Warning: There will be a LOT of YouTube videos in this series, which may cause some browsers to lag and/or crash. You’ve been warned. If I missed anything, let me know.
Greetings, Magical Meteorites and other Earthlings who happened to drop by! As noted in a previous post, I am going to cover the interim of my hiatus (March 2009-February 2014) in a special series of posts.
So welcome to the Precision Past Perspective Edition of Ping Pong Pinpoint.
According to Time and Date.com, it has been (with the final date itself in parenthesis)…
- 4 years, 10 months, 27 days (4 years, 10 months, 28 days)
- 155,001,600 (155,088,000) seconds
- 2,583,360 (2,584,800) minutes
- 43,056 (43,080) hours
- 1794 (1795) days
- 256 weeks (rounded down)
…since my last contact. (I’m not counting that rather useless Stay Tuned post, which I may delete at a later time. It should’ve been a page.) Therefore, we have a lot to cover (or in some cases, relive) so let’s get the show on the road, shall we?
This post will cover the rest of 2009.
- 11 –
The Berryz come out with their first single for the year, Dakishimete Dakishimete. A dance track that takes us a to a club of shimmer and lights and things that would be dreamt and ecstatically loved in a few years. I really thought it was going to be more sexy than it actually was. (On another note, in an era of wubstepped H!P, hearing this sort of thing now is somewhat jarring.)
- 18 –
Morning Musume’s 9th album, Platinum 9 DISC, was released on this day. This cut sports tracks like the now famous “Ame no Furanai Hoshi de wa Aisenai Darou?“, covered by Dream Morning Musume, Junjun & Linlin, and Ice Creamusume (RIP).
Also released on this day was Mano Erina’s major debut single, Otome no Inori. Like her indies work, her career in the major leagues began on a similar note with a somber ballad (though there is an inkling of hope). Get used to the piano and pink, guys. Burn that image into your heads, because you’ll be seeing it again in the world of tomorrow.
- 4 – Tsunku posted his plans for a new group involving four eggs: Wada Ayaka, Maeda Yuuka, Fukuda Kanon, and Ogawa Saki. Christened “S/mileage” a month later, a new group has been born!
- 15 –
Bye Bye Bye! After news of Arihara Kanna’s sidelining, the release of this song (primarily its title) came as rather… strange to me. It’s a lot more positive than it seems but still. (On a musical note, this could be an omen for things to come. Just… listen and nevermind the funkiness.)
- 29 –
MY BOY aka “The Great Buono! Cake-per” or “Tsunku’s Angels: Full Throttle.” Eh, I think the first one’s better.
- 13 –
Shouganai Yume Oibito aka Morning University,
that’s all I can say. The opening is…. Strangely, when I think of this era, the melody of the verses come into my head. However, it’s oddly associated with Naichau Kamo for some reason. On another note, aside from the Boys and Girls Be Ambitious!-licious guitar work, the song… seems so hard for me to remember well without revisiting this. On that note, whenever I would encounter covers this song, I would either think of the last or first lines in the chorus. I would also remember some Q&A from years ago where a line about ironing was reciting. (As per the course in this era, it’s a melancholy song… which wasn’t about loneliness and the like.) Gah, why can’t I say anything about this song, even with the “dream” theme? At least it was filmed on (what appears to be) an actual set and has (something resembling) a plot, two things many (Western) fans clamored for.
On a brighter note, the b-side is the theme song to MM’s American Invasion. BREAKING OUT!
- 20 –
Hajimete no Keiken: A more cheerful addition to the Mano discography. I even remember watching the dorama this theme went with. (I still have it bookmarked on my computer, though I doubt the site exists anymore.)
- 3 – Berryz Koubou – Seishun Bus Guide / Rival.
SBG is an ending theme for Inazuma Seven, so let’s call this the beginning of the Inazuma era. The concept of the PV is… interesting. Between the looks the girls give the bus guide (played by TV Tokyo announcer Ooe Mariko) and Risako’s beating heart at 0:41, there’s all sorts of lily moments. I supposed since the Berryz are in boys’ uniforms in the train scenes, they’re meant to be boys (further adding to the Les Yay potential). This is going to keep me from the force down the line. God forgive me. On a brighter note, the Berryz are also bus guides themselves, certainly to mirror their interest inspiration. Also, let’s try to put the rainbow goggles away and look at the video (and the song it promotes) for what it is: a sentimental piece regarding a “bus guide” that stirs the heart.
The spirit of Buono shows a fighting pose is not showy* with cardboard music instruments, food, and other props (and an intro out of Persona). Who stole the artist who drew the thought bubble at 1:56? Does that person draw shoujo manga (because the style is evocative of shoujo-aimed works)? If memory serves me right, this was the first of the many double A-sides** as we know it (the tradition began ages before – and probably long before if I am wrong, which I probably am). On another note, at 3:36, it’s so cute how Risako thinks she’s in the Moody Blues with how she tries to pull off that high note. So cuuuute!
*The summery 60’s beach feel (especially with the organ) reminded me of the song. Forgive me.
**This is another element of the Inazuma era, one A-side being an Inazuma song and the other being a “regular” song.
- 07 –
S/mileage’s musical journey begins with this little ditty, aManojaku. Another school-themed PV with photos. (I would post photos, but this entry’s cluttered and bogged as it is.) I will say that these Eggs have shown their potential with an okay/good song. It is excusable since it’s their first (indies) single so we should be a little apprehensive until later. (I also found myself a fan for some odd reason as squeaky, child-like voices are a double-edged sword with me. Berryz became a bit of an afterthought to me for a while for this reason, which makes it weird that I still paid attention and am reviewing their stuff – and gave a D about Buono.) On another note: I am proud to say that thanks to H!P, I had an edge of some of the other Outsiders when the Inverted Castle Incident hit Gensokyo! Thanks to said incident, I no longer think of the S/mileage chorus whenever I think of the title, but sometimes instead of think of this. And it gets better.
- 11 – it was announced that Arihara Kanna (who had been sidelined since February) had left C-ute and the Project.
- 01 –
More cover-licious goodness. H!P hasn’t finished paying tribute to the music of yore with this summery greeting, a cover of Candies’ 1977 single of the same name. …I feel like there should be more to be said about this, but I can’t find the words. I like the outfits, though I keep needing to tell myself they’re protruding bows, not strawberries. Don’t worry though – it won’t be the first time it’ll happen. Just wait until 2010’s post…. Getting back to this, to supplement the “greeting” theme, the b-side is an original song by C-ute’s f-ace herself. She would go solo if not for the idol climate favoring groups, the fact the act is playing Russian roulette with your career, and that her backup group C-ute would end up like raisins in the sun.
- 29 –
You know love, love don’t com— Wait, wrong song! The song is a lot of fun, though I had hoped the PV would express the “world travel” theme* a little deeper when I saw it the first time. Then again, that’s a lot to ask from idol PVs, especially kimoi H!P. Considering what we’re dealing with, it’s pretty good/okay. There, I said it.
*It was always a desire of mine to see the world and learn about other cultures. I’m doing a much better job of the latter than the former. I just like the idea of intercultural/international interaction and exchange. It’s one reason I love the Internet and Idolminded is a great example of this online social intercourse.
- 1 – Umeda Erika’s graduation was announced. This came as a shock (lol) as C-ute had just lost a member a month ago (see above).
- 12 –
Nanchatte Renai is Morning Musume’s celebrated 40th single (though the celebratory aspects come as rather strange – birthdays aside, can you name anyone who puts a lot of pomp and circumstance into their 40th anything?). And then to have the PV be set in what appears to be an old warehouse with the typical “dance shot/close-up” format? At the time, I bar—GAH! Koharu, you ruined my groove! Anyway, I barely batted an eye to the constant complaints of the format at the time… but sitting here reviewing the these things in order. Well, what makes it so glaring is the pomp and circumstance given to this single being the 40th single. Well, let’s give MM a belated gift of rubies and Gladiolus flowers for making it this far. inb4
- 26 –
Possible Surprise English Lessons and Yukkuri jokes aside, I remember that the mellow Take It Easy! was a beautiful change of pace for me when I first heard/seen it. The fandom cried foul at how “slow” it was for a Buono song. Me, I liked the change. Why? I’ll tell you: the constant raucous rock began to hurt my ears and bore me. I know rock is their thing (and I love rock as much as the next person – the blog was partially named for a Californian rock band’s second album after all!), but there has to be some variety to the single releases. (Yes, I’ve heard Cafe Buono! so I know they can do more than rock. Shut up.) Given the theme of the song, a fast-paced genki song would be completely out of place here, especially since it’s a late-summer release. Take it easy!
- 16 –
In perfect form, C-ute dazzles us with Umeda Erika’s final show, EVERYDAY Zekkouchou!!. Thanks to a later audition, part of the chorus is memorable for me. …The simplicity of the PV is… oh glob, their voices are kickin’. Granted, Erika wasn’t (or should I say “isn’t”) as much of a diva as her height would want you to believe, but still! She was sent off on a high note. “Everyday in Perfect Form!!” indeed. Bravo! Hmm…
- 23 –
S/mileage’s journey makes a second stop at the indie station: Asu wa Date na no ni, Ima Sugu Koe ga Kikitai. A dreamy beginning for a retro-dreamy song… and don’t get me started on the room scenes. I’m also reminded of Tanpopo for some reason. On another note… gah, I’m just struck by the girlish cuteness and sweetness of it all. I really want to say more (especially since certain aspects are prophetic with their later shoujo-themed associations) but… I know, I’m a disgrace to bloggers everywhere for my brevity, my lack of words. Gomenne.
- 30 –
After two singles of a more upbeat nature, we come to a somber ballad where Mano Erina laments the throbbing in her chest, the beating of her heart. The music was soothing, if a little wistful, and the scenery was simple and charming. Sticking with basics, aren’t we H!P? (I will admit that this song was somewhat hard to listen to as I revisited this in the name of you, great ones.)
- 07 –
To celebrate the ruby-licious singles count (and b-sides therein), in a similar manner to the singles compilations for the 10th anniversary, Morning Musume releases a collection of birdy b’s — complete with the commemorative b-side, Subete wa Ai no Chikara. Speaking of MM, let’s continue the Mothership Connection, starchildren.
- 28 –
Ah, the moodily fickle Kimagure Princess and her equally whimsical history. The single was pushed back to reportedly compete with AKB (it didn’t work). For the first time in a while, I adored a Morning Musume song – and not just because it was Koharu’s graduation single. Personally (and this is not just because of my current feelings about the girl), I think the graduation was one of the best things to happen to MM. Anyone else notice a slight “change” in the music since her departure (or was it just me)? Plus, I knew from the moment I heard the radio cut that there was a lot of T&A in the lyrics and was not surprised in its reflection in the dance.
Now, let’s get visual, visual shall we? As a princess fanatic, I was minorly disappointed at the outfits and the rather “simple” (HA!) concept of the PV. This is especially since this is Koharu’s last single though I’m willing to excuse it now. Then again, this is H!P we’re talking about here so I’m asking for a bit much. In that regard, this is par for the course. I mean, it could’ve been like this. (Disclaimer: XKB48 fans are welcome here. In fact, let’s start some dialogue between the H!P and AKB factions.
Besides, all of my friends are familiar with AKB, via anime events or Wreck-It Ralph and I’m doing a bad job of turning them into AKB wota. Because it’s natural for them to want to join the bandwagon, right? Totally!Plus, I am well aware that came out later.)
Regardless, you would not be surprised that this song is among my favorites to this day.
- 11 –
WnMnDs – I feel like I’ve seen those outfits somewhere…. Eh, w’ever. We are treated to Berryz dancing and sitting in chairs (office or salon), all as they search for their future hubbies. On that note, since H!P Girls are getting married left and right, who wants to bet which Berryz gets hitched first? I’m even tempted to make a game out of it. …Focus, Kat! RB – Nobody likes a rambler who goes on tangents with a stream-of-consciousness writing style!
Blame Konami for teaching me what “Ryuusei“ means. On another note, I saw a small preview when a blogger posted the corresponding ending sequence… and noticed how it was reminiscent of the disco-riffic and funkadelic “Golden Age” (and knew folks would be chatting about that).
It’s a rather cosmic video with the Berryz dancing on a stellar platform in space. Then there’s the bit during the bridge that would dirty up viewers’ minds forever.
(There’s no saving the wota, especially the H-type ones.)
- 18 –
C-ute releases an all singles compilation of their own, °C-ute nan desu! Zen Single Atsumechaimashita! ①. Splendid.
- 23 –
*tries her darnedest not to think of her username* Christmas came early for S/mileage fans as we see the girls making cake, sitting in fields, and dancing in a party in the PV for their third indies single, Suki-chan. It’s a rockin’ song that Buono! would be proud of. (In fact, if you close your eyes and listen hard enough, you can hear them instead of the S/milies.)
- Along with the release of their third indie cut, Tsunku announced that S/mileage would graduate from
the Developmental LeagueHello! Pro Eggs and make their major debut. This caused massive excitement among the fandom for it meant that the adorable foursome will bring a high mileage age of smiles to the major idol scene! (See how I avoided ponying this up for you? No, couldn’t resist.)
- 25 –
Love & Peace = Paradise: The pink and white cuteness. Forgive me… It’s just so cute and winter sparkly. In fact, for a while, this song was what I associated with this girl. I even gushed with the version with
Hello! KittyHello Kitty as voiced by one of my favorite seiyuu.
- 6 – Kusumi Koharu graduated from H!P to fulfill her real dream: modeling.
- 16 –
Mano Erina releases her first album, FRIENDS. Oh, if we only knew what was in store.
Buono! says bravo with their release, Bravo☆Bravo! It’s a battle of the bands… rather, girl groups. We have Idol Buono! vs. Rocker Buono!, duking it out for PV supremacy. Idol Buono brought cheerleaders as their army. Who does Rocker Buono! have on their side? A live band. Chanting P-A-T-I (which can only make sense in Japanese), whose side will you root for? Who’ll win the bout between the two side?
So that is that. Tune in next time, Magical Meteorites, as we look into the dawn of a new era: the 2010s! See you,
Space Cowboy Magical Meteorites!