Nathan (L4verra) and I have mainly bonded over two things: baseball and having underrated Nogizaka46 oshimen. He recently posted an appreciation article of his oshi, Wada Maaya, [It can be seen here] which made me decide that it was about time the world learns about my oshi. Kawamura Mahiro.
For a long time I didn’t really have an oshi. I always gravitated towards Kojima Haruna from AKB48, but that was really only because it was decided (by others) that she would be the one who I would cosplay from AKB0048 (which was my introduction to idols). I decided that I was going to go through every page on Stage48 (A 48G wiki for those that don’t know. It can be found here.) to find the one girl I liked best. This is not the best way to find an oshi… but it worked.
[Editor’s Note: I actually found my 48G oshi in a similar manner!]
As I was looking through the pages there were a lot of cute girls, many of them had interesting backgrounds, but then I saw a picture of a girl that completely caught my attention to the point where I couldn’t get it out of my head.
This is the picture I that made me fall in (platonic) love with Rottii. It’s not even the best picture of her but something about it kept it in my head. Ever since then I’ve been hooked.
Everything I learned about Rottii just made me love her more and more. She is considered by many other Nogi members to be the best singer in the group . As a singer myself, this solidified her spot in my heart. She even writes and composes her own songs! She has also been praised for her dancing skills, including being chosen as the best dancer/oshimen of a guest on an episode of "Nogizakatte, Doko?” . I will always say she is the most underrated girl in the group talent wise, but I could be biased.
Rottii is from the Kansai region of Japan (Osaka), which is where I studied when I was an exchange student back in high school (automatic brownie points!). She won an audition with the Up-Front Kansai Agency before becoming a member of Nogizaka, which just proves that she’s not someone who only succeeds in one audition.
All of this and she’s still only been on 2 A-sides? I can’t even.
As your reading this, you may be wondering where the nickname Rottii comes from. In all honesty, I’m not really sure. But I love it. I think ~technically~ it’s supposed to be the English name “Lotty" as she herself spells it “Rotty” when using romaji. For what I hope are obvious reasons, that is not my favorite way to spell her nickname, but she does it so I still support it 100%.
I didn’t think I had maternal instincts until I became a Rottii oshi. I want her to succeed so bad sometimes it hurts. I get sad when she cries; I get happy when she smiles; if she were to get bullied in school I would call the bullies parents and have a stern talking with them.
And for those that know me, you know that means she’s kind of a big deal <3.
Peace out nerds!
Videos to prove my points!
 Skip to 8:00
So how did I come up with the idea of a Franchise Four? Well...I didn’t. During this year’s MLB All-Star Game, the Franchise Four of every team was revealed. The Franchise Four are the four best players of respective teams, and when you think of these players, you think of the franchise. For example, the San Francisco Giants have Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Buster Posey as their Franchise Four. Other sports fans tried to find their Franchise Four for teams in other sports, such as the NFL and NBA.
But as both a sports fan and a fan of the 48 groups, who would be in the Franchise Four of AKB48 and their current sister groups?
AKB48 and their sister groups have had their history throughout the years, and many, many members have came and went. But every group has those four members who set the foundation for their respective franchises. This article points out who I might think make the Franchise Four for 5 groups in particular: AKB48, SKE48, NMB48, HKT48, and Nogizaka46.
I won’t include groups such as SDN48, JKT48 or SNH48, as I am not too familiar with any of those groups. So if you are a fan of those respective groups, I am sorry. As for the newly announced NGT48 and Keyakizaka46, I cannot include a Franchise Four for any of those groups since they are both brand new and we don’t know a lot about all of the members and who would stand out (though Kitahara Rie would be a lock for NGT48’s Franchise Four).
Also, keep in mind this is an opinion piece, so if you don’t feel right with my selections, my apologies in advance. Without further ado, here are my Franchise Four picks for AKB48 and their sister groups.
AKB48: Maeda Atsuko, Oshima Yuko, Takahashi Minami, Watanabe Mayu
Maeda Atsuko and Oshima Yuko are locks for the Franchise Four if you ask any AKB48 fan. Both of them won Sousenkyo elections and were center selections for countless AKB48 singles before they graduated. Takahashi Minami is also a lock because of just how much work she put in to bring AKB48 to where it is now. If there was a heart and soul of the AKB48 franchise, it’s Takamina. As for the last spot, this decision was somewhat difficult but having Watanabe Mayu as the fourth member of the AKB48 Franchise Four makes sense. The idol cyborg herself was the 3rd member of AKB48 to win Sousenkyo and has never ranked less than 5th on the election. Once Takamina graduates, the face of the franchise may belong to Mayuyu.
There were a lot of members who had the chance to make the AKB48 Franchise Four: Shinoda Mariko, Kojima Haruna, Itano Tomomi, Matsui Jurina, Shimazaki Haruka, Miyazawa Sae, Akimoto Sayaka, and especially Kashiwagi Yuki. Overall, the four members I selected seem about right, unless someone plans to edge Mayuyu in the next three or four years.
SKE48: Matsui Jurina, Matsui Rena, Suda Akari, Takayanagi Akane
Obviously the WMatsui duo of Matsui Jurina and Matsui Rena are a lock for the Franchise Four. These two members are the faces of the SKE48 franchise, which makes Rena’s graduation all that more painful…but hopefully the SKE48 franchise does well with Jurina as the lead. Either way, both have to be included on the SKE48 Franchise Four.
I had to go with Suda Akari as a member of the Franchise Four for a few reasons. She is the first SKE48 member to make Sousenkyo senbatsu without the surname Matsui. Now that Rena is graduating, she’s the new face of Team E. And yes, I will point out that she did drop a little bit during this year’s Sousenkyo, but when I think of SKE48, usually Akarin’s name comes up. Same thing goes with Takayanagi Akane, who I am selecting as the fourth member of the Franchise Four. She made Sousenkyo senbatsu this year and has always ranked pretty high during elections. Plus, she was also granted a kennin with NMB48, which means management probably wants to push you.
Honestly, deciding the last two spots for the SKE48 Franchise Four was challenging. There were so many other members who I could have selected for the last two spots: Kizaki Yuria, Oya Masana, Shibata Aya, Matsumura Kaori and Furukawa Airi just to name a few. Like AKB48, someone new could climb up the ranks and possibly make it on here.
NMB48: Yamamoto Sayaka, Watanabe Miyuki, Yamada Nana, Shiroma Miru
It was really easy to select three members for the NMB48 Franchise Four. Obviously, just like the WMatsui duo, Yamamoto Sayaka and Watanabe Miyuki are obvious choices. Both have centered several songs, both sell out handshake tickets like mad, and both have made Sousenkyo senbatsu. As for Yamada Nana, she was always the 3rd most popular member of NMB48 (at least according to Sousenkyo votes) before she graduated, which means she will make this list. She was also allowed her very own single in “Don’t Look Back”, so that helps her case.
The last spot could be anybody: Jonishi Kei, Sutou Ririka, Kinoshita Momoka, Yagura Fuuko, Shibuya Nagisa, or even Jo Eriko. But I am selecting Shiroma Miru as the last member of the Franchise Four. The only reason why I am picking Shiroma Miru over everyone else is because she is getting pushed like crazy from management. All the gravure, the AKB48 kennin, and the center position for “Rashikunai” help her case. Her push hasn’t stopped yet, and NMB48 management may rely on her should Sayanee or Milky graduate (let’s hope that doesn’t happen soon!). That last spot is wide open for anybody, but as of now, I believe Shiroma Miru takes the spot.
HKT48: Sashihara Rino, Miyawaki Sakura, Kodama Haruka, Tomonaga Mio
Even though HKT48 has been around for a little over 4 years, there is already a solidified Franchise Four. You can’t go wrong with selecting Sashihara Rino, Miyawaki Sakura and Kodama Haruka as three members of the HKT48 Franchise Four. Look at the handshake numbers and Sousenkyo vote numbers for proof.
As for the last spot, I was kind of torn between Tomonaga Mio and Tashima Meru. I went with Mio since she has the management push (she is also a member of AKB48 Team 4) and has been center for several HKT48 singles. You could say the same thing about Tashima Meru, since she too has a management push. But I am going to lean with Mio for now, unless Meru surprises us in the next few years.
If this were a Franchise Five, both Mio and Meru would be here. But since this is the Franchise Four, one member got the short end of the stick. Sorry Meru…
Nogizaka46: Ikoma Rina, Shiraishi Mai, Nishino Nanase, Ikuta Erika
No real challenge here. When you think of Nogizaka46, these four ladies come to mind. Every single member here has been center for at least one single and every member here has handshake results that sell out quickly (no idea about Ikoma Rina however).
Even if I do have second thoughts about putting someone else here, like Hashimoto Nanami, Sakurai Reika, Hori Miona or Hoshino Minami, I don’t think any of them can edge this Franchise Four. There’s really nothing wrong with this selection.
In closing, those are my selections for the Franchise Four of AKB48 and its sister/rival groups. I will admit that I am more knowledgeable with some groups over others, such as Nogizaka46 over SKE48. Thus, my picks may be a little problematic. If you disagree with my selections and have a more suitable Franchise Four, let me know in the comments below.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu just released the MV for her new song "Crazy Party Night〜Pumpkin no Gyakushuu〜". This is going to be her 11th single and is set to release on September 2nd! As with all her MV's, this one is colorful and filled with many zany characters. A pretty catchy tune with a cute dance that takes from Michael jackson's thriller is sure to be fun for all! Be sure to check it out!
Juice=Juice finally released their album a while ago, and I’m here to tell you all about it! Since the first disc is a collection of most of their singles that they’ve released since they started up, I’m not going to talk too much about that. I really want to try and spend most my time covering all the new stuff instead. That being said, listening to the first disc, called “The Best Juice”, gives you a nice little history of the progress they have had since they started. Interestingly, the disc doesn’t actually start with their first song. It starts with their final indie single, which was really them providing their version of a Hello Pro Kenshuusei song: ‘Ten Made Nobore!’ In their defense, it’s the only indie single of theirs that never saw a major release. It’s a slower song that is pleasant to listen to, but is a weak way to begin the disc, in my opinion. Moving forward, the rest of the songs on the first disc are from their major debut single (‘Romance no Tochuu’) all the way to the release right before the most recent single (‘Senobi’ / ‘Date ja nai yo Uchi no Jinsei wa’). They had actually started with a very strong jazz-like presence, which evolved into a much more pop style as time went on. They still retained the slight jazz feel in order to push forward their ‘cool’ theme, but the style isn’t as strong as it was when it started. This can, of course, be heard as you listen through the first disc on “First Squeeze!”
The second disc, “The Brand-new Juice”, is where the fun really begins. It kicks off with one of the songs from their newest single releases: ‘Wonderful World’. It’s not particularly mind-blowing, but it is a very pleasant song to listen to. It doesn’t show off any exceptional singing talents, but it does manage to pull you in with a pleasant melody that is simple to follow. The next song is ‘CHOICE & CHANCE’, which is a new song that is addictively catchy. It doesn’t do anything brave, but keeps with Juice=Juice’s theme they’ve been keeping. ‘Ai Ai Gasa’ follows which sounds like the sort of song you would expect to hear on the beach as you relax on a pleasant summer day. ‘Umaretate no Baby Love’ is the first song that really starts to show a little bit more skill out of the girls. While there isn’t much vocal range presented in this song, they manage to hit their notes quite effectively and also keep in sync with each other very well. ‘Erabareshi Watashitachi’ is next and it features a much more instrumental and rock style to it. The guitar sections, while not particularly complex, add a lot of personality to the song as a whole, which really helps give a slight contrast yet accentuate the lovely vocals. It’s definitely a pleasant change of pace from the more jazz/pop style of most of the other songs so far. ‘Ça va? Ça va?’ follows, which is the other song from their newest single. A bit different in style from Wonderful World, this one focuses on a more catchy yet cute feeling while throwing in a little bit of French here and there to try and make it sound a little exotic.
The next song is by far my favorite song on the album: ‘GIRLS BE AMBITIOUS’. This one has a more rock feel to it, like ‘Umaretate no Baby Love’. The beat is extremely catchy and is the type of song you can’t help but bob your head to. It fluctuates back and forth a bit from a focus on vocals then a focus on instrumental then a focus on combining both of those. To top it off, it is by far the best use of vocal skill that has been presented on the album so far. I also found out after I decided it was my favorite that it was actually written and composed by Takui Nakajima, who has been grabbing my attention a lot lately with his exceptional work (see: Taiki Bansei, Lady Mermaid, Ikujinashi, etc.). Up next is ‘Ai no Diving’. This one has a pretty repetitive set of lyrics, which may or may not appeal to you. That being said, the instrumental is actually pretty fun to listen to, which helps give this song some quality that it wouldn’t have otherwise. For some reason, this song makes me think of the type of song I’d expect to hear while playing Mario Kart. ‘Tick-Tock Watashi no Shun’ is more like ‘Wonderful World’, with a much more soothing and calm melody. Considering the more daring songs that have been on the disc, it helps add some much needed variety and rest to the listener. Next is ‘Mirai e, Saa Hashiridase!’ This song has just the right amount of relaxation and enticing sounds to make it appealing to the ears. That being said, there isn’t really much to make this stand out. It’s a fairly generic song overall, especially considering the top quality of the rest of the album. The final song on the second disc, ‘Tsudzuiteiku STORY’, is the expected ballad-like song that Hello! Project albums tend to close with. That’s not to say that the song isn’t good, it just follows the same mold. From the standpoint of the listener, it’s actually a pretty good way to present things. You start off the album a little slow to ease in the listener then attack their senses through the middle then slow back down to allow the listener time to absorb everything they heard. They keep using this formula because, frankly speaking, it’s effective.
The final disc, “The Cover Juice”, is a small collection of covers of other Hello! Project songs. The first track is ‘Magic of Love’, originally sung by Taiyou to Ciscomoon. It retains the classic dance style of the original, while infusing that Juice=Juice personality. Quite effectively, I might add. ‘Kosui’ is up next, which was originally sung by Melon Kinenbi. I feel like Juice=Juice did a really good job of capturing that really pleasant feel of the original in this cover and that the lines were distributed quite nicely in order to make each singer’s strengths shine a little. I always loved ‘Narihajimeta Koi no Bell’, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear Juice=Juice’s cover of this song by Ongaku Gatas. The more jazz-like style of this song suits Juice=Juice really well, and helps compliment them as a group. ‘Scramble’, originally sung by Maki Goto, is an oddball. While the cover is actually done pretty well, part of the charm of it being a solo song is taken away with having five singers contributing to the song. This is a personal gripe, and most will likely enjoy the song, but this fact kind of turns me off to the song. The next song, which happens to be one of my favorite Petitmoni songs, is ‘BABY! Koi ni KNOCK OUT!’ (Sung by Yuka Miyazaki, Tomoko Kanazawa and Akari Uemura in this cover). My opinion on this is meaningless, because I love this song so much that no matter how good or bad a cover is, I’ll still love it. I really like that Yuka and Akari, who aren’t the most talented singers exactly, are able to shine next to the much better Tomoko. This song really does play to them together as a trio. The final disc closes out with the Tanpopo song ‘Last Kiss’, sung by (arguably) the two best singers in Juice=Juice: Sayuki Takagi and Karin Miyamoto. Listening to both versions back to back really helps show how much skill Tanpopo had in this song, and how Karin and Sayuki have a little bit to go to catch up. The thing is, though, that they are very skilled, but have a slightly different style. In the end the cover is well done though, and they do a beautiful job of doing the song justice.
After having waited over two years for their first album to release, Juice=Juice did not disappoint in even the slightest. There is a good variety of content on here, and even a little fan service to sate the more nostalgic fans on the final disc. They play to their strengths and paint a portrait that helps give a sense of finality to the style they’ve been developing since they started. Hello! Project has managed to push out some really nice things this year, and this album seals the deal. The best part is that there is still plenty more to come.
Juice=Juice’s first album (released on July 15, 2015), “First Squeeze!”, is available in three editions. Limited Edition A comes with a Blu-ray disc that contains all of their music videos and variations (Dance Shots, Close-ups, etc.). Limited Edition B comes with a DVD that contains their full concert performance on 4/25 at Sapporo from their first live tour. The regular edition contains the third music CD which is where the covers are. Yes that’s right, only the regular edition has all three discs of music. The others only have the first two discs. “First Squeeze!” is available on iTunes (though lacking the covers) or can be purchased from cdjapan.co.jp.
- Yuka Miyazaki
- Tomoko Kanazawa
- Sayuki Takagi
- Karin Miyamoto
- Akari Uemura
Music videos of album exclusive songs can be viewed below:
Has there ever been a time where you submerged yourself into an idol group, and then you found someone who seems rather under-appreciated and underrated? That’s my oshi right there.
Yes, this is a post that tells the world how awesome my oshi, Wada Maaya, really is.
Before I get started, let me tell you the back story and how Maaya became my oshi in the first place. First of all, when I ran into some photos of some girls on Tumblr, namely Shiraishi Mai, Ikuta Erika, and Eto Misa, I found out all of them were from the group Nogizaka46. Since my other favorite idol group, the Ebisu Muscats, was disbanding, it became time to find another one to focus on. Keep in mind that I was on the fence about AKB48 and this was in the Fall of 2013. When I heard they were “AKB48’s First Rival Group”, I was curious.
Then I found out about all sorts of personalities and characters among the members. You have the fashion-model-to-be Shiraishi Mai, the little sister-esqe Hoshino Minami, the older sister-esqe Fukagawa Mai, and the otaku-esqe Ikoma Rina. All of these idols seemed pretty awesome, and of course it was hard to pick an oshi. Usually when it comes to selecting an idol as your oshi, the first one who comes to mind is the one who got you into the group in the first place. By that definition, that means Shiraishi Mai technically should be my oshi. However, that would not be fair to the other members, especially since this was the first time I had seen every member of Nogizaka46.
Then someone at the end of the list caught my eye.
This girl at the very end of the member page with a Shinoda Mariko/Mankanshoku Mako/Coconut Head based haircut caught my attention. Her name was Wada Maaya. She changed my idol fandom life forever.
Throughout 2013, I started to learn a bit more about whom Maaya was and where she came from. She was born in Hiroshima and was a cheerleader before she became an idol. She also moved from Hiroshima to Tokyo all by herself, despite still being a high school student. Keep in mind, when she started out with Nogizaka46, she didn’t have the hairstyle most of her fans know her by.
Yes, she had long hair at one point in her life. Because I found out about her when her hair was cut shorter, there is no way I am going to get used to this look. I wasn’t there when Nogizaka46 first appeared in 2011 (I just started getting into Ebisu Muscats at the time). If she grew her hair this long today, it would take a whole lot of time for me to get used to it. But this was a few years ago, and if Maaya wants to grow her hair at this length, it is going to take a few years to do so.
But besides talking about Maaya’s hair, let me tell you about how interesting Maaya is as an idol. There was one episode of Nogizakatte, Doko?, all of the members took an exam to determine who is the smartest member, as well as the #1 dumbest member of them all. While Maaya ranked higher than some members on this exam (she ranked higher than Shiraishi Mai, which of course, shocked everyone), that didn’t mean she was free from the competition to determine who was the #1 dumbest member of them all.
In this competition, select members would answer questions in a game show-like setting, and those who could answer any of these questions correctly would escape the title of #1 dumbest member. Maaya was one of the contestants, and yes, she did not do so well in this competition. She answered each question with a cockiness that I had never seen before, and even though she got several questions wrong, I certainly appreciated this side of Maaya. I mean any footage of Maaya on Nogizakatte, Doko? was rare, given that she is not the most popular Nogizaka46 member. Eventually Maaya got so many questions wrong that she became the #1 dumbest member of Nogizaka46. She certainly had a lot of confidence in her abilities however.
Even though this may just be a performance to woo new fans, Maaya’s act on Nogizakatte, Doko? was hilarious. I certainly don’t think that Maaya really is as dumb as she made herself look on the camera, She’s certainly a funny girl whom, if given an inch, she can go a mile. Among Nogizaka46 fans, many say that, despite her small handshake numbers, she has some amazing handshakes if you do stop by her lane during said event. Her singing voice is tremendous and very distinguishable amongst some Undergirls songs, namely Hatsukoi no Hito wo Ima Demo (one of my personal favorite Nogizaka46 tunes).
Maybe this post is straight up oshi bias, but I really like Maaya and all that she has done on Nogizaka46 to make my stay as a fan worthwhile. I already mentioned that she is by no means the most popular member of the Nogizaka46 franchise. She is not at the level of a Shiraishi Mai, of an Ikuta Erika or of a Nishino Nanase. But you know what? That’s okay. She only has a small niche of fans and the fans that she has are incredibly supportive. Hell, I have seen one fan line up hundreds of single CDs to form the kanji of Wada Maaya’s name. That’s an overall impressive feat. But I digress; Maaya has a small yet very supportive fan base, and I do intend to meet some of the other people who picked Maaya as an oshi one day I fly to Japan for a handshake event. Maaya is still young (she is the same age as Miyawaki Sakura), so she has plenty of time to make a name for herself amongst fans and management (she did score a few gigs on Nogizaka46-based shows, NogiEigo and NogiGolf).
I am proud to be the only Wada Maaya oshi, as I know no one else who is a Wada Maaya oshi (I am the only one among my friends who are into idols). I think I may be the only Wada Maaya oshi in all of North America, and yes I am going that route. Because honestly, if you too are a fan of Maaya and have called her your oshi, please stand up! We Maaya oshis need to stick together!
That’s all I have to say. In short, Maaya is a very funny idol with a can-do attitude on things in life. If you see her on Nogizakatte, Doko?, you’re in for a lot of laughs. I hope this article sparked an interest in this amazing young lady, especially since she does not get a lot of chances to shine.
Now it’s time for me to watch some NogiEigo, and cheer on my girl as she tries her best at English sentences.
The Promotion Edit (aka the Official Music Video on the YouTube Channel) was finally uploaded for Morning Musume ‘15’s new song: Sukatto My Heart. Before I begin to share my thoughts on the music video, I’d like to talk about the costumes. While I’ve seen some very mixed things about the costumes, I personally like them. The sailor outfits with the slightly sexy look (exposed midriff) are actually quite cute and I really like how they each have a slight personal touch to them in order to fit each girl while still remaining relatively uniform. Having skirts instead of pants or shorts is also a nice touch, because it helps the dance feel more elegant, which plays off of the disco vibe due to the giant disco ball prominently displayed during the whole video.
The video itself is your standard Hello! Project fare, which constitutes dancing with some kind of unique backdrop. It doesn’t really tell a story, and the creativity lies strictly with how the dancing and the performance is presented. For what it sets out to accomplish, it’s a fantastic style, but not everybody will like this when compared with the really flashy and creative videos of some other groups (or even of some of the other videos within H!P).
That being said, compared to what Morning Musume ’15 has done lately, this isn’t one of their most complexes dances. Still, it really fits the music really well. There are a lot of sections where the group splits in two or three and they coordinate a different dance move to add a dynamic to the mix or to shift focus to particular members. While this isn’t something fresh or innovative, it’s used extremely effectively here. It essentially makes it feel like the members being displayed are surrounded by a very fancy picture frame and it looks really cool. The stage itself is pretty plain, but there is a giant disco ball overhead which adds a little flare. That, coupled with the smoke effects and the way the lighting is used is what makes this video really fun to watch. Plus, Erina does a cartwheel, which always makes me happy!
There are also two different types of solo shots featured in the video. One I really like and the other I think is only ok. The one I really like is the one where they are standing amidst a bland background with smoke behind them and light shining from behind which makes them stand out like a shining star. The one I think is only OK is the one where they are on the same stage that they dance on but the disco ball is lowered and displayed right behind them. It merely doesn’t feel as creative as the smoky solo shots in my opinion, that’s all. Speaking of cuts, something I noticed is that this video tends to cut and transition a little too often, so you never really have enough time to properly appreciate each scene. I’m hoping this will be edited a little more with the official release with the single later this month.
After everything is said and done though, the song is really catchy, really fun and the dancing really complements that. The video is really flashy and as a result it’s really eye-catching. Each member is featured to an extent so you get to see everybody shine. Being the second video released for their upcoming triple A-side single, I have high hopes for the final video.
Morning Musume ‘15’s upcoming single, Oh my wish! / Sukatto My Heart / Imasugu Tobikomu Yuuki releases on August 19, 2015. You can pre-order it at cdjapan.co.jp.
Morning Musume ’15 is:
- Mizuki Fukumura
- Erina Ikuta
- Riho Sayashi
- Kanon Suzuki
- Haruna Iikubo
- Ayumi Ishida
- Masaki Sato
- Haruka Kudo
- Sakura Oda
- Haruna Ogata
- Miki Nonaka
- Maria Makino
- Akane Haga
You can watch the full music video below:
The months of August and September will introduce a wave of photobooks coming your way. Takayanagi Akane out of SKE48 has one coming up, Kotani Riho of NMB48 has some sort of photobook coming up, and Hashimoto Nanami has one out at the end of this month. Get them while they’re hot!
As you’ve noticed, I do have a fancy for photobooks when it comes to the 48G and Nogizaka46ers. I’ve been a fan of collecting photobooks since I received my first one: Nogizaka Ha, the first group photobook of Nogizaka46. Since then, I have solo photobooks from members such as Kizaki Yuria, Yamamoto Sayaka, Watanabe Miyuki, Shiraishi Mai, Nishino Nanase, Yamada Nana, and Miyawaki Sakura. And yes, there are some photobooks I would like to pick up in my life, such as ones from Minegishi Minami, Sashihara Rino, Kojima Haruna, Shimazaki Haruka, and Tanaka Mirei.
But then I was wondering this question: who has not released a photobook yet?
This is a Top 10 opinion-based piece where I decide on 10 members, either from 48G or Nogizaka46, who should have a photobook released. I take all the gravure photos I’ve seen from as many 48/46 members as possible, and give reason as to why they should have a solo photobook. The rules for this list are:
· If the 48/46 member already had a solo photobook released, they are not on this countdown.
· This is about potential solo photobooks, not UTB or Young Animal cover shots.
· All of these members have to had had at least one gravure photo released somewhere.
· If members were somehow rumored to have a gravure book in the works, they are not counted (e.g. Jonishi Kei, etc.).
· If members had photobooks that were never released, then they may be on this countdown.
I will give my sincerest apologies for sounding a tad too lewd when making this countdown. Yes, there will be times where I explain why a certain member should have a solo photobook and the reasons may be too lewd for a PG-13 rating. So, if you do get offended or uncomfortable with what I may write, then a thousand apologies in advance.
You ready? Here are my picks for the Top 10 48/46 girls who should release a solo photobook.
#10 Kojima Natsuki
Let me point this out there: when someone makes it on the AKB Shirabe list for “Top 10 Breasts”, you probably should have a solo photobook. Is it going to sell because of breasts alone? I would say possibly. But Kojima Natsuki has some pretty stellar gravure shots around the interwebs, and I must say she does have the body for it when it comes to gravure. If the entire photobook is going to be filled with Nattsun in two-piece swimsuits, I still may consider buying it.
The only reason why Nattsun ranks so low is because she isn’t the most popular member among the many, many girls and women of AKB48. She has not ranked in any of the elections she participated in, but I would still pick up her photobook if she released one.
I also know a certain someone who would love to pick up a Kojima Natsuki photobook (maybe even 3 or 4) but that’s a story for another day.
#9 Yoshida Akari
I don’t know about you, but Yoshida Akari has all of the makings of a model. She may not have the biggest breasts among her NMB48 colleagues, but she still has legs that can challenge that of Sashihara Rino. Excuse me for sounding too lewd.
But I think if Yoshida Akari were to release a photobook, it may as well consist of half bikini photos, if not three-quarters of the book bikini or lingerie gravure photos. If you have seen her gravure photos, she looks really, really stunning in them. Yeah, it’s mostly because she is half naked in most of them, but hey, she does have that model look and model legs.
A solo photobook by Yoshida Akari will turn out great. No, it won’t sell as much as Yamamoto Sayaka’s SY (Yoshida Akari is not at that level of popularity), but it will still sell, and I would gladly pick one up.
#8 Shibata Aya
This might seem like a strange choice, but the reason why I’m putting Shibata Aya on here is because, should she release a solo photobook, it may sell well since she made Sousenkyo senbatsu two years in a row. Only three members of SKE48 (Matsui Rena, Miyazawa Sae, and Takayanagi Akane) have photobooks released or will release one in the future.
As for Shibata Aya, she does have the popularity to release one and she does have some pretty nice gravure photos here and there I must say. She looks primed to release one now if she wanted to. There is no guarantee if it will sell as well as Matsui Rena’s Hemeretto (37,000+ copies) or Miyazawa Sae’s Namida no Yukue (7,000+ copies), but when you make Senbatsu sousenkyo for consecutive years, fans are bound to pick up your solo photobook. Yes, I would be one of those fans who picked up a potential Shibata Aya solo photobook.
I will admit that I do tend to stare at her eyes more so than anything else, whether she is wearing a bikini, if she is wearing a costume for a performance, or she is wearing casual attire. Her eyes are mesmerizing; don’t stare into them too long…
#7 Eto Misa
Yes, Nogizaka46’s most underrated senbatsu member should have a solo photobook released. If you didn’t know about Eto Misa’s career before the Nogizaka46 days, she had a lot of bikini gravure. I would go as far to say more than Shiraishi Mai and Nishino Nanase combined.
The last time we saw Eto Misa in a bikini was with Nogizaka Ha, and she looked rather stunning in those photos. Look, as a Nogizaka46 fan, I do appreciate the conservative gravure touch that the franchise is known for. But I will admit that I would like to see a few members in a bikini once in a while. The only time we would see bikini gravure among Nogizaka46 members is when they have photobooks. Since most fans are familiar with the bikini gravure Eto Misa has out there, why not give a solo photobook a shot?
I have no idea if it will sell as well as, say, Shiraishi Mai’s Seijun na Otona. But I am pretty certain that this photobook will be picked up by Nogizaka46 fans far and wide (possibly even some CHIMO fans if you’re into them). I too would gladly pick this one up.
#6 Nagao Mariya
Remember when I gave a thousand apologies for being too lewd regarding my reasoning? Well…if you have seen some of the photos that Nagao Mariya has when she’s modeling for Peach John underwear, you’d wonder why she hasn’t released a solo photobook yet.
I will say this: she looks drop dead gorgeous. Like, when I see her bikini or lingerie photos, I’m taken aback for how stunning she is. Like, she is giving Kojima Haruna a run for her money. Why she doesn’t have a solo photobook yet is beyond me, but if she does manage to get one, it may be one of the best photobooks we’ve seen since Kojima Haruna’s Dosuru?
Yes, I would imagine a mix of conservative gravure and bikini gravure, but I think the focus for Nagao Mariya’s solo photobook, should she release one, would be on lingerie. she does have a sizable fanbase among AKB48 fans, so I, as well as her fanbase, would gladly pick a solo photobook up if she ever wanted to release one.
The Peach John photos she has are enough to make your heart palpitate. Imagine a photobook filled with them.
#5 Ikuta Erika
I never said that a solo photobook had to be filled with bikini gravure shots. As mentioned earlier, Nogizaka46 is not known for the bikini gravure shots, but rather a very conservative style of gravure that’s more or less family friendly.
I could possibly imagine Ikuta Erika’s solo photobook to be filled with some shots of her practicing piano, relaxing on a train looking at the countryside, or burning food she’s trying to cook. A mix of all that plus the impromptu bikini gravy shot for the fanservice may make for a good photobook.
Just look at Nishino Nanase with her photobook, Fudangi. It was filled with a lot of conservative gravure shots, but also had a very small handful of bikini gravure photos. Perhaps if Ikuta Erika wants to release a solo photobook, she should wait until 2016 or later to do so. If she does release one, I’ll be glad to pick one up since I’m a pretty big Ikuta Erika fan (she’s second on my Nogizaka46 favorites list behind only Wada Maaya).
#4 Kodama Haruka
The reason why I put Kodama Haruka on this list is because it’s not if she will have a photobook, but when.
Just look at the last two members of HKT48 who have had photobooks released recently: Sashihara Rino and Miyawaki Sakura. You could argue that both of them are the respective aces of HKT48, but what about Kodama Haruka? She has been center in more HKT48 singles than Miyawaki Sakura, and was only one spot away from cracking senbatsu for the first time in her career during the last Sousenkyo election.
Thus, the time is ripe for Kodama Haruka to release some sort of solo photobook. It’s going to be a quick seller just like Miyawaki Sakura’s self titled Sakura. Also, if Haruppi were to have the same risqué shots that Miyawaki Sakura had in her photobook, it would honestly be acceptable. Why?
It’s because Haruppi is 18 years old.
#3 Kitahara Rie
Something I never noticed is that Kitahara Rie does not have a solo photobook released. Why? Why single out the new face of Niigata’s 48G team?
I think Kitahara Rie is long, long overdue for a solo photobook. She doesn’t have to release one if she isn’t comfortable with gravure (as is the case for anybody on this countdown), but if she did, now would be a good time to get one. Kitahara Rie’s popularity has skyrocketed since the move to NGT48. No longer is she stuck among the high undergirls: the #11 spot during this year’s Sousenkyo election was the highest spot Kitarie has clinched, ever.
You strike when the iron is hot. If Kitahara Rie would like to release a solo photobook, now would be the perfect time. I, as well as thousands of other fans, would love to pick one up.
#2 Matsui Jurina
If you look on CDJapan, you’d notice that there’s a photobook released July 2010: “SKE48 Jurina Matsui First Photobook”.
This $30 USD photobook does not exist on Stage48 and you can’t even buy this photobook on CDJapan (it says “release postponed” on availability). Thus, the first Matsui Jurina solo photobook does not exist…
Yes, Matsui Jurina is primed to release some kind of photobook in the near future. She essentially has the keys to the SKE48 franchise and no longer has to share the car with Matsui Rena. She’s in the driver’s seat now, and if Jurina wants to release a solo photobook, she can. No longer is she at the U-18 age where some risqué shots are too risqué for CDJapan to handle (I am looking at you, Miyawaki Sakura!), so everything is set up for her to release a solo photobook.
I will admit that her gravure is pretty good, but she has the popularity to back up a potential solo photobook.
I have no idea if I would pick one up, but I’m sure her first photobook would sell like hotcakes.
#1 Shiroma Miru
If you’re familiar with some of my articles, or you know who my NMB48 oshi is, you knew this was coming.
Yes, if I’m going to put anybody at the top of the list for potential photobooks, it’s Shiroma Miru.
Let me start things off by saying her gravure is some of the most risqué stuff I’ve seen in my entire life. She has matured in looks and body to the point where she looks like she’s in her early 20s if you put her next to Ichikawa Miori. She is somewhat of an internet meme among 48G fans simply from a segment of the “Durian Shonen” PV alone. If you search up Shiroma Miru on Google Images, you’re going to find so many bikini or lingerie photos that it may seem overwhelming. Basically, Shiroma Miru has some ridiculously risqué gravure photos left, right and center, and I will admit that she looks good in said photos. Really good, like Nagao-Mariya-modeling-Peach-John-underwear good.
I say risqué a lot because she is not 18 yet.
She turns 18 on October 14th of this year. So, if she is going to release a solo photobook filled with some risqué gravure photos, she probably should do it sometime in 2016. That way, she can go as risqué as she wants to and not a lot of people will bat an eye (I am still looking at you, Miyawaki Sakura!).
Miru may not be the most popular among NMB48 members, since Yamamoto Sayaka and Watanabe Miyuki made sure of that. But since Yamada Nana graduated, the face of Team M can be Shiroma Miru if she plays her cards right. And yes, she is getting there faster than you think.
Maybe this is just me boasting about how fantastic my NMB48 oshi really is, and how fantastic her gravure photos really are. But honestly, if Shiroma Miru would release a solo photobook, I would preorder and buy 2 copies without even thinking about it. And honestly, I am 100% certain Shiroma Miru will have a photobook in the future, filled with all sorts of lingerie photos, bikini photos, and the occasional silly stuff to show off Miru’s personality.
Prepare yourselves, ladies and gentlemen. A Shiroma Miru photobook is coming.
So what did y’all think? Did you like this article? Is there a 48/46 member you would like to see release a solo photobook? Would you buy any one of the potential solo photobooks I mentioned? Let me know in the comments below.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to create a fund for idol photobooks…my poor wallet…
ANGERME recently released a triple A-side single consisting of Nana Korobi Ya Oki, Gashin Shoutan and Mahou Tsukai Sally. There are three words I can use to describe this release in a nutshell: exciting, fun and silly. Nana Korobi Ya Oki is exciting, Gashin Shoutan is fun and Mahou Tsukai Sally is silly. ANGERME had a reboot of a sort with the release of their previous single, re-branding themselves from S/mileage to ANGERME. This reboot was more than a name change and member addition, but also a clear shift in style, focus and presentation, as can be seen with their first single release as ANGERME and now this.
First up is Nana Korobi Ya Oki. From the moment the singing begins in this song you hear a very strong presence and form. Especially of note is how powerful Meimi sounds for her lines. This song is an example of how I tend to describe a lot of Hello! Project music. The beat is more for establishing the rhythm while the lyrics are the real sound of the music. You hear many songs in Pop where the instruments (whether it be synthetic or organic) tend to carry the song rather than the singing, but this song is carried by the lyrics. As a result, it really helps show off all of the girls’ strengths (and likewise, their weaknesses). They really have a unique synergy that helps them all feel like a very cohesive unit (something that isn’t always the case in other H!P groups, past and present). The reason I call this song exciting isn’t just because of the strong vocal presence, though. It’s also because of the fact that the song often times makes me feel anxious, in a good way. There are parts of it where as I’m hearing the song I start to get anxious and excited for how the next line will carry or how the beat may shift in order to force the singing to shift as well. It’s quite a fun adventure of aural pleasures and while it’s not my favorite song on the release, I certainly feel like it’s the best in regards to technicality.
Next up is Gashin Shoutan. While Nana Korobi Ya Oki has more of an emphasis on the vocals, I feel like this song has a bit more of a balance between the music and the vocals. There is more vocal talent that is shown off in this song, but they use the music to really help complement each other. It works out quite nicely. I call this one fun because it harkens back to the older style of very fun, jumpy and carefree songs that you can hear from older H!P music. To top it off it feels like it incorporates a Juice=Juice style of ‘cool’ music into what is starting to become a new ANGERME style. It’s a quite interesting mesh of various styles and features that ends up turning into the kind of song that immediately grabs your attention and makes you want to get up and dance.
Last, and most definitely not least, is Mahou Tsukai Sally. This one is actually my favorite of the trio, because I just find it so darn charming. It’s definitely not the most complex or the best example of advanced skills in the trio. It makes up for this by being extremely silly. The chorus consists of an ‘incantation’ and the lyrics are extremely repetitive and really only talk about Sally and her being a witch. Not the most deep or most inspiring, as you can tell. That being said, the song is exceedingly catchy and addictive. As a result of the simplicity, it is also very easy to follow along to. I won’t commend them on amazing talent or amazing musical composition (though the music is very silly and fun as well), but I will commend them on being able to do a song that is easy to pick up and very addictive. It’s the kind of song you’ll likely hear me singing extremely loud as I drive down the freeway not caring about all the weird looks I’m getting. While not directly related to song in regard to the music, I want to point out that the cute witch costumes they have for this particular song are the most adorable things ever!
If ANGERME continues with this kind of exceptional quality, then they are bound for a very big future. I’ve been thoroughly impressed by them since they rebooted, in music, performance and personality. Let’s hope that with the 4th generation auditions they bring in more talent to better expand on their positive qualities and to hopefully fill in for the gaping hole that will be in place when Kanon Fukuda graduates later this year.
Nana Korobi Ya Oki / Gashin Shoutan / Mahou Tsukai Sally released on July 22, 2015. You can get the single from cdjapan.co.jp or whatever Japanese music retail you prefer to purchase from. This one isn’t on iTunes, unfortunately.
- Ayaka Wada (1st Generation)
- Kanon Fukuda (1st Generation)
- Kana Nakanishi (2nd Generation)
- Akari Takeuchi (2nd Generation)
- Rina Katsuta (2nd Generation)
- Meimi Tamura (2nd Generation)
- Mizuki Murota (3rd Generation)
- Aikawa Maho (3rd Generation)
- Rikako Sasaki (3rd Generation)
You can view the music videos for all of the songs below:
◆ Rin Rigoni