Be Kind, (Promotional Video) Rewind – 20161113 to 20161119


Over at New School Kaidan, I write a few words about some of the recently released promotional videos. This is a collection of those write-ups, with a few words sometimes added after a week+ of viewing.

This week, we have promotional videos from Morning Musume ’16, P.IDL Nagoya, Happippi, Wakita Monari, Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku (REWIND EXCLUSIVE!), DEAR KISS, Yunomi feat. Nicamoq, and Tokyo Girls’ Style


Morning Musume ’16 – Confront with Bare Nakedness


With “Confront with Bare Nakedness”, Morning Musume ’16 play their entire hand for their November 23rd single. The synthy dance number sees the girls in vaguely pink camouflage patterned dresses and short bolero jackets in front of bare, skeletal red structures. Fukumura Mizuki and crew swagger it out with a choreography that involves lots of jacket play and chest pumping. Stick around for the glow paint that shows up roughly 3/4 of the way into the PV!. Morning Musume ’16’s 62nd single, “Sexy Cat no Enzetsu / Mukidashi de Mukiatte / Sou ja nai”, hits stores on November 23, 2016.


Rewind +
You know, “MukiMuki” didn’t really get me until a few listens. The song is relentless, and is only slowed by the b-melody. I tell you, once Eripon starts flipping her jacket over her shoulders, when the glo-paint comes out, and when Haga Akane gets the line of her career, I get behind this one. Behind “Sexy Cat no Enzetsu”, this will be my favorite from the release. Continue reading

Be Kind, (Promotional Video) Rewind – 20161106 to 20161112


Over at New School Kaidan, I write a few words about some of the recently released promotional videos. This is a collection of those write-ups, with a few words sometimes added after a week+ of viewing.

This week, we have promotional videos from Morning Musume ’16, Bokura no Oyugi, Chubbiness, Especia, Yanakoto Sotto Mute, Fullfull☆Pocket, The Idol Formerly Known as Ladybaby, and ONEPIXCEL.


Morning Musume ’16 – Sou Ja Nai


“Sou ja nai” finds the girls of Morning Musume ’16 return to form, and that form is the 2014 “Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai” / “Password is 0” version of the group. Fukumura Mizuki’s girls are dramatically lit and shadowed in their cold antiseptic set filled with glass and poured concrete pillars. The promotional video also showcases some interesting effects. After the group materializes from silvery, Makino Maria summoned cocoons, the send shock waves flying with every thrust, sweep, and kick. There’s some definite Musume robotics at play with “Sou ja nai”, but I’ll let you fill in the connection between the song and the visuals. Morning Musume ’16’s 62nd single, “Sexy Cat no Enzetsu / Mukidashi de Mukiatte / Sou ja nai”, hits stores on November 23, 2016.

Rewind +
Honestly, Continue reading

VAMPS live 20161107 – Bloodsuckers on Wilshire Blvd



One of the most consistently appearing Japanese acts in Los Angeles, VAMPS rolled into the City of Angels on November 7, 2016. Since 2009, I count this as the seventh time Hyde and K.A.Z. visited my hometown. Even with all those appearances, this appearance at the EL Rey Theatre marked the first time I saw the group.

Of course you know the group comprising of Hyde (L’Arc-en-Ciel) and K.A.Z (Oblivion Dust) formed in 2008 after the two began working together in 2003 on Hyde’s solo output. The group seems committed to bringing hard rock from a Japanese perspective to the world. VAMPS tour worldwide regularly, and last appeared in Los Angeles in 2005.

Having seen the group’s live performances through several media outlets, I was excited to see the group for the first time. Realy, 8 years into the collaboration the group lived up to my expectations. VAMPS play ahead of a great rhythm section that holds down the groove with the precision of a sports car. With the foundation on solid bedrock, Hyde and K.A.Z. are able to let their spontaneity and creativity fly high. K.A.Z.’s guitar work floats over the mix with a ‘verbed out lyrical quality when he solos, and a mean metal town when burning in the groove. Hyde as a front man is a world class performer. Ranging freely on the El Rey stage, Hyde captures your attention with his intensity and crowd interaction. Aiding his show stealing demeanor, Hyde’s versatile voice starts with an emotional flair, builds with a strong crescendo, and finishes with a menacing growl- his reputation is well-deserved.

Starting with their latest single “Inside of Me”, the five piece ripped through a 17 song set-list punctuated with the group’s singles and a few surprises. Hyde began the show with a black hoodie pulled over his head which he later dramatically lowered to reveal his blonded hair, and eventually unzipped. For a live cover, the group ran through a performance of Rihanna’s “Diamonds”. VAMPS drew the audience into the performance with crowd-participatory claps as chants on songs like “Bloodsuckers”, “Revolution”, and the night-ending “Sex Blood Rock n’ Roll”.

I don’t know what exactly took me so long to finally see VAMPS, but I’m glad I made the effort to get out on this Monday night. Afterall, Hyde and K.A.Z. crossed an ocean to get here, and I only needed to get over the Sepulveda Pass and across Beverley Hills. With such a strong stage presence and a gifted musical performance, VAMPS are added to a list of “Must See” live acts for this reviewer. See you in the pit.



VAMPS live 20161107 at the El Rey Theatre Los Angeles







Buy VAMPS’s “HISTORY-The Complete Video Collection 2008-2014”!

Limited Edition Type A - Blu Ray

Limited Edition Type A – Blu Ray
Amazon.jp | CDJapan | YesAsia

Limited Edition Type B DVD

Limited Edition Type B DVD
Amazon.jp | CDJapan | YesAsia


VAMPS at the El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles November 7, 2016

SETLIST
01. INSIDE OF ME
02. LIPS
03. REDRUM
04. EVIL
05. REPLAY
06. GET AWAY
07. SIN IN JUSTICE
08. VAMPIRE DEPRESSION
09. DIAMONDS (Cover of Rihanna)
10. MEMORIES
11. RISE OR DIE
12. WORLD’S END
13. BLOODSUCKERS
14. MIDNIGHT CELEBRATION
15. REVOLUTION
16. DEVIL SIDE
17. SEX BLOOD ROCK N’ ROLL

VAMPS Official Links
Web Site | Twitter | YouTube | Facebook | Instagram | iTunes


Be Kind, (Promotional Video) Rewind – 20161029 to 20161105


Over at New School Kaidan, I write a few words about some of the recently released promotional videos. This is a collection of those write-ups, with a few words sometimes added after a week+ of viewing.

This week, we have promotional videos from DEEP GIRL, Younapi, Musubizm, Kus Kus, JYUJYU, Akishibu Project, ONEPIXCEL, P.IDL, 7 ☆ 3, Zenbu Kimi no Sei da, Rock A Japonica, and WHY@DOLL


DEEP GIRL – Out Of Control (Live Video)


In this new DEEP GIRL live video, Mashiro, Non, Rikopin, and Kanon cover 90’s act Hoobastank’s “Out of Control”. Of course, this is part of a series of Live Video’s that the group released in the last month or so. Frankly, this song selection doesn’t really work for me. But, the girls appear to be having a lot of fun with this song so I might just give them a pass (even for Hoobastank). I guess that’s all my hangups, really. I’m just really thirsty for some original music from these girls.

Rewind +
No, I’m still not a fan of Hoobastank, and I haven’t listened to this since

DEEP GIRL Official Links
Web Site | Blog | Twitter | YouTube | iTunes


Continue reading

Yamaki Risa in Weekly Big Comic Spirits 2016 vol. 50


I’ve been saying it for a while now. Yamaki Risa is a pretty young thing. Her sweetness and grace come through in this set of photos from Weekly Big Comic Spirits. With any luck this won’t be the last we see of the latest princess of Hello! Project.
Continue reading

Hello! Project Power Rankings November 2016

morning-musume-16-power-rankings-november-2016


Hello everybody, guest contributor TheNumber244 here to bring you up to date with the new month of Hello! Project Power Rankings.

October brought with it three single releases, the expectations for two more single releases, overseas concert performances, idol Halloween costumes, and more. But, even with that flurry of activity the news that dominates the here and now is Tsugunaga Momoko’s graduation from Country Girls, Hello! Project, and public life. You saw that correct: Momochi is hanging up the musubi. Technically, this news should belong in next month’s Power Rankings, and it still will appear there. But, in the here and now there is no bigger news. Momoko still has a few months with us- Momoko officially calls it quits on June 30, 2017 – exactly 15 years from the debut of Tsugunaga Momoka and the rest of the Hello! Project Kids.

And now,
Rankings come on!

Read more

Hello! Project Power Rankings September 2016



H!P Power Ranking 201608

Hello everybody, guest contributor TheNumber244 here to bring you up to date with the new month of Hello! Project Power Rankings.

In Hello! Project news that doesn’t fit in these rankings, Tsubaki Factory gained three new members! The other Factory Girls picked up H!P Kenshuusei Ono Mizuho, Onoda Saori, and Akiyama Mao. These girls are some real jewels in the KSS system. Onoda Saori is an experienced idol having been a part of the local Shizuoka idol group Princess♪Ribbon and is also the voice of one of the main characters in Kopinks COSMOS. Akiyama Mao, meanwhile, is a noted skillful dancer whose KSS rival is/was … Ono Mizuho! Read more about the new members at my blog. Look for this group to accelerate forward in the coming months.

The other monumental event in August took place at Nippon Budokan. After about four years, the super group of the Hello! Project Kids reunited on their biggest stage. Along for the ride were Tsugunaga Momoko’s Country Girls and Suzuki Airi’s C-ute. Natsuyaki Miyabi probably had the biggest day, though. Not only did the August 25 event take place on Miya’s birthday, but the “New Natsuyaki Miyabi Group” finally received it’s name: Pink Cres. (that’s short for Pink Crescendo). Crescendo is a music term that directs musicians to gradually increase volume, which is the hopeful trajectory for this new group with new girls Nihei Yuuka and Kobayashi Hikaru. Best of luck girls!

Take the good with the bad, though. August saw a major announcement in the world of Hello! Project that flavored Buono! Fest with a bit of the bittersweet. We will get to that news shortly, but before we do, let’s look at Tsunku’s Aflac commercial.

And now,
Rankings come on!

Read More

Sekai no Owari at the Roxy Theatre Los Angeles 20170817

 

Sekai no Owari, the popular Japanese music act with its eye on the world market, took a big step forward on August 17, 2016. Nakajin (guitar), Fukase (vocal and guitar), Saori (piano), and DJ LOVE (DJ) reached out toward their aspirations with their debut performance in America. Sekai no Owari’s sold-out set at the historic Roxy Theatre on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood featured nine songs sung exclusively in English. Their performance marks a rebirth for the group under their international moniker End of the World. As a fan of Sekai no Owari’s Japanese discography, I was lucky enough to attend the event and lend my voice to the chorus of cheer.

Sekai no Owari’s origin story is one of the sweetest Continue reading