Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Nia's Best of the Blogsphere - 2013

Hahaha, thought my megapost was going to suck all the writing juice out me, did you?

Ha! A super-long megapost won't get the best of me! Not completely at least. As I was sitting there, typing out my megapost, and thinking about all my year-end posts, I thought to myself, "Why not do a list of my favorite blog posts this year?" I have a lot of favorite blogs I read that have published some great content, and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to take the time to show those favorites to other people. That way you guys all had some great stuff to read! Think of this as Idolminded if it were taken over by me. Although if ran Idolminded, there would probably be a lot more Perfume in it. Yeah... the more I think about it, it's probably a good thing I don't run Idolminded. But what I can do is list all my personal favorite blog posts from 2013! So before we say goodbye to 2013, here is my best of the blogsphere!

Top 25 Most Played Songs on my iPod: 2012

This is a pretty short post, but I still enjoyed reading it! I just really like reading about personal interests of other bloggers, and I think seeing someone's most played songs can really give you insight into their personal taste! And Kioku's just got great taste in music.

My favorite idols

Another post that's just a fun read! I'm always curious as to what people's favorite idols are, and Aim provides a convenient little list of her own favorites, along with her reasoning behind each one! And I personally think she has some great picks!

Group you need to meet: Silent Siren

Even if Silent Siren is on my Idol Blacklist (for entirely benign reasons I assure you), it's always nice to see a group written about by someone who's into them do so. And Mara brings up some very good points about female idols and their creative control over their music!

Idols and Boyfriends

Amongst the many, many posts published about the dating rule around this time, Chiima's is my personal favorite. She just does such a great job of outlining all the double standards and flaws in the no-dating system, it makes for a really great read!

Why I’m Still (Kinda) on Kasai’s Side…

Kioku takes a surprising side on the entire Kasai Tomomi scandal which makes for a very interesting read. Kioku has some really great points about the entire situation, and made me see the entire scandal from a slightly different viewpoint. I always love when bloggers do that!

My thoughts on the Koharu situation

I felt so bad for Aim when this happened. I know that she's a huge fan of Koharu, and you can really hear the pain in her voice as she wrote this. In my opinion, the final conclusion she came to regarding the entire situation was both mature and poignant.

In Which Isilie Weighs in on Koharu's Ramblings

Along with Aim, Isilie also gave her lovely input regarding the Koharu situation! I always love when Isilie writes, because I know it'll always be an engaging and compelling read! And her thoughts about this situation delivered! She has a great, thoroughly back-up opinion she stands by!

WEEKLY #1 F**K YEAH!

I think one of the most touching things is to see a fan get overjoyed about the success of their idols. And Morning Musume getting #1 was a joy for all of us, especially Chiima! It's really heartwarming to hear the joy in her words about one of her favorite groups getting a #1 on Oricon again!

What's your purpose as a Youtube dancer?

Okay so this is technically more about Youtube dancers than J-pop idols, but it's still a really well-written post and I just had to include it! As a Youtube dancer herself, NyNy has some really great personal insight into the topic, and as someone who isn't part of the community, I found it interesting!

The Eternal Debate

Celestia cuts right down to the bullshit of popularity and hierarchy and how fans get pissed off over both. While I don't agree with all the points in this post, I still think Celestia backs up her own opinions nicely in a short read that doesn't waste any time cutting to the main points.

The no dating rule and Johnny's special treatment

Another great post about the no-dating rule along with the Minegishi Minami scandal, Aim also provides a lot of great examples of JE idols skirting the same no-dating rule that so many female idols have lost their careers to. I loved reading this!

On Avex, Idols, "Dance and Vocal" Groups and Tokyo Girls' Style

I knew at some point Krv would get into TGS! Or maybe that's just my delusional brain latching onto anyone who remotely shows interest in TGS... Either way, Krv gives some great opinions about the Avex idols topping it off with great reviews of Tokyo Girls' Style's latest two albums!

[Rambling] Nogizaka46 and the End of the World: But hey, they produced something Amazing... Finally!

We may have all thought she was crazy at the time, but Chiima's words rang true! In a weird way, I think she might have predicted the rise in quality for Nogizaka46! Of course, her confusion at the time was both entertaining and hilarious!

This Isn't Really About Mano...

Mano Erina is just one of many idols Isilie talks about in a post regarding the "glow" of idols soon to graduate. It's very interesting, and I never really thought about this topic until she brought it up. The examples are all great, it's a treat as usual to read something by Isilie!

'Pimping? or Just Cute?' + A Wota Perspective

Whatever happened to Project Idoldome? They were such a good site then they just... stopped writing stuff. Nonetheless, of their short but sweet time in the blogsphere, this editorial is a lovely read about the way idols are marketed and public perception of the titular wotas.

Becoming the Wota I am Today: A Response to Ray's Fandoms Preparing For Other Fandoms

I love reading backstories, and Chiima's backstory about how she got into idols and all the other things that led to it is really interesting! It's a very sentimental and heartwarming post, along with a great story behind one of the blogsphere's loveliest, Chiimiest bloggers!

The Blossomed Idol

Kioku gives a great tribute to graduated idol Mano Erina, going over how much she evolved over her career as an H!P soloist. I agree with a lot of what Kioku talks about, and I think it's really sweet that she gave such a lovely little tribute to Mano Erina!

The Fan Gene

What is the fan gene? I didn't know until I read this post! Of course, this post is about more than just the fan gene; it's a story of how our beloved Morningtime became the fan he is today! As always, I love reading posts like this; it makes me feel like I know the blogger better!

[Guest Post] Spreading One's Juices (by Sarah in Kpopland!)

I don't read much about K-pop, but if I'm to go off Sarah's guest post on Okay! Musume Time, I probably should start reading more of her posts! I think it's really cool that Chiima had someone else guest on her blog; it's a great way of showing alternate opinions!

A Look Into the Mind of Female Wota

All right, something for the ladies! As a girl, I can relate to so much of the ideas projected in this editorial. The ideas, the perceptions, the struggles, all of it is very true and it's nice to see someone write about it. Again, why is this site not writing more stuff?

AKB48's So Long is too long

I don't know why, but over the past year, reading bloggers with equal disdain for AKB48 as I have has become a strangely addicting hobby. And Aim's post ripping into all the problems with So Long! is a glorious read, that I enjoyed thoroughly. And by the way, that song sucks.

C.I.H.A.F.「Whining About Line Distribution」

I do hope Kioku continues her Crap I Hate About Fans series; the first entry was really entertaining! And in this entry, Kioku goes over one of the most heated topics in the idolsphere, taking it on with all the skill and voice that makes me love her writing so much!

The Minegishi Incident and Responsibility

This is a long post, but it's completely worth reading. Coming back to our much-loved topic of the no-dating rule, Todd thoroughly goes beyond that, delving into the sexism and pandering within the idol industry and his own mixed feelings about it.

Precious, hot, hot mess of the week: Linda III Sei

Every once in awhile, it's nice to kick back, relax, and review something truly terrible. I'm not talking painfully bad, I'm talking hilariously bad. Something so atrocious you question if it's real or not. That is exactly what Mara does with Linda III Sei, and trust me, it's entertaining.

Aki-P Loves Riling Up The Fans

A sentiment I can thoroughly agree witih, Kioku goes over the candidacy system put in for AKB48's Senbatsu election and the sheer stupidity of it. And some other miscellaenous news, but the main part is about the candidacy system. I found it hilarious and very to-the-point!

Idolminded Celebrates its First Year Anniversary!

Chiima commemorates the blog that has given most of us so many reads and provided some really high quality content! This is sweet coming from Chiima, and I can tell how much she admires Ray and Idolmidned! Don't we all? Here's to plenty more years of Idolminded!

My thought on AKB48's 5th Senbatsu election

Aim writes (or rants...) about AKB48's candidacy system for the 5th election. Much like Kioku's post, the real meat of this one is Aim's skill at outlining just how foolish that entire incident was. It's so nice that bloggers came together and realized the stupidity of this entire thing!

Hello! Project's Top 11 Most Adorable Smiles ~According to Chiima~

No, this is not an April Fool's joke post! Funny enough, I couldn't find any of those this year... But anyways, I think this post is pretty self-explanatory: it's Chiima's top 11 idol smiles! And the post features much smiles and much adorableness!

2013 is C-ute's year!

Morningtime says what everyone's been thinking and talks about how 2013 went so well for C-ute. Reading this post, this was the first time I realized that hey, C-ute was having a pretty decent year so far. So thanks for making me notice that, Morningtime!

Subtitles -  Yay or Nay?

I feel so much better that I wasn't the only one who thought the subtitles on Hello! Project's PVs were (and are) completely pointless. Chiima perfectly writes about the backward nature of these subtitles, and I couldn't agree with more with everything she wrote in this post!

Through Good Times and Bad

Longtime fan Celestia writes about the joy of Morning Musume's current success and how freaking awesome that is. I can only imagine how veterans like Celestia must feel about Momusu's success; you can practically hear the joy in her voice as she wrote this post!

Idol blogging and social networking: Don't be a TOF

I wasn't sure what a TOF was before this post but hey, I do now! Luckily, I don't think anyone in this list is a TOF... With a spoonful of humor in it, Mara writes a thoroughly engaging post about the perks of social networking and how they opened her up to the world of idol blogging.

Why Shouldn't (should) Morning Musume keep doing the same thing over and over?

If it ain't broke don't fix it, right? Right!? That is the debate with current Morning Musume, and Pata talks about the pitfall that is the Platinum Era and why the Colorful Morning Musume of today is working so well. A very nice read for those both around during the Platinum era and not!

So many idols so little time

There really are a ton of idols out there, and I'm always amazed at the number that Aim covers. But there's always hope she'll cover more! Maybe Perfume? But it looks like she may have found interst in a few groups! Hopefully we'll read more reviews about said groups in 2014 from Aim!

How Otaku Culture can Spoil Idols for Everyone Else & The No Dating Rule

Mina outlines all the flaws with otaku culture, and it is a gratifying, gratifying read. I feel like Mina says everything I want to say about this subject and does it so much better than I ever could. I absolutely recommend reading this, it's both informative and entertaining!

Juice=Juice is Hello! Project's last hope

Amongst all the hype about Juice=Juice back in the beginning of the year, Pata was the voice of reason, comparing the Juice=Juice hype to the S/mileage hype and outlining just why people shouldn't be so quick to label Juice=Juice as H!P's next big thing.

Top 50 Idol Music Videos

Fifty music videos is a long list but Krv goes into great detail listing fifty great idol music videos, some of which I hadn't even watched until reading this. It's always nice seeing bloggers mention or look at older stuff, and the music videos on this list are all worth checking out if you've got time.

A Dummy's Guide To The Senbatsu: What It Is And Why It Is There

I do wish more posts like this existed. I think they'd be really helpful for new fans to idols trying to figure out everything. Besides, Chiima does such a great job of explaining AKB48's Senbatsu in terms that just about anyone who can work a computer can understand!

The AKB48 Eternal Graduation Party

This isn't so much of a review or editorial or news post as it is a highly humorous story showing us mere mortals what happens after the members of AKB48 graduate. It's a short but sweet read, so what are you waiting for!? Don't you want to know the secret behind AKB48's graduations!?

H!P Old School Reviews: Tanpopo's Tanpopo 1

Tanpopo is one of my favorite old Hello! Project groups, especially 1st generation Tanpopo. I loved seeing another blogger review their first album, and I'm even happier that Ash liked it! By the way, Tanpop 1 is a legitimately good album and you all should listen to it. Okay, plug-in's over!

Grab Your Pitch Forks, Airi's now a Whore!!! BURN THE WITCH!!! [RANT TIME!!!!]

One of the best ways to approach a silly scandal is to write about it with just as much silliness as said scandal. This one with Suzuki Airi was just about as silly as they come, and Chiima points that out in the most hilarious ways possible in this post.

H!P Old School Reviews: Coconuts Musume

Coconuts Musume is actually an older group I don't know too much about. That's why reading Ash's post about their history and many member-changes was so interesting! I've always found Coconuts Musume to be fascinating, and reading this only made me more fascinated by their existence!

Idol Group Structure Theory

Mina goes over the various idol structures and how well they work in the long run. She brings up a great point that stable lineups tend to have a longer shelf-life than the constantly lineup changing-ones. Even if you don't agree, the concept of idol structure is still good to think about.

My take on Perfume World Tour 2nd Live in London

I envy those who got to attend one of Perfume's Europe concerts, but luckily NyNy was nice enough to tell us all about the London Tour! I'm always curious to see what goes on in a Perfume concert, and NyNy goes through all the highlights of her Perfume experience!

Bringin' Back HouPri!

To say that Chiima loves Houkago Princess is an understatement. But her enthusiasm for the group is extremely admirable and very sweet too! And this post goes over all the basics you need to know should you ever want to follow HouPri just like the lovely Chiima!

Who Are Starmarie?

Who are they? I didn't know who Starmarie was until Chiima wrote about them! Come to think of it, I should follow this group more closely... they have a really neat concept. Much like the HouPri post, Chiima does another great job of introducing an idol group!

Hiding Idol Fandom?

I can really empathize with what Jess is talking about in this post, and I think a lot of other bloggers can to. The thing we follow is far from normal in any country outside of Japan. Reading Jess's thoughts about it makes me nod my head and think "Yes, I totally get that! I get that too! And that!"

In which Nostalgia is the Problem

Isilie goes over nostalgia and how it correlates to Morning Musume. I wasn't around during the Platinum Era, but what Isilie talks about makes a lot of sense. I think we all have the tendency to let nostalgia cloud our judgement, especially when it comes to idols.

C-ute's Time to Shine

If there is any group that deserves a post heaping praise upon them, it's C-ute. Celestia highlights every reason why C-ute damn well deserves their recent success. Even if you don't like C-ute, I'd think after reading this, you might be able to at least respect them!

On "furusato:" 10 idol songs that make me feel at home

There's no place like home, right? That's how it is for Mara at least! And these are just the tne sogns that remind her of home! It's a very genuinely sweet post, and you guys should all check out the songs she listed! Maybe they'll make you feel at home too!

Morning Musume: the greatest resurrection act since a certain Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. came back from the dead

Do I sense another Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fan? Even if that's not the case, Pata makes a great comparison of said agent to Morning Musume's very own career resurrection this year! It's a post of epic proportions, and as always, I love reading Pata's writing!

H!P Old School Reviews: The 2000 Shuffle Units

In case you haven't noticed, I really like Ash's reviews of older H!P groups and songs. It's just so informative! And 2000 H!P shuffle units is a topic that I needed much informing in! And Ash's post gave me all the helpful facts I needed to know about said shuffle units!

Chiima's Top 13 Idol Summer PV's of 2013

A list!? A list of favorite summer PVs at that!? You know I'm down for that! And there are so many different idol summer PVs Chiima could have picked from this year! I think the ones she went with are great, and the variety in her choices is equally great!

So, what I Miss?

Kioku comes back from the dead! Kind of, she had a little bit of trouble with her Internet this year! But her return was enthusiastically welcomed, and this post is just her going through all the things she missed in her time as gone! As always, I love reading her opinions about idol news!

Thoughts on the Current Morning Musume Part 1: It Was the English Subtitles

Danielle makes a brief return (though I still hope that she will one day come back with her sharp, well-written editorials) delving into her opinion about the current Morning Musume while also writing a painful but true analysis of the failure of Platinum Era Momusu.

Berryz Kobo Are Stuck In A Rut

Should every blogger who thinks Berryz is stuck in a rut start some kind of club? Like... I don't know, the Berryz Rut Club? Either way, Abraham says what everyone else is thinking and explains just why the once quirky and lively Berryz Koubou has misplaced their quirkiness and liveliness.

The Issue With Berryz

Chiima joins in with Abraham and chimes in her own opinions about that "issue with Berryz." It's a thought-provoking post, and Chiima does a great job of explaining why Berryz Koubou has been on a decline this year. Maybe Berryz can change her opinion next year!

Review - Perfume - Level3

I love finding other blogs that review Perfume. Kiss Et Music is one of them! And Ellise provides a great, detailed review of Level3, writing all the ups and downs of Perfume's latest album. If you're as much of a fan of Perfume as I am, I totally recommend giving this one a read!

The Consequences of Your Opinion

Shortly after her post about Berryz, our beloved Chiima ran into some trouble on a forum (surprise, surprise, right?). This is just her writing about that experience, along with the frustration of not being able to express opinions wihout such extreme reactions.

After 5 Years, Perfume Deliver

Could it be that Abraham is opening up his heart and letting the Perfume back in? With the release of Level3, it appears so! Well... possibly not anymore considering Sweet Refrain. Still, I love reading reviews of Perfume as it's always nice to read different opinions about them!

Can Morning Musume Be Number One Again?

Can they? At the moment, no one knows, but Kioku speculates on the possibility of such a thing happening again! And she talks about Morning Musume's evolution as a group, their ups and downs, and the uncertainty of just which idol group will reign supreme in the future.

Curumi Chronicle The "Social Network" Technopop Idol

When I was trying to find information on Curumi Chronicle, this post was extremely helpful in giving me the basics! And I feel as though you Wonderlings should also have the privilege of learning more about this lovely technopop idol so here you go! Curumi Chronicle 101!

My Queen Returns

Kioku gushes about former C-ute member Umeda Erika and her return to showbiz! Even if I was never around to see Erika in C-ute, it's nice seeing Kioku so happy about her return! You can tell how much she likes Erika and her joy at seeing her return!

Momoiro Clover Z is back with Gounn!

Even before she published this, I was extremely curious to read Jess's reaction towards Gounn. An enthusiastic Momoiro Clover Z fan, Jess has a mixed-to-positive reaction toward Gounn, highlighting the detailed music video as her favorite part about it!

Sayashi Riho Is The Worst Ace In Momusume History

Abraham details why our Shrieking Spoon just doesn't work as Morning Musume's ace. I've voiced my dislike of Riho as a vocal center numerous times on the Wonderland, and I think Abraham does a thorough job explaining why with all the cutting wit you'd expect from him!

Bellring Shoujo Heart - Bed Head review

You know what I love? When I read a review that gets me into a certain group or album. And that is what this review does. I hadn't heard much of Bellring Shoujo Heart before reading this, but after listening to Bedhead, I definitely want to hear more from them!

On Idols, Rivalry, Image and Idoling!!! by Chiima & Steve - Parts 1 and 2

Chiima and Steve banter back and forth about a variety of things! It's nice reading opinions from two people with extremely different opinions! Keep in mind, this is a long post (so long it's split up into two parts). But if you've got the time, I strongly recommend reading it!

Idol Thoughts: BiS - Avant Garde Idols?

Serenyty delves into the concepts behind the neighborhood unconventional idol group, bringing up a few ideas that not even I would have thought with BiS. I always like seeing bloggers who aren't fans of a certain idol group write bout said group and Serenyty writes splendidly about BiS!

What I've missed, how I feel, and what's to come

Aim also came back from the dead this year! Kind of. But who cares? Aim is back! And this post is just all about the things she missed in the idolsphere. It's pretty quick recap, but everything Aim does go over has her always-nice opinion added to it!

Tsunku makes a terrible decision, just another day in H!P

I just love how the entire blogsphere can come together and bitch about Tsunku being... well, Tsunku. Aim clearly was not happy with the decision to rename Morning Musume, and as usual, it's great to read her opinions about it. I'm certain many people share the same sentiments as she does...

Morning Musume’s Name to Change From Next Year! Introducing: Morning Musume ’14!

Ash also covers Morning Musume's name change, but with a more lighthearted take! He instead goes through Tsunku's translated blog post MST3K-style, poking fun at the crazy man behind H!P and also expressing his own personal thoughts about the... divisive name change.

And there you go! Now you all have a nice list of great things to read! I'm certain there are other blogs I missed, and if you have any personal favorite blog posts, please share them! But all these are my favorites from this year, and I highly recommend reading any of them! Or all of them preferably... Anyways, with that out of the way, let me wish you all a happy new year! Here's to many more great blog posts from some great people in 2014! And hopefully some great posts from some new blogs as well...

Nia's Best (and Worst) of 2013! ~A Year-End Megapost~

It's that time of year again, guys!

Pull up a chair, play some of your favorite idol music, because it is here. The most important post on the Wonderland. Well. Kind of. But my megapost is the giant end-of-year post going over all the best and worst of idol music ranging from best A-sides to worst A-sides to other miscellaneous categories that my own hyperactive mind came up with on a whim! This is the post I spend months working on, compiling songs, writing about said songs, all while trying to keep up with everything else going on in the idolsphere. And because it is a post I have spent so much time working on, it is a very long post. So I hope you have some time to kill! If you don't, you can't just skim through it; I bolded the songs in each category so if you don't want to hear my babbling about said song, you can just look for the bold and be on your merry way! A big thing I did this year for the megapost was change the graphics. In 2012, I had the title underlined and the graphic underneath. This year, the title and graphic have been melded together! I hope everything's readable, but if the titles aren't, I have a little bit of text underneath elaborating on said title. So I hope it's easy to figure out! As with last year, I've set up the year-end megapost in three categories: song, PV and miscellaneous. The first two have multiple songs and PVs under each category, whereas the miscellaneous categories only have individual recipients. Any more questions? I hope not because as of Nia's Best and Worst of 2013 is a go!


A good A-side is wonderful. A good A-side and a good B-side? That's magical. When an A-side and B-side compliment each other nicely, and both stand strong on their own, that is when I consider a single to be A+ material. And these were the strongest singles overall of 2013!

Atarashii ni Watashi nare!/Yattaruchan: S/mileage - With 2013, S/mileage slowly proved that they weren't a group to be completely forgotten. Sure, they still had duds, but Atarashii ni Watashi nare! and Yattaruchan show that they still have some spice left in them! Even though Atarashii ni Watashi nare! was a more serious song, it was a nice serious song. And Yattaruchan brought back all the quirky cuteness found in 4nin S/mileage!
DiE: BiS - It's hard to pick which song on this single is my favorite. On one hand, DiE is a really emotional rock song similar to Primal. But then Mura-Mura is a really fun ska punk song. How am I supposed to pick!? Which is why both are equally wonderful. Admittedly, Mura-Mura is a slightly quirkier sound for BiS. But even if DiE is familiar territory, the deliverance is still strong. So yeah, totally recommend listening to this single.
Get the Star/Last Forever: Tokyo Girls’ Style - This single showcased a change in the style of Tokyo Girls' Style, but I think it's good to shake things up in TGS every now and then! I'm just happy that Get the Star/Last Forever was a change that worked. Get the Star is such a positive and motivation song, and Last Forever is a powerful and emotional ballad. The two strong A-sides balance each other out nicely, creating one really great single.
Get You: BiS to Dorothy Little Happy - BiS can do all sorts of things to strive toward absolute weirdness, but their weirdest thing for me will always be their collaboration with the bland idols on the block- I mean, Dorothy Little Happy! As surreal as it was seeing two extremely different idol groups collaboration on one single, I think it turned out well. The covers of each group's respective songs sounded good, the A-side was good, and the original B-sides were good!
Magic of Love: Perfume - Of the three singles Perfume released this year, I think Magic of Love was the least divisive. That or I just thought the other two singles had issues whereas Magic of Love had less issues. The A-side itself is rather safe, but it's got a nice melody and was a great spring single! Handy Man was the real highlight of this single, with the Mideastern style of the song being quite the standout for Perfume. Overall, it's my favorite Perfume single of 2013.
Suteki na Takaramono: Kus Kus - Can it be that a new idol technopop trio has emerged to take the reins from Perfume when they disband? It appears so! Kus Kus has a long way to go if they ever want to be like Perfume, but Suteki na Takaramono takes me back to Perfume's indies music. It's really cute and sweet, being just as much an idol song as it is a technopop song. I definitely look forward to seeing where Kus Kus will go from here!
Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke/Ai no Gundan: Morning Musume - Overall, I think all the Momusu songs this year were pretty strong, but this single was the strongest. I think it's because Reina wasn't in it! Aw, I'm just kidding, but seriously nearly all the songs on this single were good! Sure, it's just more electropop, but if it's good electropop, I'm not complaining! Both A-sides were catchy and fun and made this single awesome!


These are what else? My favorite A-sides of the year! I think the title is pretty self-explanatory. So I'll stop yammering and get to said A-sides!

Adam to Eve no Dilemma: C-ute - This is gonna sound really weird, but do you know what song Adam to Eve no Dilemma reminded me of? Counter Attraction by Perfume! Or at least the first part of the chorus did. Everything else though sounds like a seductive and sexy dance track! Although C-ute had several songs like that this year, Adam to Eve no Dilemma is my favorite. It's the way the girls deliver it; they sound so into singing the song!
Barrette: Nogizaka46 - I can't believe I'm putting a Nogizaka46 song under my Best A-sides category. I keep waiting to wake up from some sort of crazy dream where Nogizaka46 releases good music. But Barrette is a good A-side! It's got kind of a retro, early AKB48 feel to it, which is completely okay with me! Barrette is kind of a slow song, but it's slow in a very sultry, moody way. The tone of Barrette matched the tone of the PV almost perfectly!
Brainstorming: Morning Musume - This A-side was in my opinion, Momusu's first really strong electropop song. Sure, the past three were pretty good, but Brainstorming was the first in which I could find no immediate faults. The vocals were good, the arrangement was perfect, and it didn't sound like a rehash of One Two Three or Wakuteka Take a chance! Brainstorming was a great song to send off Reina, unlike that other A-side on this single...
Evolution No. 9: 9nine - I really do need to start looking into more of 9nine's music, because everything I have listened to by them is good. Evolution No. 9 is one of their cooler-sounding songs, and I really love the arrangement of the song. It just kind of tiptoes along like a spy, and the verses flow so smoothly into the chorus. Evolution No. 9 kind of reminds me of something Tokyo Girls' Style would do, only a little less 90s Avex sounding!
Fly: BiS - Maybe Fly is more-or-less the default rock style of BiS, but I like their default rock style! Besides, Fly reminds me of something early Paramore would do! Like many other BiS songs, Fly appeals to me because it is a rock song, and there's nothing that gets to my weak spot like idol rock songs. I also really like the vocals in the song; the way the girls sing it work well with the instrumental. Fly made for a great send-off for Mitchel!
Furisodation: Kyarypamyupamyu - I wonder if I can play this song at my 20th birthday! Or my 21st since that is more or less the "age of becoming an adult" in America. Furisodation is a birthday song, and it is the happiest birthday song I have ever heard! Even happier than Namida Surprise! Furisodation grew on me very quickly because of how irresistibly happy it sounds. I think Nakata's instrumentals and Kyary's vocals work so nicely together in Furisodation!
Magic of Love: Perfume - Maybe this isn't the most innovative Perfume song, maybe it is kind of safe, but maybe despite all that, I really like Magic of Love! It's just so bright and bubbly and energetic. How could I not like it!? Magic of Love, unlike the Perfume's other two A-sides this year, has a very clear sound to it and has enough of Perfume's usual technopop charm to it for me to love it. Although stay away from the remix. It has bagpipes.
Over Drive: Scandal - Aw, Over Drive is so happy. And clappy. Okay, I promise I'll never use that word again! Really though, Over Drive has such spirit to it! It makes me want to bob my head and dance around like a dork! The A-sides Scandal released this year ranged from meh to awesome, with Over Drive being my favorite of the band's three A-sides! For a Yasutaka Nakata-produced song, Over Drive (surprisingly) still has all the rock that makes me follow Scandal!
Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne: Juice=Juice - In Juice=Juice's debut year, Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne is their first and best song. The saxophone is so catchy I guarantee it'll make this one of Juice=Juice's iconic and most-known songs. In fact, I think that saxophone is the sole reason I love this song. Well yeah, and the vocals are really good, and for a serious song, it was handled very nicely... So maybe a few more reasons than just the saxophone!


And on the flip-side are the worst A-sides. These are the songs that I never want to hear again after 2013, the worst of the worst! Well, the worst of the worst to me at least... but still, I can't stand any of these songs for various reasons! Mostly blandness but still! Various!

Chiisana Kiseki: Tokyo Girls' Style - Man, here I was thinking that TGS was going to end the year with a bang releasing their 2013 Road to Budokan single, but not with this A-side. Chiisana Kiseki was an unpleasant surprise to my ears when I first heard it, and my opinion of it now still isn't very high. Chiisana Kiseki is a relapse into TGS' earlier music just without anything remotely interesting. It's too safe a song for me and a poorly handled deviation from TGS' normal sound.
DenDen Passion: Dempagumi.inc - Guys, I'm really trying to like Dempagumi.inc, but I just can't with their vocals. Especially in DenDen Passion. It's funny because everything else about this song is awesome except for the vocals. If this were a minimal-vocals type song, that might be good. But this is idol music, and the vocals in DenDen Passion grind on my ears like a rusty bike chain. How can I like this song when it sounds like all the girls inhaled a gas tank full of helium?
Golden Chinatown: Berryz Koubou - Of all the underwhelming songs Berryz Koubou got saddled with this year, Golden Chinatown stands out as the dullest of those songs. The instrumental for this is actually kind of cool, but the vocals of this song destroy any promise for this song. I don't think I've heard vocals that truly capture the sound of boredom quite as well as Golden Chinatown does. And since the girls of Berryz sound bored singing this song, then I am bored listening to this song.
Kono Machi: C-ute - I like it when idols cover other idols. I think it's absolutely fun and a really nice way of showing respect towards one another. But when you take an original song and suck out everything that made it a good song, I do not like it. Not a bit. And that is the case with Kono Machi. This is such a depressingly slow song, especially compared to the original Moritaka Chisato version. I'd check out the Dance Groove version if you want something with a little more life.
Mottai Night Land: Kyarypamyupamyu - Songs like Mottai Night Land are the reason I will never get into Kyarypamyupamyu the way I got into Perfume. I think she's got a great schtick going with her whole Harajaku kawaii act, but Mottai Night Land is far too "kawaii" for my tastes. It would help if the vocals were a little better, but the way Kyary sings this song is really grating. I think it's the high notes that Kyary doesn't have the vocal range to hit.
Mirai no Museum: Perfume - Oddly enough, I didn't think Mirai no Museum was as bad as I think it is now when I first reviewed it. In fact, I thought it was just... okay! Nothing amazing. But when I listened to Level3, Mirai no Museum began to grate on me, especially when surrounded by such outstanding Perfume songs. Mirai no Museum is a tie-in to Doraemon, and the childish, bland nature of the song definitely makes it feel like one of the more blatant tie-ins Perfume has done.
Sayonara Crawl: AKB48 - Probably one of the stupidest decisions was to follow up So Long! with the equally bland and equally uninspired Sayonara Crawl. Already, I'm not a huge fan of the "summer song" format the AKS summer singles follow. Given the right energy, they can be good songs though. However, Sayonara Crawl literally crawls along. Their is absolutely no genuine emotion in this song; I wouldn't be surprised to find out the girls BS-ed their whole way through this song!
So Long!: AKB48 - I think I'm most excited to say "So long!" to ever talking about So Long! again after 2013! I am so sick of everything about this song: the uninterested vocals, the dragging instrumental, the generic arrangement. So Long! has got to be the most soulless, boring, generic, awful songs AKB48 has released in the past two years. And AKB48's released some awful stuff in the past three years. But for me, So Long! is the worst.
Suki Suki Daisuki: BiS Kaidan - Technically, this was a promotional song for the album, but it's still annoying enough that I felt inclined to put it under this category. To be fair, I think with this song it boils down to a matter of personal taste. I'm not a huge noise fan. Well, I dig Sleigh Bells, but something about Suki Suki Daisuki just doesn't do it for me. I think it's the screaming. It feels unnecessary, even for a noise song, and the noise in this song only makes my ears bleed.


The sometimes unsung saviors of a single are the B-sides! While they may not receive all the attention of an A-side, that doesn't mean any of these B-sides aren't worth listening to! In fact, some of these B-sides are better than the accompanying A-sides...

A B C D E-cha E-cha Shitai: Morning Musume - Okay, so this song sounds like something straight out of early 2000s, but I still enjoy it! I think it's the tempo of A B C D E-cha E-cha Shitai that makes it such a neat song. The song sounds almost frantic at parts because it's so fast! And I like that the girls all get to sing in this song! Unlike the A-side... So yeah, by no means, is it original but boy will A B C D E-cha E-cha Shitai leave a mark on you!
Demo Sayonara: BiS - I thought about putting Dorothy Little Happy's Kowarechau Kuzarechau under this category, but in the end, I had to go with Demo Sayonara. Simply because BiS took the blandnest, most uninteresting song I've ever heard and somehow gave it some life. BiS's cover of Demo Sayonara is chock full of synthesizers and guitars and Autotune; it's definitely a different take on the Dorothy Little Happy song, but in my opinion, it's a good one!
Hide out cut: BiS - I think what really grabs me about this B-side is the gorgeous piano in the opening. That piano riff alone had me hooked on Hide out cut. And the rest of the song is really beautiful. It's also a loud song, but Hide out cut, is a beautifully loud song. Even the Engrish over time grew on me. I think Hide out cut is a song with a lot of emotion behind it, backed by a really pretty instrumental and an equally pretty vocal arrangement.
Just a Koi: 9nine - It was upon listening to Just a Koi that I realized how similar 9nine is to Tokyo Girls' Style. A five-member girl group focused more on dancing and singing? I could easily hear Just a Koi being covered by TGS. And I love TGS, so Just a Koi is an absolute treat to listen to. I really love the vocal editing in this song; it gives Just a Koi this kind of eerie feel to it. Hey, maybe 9nine and Tokyo Girls' Style can collaborate some time!
Koi wa Zenkei Shisei: Perfume - This was such a pleasant surprise of a B-side. After the indecisive Sweet Refrain, I needed a more cohesive song, and that was what Koi wa Zenkei Shisei gave to me! This song has a more-toned down Communication sound, and there's a lot of really nice vocal layering. Koi wa Zenkei Shisei is a very sweet song but not too sweet. And unlike some other songs, Koi wa Zenkei Shisei doesn't feature gratuitous Dubstep.
Kondokoso Ecstasy: AKB48 - This is probably the one really good song I've heard from AKB48 this year. Naturally, it's a B-side. Kondokoso is like a really sexy Korekara Wonderland. Honestly, the song sounds like something SDN48 would do. But I think that's what makes it so cool. The pacing of this song is great, and the hook of the chorus just worms its way into your head! The first time I listened to Kondokoso Ecstasy I couldn't help but feel... ecstatic!
Mine: Tokyo Girls' Style - Yeah, screw Chiisana Kiseki, this should have been the A-side! Mine return TGS to their brass-fueled 90s Avex sound. Think W.M.A.D. only with less synthesizer and more guitar. As I've stated many, many times before I prefer this more serous sound from TGS. Yeah, their happy stuff sometimes works, but the more intense, mature sound of Mine usually works more often. Yeah, this totally should have been the A-side.
Mosh&Dive: AKB48 - Okay, so it's not like a super duper good song, but it's better than Suzukake Nanchara! Arguably, Mosh&Dive is more-or-less a generic happy song, but there's enough about it that makes it stand out as more than just that. Like that introduction instrumental in the beginning! And the fact that there's some actual energy coming from the members! Look, my standards for AKB48 are low this year. Besides, this is a fun song to listen to!
Oikake Shadow: SKE48 - I really wish this song had gotten a PV; it's one of my favorite B-sides off Choco no Dorei! What I love about Oikake Shadow is that it's one of the "creepier" songs from SKE48. I use that word lightly, because Oikake Shadow is by no means a Bellring Shoujo Heart Song. But the way the song is arranged still gives it this very cool, foreboding vibe. Like the echoes in the verses and the chorus... it gives me shivers!


Thankfully, there is no "Yurushite Nyan!" this year among my worst B-sides! There are just a bunch of B-sides ranging from underwhelming to downright strange. But mostly underwhelming.

Funwari Koibito Ichinensei: Morning Musume - Despite the fact that I liked most everything about Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke/Ai no Gundan, this B-side was the only song I found to be a dud on the single. And no, it's not because or Riho's singing! Or at least not completely. Funwari Koibito Ichinensei just had a style that didn't really appeal to me. I wasn't a huge fan of the rapping bits, and the whole song felt so random compared to the rest of an otherwise strong single.
Itsuka Kimi ga: Momoiro Clover Z - Who'd-a-thunk I'd ever say a song by Momoiro Clover Z is bland? I guess if you're used to the batshit craziness of MomoClo songs, then Itsuka Kimi ga is a breath of fresh air. But I practically review these bland types of songs for breakfast. It's surreal in the worst kind of way to hear Momoiro Clover Z singing such a forgettable song. As if I've fallen into an alternate dimension where a majority of idol groups are weird and a few are bland and generic...
Kimi to Deatte Boku wa Kawatta: NMB48 - My god, I honestly didn't think a B-side on the Janken single could rival the blandness of the Janken single but damn, this song is boring. And this is a song coming from NMB48. At least Suzukake Nanchara has some life to it! The energy in Kimi to Deatte Boku wa Kawatta is dead as a doornail. There's no momentum, no hook, it's a song that just happens. Definitely a disappointment after the awesome B-side that was Ha! from last year.
Party is over: AKB48 - I don't want to hate Party is over because I think it's trying to do something different from the AKB48 Default Song Mode. But ugh, does it have to sound so boring? The chorus alone kills any cool, melancholic tone Party is over tries to set, and the verses and instrumental can't pick anything up because it drags so much. I don't know what kind of party AKB48 went to, but it must not have been a very interesting party because this song is boring.
Point of view: Kyarypamyupamyu - Kyary already balances a fine line between cute and annoyingly cute with me. Point of view is one of her cuter songs, and for me it was just way too cute for my tastes. Listening to this B-sides, I felt like I'd eaten a big spoonful of pink icing. I might like Point of view better if it had more of a hook to it, but there's nothing really memorable about the song. It's too cute and too forgettable for my tastes.
Scandal in the House: Scandal - So I noticed sometimes Scandal does this weird thing where they'll release a song of them rapping for some reason. And I've also noticed that every time they do this, I don't like the results. I think Scandal in the House has a clever concept of showcasing each member, but the execution any potential this B-side might have had. It's personal preference, but I think I'll stick to Scandal when they're actually singing.


To be fair, I could just put every Super Girls song in this category and that would suffice. Okay, be nice, Nia, there are many other bland idol songs from groups you actually follow. The following nine were the ones the I found to be so bland you could package them into a box of bran flakes!

Chiisana Kiseki: Tokyo Girls' Style - What happened, Tokyo Girls' Style? You had such a strong year going into 2014 until you released this completely forgettable song. I think the only reason I even remember this song is because the vocals of TGS are so recognizable in my head. Other than that, there is nothing about Chiisana Kiseki that stands out. It's too lighthearted and doesn't have enough energy to pack any punch, making it this slightly funky but not really generic idol song.
Hotaru Matsuri no Hi: Jurin - Man, who would have thought a duo with Sato Masaki and Miyamoto Karin could sound so lifeless? I get that Hotaru Matsuri no Hi is supposed so be a soft, soothing song with acoustic guitars and all that jazz. But does it have to drag so much? There's no high point in this song, no crescendos, decrescendos. I mean, this is kind of a pretty song, but I've listened to lots of pretty songs. I prefer the ones that are actually interesting.
Kono Machi: C-ute - How do you ruin a cover of a really good Moritaka Chisato song? Take out all the best parts of it and turn it into a ballad! Hence we get C-ute's Kono Machi. The one truly lackluster single of the year for C-ute, Kono Machi fails because it doesn't have the energy and enthusiasm of the song. Kono Machi is supposed to be about loving the town you grew up in, but this cover makes it sound like that's the most depressing concept ever. I'll stick to the original.
Mirai no Museum: Perfume - I blame Doraemon for the blandness of this song. I believe that just because a song is written for a children's show doesn't mean it has to be changed to be more "listenable" for kids. Let me tell you, kids are more open to different types of music than adults. But Mirai no Museum just tries to hard to be this kid-friendly pop song that there's nothing about it that stands out. It's the closest to bland Perfume has gotten since Kasuka n Kaori... eugh.
Sayonara Crawl: AKB48 - Why can't AKB48 just go away already? That way I'll be able to stop putting their songs under all the negative categories in this megapost. I never expect much from summer songs, but at least Ponytail to Shushu and Everyday, Kachuusha have some energy! Sayonara Crawl is so lifeless you couldn't revive it with a defibrillator. Honestly, it just sounds like a lame remake of a really good SKE48 summer song. I'd say I'm disappointed, but I'm not. Just depressed.
So Long!: AKB48 - There's nothing like kicking off the new year with a painfully bland single! I can always count on good ol' AKB48 for bland A-sides! Sayonara Crawl may have been an equally bland AKB48 song, but at least it didn't drag like So Long! does. This song goes at the pace of the checkout line at Walmart. I'd take Sayonara Crawl and Suzukake Nanchara over So Long! This was a depressingly slow, dreary Sakura song. I'll stick with 10nen Zakura.
Suzukake Nanchara: AKB48 - I get that the Janken song is supposed to be happy. I have no idea why the hell it's supposed to be happy, but I know that there's nothing to change that. So why oh why oh why does each Janken song have to sound happy in the blandest way possible? Compared to some of the other Janken songs of the past, Suzukake Nanchara isn't actually the most bland, but hey, it's really hard to beat Eien Pressure and Ue Kara Mariko in blandness.
Ten Made Nobore!: Juice=Juice - I blame the Kenshuusei for this. I'm kidding, we all know it's Tsunku's fault! Whoever is to blame, I do not care; it does not change the bland state of Ten Made Nobore! In the mostly strong but brief indie era of Juice=Juice songs, Ten Made Nobore! sticks out like a sore thumb. Oddly enough, it reminds me of Please Miniskirt Postwoman!, if Please Miniskirt Postwoman! were boring and devoid of any charm.
Wonderful Smile: Tokyo Girls’ Style - I wasn't sure if I should put this as just an Arai Hitomi song, but it was released in a TGS single. Either way, this song is so boring; I don't even see why Avex felt compelled to include it as an A-side. It received little promotion compared to Unmei. Hitomi sounds fine as usual, but in my opinion, her vocals are wasted on this bore of a song. Wonderful Smile is a song that is so bland, I've already forgotten the sound of it.


There's nothing like a song that'll get stuck in your head and stay there all day! Yes, nothing like the anguish of having such a song exist and never being able to get it out of your head! Luckily, most of the songs under this category are catchy in the most benevolent way possible.

Candy Room: Passpo - What a coincidence that this is the only memorable A-side Passpo released this year! Candy Room is a bouncy, energetic song and part of its appeal does stem from how easily hummable the tune is. The chorus is simple, but it gets stuck in my head easily. For Candy Room though, I don't mind that much. I think this is a really fun song, and quite the breath of fresh air among Passpo's otherwise dull discography.
Daijobanai: Perfume - Okay, maybe I'm cheating with putting a B-side under this category, but Daijobanai is catchy enough that I just had to. I mean, the entire song basically consists of three different lyrics, and the word Daijobanai being repeated over and over again. The end result is actually kind of annoying. The fast pace of the song also adds to its perpetual catchiness. Unfortunately, Daijobanai is catchy in the most irritating way possible.
Invader Invader: Kyarypamyupamyu - I could probably put a lot of Kyarypamyupamyu songs under this category, but I'm only sticking to A-sides! Besides, Invader Invader is the least annoying catchy Kyary sound. This song relies a lot of repetition for its catchiness, and hoo boy, does it stick. A little too much sometimes. When I'm in a good mood, I can jam to this song! In a bad mood though, I can never ever get this song out of my head. It just plays on a loop for hours...
Kamonegix: NMB48 - Ah, Kamonegix and its fifty different spellings. Well, this funny little phrase is probably going to be stuck in my head for a very long time. It doesn't help that Kamonegix is full of catchy synthesizers and has a chorus consisting of repeating the word "Kamonegix." Every time I listen, I think of the cheesiest 80s dance tunes possible. And it makes sense; cheesy 80s dance tunes are almost as catchy as Kamonegix!
Re: 9nine - I think the catchiness of Re: is because it's an anime song. There is something about anime songs that just hardwires your brain so you can remember how they sound. The only really repetitive part about this song is the repetition of the title between the chorus and bridge. But despite that, the rest of this song always gets stuck in my head if I think hard enough about it. Not that I mind too much... I like catchy anime songs! And Re: is pretty decent in that regard!
Susume! Susume!: Curumi Chronicle - To think this was the first Curumi Chronicle song I ever heard! Ah, good times. Anyways, even if I forgot about Curumi Chronicle, I didn't forget about Susume! Susume! very easily. The song has this really great hook in the beginning of the chorus that just pulls you in! It also helps that Susume! Susume! reminds me a lot of a sped-up version of Perfume's Macaroni or Meg's Natalie.


I think this category is pretty self-explanatory! Cute songs! These are just the songs that I consider to be exceptionally cute whether it be because of squeaky, adorable vocals or an equally adorable instrumental. If you're craving some cuteness, I recommend all the songs under this category.

Choco no Dorei: SKE48 - What else do you expect? It's SKE48, they're practically required to release cute stuff every year. Although Utsukushii Inazuma was an exception... I mean, the translation of Choco no Dorei is Slave to Chocolate; I wasn't expecting anything else but a cute song! And Choco no Dorei delivered nicely in that. With the blasting horns and upbeat melody, Choco no Dorei gives me kind of a Banzai Venus vibe. But nothing compares to Banzai Venus!
Cosmo no Hitomi: Bump.y - This is such a sweet song. Even if I was expecting something similar to Mizuki Nana's Astrogation, Cosmo no Hitomi still delivered a very cute song. I think it's the vocals that make this song so sweet. The girls of Bump.y always blend together nicely, especially in really cute songs like Cosmo no Hitomi. Other than that, I can't say much about Cosmo no Hitomi other than, you know, it's cute! I highly recommend listening to it!
Kimi in 100 Percent: Kyarypamyupamyu - I could probably put everything by Kyarypamyupamyu under this category to tell the truth. Well... except for Into Darkness! But Kimi ni 100 Percent takes the cake as the cutest Kyary song of 2013! It probably helps that it was the theme song for that kid's show called Crayon Shin~chan. Kimi ni 100 Percent song is utterly adorable, with squeaky vocals and a fun, bouncy chorus that I'm sure kids all over Japan will love.
Koi wa Tokimeki Chuuihou: Weather Girls - It may not be as cute as Koi no Tenki Yohou, but Koi wa Tokimeki Chuuihou is still a pretty adorable song. And it has that bubblegum-pop energy that makes Weather Girls' music work so well! It's also polished in the way most K-pop songs I've heard are. The vocals sound bright and bubbly and compliment the instrumental nicely! The equally cute PV makes Koi wa Tokimeki Chuuihou an extremely cute song all-around!
Rappa Renshuushuu: Watanabe Mayu - The one single Mayuyu the Fantastic Creeper released this year, Rappa Renshuushuu is just as cute as the title sounds! Of course, don't expect anything too remarkable about Rappa Renshuushuu other than its cutesy jingle and Mayuyu's high-pitched voice. Seriously, that voice was made to sing cute songs. But if you're a fan of the cute and adorable Mayuyu, this song is practically gift-wrapped for you!
Sansei Kawaii!: SKE48 - I'm not surprised. I've yet to hear a song with the word "kawaii" in the title that wasn't kawaii as hell. But hey, if it works for you, go ahead! And SKE48 always seems to work well with cute songs. Well... cute songs with a ton of energy. Sansei Kawaii! is one of their more energetic cute songs, which in my opinion, only makes it better! It's such a fun and upbeat song, and refreshing to listen to after the serious and heavy Utuskushii Inazuma.
Suki! Suki! Skip!: HKT48 - Yes, HKT48 burst onto the scene this year after two years of languishing in pre-debut, and the single they got was cute enough to rival SKE48. Suki! Suki! Skip! is just as saccharine and adorable as the title makes it sound. Luckily, it has just enough energy to not be completely and totally bland. Suki! Suki! Skip! is energetic in the same way a child is energetic, bouncy and spazzing all over the place. In a weird way though, it's kind of adorable.
Time Machine Nante Iranai: Maeda Atsuko - Oddly enough, Time Machine Nante Iranai reminds me of a Mano Erina song! One of her cute songs at least (definitely not Song for the Date or My Days for You). There's not much going for Time Machine Nante Iranai other than its cute, adorable sound, but I don't think it's by any means a horrible song. Acchan sounds fine (and like she has emotion!) and overall, Time Machine Nante Iranai is just an earnestly happy song!
Yattaruchan: S/mileage - Now what's the lesson we learned from Yattaruchan? No, not if you try your best you can get stuff done, but Kana has a great speaking voice! Yattaruchan was a much-needed return to the cuter and bubblier side of S/mileage that I was missing very much. Yattaruchan is equally cute and equally quirky, creating a really nice balance of the two.  The song is a treat to listen to, and I sorely hope this isn't the last we've heard of cute and quirky S/mileage!


I can't believe this has its own category. Usually, I get like one retro song a year, but this year I got four. That may not seem like a lot, but trust me, it was enough. Still, these songs did bring me back in time. Kind of.

Cosmo no Hitomi: Bump.y - Every time I listen to Cosmo no Hitomi, I always think of a Tanpopo song. 2nd generation Tanpopo though, definitely not 1st generation Tanpopo... You know that carefree, happy sound that 2nd generation Tanpopo songs had? That's kind of the same kind of sound Cosmo no Hitomi uses! And I think Cosmo no Hitomi is a really sweet, retro song that sounds like it's from the late eighties or early nineties!
In Da Gold: Jusyo Futei Mushoku - Well, I think the whole schtick of this group is to be retro! Still, In Da Gold is the one song I heard from them this year, and boy did it show just how retro Jusyo Futei Mushoku can get! In Da Gold is this weird combination of sixties rock and rapping, and even though it's a little jarring at first, it works. And it gives the song an anachronism screw. I don't know what "Get up and tiny warping means" but that's the jingle for In Da Gold!
Koisuru Fortune Cookie: AKB48 - The one remotely interesting A-side from AKB48 and that's solely because of the retro 80s sound it has. Believe me, AKB48 has done retro bigger and better before (-cough- Korekara Wonderland), but Koisuru Fortune Cookie was still a pretty enjoyable song.  And I can't deny it had a very smooth, retro sound to it. I could see this song fitting smoothly in with other idol songs of the 80s. The girls just need some 80s costumes to go with them!
Romance no Tochuu: Juice=Juice - Oh man, those horns, that funk, take me back to the 70s, Juice=Juice! Seriously, take me back to the 70s; I wasn't alive then, and I'd love to see what it was like! Juice=Juice is a group that likes to add some form of brass to their songs, and the heavily brass arrangement in Romance no Tochuu felt the most retro to me. Of course, I think the retro sound of Romance no Tochuu is what makes it such a hot, funky jam!


Why should A-sides and B-sides have all the fun? There were some pretty awesome album songs this year, and I want to talk about them! So I made a new category solely for the best album songs of 2013! I could probably have also done worst album songs, but I honestly just want to highlight the best ones!

16 feat. Usagi Disco: Curumi Chronicle (Curumi Chronicle) - Oh, it's hard to pick which song was my favorite off this album. Because really, they were all great songs. I guess my favorite favorite would be 16 feat. Usagi Disco though. It has a bit of an edgier sound than most of the other songs on the album, sounding a bit like a World of Fantasy-era Capsule song! I especially love Curumi's vocals on this track, something about the way she sings it is both robotic and emotional. This is such a cool song overall.
Cherry Cherry Boom Boom: Weather Girls (Weather Girls) - I feel like if the rest of Weather Girls' debut album had been at the same level as Cherry Cherry Boom Boom in quality, this could have been one of my favorite albums this year. But even if the rest of this album was lackluster, Cherry Cherry Boom Boom stands as the highlight. Cherry Cherry Boom Boom is intoxicating and explosive song, with a bit of Mideastern flare thrown into the instrumental that makes for the one really standout song on Weather Girls.
Dream Land: Perfume (Level3) - Do you want to go to Perfume's Dream Land? I do! A perfect song to close out Level3, Dream Land is utterly... dreamy! And I swear I didn't say that just for the sake of a pun. Dream Land really is a very dreamlike song. The chorus just floats along and the vocals are extremely beautiful, especially for a Perfume song. It's got to be my favorite track on Level3... that or another song in this category...
Futari Kiri: Tokyo Girls’ Style (Yakusoku) - Initially, Futari Kiri wasn't my favorite track on Yakusoku, but over the year, it's grown on me. I think I just like the way the vocals are done in this song, particularly the echoing in the chorus. And Futari Kiri has all the funkiness that I've come to love from Tokyo Girls' Style, and it also has a bunch of energy! Energy and funk and TGS's wonderful vocals all make Futari Kiri a really great track off Yakusoku.
Get Down!: Momoiro Clover Z (5th Dimension) - 5th Dimension may not have been as colorful as Battle and Romance, but there were still a few strong tracks on the album. Get Down! was my personal favorite track. This is such an energetic and catchy and bouncy track. It sounds like something OK Go would release. In fact, Damian Kulash of OK Go produced this song. So I guess that makes sense! Still, this is a really fun song, and helped give 5th Dimension some color!
Party Maker: Perfume (Level3) - Like I could really just put one song from Level3 under Best Album Songs. Ha! Party Maker and Dream Land are constantly flip-flopping as my favorite songs off the album. I wasn't sold on Party Maker from the CM is was used for, but the entire song ended up blowing me away. At seven minutes long, Party Maker is probably about as close to another edge-type song we're ever going to get. And that is completely okay with me!
Shang Shang Chandelier: Passpo (Jejejejet!!) - If Berryz Koubou actually sang Golden Chinatown with some energy, the result might have been Shang Shang Chandelier. Well, Passpo does have a lot more rock incorporated into this song, which is never a bad thing! The Chinese-sounding instrumental is a neat sound for Passpo to take on, and I really liked the end result. There were several great tracks on Jejejejet!!, but this one is my favorite!
Standard: Scandal (Standard) - This is a short song, only clocking in at a little over three minutes, but those three minutes are awesome. Standard closes out the album with a much harder, edgier sound than anything else on the album. My favorite thing about Standard has to be Mami's sick guitar riff throughout the song. Overall, this is just such an explosive, rocking song to end the album. It has energy, a sick riff, and I have no faults with it.
Teck Teck Walk: Bellring Shoujo Heart (BedHead) - This was already a pretty strong album, so trying to pick a favorite is difficult! But I think I have to go with Teck Teck Walk, because it was the first song to leave a distinct impression on me! Taking cues from The Verve's Bittersweet Symphony, Teck Teck Walk is eerily beautiful. The vocals and the slow tempo of Teck Teck Walk make it such a wonderful song. I loved it when I first heard it, and I love it now!


Sometimes there are songs that deserve more than just the status of B-side. Songs so good in comparisons to the A-sides, that you can't help but scratch your head and wonder why they weren't selected to be the A-sides. These are those songs that made me slam my hand down and declare "This should have been an A-side!"

Baby Jump ~Tengoku e no Toujoubin~: Passpo - So I figured out that Passpo still releases good music; they just release them as B-sides and album songs! Baby Jump ~Tengoku e no Toujoubin~ is one of those amazing B-sides that doesn't deserve to be one. I mean, come on, this song was so much more interesting than the bland and lifeless Truly. This one had energy, and it was refreshing to hear the harder rock side of Passpo again! And to think I never would have even heard this song had I not taken the time to listen to Jejejejet!!
Haste to Waste: BKA48 - This song was too good to be merely a B-side to the sucky and depressing So Long! I wish BKA48 was a regular unit. I think they had an interesting, funny, and cute concept going that was very nicely executed with this song. That and the PV was so adorable! I think this unit could have done well. It's got enough of the popular members in it! Oh well, even if it's probably not happening, I still hold hope that one day BKA48 will return in all its dorkiness!
Koi wa Zenkei Shisei: Perfume - Seriously, why the hell wasn't this an A-side? Oh right, because Sweet Refrain was used for that drama. Damn those tie-in songs!!! I found Koi wa Zenkei Shisei to be a lot more interesting than Sweet Refrain and without as many problems that Sweet Refrain had. I think the arrangement for Koi wa Zenkei Shisei was cohesive, complex, and layered with a lot of different vocal and musical effects that worked much better than Sweet Refrain's.
Kono Machi (Dance Groove Ver.): C-ute - If you want a cover of Kono Machi closer to the original song, I'd recommend Kono Machi (Dance Groove Ver.). You know how Moritaka Chisato's original is upbeat and happy, which was the reason why it was such a good song? Well, Kono Machi (Dance Groove Ver.) takes a cue from the original by being equally upbeat and happy! It's just as dance-y as the title makes it sound, along with being much better paced.
Life Size: Tokyo Girls' Style - Okay Avex, you made Partition Love a single, now you just need to do the same for Life Size! To be fair, this is a digital single, but it's just not the same! I want this song to get a full blown single! With jacket covers and a PV and cute little outfits!! I like that Life Size dabbles into a more electropop sound for TGS but not overdoing it. It's a different sound for them that, unlike Chiisana Kiseki, works well!
Mosh&Dive: AKB48 - So the Janken song has to be happy. Okay, we can work with happy; I've listened to plenty of happy songs that are also good! Mosh&Dive is one of those good happy songs! It could have totally worked as a Janken song, and it would have been ten times better than Suzukake Nanchara. Maybe it's not the most amazing AKB48 song I've ever heard, but compared to the drek they've released this year, it's goddamn amazing.


And here we are starting with the best of the best music videos 2013 has to offer for idols! These PVs are all great for various reasons: engaging storylines, neat concepts, cool visuals, nice symbolism... really you guys should all watch these PVs. Or you can just miss out on some really great PVs, your choice! For me, these were my personal favorite idol PVs.

Barrette: Nogizaka46 - One of the biggest surprises from Nogizaka46 (among many) was this PV. What's that? The girls of Nogizaka46 have guns? And they're killing people? Is this the same Nogizaka46 that had that stupid Oide Shampoo dance!? But Barrette is a high-stakes action PV with some pretty good fight scenes and an extremely engaging plot. This is probably one of the few PVs where I was literally on the edge of my seat waiting to see how the plot unfolded.
Bokura no Eureka: NMB48 - I'm still surprised it took so long for an idol group to do the "stranded on an island" concept for a summer PV. But if I had to pick any group that could handle it well, I'd pick NMB48! And Bokura no Eureka is such a neat PV, partially because of the location and partially because of the plot. And don't get me started on that cliffhanger. Ugh, I'm still made there wasn't a sequel PV to Bokura no Eureka. Still, the PV we have now is great!
DiE: BiS - As entertaining as BiS is when they're trying to be as weird and disturbing as possible, I think their more subtle stuff hits closer to home. There's nothing outwardly disturbing about BiS, just a series of grainy shots showing the girls in various locations. But it's one of those PVs that you can dissect is you want. Or you can take it at face value! I enjoyed picking this PV apart and seeing if anything at all could be interpreted from the imagery!
Gounn: Momoiro Clover Z - Another PV that has lots to be analyzed, Gounn was a lot more nerve-wracking for me to try and unravel its meanings. However, once I did, I only liked the PV even more! Visually, Gounn is gorgeous, incorporating a lot of Buddhist imagery into the PV from mandalas to the Dharmacakra, you know, Buddhism! Gounn is such an entrancing PV with a lot of layers to peel, and every time I watch this PV, I love it more!
In Da Gold: Jusyo Futei Mushoku - This is such a fun PV. There isn't really much a plot or anything groundbreaking about In Da Gold. But it's the editing that makes this PV so much fun. In Da Gold shops the girls onto a bunch of old film clips from the 50s and 60s. As someone who is extremely fond of the aesthetic of these decades, watching In Da Gold was a lot of fun for me. The editing was cheesy in the same way editing in those old movies was cheesy!
Kill Bill: Brown Eyed Girls - Ah, my token K-pop PV for the list! Call me cheating by posting a K-pop music video, but it's my Wonderland and if I say it goes on the list, so it goes! Besides, how could I not highlight a seven-minute homage to two of my favorite films! Even if you haven't watched the Kill Bill volumes, this PV is still extremely entertaining. For me though, it's especially entertaining as a (loose) reenactment of a really great, action-packed movie!
Magic of Love: Perfume - Finally, another artsy PV! I was jumping up and down when I saw the previews for Magic of Love, and the full PV did not disappoint! Magic of Love is a truly magical PV, doing visual tricks and editing only possible in the magical world of film editing. The final result is a PV that takes cues from Fushizen na Girl and Voice. Magic of Love is such a cool PV to watch, not only for its great effects but for the colors and the awesome dance!
Mottai Night Land: Kyarypamyupamyu - While the song itself does nothing for me, the PV for Mottai Night Land delivered all the cute, disturbing quirkiness that makes good Kyary PVs so much fun to watch! With a budget a little bit better than all her other PVs from this year, Mottai Night Land uses that well. The visuals in this PV are top notch and parts of this PV are both equally charming and equally weird. In other words, it's awesome!
Unmei: Tokyo Girls’ Style - Unmei isn't exactly a PV rich in plot, or symbolism. It just consists of the girls of TGS lounging around some giant mansion, embracing guys way too old for them, and setting things on fire. You know, just your average day for TGS! What Unmei lacks in plot or making sense it makes up for in style. Visually, this PV is gorgeous. The house is absolutely exquisite to watch, and the girls themselves are great as usual.


But why should A-side PVs have all the fun? Believe it or not, there are some B-sides that can just as (or even more) entertaining! While most of the PVs under this category are from AKS, that still doesn't mean they're not awesome! And hey, there is one non-AKS PV under here!

Haste to Waste: BKA48 - What I like about Haste to Waste is that it looks like a typical schoolroom PV. The girls are wearing uniforms, the setting's normal, blah blah blah. But Haste to Waste is a hilarious PV. And even better, its hilarity derives from physical comedy and the ditzy mannerisms of the girls in BKA48. And to be fair, Haste to Waste's PV is an ode to ditziness! It is a glorious one at that, holding the honor of being one of the few idol PVs to make me laugh out loud.
Iin ja ne?: no3b - This was like Area 51 come to life! Or I guess the girls of no3b exploring around it. I don't know; I just thought of Nevada when I watched this PV! Iin ja ne? is definitely one of the more sci-fi/creepy AKS PVs I've seen, but not overtly so. I'm actually kind of glad they didn't show the "aliens" in this PV a lot since the CGI was a tad bit cheap. Still, Iin ja ne? is a PV that delves into the otherworldly, showing the girls of no3b both observing and fighting alien creatures!
Ruby: AKB48 - Oh hey, this PV's like Night at the Museum except with AKB48! Man, I feel like I watched a lot of museum-themed PVs this year... And Ruby is a wonderful museum PV! It's basically all the girls of Team A messing with this one poor security playing what is essentially a game called Wax Museum. It's basically when one person wanders around other players who are frozen in place, and they can only move when said person isn't looking. To see that concept played out in a PV is awesome.
Scandal in the House: Scandal - Even if I don't really like this song that much, the PV is still pretty awesome. Yes, it's also strange and doesn't make a lot of sense, but it's still awesome! To be fair, it does make a little more sense when you look at the lyrics. Besides, there's so much personality in this PV! It's fun seeing the girls of Scandal jump around being goofy since a lot of there PVs are usually kind of serious.
Shakiism: Nogizaka46 - It's a pity that the actual song is so... different from the PV. Like the PV is really serious and edgy, but the song is happy and upbeat. It's like putting Chance no Juban in a PV like Beginner. Still, the PV for Shakiism has a very compelling storyline of segregating boys and girls... although technically, the "boys" are played by members of Nogizaka46. But it doesn't matter because the storyline is still taut and exciting with a dark atmosphere and an emotional story!
Sugar Rush: AKB48 - Okay, technically this PV was released back in 2012, but we didn't get to see the full PV until it was released on the Type B DVD edition of So Long! Not only do I think Sugar Rush would have made a far more awesome single than So Long! I share the same sentiment regarding the PV. The PV for Sugar Rush is saccharine sweet, but a bunch of fun at the same time. With all the vivid colors and delicious candy imagery, this PV was great and should have been an A-side.


On the flip side or the worst PVs, the music videos so poorly done that I probably won't ever watch them again after finishing this megapost. A "bad PV" can be bad for a number of reasons: cheapness, unoriginal ideas, or just being a thorn in my side. These PVs are bad for a number of reasons such as those!

Chiisana Kiseki: Tokyo Girls' Style - What I always like about Tokyo Girls' Style PVs is that there's something in them that distinguishes one from the other. Whether it be cool costumes, a unique setting, weird imagery, the best part of reviewing a TGS PV is finding that one little thing. And then there's Chiisana Kiseki. There is absolutely nothing to this PV. It's boring and painfully cheerful. TGS are great idols, but when it comes to bright, happy PVs, they just don't work as well with them.
Heart Electric: AKB48 - I need to have a long talk with whoever got the bright idea to bring back the "band" for this PV. I also need to have long talk with whoever got the bright idea to rename said band "The G. Fingers." Like seriously, of all the unused band names that exist in the world, how do you pick the double entendre name!? I blame Freud. Other than that, there is nothing interesting about this PV. The sets look cheap, the plot is trite, and the band is just as awkward as last time.
Help me!!: Morning Musume - Sometimes I forget that green screens can be a good thing when used well. But there are only so many poorly green-screened PVs I can sit through before I reach my breaking point. I think Help me!! might have been that breaking point. I mean, the overly bright colors, the poor editing, the lighting so bright I need to watch this PV with a pair of sunglasses... Help me!! is a gaudy, cheap, and painfully tacky PV. I blame Tanaka Reina.
Invader Invader: Kyarypamyupamyu - Oh look, it's Kyarypamyupamyu dancing around a quirky set with a host of wacky costumed side-characters. Yeah, haven't all her PVs been that way? Invader Invader's PV though seemed really aimless. Like Kyary's PVs are always weird but there does seem to be some point to them. But with Invader Invader it felt more like an attempt to cram in as many weird things as possible. Oh yeah, and the PV looked really super cheap.
Rock Erotic: Berryz Koubou - This was one of the better Berryz Koubou songs released this year so of course, UFP had to fuck it up by giving this song a really awkward and cheap PV. The idea of girls dressed as guys is a fun idea that's been executed well before, but in this PV, it's just awkward. There's nothing suave or erotic about this PV, just a big, steaming pile of awkwardness. Combined with UFP's penchant for cheapness, this was probably one of my least favorite H!P PVs of 2013.
So Long!: AKB48 - I do kind of get that the PV was going for a 60s movie kind of format which explain the weird editing. But did this PV have to look so dreary? This PV's so cloudy looking it makes Seattle look like the Bahamas! And then there was all that god-awful unnecessary green-screening that looked so blatant and so gratuitous and... AKS, you're dripping with money! Why don't you actually use that for something useful and make a decent looking PV!?


Sometimes I sit up and contemplate just which is worse: a bad PV or a bland PV? After all, if a bad PV is bad in the tackiest, garish way possible, then it can be entertaining. These PVs though have absolutely nothing entertaining about them. They may as well not exist and the idol world wouldn't even notice.

Chiisana Kiseki: Tokyo Girls' Style - TGS trying to be a happy-go-lucky idol group is a... surreal thing to watch. But it's still not interesting. I've found TGS can be much more engaging onscreen when they have a dark, moody PV to be in. Chiisana Kiseki is too bright and cheerful for my tastes. Not only that, it's bright and cheerful in the most generic way possible. I mean, there's really nothing more than some dance shots and close-ups in this PV... It's like TGS's production got taken over by UFP! The horror!!!
Heart Electric: AKB48 - I really can't properly convey the big pile of nothing this PV is. For starters, the set for this dance shot is about as bare-bones as the dance shot for Yuuhi wo Miteiru ka? Only now AKS doesn't have the lack of profit to justify how plain the dance shot for Heart Electric is. The band scenes suck out any personality from the members, because they're all desperately trying to look like they know how to play instruments. If you don't watch this PV, relax. You're not missing a thing.
Motto Zutto Issho ni Itakatta: Berryz Koubou - In the boring, abysmal year Berryz Koubou had, Motto Zutto Issho ni Itakatta was the dullest PV they had. At least I can make fun the costumes in Asian Celebration or the awkward dance in Rock Erotic. But Motto Zutto Issho ni Itakatta's PV is straight-up boring. It takes itself way too seriously when really the PV is nothing more than some moody lighting and an obvious backdrop. And to think Berryz used to have personality.
Tabidachi no Haru ga Kita: S/mileage - So I think there are some suitcases in this PV? I don't know, before now, I hadn't watched this PV for months. Upon rewatching, I found that it's just as boring as I remember it being! Hell, the only remotely interesting was the fact that all the girls were one dance move away from a wardrobe malfunction with those hoopskirts. Other than that though, there's nothing that stands out about this PV; it's just your standard H!P default PV.


I know it may be hard to fathom but amongst all the idol PVs released this year, there are a few that can actually be seen as ~☯✞♥art♥✞☯~. After all, art is in the eye of the beholder. And in my opinion, these PVs have enough artistic imagery that I see them as ~☯✞♥art♥✞☯~.

Furisodation: Kyarypamyupamyu - If you told me that a PV existed that showcased drinking in an artistic, classy way, I would have laughed like a hyena. But who other than kawaii-technopop queen Kyarypamyupamyu to celebrate all the joys of adulthood by getting absolutely hammered? Furisodation is about coming of age; even the colors represent coming of age. And with coming of age is the legal freedom to drink alcohol. And that's what Kyary does in this PV. But it's artistic!
Gounn: Momoiro Clover Z - Even if you don't look into the Buddhist imagery behind Gounn, this is still a very artistic PV. The mandala-inspired designs spiraling outward were extremely beautiful and there was never one design exactly like the other. If you go into the Buddhist symbolism, there's a lot of really great stuff about this PV too explaining all the little (and big) things behind the PV for Gounn. I know I learned a whole more about Buddhism than before after I reviewed this PV!
In Da Gold: Jusyo Futei Mushoku - Oh boy, if there's one thing I love it's PVs with retro film clips! That's basically all the PV for In Da Gold is: a series of vintage film clips with the members of Jusyo Futei Mushoku edited on top of them. As someone who enjoys the aesthetic of vintage film clips, In Da Gold is such a treat for me. Sure, the effects are kind of cheesy, but there's still something so charming about the incorporation of modern and vintage in this PV!
Magic of Love: Perfume - What makes Magic of Love such a neat PV is it's Fushizen na Girl-style visual trickery. The PV has multiple Perfumes in one shot together, common optical illusions, smooth transitions that only be accomplished through smooth video editing, and a lot more artistic imagery. The nice thing is that everything in this PV is so bright and colorful. It reminds me a lot of Voice with a little less whimsy and a little more art. It's another nice addition to Perfume's artsy PVs!
Sweet Refrain: Perfume - While Sweet Refrain may not be as colorful as Magic of Love, it is still an equally artistic PV. Literally! The concept of Sweet Refrain was a "Perfume Museum" showing various exhibits of Perfume. I guess you could say it was a living art museum! Sweet Refrain also incorporates the "multiples Perfumes" editing method, along with a constantly rotating camera showing all the different parts of the Perfume Museum. The result? A pretty artsy PV in my opinion!
Tokai no Hitorigurashi: C-ute - Who'd a thunk I'd ever peg a Hello! Project PV as artsy? Surprisingly though, C-ute's PV has a lot of well-done editing and even some edits that are incorporated into the lyrics. Unlike the dreaded sparkles of Momusu PVs, the effect used on Tokai no Hitorigurashi actually make sense, and they make the PV a lot more colorful and bright than without said effects. I wouldn't call it Picasso come to life, but Tokai no Hitorigurashi is still surprisingly artsy for Hello! Project!


You guys aren't gonna believe this, but there isn't a single Momoiro Clover Z PV in this category! Crazy, isn't it!? But not as crazy as these PVs. From the stranger, sometimes disturbingly so, side of the idol industry are some of the trippiest, nonsensical idol PVs of 2013!

Circus & Renai Soudan: Bellring Shoujo Heart - Sometimes weirdness can merely be achieved from the lack of an explanation. Such is the case with Circus & Renai Soudan. Why are the girls spinning around at random? Why are they covered in blood? Why are they spazzing out at some parts? The world may never know! The actions of the girls are what make Circus & Renai Soudan such a weird PV, and a slightly creepy one given the lack of anything making sense.
Mura-Mura: BiS - Well, what else would you expect from BiS? In a jab to the Miichan scandal, the girls of BiS donned shaved heads for this PV! And that's the least weird part about it. They then proceed to go around doing all those crazy BiS antics. You know, wielding spiked baseball bats, wandering around in public shocking the common Japanese citizen, kidnapping a guy, you know, nothing too out of the norm for BiS! Oh yeah, and there's a face in Pour Lui's vagina. It's a really weird PV.
Mottai Night Land: Kyarypamyupamyu - I'd hope that Kyarypamyupamyu would have a weird PV! It's a pity I never did get a chance to review PonPonPon... However, if there is a PV that comes close to capturing the utter craziness of PonPonPon, it's Mottai Night Land! From skeleton-headed backup dancers to bikini-clad monsters to the sheer variety of strange environments, Mottai Night Land is just the right balance of cuteness and weirdness that makes Kyarypamyupamyu so entertaining!
Scandal in the House: Scandal - It's weird enough that you don't see Scandal play their instrument in one single part of this PV! Instead, they just bounce around being crazy talking about each other. For Scandal, this is about as weird as their PVs gets. I think it's the lightning fast editing that makes the PV so crazy, along with all the scenes where each individual member of Scandal does stuff ranging from eating plastic food to singing in a field of flowers. In all it's weirdness, the PV is definitely worth checking out!
StupiG: BiS - It figures that in the cheerful holiday month of December, BiS would release the most nightmare-inducing PV since Beginner. Okay, maybe that's stretching it. But the sheer design of the set for StupiG looks insane. And the costumes the girls were look downright painful! But while the PV for StupiG looks like a demented S&M dungeon, it is still a very detailed PV. I'd recommend watching it in high definition to get a real sense of how crazy this PV is!
Umbrella feat. Yamabe Miyu: banvox - Okay, technically this is an artist song just featuring an idol, but my god, this PV was weird enough that I had to include it. In Tokyo Girls' Style, they don't exactly have the strangest PVs, so seeing Miyu in such a surreal PV is... well, surreal! Umbrella is a PV that features no umbrellas but a variety of strange imagery from Rocky Horror Picture Show-style lips to Miyu's disembodied head orbiting around. Does it mean anything? Who knows!


As always, the idolsphere has its fair share of cute PVs every year. Whether it be because of the bright, pastel colors, adorable storylines, fun characters, these are the PVs that I found to be the cutest of 2013.

Bye Bye Happy Days!: Kara - I think there must be some kind of rule that any PV that features a time capsule must automatically have a cute and adorable storyline. Why can't there ever be a time capsule story in a dystopian future!? Anyways, Bye Bye Happy Days! is a series of sweet storylines that only exist in idol PVs ranging from giving a love letter to throwing Seungyeon a birthday party! Yeah, it's kind of corny but the setting is so charming I can't help but enjoy it.
Candy Room: Passpo - Nothing cuter than a party, right? That's what Candy Room is, a wild and crazy party where I'm pretty certain everything got trashed. But at least the girls look like they're having a lot of fun! Candy Room is like a PV of nonstop fun; the colors and imagery in the PV are so bright and girlish too. It's kind of like the PV for Not yet's Suika Baby instead of everyone getting arrested though, everyone falls into a swimming pool! Including the hot guy! Now that's my kind of party.
Kawaii Rave feat. Shouji Mei: Gigandect - Another non-idol artist but Shouji Mei is in this PV! Besides, you know a PV with the word "kawaii" in it is going to be pretty... well... kawaii! That's really the best word to describe Kawaii Rave. The colors in this PV range from girlishly pastel to girlishly bright, and all the sets are so cute I feel like I'm watching Mei walk through a Hello Kitty store. It's like a Kyarypamyupamyu PV with half the weirdness. Still, very cute! In a very over-the-top way...
Koi wa Tokimeki Chuuihou: Weather Girls - I can always expect Weather Girls to get a PV with an extremely adorable storyline that doesn't make a lot of sense. Luckily though, Koi wa Tokimeki Chuuihou has a very easy-to-follow plot! The girls get transformed into adorable but then they find a heart-shaped bottle (and no, it's no the one from Kurumi to Dialogue) and then they're transformed back into their normal selves. Only with cuter outfits now! The plot's kind of silly, but hey, it's pretty cute.
Mirai no Museum: Perfume - As bland as the song is, I can't deny that the PV for Mirai no Museum was freaking adorable. I think it was the animation. The Doraemon-style animation was very childish with soft angles and cute designs. And since 90% of the PV is Perfume and PTA-kun wandering around in this Doraemon-like environment, you can only guess how cute it is. Even the fight scenes are so adorable in this PV that they don't even fee like fight scenes!
Mottai Night Land: Kyarypamyupamyu - As strange and eccentric as Mottai Night Land was, it also had its fair share of cuteness. Mainly in the form of the bright and colorful scenery. Kyary herself is cute as always and brings her fair share of personality to the PV. But the cuteness of Mottai Night Land mainly stems from all the different settings and the quirky characters. As Kyary herself would put it, the PV for Mottai Night Land truly showcases cuteness in a traumatic way!
Rappa Renshuushuu: Watanabe Mayu - I'll admit, I almost put this under my Weirdest PVs. Because this is a strange, strange PV. I think it's supposed to be about evolution? Because Mayuyu's backup band is split in two and they have this battle of the bands where they evolve from gorillas to 18th century Frenchmen and then to an 80s mariachi band and... yeah, it's really strange. But with all the bright pastel colors in the PV and Mayuyu's perpetual adorableness, Rappa Renshuushuu is a cute (but still weird) PV.
Sayonara Crawl: AKB48 - Ugh, as fanservice-y and cliched as the PV for Sayonara Crawl is, I can't help but acknowledge that it was also a very cute PV. Just one with lots of blatant fanservice. Beyond the flowery bikini shots though are some genuinely sweet scenes. Like when they're all on the beach sitting around all that white furniture! Why would you put all that furniture on a beach? I have no idea. But there as enough cute imagery in this PV that I can begrudgingly see that it is a very cute PV...
Suki! Suki! Skip: HKT48 - What else should I expect from a song called Suki! Suki! Skip? Unless HKT48 went the Nogizaka46's Shakiism route. Wouldn't that be something? But instead we get a PV that has cutesy colors, bubbles and an array of happy idols bouncing around and making funny faces. Not like that's exactly a terrible thing. I think the girls of HKT48 themselves are what made Suki! Suki! Skip such a cute PV, although the set itself helps quite a bit.


On the opposite side of the PV spectrum are the cool PVs. You know, the ones with edgy, striking imagery, devoid of any of that cute stuff. Pfft! Who needs bubbles and happy clouds when you can dance in a warehouse or go Commando in a men's club? These are the coolest idol PVs:

Aitte Motto Zanshin: C-ute - You know what I love? Abandoned places! I just think it's so cool how they look and how empty they are! Needless to say, the warehouse that Aitte Motto Zanshin was shot in definitely grabbed my attention. Its sheer expansiveness made for a really nice PV, and I love the variety of areas around the warehouse the girls were shot in. Special mentions goes to that boiler room and the piano in the dance shot! It was really the location that made Aitte Motto Zanshin such a cool PV!
Barrette: Nogizaka46 - So this PV sort of borders between cool and terrifying, sometimes being both at once! The opening of this PV scared the shit out of me when I first watched it, but as I watched the rest of the PV, I found it to be pretty cool. I mean come on, it's idols with weapons. And they're using those weapons to fight their way past the men in a prostitution club to rescue their friend. How cool is that!? Combined with some other cool imagery, this PV was awesome.
Fly: BiS - When BiS isn't being weird, they can release some pretty cool stuff! Of course, I had absolutely no idea what was going on in the PV for fly. From what I can gather a girl was being chased while the members of BiS danced and watched in slow motion? I don't know, but the aesthetic of this PV was really cool. I love that it was shot in black and white; it gives the PV this very atmospheric and grungy vibe. And I gotta love those cockroach-style costumes!
Get the Star: Tokyo Girls' Style - TGS going grunge? Impossible! But they came pretty close with Get the Star. The normally glamorous idol group traded their classy and elegant outfits for punk-rock attire in a PV that has them standing around and rocking out to their own song. For a PV that doesn't have much going on, the feel of Get the Star is pretty neat. I love the shots where they dance in slow motion. And of course the best parts are when they're all in a circle together as one group.
Neo Stargate: Momoiro Clover Z - Who would have thought Momoiro Clover Z could be cool? But Neo Stargate is really a pretty cool PV. You've got these scientists on a spaceship creating/resurrecting the members of MomoClo. Why? Because... why not!? IT'S SCIENCE! Anyways, I loved the science fiction set for this PV; then again, I'm always a sucker for any sci-fi in idol PVs. The costumes for Neo Stargate were also cool and kind of creepy. Especially those spiked masks!
Over Drive: Scandal - There's nothing cooler than getting electrocuted, right? Of course not! In all seriousness though, this is the one Scandal PV this year that's worth really talking about. I guess you could say it was quite electrifying. Puns aside, the MacGyver-style set was so cool. I loved all the moving parts in it and the emphasis on them! And the close-ups of the members of Scandal levitating an assortment of nuts and bolts was really cool as well! Overall, one of the coolest Scandal PVs I've seen in awhile!


Not every idol group on the market is dripping with wads of cash to throw into lavish and elaborate PVs. However, there are certain PVs that are so low-budget, so fantastically cheap-looking that you can't help but wonder if they were made on a budget of $5. These are those PVs.

Crazy Kanzen na Otona: C-ute - While the last two C-ute singles of 2013 got surprisingly well-done and not-cheap-looking PVs, they kicked off the year with two pretty cheap ones. I'll get to the second one in a moment. Crazy Kanzen na Otona had a near-blank dance set, with only a few strobe lights to spice things up. And then C-ute just had to go and hijack the glowing jail bars from the Wakuteka Take a chance PV. Ah, nothing like one cheap PV borrowing something from another cheap PV!
Help me!!: Morning Musume - I think I just about blew a gasket when I saw how god-awful the green screens were in this PV. I mean, you have bad green screens and then you have bad green screens. I don't even think the editors tried to make the green screens in this PV realistic. Besides, what sane person stands in the middle of the street in a cheetah-print tutu? This PV was cheap in the tackiest way possible. Then again, what else should I expect from a Hello! Project PV?
Invader Invader: Kyarypamyupamyu - To be fair, Kyary did explain the the agency in the PV didn't have a lot of money, thus explaining the cheap set. Still, cheap is cheap and hoo boy did this set look very much like a set. Even the props looked very much like props. I didn't buy the whole "agency with no money concept" partially because everything about this PV looks so cheaply staged. Thank goodness Mottai Night Land gave Kyary more budget to work with!
Kono Machi: C-ute - If the green screens from Help me!! drove me up the wall, then the ones in Kono Machi made me blow a gasket. Despite not being as tacky, the green screens in Kono Machi are insultingly fake, and could have easily been replicated with, you know, actual scenery of a town. But of course, that would be just way too expensive for UFP. I mean, those gosh-darn town are so hard to come by. Being, you know, all around the country!
Re: 9nine - I will admit there is one very brief part in the PV where it doesn't look quite as cheap. That's during the bridge when a bunch of technology-themed visuals appear on the screen a la Spring of Life. The rest of the PV though falls prey to the pitfalls that many a not-so-popular idol group suffers. The CGI in the close-ups is pretty blatant, and there isn't much to add to the dance shot. As much as I like the song, the PV for Re: is unfortunately too low-budget to be that memorable.
Sayonara Utsukushii no Watashi: Berryz Koubou - I had to choose the cheapest Berryz PV based off a selection of cheap PVs they've gotten this year. I could honestly put all of them on here, but Sayonara Utsukushii no Watashi is the cheapest. The set is stripped down to almost nothing but a white backdrop and some random colors, and the close-ups don't fare well either. There wasn't even anything I could poke fun at in this PV it was so lacking in stuff.
Suteki na Takaramono: Kus Kus - This is such a wonderful song, but if you went off the covers and the PV you wouldn't be too impressed. The PV for Suteki na Takaramono attempts to channel some Perfume vibes, but without the proper budget and artistic direction, those efforts kind of flounder. Suteki na Takaramono is a very, very simplistic PV with only one set that doesn't have much going for it other than the fact that it's kinda futuristic looking? Maybe with a proper budget, this could have been better!
Truly: Passpo - Adding to the utterly dull year Passpo has had is the utterly dull PV for Truly. I can kind of see what they were trying to do here by having the girl walking on rolling suitcases in front of a changing background. But come on. That's seriously the whole PV? Sure, the first minute's kind of cool but three minutes in I got bored. And wasn't that the same technique used in old Scooby Doo cartoons? This PV did not hold my attention for very long due to the sheer monotony of it.
Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne: Juice=Juice - Juice=Juice had such a wonderful debut song, of course UFP had to screw it over with a blase PV. I guess I should just be thankful it's not tacky cheap like some Hello! Project PVs, but the PV for Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne is so barren, with its plain white background that I swear has been done to death in H!P PVs. There is absolutely nothing in this PV; its about as bare-bones as you get in Hello! Project.


Ah, idol summer. An era of sunshine and swimming and bikinis galore. I know that for most of us summer seems far, far away in the frigid month of December, but I'd still like to take a moment to look back on my personal favorite summer PVs from 2013.

Bokura no Eureka: NMB48 - I think ever since I've been following idol groups, I've been waiting and hoping one group will do a summer PV where they're all stranded on a deserted island. And I can now proudly say that NMB48 delivered that idea wonderfully. With a really great set and a very intriguing plot with a Planet of the Apes-style twist, Bokura no Eureka is probably my favorite of all my favorite summer PVs of 2013.
Candy Room: Passpo - Call it a stretch to count this PV as a "summer PV" over, say, Mousou no Hawaii, but of the summer singles Passpo released this year, Candy Room, in my opinion had the most summery PV. I love how the girls of Passpo looked like they were having so much fun in this PV, and the sleepover setting allowed for a lot of fun ideas and concepts to be explored in the PV. Zany, colorful, and extremely fun, Candy Room is absolutely stellar.
Eiya-sa! Brother: Mellowquad - A PV from Hello! Project that actually has effort put into it? Surely you jest! Of the three Satoumi PVs, I think Mellowquad got the one with the most character. Although Eiya-sa! Brother only has one set, the girls still do a lot in it from dancing to playing games in the booths, to interacting with the adorable sea mascots bouncing around this PV. Eiya-sa! Brother's PV was the perfect combination of bright and colorful, making for a lovely summer PV!
Girl's Rule: Nogizaka46 - Wow. Who'd a thunk I'd be putting a Nogizaka46 PV under one of my positive categories? Yet here Girls' Rule is! I think one of the elements I liked about Girl's Rule was the lack of direct fanservice. Instead, the PV had a nostalgic setting, with Instagram filters galore! Still, I thought this was a very atmospheric and well-done PV, painting a very picturesque image of a summer long gone past. Brownie points for you, Nogizaka46!
Thank You Summer Love: Kara - While Thank You Summer Love might not have been the breakout summer song Go Go Summer! was, I still think the song got a very nice summer PV. With no bikinis in sight, or even a beach for that matter, Thank You Summer Love strengths lay in its very well-done and scenic set, along with the chemistry from the girls of Kara themselves. There are a lot of fun little quirky shots in this PV, all ending on a high note with wonderful summer fireworks.
Utsukushii Inazuma: SKE48 - And ending my list of favorite summer PVs is the sexiest of all the summer PVs of 2013! Brought to you by none other than SKE48! You know, that '48 groups that's always piling on the sexy in their PVs. I think we can all collectively agree that Utsukushii Inazuma was a definite change in tone from SKE48's past summer PVs. But in my opinion, I think that turn was a very well-executed one, making for a very sensual and fiery summer PV!


Of course, not all the releases of idol summer were sunshine and flowers. It's pretty much impossible to have a constant stream of amazing summer PVs every year. Luckily, there were only three summer PVs that I found to be particularly un-amazing!

Flying Get: SNH48 - You'd think that with all the money the AKS company is rolling in right now, they could afford to spend money on high-budget PVs for all their little '48 groups. Well, SNH48's PV for Flying Get appears to be the exception! Not only was this PV a rip-off of the much better Bokura no Eureka, the gratuitous CGI in this PV was awful. I'm talking 12-year olds animating MMD videos awful. With a lackluster dance shot and lackluster plot, I just couldn't take this summer PV seriously.
Koi no Love Sunshine: Weather Girls - Not every song from an idol group can be stellar, and Koi no Love Sunshine turned out to be the first dud from Weather Girls. Then again, this isn't a terrible dud to have, but I still wasn't impressed with the group's first attempt at a summer PV. Koi no Love Sunshine had so much potential and some great scenery but a messy plot and some very gratuitous attempts at fanservice kept the PV from being an enjoyable summer PV.
Lady Mermaid: Dia Lady - Well, this is technically a Hello! Project PV so what do you expect? For such a summery song, Lady Mermaid got a pretty boring summer PV. Hell, I don't even see many summery elements in it! That wouldn't be such a terrible thing if the PV had Airi and Risako doing something. Beyond the dance shot, all they do is stand around looking pretty before finally getting up and walking away because clearly they realize how boring the PV is too!


Ah, dancing. The act of movement choreographed to sync to music. I envy those who have this skill. For now though, I can admire idol groups that can dance and have some great choreography to dance to. I'm not much of a judge on choreography, but the look of these following dances impressed me. Which is why they're my favorites.

1mm: Perfume - Oh, this was such a cool dance. I really loved the incorporation of the panels when the girls did the dance in the PV for 1mm. Other than that little bit, 1mm was such a sharp, fast-paced dance. If handled by the wrong dancers, it might have looked spastic, but Perfume handles the dance with the same efficiency and skill they always do. The dance for 1mm makes me so excited to see what the dances to all the other Level3 songs look like!
Adam to Eve no Dilemma: C-ute - You know, when C-ute has dances like this, I feel like Tsunku should just change their name to S-exy. I know, obvious joke is obvious but I couldn't resist. I could probably put several other C-ute dances under this category, but Adam to Eve no Dilemma's was my favorite C-ute dance this year. It had all the power and skill I've come to expect from C-ute, and it was incredibly seductive without going over-the-top with it.
Kamonegix: NMB48 - Let me just go ahead and say you need to watch the dance version of Kamonegix. The PV itself is really lame and disjointed, but the dance version takes out all the unnecessary drama shots and lets you watch a really good dance. I think the dance really makes good use of the number of girls in it. The dance is like one giant puzzle, where each separate move is one of the pieces. And putting all the pieces together gives you the final result: a really awesome dance.
Magic of Love: Perfume - Without a doubt the best part of Magic of Love is when Perfume starts performing part of the choreography backwards. I didn't even know that was even possible! But leave it to Perfume to find something new to do with their dances. Next thing I'll know they'll be dancing wearing jetpacks! Anyways, the dance to Magic of Love had all the precision I've come to expect from Perfume along with a nice share of twists and turns (like the backwards dancing!!).
Sweet Refrain: Perfume - I think you have to watch a live performance of Sweet Refrain to get a feel of what the dance is like. The PV's all right, but it's kind of difficult to see the dance what with the camera constantly spinning around. Live though, you can see just how fluid and expressive the dance is. There's a lot of movement in this choreography, beyond Perfume's usual series of intricate hand movements. There's a lot of bouncing too... but it's a really fun dance and I love it!
Unmei: Tokyo Girls' Style - Much like C-ute, when TGS wants to be a sensual group, they can be a very sensual group. Sometimes alarmingly so when you remember how old the members of Tokyo Girls' Style are. Still, the girls project a lot of confidence when they're performing the dance for Unmei, which is what ultimately prevents it from being too creepy awkward. The girls' moves are smooth and proficient, really showcasing the dance side of Tokyo Girls' Style well!
Utsukushii Inazuma: SKE48 - Man, with song like Utsukushii Inazuma, I half expected the girls to come out in war paint and dancing around in a circle. That... didn't happen, but I did get to see a really cool, intensive dance! It's like the girls just threw themselves into this dance! You can practically feel the intensity surging in the dance shot! For SKE48, a dance like this was definitely a different style for them, but I think it was different in a good way! I love this dance and all the energy in it!
Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke: Morning Musume - Momusu really upped their choreography this year, save for one song, but we'll get to that later. Of their dances this year, Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke is definitely my favorite. It expanded on the dance battle idea briefly explored in Brainstorming's dance, turning the entire chorus into this epic dance battle between two sides of Momusu. It was like West Side Story only with idols!
Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne: Juice=Juice - Part of what prevented Watashi ga Iu Mae ni Dakishimenakya ne's PV from being a complete bore was the kickass dance. The girls of Juice=Juice looked so very sassy doing all that snazzy choreography timed to the equally snazzy saxophone in the song. What I really liked about this dance was how fast-paced it was, and all the choreography was really sharp and precise. A great dance to a great debut song!


Not every song this year got a spanking awesome dance to go with it. I will admit though there wasn't any dance that was blatantly awful. All the dances under this category just have some really weird dance moves in them that don't work as well as they were supposed to. These were the dances that even I could tell something was off about them.

Chiisana Kiseki: Tokyo Girls' Style - I'd say that Chiisana Kiseki doesn't have a bad dance... it's a just a really boring dance. Kind of like the rest of the this PV! From a group like Tokyo Girls' Style, this dance is a disappointment. It pulls a lot of the cliche idol moves I see every year in one dance or another, without any redeeming choreography to make up for that. There's like one kind-of interesting part in the bridge, but that it's all. I think I'll stick to dances like Kodou no Himitsu and Bad Flower.
Heart Electric: AKB48 - Well, AKB48 didn't exactly get famous for their oh-so-complicated choreography. Heart Electric features pointing. Lots and lots of pointing. To no one in particular either. It's part of that whole "G. Fingers" band concept. Which by the way, is still the stupidest band name ever. But I digress. I think Heart Electric was trying to be a 60s retro kind of dance, but everything about it is so awkward that it fantastically fails at being one.
Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai: Morning Musume - The dance for Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai wasn't so much bad as it was weird. The marching-band formations were weird, the stilted, almost robotic choreography was weird, everything about this dance was just so weird. The final result was a dance that may have been fun to make fun of but was still not the best I've seen from Momusu this year, especially with all the great choreography they've been getting.
Rock Erotic: Berryz Koubou - Again, the danso, guys-and-girls type choreography can be really cool when you do it right. But the thing, Berryz Koubou doesn't do it right. All the danso choreography feels really awkward and forced because the girls look awkward and forced. Now if you got Yoshizawa Hitomi and Niigaki Risa to do a dance like this, they could totes pull if off. Berryz Koubou on the other hand lacks the chemistry and conviction to do so.
Suteki na Takaramono: Kus Kus - Again, I really loved the debut single of this group, but all their visual promotion was really subpar. And the dance for Suteki na Takaramono is really, really simple. Like I think I could it. It mainly features the girls standing around bobbing their shoulders up and down and occasionally making some kind of hand movement. I guess it's kind of retro, but the dance for Suteki na Takaramono is just so bare-bones and simple that it's not that interesting.
Suzukake Nanchara: AKB48 - To be fair, this dance wasn't as awkward as Heart Electric's. That doesn't mean it was good either. There wasn't a single interesting part to this dance. The only thing I got from it was a bunch of dance moves that I've probably scene in other AKB48 dances. Then again, maybe this dance was supposed to be as boring as possible so the girls could easily learn it 10 years in the future when they're all adults and have magically lost the ability to dance!


I love costumes. And while idol costumes can get very tacky, there are also costumes that are completely awesome. 2013 offered some pretty great costumes, although nothing quite as stand out as last year's. Then again, it's kind of difficult to top light-up dresses...

5th Dimension: Momoiro Clover Z - Say what you want about MomoClo's album, I thought the costumes to promote 5th Dimension were awesome. Kind of creepy... but still awesome! Those spiked masks and tutus just work well in this really weird, twisted way.
Ai no Gundan: Morning Musume - With Tanaka Reina gone, I hope Morning Musume will continue to get not-tacky outfits! The outfits for Ai no Gundan show promise for that concept. I love the sailor concept and I think the variety is great for the girls of Momusu.
BiSimulation: BiS - Who killed idol? The world may never know, but BiS still poses the question on their snazzy black-and-white jackets. I love the grungy style of these outfits, and the tattoo sleeves some of the members wear. Cool and stylish, just like most of BiS' outfits!
Evolution No. 9: 9nine - Oh, these outfits gave me flashbacks to the outfits from Perfume's Game. And I freaking love the outfits from Game. Each outfit has its own unique quirks all connected with one edgy, elegant theme. I especially love the tights all the girls wear.
Gounn: Momoiro Clover Z - I think what sold me on these outfits was seeing the design process for making these costumes. There is so much detail put into each of these outfits, and the results are absolutely beautiful. The girls of MomoClo look like goddesses in these outfits.
Magic of Love: Perfume - I love retro things. Especially retro outfits. I was over the moon for the outfits from Perfume's Magic of Love. They reminded me very much of 60s Twiggy-style fashion, and the patterns and colors for each member are adorable.
Romance no Tochuu: Juice=Juice - Houndstooth is a pattern that I will always love. I just think it looks so classy, you can never have enough of it! The outfits for Romance no Tochuu feature a ton of houndstooth, which I think looks very flattering on all the girls. Especially Akari's pants.
Unmei: Tokyo Girls' Style - In hindsight, these are actually pretty similar to the ones from 9nine's Evolution No. 9. Of course, I still love the outfits for Unmei; the girls look stunning in them. They put the "style" in Tokyo Girls' Style... Wow, I finally got to make that pun!
Utsukushii Inazuma: SKE48 - I never usually pay much mind to the outfits in summer PVs, but the ones used in Utsukushii Inazuma looked jaw-droppingly great. The bright, tropical sarongs worked so well and really added to the tribal, exotic feel of the single.


Compared to last year in which bad idol costumes were practically gift wrapped to my doorstep, this year's worst of idol outfits is relatively tame. Of course, that doesn't mean there weren't some awful-looking outfits this year! These are my personal picks:

Asian Celebration: Berryz Koubou - I do not like zebra print. I have never liked zebra print. Throwing zebra print fabric all over a bunch of suit-like outfits does not rest well with me. Maybe if there had been a lot less of the print on the costumes, they may have looked slightly better.
Growing Up: Passpo - I have nothing against Masui Mio. In fact, she's one of my favorite members of Passpo. And I know that fashion design is far from easy. I can give Miomio points for trying, but the costumes for Growing Up look like nightgowns. Strangely patterned nightgowns.
Help me!!: Morning Musume - If any costumes comes close to some of the awful costumes of 2012, it's Help me!! I think the title was meant to be a cry for help from the girls in the hopes that someone could incinerate those tacky, gaudy, cheetah-print atrocities.
Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai: Morning Musume - Are they flappers? Are they gangsters? Who knows!? All I know is the accessory choices combined with the highlighter-yellow color of these outfits struck me as odd. They should have gone the Chicago route.
Koi no Love Sunshine: Weather Girls - I'm all for the sailor look. It can be really cute when done well! The problem with the sailor outfit used in Koi no Love Sunshine is that they're way too skimpy. They might as well have gone ahead and made them straight-up bikinis.
Sayonara Crawl: AKB48 - It takes some really audacious designs to go wrong with bikinis. They're flipping bikinis! You have to be trying to make them look as unappealing as the ones in Sayonara Crawl. These are the kind of bikinis I could make with artificial flowers and a glue gun.
Suki! Suki! Skip!: HKT48 - Thank god these are exclusive to only the PV and a few select concert performances. I've stated before in the past that there is a fine line between cute and teeth-rottingly cute for me. The costumes for Suki! Suki! Skip! skipped over that line.

Best Overall Improvement as an Artist: Nogizaka46


This feels really weird. A year ago, Nogizaka46 was 2012's Most Lackluster Debut. How on earth they improved their music and style and music videos so quickly is a mystery to me. My theory is the better and more interesting Nogizaka46 is, the worse and more boring AKB48 has to be. It's a correlation kind of thing. Or maybe Nogizaka46 performed a Satanic ritual to ensure them better songs and PVs! Yeah, that sounds pretty legitimate. Okay, okay, in all seriousness though, Nogizaka46 has gone from a group that I was convinced would be perpetually terrible forever to releasing actually good songs, well-done PVs with compelling ideas, and no more stupid dances! I guess their improvement started in late 2012 with Seifuku no Mannequin, but I'm honestly surprised that it continued! Kimi no na wa Kibou is a beautiful ballad, Girl's Rule is an energetic (albeit slightly generic) summer song with a very well shot PV, and Barrette was my favorite AKS single of the year. I kid you not, a Nogizaka46 single was my favorite AKS single of 2013. What surreal world have I fallen into!? Maybe I fell into an actual Wonderland where Nogizaka46 is a good idol group. Either way, I'm not questioning it. Nogizaka46 brought effort this year and it paid off well. I hope 2014 is just as prosperous and high-quality for them as 2013 has been.

Best Debut: Kus Kus


I would have put Juice=Juice under this title, but my one weakness is technopop. Kus Kus is a technopop idol group. Not just that, they're a technopop trio. Can you see why I picked them? The debut of Kus Kus was an extremely pleasant surprise for me. I knew all my years of hoping for another technopop idol trio were not in vain!!! Even though Kus Kus debuted late into the year, the single they did release is very promising. Suteki na Takaramono was one of my favorite singles this year! It was cute, a perfect blend of technopop and idol pop, and catchy. What struck me most about Kus Kus was how much they reminded me of indies Perfume. Sure, there music isn't Nakata-levels of production, but their technopop schtick is still really cute and kind of quirky. Who knows? Maybe one day when Perfume is disbanded, Kus Kus can take up the reins of their legacy and go on to become an equally famous and renowned technopop trio. I know that's probably delusional on my part, but the group is young right now and I have high hopes for them! If Universal Music Japan can just get them better music videos, more interesting choreography, and less bland single art, I think they can have a really successful group in their hands! For now though, my only hope is that Kus Kus's music in 2014 is just as good as Suteki na Takaramono was!

Most Lackluster Debut: HKT48


And it only took two years! For all that toil behind the scenes to get this group off the ground, the debut of HKT48 was... kind of underwhelming. I think that's partially because AKB48, SKE48, NMB48, OJS48, and probably WTF48 already exist. Any of the anticipation I might have had for a new '48 group kind of died down after the debut of NMB48. I think it was just that oversaturation of having so many '48 groups on the market already. And it probably also had to do with the fact that Suki! Suki! Skip, HKT48's debut single, wasn't all that interesting. The A-side was cute and all, but it sounded like a more childish version of NMB48's Nagiichi. The B-sides were completely forgettable. I listened to all of them, and I can't remember the sound of one single B-side. Just that they were all bland and I'd heard them before in other AKS songs. Along with HKT48 feeling very much like a rehash of SKE48's entire concept, Suki! Suki! Skip just didn't generate a lot of interest from me, even if Sashihara Rino and Kodama Haruka were in the Senbatsu. To be fair, HKT48's second single, Melon Juice, was a lot better in my opinion. The A-side was really fun and happy without sounding tired, and the B-sides were a little better. I won't dismiss HKT48 eventually, because I think they have a good sound going for them, their debut was just blah.

Saddest Graduation: Akimoto Sayaka


Oh Sayaka, why oh why did you have to leave? Well, even I can explain that. Sayaka's prime days in AKB48 were long over by the time she graduated. She was no longer in Senbatsu nor was she captain of Team K. She still had a presence in AKB48 but nowhere near the popularity that I believe she deserved. Even though Sayaka was no longer a regular Senbatsu member by the time I got into AKB48, she was still my favorite member. She was always so funny and confident and strong and so many other wonderful things. I loved her variety skits, her powerful voice, her leadership over Team K. At the time, I couldn't understand why management wouldn't promote such a great person in regular Senbatsu. Then I found out about Sayaka's "scandal" if you could even call it that. And I remember getting to pissed off that something so trivial had such a negative impact on Sayaka's position in AKB48. As much as I hated to see Sayaka graduate, I don't think there was anything left for her in AKB48. Management didn't do much for her, and Sayaka deserves bigger and better things than languishing in an idol group where younger and fresher faces get more spotlight than she does. It was Sayaka's time. Now that's she's graduated, I hope that Sayaka is out there finally achieving her dreams of being actress. If anyone deserves acting success, it's her.

Best Concert: Perfume Dome Tour/Perfume World Tour 2nd


I've only seen a few clips from the Dome Tour, so I guess it's kind of a cheat to list this as the best concert... But you know what? It's my blog! And there's a certain level of quality I know that I can expect from Perfume's concerts! And their first Tokyo Dome concert is one of my favorite concerts of theirs! So I think I'm pretty safe in assuming Perfume's second Tokyo Dome concert is equally awesome, especially with the new technology Perfume has at their fingertips! From the few clips I've seen of the group's Tokyo Dome concert, it looks promising. The new songs look great, the design of the stage looks great, and I think Perfume even sings live a little more in this concert! Of course, I couldn't completely give the award for Best Concert over to a concert I haven't completely seen. So I also decided that Perfume's World Tour 2nd deserves the title too! Despite the fact that I didn't see this concert live, from reading various reports about it, I'll bet it was pretty awesome. The clips from the World Tour 2nd show Perfume in a more intimate, smaller venue, something from their pre-Game days. Seeing them in such a small venue again is really nice, and I think the girls worked with each stage really well! And there's also the fact that Perfume took the time to go visit their fans in Europe! I think it's a really nice gesture for them to reach out to their international fans in Europe like that!

Best Chemistry in a Group: C-ute


I don't know what it is about C-ute, but for some reason they all worked really well together this year. I mean, usually they all have pretty good onscreen chemistry, but something about this particular year's PVs and performances really worked for them. I think what helps is that they really looked like a group this year. I feel like C-ute's been going through this slow evolution that's been occurring since Umeda Erika's departure. At first, they all look kind if disjointed, but over time, they start functioning well as a 5-member group. I know it's kind of a silly theory, but still! It's my silly theory! And anyways, I honestly loved looking at C-ute's music videos this year. Sure, they had just about the same budget as every other H!P PV, but the girls themselves made those PVs entertaining! Like Bagel ni Ham and Cheese! That PV would have been a total bore if the girls themselves weren't so engaging. And I just feel like every time I watch C-ute perform, they all look so comfortable around each other. I guess that's because they've been a group for eight years. But I think it also has to do with natural chemistry between the members. C-ute has come a very long way since that music video for Massara Blue Jeans, and I think they've matured into a wonderful group, probably my favorite group in Hello! Project. I look forward to whatever their endeavors will be in 2014!

Worst Chemistry in a Group: Berryz Koubou


I'm only speaking from a performance standpoint. I'm sure behind the scenes, the girls of Berryz get along great with each other. But that off screen chemistry just isn't translating to their recent PVs very well. The PV where they looked the most comfortable around each other was Asian Celebration, and even then the chemistry wasn't great. Everything else though? It's been a series of awkward, stilted, wooden PVs. The worst were Motto Zutto Isshoni Itakatta and Rock Erotic's. The PV for Motto Zutto Isshoni Itakatta alreayd had nothing whatsoever going on in it, and Berryz wasn't exactly that engaging to watch in such a dreary. Rock Erotic had a really cool danso concept going on, but for whatever reason, the girls just couldn't pull it off. Yurina, Maasa, and Chinami looked awkward in their attempts to seduce Risako, Momoko, Miyabi, and Saki. Vice versa, Risako, Momoko, Miyabi, and Saki also looked awkward trying to be seduced. I don't know what was up with Berryz this year. I know they're a group with good chemistry, because I've seen it in their past PVs. Maybe the girls just have hard time working with the serious material Tsunku's been giving them. I mean, I've always liked Berryz best when they're being wacky and quirky, and songs like Motto Zutto Isshoni Itakatta and Golden Chinatown don't exactly leave a lot of room for quirkiness.

Best Album: Curumi Chronicle


Well damn, I thought for sure Level3 was going to be my favorite album of 2013, but just before the end of the year, this little gem snuck in and stole the title! Sorry, Perfume. Unlike Curumi Chronicle, Level3 had Mirai no Museum, which ultimately prevented it from having this title. That and Curumi Chronicle didn't have a single bad track on it. In fact, this is the only album I've reviewed that's been rated with five apples! On the Wonderland, I reserve the five apple rating for songs and albums that are about as close to perfect as you can get. Curumi Chronicle is of course not perfect, but it is a great debut album for the indie technopop idol. With technopop singers like Aira Mitsuki and Saori@destiny no longer on the market, Curumi Chronicle fills the void left by them with a collection of bubbly technopop songs that perfectly balances the techno and idol aspects of Curumi's music. For me, this album is a dream come true. I love technopop just as much as I love idols, and I think a technopop idol is long overdue. Curumi Chronicle is album brimming with bright, happy technopop that also has a few surprisingly edgy dance tracks thrown into it as well. Every single track on this album stood out, and the production levels were top notch. I love this album, and I hope that I'll hear more equally wonderful music from Curumi Chronicle next year!

> Honorable Mentions:

Look, there were some really good albums this year. While last year's pick was super easy, I had a much harder time this year. So the following three albums were also extremely good and I considered them for Best Album, but ultimately there was still a few flaws about each one that Curumi Chronicle was lacking. Nonetheless, these three albums are wonderful and you should all check them out.

- Level3 - Perfume


Of course, how can I forget about my lovely Perfume? Level3 was so, so close to being my favorite album of 2013. Blame Curumi Chronicle. Just because Level3 didn't wind up being my favorite album of 2013 doesn't mean it's by far an album I dislike. In fact, other than Mirai no Museum, I really like all the tracks on Level3! Unlike ⊿ and JPN, Level3 has a lot more musical diversity for Perfume, helped by having a very even number of new and old songs. And the experimentation in Level3 works. There are parts when Level3 is a straight-up EDM album that can be blasted in clubs and then other parts where the album gets slower and calmer. It was this very strange mix of intensity and serenity that made Level3 such a great listen. The album's got dance tracks like Party Maker, Spending all my time (Album-mix), and Daijobanai that get your blood pumping. But then there are also the really chill, meandering tracks like Point, Furikaeru to Iru yo, and Dream Land that sound so very dreamy you'd swear you were floating on a cloud while they play. In my opinion, Level3 has some of the most interesting music Perfume's released in years. Maybe it isn't Game 2.0 (then again, what ever could be Game 2.0?), but Level3 still shows a level of quality and musical diversity that really showcases all the high points of Perfume's music.

- BedHead - Bellring Shoujo Heart


To think I may have never listened to this album had Krv not taken the time to review it on his blog. With his glowing review highlighting the alternative sound of BedHead, I figured I at least had to give this album one listen. After all, I may blog about idols, but I do have a love of more alternative genres of music. So was BedHead the collection of alt-rock idol music as promised? Hell yes! Honestly, BedHead is probably my favorite non-idol album since BiS's Idol is Dead. Hell, I think I even like BedHead better than Idol is Dead! The one drawback of BedHead is that the production quality is pretty bad. The mixing for certain songs on this album is at the same quality as some of the fan dubs on Youtube. It works for some tracks like World World World and yOU Rari. But then there are parts where the quality of production can be cringe-inducing. After several listens though, I found I can overlook that though because what BedHead lacks in production quality it makes up for in its variety of eclectic songs ranging from 60s rock to grunge to progressive rock to alternative... listening to BedHead was like finding a diamond in a coal mine. Typically, idol groups don't stray too far from pop, but Bellring Shoujo Heart's album hides from pop. The result is an album that's perfect for idol fans into the stranger side of idol music.

- Yakusoku - Tokyo Girls' Style


Tokyo Girls' Style's first two albums have a variety of hit-and-miss tracks. The main problem was neither album had a very cohesive sound, and there were a lot of weak tracks on both albums. Luckily, third time must have been the charm for TGS, because in my opinion, Yakusoku is their strongest album.  Yakusoku plays to all the strong points of Tokyo Girls' Style's music: their mature vibes, their 90s Avex sound, it's like getting to hear all my favorite TGS sounds in one album. It also doesn't have all the filler tracks that plagued Kodou no Himitsu and Limited addiction. Sure, there are a few not-so-stellar tracks on Yakusoku, but when you get to the good tracks, they're good tracks. And ultimately, the number of good songs on Yakusoku weight out the mediocre. The singles to this album were also extremely strong; you had the rocking Bad Flower, equally rocking B-side Discord, even the cover of SweetS' Lolita☆Strawberry in summer is at least a very different take on the song. And there are really great album songs like Futarikiri, Tsuki no Sayonara, title track Yakusoku... this is just a wonderfully cohesive album. Yakusoku captures all the funkiness, maturity, and rock that makes Tokyo Girls' Style such an interesting idol group. The final result is probably my favorite album from TGS. Unless they're 4th album blows me away. We'll have to see!

Most Underused Member of a Group: Kudou Haruka


I thought about putting Suzuki Kanon in this slot again, but doing that two years in a row would be downright depressing. From the looks of it, Zukki will be stuck in the role of a back girl anyways for a very long time (possibly forever) so let's talk about another underused member of Morning Musume! That member is Kudou Haruka. I can understand why UFP doesn't give much attention to Zukki, but Kudou Haruka's case perplexes me a little more. She's a very talented singer, especially for her age, and she's shown she can hold her own with the likes of Tanaka Reina. Her voice has a very distinct sound to it, and from the few times I've heard her live, she doesn't sound bad. And she's had some training as a Kenshuusei in Hello! Project. With such an impressive amount of talent, Duu doesn't really get to do much singing in Momusu's music. I don't think she's that unpopular with the wota, so why isn't UFP giving her much vocal time in music? I'd like to think maybe they're just waiting for Duu to get older. Still, sometimes when I'm listening to Momusu and I have to hear Riho attempt to belt again, I can't help but wonder if I'll ever get to hear much of Duu in any of Momusu's future singles. Who knows? Maybe with the dawn of the new year, Duu will finally get a decent push from UFP! But knowing UFP promotional strategies, I'm not counting on it.

Fastest Ascension to the Front: Shimazaki Haruka


The other Haruka in this megapost, I don't think anyone can deny how exponentially quickly Paruru went from being "that chick from Team 4" to debated center of AKB48. It started in 2012 with her conveniently winning the Janken tournament and centering Eien Pressure. In 2013, Paruru was center of AKB48's first two singles and remained in Senbatsu for the next two. She went from being #23 in the 2012 Senbatsu election to #12 in this year's Senbatsu election. Finally for better or worse, she didn't end up in this year's Janken single but probably for the better since the Janken single sucked. What else is new though? I don't know if Aki-P will continue to push Paruru in 2014, but I think 2013 has been kind to her. A little too kind if you ask certain AKB48 fans. Not everyone was okay with the sudden push of a member with a divisive personality who was awkward at best as a center. Personally, I was kind of split on management's decision to push Paruru so heavily at the beginning of the year. However, I think there's something very endearing about Paruru's personality and her facial expressions are unintentional comedy gold. Her facial expressions have been pretty much the only entertaining thing about AKB48's PVs this year! I kind of hope that next year, Paruru's still up at the front entertaining us with her awkwardness!

Biggest Scandal: Minegishi Minami Dating Scandal


Like every year in the world of idols, there is always a handful of prominent scandals. Such is the way of idols I suppose. But without a doubt, the scandal this year that hit the hardest and most brutal was the Minegishi Minami scandal. I think it wasn't so much the scandal itself that made this event so infamous, but Miichan's reaction toward her demotion. Everyone remembers the video her tearfully apologizing with her newly-shaved head, even if AKS promptly took the video down after such strong reactions. But the video was already out there, and there were a slew of reactions to it. Lots of people condemned the no-dating rule and called for change and an equal amount of others justified the no-dating rule saying that it's part of the job of an idol, and if Miichan couldn't handle that, then it was at her own expense. The debate became so strong and widespread that even other countries wrote about it. As usual, the American article was ignorant, but it's still worth noting this scandal made such a splash, an American wrote about it. I myself remember feeling so furious about this entire scandal. What disturbed me the most about it was that Miichan felt compelled that the sheer act of being with someone made her shave her head as a sign of ultimate apology. Say what you want about the no-dating rule, but is it really healthy for idols to have this mindset? In my opinion, no.

Thing That Needs to Go Away: The Koisuru Fortune Cookie Dance


Look, AKS, it was fun when you posted the Staff Version of the dance. It was great seeing the Fan Version too. But this is getting out of hand. You have posted over thirty different Koisuru Fortune Cookie dance videos. I think we need to hold an intervention about your unhealthy attachment to keeping this dance as popular as possible. It's not like you've got Crayon Pop's Bar Bar Bar dance in your cash-grabbing hands. This is the Koisuru Fortune Cookie dance. It's a decent dance, but it's not that catchy. No offense, but a generic idol dance doesn't catch on quite as easily as I think you guys want it to. I might not have such a problem with the KFC dance had it not been forced so much. Just go on AKB48's Youtube channel to see how many different covers of the dance AKS has posted to the channel! And they're still posting more. Every few weeks, I'll pull up my Youtube account, thinking the wave is finally done and surprise! Another KFC dance! My theory is that the world will not end in fire and ice but in the Koisuru Fortune Cookie dance. Left and right people will dance the KFC until the world implodes on itself and Sashihara Rino, with a devilish grin on her face, blasts off in a rocket... uh, where was I? Oh yeah, the dance for Koisuru Fortune Cookie has been beaten like a dead horse, and I'm sick of it.

Idol of the Year: Minegishi Minami


Miichan put up with a lot of bullshit this year. From Shuukan Bunshun exposing her visit with another idol to management demoting her to Kenkyuusei to shaving her own head and posting an apology video on Youtube to all the backlash and controversy surrounding this entire domino-fall of events. And where is Miichan now? Not languishing in Kenkyuusei. Not dropping off the face of the planet in shame. Not getting shafted as yet another "scandal-tainted" idol never to be seen in Senbatsu again. Instead, Miichan is out of the Kenkyuusei, promoted to be captain of the revived Team 4, and back in the regular Senbatsu. I think it is incredible that Miichan went from being in the shittiest situation possible then turning it all back around in less than a year. And her short hair looks really cute! I didn't name Miichan Idol of the Year solely because she's my favorite member of AKB48 and not even completely because of the scandal. I named her Idol of the Year because no matter what was thrown at her, Miichan took it in stride. She never opted out of AKB48 quietly. She didn't let the scandal end her career. Through what must have been a miracle, management didn't drop her like a piece of damaged goods. And I am so happy that I can still see one of my favorite original members of AKB48 still smiling and performing in future AKB48 singles to come.

Group of the Year: Perfume


Oh Perfume. Lovely Perfume. I promise I didn't pick Perfume for Group of the Year because I'm a huge fan of them and they're very clearly my favorite group to talk about. I picked Perfume because I think 2013 was a genuinely great year for them. They released an album, held their second international tour, and topped the year off with the Dome Tour in Japan. I've only seen bits of the Tokyo Dome concert, but I'm certain it's just as fantastic as their first Tokyo Dome concert was. And that's not even getting into some of the technology they incorporated into their concerts! Daito Manabe's special effects won an award at Cannes. And then the girls performed at Cannes! It's just... I think Perfume made a lot of leaps and bounds this year. Sure, their singles sales weren't as good as earlier years and Mirai no Museum was a lackluster single, but they did so much this year, I'm not really sad about either one of those. After all, they released Level3, their best album since Game, and Level3 that finally showcased a series of tracks that, for the most part, worked really well together. I don't know what lies in store for Perfume next year, but I would be over the moon if 2014 included third world tour... to the US... preferably in the summer... But you know, just a suggestion. Anyways, Perfume had a great year in 2013. And I think they rightfully deserved it along with this title!

And with that, 2013 is a wrap! I now look forward to whatever awaits us, good or bad, in the year 2014! I hope you all enjoyed this year's megapost as much as I enjoyed putting it together! So what were you guys' favorites and least favorites of 2013, hm? Different from mine? Or uncannily similar?