think their music's been good, their PVs have been good, their sales have been good, I just hope all this goodness continues into 2014!

H!P Gets a New Soloist and/or Group

- Totally happened! Crazy as it might have sounded last year, Hello! Project finally got a new group! And in my opinion, a new group for H!P was long overdue. I think H!P desperately needed some new girls, especially with the girls in Berryz Koubou and C-ute growing older. The group we got was Juice=Juice, who debuted in May and three indie singles later, had their major debut with Romance no Tochuu! Already Juice=Juice stapled their place in Hello! Project by continuing the long-held tradition of losing a member. Yep, just before their major debut, Otsuka Aina abruptly dropped out of Juice=Juice. Still, with five members, Juice=Juice pursued on, and ended 2014 with two major singles under their belt and a Japan Record Award nomination! I think Juice=Juice had a very solid start this year with some really good singles that overshadowed the meh songs they released this year. Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne is one of my favorite songs this year, and Romance no Tochuu was pretty good too. I think if Tsunku manages not to get bored with them too fast or do anything stupid like add new members or change their name, he's got a good group in his hands. And I eagerly look forward to seeing whatever Juice=Juice does next year! Who knows? Maybe 2014 will give us even more new H!P groups!

Miyamoto Karin Debuts

- I think this one's a no-brainer. Of course, Karin debuted, she's in Juice=Juice. I don't need to say much about this other than I'm very happy for her, and I think she absolutely deserved to debut! She also fits well with Juice=Juice! So yeah. Yay for Karin! Moving on!

Naaboudoufu@nana Releases More Stuff

- I don't even think I heard from Naaboudoufu@nana this year. Like seriously, what happened to this chick? I have heard absolutely nothing about her this year. It's a shame, because I was all ready to follow her and check out her stuff after Magical Lip Kiss. But it appears there's nothing to check out! I've looked her up on every Wiki I can find, and I all I see are the two singles she's released before 2013. The one thing she has done this year is release a photobook, but that was in early February. Maybe she's, I don't know, doing a bunch of live shows at a really small venus I've never heard of? It's quite the mystery, and I'm not Nancy Drew enough to solve it. I'll just wait and see if I hear anything from Naaboudoufu@nana in 2014!

No New Member Auditions for Morning Musume This Year

- Uh... nyes? Technically, Morning Musume did have their 12th Generation "Mirai Shoujo" auditions. However, Tsunku didn't pick any members from that audition, stating that the talent level was "too high" in Morning Musume or something like that. Naturally this upset a lot of people, and Tsunku ran off into the sunset laughing. So I guess Momusu had auditions for new members, but no actual new members were added to the group. Honestly, I'm pretty relieved that they didn't. I already prefer my idol groups to be more stable, and I feel like Momusu has enough new girls at the moment. They've got a good dynamic going, and I feel like adding new girls the mix right now would just mess up said dynamic. Maybe around halfway through 2014, I'd be okay with more members being added to Morning Musume. Or after Sayu graduates. Actually, yeah, I think that's when I'd want new members to be added to Momusu.

Passpo Releases Stuff as Cool as The Airline Trilogy

- Yes and no? Passpo did release another singles trilogy this year. But it was totally lackluster and a huge disappointment after the Airline Trilogy. The only really decent single in this year's trilogy was Step&Go/Candy Room, and even then I didn't find that single to be amazing. Truly was the dullest song I've heard this year, and Mousou no Hawaii had some flair to it but ultimately not enough to make it a good single. Growing Up was downright slow, and Sakura Komachi was all right, but I grew tired of it pretty fast. So singles-wise, Passpo had a pretty rough year. None of their A-sides were anywhere near as high-quality as the ones from last year. However, what Passpo lacked in A-side quality this year they made up for in the quality of their B-sides and album songs off Jejejejet!! I was seriously considering dropping Passpo until they released Jejejejet!! The album had a lot more rock-oriented tracks and energy in it, enough to convince me to stick around and see what Passpo does in the new year. I can only hope that Passpo gets their act together and starts releasing some interesting singles again! And can they bring back the flight theme? I feel like they haven't utilized that since Next flight from last year.

Perfume Releases Something Darker and Edgier

- Wow, this actually happened! I feel like every year, I'm always saying "Man, I hope Perfume releases something really dark and edgy this year..." only to be met by... songs that are good but by no means dark and edgy. I was really craving another long, primarily instrumental song, similar to edge from Perfume, but with them moving toward a lighter and softer sound in the JPN era, I figured that was never going to happen. But lo and behold, Level3 came out! I really wasn't sure how Level3 would sound, especially going off solely the singles of the era. I mean, what kind of cohesive album could possibly be derived from Spending all my time, Magic of Love, Spring of Life, and Mirai no Musuem? But Nakata did it somehow, and Level3 turned out to be my second favorite Perfume album! Of the many highlights on the album, one of my favorite tracks was Party Maker, a seven minute song that it freaking awesome. It has the length of edge, is primarily instrumental, and has the darker, more dance-oriented sound that I'd been craving from Perfume! Sure, Party Maker will never be edge 2.0, but it is the Perfume song that's come the closest! And for me, Party Maker is one of my favorite Perfume songs now, along with Dream Land!

Takamina's Solo Single is Awesome

- I don't think Jane Doe was quite as awesome as I might have hyped it up to be. Don't get me wrong, it was a good single. But none of the songs on it really blew me away. The A-side itself wasn't anywhere near as good as I thought it would be. There was just something about Takamina's voice; she sounded kind of nasally in Jane Doe. My favorite B-side off the single was Yabureta Hane. Even then, I finished listening to the single, and I just felt kind of empty. I don't want to sound like I thought Jane Doe was a horrible single; it didn't meet my expectations though. The moral of this story? Don't overhype things! Unless they're Perfume. Because even if the result is something disappointing, the hype is totally worth it. For me at least. Moving on!

UFP Stops Shafting Everyone in Morning Musume Who Isn't Riho/Reina

- Um... kind of? I want to say that yes, they did, but in my heart of hearts, I know that UFP will never cease their chornic habit of shafting certain girls in Morning Musume. But what did help Morning Musume a lot was the graduation of Tanaka Reina! It was a glorious day seeing Reina graduate, and the first post-Reina single was wonderful. Not just musically, but in terms of line distribution as well. Instead of the songs being Riho and Reina featuring maybe Mizuki and Masaki, Morning Musume's next single featured a bunch of girls singing beyond just Riho! Good thing too considering Riho's voice isn't exactly... stellar. But yeah, Sakura, Mizuki, and Riho lead Momusu's latest single, and Masaki, Sayumi, and Ayumi all had prominent vocals on the songs as well! Sure, there are still four extra girls Momusu not doing much other than backup dancing, but you know, baby steps! All I want in Morning Musume is to hear girls who can hit the high notes Tsunku forces them to sing, and so far, the girls singing lead right now are doing a fairly decent job of that.

Watanabe Mayu Releases More Singles

- Well, she only released one single this year, and honestly Rappa Renshuuchuu didn't jazz me that much. AKS is really weird about promoting their soloists. Like they'll have a girl release two singles in one year pretty fast, but then they'll wait for several months to release another single. I guess that's because the girls who usually are soloists are also invovled in the Senbatsu with AKB48, and juggling both group activities and solo activities is difficult. Still, I do wish the one single Mayuyu released this year had been a little more interesting. Rappa Renshuuchuu was a nice-sounding song and all, but nothing about it really stood out. The most interesting part about Rappa Renshuuchuu was the weird PV that went with it. Am I the only one who got some Kyarypamyupamyu vibes from this PV? Oh well, I do hope Rappa Renshuuchuu isn't the last solo single we'll hear from our Fantastic Creeper!

I Get into Momoiro Clover Z

- Who'd have thought I'd actually get into MomoClo? I definitely didn't! But after reviewing Saraba, Itoshiki Kamitachi-yo in 2012, I slowly started warming up to Momoiro Clover Z. Then I reviewed 5th Dimension and thought that there might be something to this crazy idol group. From there I finally got around to listening to Battle and Romance and found that it was a freaking awesome album. After Battle and Romance, I realized that this was an idol group that I really wanted to follow! And that's what I've been doing since! I think my getting into MomoClo was kind of a domino process where looking at one thing by them led to another thing and then another and another until I realized I may or may not be into this group. And their releases this year did leave a lot to talk about! Even if Gounn wasn't super amazing, Momoiro Clover Z has still impressed me somewhat this year! Visually, I think they're such a neat idol group. The concepts they used this year were both intricate and intriguing, like the creepy costumes for 5th Dimension and the Buddhist concepts for Gounn. They may not be as crazy as they used to be, but I think Momoiro Clover Z still has a lot of spunk left in them, and I'd like to see where they go from here!

I Review Something by C-ute

- Yep, I finally got around to writing not just one but two PV reviews for C-ute! Reviewing H!P stuff this year got to be a little tedious toward the second half of 2013. Mainly because Tsunku got the bright idea to start releasing solely A-sides for the H!P groups. As a listener, this is great. As a blogger, this is a pain. But I really did want to review C-ute's stuff; they had some interesting songs this year! And the double PV review for Tokai no Hitorigurashi/Aitte Motto Zanshin may have driven me to temporary insanity, but it was still worth it! I had fun reviewing both those PVs. My only regret is that I didn't get aroudn to reviewing Kanashiki Amefuri; there was a lot to talk about with that PV, since it was one of the few PVs UFP put effort into. I feel like I made up for that with the double PV review though! And who knows? Maybe Tsunku will calm down and start releasing single A-sides again in 2014! But part of me doubts that.

I Break 50,000

- I can't believe this, but I did break 50,000. In fact, I didn't just break 50K this year; in November, I broke 100,000 views. Yeah, my mind is still blown about that. But you guys have already heard me go on and on about views and blah blah blah, so I won't repeat what I've already said. But I will say thank you again! Really I can't thank you all enough for sticking with me through the craziness that has been 2013. I hope to see you all in 2014 as well!


  1. "I know that Pour Lui wants to disband the group on a high note, when they've reached their peak of success. I've got to think that, in her eyes at least, BiS isn't at that point yet."

    I'm presuming that this disbanding at their peak thing is just PR. What's likely causing their disbandment is Avex/management not renewing their contract or other issues among the group.

    1. You're probably right but shhhh let me believe it's something nobler than that.

  2. I like that AKB don't have a real center, you know? There are almost 100 girls just in AKB48( and almost 150 with the others 48's) and it's nice to see that other girls are geting the spotlight too.

    And same with Morning Musume. Since Reina is gone, half of the group gets to sing, and that's better than the Reina/Riho/Ayumi that was going before.

    I'm really hoping that Berryz stop sucking, because I REALLY want to follow them. I'm hoping that Tsunku makes them the same thing they did to °C-ute in Best Album Shinsei Naru, and remix the classics (maybe I'm the only guy that wants to hear Special Generation in electropop XD). That really helped °C-ute, maybe helps Berryz too.

    I really don't follow BiS, but they do have some cool songs for me, and I hope that they don't disband. They are the only idol group that are recognized as artists by now, and that's great.

    TGS always give me good vibes. I like Avex's idol groups, because Avex doesn't know how to make an idol group, so there is always something different from the rest. I really want TGS to get more spotlights, and that shouldn't be hard (come on, it's Avex).

    And I want Hyadain to be Momoclo's producer!!!!! His songs are great, and really shows the energy that Momoiro Clover Z have. And I'm cheering for them to get more singles next year.

    I want Perfume World Tour 3rd too. Let's do some rewind now: The 1st was in Asia. The 2nd was in Europe. Unless they choose to tour Africa, the 3rd will be here in America!!!! I'm hoping that they do concerts in NYC, in Mexico City, Buenos Aires, and Rio de Janeiro, and I want to see them IRL, not just in the screen of my PC. And I want some retro releases from them, like something that sounds 70's or that.

    Well, that was as long as the post XD, but I want to 2014 to be better than 2013 in everything!

    1. It is nice that AKB48 is one of the more even idols groups, but they always have a "center" for each single. There's even a wiki page listing all the centers of AKB48 songs!

      Yeah, the dynamic with Morning Musume is slowly getting better. You know, baby steps! And Reina's graduation helped a lot.

      You should look into Berryz Koubou's older songs! While their current music is totally boring, they do have some really great older songs! And maybe Tsunku just needs to remix some of those older songs, rework what made Berryz such a great group. You're right, it worked for C-ute! Surely it can work for Berryz too!

      BiS is really cool. Kind of frightening and off-kilter, but if you can get past their PVs, they have some pretty cool music.

      Avex has an... interesting batch of idol groups. What I like is that they're all so different from each other! And TGS is obviously the most different. Unfortunately, I think that's what will prevent them from ever getting a ton of spotlight, that and Avex putting little effort into promoting them.

      Oh yeah, Hyadain! That guy's produced some cool songs. But I heard he like didn't want to work with MomoClo anymore? I don't know, I could be wrong. I hope I am wrong!

      You know, a North America tour would be really nice! Perfume could hit all those cities you listed and maybe a city in Canada too! Oh, wouldn't that be ideal... and it'd be nice for them to perform in the South but that's never going to happen because nobody remotely cool performs in the South. Where was I? Oh yeah, I think Perfume could work well with a retro sound, maybe even something similar to early-Capsule...

      That's okay! I like long comments! And I hope 2014 is even better than 2013 too!