Wednesday, 20 June 2018

The End of The Idol Road - Ogata Haruna Graduates from Morning Musume '18 and Hello! Project

On this day June 20th, 2018, Ogata Haruna embarked on her final journey alongside Morning Musume '18, before joining the ranks of many beloved but graduated members and marking her history as a member in one of Japan's longest running idol groups. Now, after a short but memorable three years and eight months, Ogata Haruna will create a new path for herself as she looks towards her new dream of attending University.

Already it feels weird to write these words, and right now it's hard to think that Haachin won't be a part of this lineup. I can't even express how strange it feels to know that from this day on, Haachin is a member of the Graduated girls. Then again, this isn't a graduation any of us were expecting halfway through the year.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

[Snippets of Haachin] Greeting You Sweetly (I-Candy à la Haachin)

[Snippets of Haachin] - also known as [A Week with Haachin] - is a week-long series in which I dedicate myself to all things Ogata Haruna. Whether it is a PV Review, Birthday Live viewing or something else, this series dedicates itself to watching the growth and wonder of Ogata Haruna before her upcoming Graduation on June 20th, 2018.

Even with minimal screen time and few solo lines, let's look back at Ogata Haruna's 4 years as an idol and adore her from afar. It's time to celebrate and fall in love once again with this idols smile and sweet nature...

I'm still in a state of confusion as to how soon Haachin's graduation is, despite being fairly aware that it's literally around the corner. I suppose it's because it was a little more rushed than most, and there hasn't been a hype around it like Duu's or even Zukki's. So, I'm still in a state of delusion, thinking that it isn't the end - not just yet. Even planning these posts isn't helping the realisation to settle in any quicker.

That said, despite being ignorant to my own feelings over Haachin's graduation, I must admit that after viewing her first - and only - Greeting's DVD, I was overcome with a sense of sadness. It hit me pretty hard that very soon, the only two non-birthday solo DVD's she would have been given are themed around her introduction, and then her goodbye. It's shocking to acknowledge, and makes watching her Greeting even sadder than I had expected, because after seeing this for the very first time, I actually wonder how she never received another solo DVD of any form. Haachin is very endearing and entertaining to watch, and you can really see how fun and cute she is here.

With that said, it's time to delve into a solo journey that features our beloved Haachin. After a disappointing lack of solo shots in almost all of her debut music videos, this time we will celebrate the image and charm of a girl

So, after the disappointing lack of Haachin in her debut PV's, it's time to sit down and take a look at Haachin in her solo journey through the 'Greeting' DVD. Much like a photo book, we will embark on a visual trip with the cute and upbeat Ogata Haruna, an angel whose image has not been appreciated enough in pictures or cinematography.

Welcome to Greeting ~Ogata Haruna~. Are you ready for your heart to still?

An Interview with Darkness: Selective Hearing Interviews NECRONOMIDOL

A little earlier in the year, I devised some questions for the dark-wave, HP Lovecraft themed group, NECRONOMIDOL via Selective Hearing, based around their up-coming tour to the United Kingdom where the group would visits Manchester, Birmingham and London for three live shows. Due to the groups busy schedule with both touring and recording, however, it was not possible for management to release the translated replies until now.

I would like to thank both Greg of Selective Hearing and Ricky who is NECRONOMIDOL's manager for allowing me this opportunity to give the questions and to interview the group via e-mail. It's great to look back on the members' feelings before the show, and to also have a better understanding of the group after everything has already happened, as well as to see how well their answers fit in line with the recent shows.

Please check out the original article on Selective Hearing, but do enjoy this version as well. Thank you very much.

*As a side note, this version contains a few more questions and answers that do not appear in the Selective Hearing original. So, we have a bonus round. Enjoy!

Interviewer: Kelly-Mae (Chiima)
Editor: Greg


K: Risaki Kakizaki
S: Sari
H: Hina Yotsuyu
R: Rei Imaizumi
T: Himari Tsukishiro

[Snippets of Haachin] A Quartet of Beauty - 'Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru / Yuugure wa Amaegari / Ima Koko Kara' PV Overview(s)

[Snippets of Haachin] - also known as [A Week with Haachin] - is a week-long series in which I dedicate myself to all things Ogata Haruna. Whether it is a PV Review, Birthday Live viewing or something else, this series dedicates itself to watching the growth and wonder of Ogata Haruna before her upcoming Graduation on June 20th, 2018.

Even with minimal screen time and few solo lines, let's look back at Ogata Haruna's 4 years as an idol and adore her from afar. It's time to celebrate and fall in love once again with this idols smile and sweet nature...

Truth be told, I honestly didn't think that my [Week with Ogata] series would be as hard as it's looking to be, and if I had had a clue about how annoyingly difficult it will be, then I would have started this series around the time Ohaa announced her graduation date. That said, you can't help it when life gets in the way... but when has that ever stopped me from getting these kinds of posts out, on time or not?

I think the difficulty stems more from the fact that Ogata is one of the rare, few members who is given very little when it comes to releases and publications. With a small amount of solo lines, stupidly little screen time and not that much in either concerts or even solos, there is a limit to what I can find on the world wide web without having to download or buy DVD's. Even in terms of magazine and photo shoots there isn't much for Ogata, and even if there was something out there that included her and her alone, it's more than likely only available in Japan. That's just the way it is, and for foreign fans especially, we can only see what's on the surface.

And oh, what a shallow surface that is in regards to our dear Haachin.

Well, never fear, dear Readers, because I will persevere in my quest to adore Ohaa until the day she graduates! With even the most minimal of content, I'll try my best to doll out reviews and talk about the girl many love, an idol who will be missed by friends and fans alike in this ever-evolving world of entertainment and cuteness. Though she may not be as present as we would like, she is a member who has placed a stamp on our hearts, a girl who has appealed to those that noticed the unique and undeniable quality of Ogata Haruna. For many, she is their oshi, and throughout this series we will try to come and understand just why she sticks out to others, and why she is so darned special.

I could go on and use various synonyms to describe Ogata, but where's the fun in that? So before I dare to lose myself in words, let's take a look at the debut of Ogata Haruna, a quartet of beauty that represents the beginning of a generation.

This is the beginning of the end, dear Readers. Are you ready to indulge in all things Ogata? Let's go~

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Fulfilling the Idol Dream: An Interview with Aidoru Sozai

I would like to thank the members of Aidoru Sozai for taking part in this e-mail based interview with me, and for allowing me to publish their answers on this blog. Though the group is still fresh, they are raring to go and show us what they are made of, and to allow us to understand the group and its members more through this interview.

Formed in the early months of 2018, Aidoru Sozai is a 7-member self-produced idol group based in the Philippines who are currently undergoing their indies phase. Made up of former MNL48 candidates, this personality-filled lineup have already held their first successful mini-live on April 28th at Ozine Fest 2018.

Currently, the group are working towards a debut single, but have successfully introduced their own overture that will accompany future live performances. Despite being so new to the idol scene however, fans have taken to Aidoru Sozai - LoveSo for short - and are excited for the beginnings of this groups bright and inspiring journey.

In early March this year, I sent LoveSo a request to conduct an e-mail interview with the members to get to know the girls, discuss what they are all about, and delve a little deeper into the dynamics of the Philippine's based idol group, Aidoru Sozai...

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Born to be Idols: An Introduction to Aidoru Sozai

There is something about indie idol groups that is inspiring and joyful in my eyes. Though I can't support them all - sometimes there is never enough information, or I simply do not know they exist - I have felt that the drive and hope indie idols bring is dazzling, especially when they can shine on a stage in front of even the smallest number of fans. They're infectious and spirited, and despite how little people know of them, these idols persevere to fulfil their own dream, as well as to create hope and happiness for their fans and listeners.

But indie idols are not just born in Japan, and for one of the few brief moments in my blog's history, I would like to take a moment to introduce and appreciate a group that has been born outside of Japan, crafted from the dream of becoming the idols they have watched on stage for so long.

With the rise of Idols both online and off, it shouldn't come as a surprise to see a few indie brand idol groups popping up every now and again. It may be even less surprising to know that these groups rarely gain recognition outside of their own fanbase, yet with the recent auditions for MNL48 - the latest overseas escapade for the AKS corporation, which will be based in the Philippine's - there is one indie idol group who have risen from the background and greeted us with renewed hope, and maybe a little bit of glee as they ascend into the world of music, performance and joy.

Aidoru Sozai - LoveSo for short - is the delightful yet surprising new indie idol group based in the Philippine's to watch out for. Announced in January this year, the group finally announced the  full seven member lineup back in March, before finally announcing their live performance debut at Ozine Fest 2018 on April 28th. And despite being so fresh to the idol scene, the group is already causing a stir online and off, especially when you consider that LoveSo is made up of former MNL48 hopefuls. Despite this however, the girls of LoveSo have created something that is not only inspirational and dream-like, but a group that is polished and higher in standard than what even the most seasoned indie idol groups can offer.

With a hoard of information readily available on Facebook, Stage48 and even a wikia page dedicated to these girls, there is no doubt why people like the idea of LoveSo, or why they want to support them. Not only are they refreshing, but the members themselves seem too idol-like to be true, and the effort they are putting into not only their image, but their logo's, profiles, performances and videos, allows us to realise just how serious they are about becoming real idols in the Philippine's.

Already these girls embody the characteristics of the idols we adore from afar: they are cute, hard-working, and they have a goal that they want to reach. Whether they can sing or dance right now is not really a factor, in my eyes - as long as each girl strives to create a dream for their fans or hopes to stand on stage in order to inspire others, then they are embodying the image of an idol properly, and despite only having one performance under their belt thus far, LoveSo are already showing us that they are more than prepared to take on that idol persona and stand on the stage for all to see.

Whether they are based in Japan or outside of it, I find it inspiring that the members of LoveSo have made their dream come true and created new goals for the group we see now. Regardless of the setbacks they may have faced up until this point, they have been warmly welcomed into the idol community and will continue to grow with the adoration of their fans and supporters, no matter how far apart everyone may be. And as one of the few seas-apart fans, I would like to continue my support for the group and promote them with all my might.

And with that in mind, I would like to take the time to introduce you all to the new indie idol group, LoveSo! Even if they aren't idols from the country of the rising sun, they are still idols born with the desire to create happiness, music and dreams. So, without further ado, let's take a look at who makes up this cute and joyful unit and what each member has to offer us.

Are you ready~?

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Updates & Changes In: Blogging (May 2018)

Over the course of my Hibernation Period I had a lot of thoughts and ideas running around my head regarding Okay! Musume Time and its future. It took a while to figure out a clear direction for myself, and I have a few plans and ideas for this space, but it's uncertain if all of them will ever be implemented in the future. As of right now, I am simply testing the waters, but I wanted to make you all aware of anything that will change here.

Like anything, not all of these practices will stick, and some may never be implemented in the long run. It's all a work in progress at this point, and nothing more. But like any other blog, themes and practices change over the course of time. Okay! Musume Time will never immune to this, and I am aware that over the course of 7 or more years, I have dropped and adopted ideas, created series and strayed from them in a certain amount of time. Some things are constant whilst others are temporary. In order to keep this blog tuned into my personal interests however, change is necessary.

Here I will list a few of the things that are going to change, ideas that will stick, and future plans I have that I hope to test out, but can't say for sure I will attempt just yet. There are some I have tried out already, and others that I'm in the process of attempting. Furthermore, there may be an increase or decrease in certain types of posts.

I'm rambling. So, without further ado, here is a list (and some explanation) on any changes and plans that will happen for the future of Okay! Musume Time. I hope I don't bore you.

Beep Beep!