New AKB48 Unit – French Kiss

Looks like AKB48 is getting a new sub-unit, and its finally one I can get excited about:

Yukirin leading a new unit? YAY!!

The group is called “French Kiss”, and consists of Kashiwagi Yuki, Takajo Aki, and Kuramochi Asuka. It will debut under Avex in the fall with a single titled “Zutto Mae kara”. I really like that Aki is in this, as she’s a great performer. I’m not too big a fan of Asuka though, but she at least has a good singing voice, so that works out well. Needless to say, this single is already on my defenite “to buy list” πŸ™‚ I must say though that I am quite surprised that its being done under the Avex label though. I didn’t see that one coming. Here’s hoping this isn’t just a one shot and is a long term unit like No Sleeves and Watarirouka Hashiritai.

Random Musings – June 27, 2010

This isn’t anything that will be done on a regular basis, just whenever I feel like posting some random stuff. Think of it like Twitter, but without being anything like Twitter πŸ™‚

– I’m fairly certain that Rush might be the greatest band in the history of music. I’ve been listening to a lot of their stuff lately and I can’t get over just how good their songs are. Every song has so much put into it, its amazing. I’ve always been a fan of theirs, but I haven’t listened to a great deal of their music until recently. Now, this blog may be about idols and their music, for the most part, but I will always prefer bands like Rush over idol music. Groups like AKB48 or Morningh Musume could never compare to a band such as Rush. I think for me, its the thought that there’s just so much more…imagination when it comes to some Western bands. Lets face it, about 90% of idol songs are about love and relationships, regardless of how hypocritical it is for them to sing about stuff like that. I’d love to see an idol group do a song like Rush’s 2112, with its epic scope and sci-fi theme. I’m probably not expressing this as well as I would like to be, but sometimes things are just hard to put properly into words.

– the new Transformers game, War for Cybertron, is without a doubt the Transformers game that we fans have been waiting for. Probably the reason its so great, aside from the addictive gameplay, great graphics, classic characters, etc, is the fact that it has the advantage of not being tied down by ANY of the previous Transformers incarnations. While this is the classic story of the Transformers on Cybertron, its still new in many ways. I’m loving every minute of this game. Its also nice that the game, even on the medium difficulty, has a fair degree of challenge to it. I don’t know how many times I’ve died over the course of the campaign.

– Speaking of Transformers WFC, if you are looking for a review of it online, I’d suggest not even bothering to read Gamespot’s sorry excuse for a review. Why? Well, they gave it a 6.5/10. Normally, I wouldn’t make such a big stink over something like this, but their pretty much the only ones to give it such a low review. IGN gave the game a 9, Kotaku gave it a damn good review (they don’t use a number grade), and pretty much all the user reviews over at Gamespot (and their is a sizable number of them already) are 8.5 and above. All the GS user reviews also seem to question why the Gamespot guys scored the game as they did. It makes you wonder if were all playing a completely different game than they are πŸ™‚

HG G Gundam

Well, managed to finish my HG G Gundam this weekend. All I can say about this one is that it is frakking fantastic. Its likely the best HG grade kit I have ever built; its sturdy, it can be posed incredibly well, and just looks fantastic, but here, have a look for yourself:

Momoiro Clover kicks ass, and some kids get cut (from AKB48).

I mentioned in an earlier post how much I loved the two singles by Momoiro Clover, however since then, I admit I haven’t paid much attention to them. Its not because I stopped liking them or anything, far from it. Well, the girls finally released their major debut single, Ikuze! Kaito Shojo, a little while back:

Only now have I got around to listening to it, and my verdict?

Holy shit, this stuff is frakking awesome!

Not since AKB48’s RIVER have I been blown away by a single release. The single has two songs, Ikuze! Kaito Shojo and Hashire!, and both are made of incredible amounts of win. The one thing thats immediately noticeable is that both songs kinda lack that traditional Japanese sound that the first two singles use to great effect, and some figured would be their trademark. Normally, I would think this is a bad thing; going from a unique sound in the first two singles to what could be considered, I suppose, as a more mainstream sound. But frakk it, these songs kick so much amounts of ass I don’t care if they don’t have the traditional sound to them.

I think before this single, I was more of a casual fan of Momoclo. Well, no more. I am officially a huge fan of this group, and will defenitly be following them from know on. Heck, I’ve already got 2 of their singles on order. Their latest single also has a version for each member, and I decided to go with my fav, Hayami Akari. She’s always been my fav ever since I first discovered the group, and from what I can get, she’s kind of the underdog of the group, so that drew me to her even more. Also, I think she stands out the most out of any of the girls.

So yeah, if you haven’t checked out Momoiro Clover yet, do so know. You won’t be disappointed.
——————-

Now on to the other thing I wanted to talk about; the recent cuts to the AKB48 Kenkyuusei roster. Ever since the last generation of RS, they’ve decided to cull the group of those they feel aren’t up to the task. Well, its that time of year again, and who didn’t survive this time around?

Takamatsu Eri

Ishiguro Atsuki

Fujimoto Sara


Kinumoto Momoko

Now, I don’t honestly follow the Research Students as much as others do. As far as I am concerned, I only really give a damn if they are promoted to a team. Besides, the last couple generations of RS have been kind of forgettable, except for a few key members. However, it always sucks to see some of them, especially those who are hard working, let go.

Well, all except for Fujimoro Sara, that is. This is the girl who auditioned for the last gen of RS, made it in, got cut, then audtioned again for this current gen, and has now been cut a second time. Most fans over at Stage48 are in an uproar about this, saying that management can’t see the talent she has. Now, normally, I would agree with this, but I could never understand why Sara was so popular over at S48. Perhaps its the fact that she’s still quite young, or just the fact I never really saw her in action that much, but I just never got swept up in the craze. But part of me also thinks that maybe, just maybe, she’s truly not right for the idol world. She has now been cut TWICE from AKB48. The first time might have been a fluke or something, but she’s been cut a second time. You don’t cut someone twice from something without good reason. If she auditions a third time, I’m just gonna laugh.

Its weird though that Ishiguro Atsuki got cut, considering she made into the Undergirls for the next AKB single. Some are alleging that she was let go because of photo’s that surfaced of her with someone who was/is likely her boyfriend. I would have to assume this is the reason she was let go, because quite frankly she was quite talented, and was apparently somewhat popular over in Japan. I should also mention that Takamatsu Eri wasn’t actually cut, but chose to leave on her own. Its a shame really, she looks like she could have been a great member of AKB48.

And if I have heard correctly, new RS have debuted in recent days in B5. Here’s hoping there’s some good talent in this new batch.

New Arrival – HG G Gundam

My last gunpla purchase for awhile (at least until HG 00 Quan[T] is released in the fall) arrived today; HG G Gundam.

For the longest time, G Gundam has been one of my favorite Gundam mecha of all time, only now being surpassed in my personal rankings by Exia and Unicorn. I believe my first encounter with it was in the old Gundam Battle Assault Fighting games, where it was one of my constant favorites. Considering how it fights, its perfect for games like those, in my opinion. In the more recent Gundam Musou games, its without a doubt my favorite unit to play as.

The main thing I’ve always loved about it is how such an over the top machine, one that can do Dragonball Z style energy attacks and all sorts of other crazy super robot stuff, can look so sleek, streamlined, and appealing to the eyes. In short, its a super robot that doesn’t look very much like a super robot. Its very Gundam, I suppose.

As soon as it was announced that an HG kit of the G Gundam was on its way, I knew I had to have it, and finally, here it is. Hopefully this weekend, I’ll have some pics of it, assuming I can get around to building it, that is.

Team B’s 5th Stage – Theater no Megami

Yeah I know I’m late reviewing this, but I only JUST got around to watching it in full. I blame work and my idea to marathon Gundam 00 and most of Gundam Wing the last week or so πŸ™‚

So now the new Team B has finally debuted, and I have to be honest…I’m conflicted. Let me get this out of the way first to avoid confusion; this is a frakking epic, fantastic stage. Every song shines in some way, and they are some of AKB’s best yet (how many times have I said that, I wonder), and is just more evidence that AKB continues to top itself with every new stage and single.

No, what has me conflicted is the new Team B itself. I’m just not totally sure about it just yet. I figure I’ll be perfectly fine with it soon enough and be back to my old “Team B is he best team EVER” ways in due time, but as of right now, it just seems…odd.

So before I get more in depth to the stage, lets go over the songs themselves. As always, the setlist, along with my opinions:

00.Zenza Girls / Romance kakurenbo

A solo song by one of those new Research Students I know nothing about. Huh….
Can someone please go over to Japan and remind the AKB management as to the role and purpose of the Research Students? They are supposed to be nothing more than stand-ins for Team Members who are away, until they are ready (or they get popular enough, I suppose) to join one of the teams as a full member. Nowadays, they get better treatment and exposure than full members. To give them a solo song though, that’s going to far. Its not a bad song, per se, and the RS singing in the first B5 performance is a decent singer, but still, its too much.

01.Yuuki no Hammer

I love the beginning of this song, very powerful in its presence. The mining theme is great as well, and is something I can imagine the old Team B doing easily. Its a very rockish song, and these are the kind of songs I instantly like. Overall, a damn good way to start the stage, and introduce the new Team.

02.Inseki no Kakuritsu

This one is like the opposite of the first song, its an upbeat pop tune that has a really nice pace and sound to it. This ones a winner in my books.

03.Ai no Stripper

Yeah, that seriously is the title of the song, no fooling. It does explain some parts of the performance, though. Funny thing is, this is pretty much my favorite song out of the entire stage. Its got a fantastic style to it, and sort of sounds like a mix of 70’s/80’s pop fused into one piece of awesomeness.

04.Theater no Megami


The title track of the stage. Its actually rather generic, but still a good listen.

-MC

05.Hatsu Koi yo, Konnichiwa (Sato S., Watanabe, Oku)

A decent unit song, but sadly nothing to write home about. Sumire is defenitly my favorite in this unit; she’s great in it, and I can really only laugh at the fact that once again, another H!P reject has gotten her chance to show just how talented she is via AKB48. Then again, H!P never has been a good judge of talent, I suppose.

06.Arashi no Yoru ni wa (Suzuki, Komori, Miyazaki,. Sato N.)

I guess you could say this is the stages “sexy” unit song. They make use of the stages back wall area for good effect, and the costumes are pretty awesome. Really though, the only member I like in this unit is Nacchi, and she’s pretty frakking awesome in this unit. Heck, she actually gets some decent solo-lines in this one, which is nice. I’m not a big Myao fan, Komori still dances like her spine is a metal rod or something (aka, she’s too damn stiff looking, and would it kill her to smile, or at least change facial expressions once in a while?), and I’m not too sure about Suzuki just yet. Other than that, its a decent song.

07.CANDY~ (Masuda, Kasai, Sato A.)

Is this not the oddest, mismatched lineup for a unit song ever? To a degree, yes, but its surprisingly good. I don’t know if its me, but I could easily imagine this song being from the mid 80’s, as it has that sort of retro-vibe to it. I was worried that Yuka’s super-strong vocals would be completely off from Tomomi and Amina’s super-high voices, but you know what, I think the three of them go together well, as surprising as that sounds.

08.Locker room boy (Ishida, Kobayashi, Kitahara, Hirajima, Chikano)

A decent song, but the unit itself is essentially just a member dump, as they had to pretty much find a place for all but one specific member by the time this unit rolled along. I don’t care for Kitarie being in the lead, mainly just because I’m absolutely sick of her. This is a decent song, but the unit itself sucks, because there are too many members, and most of them get totally shafted, especially Chikarina and Naachan. These 5+ member units just don’t work. The whole point to the unit songs is small groups in which every member gets some chance to shine. Large units just destroy that notion.

09.Yokaze no Shiwaza (Kashiwagi)

So previous I mentioned that I figured they dumped everyone they did into it because of one specific member, well, this is why. Yukirin gets her own solo song, so everyone else had to be crammed into one unit instead of spreading them out over two units. But you know what, I don’t mind one bit. Why? Hmm, well its simple; YUKIRIN SOLO SONG!!! This was truly the best part of the whole stage for me. I admit I accidentally spoiled it for myself, but seeing it actually happen was just awesome. Its a slow, soothing ballad, but I actually really like this one, and no, its not just because Yukirin’s singing it, its just a damn good song.

-MC-

10.100 meter Conbini

This song is just damn cool. Its very techno-pop, and seeing as I love anything with a hint of techno in it, I love this song to death. I seriously hope future stages have songs like this one.

11.Suki Suki Suki


I actually first thought this song sounded pretty generic, but it ramps things up once it gets going.

12.SAYONARA no KANASHIBARI

Another hard hitting, powerful song. Hmm, maybe that’s what this new Team B is going for, a more powerful image. Well, with songs like this, I can defenitly see that.

-MC-

13.Shiokaze no Shoudaijou

This is the only group ballad in the entire stage, and shockingly, its not the closing song. Its fairly more upbeat than most ballads, and truth be told, I actually like it.

-ENCORE-
14.Honest man

For some reason, after listeneing to this song some more, I’m feel like this sounds like another AKB song, but I just can’t pinpoint which one though. It’s a Good song, by the way. Yet another hard-hitting tune.

15.Team B Oshi


So this one is essentially Team B’s new theme, so to speak. Its of the same vein as Wasshoi B!, in that it names all of the members over the course of the song, only difference now being (aside from the members of course) is that this is a more powerful, hard-hitting song than Wasshoi. This is one of the few songs that I think needs to be seen to be fully appreciated. The song itself is great on its own, but the accompanying performance is just frakking amazing!

16.Bokutachi no Kami Hikouki

An ending song that’s not a slow ballad? That’s new. I was rather pleased by this. Most stages end with a slow song, and while some of them are pretty good, its almost becoming a cliche. Having an upbeat song to close things is a fresh way of doing things.

So as you can see, musically, this is likely one of the best stages yet, and for me, it beats out K6 easily (and I love that stage a ton). Its the new Team B that I need some time before I can like them as much as the old Team B (if that’s even possible). But overall, this stage rocks harder than most of its predecessors.

Now, if I had to pick 5 songs that would be my favorites from this stage, well, it’s hard to not just say the entire stage, but these would be my top 5:
1 – Ai no Stripper
2 – Yokaze no Shiwaza
3 – 100 meter Conbini
4 – Team B Oshi
5 – Yuuki no Hammer

So there we have it, the new Team B. Now, to wait for the new Team A to debut, and were all set for the next stage in AKB48’s journey to the top.

It’s official: I’m officially feeling the effects of AKB/SKE related wallet-rape

Interesting fact of the day: This post was written up on my new iPad. Fantastic device, by the way.

While making another AKB related purchase today, I officially realized that I am being sucked dry by all sorts of AKB/SKE merchandise as of late.

My current AKB/SKE purchases(aka what I have on pre order):
– both versions of the upcoming AKB AND SKE singles.
– Team Dragon’s upcoming single release ( Yuki Kashiwagi ver.)
– SKE48 Team S’ 2nd Stage Album

The big reason as to why things are getting kinda costly is the fact that I started using CDJapan to buy all of my AKB/ SKE related stuff. They always offer all the awesome little bonuses that come with the first press editions ( for instance, the Yukirin version of the Team Dragon single not only comes with a Yuki card but a poster as well). It’s little things like those that make the First Press editions so worthwhile. However, CDJapan charges an arm and a leg for shipping, especially if you want the fastest method.

The other reason for the huge costs is the way both groups release their singles: two different versions. The difference between the versions is usually a different cover and lately a different accompanying tracks. It’s truly a clever way to get more money and sales from the fans who will blindingly buy both versions.

Guess I’m one of those fans now.

It’s truly a testament of our commitment to the two 48 groups when we can identify a blatant sales tactic and yet still spend our hard earned money on two versions of the same single or DVD or whatever. We truly are devoted fans.

Or were all just stupid, I’m not too sure…