Sunday, 23 November 2014

[A Week with Sayu] The Penultimate Look: Blue Rose - Photobook Review

Please NOTE: This is a Photobook review. If photobooks of any kind make you feel uncomfortable, whether Idol is under or of age, then this is your warning. Do not read if you will be or feel offended by the images posted here. Thank you.

All thoughts and opinions within this post are completely my own and no one else's. Please appreciate that what I say is not fact, simply what I think. Thank you.

*Credit to Ryan for stocking me with these photobook scans! It is very much appreciated and this post would not have happened without your help!

*About this Series: [A Week with Sayu] is a week-long series dedicated to Michishige Sayumi on her impending graduation from the group Morning Musume. The intention with this series is to focus on Sayumi as an Idol, personality and member of the group she loves dearly, allowing for me to take a closer look at how she has grown as an Idol since her debut up until her graduation. To do this I will be looking at both past and present forms of work that she has done in her 11 year career, some I have previously loved and some I may have ignored. By the end of this series, I hope to have had a better look at Sayumi as well as seen how she has evolved and progressed as the Idol we know today called Michishige Sayumi. Thank you.

Michishige Sayumi has truly grown into a beautiful young woman, one who has been appreciated in visual form since her debut. When looking back at her debut photobook, Michishige Sayumi (2004) I knew that I would want to look at another one during this week dedicated to Sayumi before her impending graduation, but not an earlier photobook; I want to look at a more recent one, a book that can represent the Sayumi of today.

And so, because this is the penultimate review post and also because I could not find the full photobook for YOUR LOVE (2014), I will instead be taking a look at Sayumi's penultimate photobook as a member of Morning Musume '14. Let's take a look at Blue Rose (2013).

(Blue Rose released on October 27th 2013)

It does not really feel like this photobook was released that long ago if you ask me; it was only just last year, back in October when it was released, and there seemed to be quite a bit of excitement surrounding its release. Why wouldn't there be? This is Michishige Sayumi, one of Morning Musume '14's most visually appealing Idols and quite possibly the most beautiful Idol around! Of course that is subject to opinion, but for Morning Musume no other could hold a candle to her beauty or even compete against her in regards to the looks department - Sayumi seems to be perfect.

There is something about Sayumi that is infectious I think; she has an addictive aura, one that makes me want to look at her all the time and envelope myself in her presence, even if that presence is in the form of an image. As she has grown, that aura has grown as well and she has become someone you just wish to look at. I can't speak for everyone, clearly, but for those of us who enjoy watching Sayumi on-screen may also find her as addictive in still image. It is because of this addiction to her image that I wanted to approach another review in the form of a photobook review.

I also intended to do this review because, after looking back at Michishige Sayumi, I wanted to see the difference between Sayumi then and now, and aside from her latest photobook YOUR LOVE, Blue Rose seems to be the perfect representation of Sayumi as a visual Idol I believe. So today I will be taking a look at one of Sayumi's last photobooks as I prepare for her graduation, where I hope to further appreciate her beauty.

Before I begin I would like to once again thank Ryan for providing me with the images of this photobook. Without his help, this review probably would not have happened, or it would have, but not as swiftly. So for him I have my deepest gratitude.

With that all said and done I will begin my review. Listen to some music, grab a cup of tea or maybe a biscuit and sit back, because together we will delve into the world of Blue Rose, the penultimate photobook of Michishige Sayumi...

Erm, I don't think that you should be standing in a field of cows right now, Sayu...

Are you even listening to me!? Well, fine, but don't blame me if one of the cows charges at you or you ruin that dress in cow dung! URGH!!!

Well, hot damn Sayu, you're looking mighty fine in that dress! O-O DAAAAAMN!!!!!

Seriously though. Da-yumn!

Even close-up, she is a visionary delight! Humana-humana!

This ones for all you foot-lovers out there! ;D

Oh, well, I hope I'm not boring you at all Sayu!

Also, please be aware of how dangerously high your skirt is hitching up... *ahem*

Haha, even in your PJ's you're too cute, Sayu! Where did you buy them from?

... Still ignoring me for the what I said in the cow field, aren't ya?

Chayu: "..."


Right, so it's a stare down now, huh? Well I can stare you down, too! Prepare to FIGHT!

Also, why can't I sit with you!?

Chayu: "... I dislike you thoroughly right now."

I hate it when we have fights like this! Can't we make up!?

... Well, now o-O

This is definitely no play date now, is it? This is full-on Date! Have I advanced from friend to potential lover in this PB!?

Yes, yes I have.

There is certainly a big difference in this PB from her debut in 2004, let me tell you that now! Hot... DAMN!!!!

All the fanboys say:


Necessary boob shot

And I sit here wondering 'Holy shit, when did she grow up!?'

Chayu: "That plank of wood better not fall on me!"

BIKINI TIME! Are we off to the pool or the beach today, Sayumi my dear?

Chayu: "The pool, let's go~"

Ah, my sweet Angel is talking to me again! CHAYUUU <3

Holy moly, cleavage shot o-O

Yet even the images from the back are oddly tantalizing...

And yes, this is the hottest picture in the entire book if you ask me!

I feel like a predator Yet I'm younger than she is!!!

You know Sayu, I like to swim in a pool rather than lay in it...

... You're not getting up at all, are you?

I have a feeling that this image is very much appreciated by the fanboys...

Oh, and this one! In fact, all of them are. Mostly the bikini ones, obviously.

But damn, she is gorgeous, and how does she make such facial expressions!? This is so alluring!

Oh wait, now she's bored of our audience. Sayu, do you want to go swimming? I can find your good friend the Dolphin?

Daaaaaaamn... she really does have the alluring look down to a T, am I right?

I envy the man who gets to marry her if she marries

Oh, we seem to have finished at the pool! Time for a leisurely walk together in the fields outside of Sayu's house! ^o^

Caught a stone in your sandal, my dear? Don't worry, I can wait for you!


I swear, her close-ups have gotten better... damn damn daaaaaaamn...

WHat the Heck Sayu, how did you get all the way down there!? AND WHERE DID YOUR CLOTHES GO!?

Not that we, I mean I, don't mind the view...

Can I join you under that waterfall?

That said, this has to be one of the most well-shot images in the book! SO PRETTY!!!

Walking around the fields and waterfalls like this, it's seriously romantic, right?

... Sayu, are you ignoring me again!?

And now it's time for a rest and some sunbathing... aaaaah~

Sayumi Sayumi, let down your hair, Sayumi!

Chayu: "Hahahahahaha, NO!"

Awww, man!!!

Good gravy, Sayumi!!! Where have you been hiding those legs and that dress!?

That said, I fear for her if she ever bends over in that thing... IT'S TINY!!!

Okay, this is a pretty cool shot actually.

But dayumn, that Sayumi shoulder and her expression... <3

I still find her close-ups one of the most beautiful points of this entire PB, however. Just look at her!!!

I have no clue how you're not cold, dear, but whatever; you can go running into the ocean in this weather all you like! I'm staying put, though!

What ya looking at, my beautiful Sayumi? Anything pretty?

Of course, nothing is as pretty as you, Sayu ^^

Er, erm... Sayu? What are you doing? O-O

Please, oh please, keep this as PG as possible...

Not that a PB in general is PG, but you know what I mean!

Okay, this is fine Sayu, just keep it tame! We don't want to go into the depths of near-nude gravure now, do we?

But damn, you are gorgeous <3 Still, thanks for understanding and keeping it all under-wraps!

... Okay, now that's not fair >___>

Girl, you're playing a dangerous game, you know that?

Why the Heck do you know how attractive you are!? Stop flaunting it, please!!!

Okay, this is dangerous...

Aaaaaand it only got even more dangerous... KUSO!

Oh goody, she finally has clothes on! And she looks as cute as a Country-Girl button!

... Wait, why does this suspiciously remind me of Daisy Duke?

Wait Sayu, what's that evil glare for!? Did I do something wrong!?

Chayu: "You did EVERYTHING wrong!"

Aw shit...

Okay, Hi Sayu butt o-o

Now that is adorably innocent despite the fact she's wearing a bikini! There's the Sayu I know and love! <3

... And Devilishly sexy Sayu has returned, making me wish I had a boat that she could pose on all day for me...

Someone is pushing her boobs together~

Still, that sultry look her on face is pretty good o-o

I actually hate it when Idols do that 'lay-down-push-bewbs-together' pose, it's so contrived and looks highly unnatural XD

Oh, hello tummy!

The long legs... they are back!!!

As is the invisible audience! Hello, everyone watching!

But god damn, I think this is the most memorable outfit of the entire PB if you ask me, simply because it does Sayu the utmost justice in all areas...



Those Legs...

Michishige Sayumi; Goddess of Legs, Mistress of Sultry looks, Owner of Beauty.

It's like looking at the Mona Lisa, waiting for her to smile; we're overcome by her beauty but also thinking to ourselves "For Fuck's sake, girl, SMILE!!!"

That said, moody-Sayu from 2013 looks like a Hot-and-Sultry Moody Sayu! She has her looks down!

Okaaaaay, things just got a little more dangerously hot in here...

But Sayu's cooling off by the window, so she's okay!

Oh shit, I think we woke her up a bit too early, guys. Sayu, just go back to sleep, kay?

Chayu: "... Urrrrrrrrgh, sunlight..."

Still feeling a little sleepy, dear? I can get you some tea or coffee to wake you up if you want?

... Not talking? Okay, I can deal with that...

It's not like you've really talked to me much through this whole date thing, anyways.

... Okay, what the heck is happening!? Sayu, are you... are you coming on to me!?

Sayu: "... Wow, you finally got the message."

... Oh.

So, how many Sayumi butt-shots am I going to have to go through today? I don't remember you ever being this risqué!

... That's because I rarely look at her photobooks, actually >___>

But god damn, she makes these shots work! And surprisingly, it doesn't feel uncomfortable!

Ayyyyyyyeeeee Sexy Shoulder!!!

And an equally enchanting Sayu!

Okay, this has to be one of the ncest clothing sets she has had. Not too sexy, not too sweet... juuuuust right!

Okay wait, horseback riding!? I never expected this! Sayu, I... I can't...

I'm kinda sorta scared of horses...

... Oh, so the horse gets some lovin' but not me!? Alright, I see how it is...

Oh look, some Sayu butt again...

I sincerely hope that all you butt appreciators out there are loving this!

If I didn't know any better, I would assume Sayu was naked in this image... o-O

Honestly though, that dress is stunning! I would totally keep that for myself!

It will always look better on Sayu, though...

Even the latest of bloomers will one day become the most beautiful flower of them all...

As someone who rarely views photobooks, I have to say that looking at both Michishige Sayumi (2004) and Blue Rose (2013) has been a rather enlightening journey for me; I have always appreciated the beauty that Sayumi holds as an Idol, but I don't think that I ever truly appreciated the model within her or the portrayal of sweetness, innocence, beauty or sultriness that she has displayed in her photobooks beforehand. I am not one for photobooks really, not unless it is of an Idol I really like or unless I have been asked to look at one, so to read Michishige Sayumi and Blue Rose for this series has been enjoyable and quite educational in how I see Sayumi; the more I look at her photobooks, the more I realise that she truly is a visual Idol, one who has yet to be thwarted by any other member of Morning Musume. There is something about her that makes her feel unstoppable.

Sayumi is, simply put, very lovely to look at; her expression, the way she seems comfortable in front of the camera and the gazes she pulls off are all very endearing and enticing to look at - you never want to pull away. This is the level of an Idol of more than 10 years, and you can see how professional and aware Sayumi is of what she needs to do here in Blue Rose. She is invested, allowing the readers to become invested, and you can see that she takes her job seriously.

With that said, in favour of seriousness it does mean that the fun is sacrificed for a more sophisticated, adult approach that is sexy and mature, innocence and playfulness lost. That isn't a bad thing per say, actually it makes for a great contrast between Michishige Sayumi and Blue Rose and allows for us to see Sayumi's level of professionalism after growing up, but I do think that this photobook lacks the fun and spirit that her very first PB held. Something within her debut photobook that was endearing and allowed me to fall in love with Sayumi as a character and person was there, yet with Blue Rose I find that I appreciate her beauty and maturity more, but that is all visual - Michishige Sayumi felt alive, filled with everything that was sweet and innocent, fun and cheerful. Here, it is still imagery, though I still feel a sense of longing and desire from Sayumi.

It seems that no matter what, Sayumi has the gift of getting her emotions across to the camera and reader, even when she is acting more professional as opposed to being the cute and girly child she once was. Her expressions bring you into the environment she has become a part of I think, and that is the charm and talent of Sayumi - visually, she can bring you in and take you into a whole other world we were never a part of previously. So, even though she has lost the spirit of her 15 year old self, I do think that Sayumi still holds that talent to really involve the reader in her photobook so that they become invested in the image itself - her visual portrayal has simply improved, and so has she. She is more professional, more mature and can now pull off certain expressions better than ever, without looking bored or lifeless.

Now, she can work the camera to her advantage and capture a moment in a way she never would have been able to when she first debuted. Truly, she has advanced.

Michishige Sayumi is a vision, someone who I do enjoy looking at in still image. Though I believe that I prefer her debut PB over this one, simply because it is full of joy, life and the sweet innocence of a 15 year old Idol, I do enjoy this one as well because it is very much Sayumi as she is now; mature, sexy but also very beautiful and endearing. She has grown up, we can't deny that, and this photobook shows just how much she has grown as an Idol and model compared to how she was 10 years ago.

Blue Rose is a beautifully constructed visual that all Sayumi fans should see at least once. It shows off that serious and professional side to an Idol who was once playful and narcissistic, allowing us to appreciate the beauty that is Michishige Sayumi. I enjoyed this photobook and I do feel that overall it is a worthwhile read and one of the most beautiful pieces of imagery I have seen. My only, and this is very small, issue with it is that it lacks the fun and spirit that I enjoyed in Michishige Sayumi and Sayuminglandoll. Though it may lack in a certain area, I can't deny that is beautiful; it is a gorgeous piece to look at, one we will all appreciate in years to come as we look back at Michishige Sayumi's never-ending beauty in her penultimate photobook release.

Until next time everyone, take care.


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