Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Idol Appreciation (Fukuda Kanon)

Everything written here is my purely my opinion. I'm open to discussing my opinion, but I ask that any contact refrain from destructive comments regarding my opinion. I hope that you can enjoy this post whether or not you agree with my opinion. Thank you.


I want to start something. I want to start a spread of appreciation through the idol fandom, if possible. I'm going to start a series (hopefully) of blog posts titled "Idol Appreciation" and I'd love if it caught on among bloggers. What I plan on doing in these posts is dedicating one post to any member of Hello!Project (past or present) and just spend that post talking about things I like about/from that member. My goal each post is a minimum of 1 song I love them in, 1 outfit I love them in, and 1 thing I like about them, and no negative comments concerning that member for the duration of the post. Members I like more will probably end up with more content, but the size of the post isn't as important as the point of it. I know that even my least favorite members have things worth liking. I hope you enjoy ^^.

I've decided that, in honor of her graduation, I would start with my least favorite member in current H!P, Fukuda Kanon. One thing I really have to compliment Maro on is how photogenic she is. I've noticed a lot, especially in the past few years, that when looking at outfit sets of Angelume (and S/mileage) and even Hello!Project as a whole, Maro has managed to catch my attention a lot. Usually I tend to look right past members I don't like, but Maro is one of the few that almost always catches my eye.

My favorite vocal performance by Maro is Smile Blues. Due to being unable to find it on youtube, you can listen to it here. I've always preferred stronger, deeper voices to cuter, higher voices, so when I heard Smile Blues I was like "Wait, that's Maro?" and pleasantly surprised by the strength she put into the song. Despite her voice being much cuter and higher than Meimei's, she managed not to fall into Meimei's shadow vocally like I initially expected.

Like I mentioned, I've been liking Maro in a lot of the recent outfits that have been released, but one of the first times I can remember really thinking "Wow, when did Maro get this pretty?" was her outfit for the AyaKanon fanclub event "Dual Smile." Although the outfit itself isn't that great, she looks absolutely adorable, and, despite being a Dawa fan, I would have to admit, I found myself looking at Maro just as much as Dawa whenever I saw pictures or clips of that event.

All in all, I am not a Maro fan, nor do I think I ever could be, but I can see why some people might like, or love, her, and I don't think any less of them or their tastes because of it. Maro is has a unique personality, wide vocal ability, and is adorable, and while they may not be to my tastes, that's just me, and I know there are plenty of Maro fans out there crying at the thought of having to watch her leave after so long. I wish only the best to both Maro and her fans in the future, and I hope you enjoyed my little mini appreciation post. Sorry I don't have much to write, I don't know if I'll keep these short or gradually make them longer... we'll see. Thanks for reading! See you. :3

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Opinions and Arguments; Debates vs. Bickering

I am the type of person who is incredibly opinionated, and I like voicing my opinions. I also, however, like hearing other people's opinions. The reason why is because here is how I form opinions: 
1) I make some pre-judgement about something and tend to believe it
2) I listen to what other people think about said thing and consider their justification
3) I reanalyze my opinion, contrast it with other people's opinions, and will say "This makes sense to me" or "I don't agree with this" to other peoples, and revise my own opinion based on what I think of theirs
4) Repeat 1-3 at every opportunity I'm given.

What I want to talk about in this post is what the difference is between debating and bickering, and also what I believe about the whole "an opinion can't be wrong" statement that people like to throw out. I really hope that you'll read this and apply it to yourself in the future, if possible, so enjoy.

What most people think of when they think of an "argument" is what I refer to as "bickering" or "fighting". This form of arguing, in my opinion, is childish and usually accomplishes nothing more than angering people. What sets this apart from a "debate" type argument is that people who are bickering usually have absolutely no desire to change how they think or feel about the matter.

Now, both parties don't have to be like this in order to be bickering. Only one party needs to have this mentality. The reason I say this is because no matter how open one of the parties may be, this "argument" is completely one-sided, because even if the mature party were to share their opinion in response, most likely any argument back would simply deny their opinion rather than properly challenge it.

In my case, personally, if I start discussing something that turns into an argument, the second I realize that the other party is simply bickering with me, I immediately stop listening to what they have to say. I feel like, if you're not going to give me and what I think the light of day, then you're opinion is not worth listening to. That may sound cruel, and they may have a better formed opinion then me, but, like I previously said, I like sharing my opinion, and I don't like being blown off. So if you're going to get all defensive when I try to challenge your opinions, then just go away, because I'm not going to hear you out if you're not going to hear me out.

A "debate", on the other hand, is an instance where two (or more I guess, though for simplicity, this post will only deal with two) parties are stating their opinions, challenging each others, and justifying their own. Debates can go back and forth for a while, and sometimes even develop as you go along. You just have to remember, just because you think something in the other party's argument has changed, doesn't mean they're full of shit. The point of a debate is to try and better develop your opinions and most of the time that will even happen throughout the debate.

Now, there's a difference between arguing opinions and expressing your opinion. Arguing opinions is a form of expressing your opinion, but so is, say, posting a status on facebook making a general (opinionated) comment. Now, I'm not going to judge someone based on their opinion, but I do want to express something. Just because you stick on "in my opinion" or something similar, does not make something an opinion. I am not exempt from this, I make this mistake all the time, and I wouldn't be surprised if I make it or even already made it in this post. I definitely have made it somewhere on my blog at least a dozen times.

Now, before I continue, I'm going to define some phrases I'll be using. Note that, these definitions are ones that I made up to make my point, and are not necessarily dictionary accurate. Please don't tell me I should have done something else, I'm not a word person.

Factual statement - A statement that is either true or false, there is no in between. (Ex. The grass is green)
Relative factual statement - A factual statement, however the line between "true" and "false" can be shifted depending on how an individual defines a term/phrase used. (Ex. Riho is a good singer)
Opinionated statement - a statement that is true in the mind of the one saying it, but could be false if someone else were to say it. (Ex. Maimi is pretty)
Argumentative statements - statements that generally start an argument, although that can break into a debate depending on the parties involved. (Ex. I'm glad FukuKanon is graduating).

I doubt anyone would argue with me that "the grass is green" is a factual statement given my definition. I do want to emphasize really quick that "the grass is orange" is also a factual statement given my definition. I am not using "factual" as in "something is a fact", but rather, "something that is either true or false".

Some people might not understand, however, where I'm getting the difference between relative factual statement and an opinionated statement. So let me justify the examples I provided. 
"Riho is a good singer" is a statement that is classifying Riho as a "good singer". As much as people may not realize, "good singer" is not something that can be true for one person and not for another if their bars for what is considered a "good singer" are at the same level. What does "good singer" mean? It means they have good pitch, they can follow the music, they're on time, etc. So, if everyone were to set the same bar for what they define as "good singer" (say, "on pitch 95+% of the time") then two different people cannot disagree over if someone is a good singer. In other words, the only reason people can argue whether or not someone is a good singer is because one person might have the bar for good singer set higher or have it defined differently. 

Note: One mistake I see people make way too much in this fandom (and I've made it plenty myself too, I'm sure) is confusing someone's singing with their voice. No two singers sound exactly the same, even if they're singing the exact same song the exact same way. You can't say that one of them is a good singer and the other is a bad singer if the only difference is their voices. In that case it's a matter of whether or not you like their voice. In other words, saying "I think Masaki is a good singer, but I hate her voice" is both logical and reasonable to argue.

Now, what's the difference between "Riho is a good singer" and "Maimi is pretty"? The biggest difference is that "pretty" is not only a relative word, but it's also defined in the eye of the beholder. The world will never reach an agreement on a single definition of "pretty". Heck, you'd be lucky if you could get two people to agree on one. Because of this "Maimi is pretty" is a statement that can be true, false, or even somewhere in between depending on who's saying it and what they really think. I do want to note, this is the hardest type of statement to justify because it does come down to personal tastes. "Maimi is pretty" "why?" "well, I like her legs" "why?" Most of these types of justification will, in a sense, just be more opinions.

Lastly, "I'm glad that FukuKanon is graduating" is an argumentative statement. Anyone who really likes Maro might take offense. A reasonable person might ask you why you're glad, a less reasonable one might lash out at you. If a reasonable person asks why you're glad and you say "because I don't like her," chances are you're the one that's closed-minded and immature. If you say "because she doesn't seem to be enjoying the group anymore" or "because the group doesn't seem to suit her anymore" or something, then you're justifying you're opinion in a way that can be challenged. If both parties are mature and reasonable, this can lead to a debate. If they're not, it will almost definitely lead to a fight.

So, what is my point with these different types of statements? Here's what I think. You cannot argue with factual statements. If someone says to you "the grass is orange," what do you argue with them? Most likely, you won't. You'll either accept them is crazy, suggest they see a doctor, assume their joking, etc. Opinionated statements can be argued and debated, but it's not very easy, because most of the time opinionated statements are based on an individual's set of likes and dislikes. If an opinion changes at the end of this type of argument, it's usually due to one or both parties learning things about the topic that they hadn't previously known. Relative factual statements can be argued well, however if it is "debated" it will usually come down to figuring out what the other party "defines" something as, and you end up finding where there is disagreement. Other than sometimes someone might redefine things for themselves, usually these debates don't change much. 
Argumentative statements have the most potential to develop people and their opinions. More often than not, statements that start these types of arguments will offend you or hurt you. However, if you respond maturely, and the other party is willing to be mature about it as well, one of you might learn something you didn't know, or realize something you never noticed, or just plain change how you feel towards something you did previously know. Do not, however, think that you both have to come to an agreement. It is perfectly okay if, at the end of a "debate", neither party's opinion has changed. True opinions are never right or wrong, if they were, they wouldn't be opinions. Most of the time, debates lead to development. However, if they don't, that's completely okay. It's always good to hear what other people think, if only to further your belief in your own opinion.

In conclusion, I want to summarize/emphasize a few key points:
1. Just because you say "In my opinion" does not make something an opinion. The best case of this is with relative factual statements. If you think someone is a good singer, it's not because it's you're opinion, it's because whatever bar you've set, they're above it.
2. Arguing with someone who's closed minded will most likely spoil your mood, it is okay to just drop topics if you think they won't lead anywhere. If the other party is insistent, stay mature. Tell them that there's no point arguing with them, tell them you don't want to talk about it, tell them what they want to hear, whatever you want. You don't have to feed their desire to tell you how wrong you are and how right they are.
3. A debate does not need to reach an agreement. You can agree to disagree in the end. The important thing is for both parties to express their opinions with justification, and to listen to the other party's opinions and justification. The point should be to try and better yourself, not better the other person.
4. Having your opinion challenged is not a bad thing. Even if you don't have a response, it doesn't necessarily mean you're opinion is bad, just think on it and try and find an answer. It never hurts to have more justification behind your opinion.
Always remember, this is a fandom. Every fandom has its flaws, every fandom has its bad seeds, and every fandom has its "sides". But in the end, its just a fandom. You shouldn't let these things or people get to you. If you need to remove yourself from a situation, do it. You don't have to take part in every debate out there. If you need to intentionally avoid an argument, that's okay too. Know yourself and what you can and can't be mature about.

I hope you enjoyed this kinda different post, and I really hope you learned something from it. If not, well, I guess that's a shame. But this is something I've been meaning to get out for a while. So thanks for reading anyway. Kbai :D.

Friday, July 17, 2015

March/April Song Opinions (Part 4)

Everything I put on my blog is purely my opinion. No offense is ever intended, and I do not ever claim my opinion to be any more "right" than anyone else's, so please return the favor and pay me the same respect. Thank you.

I'm so sorry. This is why I try not to do big projects... But I would feel bad if I just never finished this, so I'm going to find the happy medium and, instead of dedicating full posts to each of the remaining songs, I'm going to summarize how I feel about each of them in this one. Obviously I won't be able to go into near as much detail, so I'm just going to name off quickly my favorite things, least favorite things, and anything else that stood out to me about each song. So, here we go.

Itooshikute Gomen ne (Country Girls)

Itooshikute Gomen ne one of the debut songs for Country Girls. I initially was completely neutral on this song when I first saw the video in the Hello!Station release, and then when the actual PV came out it grew on me. However, since then it's faded back into the mid grounds.

My absolute favorite part of this song is how they announced the girls member colors in the PV in an incredibly creative way. There had already been lots of speculation and excitement surrounding what these girls' member colors would be, so when the full PV was put up on their channel, so many people were happy. When I first saw the full video, I didn't really realize what it meant when I saw Momoko's scene, but when I saw Yamaki's I began to suspect, and when I confirmed at Mai's that they're all different and the couple who had birthday t-shirts already matched, I was sure. It is, to this day, may favorite member color announcement.

My least favorite part would have to be the outfits. I don't hate the outfits by any means, but I really don't like them all that much. I much prefer the alternative outfits used in the offshots to these. Normally I prefer the outfits that are similar, or the same, because I like having an unbiased way to compare the girls looks and can have more faith in knowing them by their faces over the outfits they wore. But I'm not the biggest fan of orange, and if I like it, it's usually in a mix of colors or a set of colors. Just orange and white just doesn't appeal to me.

The only other thing I really care to mention about Itooshikutte Gomen ne is the opening of the PV with Momoko. I really disliked this scene because of how they handled it. They treated it as an "outtake". I personally don't believe that simply because I don't see where they would have put it in the video if they had left it, so it seems staged to me. And, in my opinion, without the "bubu~" afterwards, it would have made a really good opening for the song. Tsuguanga Momoko is the only senior member of the group. Yamaki Risa and Inaba Manaka were Kenshuusei, so they have some seniority, but they've never been in another group before. So using the "senior" member, and playing manager on top of that, to introduce their debut song, should have been acceptable. Treating it as an outtake, to me, instead makes it feel like they tried to put too much attention on Momoko despite her just being the playing manager and may or may not be a permanent member of the group.

Koi Dorobou (Country Girls)

Ever since Koi Dorobou was released I found it far superior to Itooshikute Gomen ne. I feel like the sound and feel of it, as well as the outfits and video are all much more enjoyable. Plus, I feel like the vocals are a bit stronger since the main vocalists are the three with the most experience.

My favorite part of this song would have to be the song itself. I find it incredibly catchy and fun to both listen to and sing along with. I especially like how the line distribution works to make the song. And for once, I'm not talking about who sings when. I'm purely referring to things like which lines are solos, which aren't, and the contrasts of vocals between solos and the like. I think this is one of the best songs of this set. It's probably in my top 5 of these even now.

My least favorite thing would have to be how damn pink this video is. I swear, you could play I spy and be like "I spy something pink" and you could win. AND THE SPIER ISN'T SUPPOSED TO WIN. And yes, I'm biased. If it was as blue as it was pink, it would be one of my favorite things about it. BUT IT'S PINK ; 3;. So much pink... It makes me really glad that I don't have to watch the video to enjoy my favorite part about it.

The other thing I would like to point out that I really liked was the offshot close up bits where everyone was on this bed or couch looking thing. I really liked those shots. As pink as they are, I'm a sucker for shots where the girls are making use of the environment and/or props instead of just staring into the camera in front of something or a green screen.

Tsugi no Kado wo Magare (C-ute)

It's been a while since I heard this song, to be honest, and just hearing the opening reminds me how much I like it. Tsugi no Kado wo Magare was the first of these songs that I really loved and it was my favorite of them for a while. And although it's definitely not my favorite anymore, I would say it's still pretty high up there. 

My favorite part about this song would have to be the lyrics. I feel like this and Yuugure wa Ameagari are two of the most relatable songs in general that H!P has released in a long time. But what I really love about Tsugi no Kado wo Magare's lyrics is the fact that it is telling you "it's okay if you don't just keep going down the straight path". A lot of similar songs tend to say things like "keep going, it'll get better" or something, but this song brings the truth up that there are twists and turns sometimes. And I love the encouragement that "If you're really in that horrible place, don't stay there, take a chance. You don't know if something wonderful has been just out of your reach this whole time." This just makes this song incredibly beautiful and powerful.

My lease favorite part of the song is the outfits. Honestly the only outfit I really like is Mai's. Despite my bias towards black and white outfits (which does exist, I assure you) I don't like the look of anyone else's outfit at all. They all have their good points, but the only one I think it all around well done is Mai's.

The thing that really stood out to me and helped me admire the song a lot as well is the use of Kenshuusei as background dancers. The room the dance shot takes place in has a lot of open space and is incredibly dark. If for no other reason, adding 4 more girls dressed solely in white really helps give the scenes a much... "cozier" I guess? feel to them. In addition to that, I really like when Kenshuusei get a chance to perform with major groups. I feel like it helps them get some more professional practice (no offense, but lives that don't even get DVD releases are nothing compared to music videos that will end up on youtube by the company themselves) as well as a chance to put their names out there and possible gain supporters. Which... honestly I'm not sure how much that helps them debut considering how long it took Miyamoto Karin to debut and the fact that Tanabe Nanami never debuted, but at the very least, I'm sure it'll help them if and when they debut.

Ca va? Ca va? (Juice=Juice)

Ça va ? Ça va ? was initially one of my favorite songs of these. And I'll be honest, it was mostly because of the "Ça va? Ça va? Ça va? Oui!" parts because I just found them so damn catchy. I swear, I would do a dub of this song with no lines as long as I could sing those parts. But since then, although I'm still in love with those lines, they're not enough alone to keep me listening to the whole song, so it's fallen a lot since then.

So, as I mentioned above, the "Ça va? Ça va? Ça va? Oui!" parts are by far my favorite part of the song. I'm sure they completely butcher French, and it makes little to no sense, but I don't care. Honestly, I'd rather pretend it wasn't even a language just to leave it in the song because it sounds so freaking catchy and is so much fun to sing. Like, if you know French, and they did mess it up, just pretend they're saying "Savah Savah Savah Wee" and it's just like baby-talk or something and yay, it's catchy again :D.

My issue with this song is similar to the issue I had with Wonderful World. In this song's case, I find the song's incredibly stereotypical or standard for what you would expect a French song to sound like. I have never been to France, and I don't know any French artist or the like, so my argument could likely be invalid or ignorant, but I seriously feel like if you put this song in that kids' show "Madeline" no one would bat an eye. The instrumental sounds like it was stripped straight from a French coffee shop in a movie. And to be honest, I wouldn't mind if there was more French in the song. But the song is Japanese with less French in it then most H!P songs have English, so why they need to give the music even a stereo-typical "French" sound, I don't understand.

The thing that stands out to me most in this song is the stupid outfit's theme. All of the outfits on their own are... well, not that bad. But when you put them together it's gross. I get that theme is supposed to be stripes, but they don't go together at all. First, we have vertical stripes (Tomoko and Yuka) verses horizontal stripes (Akari, Karin, and Sayuki). Then, we have the fact that everyone has thin stripes on their top except Sayuki who's instead has fat stripes on her skirt. Further, we have everyone in a cute blouse and a skirt until there's Yuka, who's wearing a one-piece. And let's not get into how NONE of the colors match at all. Really, the outfits separately are pretty good, but LOOK AT THAT PICTURE. EWW.

Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru (Morning Musume '15)

I'm pretty sure the only reason I never got to reviewing this song is because I wasn't sure how to express my opinion regarding the use of Karin in the video as a substitute for Kanon when she was injured. I still don't exactly know how to express or justify my opinion without going to a long ass post of reasons and thoughts, so I'm just going to sum it up to I approve of it and leave the rest up to your imagination.

My favorite part of this song is probably the outfits. At first I wasn't too fond of them, I thought they were too simple and too lacking of color. However, since then I've seen a lot of various photos of them and I've really grown to like them. Plus, I think this song's outfits do a much better job of contrasting the 12ki girl's outfits to the rest than Yuugure was. Although I really like the blue outfits in Yuugure, I think due to the simplicity of the outfits, the white contrast goes really overboard. However these outfits, being silver and black and a bit more complex, do not seem too out of place when the silver and black turns to black and silver. And yet the 12ki girls still stand out in contrast to the rest.

My least favorite part would have to be the close up shot setting. Although I love the whole fan and umbrella stuff they did, I really don't like the background for any of the close ups really. Those changing color screens or whatever just give me a headache and distract me from looking at the girls instead of what I feel like close ups are supposed to do - draw attention to the girls all the more.

The thing I want to note is my second favorite part, which is the umbrella shots. I feel like the girls are absolutely gorgeous in those bits, and it also brings a bit of a calm feeling to an otherwise upbeat song. Plus, I like how they're taken at an angle that doesn't have the background incredibly distracting 8D.

Yuugure wa Ameagari (Morning Musume '15)

Everytime I hear Yuugure wa Ameagari I remember just how much I really love it. It's a beatiful song as well as a beautiful videos. In regards to Karin, I will leave my same comment as with Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru and proceed to judge the song/video without any further commentary regarding the matter.

I honestly have a lot of things I love about this song. I only really have one thing I dislike. But my absolute favorite thing would have to be the parts in the dance where Masaki is playing air piano. Since those bits are dominantly piano, it doesn't look out of place, and the fact that Masaki actually does know how to play piano just makes me wonder if she's actually tried playing those bits on an actual piano. It's just a really interesting bit that they incorporated and I really really loved that they decided to do that.

The only thing I dislike, therefore my least favorite thing, is what I actually mentioned previously when talking about Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru. I don't like the contrast of the blue to white with these particular outfits. I love both blue and white, but I feel like instead of helping 12ki stand out, instead it kinda makes them feel out of place. I really love both the blue and the white outfits, mind you, just not together...

The misc. thing that I'd like to point out is the fact that this PV takes advantage of the very 360 degree dance to get some amazing shots off. Most dances are very forward-facing, so we only really get to see a long shot, close-ups, and if we're lucking, some panning around. But since the camera can get behind the girls sometimes and still catch the dance, we get to see some beautiful angles like this above high-angle shot taken from above the dance and towards the back near the tree. I feel like it makes the dance clips in the video even more worth watching to me.

Ima Koko Kara (Morning Musume '15)

Ima Koko Kara was the first of the three A-sides to be revealed, and even back then I honestly didn't know what to think of it. I was incredibly excited that Morning Musume was doing a song for an anime, for sure, but just about everything else I can't decide whether I like or dislike it. So this is gonna be a bit awkward to write about 8D

My favorite part is probably the song itself. I really enjoy the sound of it, though I only really like it when I'm in the mood or haven't heard it in a while. It's one of those songs that I get tired of quickly, I'm not entirely sure why. But Just about everything else about the song depends on the day almost with me, so I think that's the best thing to classify as my favorite part.

I'll go with my least favorite part being the 9kis' outfit in contrast to the other three. I really like them standing alone, honestly but with gens 10 and 11 having the same outfit in just 2 different colors, and gen 12 having a different one in the same color as 11, gen 9's significantly different outfits (both color and style different from all three other gens) seems incredibly out of place. I would rather they had the 12ki outfit in purple at the very least. Plus, their being the only one with shoe laces on their shirt does not help their case.

The other thing I'll point out is the fact some of the scenes look like this.I honestly forgot until I was rewatching, and this might actually be my favorite part over the song, but I'm too lazy to go back an edit. I love the fact that they used the chairs shown in the title screen, and how they have flower petals floating around (though I'm pretty sure they're effect, I think they work well) and the spot lights. It's interesting to say the least.

Since the initial "new song" obsessions are over and I've had a chance to give them all a re-look, and I kinda owe you something for backing out on what I planned, I'm going to try my best to rank these songs based on how I feel about them NOW. Enjoy.

#10 - Itooshikutte Gomen ne (Country Girls)
As good as the song is, I really feel like all the rest are better.

#9 - Ça va ? Ça va ? (Juice=Juice)
It's fun to listen to when I do, but I wouldn't go out of my way to listen to it, and would probably skip it most of the time.

#8 - Ima Koko Kara (Morning Musume '15)
I really like the song, but can only listen to it if I'm in the mood, so in general, it's pretty low on my list.

#7 - Gamusha LIFE (C-ute)
As much as I loved it when it first came out, I can't keep loving a song that I mostly loved over one part. I still love that part, but I've run out of patience on the rest of the song to keep loving it.

#6 - Wonderful World (Juice=Juice)
I've grown to love it more than I did when it first came out, but it's still not in my top 5. I will usually listen to it when it comes on, but never really go out of my way to listen to it.

#5 - Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru (Morning Musume '15)
I really like how it sounds and I'll listen to it 9 times out of 10 probably, but I rarely ever gett in the mood to specifically listen to it over other songs.

#4 - Koi Dorobou (Country Girls)
It's a really cute song and it's the first in my ranking so far that I would and have specifically gone out of my way to listen to even now.

#3 - Tsugi no Kado wo Magare (C-ute)
Probably the only song here who in the end, managed to be in the approximately same position as when I first heard it. I absolutely love the song, and if it weren't so repetitive, it might be higher on my list. BUT! The repetitiveness is part of the charm, so I'm perfectly happy sticking the song at #3. Besides, 3 is best number ;3

#2 - Yuugure wa Ameagari (Morning Musume '15)
I just really love this song. Sometimes I may go out of my way to listen to it, but not as much as other songs. But if it comes on I think I always listen to it. It's just a beautiful song.

#1 - The Middle Management ~Joshi Chuukan Kanrishoku~ (C-ute)
This has been the #1 song I intentionally listen to , and the one that absolutely never skip when it comes on. I love the sound of it as well as the lyrics, so I love listening to it even now. Honestly, I think I still play it intentionally more than Mahoutsukai Sally (which has been my mini-obsession recently), so that's definitely saying something.

So, it's been fun. Again, I'm really sorry that I didn't do this like I had originally planned, but I hope you enjoyed nonetheless. Thanks for your time! Over and out > 3>.

Monday, May 18, 2015

March/April Song Opinions (Part 3 - The Middle Management ~Josei Chuukan Kanrishoku~)

Everything I put on my blog is purely my opinion. No offense is ever intended, and I do not ever claim my opinion to be any more "right" than anyone else's, so please return the favor and pay me the same respect. Thank you.

Alright, so my excuse for the delay: I had finals and projects due at the end of April, and then this past Saturday I had one of the biggest exams of my life to date that I've been studying like crazy for. Good news: I passed :D and now I can try and continue this thing that I kinda dropped out on (Sorry about that </3). So the next song I want to talk about is: 

Itooshikute Gomen ne (Country Girls)
Koi Dorobou (Country Girls)
The Middle Managemen ~Something here~ (C-ute)
Gamusha LIFE (C-ute)
Tsugi no Kado wo Magare (C-ute)
Wonderful World (Juice=Juice)
Ca va? Ca va? (Juice=Juice)
Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru (Morning Musume '15)
Yuugure wa Ameagari (Morning Musume '15)
Ima Koko Kara (Morning Musume '15)

In this song there are outfits for each member and they're all relatively different, so I'll, once again, look at them at the end with individual members. First, I want to look at the dance setting of the video. 

I'll admit... I have no clue where this is supposed to be. However, I think it's really pretty and does a really good job of not clashing with most of the outfits. Also it's a really open area without any major distractions if you're not specifically looking for them, so for casual watching, I think the setting is great to keep your attention on the girls and the dance. Overall, the only complaint I really have about the setting of the dance is Chisa's outfit, and I'll whine about that at the end.

One of the other settings is for group close-up shots. It takes place at a small table where the girls are enjoying nice meal together. I really like this setting for the few scenes when the girls aren't singing (like the one picture here). However, I really don't like it for the close up shots. Seeing the girls singing while sitting together at a table really gives off a "musical" vibe to me, and, not that I don't like musicals, but I don't really thing it works well for this song. I mean it kind of could if they were ranting to each other, but duets and group parts wouldn't be a thing in that case and they clearly are in the video. I don't know I like the idea, just not really the execution I guess.

The solo close up shot scenes seem to be in all different places. The thing I love the most about these shots is the fact, I'm pretty sure they're all in the same room. They've just been positioned and the cameras have been angled to make it look like they're in different places. I personally love this. Some people might think that this is cheap. I can't disagree, because it is cheap, but by using creative means, I think it's better to be cheap because you save money that way. Unlike with green screen based backgrounds that Morning Musume tends to do a LOT, being cheap in this manner I at least don't feel like I'm losing out on anything. And, in fact, really enjoy the different angles on what could easily be the same room.

Okay, as for the lyrics, as a whole I guess I don't really care either way for most of them. However, there are quite a few lines that just kinda grab my attention. The number one is the very first line of the song. First of all, I can kind of relate to that, previously always being the youngest in my classes and such, suddenly now I'm one of the oldest. And I feel like a similar thing is reflected here by the fact that Hagiwara Mai is the one who got this line. Maimai is the youngest member of C-ute, held the record for the youngest member to join H!P until Frances and Aiko, and even until a few years ago was among the youngest generation still remaining. And then Gen 9, Gen 10, Gen 11, and now Gen 12 joined Morning Musume, bringing a total of 12 girls younger than her (all since Gen 9 except Iikubo Haruna) to that group, the disband of their senior group Berryz Koubou, the addition of S/mileage's (now ANGERME'S) 2nd and 3rd gens adding another 7 girls younger than her to that group, Juice=Juice's creation, initially adding 4, but with the graduation of Otsuka Aina, adding 3 girls younger than her with the addition of that group, Country Girls adding 5 younger girls, and now Kobushi Factory and Tsubaki factory in their entirety are younger than her, bringing us to the current state of Hagiwara Mai being the 11th oldest girl in Hello!Project (with the top 10 being her fellow C-ute members, Iikubo Haruna from Morning Musume '15, Wada Ayaka and Fukuda Kanon from ANGERME, Miyazaki Yuka and Kanazawa Tomoko from Juice=Juice, and Tsugunaga Momoko from Country Girls). Really, this one fact about this one member makes this one like one of the best lines coming out of all of these singles in my personal opinion.

Outside of that one line, I'd say the lyrics are okay. I can relate to some of the lines, and I can see how other people can relate to the song as a whole, but something about the lyrics just seem a bit lack-luster in the song as a whole. I feel like it's a very whiny song, and I get that that's the point, but I feel like the meaning could have been expressed in a better way. I don't know, I'm not a song-writer so I can't really critic it too much. So I guess I'll just leave it at: I feel like something was missing in the lyrics to make them much more enjoyable to listen to just to listen to rather than to try and relate to.

Now, as for the song itself. When I first heard it, I liked it a bit, but I wasn't really impressed. It wasn't one of my favorites, and honestly it was probably one of my least favorites. However, since I have taken a long time to get to these posts, I have had a chance to get over the initial "new song" obsessions and give all of these songs much more realistic listens, and I would have to say that either this song or Wonderful World has grown on me the most compared to the rest (most of what I said in my post regarding Wonderful World still holds true, by a lot, I just have grown to like it anyway. Still don't think it's #1 worthy, but meh, to each their own.) This song is fun and upbeat despite having such whiny lyrics and I think that's part of what's appealing about it. The MaimaiNakky lead is a nice change of pace, and then throwing Airi onto the harmonies with them gives their lines some nice flavor, I think. It's definitely proven to be one of the "non-skipper" songs from this round more so than even Gamusha LIFE, which previously I had said was one of, if not, my favorite.

Moving on to the final section, I'm going to look at the individual member's outfits and if they stood out in anyway to me. I will be going ahead and just doing this in age order again because I'm lazy and I literally copy-and-pasted my last post for this one and the less I have to edit, the better :D.

For Yajima Maimi, ironically I would vote her my middle ground for outfits in this video. I really like her necklace, and hairstyle, so I love this screenshot, but I feel like the shirt could have been worn a bit differently or had a slightly different style that would have been better suiting for her. As for the skirt, I just really don't like it that much. I love the black and white thing her outfit has going on, but the pattern on the skirt is far from one of my favorites, so while I think it's okay, I don't really like it either. Unlike Gamusha LIFE, Maimi really did not stand out to me at all in this video. She wasn't bad by any means, but to begin with, she wasn't in the center, and she didn't really do much to catch my attention over the other girls for most of the song, so... I don't really have much else to say as far as Maimi goes.

Next, Nakajima Saki, would have to be my favorite outfit here. I mean, for starters, it's blue. If you don't know by now that I'm incredibly biased to blue stuff, you probably haven't read many of my blog posts/talked to me, because I love colors, and blue is my favorite. But, in all seriousness, between her hair, her shirt, and her skirt, I just think that, for once in a long time, Nakky did the best job pulling off her outfit. Her hair is gorgeous, by the way. Nakky also is the one who stood out to me 2nd most. Since I am biased towards her as one of my top 2 C-ute girls (constantly fighting for #1 with Airi), I usually don't think much of it anymore when she stands out to me, but in this song where she got a lead for the first time in a long time, I noticed her even more than usual. Her voice really suited this song, and she had really good expressions throughout the video.

Suzuki Airi's outfit would have to be my 2nd least favorite of the ones in this video. her hair is gorgeous, but that's about the only redeeming factor of it in my opinion. It doesn't look half bad in the video when she's moving around, but in screenshots, pictures, basically when it's still I just can't bring myself to like it at all. The worst part is, I don't really know what it is about it that I don't like. I guess I don't like how stiff it looks... but I don't know why I would like it in the video then. I really just don't know how I feel or why...

So for this song, I feel like Okai Chisato dropped from 2nd place with her outfit in Gamusha LIFE to dead last in this song. And I can give you the reason summarized in 2 words: Those pants. When I look at the close up scene's I actually really like it, because I think both her hair and her shirt really suit her like this. But the second you show the pants I just... No. I physically avoid looking at her in the dance shots because of them. They are just that horrid to me. However, Chisa is 3rd place in the running for who stood out to me the most, because, despite the fact she was more of a side singer like Maimi was, she actually managed to catch my attention most of the time when she was on screen. I would say that Chisa was the number one for expressions in this song. She laughed along with the others in many of the group shot scenes, but when delivering a line, she was the most on-point of any of the girls with her facial and bodily expressions. If you didn't have subs and didn't speak a word of Japanese, I feel like Chisa would be the only one in this song that might possibly convince you that this isn't a happy-go-lucky song...

Hagiwara Mai. This girl... no, this woman. Holy crap. THIS is what I like to see out of Mai. Maimai's outfit is my 2nd favorite, only behind Nakky's because I don't like how the textures of the skirt and jacket don't seem to go well together. Her hair is wonderful, I usually like when girls wear ties, and this is no exception. This is the Mai that I wish I saw more of. Not only her outfit, though, I feel like she shined all the way through the song, taking my #1 spot for who stood out the most. Yes, she was a center, but she got some of the best lines, had some amazing expressions, and even managed to attract my attention quite a few times in the dance shot (which Mai does NOT do that much). I wouldn't say she was on Chisa or Nakky's level for expressions, but throughout the song she pulled off quite a few priceless expressions (for example: The one portrayed in the first screenshot when I started discussing the lyrics). I personally think this has been my favorite videos for Mai since... well probably since she wore her giant sunglasses in their indies singles. I REALLY liked her in this video.

So that's all I really have to say regarding The Middle Management. I hope to get the rest of the review posts out in a much more timely manner, but I do have work and I have another big exam in two weeks, so no promises. So sorry guys >.<. Anyway, have a nice day, see you around.